But this play of consciousness cannot happen haphazardly, it must be the handiwork of an infinite Force and that Force must pre-suppose or be the action of an infinite Consciousness. This means that the infinite Force is in its nature a cosmic Will which apprehends all relations and is itself supported by a comprehensive Consciousness to uphold the universe.
The Vedic seers traced the cosmic Will to the Higher Trinity or Sachchidananda which contains all the principles of the manifestation. However the principles exist at first as possibilities. To transfigure possibilities into potentialities, the Consciousness-Force or Chit-Shakti that directs the cosmic Will has to be operative. This operation cannot happen directly, it needs the mediation of the Supermind, the fourth term of the divine Gnosis.
In the Supermind, the Chit-Shakti or the mode of Consciousness-Force of Sachchidananda gets translated into Knowledge and Will which out of infinite potentialities fixes determined relations in accordance to a cosmic Law. The result is that the manifestation is established in harmony. This is why scientists can discover laws of the universe otherwise they would not have been able to do the calculations to send a spaceship to Mars! We think, quite amateurishly that our scientific acumen gives us a knowledge of the universe but truly speaking we are in ourselves, in this “Infant of a year”; “for we are far yet from being the adults of evolutionary Nature”. (Ibid, pg.279)
One can imagine what would have happened if the Supermind was not there. The infinite possibilities could not have been streamlined into viable trajectories. There would be “an infinity of figures without fixed order or relation” (Ibid, pg.281) leading to infinite chaos that would never be resolved. The Supermind under the aegis of the Sachchidananda churns out a cosmic Law in accordance to its Knowledge-Will that puts everything in the manifestation in its place. As the whole phenomenon is dynamic, the cosmic Law also has to be flexible. Moreover as the consciousness constantly evolves, manifesting newer and newer formations that arise interestingly from its own self, the cosmic Law also has to make allowances for evolutionary growth where new forms are being constantly manifested outgrowing the old. Therefore the cosmic Law cannot be fixed or absolute, “because only the Infinite is absolute, and everything contains within itself endless potentialities quite beyond its determined form and course”. (Ibid) (One may surmise that if the cosmic Law is not absolute then why do we cling to man-made laws as being veridical and absolute! All laws are relative and have to change with change of circumstances.)
One of the endless potentialities of Consciousness was to progressively limit itself in accordance to a creative Idea of the Supermind. This self-limitation resulted in the phenomenon of a “manifold finiteness”(Ibid) needed to produce the infinite variety of forms that constitute a rich and variegated manifestation. This is how Mind, Life and Matter were produced with universal and individual poises. It is after all the Absolute who had the self-determination to self-limit itself; it would not be the Absolute if were denied the power of having a “boundless capacity of self-determination”. (Ibid)
Thus it is the Supermind which with its creative potential programs and manifests the universe. In the reverse journey as we evolve back to Godhead, we have to do so through the illuminating medium of the Supermind. Therefore in addition to three highest principles described by the Vedic Rishis –Infinite Existence, Consciousness and Bliss, Sri Aurobindo adds a fourth term, the Supermind – “fourth to That in its descent, fourth to us in our ascension” (Ibid,pg.282)(implying ascension from Matter, Life and Mind).
The seer wisdom described that the Chit-Shakti or Consciousness-Force aspect of Sachchidananda builds the multiverses where the Existential aspect of Sachchidananda manifests as the Self. But what is the meaning of the manifestation? Why at all the Unmanifest has to manifest and in the process be subject to contrary forces that emanate from itself? The seers explain that the whole nature of Sachchidananda is Bliss or Ananda and it is to enjoy this self-bliss that the manifestation takes place.
Initially this self-bliss becomes hidden in the Inconscience and all existence is actually the story of “seeking and reaching out to discover and possess it” (Ibid, pg.280) recover it from its subconscient status as the evolution in consciousness progresses so that one can awaken to some inkling of the secret ecstasy. “Joy of being, delight of realisation by knowledge, rapture of possession by will and power or creative force, ecstasy of union in love and joy are the highest terms of expanding life because they are the essence of existence itself in its hidden roots as on its yet unseen heights.” (Ibid, pg.281)
However what was Chit-Shakti or Consciousness-Force in Sachchidananda becomes a complex of Knowledge-Will in the Supermind (so that knowledge is spontaneously effective and action is intrinsically luminous) while at the level of the Mind in the manifestation Knowledge and Will become divorced from one another. That is why a knowledgeable person may be ineffectual in practical life and a practical person may also be limited if not backed by adequate knowledge. The redemption comes as we progressively climb back to the Source, the Supermind, the Godhead. (Table II)
Flow of Consciousness-Force
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu