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Instances, Classes, See Also, Object in Names
Definitions, . Quotes . - . Chapters .


object:1.15 - The Supramental Consciousness
class:chapter
book class:Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness
author class:Satprem
subject class:Integral Yoga


It is quite difficult to define the supramental consciousness in mental terms, for it is nonmental by definition, and it defies all our threedimensional laws and perspectives. The word itself may mislead us,
because it is not an epitome of human consciousness, but another type of consciousness. We might try to approach it by distinguishing two aspects, one of consciousness or vision, and one of power. But this means becoming caught in the mental trap again, because these two aspects are inseparable; this consciousness is power, an active vision.
Often, when Sri Aurobindo and Mother tried to describe their experience, their remarks would echo one another in English and in French: Another language would be needed, une autre langue.

The Supramental Vision The supramental vision is a global vision. The mind dissects little fragments and opposes them to one another. The overmind connects everything with a single beam, but its beam terminates in a single point, and it sees everything from its own particular point of view; it is unitary and universal either by way of excluding all other perspectives or else by annexing them. The Supramental, or Supermind, sees not only the whole of things and beings within a single vision, connecting all the beams together without opposing anything, but it also sees the point of view of each separate thing, each being, each force; it is an all-encompassing view that does not terminate in a single, central point but in myriads of points:
a single innumerable look. . .259
The supramental being sees things not as one on the levels 259

Savitri, 29:566


surrounded by a jungle of present facts and phenomena but from above, not from outside and judged by their surfaces, but from within and viewed from the truth of their centre.260 Therefore, we cannot understand anything about the Supramental if we do not constantly refer it to another dimension. But we can understand that it is the very vision of Wisdom, because each thing, each being, each force on the earth moves toward a special absolute, expressing it more or less accurately and often perversely, but despite all the flaws and perversions it obeys an intimate law that impels it towards the one truth of its being even the leaves on the same tree are all unique. If it were not for that absolute and unique truth at the center of each one of us, we would crumble. This is also why we are so attached to our own smallness and stumblings, because we do sense the truth that is behind them, growing behind them, as if protected,261 Sri Aurobindo said, by that very smallness and all those stumblings. If we got hold of the whole truth at once, we would turn it into some gnome in our own present image! Truth has nothing to do with thought or good deeds,
though these may be steps on the way; it has to do with a vastness of being. And the growth process is slow and difficult. Errors,
falsehoods, stumblings! they cry. How bright and beautiful are Thy errors, O Lord! Thy falsehoods save Truth alive; by Thy stumblings the world is perfected.262 But the mind, which sees only the present surface of things, seeks to trim off all the rough edges, purify by exclusion, and reduce its world to a uniform, righteous and equitable truth. It decrees, "This is good, that is bad; this is friendly, that is hostile." It might want to eliminate all the Nazis from the world or all the Chinese, for instance, thinking they are quite unnecessary calamities. And the mind is right, by definition, since it is designed to be reasonable and since it, too, expresses a mental or moral absolute that has its place and purpose. But this is not the whole truth; it is only one point of view.263 Finally, this is why we lack power, for if we 260

The Synthesis of Yoga, 21:808
The Synthesis of Yoga, 20:234
262
Thoughts and Aphorisms, 17:133
263
Some will say that our partiality, our mind, our morals are necessary instruments for living in the world as it is now, and this is true. We do need to be partial. But this is also why the world is not whole. We should never lose sight of the fact that these are transitory instruments, and that we must aim at replacing these stopgaps, as Sri 261


possessed power, we would, with the best of intentions, precipitate a catastrophe through ignorance or shortsightedness. Our shortcomings are necessary shortcomings. Not only does the supramental consciousness capture all the points of view, but also the deeper forces at work behind each thing as well as the truth within each thing: it is a Truth-Consciousness and because it sees all, it automatically possesses Power. We are powerless because we do not see. To see,
and to see totally, necessarily means to have power. But the supramental power does not obey our logic or morality; it sees far into space and time, and it does not try to do away with evil in order to save the good, nor does it work through miracles; it frees the good that is within the evil, applying its force and light on the dark half so it consents to its luminous counterpart. Wherever it is applied, the immediate effect is to touch off a crisis; that is, to place the shadow in front of its own light. It is a stupendous evolutionary ferment.
Sri Aurobindo's written work, although a mental expression of a supramental fact, is a practical example of this global vision. It is bewildering to many because it lacks all the angles that make a thought readily understandable; it is so easy to be doctrinaire. Sri Aurobindo literally surveys all points of view in order to draw the deeper truth from each one of them, but he never imposes his own point of view (perhaps because he has none, or has them all!), merely indicating how each truth is incomplete in itself and in what direction it may be widened. The Supermind does not set truth against truth to see which will stand and survive, but completes truth by truth in the light of the one Truth of which all are the aspects. . . . 264 And he spoke of the light of the Thought that carries in it its own opposites. 265 This is what the Mother calls thinking spherically. One always feels terribly dogmatic and mental when speaking of Sri Aurobindo,
probably because of the inadequacy of our language, which focuses on one point rather than another and hence casts shadows, whereas Sri Aurobindo embraces everything, not out of "tolerance," which is a mental substitute for Oneness, but through an undivided vision that is truly one with each thing, in the heart of each thing. Perhaps this is the Aurobindo called them, with a consciousness that is vision and power.
264
The Life Divine, 19:983
265
The Synthesis of Yoga, 20:316


very vision of Love?
This undivided vision is so real that even the world's physical appearance is changed for the supramental consciousness, or, rather,
the physical world appears as it really is; the separatist optical illusion we usually live in dissipates; the stick is no longer broken, and everything is related to everything else. The world is not as we see it:
Nothing to the supramental sense is really finite: it is founded on a feeling of all in each and of each in all: its sense definition . . . creates no walls of limitation; it 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 and inseparable from the ocean. . . . It is as if the eye of the poet and artist had replaced the vague or trivial unseeing normal vision, but singularly spiritualized and glorified, as if indeed it were the sight of the supreme divine Poet and Artist in which we were participating and there were given to us the full seeing of his truth and intention in his design of the universe and of each thing in the universe. There is an unlimited intensity which makes all that is seen a revelation of the glory of quality and idea and form and colour. The physical eye seems then to carry in itself a spirit and a consciousness which sees not only the physical aspect of the object but the soul of quality in it, the vibration of energy, the light and force and spiritual substance of which it is made. . . . There is at the same time a subtle change which makes the sight see in a sort of fourth dimension, the character of which is a certain internality, the seeing not only of the superficies and the outward form but of that which informs it and subtly extends around it. The material object becomes to this sight something different from what we now see, not a separate object on the background or in the environment of the rest of Nature but an indivisible part and even in a subtle way an expression of the unity of all that we see. And this unity . . . is that of the identity of the eternal,
the unity of the Spirit. For to the supramental seeing the material world and space and material objects cease to be material in the sense in which we now on the strength of the sole evidence of our limited physical organs . . . receive [them]; . . . they appear and are

seen as Spirit itself in a form of itself and a conscious extension.266
Global vision, undivided vision, and also eternal vision. Time is conquered. While the overmental consciousness saw "large extensions of space and time," the supramental consciousness completely embraces all three tenses: [it] links past, present and future in their indivisible connections, in a single continuous map of knowledge, side by side.267 268
All time is one body, Space a single book.269
Consciousness is no longer the narrow shutter that needed to be kept narrow lest it explode; it is a great, tranquil Gaze: "Like an eye extended in heaven," says the Rig Veda (I.17.21). The ordinary individual consciousness is like an axis, says the Mother, and everything revolves about that axis. If it moves we feel lost. There is this tall axis (more or less tall; it may also be very small) fixed in time,
and everything revolves about it. The consciousness may extend more or less far, be more or less high, more or less strong, but it still revolves about that axis. Yet for me, there is no longer any axis it's gone, disappeared! So it can move to the north, to the south, the east,
or the west forward, backward, or anywhere at all. There is no more axis.
It is hard for us to imagine what the vision of such a universal being could be. With our mental outlook, we might be tempted to think that total knowledge of the three tenses immediately removes all the unpredictability of existence. But this is applying to the supramental consciousness characteristics and reactions that belong 266

The Synthesis of Yoga, 21:835
The Synthesis of Yoga, 20:464
268
It may be interesting here to draw a parallel with Einstein's theory of relativity.
According to Einstein, the closer one approaches the speed of light, the more time slows down and distances shorten. At the speed of light, our clocks would stop, and our measuring tapes would be reduced to nothing. The supramental consciousness,
which is Light itself, is also the conquest of time and distance. There is perhaps less difference than we might imagine between the physicist's light and the seer's.
269
Savitri, 29:660
267


uniquely to the mind. The way of perceiving and experiencing the world is different. The supramental consciousness is not anxiously turned toward the future as we habitually are. Everything is exposed before its eyes, but it lives time divinely: every second of time is an absolute, as filled with plenitude as all the millennia combined. It is the utter perfection of time. In ordinary life, we never live in the present; we are either thrust ahead by our hopes or pulled backward by our regrets, because the present moment never quite meets our expectations; it is always lacking something, always terribly empty.
For the supramental consciousness, each thing is at each instant fully what it should be and as it should be. There is a constant, unalterable bliss. Each portion, each image of the great cosmic Film is full of all the preceding images and all those that follow; it lacks neither future perspectives nor past memories. "That bliss which is most large and full and without a gap," says the Rig Veda (V.62.9); that unwounded Delight,270 says Sri Aurobindo. It is also the utter perfection of space.
We are forever seeking new things or new objects because each thing lacks all the other things that are not present in it; our objects are as empty as our minutes. While for the supramental consciousness, each object, each thing it touches feels as full and infinite as a vision of the immensities or the sum of all possible objects: The Absolute is everywhere . . . every finite is an infinite.271 And there is a sense of ever-renewed wonder arising not from surprise but from the constant rediscovery of that eternal infinity, that timeless Absolute in each space-bound object and each second of time. There is an utter plenitude of life. Indeed, our finite, temporal life is not full at all; it is terribly wanting: we have either to turn our backs on the temporal to find timelessness, or to renounce our need for infinity in order to experience the finite while the supramental plenitude finds infinity in the finite and timelessness in the temporal. It lives spontaneously every sound, every object, as well as the immensity that contains all seconds and all objects; and these are two simultaneous ways of experiencing and perceiving the same thing.
Not only does the supramental consciousness have a cosmic status,
270
271

The Synthesis of Yoga, 20:393
The Synthesis of Yoga, 20:408


but it also possesses a transcendent one, and the two do not contradict each other. And not only are they not contradictory, but their simultaneity is the key to true life. Life is deficient not only because its objects are empty and its time fragmented, but also because of its lack of foundation and solidity. All religions and spiritualities have sprung from this fundamental need in man: To find a permanent Base,
a refuge of peace outside the chaos, uncertainty and suffering of the world something utterly untouched and protected. Then, in the course of our quest, we suddenly emerged in a stupendous Silence, a Vastness outside the world, which we called God, the Absolute, or Nirvana (the words are unimportant): we secured the great Release.
This is the fundamental experience. Whenever we approach that great Silence, everything changes; we feel Certainty, Peace, like a shipwrecked man who has found a rock. Nothing in life is secure; only that Rock never fails us. That is why it is said that God's kingdom is not of this world. Sri Aurobindo's experience, too, had begun with Nirvana, but it ended with the plenitude of the world. This apparent contradiction is central to our understanding of the practical secret of true life.
The mind, even the overmind of our prophets, is irreversibly bound to dualities (dualities within Unity): if God is above, He cannot be below; if this is white, it is not black. For the supramental experience, however, everything is embraced; it is always yes and no at the same time, the Mother remarked. The two poles of each thing are constantly integrated within another "dimension" ("the secret inner spaces," as the Vedic rishis called them, II.4.9). Thus, the Transcendent is not elsewhere, outside the world; it is everywhere here, at once fully within and fully without. The supramental consciousness, likewise, is fully in the world and fully outside the world; it is seated on the unshakable Rock and in the middle of the current. This is why it can truly enjoy life and be in control of life; for if we are exclusively in the current we find neither peace nor control;
we are merely carried away like a straw. We might be able to guess what the supramental experience is by going back to the first experiences of the beginning of yoga. Indeed, we had noticed that by stepping back in our consciousness, by a slight movement of withdrawal, we entered an expanse of silence behind, as if a portion of

our being were forever gazing upon a great white North. Turmoil,
suffering, problems are outside, yet we make a slight movement inward, as if crossing a threshold, and we are suddenly outside (or inside?) everything, a thousand miles away, free of any concern,
reposing on velvet snow. The experience eventually becomes so natural that in the midst of the most absorbing activities (on the street,
while talking, while working), we can plunge within (or without?),
and nothing exists any longer except for a smile; it takes merely a second. Then we begin to know Peace; we have an impregnable Refuge everywhere we go, in any circumstance. And we begin to perceive more and more concretely that this Silence is not only within,
inside ourselves, but everywhere, as if it were the very substance of the universe, as if each thing stood out against that backdrop,
proceeded from it and returned to it. It is like a well of sweetness in the heart of things, a velvet cloak enveloping everything. And this Silence is not empty; it is an absolute Plenitude, but a Plenitude with nothing in it, or a Plenitude that contains the essence of all that can be,
as it were, a mere second before things come into existence; they are not there, and yet they are all there, like a song as yet unsung. One feels extraordinarily safe and at home in this Silence (or outside it?). It is a first reflection of the Transcendent. One more step, and one would simply slide into Nirvana. Nothing exists except this Silence. But in the Supermind there is no more "threshold" to cross, no more going from one state to another, from Silence to turmoil, inside to outside,
Divine to undivine; both states are fused together in a single experience: the Silence that is outside everything and the Becoming that flows everywhere. One does not cancel out the other; one cannot even be without the other. For if the supreme Silence could not contain the opposite of Silence, it would not be infinite. If the Silence could not be totally free and outside that which seems its opposite,
then it would be the prisoner of its opposite. God's kingdom is of this world, and it is not of this world. The whole secret is to join the two experiences into one, the infinite into the finite, the timeless into the temporal and the transcendent into the immanent. Then one knows Peace in action and Joy in every way.


A still deep sea, he laughs in rolling waves:
Universal, he is all, transcendent, none.272
The supramental consciousness reproduces the mystery of a great,
quiet Light that "one day," outside time, decided to look at itself temporally, sequentially, from a myriad points of view, and yet never ceased to be one and whole, totally self-contained in an eternal instant.
The goal of evolution is none other than to recover in the very depths the totality from above, and to discover here on earth, in the very midst of dualities and the most poignant supreme Joy Ananda. It is in order to find this secret that we have been drawn downward each time we took a step upward.

The Supramental Power The spiritualists dismiss power as a weapon unworthy of the seeker of truth, but this is not Sri Aurobindo's view. On the contrary, the concept of Power, Shakti, is one of the keys to his yoga, because without power nothing can be transformed. I cherish God the Fire, not God the Dream! exclaims Savitri.273
A fire to call eternity into Time,
Make body's joy as vivid as the soul's.274
It is a mistake of the ethical or religious mind to condemn Power as in itself a thing not to be accepted or sought after because naturally corrupting and evil; in spite of its apparent justification by a majority of instances, this is at its core a blind and irrational prejudice.
However corrupted and misused, as Love and Knowledge too are corrupted and misused, Power is divine and put here for a divine use.
Shakti, will, Power is the driver of the worlds and whether it be Knowledge-Force or Love-Force or Life-Force or Action-Force or 272
273
274

Savitri, 29:657
Savitri, 29:614
Savitri, 28:196


Body-Force, is always spiritual in its origin and divine in its character. It is the use made of it in the Ignorance by brute, man or Titan that has to be cast aside and replaced by its greater natural
even if to us supernormal action led by an inner consciousness which is in tune with the Infinite and the Eternal. The integral Yoga cannot reject the works of Life and be satisfied with an inward experience only; it has to go inward in order to change the outward.275
This aspect of "force" or "power" of consciousness is represented in India by the eternal Mother. Without Consciousness there is no Force,
and without Force there is no creation He and She, two in one,
inseparable. This whole wide world is only he and she.276 Evolution is the story of Her rediscovering Him and striving to materialize Him everywhere. We cannot dismiss one for the other without Him we are prisoners of a blind Force, without Her we are prisoners of a dazzling Void we must integrate both within a fulfilled world. "Into a blind darkness they enter who follow after the Ignorance, they as if into a greater darkness who devote themselves to the Knowledge alone," says the Isha Upanishad (9).
The Supramental is, above all, a power a stupendous power. It is the direct power of the Spirit in Matter. All consciousness is power,
and the higher we ascend, the greater the power, but also the farther away we are from the earth. Thus if we wish to apply our overmental power, say, to the affairs of this world, it must be brought down from one level to another and overcome the determinisms of all the intermediary levels before it can reach the depths, Matter. Finally,
there remains only a dulled and weakened overmental reflection,
which must then fight against more and more heavy and rebellious determinisms. This is why the spiritualists have never been able to transform life. The Supramental is the supreme Consciousness-Force in the very heart of Matter, without any intermediary. It is the "sun in the darkness" of the Veda, the meeting place of the highest Heights and the deepest Depths. Therefore it can change everything. As the Mother has said, "The true change of consciousness is one that will change the physical conditions in the world and make it into a entirely 275
276

The Synthesis of Yoga, 20:164
Savitri, 20:63


new creation."
Let us say immediately that the supramental power does not work either through miracles or violence the very notion of miracle is absurd, as Sri Aurobindo has often repeated: There is really no such thing as miracle,277 there are only phenomena whose processes we do not understand. For one who sees, there is only an intervention by the determinism of a higher plane in the determinism of a lower plane.
Perhaps the mind appears to be a miracle to the determinism of a caterpillar, yet we all know that our mental miracles do follow a certain process. The same applies to the Supermind: it does not upset any existing laws, but simply leaps over them (or within them?), to a dimension where they no longer exist, much as the caterpillar's laws no longer exist for man. Let us be more specific: the habitual repetition of certain vibrations that have coagulated, so to speak,
around a person result in imparting to him an apparently stable structure; that person then claims to obey the "law" of his nature. But this so-called law is no more inevitable than choosing a certain route to go home rather than another; it is merely a question of habits. The same holds true for the entire cosmos: all our supposedly absolute physical laws are also coagulated habits, with nothing absolute about them whatsoever, and they can all be undone provided one is willing to take another route, that is, change to a different consciousness. An ordinary law, Sri Aurobindo wrote, merely means an equilibrium established by Nature; it means a balance of forces. It is merely a groove in which Nature is accustomed to work in order to produce certain results. But if you change the consciousness, then the groove also is bound to change.278 There have been a number of "changes of grooves" in the course of our evolution, beginning with the introduction of Life into Matter, which changed the material groove,
then the introduction of Mind into Life, which changed the vital and material grooves. The Supermind represents a third change of groove,
which will change Mind, Life, and Matter. This change has already begun; the experience is in progress. Essentially, the supramental process works to free the consciousness contained in each element. It 277
278

Life, Literature and Yoga, 11
Evening Talks, 91


does not upset the universal order, nor does it violate anything; it only applies its power to cleave through the darkness so that it may radiate its own light. "He has cloven wide away the darkness, as one that cleaves away a skin, that he may spread out our earth 279 under his illuminating sun," says the Rig Veda (V.85.1). Because the same divine solar consciousness is everywhere, the world and every atom in the world are divine; the Lord of all the universe is also "the One conscious in unconscious things" of the Rig Veda. Matter is not a crude substance incapable of change except through the assault of our hands or our heads (which have scarcely produced anything but monsters); it is a divine substance that can respond instead of resisting, and change instead of enslaving us in its old habit of gravitation and decay. But Matter is a clouded or sleeping Divinity, a "somnambulist," as Sri Aurobindo calls it, a "lost, buried sun," says the Veda. The Inconscient is the Superconscient's sleep.280 . . . The apparent Inconscience of the material universe holds in itself darkly all that is eternally self-revealed in the luminous Superconscient. 281
The Supramental, then, will use its own light to awaken the corresponding light the same light in Matter:
The truth above shall wake a nether truth282
For the law is eternally the same: only like can act upon like. Only the highest power can free the nethermost power.
What, then, is this Power? Any concentration releases a subtle heat; this is well known to those who have practiced yoga disciplines (tapasya, or yogic discipline, means literally "that which produces heat"). The supramental power is a heat of this kind, only infinitely more intense, within the cells of the body. It is the heat released by the awakening of the Consciousness-Force in Matter: It's as if our spiritual life were made of silver, explains the Mother, while the supramental life is made of gold; as if the whole spiritual life here 279
280
281
282

The "earth" in the Veda is also the symbol of our own flesh.
Savitri, 29:600
The Life Divine, 19:642,766
Savitri, 29:709


were a silvery vibration not cold, but just a light, a light that goes to the top, a light altogether pure, pure and intense; but the other, the supramental one, has a fullness, a power, a warmth that makes all the difference. This "warmth" is the basis of all supramental transmutations. In fact, the heat released by combustion or other chemical reactions, not to mention the far greater heat released by nuclear fusion or fission, is only the physical translation of a fundamental spiritual phenomenon, which the Vedic rishis knew well and called Agni, the spiritual Fire in Matter: "Other flames are only branches of thy stock, O Fire . . . O Agni, O universal Godhead, thou art the navel-knot of the earths and their inhabitants; all men born thou controllest and supportest like a pillar. . . . Thou art the head of heaven and the navel of the earth. . . . Thou art the power that moves at work in the two worlds." (Rig Veda I.59) "That splendour of thee, O Fire,
which is in heaven and in the earth and in the plants and in the waters and by which thou hast spread out the wide midair, is a vivid ocean of light which sees with a divine seeing."283
"Agni has entered earth and heaven as if they were one." (Rig Veda III.7.4) It is this supreme Agni that Sri Aurobindo and Mother have discovered in Matter and in the cells of the body; it is the key to transforming the body and to changing the physical world.
Henceforth, instead of being acted upon through the distorted and dulled agency of all the intermediary mental and vital determinisms,
Matter itself, aware of its own force, carries out its own transmutation.
Instead of an evolution forever torn between two poles
consciousness devoid of force, leading to a blissful ecstasy, and force without consciousness, leading to the crude joy of the atom the Supermind restores the Equilibrium within a total being: the highest consciousness in the most powerful force, the fire of the Spirit in Matter. "O Flame with the hundred treasures," exclaims the Rig Veda (I.59).
It may be worth remembering that Sri Aurobindo made his spiritual discovery in 1910, even before reading the Veda, and at a time when nuclear physics was still in a theoretical phase. Our science is ahead of our consciousness, hence the haphazard course of our 283

Letters, 3rd Series, 103


destiny.
The parallel with nuclear physics is even more striking if we describe the supramental power as it appears to one who inwardly sees. We have said that the higher we rise in consciousness, the more stable and unbroken the light: from the intuitive sparks to the "stable flashes" of the overmind, the light becomes more and more homogeneous. One might imagine, then, that the supramental light is a kind of luminous totality, utterly still and compact, without the tiniest interstice. But, remarkably, the quality of the supramental light is very different from that of other levels of consciousness: it combines both complete stillness and the most rapid movement; here, too, the two opposite poles have become integrated. We can only state the fact without being able to explain it. This is how the Mother describes her first experience with the supramental light: There was an overwhelming impression of power, warmth, gold: it wasn't fluid; it was like a powdering. And each of these things (one can't call them particles or fragments, or even dots, unless "dot" is used in the mathematical sense of a point that takes up no space) was like living gold a warm gold dust. It wasn't bright, it wasn't dark, nor was it a light as we understand it: a multitude of tiny golden points, nothing but that. It was as if they were touching my eyes, my face. And with a sense of tremendous power! At the same time, there was a feeling of such plenitude the peace of omnipotence. It was rich, full. It was movement at its utmost, infinitely faster than anything we can conceive of, yet at the same time, there was absolute peace and perfect stillness.284 Years later, when the experience had become quite familiar to her, the Mother spoke of it in these terms: It is a movement that is like an eternal Vibration, with neither beginning nor end.
Something that exists from all eternity, for all eternity, and that has no divisions in time; only when it is projected upon a screen does it begin assuming time-divisions; it isn't possible to say one second, or one instant . . . it's very difficult to explain. Scarcely has it been perceived,
and it's already gone something without limits, without beginning or end, a Movement so total total and constant, constant that to any 284

At the speed of light, too, we find a combination of total immobility in extreme movement immobility when observing the phenomenon from within, movement when looking at it from without.


perception, it gives an impression of total, utter stillness. It is absolutely indescribable, yet it is the Origin and Support of all earthly evolution. . . . I have noticed that, in this state of consciousness, the Movement is greater than the force or power holding the cells in an individual form. The day we learn to apply this Vibration or this "Movement" to our own matter, we will have seized upon the practical secret of the transition from crude Matter to a more subtle Matter, and we will likewise have begun to realize the first supramental or glorious body on the earth.
This immobility within movement is the basis of all the supramental being's activities. It is the practical premise of any discipline leading to the Supermind, perhaps even the premise of any effective action in this world. We have already said that immobility
an inner immobility, that is has the power to dissolve vibrations, and that if we are able to remain perfectly still inside, without the slightest reaction, we can even stop attacks by animals or by men. This power of immobility can only be attained after we have begun to come into contact with the great Silence behind, when we can, at will, step back and withdraw far, far away, thousands of miles away from all immediate circumstances. We must be able to be utterly outside life in order to control the inner substance of life. What is remarkable, yet quite natural after all, is that this supramental Power cannot be attained unless one is completely outside, completely seated upon that eternal Foundation, outside time and outside space, as if supreme Dynamism could come only from the supreme Immobility. However paradoxical this fact may seem, it still makes sense practically. One can understand that if the ordinary consciousness, which is upset by the slightest breeze, were to come in contact with this "warm gold dust," it would fall to pieces and disintegrate instantly. Only complete Immobility can bear this Movement. This is what was so striking to those who saw Sri Aurobindo: it was not only the light in his eyes (as is also the case with the Mother), but that kind of immobile immensity one felt near him, so compact, so tangible, as if one had entered a physical infinity. One then understood spontaneously, without needing further practical proof, why a cyclone could not enter his room.
Whereupon this little phrase of his suddenly made perfect sense: . . .


the strong immobility of an immortal spirit. 285 It is through the power of this immobility that he worked for forty years, was able to write twelve hours a night, walk eight hours a day ("to bring down light into Matter," as he said), and fight the most strenuous battles in the Inconscient without ever feeling tired. If when thou art doing great actions and moving giant results, thou canst perceive that thou art doing nothing, then know that God has removed the seal on thy eyelids. . . . If when thou sittest alone, still and voiceless on the mountain-top, thou canst perceive the revolutions thou art conducting, then hast thou the divine vision and art freed from appearances.286
Immobility is the basis of the supramental power, but silence is the condition for its perfect operation. The supramental consciousness does not follow mental or moral criteria to determine its actions. There are no more "dilemmas"; its actions arise naturally and spontaneously.
Spontaneity is the particular mark of the Supermind: spontaneity of life, spontaneity of knowledge, spontaneity of power. In ordinary life,
we try to know what is good or right, and once we think we have found it, we somehow try to implement our thought. The supramental consciousness, on the contrary, does not try to know or to decipher what it must do or not do; it is perfectly silent and still, living each second of time spontaneously, unconcerned by the future; then at each second, the exact required knowledge falls like a droplet of light in the silence of the consciousness: "This has to be done, that has to be said,
or seen, or understood." Supramental Thought is an arrow from the Light, not a bridge to reach it.287 "In the level of wideness they meet together and know perfectly," says the Rig Veda (VII.76.5). And every time a thought or a vision flashes by the consciousness, it is no speculation about the future, but an instant action:
There every thought and feeling is an act.288
285
286
287
288

The Synthesis of Yoga, 20:95
Thoughts and Aphorisms, 17:92
The Hour of God, 17:12
Savitri, 28:183


Knowledge is automatically gifted with power, because it is a true knowledge, which embraces everything, and true knowledge is powerful knowledge. We do not have power because we do not see the whole, while that total vision goes well beyond our momentary reasoning, since it perceives the extension of each thing in time;
neither is it an arbitrary fiat going against the normal course of things,
but a luminous pressure that accelerates the movement and strives to put each thing, each force, each event, each being in direct contact with its own luminous essence, its own divine potential, and the very Goal that first set it in motion. As we have said, it is a stupendous evolutionary ferment. Perhaps something should be mentioned about how this power manifests practically, in the lives and actions of those who embody it so far, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. But because no explanation is ever truly satisfying unless one experiences it oneself, and because the experience will only begin to be convincing when it takes place on a more collective scale, it is perhaps wiser to remain silent. As a matter of fact, their actions often eluded even those who benefited from them directly, for the simple reason that we can only relate to a thing if we have reached the same plane. We usually see only the present moment, not the future miracle prepared by a simple gaze, the second of light that will mature for twenty years or three centuries beneath our unconscious layers before becoming "natural." Neither you nor anyone else knows anything at all of my life, Sri Aurobindo wrote to one of his biographers, it has not been on the surface for men to see.289 What makes it difficult to speak of this power is that we have a wrong notion of power. When we speak of "power," we immediately imagine something marvelous, but that is not what true Power is; neither is it the true marvel of the universe.
The supramental action does not work wonders with flashes of lightning; it is as quiet as eternity, impelling the world and each thing in the world toward its own perfection through all the masks of imperfection. The true miracle is to do no violence to things, to impel them secretly, almost surreptitiously, toward their own center, so that deep within they may recognize the Face as their own face. There is but one miracle: the instant of recognition that nothing, any longer, is "other."
289

On Himself, 26:378


The individual is the key to the supramental power. The supramental being has not only a transcendent and cosmic status but also an individual one: the triple hiatus of experience that divided the monist, the pantheist, and the individualist is healed. His transcendent status does not abolish the world or the individual, no more than his cosmic status deprives him of the Transcendent or of his individuality,
or no more than his individual status severs him from the Transcendent or the universe. He has not kicked off the ladder to reach the top, but consciously traveled all the evolutionary rungs, from top to bottom there is no gap anywhere, no missing link; and because he has kept his individuality instead of exploding in a luminous no-man's-land, he can both ascend and descend the great Ladder of existence and use his individual being as a material bridge between the very top and the very bottom. His work on the earth is to establish a direct connection between the supreme Force and the individual, between the supreme Consciousness and Matter to join the two Ends, as the Mother says. He is a precipitator of the Real upon earth. This is why there is hope that all the blind determinisms that presently rule the world Death, Suffering, War can be transformed by that supreme Determinism and yield to a new, luminous evolution:
It is a spiritual revolution we foresee and the material revolution is only its shadow and reflex.290
After two months at Chandernagore, Sri Aurobindo heard the Voice again: Go to Pondicherry. A few days later, he was sailing secretly on board the Dupleix, outwitting the British police and leaving Northern India for good. I had accepted the rule of . . . moving only as I was moved by the Divine. 291 The last forty years of his life,
with the Mother, would be devoted to making that individual realization into an earthly one: We want to bring down the supermind as a new faculty. Just as the mind is now a permanent state of consciousness in humanity, so also we want to create a race in which the supermind will be a permanent state of consciousness. 292 So that his intentions might not be misinterpreted, Sri Aurobindo repeatedly stressed the following: It is far from my purpose to propagate any 290
291
292

The Ideal of the Karmayogin, 2:17
On Himself, 26:58
Letters on Yoga, 22:69


religion, new or old, for humanity in the future. A way to be opened that is still blocked, not a religion to be founded, is my conception of the matter.293 We cannot say whether the supramental adventure will succeed. The Vedic rishis were unable to "unblock the way"; they could not open "the great passage" for everyone and transform their personal realization into a permanent and collective one. There must have been a reason. What remains to be seen is whether that reason still holds true today.

293

Letters on Yoga, 22:139




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