object:2.3.03 - The Overmind
book class:Letters On Yoga I
author class:Sri Aurobindo
Overmind and the Cosmic Consciousness
Overmind is the highest source of the cosmic consciousness available to the embodied being in the Ignorance. It is part of the cosmic consciousness - but the human individual when he opens into the cosmic usually remains in the cosmic Mind-LifeMatter receiving only inspirations and influences from the higher planes of Intuition and Overmind. He receives through the spiritualised higher and illumined mind the fundamental experiences on which spiritual knowledge is based; he can become even full of intuitive mind movements, illuminations, various kinds of powers and illumined light, liberation, Ananda. But to rise fully into the Intuition is rare, to reach the Overmind still rarer - although influences and experiences can come down from there.
It is (sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly) by the power of the Overmind releasing the mind from its close partitions that the cosmic consciousness opens in the seeker and he becomes aware of the cosmic spirit and the play of the cosmic forces.
It is from or at least through the overmind plane that the original prearrangement of things in this world is effected; for from it the determining vibrations originally come. But there are corresponding movements on all the planes, the mind, the vital, the physical even, and it is possible in a very clear or illumined condition of the lower consciousness to become aware of these movements and understand the plan of things and be a conscious instrument or even, to a limited extent, a determinant Will or
Force. But the stuff of the lower planes always mixes with the overmind forces and diminishes or even falsifies and perverts their truth and power.
It is even possible for the Overmind to transmit to the lower
planes of consciousness something of the supramental Light; but, so long as the Supermind does not directly manifest, its
Light is modified in Overmind itself and still further modified in the application by the needs, the demands, the circumscribing possibilities of the individual nature. The success of this diminished and modified Light, e.g. in purifying the physical, cannot be immediate and absolute as the full and direct supramental action would be; it is still relative, conditioned by the individual nature and the balance of the universal forces, resisted by adverse powers, baulked of its perfect result by the unwillingness of the lower workings to cease, limited either in its scope or in its efficacy by the want of a complete consent in the physical nature.
Probably what X calls overmind is the first "above-mind" layers of consciousness. Or it may be experiences from the larger Mind or Vital ranges. To the human mind all these are so big that it is easy to take them for overmind or even supermind.
One can get indirect overmind touches if one opens into the cosmic consciousness, still more if one enters freely into that consciousness. Direct overmind experience cannot come unless part of the being at least is seated in the wideness and peace.
You cannot do it [recognise the different planes of the Overmind] at present. Only those who have got fully into the cosmic consciousness can do it and even they cannot do it at first. One must first go fully through the experience of higher mind and illumined mind and intuition before it can be done.
Planes of the Overmind
There are different planes of the Overmind. One is mental, directly creative of all the formations that manifest below in the mental world - that is the mental Overmind. Above is the overmind Intuition. Still above are the planes of overmind that are more and more connected with the supermind and have a
Letters on Yoga - I
partly supramental character. Highest in the overmind ranges is the supramental Overmind or Overmind gnosis. But these are things you cannot understand until you get a higher experience.
It [the overmind] can for convenience be divided into four planes - mental overmind and the three you have written [intuitive overmind, true overmind and supramental overmind] - but there are many layers in each and each of these can be regarded as a plane in itself.
There are many stages in the transition from mental overmind to supramentalised overmind and then from that to supramental overmind and from that to supermind. Do not be in a hurry to say, "This is the last highest overmind."
What you call supramental overmind1 is still overmind - not a part of the true Supermind. One cannot get into the true Supermind (except in some kind of trance or Samadhi) unless one has first objectivised the overmind Truth in life, speech, action, external knowledge and not only experienced it in meditation and inner experience.
The Overmind, the Intuition and Below
The Overmind receives the Divine Truth and disperses it in various formations and diverse play of forces, building thus different worlds out of this dispersion.
In the Intuition the nature of Knowledge is Truth not global or whole, but coming out in so many points, edges, flashes of a
Truth that is behind it and supplies it with its direct perceptions.
1 This expression is a misnomer since overmind cannot be supramental: it can at most receive some light and truth from the higher source.
It is from the Overmind that all these different arrangements of the creative Truth of things originate. Out of the Overmind they come down to the Intuition and are transmitted from it to the
Illumined and higher Mind to be arranged there for our intelligence. But they lose more and more of their power and certitude in the transmission as they come down to the lower levels. What energy of directly perceived Truth they have is lost in the human mind; for to the human intellect they present themselves only as speculative ideas, not as realised Truth, not as direct sight, a dynamic vision coupled with a concrete undeniable experience.
The Overmind and the Supermind Descent
The Overmind has to be reached and brought down before the
Supermind descent is at all possible - for the Overmind is the passage through which one passes from mind to Supermind.
The Overmind and the Karan.a Deha
The karan.a deha may be simply a form answering to the higher consciousness (overmental, intuitive etc.) and I suppose a being could be there working in that consciousness and body. It is not likely to be the supramental being and supramental body - for in that case the whole consciousness, thought, action subjective and objective would begin to be faultlessly true and irresistibly effective. Nobody has reached that stage yet, even the overmind is, for all but the Mother and myself, either unrealised or only an influence mostly subjective.
The Dividing Aspect of the Overmind
There are no Overmind dangers - it is only the lower consciousness misusing overmind or higher consciousness intimations that can make a danger. There are also no Overmind Falsehoods.
The Overmind is part of the Ignorance in this sense that it is the highest knowledge to which the Ignorance can attain, but the knowledge is still divided and so can be a knowledge of parts
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and aspects of the Truth, not the integral knowledge. As such it can be misused and turned into falsehood by the Mind.
What I said was that the scission between the two aspects of the
Divine [Personal and Impersonal] is a creation of the Overmind which takes various aspects of the Divine and separates them into separate entities. Thus it divides Sat, Chit and Ananda, so that they become three separate aspects different from each other. In fact in the Reality there is no separateness, the three aspects are so fused into each other, so inseparably one that they are a single undivided reality. It is the same with the Personal and Impersonal, the Saguna and Nirguna, the Silent and the
Active Brahman. In the Reality they are not contrasted and incompatible aspects; what we call Personality and what we call
Impersonality are inseparably fused together in a single Truth.
In fact "fused together" even is a wrong phrase, because there they were never separated so that they have to be fused. All the quarrels about either the Impersonal being the only true truth or the Personal being the only highest truth are mind-created quarrels derivative from this dividing aspect of the Overmind.
The Overmind does not deny any of the aspects as the Mind does, it admits them all as aspects of the One Truth, but by separating them it originates the quarrel in the more ignorant and more limited and divided Mind, because the Mind cannot see how two opposite things can exist together in one Truth, how the Divine can be nirgun.o gun.; - having no experience of what is behind the two words it takes each in an absolute sense. The Impersonal is Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, not a
Person, but a state. The Person is the Existent, the Conscious, the Blissful; consciousness, existence, bliss taken as separate things are only states of his being. But in fact the two (personal being and eternal state) are inseparable and are one reality.
The Overmind and the World
[How the world appears to one living at the overmind level:] As
a manifestation of the One Divine with a thousand aspects, a development of all the potentialities in the one existence, a play of Forces and Ideas which you can look at from many centres and points of view, each having its own truth in the whole.
In the highest overmind all these prepare to meet and reunite themselves in one central Truth which is the Supramental.
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