Nolini Kanta Gupta elaborates: "This (the Overmind) is the abode of the gods, the true and high gods: it is these that the Vedic Rishis appear to have envisaged and sought after. The all gods (Visve devah) were indeed acknowledged to be but different names and forms of one supreme godhead (devah): it is the one god, says Rishi Dirghatamas who is called multifariously whether as Agni or Yama or Matariswan: it is the one god again, who is described as having a thousand heads and a thousand feet. And yet they are separate entities, each has its own distinct and distinctive character and attribute, each demands a characteristic way of approach and worship. The tendency towards an exclusive stress is already at work on this level and it is the perception of this truth that lies behind the term henotheism used by European scholars to describe the Vedic religion...
The overmind gods - the true gods-are creators in a world of balanced or harmoniously held difference; they are powers that fashion each a special fulfilment, enhancing one another at the same time (parasparam bhavayantah)". (Nolini Kanta Gupta: Lines of the Descent of Consciousness)
The sages have given separate names and identities to the separate Powers of the Overmind making them different Gods with of course a variability in their functioning:
(a) each God can act uniquely as if it alone represents the One Existence, representing or containing all the other Gods,
(b) each God can act in unison with companion deities, and
(c) each God can act in "apparent opposition" (Ibid) to other Godheads derived from the same Consciousness.
"In the Supermind all this would be held together as the harmonised play of the one Existence; in the Overmind each of these three conditions could be a separate action or basis of action and have its own principle of development and consequences and yet each keep the power to combine with the others in a more composite harmony." (Ibid)
The Overmind Gods must be distinguished from the lesser gods or "Formateurs" (Nolini Kanta Gupta: Lines of the Descent of Consciousness) who are poised between the Overmind and the Mind; they are not creative forces but give form to what the antecedent Godheads have projected. At the level of the Mind these Godheads become diminished in stature but exaggerated in exclusivism and thus often end up in advocating intolerance rather than harmony as the Mind is modulated by the ego which itself is a harbinger of disharmony.
The inalienable Unity at the level of the Supermind thus becomes a play of One and the Many in a harmonious playing field at the level of the Overmind and a chaos of conflicting idea-forces at the level of the Mind. As a result, not only in the case of the Godheads but all the other principles projected by the Consciousness-Force or Chit-Shakti and the Ananda or Bliss-principle suffer the same trajectory of degradation.
"The One Consciousness is separated into many independent forms of consciousness and knowledge; each follows out its own line of truth which it has to realise. The one total and many-sided Real-Idea is split up into its many sides; each becomes an independent Idea-Force with the power to realise itself. The one Consciousness-Force is liberated into its million forces, and each of these forces has the right to fulfil itself or to assume, if needed, a hegemony and take up for its own utility the other forces. So too the Delight of Existence is loosed out into all manner of delights and each can carry in itself its independent fullness or sovereign extreme. Overmind thus gives to the One Existence-Consciousness-Bliss the character of a teeming of infinite possibilities which can be developed into a multitude of worlds or thrown together into one world in which the endlessly variable outcome of their play is the determinant of the creation, of its process, its course and its consequence." (Ibid, pg.295)
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu