Onward, and Upward, Beyond the Supramental Manifestation

There is little reason to suppose that once the supramental manifestation takes place, that evolution will at that point come to a halt. Humanity has been locked into the idea that the mental evolution was the final phase, and it is now seen that this is just a transitional phase. With the supermind we can expect substantial changes both for individuals and the society as a whole, just as the advent of mind caused substantial changes from the previous status quo. There are likely further levels of consciousness beyond even the Supermind. Yet this is still focused primarily on evolution on the earth, and limited to the scope of our lives and the status of our world.

Humanity used to believe that the earth was the center of the universe and that everything revolved around us. We still maintain the egocentric viewpoint with respect to our own existence, while we at least now acknowledge that, despite our perceptions and habits of thought, the earth actually is part of a solar system and revolves around the sun, and that our solar system is part of the Milky Way galaxy, which is just one galaxy moving through the universe, which is just one universe among many.

We cannot assume therefore that the entire meaning and significance of existence are fixated on the evolutionary development over time of life on earth. It is, however, at this point, premature to speculate about these larger issues, as our current limited mental development simply cannot perceive nor understand these larger frames of existence.

There remains much to be done to prepare Matter, Life and Mind for the advent of a new higher power of consciousness and its impact on these terms of existence. The questions surrounding anything beyond are, at this point, purely speculative. Our focus, at this time, must be to bring about the needed development of mind-life-body to accommodate the next phase and from there, we will obviously be able to perceive and begin to respond to the stages beyond.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “There would always remain vistas beyond as the infinite Spirit took up towards higher heights and larger breadths the evolving Nature, in the movement of the liberated being towards the possession of the supreme Reality, the supreme existence, consciousness, beatitude. But of this it would be premature to speak: what has been written is perhaps as much as the human mind as it is now constituted can venture to look forward to and the enlightened thought understand in some measure. These consequences of the Truth-consciousness descending and laying its hold upon Matter would be a sufficient justification of the evolutionary labour. In this upward all-uplifting sweep of the Spirit there could be a simultaneous or consecutive downward sweep of the triumph of a spiritualised Nature all-including, all-transmuting and in it there could occur a glorifying change of Matter and the physical consciousness and physical form and functioning of which we could speak as not only the total but the supreme perfection of the body.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pp. 41-42

The Process of Transformation: Sudden or Progressive Over Time

When we look back at the development of life and mind out of the inconscient material basis, we see a long process of geological time with various incremental steps and preparations, and an occasional “leap” in power which likely was due to hidden preparation of the instruments that made such a step possible without, however, being observable on the surface. This process is mirrored in various phenomena which are well-recognized, such as our ability to perceive things with our eyes. Below a certain level of photon activity, we do not see. Once the threshold level is reached, we suddenly can observe something with our eyes. This “all or nothing” phenomenon does not imply that there were no photons present prior to the “event” we observe, but that they were below our threshold of perception. Similarly, evolutionary stages may be developing behind the scenes but not be visible to us until they suddenly appear in front of us.

One way or the other, a higher force of consciousness needs a prepared field at the physical, vital and mental levels to actually manifest with intensity and precision. Prior to that preparation, there may be influences that help to prepare the instruments, that may increase the ability of the physical to sustain a higher force and action, of the vital to express the energy in a pure and powerful way, and in the mind to widen and be able to respond to the new methods of knowing that this higher consciousness brings with it.

For the physical body to change, various cellular adjustments and genetic changes need to occur. Yogis have found that using Concentration, Meditation, Samadhi, Asana, Pranayama, Mantra, and various energy locks (bandhas) or gestures by positioning of the body and its limbs (mudras) can help the body achieve more and open up some new energies and powers for action, including what is frequently called “opening up of the chakras”. What Sri Aurobindo is describing, however, goes beyond this to an actual cellular level change through the action of the higher force, and, over time, the turning on of genetic capacities that are latent or dormant, or bringing about changes that can bring to bear entirely new powers of knowledge and action.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “All this might not come all at once, though such a sudden illumination might be possible if a divine Power and Light and Ananda could take their stand on the summit of our being and send down their force into the mind and life and body illumining and remoulding the cells, awaking consciousness in all the frame. But the way would be open and the consummation of all that is possible in the individual could progressively take place. The physical also would have its share in that consummation of the whole.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pg. 41

The Impact of the Truth-Consciousness When It Manifests in Earthly Life

We can see that on the material plane, there is an incredibly detailed and well-organized action at the atomic level, not to speak of the complex symbiotic relations evident in the living beings, and the complex development of the mental interactions; and we can observe a similarly complex system, although we cannot fully understand its significance, on the cosmic level with universes, galaxies, stars, solar systems, etc. all moving and interacting. The intelligence required to create such a universal manifestation goes far beyond what we can grasp with our limited mental power.

As previously noted, there are numerous general “capacities” in the world of matter and life which are active in some forms, but not in others. This includes powers of perception, as well as development of physical speed or strength, vital force and mental ability, with some beings able to use sonar direction-finding and some able to regenerate body parts, etc.

Much of this is done through the automatic functioning built into these lower levels as “physical laws” or vital “instincts” across different classes of beings. When humans are conceived, they go through various fetal stages that appear to take them through some of the earlier evolutionary stages until they develop their human limbs, organs and mental development.

What then could happen if a higher power of knowledge and action, gained through identity with that higher power, as the next stage of our evolution, makes us consciously able to turn on the action of some of the genes that have been turned off at present in our current developmental stage? Could we see ranges of the electro-magnetic spectrum currently outside our range? Could we develop sonar? Could we develop the powers that we sometimes see awaken in individuals, such as intuition, clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, etc.? Are there other powers, physical, vital and mental, that could be awakened, nurtured, trained, or newly developed that we cannot yet conceive based on our fragmented outlook? What unknown capacities lie sleeping in our genetic makeup, involved in our subconscient or inconscient material element, waiting for the right time and circumstances to begin to manifest, under pressure from higher powers of consciousness-force?

Sri Aurobindo writes: “In the workings of such a Truth-consciousness there would be a certain conscious seeing and willing automatism of the steps of its truth which would replace the infallible automatism of the inconscient or seemingly inconscient Force that has brought out of an apparent Void the miracle of an ordered universe, and this could create a new order of the manifestation of the Being in which a perfect perfection would become possible; even a supreme and total perfection would appear int he vistas of an ultimate possibility. If we could draw down this power into the material world, our agelong dreams of human perfectibility, individual perfection, the perfectibility of the race, of society, inner mastery over self and a complete mastery, governance and utilisation of the forces of Nature could see at long last a prospect of total achievement. This complete human self-fulfillment might well pass beyond limitations and be transformed into the character of a divine life. Matter after taking into itself and manifesting the power of life and the light of mind would draw down into it the superior or supreme power and light of the spirit and in an earthly body shed its parts of inconscience and become a perfectly conscious frame of the spirit. A secure completeness and stability of the health and strength of its physical tenement could be maintained by the will and force of this inhabitant; all the natural capacities of the physical frame, all powers of the physical consciousness would reach their utmost extension and be there at command and sure of their flawless action. As an instrument the body would acquire a fullness of capacity, a totality of fitness for all uses which the inhabitant would demand of it far beyond anything now possible. Even it could become a revealing vessel of a supreme beauty and bliss, — casting the beauty of the light of the spirit suffusing and radiating from it as a lamp reflects and diffuses the luminosity of its indwelling flame, carrying in itself the beatitude of the spirit, its joy of the seeing mind, its joy of life and spiritual happiness, the joy of Matter released into a spiritual consciousness and thrilled with a constant ecstasy. This would be the total perfection of the spiritualised body.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, p. 40-41

The Truth-Consciousness and the Perfection of the Body, Life and Mind

We live in cynical times. The idea of some form of universal Truth is derided as an illusion in a world where everyone’s opinion is treated as an equal expression of truth as that person sees and knows it. This cynicism is fueled by our reliance for information and guidance in our opinions from mass media, social media platforms, and an incredible amount of self-interest built into the information by its purveyors, and a corresponding sense of self-interest in the receiver of the information. How do we sort out, then, the idea of some kind of universal Truth when our vital nature and our minds are in such a state of turmoil and conflict about “what is Truth?”

All of this confusion starts from the idea that the mind is a suitable instrument to judge truth, and that our senses are able to perceive facts in a way that is not colored or distorted by either limitations of the instruments of perception or any bias in the mind or vital ego.

Whether we perceive completely and whether we actually understand what we perceive, there is nevertheless an independent Truth of the universal manifestation that operates as the frame within which our lives take place, and which conditions our existence and the changes we undergo through Time. The question which Sri Aurobindo explores is how to move beyond the limitations of the mind into a status of consciousness in which we are identified with that larger universal existence and thereby experience the Truth, not the mind’s interpretation or opinion of truth, through what he calls “knowledge by identity.”

Sri Aurobindo notes: “This would mean an entry or approach into what might be called a truth-consciousness self-existent in which the being would be aware of its own realities and would have the inherent power to manifest them in a Time-creation in which all would be Truth following out its own unerring steps and combining its own harmonies; every thought and will and feeling and act would be spontaneously right, inspired or intuitive, moving by the light of Truth and therefore perfect. All would express inherent realities of the spirit; some fullness of the power of the spirit would be there. One would have overpassed the present limitations of mind: mind would become a seeing of the light of Truth, will a force and power of the Truth, Life a progressive fulfillment of the Truth, the body itself a conscious vessel of the Truth and part of the means of its self-effectuation and a form of its self-aware existence. It would be at least some initiation of this Truth-consciousness, some first figure and action of it that must be reached and enter into a first operation if there is to be a divine life or any full manifestation of a spiritualised consciousness in the world of Matter. Or, at the very least, such a Truth-consciousness must be in communication with our own mind and life and body, descend into touch with it, control its seeing and action, impel its motives, take hold of its forces and shape their direction and purpose. All touched by it might not be able to embody it fully, but each would give some form to it according to his spiritual temperament, inner capacity, the line of his evolution in Nature: he would reach securely the perfection of which he was immediately capable and he would be on the road to the full possession of the truth of the Spirit and of the truth of Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pg. 40

Evolution of Consciousness Through a Process of Time

When we observe our human life, we find that the essentials of our consciousness and powers of action are present within us at all times, but that they manifest through the procession of Time as we grow, mature, focus and train our powers of knowledge and action. Similarly, if we look at the procession through geological Time we find that the first manifestation was pure Matter and Energy, the material foundation from which Life arises, and eventually from which Mind manifests. Once again we see a procession through Time, although the elements of an innate Intelligence are clearly existent within even the apparent Inconscience of Matter.

What we see and experience today is a snapshot of a single point in time, and it cannot possibly reflect the status of our past, nor the possibilities and developments of our future. To therefore presume that what we are “today” is the limit of what we shall become “tomorrow” is therefore what Sri Aurobindo calls our “ignorance of Time”. We are not static beings, and therefore subject to growth, change and development. Following the pattern of Matter to Life and Life to Mind, we can easily understand and extrapolate further sequences in the evolution of consciousness in our future. That is why Sri Aurobindo calls man a “transitional being”.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “If the emergence and growth of consciousness is the central motive of the evolution and the key to its secret purpose, then by the very nature of that evolution this growth must involve not only a wider and wider extent of its capacities, but also an ascent to a higher and higher level till it reaches the highest possible. For it starts from a nethermost level of involution in the Inconscience which we see at work in Matter creating the material universe; it proceeds by an Ignorance which is yet ever developing knowledge and reaching out to an ever greater light and ever greater organisation and efficacy of the will and harmonisation of all its own inherent and emerging powers; it must at last reach a point where it develops of acquires the complete fullness of its capacity, and that must be a state or action in which there is no longer an ignorance seeking for knowledge but Knowledge self-possessed, inherent in the being, master of its own truths and working them out with a natural vision and force that is not afflicted by limitation or error. Or if there is a limitation, it must be a self-imposed veil behind which it would keep truth back from manifestation in Time but draw it out at will and without any need of search or acquisition in the order of a right perception of things or in the just succession of that which has to be manifested in obedience to the call of Time.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pp. 39-40

The Possible Transformation of the Body

Human beings have been pushing the limits of the physical body in every direction. Through conscious effort, training and application of technology, we have found that we can increase capability, extend life and improve overall health and well-being. Yet eventually the processes we are able to utilize reach their limits. We may be able to train the exceptional body to run a mile under 4 minutes. We may be able to train the exceptional body to sing a multi-octave range with power and precision. We may be able to use techniques of hygiene, public health measures and increased knowledge about the causes and control of diseases to extend our length of life. In each case, we show the body is capable of far more than was ever considered possible; but also, in each case, we begin to recognise the serious limitations that still exist.

Consider that there are animals that can regrow severed limbs. There are plants that can convert the sun’s energy directly into life-energy. There are beings that live longer, that are stronger, more resistant to diseases. Clearly physical bodies, in principle can do these things, just not human bodies as we currently understand them.

We consider aging and illness to be inevitable. Yet we have extended the limits and pushed back against the ravages of many diseases. As human beings explore the genetic code that governs many of the processes of life, and as we learn more about the modes of nourishment, waste processing, cellular energy production and other details of cellular function, we can already see that improvements are theoretically possible. The question then arises, whether a new power of consciousness, beyond our current mental level, can bring about changes in the operation of the physical body, and whether the physical body itself can participate in and cooperate in these changes.

Sri Aurobindo raises the question of whether the body itself can become conscious. What would be the result if the very cells of the body were able to participate actively and consciously in a transformation of their function. Could enhanced cellular energy hold a key to longer and more energetic response by the body? Could a more effective immune response push off the changes wrought by disease and maintain a stronger resistance to the “inevitable” breakdown that occurs over time? Could the body re-learn the principle of regeneration of limbs, as it now can regenerate and heal wounds? Could we learn how to directly absorb and utilize the sun’s energy as the plants do, thereby obviating the need for external sources of nutrition?

This is not to say that any of these questions can be answered in the affirmative, or if they represent a next phase of evolution; rather, it is to raise possibilities that we do not generally consider as possible future developments. What other transformations of the body can occur with a new level of direct knowledge and power of action informing the physical frame and opening up its latent possibilities and is unknown potential for growth and change?

Sri Aurobindo observes: “As it grows in this perfection, the force and extent of its dynamic action and its response and service to the spirit must increase; the control of the spirit over it also must grow and the plasticity of its functioning both in its developed and acquired parts of power and in its automatic responses down to those that are now purely organic and seem to be the movements of a mechanic inconscience. This cannot happen without a veritable transformation, and a transformation of the mind and life and very body is indeed the change to which our evolution is secretly moving and without this transformation the entire fullness of a divine life on earth cannot emerge. In this transformation the body itself can become an agent and a partner. It might indeed be possible for the spirit to achieve a considerable manifestation with only a passive and imperfectly conscious body as its last or bottommost means of material functioning, but this could not be anything perfect or complete. A fully conscious body might even discover and work out the right material method and process of a material transformation. For this, no doubt, the spirit’s supreme light and power and creative joy must have manifested on the summit of the individual consciousness and sent down their fiat into the body, but still the body may take in the working out its spontaneous part of self-discovery and achievement. It would be thus a participator and agent in its own transformation and the integral transformation of the whole being; this too would be a part and a sign and evidence of the total perfection of the body.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pg. 39

The Evolution of Consciousness Takes Precedence Over the Evolution of Forms

Western scientists, fixated on the material forms of Nature, have spent countless time and energy tracing the evolution of forms, classifying families of plants and animals and the relationships between different species within those families. In this attempt to understand and classify the forms, however, they have not focused on the inner significance of these changes, and thus, are left with the idea of random mutation and survival of the fittest as the explanations. They even go so far as to imply that it is the changes in the forms that bring about evolutionary leaps in mental capacity and development. In their mind, form causes function.

When we examine human activity, however, we see that when human beings create forms, they do so to carry out an intended use or function. In this case, the conscious intelligence chooses the form and creates what it needs to do the job. The potter at the wheel creates the bowl. The clay does not create the bowl. The internal structure of Matter and Life makes it abundantly clear that there is an organized and highly conscious intelligence at work in the universal creation, and thus, Sri Aurobindo looks at the intention of this intelligence as the determining cause of the forms and their modifications. It is the need for mental development that brings about the changes in the primate family to eventually bring forth homo sapiens. He distinguishes between the pressure of the higher consciousness and the mechanism that Nature utilizes to carry out the intention of this consciousness.

Evolution is clearly not completed. Man is, as Sri Aurobindo notes, a transitional being. The mental consciousness we utilize in our daily lives is clearly an advance over the rudimentary mental capacities of the animal kingdom, but also clearly not perfect, unlimited or able to understand the complexity of the systems within which it is asked to operate. We can trace the manifestation of consciousness from Matter to Life, and from Life to Mind in an ever-developing series of hierarchy of consciousness. It is simply a matter of extrapolation to understand that further steps in the evolutionary development await us in the future.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “The essential purpose and sign of the growing evolution here is the emergence of consciousness in an apparently inconscient universe, the growth of consciousness and with it growth of the light and power of the being; the development of the form and its functioning or its fitness to survive, although indispensable, is not the whole meaning or the central motive. The greater and greater awakening of consciousness and its climb to a higher and higher level and a wider extent of its vision and action is the condition of our progress towards that supreme and total perfection which is the aim of our existence. It is the condition also of the total perfection of the body. There are higher levels of mind than any we now conceive and to these we must one day reach and rise beyond them to the heights of a greater, a spiritual existence. As we rise we have to open to them our lower members and fill these with those superior and supreme dynamisms of light and power; the body we have to make a more and more and even entirely conscious frame and instrument, a conscious sign and seal and power of the spirit.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pg. 38

A Sound Body Supports the Expression of the Mental and Spiritual Powers in Life

“A sound mind in a sound body” was the motto of the ancient Greek philosophers. They recognised that there was an intimate connection between the mind and the body and that a weak body would necessarily impact the individual’s ability to realize the fruits of his mental capacities. Similarly, as evolutionary powers beyond the mind begin to manifest, they necessarily will put new stresses on the physical frame and capacities, and will be limited to the extent they need to rely on the body if it is not prepared to hold the force and express it fully.

The development of a fit, active, responsive and energetic physical frame is therefore extremely helpful to the expression of the mental or the spiritual forces. One step is to optimize the physical body within its normal framework; another step is to take it beyond its current limits through changes wrought by the higher powers in their molding and transforming action.

As long as we are acting in a physical body, we are impacted by its ability to respond fully and effectively. The phenomenon of “brain fog” is one that virtually everyone experiences from time to time, but this is just one example of what may manifest either to a lesser or a greater degree. Fatigue, ill health, impact of poor diet, congenital limitations all eventually have their effect. Obviously, there are examples of powerful minds overcoming severe physical limitations, but the question remains as to what more they could have accomplished without the hindrances they had to fight to overcome. A case can also be made that the limitations helped push them to exceed the limits, but such cases are rare.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “Wherever limitations recede and in proportion as they recede, the body becomes a more plastic and responsive and in that measure a more fit and perfect instrument of the action of the spirit. In all effective and expressive activities here in the material world the cooperation of the two ends of our being is indispensable. If the body is unable whether by fatigue or by natural incapacity or any other cause to second the thought or will or is in any way irresponsive or insufficiently responsive, to that extent the action fails or falls short or becomes in some degree unsatisfying or incomplete. In what seems to be an exploit of the spirit so purely mental as the outpouring of poetic inspiration, there must be a responsive vibration of the brain and its openness as a channel for the power of the thought and vision and the light of the word that is making or breaking its way through or seeking for its perfect expression. If the brain is fatigued or dulled by any clog, either the inspiration cannot come and nothing is written or it fails and something inferior is all tht can come out; or else a lower inspiration takes the place of the more luminous formulation that was striving to shape itself or the brain finds it more easy to lend itself to a less radiant stimulus or else it labours and constructs or responds to poetic artifice. Even in the most purely mental activities the fitness, readiness or perfect training of the bodily instrument is a condition indispensable. That readiness, that response too is part of the total perfection of the body.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pp. 37-38

Overcoming the Automatic Reactions of Instinctive Behavior Through the Action of Higher Powers of Consciousness

Our instincts and automatic reactions have developed since before the dawn of mankind and are bred into our genetic memory. Just as the Monarch Butterfly knows to migrate between Mexico and Canada across 4 generations, or birds know exactly what kind of nest to build and where, we have built in mechanism that manage many of our responses to life events. One of the most recognised of these is the “fight or flight” response, which kicks in when we feel threatened. Numerous changes take place in our body chemistry at this time to put us into an optimal physical status for surviving the threat. There are many others, some subtle, some more overt. There is the “pecking order” that automatically creates a hierarchy and various forms of control and bullying of those lower on the pecking order. There is a nesting instinct that kicks in at the latter stages of pregnancy when the body is preparing to give birth. There are hoarding instincts based on long periods in human history when scarcity was the norm, and there are instincts governing the type of foods that are satisfying to us, based on the caloric value.

Some of these instincts have become anachronistic in our modern society and actually work to harm our health and well-being. Eating a high caloric, high fat diet in a time of abundance and a more sedentary lifestyle, for instance, can lead to all kinds of physical problems connected to obesity and the effects the extra weight has on the organs of the body. The “fight or flight” response can get triggered by everyday events, such as social media interactions, leading to a high stress status that can be deleterious to overall health and well-being when it becomes overactive.

Overcoming instinctive behavior can be only partially accomplished through the intervention of the mind. A higher power of consciousness is required to get to the root of these specific inbred reactions and find ways to disentangle them from our vital and physical being.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “One direction in which our consciousness must grow is an increasing hold from within or from above on the body and its powers and its more conscious response to the higher parts of our being. The mind pre-eminently is man; he is a mental being and his human perfection grows the more he fulfils the description of the Upanishad, a mental being, Purusha, leader of the life and the body. If the mind can take up and control the instincts and automatisms of the life-energy and the subtle physical consciousness and the body, if it can enter into them, consciously use and, as we may say, fully mentalise their instinctive or spontaneous action, the perfection of these energies, their action too become more conscious and more aware of themselves and more perfect. But it is necessary for the mind too to grow in perfection and this it can do best when it depends less on the fallible intellect of physical mind, when it is not limited even by the more orderly and accurate working of the reason and can grow in intuition and acquire a wider, deeper and closer seeing and the more luminous drive of energy of a higher intuitive will. Even within the limits of its present evolution it is difficult to measure the degree to which the mind is able to extend its control or its use of the body’s powers and capacities and when the mind rises to higher powers still and pushes back its human boundaries, it becomes impossible to fix any limits: even, in certain realisations, an intervention by the will in the automatic working of the bodily organs seems to become possible.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pg. 37

Enhancing Mind-Body Interaction to Optimize the Body’s Capabilities While Recognizing the Inherent Limits

We hear about athletes who have an outstanding performance being “in the zone”. The mind tends to interfere with the operations of the body in many cases, through “over-thinking” or attempting to impose things on the body for which it is not adequately prepared, but the phenomenon of the zone is a case where the mind has developed a relationship to the body where it “steps back” and lets the body consciousness function based on the peak of training and conditioning that have brought it to its optimum state of readiness to respond and act.

Today through advanced training regimens, video feedback, biofeedback and systematic understanding of how to interface the mind and vital-energy to the development of the body, we find enormous increases in capacity on the physical level. Clearly, when properly applied, the mind can support and enhance the body-consciousness to deliver optimum results.

Similarly, people are now recognising that the mind can “program” things, including brain processing among other things, to operate during sleep. Using suggestion prior to bedtime, certain problems that seem intractable may yield results overnight so that one awakens with the solution that was missing previously. Certain language skills and rote learning of other sorts are being tested through suggestion overnight while the body is asleep. We have just begun to explore in a general way how the mind-body interaction can enhance our abilities, although many of these enhanced powers of mind acting upon the body have been known and hinted at by sages through many millennia.

Sri Aurobindo reminds us, as earlier sages have done, that the body is subject to accident, disease, and the ravages of aging. Add to that the influence of modern-day stress, pollution, chemical interactions, hormone disrupters, and artificial diet and we find that the body is subject to change at a moment’s notice, regardless of the level of physical conditioning that has gone into the body-consciousness. He suggests that it is only through intervention of higher levels of consciousness that the kind of imbalances that cause breakdown and aging to occur can be ameliorated or mitigated beyond the steps that involve the body, life-energy and mind interaction. Some of this benefit may come about through a revision of the relationship we have developed between man and nature, to achieve more balance and avoid the kind of destruction that has occurred, through our wanton development led by the ego-consciousness, seeking vital satisfaction and harnessing the mind to achieve it. Another part may come through the higher consciousness having more power to intervene and uplift the body consciousness, to make conscious things that are currently subconscious in their action. And yet another aspect may be the alteration of the physical body to accommodate new requirements and to hold greater powers of consciousness in manifestation, just as the human body has evolved from the basic primate body to support our increased needs to develop and express the mental consciousness as a primary driver of human life.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “There are other movements taught and trained by the mind which can yet go on operating automatically but faultlessly even when not attended to by the thought or will; there are others which can operate in sleep and produce results of value to the waking intelligence. But more important is what may be described as a trained and developed automatism, a perfected skill and capacity of eye and ear and the hands and all the members prompt to respond to any call made upon them, a developed spontaneous operation as an instrument, a complete fitness for any demand that the mind and life-energy can make upon it. This is ordinarily the best we can achieve at the lower end, when we start from that end and limit ourselves to the means and methods which are proper to it. For more we have to turn to the mind and life-energy themselves or to the energy of the spirit and to what they can do for a greater perfection of the body. The most we can do in the physical field by physical means is necessarily insecure as well as bound by limits; even what seems a perfect health and strength of the body is precarious and can be broken down at any moment by fluctuations from within or by a strong attack or shock from outside: only by the breaking of our limitations can a higher and more enduring perfection come.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, The Perfection of the Body, pp. 36-37