Two Major Results of the Supramental Transformation of the Psychic Consciousness

When the psychic sense first begins to manifest in any individual, it does so in a partial, fragmentary and somewhat confused manner, simply because it is intervening into the pre-existing mental/vital/physical complex makeup of the being and being interpreted and modified by the habitual view and understanding that comes with the human complex.  Flashes of insight come, clairvoyant visions may appear, but have necessary details missing or indecipherable.  Inspirations may arise, but they may not be fully regulated as to time, space and circumstance.  Visions may appear, but it may not be known whether they are past, present, future, or simply potential.  Thus, it becomes essentially impossible to fully and completely integrate the psychic sense into the normal human life experience and we see the result in those who, more or less, become subject to this activity.

With the supramental transformation of the psychic consciousness, these various issues are resolved due to the nature of the supermind and its ability to both create internal harmony and understanding, as well as external harmony, understanding and action.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “First, the phenomena of the psychical sense and mind lose the fragmentariness and incoherence or else difficult regulation and often quite artificial order which pursues them even more than it pursues our more normal mental activities of the surface, and they become the harmonious play of the universal inner mind and soul in us, assume their true law and right forms and relations and reveal their just significances.”

“And, secondly, the activity of the psychical consciousness loses all character of abnormality, of an exceptional, irregular and even a perilously supernormal action, often bringing a loss of hold upon life and a disturbance or an injury to other parts of the being.  It not only acquires its own right order within itself but its right relation with the physical life on one side and with the spiritual truth of being on the other and the whole becomes a harmonious manifestation of the embodied spirit.  It is always the originating supermind that contains within itself the true values, significances and relations of the other parts of our being and its unfolding is the condition of the integral possession of our self and nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pp. 849-850

The Supramental Transformation of the Psychic Consciousness

The psychic sense and consciousness, extremely useful to the individual in its own right, is still limited without the supramental transformation.  It remains an individual accomplishment and, while it makes the individual receptive and aware of universal forms, forces and powers, it retains a predominantly individualised awareness.

With the supramental action upon it, the awareness shifts to the divine standpoint and thus, inevitably breaks down the artificial constructs of individuality to universalize the awareness.  The individuality remains, as a nexus of energy, but not in an isolated sense.

Sri Aurobindo describes this change:  “The first result of this change is to base the phenomena of the psychical consciousness on their true foundation by bringing into it the permanent sense, the complete realisation, the secure possession of the oneness of our mind and soul with the minds and souls of others and the mind and soul of universal Nature.  For always the effect of the supramental growth is to universalise the individual consciousness.  As it makes us live, even in our individual vital movement and its relations with all around us, with the universal life, so it makes us think and feel and sense, although through an individual centre or instrument, with the universal mind and psychical being.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pp. 848-849

Spiritual Applications of the Opening of the Psychic Consciousness

Through the influence of the desire-soul and the limitations of the mental consciousness, the initial openings to the powers of the psychical consciousness tend to be applied to sensationalism or the attempt to exercise power of various sorts in the physical and vital arenas.  This has led to what we may term the “black arts” or various forms of vital occultism.  It has also given rise to a vast industry of psychic and “spiritual” readers who may engage in fortune telling or wish-fulfillment activities.    Or if the influence is taken up primarily by the mind, there may be enhanced powers of insight and opportunities to influence people and actions, but within the limited scope of mental objectives.  Thus, spiritual traditions have, by and large, downplayed the use of these psychic powers and have treated them mainly as obstacles to the spiritual progress of the individual.  There are however some significant potential uses and benefits that can be obtained from the psychic opening for real spiritual progress, as Sri Aurobindo explains:

“…it is largely by a psycho-spiritual interchange of this kind that a master in Yoga helps his disciple.  The knowledge of our inner subliminal and psychic nature, of the powers and presences and influences there and the capacity of communication with other planes and their powers and beings can also be used for a higher than any mental or mundane object, for the possession and mastering of our whole nature and the overpassing of the intermediate planes on the way to the supreme spiritual heights of being.  But the most direct spiritual use of the psychic consciousness is to make it an instrument of contact, communication and union with the Divine.  A world of psycho-spiritual symbols is readily opened up, illuminating and potent and living forms and instruments, which can be made a revelation of spiritual significances, a support for our spiritual growth and the evolution of spiritual capacity and experience, a mans towards spiritual power, knowledge or Ananda.”

It is in this arena that the spiritual practices, forms and objects can become entrances or aids in making and maintaining the connection that brings these spiritual forces to play in the being.  This includes the use of Mantra, various devotional practices, including the use of significant symbols, forms or rituals to develop the focus and open the soul to the spiritual influence of the Guru, the God, the Divine being, the Avatar, etc.

“Adesha, presence, touch, guidance can come to us through our spiritualised psychic consciousness and, as a subtly concrete means of transmission from the spirit, it can give us a close communication and nearness to him through all our psychic senses..

“These and many more are the spiritual uses of the psychic consciousness and sense and…they are of the greatest utility on the road to the spiritual perfection and afterwards, liberated from the limitation of our minds, transformed and supramentalised, an element of rich detail in the spiritual Ananda.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pp. 847-848

Liberating the Mind as a Sixth Sense Through Awakening of the Psychical Consciousness

Under normal circumstances the human individual relies on the senses to obtain impressions for the mind to receive and act upon.  Anything that is not directly able to be perceived by the senses is not consciously recognized or understood.  This is the working of what Sri Aurobindo calls the physical mind.  At the same time, people have an intuitive sense that direct perception and action by the mind, absent the working of the physical senses, is not only possible but something that occurs regularly, albeit subconsciously.

Sri Aurobindo confirms, not only the actuality of such a direct action of the mind, but also the very real opportunity that arises to directly work with this power through the awakening of the psychical consciousness.  “Our minds are indeed constantly acting and acted upon by the minds of others through hidden currents of which we are not aware, but we have no knowledge or control of these agencies.  The psychical consciousness, as it develops, makes us aware of the great mass of thoughts, feelings, suggestions, wills, impacts, influences of all kinds that we are receiving from others or sending to others or imbibing from and throwing into the general mind atmosphere around us.”

With the development of the psychical opening, the individual gains substantial leverage with respect to understanding these subliminal influences and gaining the ability to consciously respond or even begin to master them:  “It becomes possible to be aware, more or less accurately and discerningly, of the activities of minds whether near to us physically or at a distance, to understand, feel or identify ourselves with their temperament, character, thoughts, feelings, reactions, whether by a psychic sense or a direct mental perception or by a very sensible and often intensely concrete reception of them, into our mind or on its recording surface.  At the same time, we can consciously make at least the inner selves and, if they are sufficiently sensitive, the surface minds of others aware of our own inner mental or psychic self and plastic to its thoughts, suggestions, influences or even cast it or its active image in influence into their subjective, even into their vital and physical being to work there as a helping or moulding or dominating power and presence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pg. 847

Awakening to the Action and Influence of Other Planes of Consciousness Through the Psychic Opening

If we reflect, for a moment, on the interaction between a thinking human individual and an animal such as a dog, we can see that the dog cannot conceptualize what is taking place in the human thought process, although the dog is clearly influenced by and guided by the force of the consciousness displayed by the human individual.  Similarly, the human individual based in the experience of the physical mind cannot consciously perceive the action and influence that interacts with it constantly from other planes or powers of consciousness.  The opening of the psychic awareness makes it possible for the wide range of forces, levels of consciousness and influences to be seen, experienced, appreciated and responded to on a conscious rather than on a subconscious level.

There are a number of successively more subtle planes of existence which interact with and impinge upon our physical lives and actions.  C. G. Jung described extensively what he called the “collective unconscious” but at least some of what he described appears to be due to influences from these other planes of consciousness acting and pressing upon our human awareness.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “For there is a continuous scale of the planes of consciousness, beginning with the psychical and other belts attached to and dependent on the earth plane and proceeding through the true independent vital and psychical worlds to the worlds of the gods and the highest supramental and spiritual planes of existence.  And these are in fact always acting upon our subliminal selves unknown to our waking mind and with considerable effect on our life and nature.  The physical mind is only a little part of us and there is a much more considerable range of our being in which the presence, influence and powers of the other planes are active upon us and help to shape our external being and its activities.”

“The awakening of the psychical consciousness enables us to become aware of these powers, presences and influences in and around us; and while in the impure or yet ignorant and imperfect mind this unveiled contact has its dangers, it enables us too, if rightly used and directed, to be no longer their subject but their master and to come into conscious and self-controlled possession of the inner secrets of our nature.  The psychical consciousness reveals this interaction between the inner and the outer planes, this world and others, partly by an awareness, which may be very constant, vast and vivid, of their impacts, suggestions, communications to our inner thought and conscious being and a capacity of reaction upon them there, partly also through many kinds of symbolic, transcriptive or representative images presented to the different psychical senses.  But also there is the possibility of a more direct, concretely sensible, almost material, sometimes actively material communication– a complete though temporary physical materialisation seems to be possible– with the powers, forces and beings of other worlds and planes.  There may even be a complete breaking of the limits of the physical consciousness and the material existence.”


Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pg. 846

The Direct Action of the Psychical Sense

The specific powers of the psychic sense, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc. utilize specific sensory powers to deliver the impressions to the internal psychic sense.  However, the psychic sense can also act directly without use of these intermediaries.  In that case, there is an immediate relation based on the underlying identity between subject and object which is the true relation as experienced on the spiritual planes.  Until an individual actually can experience these things, there is very little in the way of explanation that can actually be done, as the normal default use of physical senses to capture impressions and deliver them to the perceiving mind makes it difficult to even accept the intermediate processes such as clairvoyance, much less the direct connection on the psychic level.  The mind cannot obviously adequately judge phenomena that fall outside its competency level, either of perception or experience, and this must be left open for those who can experience these other planes and perceptions to describe.

Sri Aurobindo explores this:  “…the psychical sense has also the power of putting us in a more direct communication with earthly or supra-terrestrial beings through their psychical selves or their psychical bodies or even with things, for things also have a psychical reality and souls or presences supporting them which can communicate with our psychical consciousness.  The most notable of these more powerful but rarer phenomena are those which attend the power of exteriorisation of our consciousness for various kinds of action otherwise and elsewhere than in the physical body, communication in the psychical body or some emanation or reproduction of it, oftenest, though by no means necessarily, during sleep or trance and the setting up of relations or communication by various means with the denizens of another plane of existence.

It may be noted that the great yogi of Tibet, Milarepa, was said to have undertaken teachings at the time of his death, for disciples who were hundreds of miles separated in physical distance–each of whom indicated that he appeared to them in a bodily shape and provided the teaching they were each prepared for.  There are of course other examples from the spiritual traditions of the world.  In particular, the Tibetan tradition, which focused on practices such as projecting and transferring consciousness out of the body into other realms or planes of existence, as well as obtaining the grace of the Guru through receipt of psychically-communicated “gift-waves” of illumination or light, has numerous examples as well as detailed practices for the development of this type of psychical communication.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pp. 845-846

The Larger Scope and Activity of the Psychical Senses

Whereas the physical senses are limited to gathering their impressions from the physical world of matter, the psychical senses act from a far larger scope and range, as they can perceive not only physical impressions, but also those emanating from the vital worlds, the mental worlds, the psychic and spiritual worlds.  To some degree the limitations of the physical body and its senses acts as a protection for the consciousness that is not prepared to deal with the vast range, and the myriad sources of these psychical impressions, which may be representations of truths, but may also be distortions, either created through the action of various forces, or consciously imposed by creations that have their own intentions and agenda, whether for good or for ill.

Sri Aurobindo explores these issues:  “Besides these transcriptions or impresses the psychical vision receives thought images and other forms created by constant activity of consciousness in ourselves or in other human beings, and these may be according to the character of the activity images of truth or falsehood or else mixed things, partly true, partly false, and may be too either mere shells and representations or images inspired with a temporary life and consciousness and, it may be, carrying in them in one way or another some kind of beneficent or maleficent action or some willed or unwilled effectiveness on our minds or vital being or through them even on the body.  These transcriptions, impresses, thought images, life images, projections of the consciousness may also be representations or creations not of the physical world, but of vital, psychic or mental worlds beyond us, seen in our own minds or projected from other than human beings.  And as there is this psychical vision of which some of the more external and ordinary manifestations are well enough known by the name of clairvoyance, so there is a psychical hearing and psychical touch, taste, smell,– clairaudience, clairsentience are the more external manifestations,– with precisely the same range each in its own kind, the same fields and manner and conditions and varieties of their phenomena.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pg. 845