The creative Mind itself must have precipitated “itself into Life to create forms for the Multiple, give to the universal principle of Being the appearance of a gross and material substance instead of a pure and solid substance”. (Ibid).But does the creative Mind which is essentially unitary lose all contact with the world of divisible material forms? Apparently yes but not so in the occult knowledge-world of things. A connection is kept from where even from the world of divisibility can be pursued an adventure of consciousness that can reach out to the unitary Superconsciousness. This connection results in the appearance of the phenomenon of “sense”.
Sense as we ordinarily perceive is an obscure and external device whose structure and functioning belongs to the stuff of anatomy and physiology. However that is not the full story. Mystics and yogis have discovered that behind our external senses lie the corresponding subtle senses which open up to the cosmic consciousness ordinarily inaccessible to the external senses. The subtle senses are responsible for extra sensory perceptions like telepathy and clairvoyance. And beyond the subtle senses lies the pure sense which is “an oceanic and ethereal sense in which all particular sense knowledge and sensation is a wave or movement or spray or drop that is yet a concentration of the whole ocean inseparable from the ocean..... It is rapturous with a powerful and luminous delight that makes of it, makes of all sense and sensation a key to or a vessel of the divine and infinite Ananda”. (The Synthesis of Yoga, pg.865) Sri Aurobindo called this super sense as the Supramental Sense.
As one can journey through consciousness to reach the Supramental Sense, Sri Aurobindo traces the journey that begins from the Supreme creative consciousness to the external sense. The Supreme Creative Supramental consciousness has to translate the Supreme indivisible Reality to the divisible external manifestation. The Supreme unmanifest Reality is a triune of Existence, Consciousness-Force and Bliss –the Sachchidananda. The Supermind contains the pre-programmed essence of creation and has to create a software program through which the pure Substance (of Sachchidananda) can become Matter. This is first executed through two steps;
(a) There is a comprehending poise of the Supermind which is the poise of oneness that holds in its bosom the potentiality of divisible multiplicity. It is the knowledge of totipotent oneness from the poise of oneness. Here the creative Mind and the Being of pure substance are at once subject-object. Thus the Being can view itself “both as an object of cognition within itself and subjectively as itself”. (The Life Divine, pg.252)
(b) There is an apprehending poise of the Supermind which projects the multiplicity from the poise of oneness. It is therefore the knowledge of multiplicity from the poise of oneness. Here Being becomes object of consciousness within the circumference of its own consciousness. If the Being is projected as an object, it can, by a reverse movement of the Creative Divine Mind, consciously revert back to unity. (Ibid)
Thus at the very origin of multiplicity, there was also a simultaneous possibility of conscious union that can heal the phenomenal division. Sri Aurobindo explains that this phenomenon of conscious union persists, though not explicitly but in a veiled way in the manifestation and is executed through the apparatus of the sense. An ardent seeker can then start the journey of union with the Divine through progressively refined and subtilized sense-contacts and in the process shift one’s contact from gross Matter to progressively pure substance till one has access to the Supreme Being. One can thus shift from the gross substance of Matter to the pure Substance of Being.
“This act of conscious union is that which is represented otherwise in dividing Mind obtusely, ignorantly, quite externally as contact in consciousness between divided beings and separate objects, and with us this contact in divided consciousness is primarily represented by the principle of sense. On this basis of sense, the action of the thought-mind founds itself and prepares for the return to a higher principle of union in which division is made subject to unity and subordinate. Substance, then, as we know it, material substance, is the form in which Mind acting through sense contacts the Conscious Being of which it is itself a movement of knowledge.” (Ibid, pg.252-253)
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu