Development of the Supramental Consciousness and Its Relationship to Matter, Life and Mind

Just as the advent of the Life-Energy transformed the response of Matter, and the advent of the mental energy transformed the response of both Matter and Life, so we can expect that the next stage in the evolutionary process will act to completely transform the relations of Matter, Life and Mind both in their own responsiveness and in their interaction with one another.  The question arises whether this results in a complete transformation for all of humanity, or whether some elements of humanity undergo this transformation of consciousness, while the basic essentials of human consciousness remain in place for the vast majority.  We observe in the developments of plants, and animals, and human beings, that the radical transformation does not directly occur for every being in the preceding stage; rather, the basis and beings that populate each stage remain in place and only a segment develops the new consciousness and physical forms to support it.  We also see that the new active power of consciousness nevertheless affects and begins to transform the action at the prior levels.  If we witness the impact of the mental consciousness on animal life, plant life and the material basis of the world, it is easy to appreciate both its tremendous power and its extreme limitations.  The next stage of the evolution of consciousness must work to bring about a new relationship between matter, life, and mind from the perspective of what Sri Aurobindo terms the supramental plane of consciousness.

The stages, and the beings, including the gradations of the mental consciousness that manifest through humanity today, will remain intact as both a basis for that plane of consciousness to continue to work, and as a transitional phase for those who are prepared to filter up to the next level.  If rebirth is part of an evolutionary growth of the individual, such transitional stages are essential to the process.

Sri Aurobindo observes in The Life Divine:  “It must be conceded at once that there is not the least probability or possibility of the whole human race rising in a block to the supramental level; what is suggested is nothing so revolutionary and astonishing, but only the capacity in the human mentality, when it has reached a certain level or a certain point of stress of the evolutionary impetus, to press towards a higher plane of consciousness and its embodiment in the being.  The being will necessarily undergo by this embodiment a change from the normal constitution of its nature, a change certainly of its mental and emotional and sensational constitution and also to a great extent of the body-consciousness and the physical conditioning of our life and energies; but the change of consciousness will be the chief factor, the initial movement, the physical modification will be a subordinate factor, a consequence.  This transmutation of the consciousness will always remain possible to the human being when the flame of the soul, the psychic kindling, becomes potent in heart and mind and the nature is ready.  The spiritual aspiration is innate in man; for he is, unlike the animal, aware of imperfection and limitation and feels that there is something to be attained beyond what he now is: this urge towards self-exceeding is not likely ever to die out totally in the race.  The human mental status will be always there, but it will be there not only as a degree in the scale of rebirth, but as an open step towards the spiritual and supramental status.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Two, The Place of Man in Evolution, pp. 5-13

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