“When the consciousness is transparent, the sound becomes clearly audible, and it is a seeing sound, a sound-image or a sound-idea, which links indissolubly in the same luminous body the audition to the vision and the thought. All is full, contained in a single vibration. On the intermediary planes (higher mind, illumined or intuitive mind) these vibrations are generally broken up − they are jets, impulsions, pulsations, − whilst in the overmind they are vast, sustained, self-luminous, like those great notes of Beethoven. They have neither beginning nor end, they seem to be born out of the infinite and disappear into the infinite; they do not “begin” somewhere, they come into the consciousness with a sort of halo of eternity which vibrates ahead and continues to vibrate long after, like the echo of another journey behind this one:
Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangent.
This is from Vergil which Sri Aurobindo quoted as the very first inspirations of overmind origin, owes its overmind quality not to the sense of the words but to this rhythm which precedes the line and follows it, as though it was carried on a background of eternity or rather by Eternity itself. So too this line of Leopardi which does not owe its granduer to the sense but to that something so subtly more than the meaning, which quivers behind:
Insano indegno mister delle cose
Or this line of Wordsworth:
Voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone.
And Sri Aurobindo also quoted Rimbaud:
Million d’oiseaux d’or, ỏ future Vigueur!
Poetry has been restored to its true role, which is not to please but to make the world more real or full of the Real.
Perhaps we will yet see the gods, who people this world, if we are religious-minded. Beings or forces, sounds, lights, rhythms are so many true aspects of the same Thing, indefinable but not unknowable, which is called God – we speak of God, make temples, laws, poems, to try to trap a single pulsation which fills us with sunlight, but it is free as the great wind on foam sprayed shores. Perhaps we shall also enter the world of music which in fact is not distinct from the others but a special translation of this same great unutterable Vibration. And if once, just once, be it a few minutes in a life-time, we hear that Music, that joy which sings above, we shall know what Beethoven and Bach used to hear; we shall know what God is because we shall have heard God. We will not even say anything in capital letters; simply we shall know that, this exists and that all the suffering of the world is redeemed.
At the extreme frontiers of the overmind, there remain only great waves of coloured light, says the Mother, the play of spiritual forces will be translated later – sometimes long afterwards − by new ideas, social changes, terrestrial events, after having crossed one by one all the layers of consciousness and been considerably darkened or deformed in the course of the journey. There are sages down here, rare and silent, who can handle, combine these forces, and who can draw them down to the earth, as others combine sounds for a poem. Perhaps these are truly the poets. Their existence is a living mantra precipitating the Real upon earth.
Thus were completed the degrees of ascension which Sri Aurobindo covered alone in his cell at Alipore. But we have only given a few human gleams of these heights, we have said nothing of their essence, nothing of these worlds as they are in their glory, independently to our poor translations. One must hear for oneself, one must see!
Calm heavens of imperishable Light,
Illumined continents of violet peace,
Oceans and rivers of the mirth of God
And griefless countries under purple suns.
(This is the biography of Sri Aurobindo. So I shall complete this chapter by reading the remaining portion.)
“On the 5th May, 1909, after a year’s imprisonment, Sri Aurobindo was acquitted. He owed his life to two unexpected incidents: one of the prisoners having betrayed him, denouncing him as the leader of the secret movement, his evidence in the case would have meant the death penalty for Sri Aurobindo, when, mysteriously, he was killed by a revolver-shot from a neighbouring cell. Then came the day of trial and as everyone sat expecting the verdict of capital punishment, his own advocate was seized by sudden illumination which spread through the entire hall and shook the jury: “Long after he is dead and gone, his words will be echoed and re-echoed, not only in India, but across distant seas and lands. Therefore I say that the man in his position is not standing before the bar of this court, but before the bar of the High Court of History.” Sri Aurobindo was thirty-seven. His brother Barin, beside him in the cage, was sentenced to the gallows.
But Sri Aurobindo heard all the time the Voice: Remember never to fear, never to hesitate. Remember that it is I who I am doing this, not you nor any another. Therefore whatever clouds may come, whatever dangers and sufferings, whatever difficulties, whatever impossibilities, there is nothing impossible, nothing difficult.
It is I, whom am doing this.”
Actually all that we spoke about the higher mind, illumined mind, intuitive mind, overmind, supermind were the degrees of consciousness that Sri Aurobindo was crossing at this time when he was in the jail. He was ascending all this planes of consciousness and then within a year of his acquittal he ascended into the supermind, crossing even the overmind. So, all that Sri Aurobindo has described in this chapter that we are reading was actually a description of the experiences that he passed through at that time and then thereafter. There are three more important points to be noted, when we come to the end of this. One is the distinction between the Overmind and the Supermind. Secondly, the difference it makes when the Overmind descends and when Supermind descends. Thirdly while Supramental descent is inevitable, indispensable, if the problem that the world faces today is to be resolved.
What is the difference between the Overmind and the Supermind? As I said that overmind is global vision of things, but supermind is what we call comprehensive vision, not only global vision but comprehensive vision. While explaining the difference at one time Sri Aurobindo has said that overmind vision is something similar to what you have when you stand alone in a dark night. On a very high top of a hill a large expanse of things can be seen in the darkness or not seen in the darkness and wherever you cast your eyes there is darkness and therefore, you may express your experience by saying all is dark. But although this statement is true of this experience, it is not really entirely true. In the sense that it is true only of the hemisphere on which you are standing, on the lower hemisphere the sun would be in full splendor. So if you want to see what is Supramental consciousness like, it would see both, the upper hemisphere and the lower hemisphere at the same time. It’s a comprehensive consciousness. The watchword of the overmind is multiplicity that arrives at unity. The emphasis in the overmind is on multiplicity but multiplicity which ultimately is seen to be united. In the supermind the watchword is unity, which manifests itself in multiplicity. Unity is a first vision, multiplicity is a secondary vision. In the overmind there is as it were a pressure that every element of multiplicity is pushed to its extreme conclusion so that ultimately it may come to emphasize division. Unity is something that is opposed to division. In multiplicity there is differentiation but when you allow each element to arrive to its extreme conclusion, you arrive at what maybe called division.