(a project of Mirravision Trust, Financed by Auroshakti Foundation)

Chapter I
Chapter II - Part 1
Chapter II - Part 2
Chapter II - Part 3
Chapter II - Part 4
Chapter III - Part 1
Chapter III - Part 2
Chapter III - Part 3
Chapter III - Part 4
Chapter III - Part 5
Chapter III - Part 6
Chapter IV - Part 1
Chapter IV - Part 2
Chapter IV - Part 3
Chapter IV - Part 4
Chapter V-Part 1
Chapter V - Part 2
Chapter V - Part 3
Chapter V - Part 4
Chapter V - Part 5
Chapter VI - Part 1
Chapter VI - Part 2
Chapter VI - Part 3
Chapter VI - Part 4
Chapter VI - Part 5
Chapter VII - Part 1
Chapter VII - Part 2
Chapter VII - Part 3
Chapter VII - Part 4
Chapter VII - Part 5
Chapter VIII - Part 1
Chapter VIII - Part 2
Chapter VIII - Part 3
Chapter VIII - Part 4
Chapter IX - Part 1
Chapter IX - Part 2
Chapter X - Part 1
Chapter X - Part 2
Chapter X - Part 3
Chapter X - Part 4
Chapter X - Part 5
Chapter X - Part 6
Chapter XI - Part 1
Chapter XI - Part 2
Chapter XI - Part 3
Chapter XI - Part 4
Chapter XII - Part 1
Chapter XII - Part 2
Chapter XII - Part 3
Chapter XII - Part 4
Chapter XII - Part 5
Chapter XIII - Part 1
Chapter XIII - Part 2
Chapter XIV - Part 1
Chapter XIV - Part 2
Chapter XIV - Part 3
Chapter XIV - Part 4
Chapter XIV - Part 5
Chapter XV - Part 1
Chapter XV - Part 2
Chapter XV - Part 3
Chapter XV - Part 4
Chapter XV - Part 5
Chapter XV - Part 6
Chapter XV - Part 7
Chapter XV - Part 8
Chapter XV - Part 9
Chapter XVI - Part 1
Chapter XVI - Part 2
Chapter XVI - Part 3
Chapter XVI - Part 4
Chapter XVI - Part 5
Chapter XVI - Part 6
Chapter XVI - Part 7
Chapter XVI - Part 8
Chapter XVI - Part 9
Chapter XVI - Part 10
Chapter XVI - Part 11
Chapter XVI - Part 12
Chapter XVI - Part 13
Chapter XVII - Part 1
Chapter XVII - Part 2
Chapter XVII - Part 3
Chapter XVII - Part 4
Chapter XVIII - Part 1
Chapter XVIII - Part 2
Chapter XVIII - Part 3
Chapter XVIII - Part 4
Chapter XVIII - Part 5
Chapter XVIII - Part 6
Chapter XVIII - Part 7
Chapter XVIII - Part 8
Chapter XVIII - Part 9
Chapter XVIII - Part 10
Chapter XIX - Part 1
Chapter XIX - Part 2
Chapter XIX - Part 3
Chapter XIX - Part 4
Chapter XIX - Part 5
Chapter XIX - Part 6
Chapter XIX - Part 7
Chapter XX - Part 1
Chapter XX - Part 2
Chapter XX - Part 3
Chapter XX - Part 4
Chapter XX - Part 4
Chapter XXI - Part 1
Chapter XXI - Part 2
Chapter XXI - Part 3
Chapter XXI - Part 4
Chapter XXII - Part 1
Chapter XXII - Part 2
Chapter XXII - Part 3
Chapter XXII - Part 4
Chapter XXII - Part 5
Chapter XXII - Part 6
Chapter XXIII Part 1
Chapter XXIII Part 2
Chapter XXIII Part 3
Chapter XXIII Part 4
Chapter XXIII Part 5
Chapter XXIII Part 6
Chapter XXIII Part 7
Chapter XXIV Part 1
Chapter XXIV Part 2
Chapter XXIV Part 3
Chapter XXIV Part 4
Chapter XXIV Part 5
Chapter XXV Part 1
Chapter XXV Part 2
Chapter XXV Part 3
Chapter XXVI Part 1
Chapter XXVI Part 2
Chapter XXVI Part 3
Chapter XXVII Part 1
Chapter XXVII Part 2
Chapter XXVII Part 3
Chapter XXVIII Part 1
Chapter XXVIII Part 2
Chapter XXVIII Part 3
Chapter XXVIII Part 4

A Psychological Approach to Sri Aurobindo's

The Life Divine

Chapter XXVIII Part 4

Supermind, Mind and the Overmind Maya

The Overmind

Between the Unmanifest and the manifestation there is a zone of creative Truth-Consciousness which Sri Aurobindo names as the Supermind. The Supermind translates the characteristics of the Unmanifest into terms of the manifest through a metaphysical technology akin to a sort of software programming.

The manifestation therefore is neither false nor an illusion. The basic difference between the Unmanifest and the manifest is that the former is an unitary consciousness that holds the potentiality of the multiplicity in a dormant form while the latter -the manifestation is characterized by a multiplicity that is oblivious of the determinant unitary principle. That is why the knowledge of the multiplicity is actually ignorant of the underlying Truth of unity and hence is Avidya or Ignorance. Yet it is on this Avidya that is built the phenomenal knowledge enshrined in our disciplines that range from the sciences to economics. On the other hand, the knowledge of the Unity represents the basic Truth of Reality and is thus Vidya. It is the field of a consciousness based spirituality.

The Supermind therefore deals with the origin of the dual phenomenon of Vidya-Avidya or Unity-Multiplicity or Knowledge-Ignorance. Reality is thus comprised both of Vidya and Avidya, Knowledge and Ignorance, Truth and Falsehood. As the Taittiriya Upanishad mentions:

"It became both truth and falsehood. It became the Truth, even all this that is". (The Life Divine, pg.285)

The Supermind however is however not perceptible to our ordinary cognition. It is veiled by sort of "brilliant golden Lid". (Ibid, pg.292) That is initially necessary or else a variegated and diversified multiplicity could not have enriched the manifestation. At a certain optimal point in the trajectory of a consciousness based spiritual approach to the Ultimate Reality, it is necessary to rediscover the original oneness. That endeavour needs the removal of the golden Lid between the world of Vidya or Unity and the world of multiplicity or Avidya. Thus rises the great and ardent prayer in the Isha Upanishad:

"The face of Truth is hidden by a golden lid; that remove, O Fostering Sun, for the Law of the Truth, for sight. O sun, O sole Seer, marshal thy rays, gather them together, -- let me see thy happiest form of all; that Conscious Being everywhere, He am I". (Ibid, pg. 285)

Thus Supermind lies between the Unmanifest and the manifest. The Overmind lies like a "creative Oversoul" (Ibid, pg.292) between Vidya (that holds the truth of Avidya) and Avidya (that has lost the Knowledge of Vidya that is implicit within its matrix and hence is Ignorance).

The Overmind is a "superconscient cosmic Mind in direct contact with the supramental Truth-Consciousness, an original intensity determinant of all movements below it and all mental energies.......This then is the occult link we were looking for, this is the Power that at once connects and divides the supreme Knowledge and the cosmic Ignorance". (Ibid, pg.292-293) This is the golden lid that has to be embraced and transcended.

How was the Inconscience created?

The Overmind is thus a screen between the Supermind and the manifestation; between the Knowledge of Unity and the great Ignorance of the multiplicity which has lost the unitary essence. But it is not a passive screen but a dynamic entity, --"a protective double" or a "screen of dissimilar similarity" (Ibid, pg.293) that performs two functions:

(a) It does not allow a direct action of the Supermind on Ignorance as the latter could not bear that effulgence but allows an indirect action, and

(b) Even though it does not allow a full influx of the Supramental Light, the Overmind diffuses a "diminished light in the Ignorance". This light throws up a "contrary shadow" that paradoxically devours all the light and this facilitates the creation of the Inconscience. (Ibid)

It can therefore be said that the Overmind becomes "the first parent of the Ignorance". (Ibid) It could be argued that the Overmind could faithfully follow the dictates of the Supermind and be a transmitter of Knowledge rather than become a parent of Ignorance. This does not happen because though the Supermind transmits its realities to the Overmind, it gives the latter a certain freedom so that the Overmind simultaneously handles Truth and Ignorance - it can carry the vision of Truth and at the same time be the first parent of Ignorance.

The transmission from the Supermind to Overmind

The transmission of realities from the Supermind to the Overmind is complex and does not follow a straight line. Though a line divides the Supermind from the Overmind and yet allows a free transmission, the higher powers suffer transitional changes in the process. These changes are programmed to occur automatically without any external motivation.

There is an integrality in the Supermind which is no longer there in the Overmind. This integrality encompasses three overlapping domains:

(a) The "essential truth of things" (that carries the inner meaning or significance")
(b) The "total truth" (that places all things in the proper context), and
(c) The "truth of its individual self-determinations" (the truth of uniqueness in the matrix of unity) (Ibid)

The Overmind is aware of the first two domains, it only plays with the third domain. It allows individual self-determinations a relative independence from the matrix of unity. It allows uniqueness to assert itself at the cost of that unity where all uniqueness is subdued.

This does not mean that the Overmind loses the link of uniqueness from the matrix of unity for it can very well restore that link by a "spiritual cognition". (Ibid)Yet in practical terms it can ignore that link so that the Overmind Energy can do an endless permutation and combination of all the Powers or Aspects that are transmitted from the "integral and indivisible all-comprehending Unity". (Ibid) This results in the famous cleavage between Purusha and Prakriti at the level of the Overmind.

Thus what was one and integral at the level of the Supermind becomes relatively divisible at the Overmind. It is relatively divisible because the Overmind still retains the essence of unity while permitting the variability.

Thus Purusha ("Conscious-Soul") and Prakriti ("executive Force of Nature") are a "two-aspected single truth" in Supermind where one does not dominate over the other. (Ibid) In the Overmind, a cleavage occurs so that they become two independent entities as described in the Sankhyas where Prakriti can dominate Purusha reducing it to a witness and recipient of her forms and actions while Purusha can return to a sovereign poise by rejecting the material principle of Nature.

This phenomenon hold true with other powers too which were indivisible at the Supramental level but can become relatively divisible at the Overmind.

"So with the other aspects or powers of the Divine Reality, One and Many, Divine Personality and Divine Impersonality, and the rest; each is still an aspect and power of the one Reality, but each is empowered to act as an independent entity in the whole, arrive at the fullness of the possibilities of its separate expression and develop the dynamic consequences of that separateness. At the same time in Overmind this separateness is still founded on the basis of an implicit underlying unity; all possibilities of combination and relation between the separated Powers and Aspects, all interchanges and mutualities of their energies are freely organized and their actualities always possible". (Ibid, pg.294)

Date of Update: 15-Feb-21

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu


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