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Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, The Triple Transformation - Track 701

Supermind as an Instrument of the Spirit

I think we finished the first paragraph, of this chapter last time with a long, long introduction.

The last sentence of the first paragraph was: "The spiritual man has evolved but not the supramental being who shall thenceforward be the leader of that nature". A distinction is made between the spiritual man and the supramental being and we are told that while in the history of the world, spiritual men have evolved and come into existence and the world has benefited by them, but a greater being which Sri Aurobindo calls the supramental being is yet to come. Sri Aurobindo explains this (page 890):

"This is because the principle of spirituality has yet to affirm itself in its own complete right and sovereignty; it has been up till now a power for the mental being to escape from itself or to refine and raise itself to a spiritual poise, it has availed for the release of the Spirit from mind and for the enlargement of the being in a spiritualised mind and heart, but not, – or rather not yet sufficiently, – for the self–affirmation of the Spirit in its own dynamic and sovereign mastery free from the mind's limitations and from the mental instrumentation. The development of another instrumentation has begun, but has yet to become total and effective; it has besides to cease to be a purely individual self–creation in an original Ignorance, something supernormal to earth–life that must always be acquired as an individual achievement by a difficult endeavour. It must become the normal nature of a new type of being; as Mind is established here on a basis of Ignorance seeking for Knowledge and growing into Knowledge, so Supermind must be established here on a basis of Knowledge growing into its own greater Light. But this cannot be so long as the spiritual–mental being has not risen fully to Supermind and brought down its powers into terrestrial existence. For the gulf between Mind and Supermind has to be bridged, the closed passages opened and roads of ascent and descent created where there is now a void and–a silence. This can be done only by the triple transformation to which we have already made a passing reference: there must first be the psychic change, the conversion of our whole present nature into a soul–instrumentation; on that or along with that there must be the spiritual change, the descent of a higher Light, Knowledge, Power, Force, Bliss, Purity into the whole being, even into the lowest recesses of the life and body, even into the darkness of our subconscience; last, there must supervene the supramental transmutation, – there must take place as the crowning movement the ascent into the Supermind and the transforming descent of the supramental Consciousness into our entire being and nature".

There are three things which are emphasised here. In the first place we are told that if you look at the history of the past there have come about certain people, individuals, who have been able to liberate themselves from the mind, life and body. This word is not used here but the important point is that there have been galaxies of individuals in the past who have achieved moksha. Mukti i.e. liberation, means that state of the spirit where it is liberated from the mind, life and body. So this has been achieved.

But what has not yet been achieved is the capacity of the spirit to use an instrument of action other than mind, life and body. The spirit separating itself from and withdrawing from mind, life and body is moksha; but if it has to act on the earth, it can act only through these instruments. But these instruments are not the proper instruments for the liberated spirit, it requires another instrument. The second point that Sri Aurobindo makes is that that instrumentation has not yet been produced, or even if it is produced, it is not yet complete and this incomplete instrumentation is available so far only to a few individuals and not to the collectivity. For example the mind is available to the collectivity of human beings, as an instrument. It is not as if only a few individuals can use the mind. Potentially every individual who is born as a human being is capable of using the instrumentality of the mind. But similarly, if there are some individuals who have been liberated from mind, life and body and have been able to produce another instrumentation, first it is incomplete and even that incomplete instrumentation has not been made available to collectivity. This is the record of the human history so far. This is the second point that is made.

The third point that is made is that that instrument, that new instrument is what Sri Aurobindo calls the supermind, above the mind. That instrument is developed in the past to some extent, though inadequately but what Sri Aurobindo wants is that that supermind must be made a permanent and full development here and it should be so developed that at least a larger number of human beings are capable of using it as an instrument. The third point is that therefore there must be a permanent ascension to the supermind, you should be able to rise from mind to supermind; not only liberated from the mind but a further program, you rise from mind to the supermind and develop it fully, then bring it down so that the mind, life and body are completely transmuted by the power of the supermind. This last process consists of three processes: the psychic transformation, the spiritual transformation, and the supramental transformation. When these three transformations take place, then only we can say that supermind will be now used permanently as an instrumentation of the spirit for action on the earth.

This is the programme that Sri Aurobindo said has not yet been affected, but which has to be affected. These are the three points made in this paragraph. In fact this is the elaboration of the first paragraph which we read last time where Sri Aurobindo has said that if it was the sole intention of nature to liberate men from the ignorance then that task has been done; roads have been built, ways have been cleared out, and now it is available for anybody to pursue and attain. But that is not the only intention, this is the important point. This world is created not only to liberate man from body, life and mind – moksha is not the only aim – but a greater aim is proposed, i.e. the return of the spirit after liberation, development of a new instrumentation, perfection of it, and the establishment of it in the same way in which mind is established on this earth.