Major change in the Process of Evolution
The manifestation of the supramental transformation leading to the highest reach of self-perfection would imply a major change in the process of evolution. There is in the present process of evolution a control of the pervading Nescience, but in this new stage the veil thus put on will be lifted; the evolution at every step will, according to Sri Aurobindo, move in the power of the Truth-Consciousness and its progressive determinations will be made by a conscious Knowledge and not in the forms of an Ignorance or Inconscience.68
In other words, the rule of the Inconscient will disappear, since the inconscience will be changed by the outburst of the greater secret Consciousness within it, the hidden Light into what it always was in reality, a sea of the secret Super- conscience. As a result, a first formation of a supramental or Gnostic consciousness and nature will take place. A farther result of the emergence of the Gnostic being would be the increasing concretization and fulfillment of the hope of a more harmonious evolutionary order in terrestrial Nature. Sri Aurobindo even envisages the transmutation of the human species and of the appearance of a supramental or Gnostic race of beings.
The supramental or Gnostic individual would be the consummation of the spiritual man. The saint, the sage, the
divine lover and the divine soldier, — these four types of the spiritual being, would be integrated in their entirety and the Gnostic individual would live and act in the world in union with the divine law of action, sādharmya, — not only through he perfected mental and vital consciousness but even through he supramentalised physical consciousness. He would be in he world and of the world but would also exceed it in his consciousness and live in his Self of transcendence above it; he would be universal but free in the universe, individual but not limited by separative individuality. In the words of Sri Aurobindo: "The true Person is not an isolated entity, his individuality is universal; for he individualises the universe: it is at the same time divinely emergent in a spiritual air of transcendental infinity, like a high cloud-surpassing summit; for he individualises the divine Transcendence."69
There would be in the Gnostic being a total change and reversal of consciousness that would establish a new relation of Spirit with Mind and Life and Matter. In the Gnostic way of being and living, the will of the Spirit would directly control and determine the movements and law of the body, and this would lead to the appearance of what may be called the supramental or divine body. The law of the body which is at present operative in humanity arises from the subconscient or inconscient; but in the Gnostic being, the subconscient would become conscious and subject to the supramental control penetrated with its light and action; as a result, the basis of inconscient with its obscurity and ambiguity, its obstruction or tardy responses would be transformed into a lower or supporting superconscience by the supramental emergence. The divine body would manifest the dynamic and irresistible spiritual realism of the Truth-Consciousness, and will be a true and fit and perfectly responsive instrument of the Spirit.
The Gnostic evolution at a certain stage where the divine body would be in formation would fulfill the claim of the body for immunity and serenity of its being and for deliverance from suffering. "A spiritual Ananda can flow into the body and inundate cell and tissue; a luminous materialization of this higher Ananda could of itself bring about a total transformation of the deficient or adverse sensibilities of physical Nature."70
Personality of the Gnostic Being: Perfection of Fourfold Personality
There is, indeed, a question of the nature of the personality of the Gnostic being. According to Sri Aurobindo, in the supermind consciousness personality and impersonality are not opposite principles; they are inseparable aspects of one and the same reality. This reality is not the ego but the being who is impersonal and universal in his stuff of nature, but forms out of it an expressive personality which is his form of self in the changes of Nature. The Impersonal Divine is Sachchidananda, and in all the supramental formations of personality, the Sachchidananda would be expressed, but none of the formations would limit the infinity of the possibility in the infinity of the being.
In the growth of the Gnostic personality, the psychic being or the soul, which is the individual spark of the Divine, plays a leading role. As long as the soul is at work in the unfoldment of the higher degrees of ignorant nature from Matter to Mind, it puts forth temporary personalities which are marked by the three gunas of Prakriti, satwa rajas or tamas. A personality of the man is then satwic, rajasic or tamasic or a mixture of these qualities and its temperament is only a sort of subtler soul- colour which has been given to the major prominent operation
of the fixed modes of nature. But just as the psychic being, at a suitable stage of human evolution, begins to come forward more openly and sovereignly on the surface consciousness and takes recourse to the path of knowledge, divine work and divine love, even so, it brings out more and more effectively its own divine nature, swabhava, and stamps it more and more visibly on the satwic, rajasic and tamasic personality. It is then that one recognizes that the soul-force in man represents the divine consciousness as a fourfold effective Power, chaturvyūha, a Power for knowledge, a Power for strength, a Power for mutuality, and active and productive relations and interchange, and a Power for works, labour and service. These powers grow and develop according to a certain rhythm appropriate to growth and development of the soul over its instruments, — mind, life and body. The law governing the rhythm of development appropriate to each individual has been called in Indian psychology, swadharma, and the process and becoming of the soul and its increasing power of the body, life and mind has been called swabhava. Swabhava and swadharma do not belong to Apara Prakriti, consisting of satwa rajas and tamas, but they belong to the psychic entity and psychic being, the expressive stuff of which is constituted by higher nature of Para Prakriti. An important element in the yoga of self-perfection is directed towards the transformation of the Apara Prakriti by Para Prakriti through the intermediacy of the soul-power, the power of the psychic entity and psychic being, and the entire building up of the inner and outer personality of the individual is fundamentally worked out by swabhava and swadharma which interacts with the formation of satwa rajas and tamas, —the operations of Apara Prakriti. In the ultimate process of transformation of Apara Prakriti, the fourfold soul-force is able to formulate all these four forms
in their fullness and in their integrality; the supramental being, however, goes beyond the integral fourfold personality and is able to utilize these four personalities and manifest without any limitations of personality that the inner Person wills to manifest, and at the level of higher perfections, the inner Person is a pure and transparent instrument and vehicle of the Supreme Person, who is anantaguna having infinite qualities and yet nirguna, quality less in the sense of complete transcendence.
According to the integral psychology, the development of fourfold personality is a necessary part of the yoga of self- perfection.71 It observes, however, that even though the fourfold power of the soul-force is latent in every individual being, there is normally predominance of one or the other of the soul-powers, and although none of these four powers achieves its fullness without the full development of all the other powers, there is in the course of the development four types of temperaments, and different individuals manifest different combinations of these four temperaments under the predominant rule of one of them. In the Indian terminology, these four types of temperaments are called, respectively, brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra.
The ideal character and soul-power of the Brahmana appears during its development in temperament and personality marked by hunger and passion for knowledge, for its growth in oneself and its communication to others, for its reign in the world, the reign of reason and right and truth and justice, and at a higher level of the harmony of one's greater being, the reign of the spirit and its universal unity and light and love; the brahmanic temperament is poised in steady musing and calm, in reflection and meditation, and in dominating and quieting the turmoil of the will and passions;
it manifests more sovereignly through the self-governed satwic mind. It begins with this temperament, begins to develop, first, as that of active, open, inquiring intelligence; at a next higher level this temperament develops intellectuality, and, at a still higher level this temperament flowers as a thinker, sage, great mind of knowledge that is open to a mind of light and to all ideas and knowledge and incomings of Truth.
The Kshatriya temperament is marked by the predominance of the will-force and the capacities which make for strength, energy, courage, leadership, protection, rule, victory in every kind of battle, a creative and formative action, the will-power which lays its hold on the material of life and on the will of others. At a lower level of development, this temperament creates the personality of a fighter or man of action; at a higher level, it manifests the man or woman of self- imposing active will; or at a still higher level, the Kshatriya is a ruler, conqueror, leader of a cause, creator, founder in whatever field of the active formation of life. In his refined expression, the Kshatriya is free from the disabling weakness of fear, who stoops to nothing little, base, vulgar or weak; he has the love of honour which would scale the heights of the highest nobility; he maintains untainted ideal of high courage, chivalry, truth, straightforwardness, sacrifice of the lower to the higher self, helpfulness to man, unflinching resistance to injustice and oppression, self-control and mastery. These things are carried to their highest degree which flower into a certain divine fullness, purity and grandeur.
The Vaishya temperament is essentially a temperament that ultimately aims at practical arrangement of relations that can manifest mutuality and harmony. It is behind the Vaishya temperament that is to be found the power to produce
abundance, to organize and effect exchange of forces; this temperament has generosity to possess and to give, to enjoy, to contrive and to put things in order and balance. The Vaishya temperament manifests, first, as a skillful devising intelligence, and it manifests in different degrees the mind that is characterized by expertise in legal, commercial, industrial, economical, practical, scientific, mechanical, technical, and utilitarian professions; at higher levels of its fullness this temperament is at once grasping and generous, prone to amass and treasure, to enjoy, show and use, bent upon efficient exploitation of the world, but well capable too of practical philanthropy, humanity, ordered benevolence, finer ethical spirit; this temperament is generally marked by capacity, adaptation and measure. At a higher level of expression, the Vaishya temperament manifests a largeness of mutuality, a generous fullness of the relations of life, a lavish self-spending and return and ample interchange between existence and existence, a full enjoyment and use of the rhythm and balance of fruitful and productive life.
The Shudra temperament has modest beginnings that manifest toil and labour and service, but as it rises higher, it is the Shudra who can manifest that highest sense of service which is one of the most beautiful elements of our greatest perfection. In the course of the development, the Shudra temperament develops the power of service to others, the modesty and humility to obey and follow and accept needful discipline; it is this temperament which can consecrate to service with love, which asks for no return, but spends itself for the satisfaction of that which it loves, the power to bring down this love and service into the physical field; at its highest level, the Shudra temperament manifests the aspiration to give oneself entirely to god and man, and it has the power of
complete self-surrender, which transferred to the spiritual life becomes one of the greatest and most revealing keys to freedom and perfection.
It is at the higher levels of development that one begins to enlarge oneself to include the soul-force in a larger integrality, even though one of them may lead the others; in due course, one begins to open one's nature more and more into the rounded fullness and universal capacity of the fourfold spirit. But at a still higher level, one begins to experience a general Presence of power, something impersonal in the personal form. Sri Aurobindo points out that the yoga of self-perfection brings out this Presence, — this soul-force, — and gives it its larger scope. All the fourfold powers are taken up and are thrown into the free circle of an integral and harmonious spiritual dynamis. The soul-power of knowledge rises to the highest degree of which the individual nature can be the supporting basis of a free mind of light; powers of revelation, inspiration, intuition, discrimination begin to flower; there comes about a high status of consciousness where, in the words of Sri Aurobindo, "a bottomless steadiness and illimitable calm upholds all the illumination, movement, action as on some rock of ages, equal, unperturbed, unmoved, achyuta.''72
Similarly the soul-power of will and strength rises to a like largeness and altitude, and while describing the signs of the perfection of this will and strength, Sri Aurobindo states:
"An absolute calm fearlessness of the free spirit, an infinite dynamic courage which no peril, limitation of possibility, wall of opposing force can deter from pursuing the work or aspiration imposed by the spirit, a high nobility of soul and will untouched by any littleness or baseness and moving
with a certain greatness of step to spiritual victory or the success of the God-given work through whatever temporary defeat or obstacle, a spirit never depressed or cast down from faith and confidence in the power that works in the being, are the signs of this perfection."73
The soul-power of mutuality attains its perfection when there comes about skill that observes the law and adapts the relation and keeps the measure; one is able to take into oneself from all beings and at the same time one is able to give out fully out of oneself to all, "a divine commerce, a large enjoyment of the mutual delight of life."74
Finally, the soul-power of service attains to perfection when it manifests the universal love that lavishes itself without demand of return and one attains the abnegation that is ready to bear the yoke of the Divine Master and make the life a free servitude to Him; one is then able to arrive at the self-surrender of the whole being to the Master and to his work in the world.
In the supramental being or in the divine superman, these things unite, assist and enter into each other, become one. In the greatest souls, the perfection manifests harmony in which wisdom, heroism, universal love and highest skill of service are blended. There is in the temperament and personality a constant presence of impersonality, some kind of sovereignty but no egoistic haughtiness or self purification. Sri Aurobindo describes the state of the divine superman as follows:
"When the full heart of Love is tranquilized by knowledge into a calm ecstasy and vibrates with strength, when the strong hands of Power labour for the world in a radiant fullness of joy and light, when the luminous brain of knowledge accepts and transforms the heart's obscure inspirations and lends itself
to the workings of the high-seated Will, when all these gods are founded together on a soul of sacrifice that lives in unity with all the world and accepts all things to transmute them, then is the condition of man's integral self-transcendence. This and not a haughty, strong and brilliant egoistic self- culture enthroning itself upon an enslaved humanity is the divine way of supermanhood."75
Supramental Supermanhood: A New step in Evolution Distinction between Nietzschean Superman and Divine Superman
When Sri Aurobindo and the Mother speak of the supramental manifestation as a result of triple transformation and of the emergence of supermanhood, they make it clear that the supramental supermanhood must not be confused with past and present ideas of supermanhood. There have been in the past great personalities like Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Buddha, Christ and others, and they manifested divinity, but in terms of evolution, the divinity manifests at certain points of critical development of the instruments of the Spirit. The supramental supermanhood would, however, mean the manifestation of divinity at a new critical point of development of the supermind, which can serve as the new instrument of the Spirit. On the other hand, there have been in the past and even in the present human beings with extraordinary and superhuman qualities in their manifestation, but they were marked by what Indian psychology describes as Asuric or Rakshasic character. In recent times, Nietzsche has spoken of supermanhood, but when we examine the stuff and the qualities that characterize his idea of supermanhood, one feels in it the marks of the Asura or the Rakshasa. And Sri Aurobindo takes a special care to
distinguish the Nietzschean idea of supermanhood from his own idea of the divine supermanhood. Sri Aurobindo, while explaining this distinction, states as follows:
"...supermanhood in the mental idea consists of an overtopping of the normal human level, not in kind but in degree of the same kind, by an enlarged personality, a magnified and exaggerated ego, an increased power of mind, an increased power of vital force, a refined or dense and massive exaggeration of the forces of the human Ignorance; it carries also, commonly implied in it, the idea of a forceful domination over humanity by the superman. That would mean a supermanhood of the Nietzschean type; it might be at its worst the reign of the "blonde beast" or the dark beast or of any and every beast, a return to barbaric strength and ruthlessness and force: but this would be no evolution, it would be a reversion to an old strenuous barbarism. Or might signify the emergence of the Rakshasa or Asura out of a tense effort of humanity to surpass and transcend itself, but in the wrong direction. A violent and turbulent exaggerated vital ego satisfying itself with a supreme tyrannous or anarchic strength of self-fulfillment would be the type of a Rakshasic supermanhood: but the giant, the ogre or devourer of the world, the Rakshasa, though he still survives, belongs in spirit to the past; a larger emergence of that type would be also a retrograde evolution. A mighty exhibition of an overpowering force, a self-possessed, self-held, even, it may be, an ascetically self-restrained mind-capacity and life-power, strong, calm or cold or formidable in collected vehemence, subtle, dominating, a sublimation at once of the mental and vital ego, is the type of the Asura. But the earth has had enough of this kind in her past and its repetition can only prolong the old lines; she can get no true profit for her future, no power of
self-exceeding, from the Titan, the Asura: even a great or supernormal power in it could only carry her on larger circles of her old orbit. But what has to emerge is something much more difficult and much more simple; it is a self-realized being a building of the spiritual self, and intensity and urge of the soul and the deliverance and sovereignty of its light and power and beauty, — not an egoistic supermanhood seizing on a mental and a vital domination over humanity, but the sovereignty of me Spirit over its own instruments, its possession" of itself? and its possession of life in the power of the spirit a new consciousness in which humanity itself shall find its own self-exceeding and self-fulfillment by the revelation of the divinity that is striving for birth within it. This is the sole true supermanhood and the one real possibility of a step forward in evolutionary Nature. "76
The supramental life that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have envisaged would be much greater and multitudinous as well as more imperishably delightful than the interests of the finite. It would be the life of unity, mutuality and harmony. Evolution of the supermind would be the evolution in the Knowledge and it would be a more beautiful and glorious manifestation with more vistas ever unfolding themselves and more intensive in all ways than any evolution could be in the ignorance. The supramental manifestation of life would be more full and fruitful and its interest more vivid than the creative interest of the Ignorance; it will be a greater and happier constant miracle. As Sri Aurobindo points out, if there is an evolution in material Nature and if it is an evolution of being with consciousness and life as its two key-terms and powers this fullness of being, fullness of consciousness, fullness of life will manifest at an early or later stage of the march of humanity; in spite of the problems and hurdles of
the contemporary crisis, humanity will survive and arrive at the supramental manifestation at its crest of evolution and in due course of time, it will spread in larger and larger circles of humanity.77