What do we mean by this explanation?
(a) Essential truth of being- The Real-Idea contains the seed or essence of whatever is created. In fact, this ‘essential truth’ holds the conception of that which will be worked out in Reality.
(b) Ordered truth of active being – The ‘essential truth’ or seed or essence of all creation cannot remain in a static immobile poise but must automatically work out in an ordered, sequential way to manifest itself. This working out of the Idea cannot be chaotic but must follow a sequence, reflect a harmony. Thus the Real-Idea is not only conceptual, but also simultaneously formative.
(c) Vast Self-awareness. - The Real-Idea needs a field to manifest. This field is CONSCIOUSNESS. Why? Because Consciousness is self-manifesting. It is a matrix that contains the potentiality of whatever manifests- the potentiality may be veiled, ‘inconscient’, dormant but can also reveal itself and develop itself.
Where is the Real-Idea situated?
Naturally, the ‘Creative-Force’ or ‘Real-Idea’ or ‘Truth-Consciousness’ that creates the world, that is simultaneously conceptual and formative, must be situated at a very high plane of Consciousness. Where is it located?
The first knee-jerk answer to this question would be either what we term as the ‘Absolute’ or that which we term as the ‘universal mind’. Sri Aurobindo explains that neither answer is justified.
NOT THE ABSOLUTE:
The Absolute has been conceptualized as a poise of Reality that is beyond all forms, beyond all manifestation, beyond all cognition. It is an ineffable X that either transcends creation or negates creation. Conceptually, it cannot hold the Creative- Idea, because it is beyond even the capacity to manifest.
However, there is a poise of the Absolute that has been experientially perceived as a triune of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss’ or Sachchidananda. Can this be the origin of the Real- Idea? Sri Aurobindo replies in the negative for Sachchidananda is ONE with a triple aspect. In the supreme poise the three aspects are not Three but One---what is ‘existence’ is simultaneously ‘consciousness’ and what is ‘consciousness’ is simultaneously ‘bliss’ – ‘ and they are inseparable, NOT ONLY INSEPERABLE BUT SO MUCH TO EACH OTHER THAT THEY ARE NOT DISTINCT AT ALL’.(Sri Aurobindo: Letters on Yoga, Tome One, pg.228)
‘We speak of the One as Sachchidananda; but in the very description we posit three entities and unite them to arrive at a trinity. We say “Existence, Consciousness, Bliss”, and then we say, “ they are one.” It is a process of the mind. But for the unitarian consciousness such a process is inadmissible. Existence is Consciousness and there can be no distinction between them; Consciousness is Bliss and there can be no distinction between them.. And since there is not even this differentiation, there can be no world. If that is the sole reality, then world is not and never existed, can never have been conceived; for indivisible consciousness is undividing consciousness and cannot originate division and differentiation. But this is a reductio ad absurdum; we cannot admit it unless we are content to base everything upon an impossible paradox and an unreconciled antithesis’. (The Life Divine, pg.136-137)
NOT THE UNIVERSAL MIND:
Is the Real-Idea situated in that flux which we conceive as the universal Mind? If the universal Mind is an extension of ‘mind’ that we understand at the individual level- then it is a difficult proposition. The individual mind is analytical, full of contradictory ideas and is in a state of chaos unless we train ourselves to streamline our thoughts through yoga or distinctive methods of concentration. It does not represent a Unitarian consciousness – it cannot represent unity because its very function is to differentiate, to divide, and to analyze.
Moreover, at the level of the mind, ‘consciousness’ gets delinked from ‘force’ or ‘will’. In the Truth-Consciousness, Consciousness contains the ‘force’ or ‘will’ to effectuate itself. That is why whatever is ‘conceived’ or ‘conceptualized’gets automatically ‘formulated’ and ‘manifested’. The Mind cannot perform this function because it as instrument of division. This is the reason why modern psychology treats ‘cognition’ and ‘volition’ as separate subjects. This is why the ‘Idea’ that is pregnant with the ‘Force’ or the Energy that is expressive of the ‘Idea’ cannot originate at the level of the Mind. ‘Mind can conceive with precision divisions as real; it can conceive a synthetic totality or the finite extending itself indefinitely; it can grasp aggregates of divided things and the samenesses underlying them; but the ultimate unity and absolute infinity are to its conscience of things abstract notions and unseizable quantities, not something that is real to its grasp, much less something that is alone real. Here is therefore the very opposite term to the Unitarian consciousness; we have , confronting the essential and indivisible unity, an essential multiplicity which cannot arrive at unity without abolishing itself and in the very act confessing that it could never really have existed . Yet it was; for it is this that has found unity and abolished itself. And again we have a reductio ad absurdum repeating the violent paradox which seeks to convince thought by stunning it and the irreconciled and irreconcilable antithesis.
‘The difficulty, in its lower term, disappears if we realise that Mind is only a preparatory form of our consciousness. Mind is an instrument of analysis and synthesis, but not of essential knowledge. Its function is to cut out something vaguely from the unknown Thing in itself and call this measurement or delimitation of it the whole, and again to analyse the whole into its parts which it regards as separate mental objects. It is only the parts and accidents that the Mind can see definitely and, after its own fashion, know. Of the whole its only definite idea is an assemblage of parts or a totality of properties and accidents. The whole not seen as a part of something else or in its own parts, properties and accidents is to the mind no more than a vague perception; only when it is analysed and put by itself as a separate constituted object, a totality in a larger totality, can Mind say to itself, “ This now I know.” And really it does not know. It knows only its own analysis of the object and the idea it has formed of it by a synthesis of the separate parts and properties that it has seen. There its characteristic power, its sure function ceases, and if we would have a greater, a profounder and a real knowledge,- a knowledge and not an intense but formless sentiment such as comes sometimes to certain deep but inarticulate parts of our mentality, -- Mind has to make room for another consciousness which will fulfil Mind by transcending it or reverse and so rectify its operations after leaping beyond it: the summit of mental knowledge is only a vaulting-board from which that leap can be taken. The utmost mission of Mind is to train our obscure consciousness which has emerged out of the dark prison of Matter, to enlighten its blind instincts, random intuitions, vague perceptions till it shall become capable of this greater light and this higher ascension. Mind is a passage, not a culmination.(The Life Divine, pg. 137-138)
Then where is Real-Idea Situated?
Sri Aurobindo introduces a new term ‘SUPERMIND’ to designate the plane of Consciousness, which holds the creative- Idea that manifests the worlds. He had to introduce a new term to clarify matters and to remove confusion. The SUPERMIND IS LOCATED BETWEEN THE UNITARY CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE SACHCHIDANANDA AND THE DIVISIVE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE MANIFESTED CREATION. IT ALONE CONTAINS THE SELF-DETERMINING TRUTH OF THE DIVINE CONSCIOUSNESS AND IS NECESSARY FOR A TRUTH-CREATION. ( Letters on Yoga, Tome One, pg.229)
In the Supermind, the IDEA corresponds exactly to the Will-Force that executes the Idea. This is how it is different from the divisive Mind.
‘All things are self-deployings of the Divine Knowledge’ (Vishnu Purana. II.12.39)
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu