The Status of Consciousness After the Supramental Transformation

The transformation of consciousness from the mental to the supramental has far-reaching consequences.  Just as the shift from the vital plant awareness to the animal mentality created enormous changes both for the individual beings and the relation of those beings within the larger environment of the creation, and as the shift from the animal mentality to that of the human mentality involved even greater impacts for the individual and the universal creation, so the advent of the supramental consciousness and its transformative activities within the created universe is bound to have an extraordinary impact as well.

For the most part spiritual evolution has been concerned with development of consciousness through abandonment of the outer life and circumstances.  This either involved a liberation from the worldly life into unity with the Brahman, or achievement of the trance state of Samadhi or dissolution into some state of Nirvana, or the abandonment of worldly fulfillment for attainment of some heavenly life after this life has come to its conclusion.  Sri Aurobindo, however, focuses on the evolutionary progression of consciousness in the manifestation and insists on the “omnipresent Reality” that encompasses the transcendent, the universal and the individual, each as aspects of the manifestation of the Divine Will of the Divine Person.  This then requires the transformation of the supramental to yield new states of being, knowledge, power and active existence in the life of the individual, with its corresponding impacts on the creation:

“The state of the being after this supramental transformation will be in all its parts of consciousness and knowledge that of an infinite and cosmic consciousness acting through the universalised individual Purusha.  The fundamental power will be an awareness of identity, a knowledge by identity, — an identity of being, of consciousness, of force of being and consciousness, of delight of being, an identity with the Infinite, the Divine, and with all that is in the Infinite, all that is the exprssion and manifestation of the Divine.  This awareness and knowledge will use as its means and instruments a spiritual vision of all that the knowledge by identity can found, a supramental real idea and thought of the nature of direct thought vision, thought hearing, thought memory that reveals, interprets or represents to the awareness the truth of all things, and an inner truth speech that expresses it, and finally a supramental sense that provides a relation of contact in substance of being with all things and persons and powers and forces in all the planes of existence.”

 

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pp. 851-852

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The Supramental Transformation Cures the Deficiencies of the Psychical Consciousness

As long as it is still anchored in the individual consciousness of body-life-mind, the psychic awareness is subject to the limitations implicit in the lower manifestation.  Additionally, the initial development of the psychical consciousness takes place in spurts and starts, and remains incomplete, subject to confusion, gaps of information, and misdirection or misinterpretation due to the distorting influences of the mind and the vital consciousness, or the predilections of the ego-awareness and the insistence of the desire-soul.  With the shift of the standpoint to the supramental level of awareness, all of these deficiencies are cured through the clarity, power and knowledge attendant to that level of consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “The psychical consciousness is first supported and enlightened, then filled and occupied with the supramental light and power and the revealing intensity of its vibrations.  Whatever exaggeration, whatever error born of isolated incidence, insufficiently illumined impression, personal suggestion, misleading influence and intention or other cause of limitation or deformation interferes in the truth of the mental and psychical experience and knowledge, is revealed and cured or vanishes, failing to stand in the light of the self-truth– satyam, rtam — of things, persons, happenings, indications, representations proper to this greater largeness.  All the psychical communications, transcriptions, impresses, symbols, images receive their true value, take their right place, are put into their proper relations.  The psychical intelligence and sensation are lit up with the supramental sense and knowledge, their phenomena, intermediate between the spiritual and material worlds, begin to reveal automatically their own truth and meaning and also the limitations of their truth and significance.  The images presented to the inner sight, hearing, sensation of all kinds are occupied by or held in a larger and more luminous mass of vibrations, a greater substance of light and intensity which brings into them the same change as in the things of the physical sense, a greater totality, precision, revealing force of sense knowledge carried in the image.  And finally all is lifted up and taken into the supermind and made a part of the infinitely luminous consciousness, knowledge and experience of the supramental being, the Vijnana Purusha.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pg. 851

Transitional Stages in the Psychical and Supramental Transformation of Human Nature

It is important to maintain a sense of process and an understanding of the stages of the psychic and supramental transformations that take hold of the seeker as the evolutionary process unfolds.  This helps the individual relate to the changes taking place, understand both their meaning and their limitations, and allows him to maintain a balanced perspective along the way.  There is something of a two-fold process:  first, the force becomes active and begins to create a new reality of knowledge, energy, power, understanding, light within the being.  This action is incomplete and intermittent until it can be fully integrated and effectuate permanent changes in the operation of the lower members of the being.

Sri Aurobindo describes these stages and their characteristic action:  “The complete transformation comes on us by a certain change, not merely of the poise or level of our regarding conscious self or even of its law and character, but also of the whole substance of our conscious being.  Till that is done, the supramental consciousness manifests above the mental and psychical atmosphere of being,–in which the physical has already become a subordinate and to a large extent a dependent method of our self’s expression,– and it sends down its power, light, and influence into it to illumine it and transfigure.  But only when the substance of the lower consciousness has been changed, filled potently, wonderfully transformed, swallowed up as it were into the greater energy and sense of being… of which it is a derivation and projection, do we have the perfected, entire and constant supramental consciousness.  The substance, the conscious ether of being in which the mental or psychic consciousness and sense live and see and feel and experience is something subtler, freer, more plastic than that of the physical mind and sense.  As long as we are dominated by the latter, psychical phenomena may seem to us less real, hallucinatory even, but the more we acclimatise ourselves to the psychical and to the ether of being which it inhabits, the more we begin to see the greater truth and to sense the more spiritually concrete substance of all to which its larger and freer mode of experience bears witness.”

“When, however, the psychical and physical experiences are well combined in their true balance, we live at once in two complementary worlds of our being each with its own reality, but the psychical revealing all that is behind the physical, the soul view and experience taking precedence and enlightening and explaining the physical view and experience.  The supramental transformation again changes the whole substance of our consciousness; it brings in an ether of greater being, consciousness, sense, life, which convicts the psychical also of insufficiency and makes it appear by itself an incomplete reality and only a partial truth of all that we are and become and witness.”

 

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 24, The Supramental Sense , pp. 850-851

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