The First Condition of the Human Consciousness in its Evolutionary Progression Toward Supermind

At this point, we can see before us the vast knowledge, power and delight of the supramental level of consciousness, while we can simultaneously recognize the limitations of our current mental state of consciousness.  The question that must then be posed, for the seeker, is what are the conditions that develop as stages along the way from the starting point of the mental consciousness and leading to the shift of standpoint and the development of a new status of consciousness which is the supramental consciousness.  Sri Aurobindo describes three successive conditions that can be observed during the evolutionary process undertaken by the practitioner of Yoga.

“The first condition of our consciousness, that in which we now move, is this mind of ignorance that has arisen out of the inconscience and nescience of material Nature, — ignorant but capable of seeking for knowledge and finding it at least in a series of mental representations which may be made clues to the true truth and, more and more refined and illuminated and rendered transparent by the influence, the infiltration and the descent of the light from above, prepare the intelligence for opening to the capacity of true knowledge.  All truth is to this mind a thing it originally had not and has had to acquire or has still to acquire, a thing external to it and to be gathered by experience or by following certain ascertained methods and rules of enquiry, calculation, application of discovered law, interpretation of signs and indices.  Its very knowledge implies an antecedent nescience; it is the instrument of Avidya.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 25, Towards the SupramentalTime Vision , pp. 854-855

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The Supramental Time Consciousness

The supramental consciousness has a vastly different experience of Time and the timeless  infinite than the mental consciousness, but virtue of its having its roots in the timeless awareness and its ability to recognize the manifestation through Time as one with the Timeless.  The mind is pulled along from moment to moment in time and has no inherent mastery.  The supermind, on the contrary, is able to straddle both aspects and hold them together in a unified whole.

Sri Aurobindo describes it thus:  “It can either take its station in the time consciousness and keep the timeless infinite  as its background of supreme and original being from which it receives all its organising knowledge, will and action, or it can, centred in its essential being, live in the timeless but live too in a manifestation in time which it feels and sees as infinite and as the same Infinite, and can bring out, sustain and develop in the one what it holds supernally in the other.”

“Its time consciousness therefore will be different from that of the mental being, not swept helplessly on the stream of the moments and clutching at each moment as a stay and a swiftly disappearing standpoint, but founded first on its eternal identity beyond the changes of time, secondly on a simultaneous eternity of Time in which past, present and future exist together for ever in the self-knowledge and self-power of the Eternal, thirdly, in a total view of the three times as one movement singly and indivisibly seen even in their succession of stages, periods, cycles, last — and that only in the instrumental consciousness — in the step-by-step evolution of the moments.  It will therefore have the knowledge of the three times, trikaladrsti, — held of old to be a supreme sign of the seer and the Rishi, — not as an abnormal power, but as its normal way of time knowledge.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 25, Towards the SupramentalTime Vision , pg. 854

The Consciousness of the Timeless Infinite

Yogic texts tell us that day and night get reversed from the normal mental consciousness to the yogic experience.  The “day” of the mental consciousness is focused on the impressions and experiences of the outer world of manifestation, and for the individual so immersed, the experience of the timeless infinite consciousness of the Brahman is something that cannot be factored in with the waking awareness conditioned by the movement of Time.  Thus the need to enter the trance of Samadhi, and discontinue direct focus and connection with the outer physical reality, in order to get the experience of the Infinite consciousness.  On the other hand, the Yogin focused on this timeless existence, has his “day” in that status and entry into the world of life and physical expression becomes his “night”.

Sri Aurobindo describes the situation:  “The consciousness of the timeless Infinite can be brought home to us in various ways, but is most ordinarily imposed on our mentality by a reflection of it and a powerful impression or else made present to us as something above the mind, something of which it is aware, towards which it lifts, but into which it cannot enter because itself lives only in the time sense and in the succession of the moments.”

“If our present mind untransformed by the supramental influence tries to enter into the timeless, it must either disappear and be lost in the trance of Samadhi or else, remaining awake, it feels itself diffused in an Infinite where there is perhaps a sense of supra-physical space, a vastness, a boundless extension of consciousness, but no time self, time movement or time order.  And if then the mental being is still mechanically aware of things in time, it is yet unable to deal with them in its own manner, unable to establish a truth relation between the timeless and things in time and unable to act and will out of its indefinite Infinite.  The action that then remains possible to the mental Purusha is the mechanical action of the instruments of the Prakriti continuing by force of old impulsion and habit or continued initiation of past energy…, or else an action chaotic, unregulated, uncoordinated, a confused precipitate from an energy which has no longer a conscious centre.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 25, Towards the SupramentalTime Vision , pp. 853-854