(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

A Psychological Approach to Sri Aurobindo's

The Life Divine

Chapter XIV Part 5

Is The 'Supermind' A New Concept?

Indeed, (a) The Supermind is a concept developed by Sri Aurobind

(b) The Supermind is a term coined by Sri Aurobindo,

(c) The ‘Supermind’ refers to a specific plane of consciousness that has been ‘activated’ by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother through their yogic endeavor so that its action is initiated in the field and matrix of human life.

The question arises whether such a concept was unknown before to the sages and mystics of the ancient Indian tradition.

To answer this question, we have to acknowledge that any new paradigm has a background from which it emerges and such a background must have certain key characteristics, namely:

(a) There must be a NECESSITY for a fresh illumination, a fresh expansion of the frontiers of knowledge to explain gaps, deficiencies or inconsistencies in the existing paradigms, thus triggering off a paradigm shift. This does not belittle the already existing knowledge base but signifies a progress. We have seen that scientific theories that hold the fort with considerable power and with valid implications have to be usurped for newer theories explaining the same phenomena from different perspectives. That does not make the implications of the old theories redundant but paves way for continuous upgrade and progress.

(b) The older paradigms themselves carry hints, cues, pointers that initiate creative search for newer paradigms. The already existing knowledge-base carries the potentiality of being surpassed itself. This is not as drawback of the older paradigms but a victory of pregnant potentialities.

(c) The older paradigms not only carry creative hints for future paradigms, they also carry processes and techniques which can be developed further, accentuated and even generalized. That is how the simple magnifying glass became the sophisticated microscope.

Sri Aurobindo’s development of the Supermind concept also emerges from a background, which has these three characteristics, mentioned above:

(A) The Necessity.

There were three cardinal necessities for the Supermind paradigm to emerge:

 1. The relation between the Absolute and the relativity (the creation) was a dual and irreconcilable antithesis. How the multiplicity symbolizing the manifestation could be ‘created’ from the Absolute which was beyond manifestation, could never be satisfactorily explained from the level of the mind. This was more so because the ‘Unitarian’ nature of the Absolute was not statistical and mathematical – it belonged to a dimension diametrically different from the multiplicity. Unlike the Absolute, the multiplicity is bound by space and time, translatable in statistical and mathematical constructs, and thus partly accessible to a mental knowledge like science. The Absolute was beyond any mental knowledge and inaccessible to a cognition based knowledge base like science. The theory of Maya was brought in to explain creation but it actually exaggerated the contradiction between the Absolute and the creation. Sri Aurobindo had to develop the concept of ‘Supermind’ as a creative principle that mediated between the Absolute and the relativity.

2. The forces of suffering, ignorance, falsehood and destruction are so strong that conceiving a paradise on earth has remained a chimera. Moreover, the Inconscience is a submerged plane of consciousness where all our past sinks to raise its hydra-head again and again to stall and negate all attempts to progress in earthly life.  In Islam and Christianity the solution to life’s problems is in heaven if one qualifies for it. In India, we had the Shankaracharya notion that denounced the world of human transactions as false while the Absolute was the sole truth. Buddhists concurred with the idea of world being false but extended this perception of falsehood to the domain of the Absolute too. For both Shankarites and Buddhists, the solution to life’s problems lay in ceasing to be born again! For the first time in the history of spirituality, Sri Aurobindo initiated the possibility of constructing an actual paradise an earth. He however did not negate the earlier concepts. He ventured to open a new pathway. This pathway was devised to activate the creative ‘Supermind-principle’ in earth. Such an endeavor necessitated an evolution of consciousness beyond the biological evolution of forms so that higher models of human being could emerge. The mind-principle with its limitations can than be upgraded and transformed to manifest the unlimited possibilities of the Supermind-principle. Nothing short of manifesting this creative Supermind principle could build a paradise an earth by fully conquering the forces of adversity and the pull of the Inconscience.

3. Traditions consider that each time the universe is created or recreated; it sustains for sometime and then dissolves (PRALAYA). From the consciousness perspective, ‘pralaya’ or dissolution occurs because ‘some’ element remains missing; some ‘plane’ of consciousness is not attained; some ‘power’ pf consciousness is not activated. Sri Aurobindo is concerned that the present creation should not be dissolved but should have the capacity of endless progression. The activation of the creative Supermind-principle in the earth life is the key to this progressive endeavor.

 (B) The Hints

The hints of a creative-principle are present in Indian tradition through symbolisms that are difficult to decipher. Sri Aurobindo has the humility to acknowledge that the hints are ‘concealed’ in ‘the cryptic verses’ of the Vedas. But we should also acknowledge that it is only a genius and prophet like Sri Aurobindo who could decipher the hidden significances, decode their implications, and foresee their potentialities.

Sri Aurobindo writes: ‘ The idea of the supermind, the Truth-Consciousness is there in the Rig Veda according to Sri Aurobindo’s interpretation and in one or two passages of the Upanishads, but in the Upanishads it is a there only in seed in the conception of the being of knowledge, Vijnanmaya Purusa, exceeding the mental, vital and physical being; in the Rig Veda the idea is there but in principle only, it is not developed and even the principle of it has disappeared from the Hindu tradition’ (Letters on Yoga, Tome One, pg. 66)

In fact, Sri Aurobindo discerns the hints of the Supermind from two seed-ideas in the Vedas:

(1) A ‘vastness’ that is all-comprehensive, luminous and harmonious, ‘a vastness beyond the ordinary firmaments of our consciousness in which truth of being is luminously one with all that expresses it and assures inevitably truth of vision, formulation, arrangement, word, act and movement and therefore truth also of result of movement, result of action and expression, infallible ordinance and law’ and

 (2) The expression of harmony through a synthesis of ‘Light’ and ‘Force’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘will’; through a divine Nature that has a double power, ‘ a spontaneous self-formulation and self-arrangement which wells naturally out of the essence of the thing manifested and expresses its original truth, and a self-force of light inherent in the thing itself and the source of its spontaneous and inevitable self-arrangement’ (The Life Divine, pg. 135)

(C) The Processes

An extension of the quest of discerning things not properly viewed by our eyes could lead from the magnifying glass to the electron microscope. Similarly, an extension of the supra-rational faculties hinted by the Vedic seers got upgraded in the hands of Sri Aurobindo into a technology of Consciousness that could unravel a world of knowledge beyond our ordinary cognition. The terms ‘Sight’ and ‘Hearing’ in the Vedas are actually the supra-rational faculties of ‘revelation’(truth-vision) and ‘inspiration’(truth-audition) that Sri Aurobindo develops in intricate details. He even finds a Vedic term that is suited to represent the Supermind-principle -RTA-CIT-  ‘ Truth-Consciousness’.

The Mind and The Supermind

The Supermind as a Creative-Principle permitted the differentiation, de-linking and individuation of all that was concentrated in an undifferentiated essence. This is how the multiplicity got manifested but each differentiated aspect holds the seed-essence of the Supermind – principle. This makes it possible to reconstruct an unity even in the world of differentiation without negating the differentiation. Sri Aurobindo argues that if the Mind-Principle has been created out of the Supermind, it must be ‘therefore be capable of resolving itself back into it through a reverse development by expansion’ (Ibid, pg133). This ‘reverse’ movement has two important connotations;

(a) It is possible for the human intellect to construct an idea of the Supermind even if the idea is inadequate and vague; and

(b) It is possible for the mind-principle to rise into heights where it can receive some light or power of the supramental consciousness and know that by supra-rational means like illumination, intuition or a direct-experience though one must acknowledge that ‘to live in it and see and act from it is a victory that has not yet been made humanly possible’ (Ibid, pg. 134)     

For life and mind and their glory and debate

Are the slow preludes of a vaster theme ,

A sketch confused of a supernal plan,

A preface to the epic of the Supreme

(Sri Aurobindo, Collected Poems, pg147)

Date of Update: 27-Mar-14   

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu


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