You know we have come to a very difficult portion of the chapter that we are studying namely, The Ascent towards Supermind. We have covered two important points in this chapter – the first point was that you have to reach a high level of individuation in this process of ascent to the Supermind. We have discussed at length what is individuality, what is Free–Will; which is a very important part of individuality. We have discussed the second point namely that the law of evolution operates in this process of the ascent to the Supermind.
In respect of this law of evolution we had spoken of the two important elements in this law – the law of ascent and the law of integration. You make an ascent to the higher plane and then you reach a higher point then there is a descent. So as to absorb all that is below and to raise up all that is below into the higher. Then you reach a point of maturing the new level by process of intensification and purification, by making that level more complex and more subtle. Complexity and subtlety, when these are increased then again you have an ascent to a higher level and in this process of ascent to the Supermind this law operates and because of the operation of this law you do not jump straight from our present level to the Supermind. But there are gradations through which we pass and this is the third point.
Now we are coming to what are these gradations are and we have to consider these gradations. We are already named these gradations. Sri Aurobindo has called them the Higher Mind, the Illumined Mind, the Intuitive Mind, the Overmind and then the Supermind. These are the gradation through which we pass and these gradations are very difficult for us to understand. Even if you read the accounts given of these planes by Sri Aurobindo, several times, they are difficult because they fall outside our normal experience. Even by analogy it becomes difficult and yet let us make an effort to understand to the best that we can. It will be a modest effort but it may become fruitful.
The word Higher mind is a plane above our mind and even to understand our own mind is first of all a difficult task because even our own mind has many levels in it. Usually we call this mind ordinary mind; our mind is an ordinary mind as compared to all this levels of consciousness. This ordinary mind has three levels – the physical mind, the vital mind and the pure mind. Our ordinary mind as I said has the lowest level called the physical mind. Physical mind is the mind which is subject to physical concerns; it is subject to our bodily condition. If your body is very healthy, you feel everything fresh and wonderful the physical mind is in a very happy condition. And if a body is ill, things look gloomy and dark so the bodily conditions determine our mind. Secondly, usually the body has a habit of repeating mechanically.
As a result of that when our mind is subject to the physical, it has the habit of manufacturing repetitive ideas, mechanical ideas, the same idea going round and round and round and round. Thirdly, the physical mind has a habit of believing only physical things. Unless things are physically brought to it, the physical mind is not convinced. It demands a physical proof, physical perception of things which are talked about. To this mind, vital mind, pure mind, higher mind, and Illumined Mind, all this is fiction. It takes only the physical reality to be the real reality, everything else is imaginary. This is the third element of the physical mind. The fourth element of the physical mind is it is prone to laziness, prone to inertia and rest. The physical mind is subject to the physical condition in which we are. It is subject to repetitiveness, it is subject to believe in physical reality, it is prone to lethargy, laziness, inertia, rest– these are the characteristics of the physical mind. This is the mind of which we have plenty of experiences therefore, we can understand physical mind quite easily.
Then there is a vital mind. Vital mind is the mind which is subject to the vital and vital consists of impulses, desires, emotions, attraction, repulsions, ambitions and various kinds of drives of imagination. When the mind is subject to these, it is called the vital mind. The normal experience of vital mind is what is called wishful thinking. The tendency of the mind to justify what we desire, very often we tend to justify our actions and we put forward arguments to support our action which may have been motivated by our desires, but we bring arguments which are mental. Mind is put at the service of the vital so that mind can manufacture arguments in favor of the vital; this is one of the examples of the vital mind. I like to see a certain film and then my mind finds out many arguments as to why that film should be seen. It may be the desire to see a film but the mind manufactures arguments to support that desire, it is an example of the activity of the vital mind. I may be driven by an ambition and then my mind manufactures arguments to support that ambition, this is also called rationalization, not rationality, but rationalization to find reasonable arguments, rational arguments for supporting what is not rational, what is in itself irrational, but you find out rational arguments to support it, this is called rationalization.