Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, The Triple Transformation - Session IV

Shakshibhava (Witnessing Consciousness)

I think we need to revise a little of what we have done. We were studying this chapter "The Triple Transformation" and we were nearing the end of the first part of this chapter where we spoke of the emergence of the psychic being and how the psychic being can transform the outer nature. We have said that the psychic being is like an exiled king, whose kingdom is then being ruled by the ministers who are not even prepared to recognise the king and who do not even refer to the king for any advice or any counsel. So these ministers are three—the body, life and mind—and they go on acting in their own light according to their own propensities, and even among themselves they quarrel and there is a great disharmony among them. And then we have said that one of the best ways by which the psychic being can come into the front is to give an experience of this reality in the outer nature; if the outer nature of the body, life and mind can come in contact with this reality then the psychic being can rush out. And then we were considering the processes by which this can be achieved. Now there is one way which is very often prescribed and to which we have not much referred but to which we now can refer and that is the process by which we make a distinction between the outer nature and the status of the being. It is a very important distinction: the movement of nature and the status of being. Actually if you see any activity in the world anywhere you will find that in order to make activity more and more powerful, you require a greater and greater stable base. The greater is the base which is stable, the more powerful is the activity. This is the relationship between stability and movement. Now normally in our experience we are very much in the midst of activity of various kinds. The activities may be very powerful, may be very slow; activities which may be very interesting, activities which may not be so interesting, even in dull moments there is some kind of activity going on. So we are normally in the midst of activity and usually we are absorbed in the activity so that we do not have the time to look at the stable base. That is why an important process is being suggested throughout our history of the Indian system of yoga and that is to withdraw from activity and to look for the stable base. In technical terms this is called the process of: withdrawing from prakriti and entering into Purusha. Purusha consciousness is the experience of stability, and prakriti consciousness is the experience of movement. So we are told that there is a distinction between prakriti and Purusha. We are told that the minimum thing to be done is to develop a state of witness consciousness. In Sanskrit it is called sakshi bhava. Become a sakshin, be a witness to the activities that are going on.

This process of developing the sense of witness is in the beginning quite difficult because of our tendency to become engaged in activity. So it is normally suggested that at least there are three moments when it should be easier to be a witness to your activity. First is at the beginning of an activity. Before you start an activity there may be some pause. It is a favourable moment when you can withdraw from activity and realise that you are the witness to the activity which you are going to perform. The second is when you finish an activity because then also it is easy to have this witness consciousness; you can say, well, I was doing this activity, I have done it and now I can take account of it, I can watch it from outside as it were. These two are easier but there is a third moment and that is in the midst of activity, at the middle point of activity. For example, now you are engaged in listening, it is an activity, it is in the midst of activity. Now at this moment to be aware that you are listening is a very good exercise, that you are not only engaged in listening but you are also witnessing that you are witnessing that you are listening. So, this sense of witnessing of witnessing of witnessing of witnessing of witnessing can go on deeper and deeper and deeper, and when this increases, then a point comes when even while doing any activity this witness consciousness is present throughout so that the entirety of our being is not lost in the activity, we are not absorbed in the activity. Now psychologically it is true that sometimes when you are absorbed in the activity, our activity becomes very proficient for eg. while acting. When an actor forgets that he is acting and becomes completely engaged in the activity of acting, and he forgets to witness that he is acting, his acting is most powerful. He becomes one with his activity and that gives a very powerful proficiency. The moment he becomes aware that he is acting, his acting begins to flounder.

So it is true that this witnessing consciousness may affect the effectivity of action. But that is true only for the time being. As you develop this witnessing consciousness more and more, you can have a double consciousness and by witnessing you can actually modulate your activity even much more powerfully, then what you can do by becoming completely identified with activity. One who is very aware that he is acting, throughout his acting, can be a much better actor than one who forgets that he is acting. So that is another state, another capacity that one develops. Although in the beginning there is a kind of deficiency which one experiences, that is, when you begin to try to be a witness-self. Gradually you find that the greater the continuity of witness consciousness, the greater is your force of activity, so that you are not swallowed up by your activity and whenever you need something more you can always draw from your witness consciousness that what you need in your activity. So one should not be worried if in the beginning the effectivity of action is slightly reduced. It is by continuing to do it and gathering more and more power of witnessing that this capacity is generated and actually increased.

Anamaya, Manomaya, Pranamaya, Chaitya Purusha

Now this experience of witnessing can be done at three normal levels. The easiest is at the level of the mind because our normal experience is that of our mental activity. There the mind is constantly bubbling and the mind is occupied with various kinds of thoughts, sensations, perceptions. Rush of action is felt most by the mind. We do things basically in the mind; whenever the mind is absent we do not do anything, so to say. Therefore it is easier to begin at the level of the mind and try to develop a witnessing consciousness behind the mind, that is to say, to become aware of the thinker. Thinking is an activity, to become aware of the thinker is the first development of this witnessing consciousness, and when you begin to become aware of the thinker, an experience of great quietude also begins to come when you think very quietly, because there are many kinds of thoughts. The highest thought is one in which you try to think very impartially and without any bias and without any great impatience. When you have time to consider pros and cons and then try to arrive at a conclusion based upon all the facts which are given before you and try to make a judgment without any bias, then your witnessing consciousness also becomes more powerful and you can also be more quiet.

This is the experience of what is called manomaya purusha, the mental purusha, the mind purusha, the mind being, which is aware of all the activities of the mind. Now similarly there can be an awareness of the pranamaya purusha which is aware of the vital activities. The activities of desire, the activities of joy, of emotions, activities of suffering, activities of struggle, activities of acquisition, of possession, of relationship, of mastery, of influence, all these are vital activities. And when you begin to witness them — this is more difficult but it can be also done — that in every activity of vital being you witness that you are now possessed of a desire, you are possessed of an emotion and even while you are suffering you know that you are suffering, that you are different from suffering, you are witnessing that you are suffering. Even when you are absolutely happy, you are not excited so much that you are overtaken by happiness, but there is a self in you which stands behind and is withdrawn from the happiness; one witnesses that one is happy. So this is the experience of pranamaya purusha. Similarly with regard to bodily activities also one can become aware, then one can have the experience of annamaya purusha. All our physical activities are similarly witnessed. One becomes aware of all the activities of the body and one is not identified with the body. Normally we are so much identified with the body that we think that we are the body. So in the annamaya purusha we become the witness of the body and we are separated from the body.

Now when you are aware of all the three successively or together then there is a possibility of becoming aware of the purusha which is apart from manomaya, pranamaya and the annamaya, and then can come about a possibility of withdrawing from all activity altogether. In some of the paths of jnanayoga this is what is proposed: first by witnessing all your activities at different levels you arrive at a point when the purusha is felt to be quiet and then the gulf between the activity and your purusha becomes so great that you can easily withdraw from all activity, and when you enter into that state, you are near the immobile purusha, akshara purusha. And sometimes we are told that if you are in that consciousness and sufficiently if you remain in that consciousness you become liberated and you may not even come back to the activity at all. This is very often described as moksha. You become completely free from activity, of the pull of activity, so there is no bandhan. The pull of activity is lost, you do not feel any obligation at all, there is no necessity of entering into activity.

Now this kind of liberation is certainly something which is very precious for the individual but then it may not be so very useful to the others or for the world, because the world continues to remain in activity and others continue to be in the activity and therefore in all kind of sufferings. So if you want to return back to the activity of the world, then you have to have a very stable equilibrium whereby you can be all the time above the activity and yet engaged in activity.

But this becomes easier when apart from the manomaya, pranamaya, annamayah purusha— witness consciousness — you also have an experience of Chaitya Purusha, the psychic being. This is the part of yoga which is not often found except in the Veda, Upanishads and to some extent in the Gita—to become aware of the Chaitya Purusha, of the psychic being. Now psychic being is even deeper than the mind and actually it is that which contains the possibilities of the development of life, mind and body. The secret of the life, mind and body and their formations, their developments, their rhythms, the way in which they are shaping out, even without our knowing are contained in the psychic being — just as a river always flows in a particular direction — similarly the river of our mind, life and body has a tendency to move in one direction. Now if you inquire as to why it moves in one direction, the rationale of it is to be found in the psychic being. The psychic being is there in which the latency, the potentiality of the movements of the body, life and mind are contained. It is, you might say, the reservoir of potentialities in which all the possibilities of body, life and mind movement are contained and also the direction of it, i. e. in what direction they will flow. Therefore the psychic entity is called the soul, the soul is the source. Whenever you use the word soul, it has two meanings — it is the source and it is the stuff of which things are made. The very material of which I am constituted springs from it.

Chaitya Purusha and Jivatman

Q: Is the psychic being different from it?

Yes, the psychic entity or the soul is greater than the psychic being, it is greater than that. The source is always greater. So there is in us a soul which is the source of our body, life and mind and which contains the potentialities of further development of the body, life and mind, and also the direction in which the body, life and mind are to move. In other words the soul may also be regarded as the law of the development of being. Law is always something that gives you direction — whenever you use the word law it has the sense of a direction in which we are always guarded. Law is the guard, it keeps you within limits. The law is that which corrects the flow. There is a flow of movement. That flow is kept in guard, in limits by the soul. That flow is kept in a direction. So, that which keeps you in the right direction is the soul.

Now this soul, this psychic entity, is the true individual of our individuality. Our normal understanding of individuality is what we think of as our ego, but beyond the ego there is an individuality — the true individual — and that is the soul. We had at one time the opportunity to discuss this question in detail but just to refresh ourselves we may say that this soul is itself directed by the Jivatman. Jivatman is what may be defined as the transcendental Lord Himself who can be unique. Transcendental that is unique. This uniqueness is individuality. Each one of us is the unique transcendental but he is himself the Lord, tat tvam asi, that is the great truth of the Upanishad, thou art That. You are that. So, as far as That is concerned there is only one. We are different from each other only in the uniqueness of the expression of That. That expresses itself in innumerable ways and each one of the innumerable ways is one individuality. But because He is transcendental in nature — He is Himself the Lord — the uniqueness has the potentiality of universalising fully, limitlessly, so the individual has the capacity of universalising. That is why we all can be as vast as the universe, We can continuously become vast even though we are limited now. The reason why we can always grow into vastness is because fundamentally our uniqueness is not a limitation, our uniqueness is simply a point of action you might say, a specificity behind which stands the whole of the Supreme Lord Himself, who is himself the creator of the universe. So this individual is what is called in the Veda, Upanishads and the Gita, the Jiva. In Katha Upanishad there is a special mention of Jiva who is described as madbvadaha, he is the eater of honey. This is the description given in the Upanishad byYama that this Jiva is the eater of honey. He is the unique centration of the transcendental who is Satchidananda, and full of Ananda, therefore the very nature of it is honey. He constantly eats the honey; that is the special character of this individual. Now this individual, the Jivatman, is actually behind or above you might say, above the psychic entity or the soul. So the psychic entity is only a kind of a delegate of the individual; delegate for whom? A delegate that guides the body, life and mind in evolution. Therefore this psychic entity contains the potentialities derived from the uniqueness of the individual. All the potentialities, all that you are supposed to do is as it were contained there, and our body, life and mind are actually flowing from there. Although the body, life and mind are not aware of it, but actually they are flowing from there, and they are flowing according to the law which is an expression of the uniqueness of the individuality.

That is why we have a concept not only of dharma but also swadharma. Each one has a swadharma, has a law of his own growth and this swadharma is actually expressed by the Jivatman. The potentialities of the jivatman are all contained in the psychic entity — and when this psychic entity flows it allows the body, life and mind to move from itself, it controls the movements of all this secretly. Actually the psychic entity becomes psychic being to the extent to which it begins to shape itself more and more. Now this shaping of the psychic entity into a psychic being is called the formed psychic entity. The formation of the psychic entity is called the psychic being. When the psychic entity which is full of potentialities, becomes expressed, and when its formation takes place, that formation is called the psychic being. Now that formation depends upon two factors. The extent to which the original nature of the psychic entity is able to express itself more and more in the body, life and mind, we can say that the psychic being has now developed more and more. Secondly the more and more it can control the body, life and mind, we can say it has grown, it has shaped better and better.

Psychic Being as Sakshi, Anumanta and Karta

Q: Can you explain this control more clearly?

The control? Now let us dwell upon this point a little more closely. The psychic entity which is the source of body, life and mind is divided from the body, life and mind by a veil, because of a specific purpose. There is a veil between the psychic entity and the body, life and mind, a veil which is deliberately created not because of any mistake or error or any kind of incapacity. There is a purpose why that veil has been created. The kind of formation of the body, life and mind which is supposed to be created can best be created if first a veil is created and if it is gradually withdrawn. Then only the kind of shape that is required to be made of the body, life and mind can be created. The purpose is to create the right shape of body, life and mind, that is to say body, life and mind are the expressions, they are the rivers flowing from the soul. The purpose is to create the right type of shape of these rivers. Now these rivers will flow in a particular way when in the first place a veil is created between the soul and the body, life and mind, and then that veil is gradually lifted up, and then there is a full flow of the psychic entity, then the right shape will be created.

You might imagine for example that, suppose you are told to build a temple of a certain type, certain shape and there are masons who are going to work out the building of the temple and you are the architect. Now if the masons are first told fully — as to what kind of temple is to be built, they will not be able to grasp it. So, being an architect, a good architect you allow the masons to work out ordinary things although you are behind everybody but the masons go on working in their ordinary way with their limited capacities, without the vision of what kind of temple is to be built. If they are told, they will become so perplexed and so very incapable that they will never be able to carry it out. So you keep yourself away and allow them to work out. As they develop more and more and the things are being shaped better and better, the architect comes more and more into the forefront and gives more and more knowledge to the masons of the real plan that is to be worked out, and then they become conscious of it and then the real thing is built. Now, similar is the relationship between the psychic entity and the body, life and mind. The psychic entity is like an architect and body, life and mind are like the masons, and what is to be built is the Divine temple on the earth, each one of us is to be the Divine temple — each one of us — that is the purpose. So ultimately our whole aim is that every human body is to be the temple of God. This is the aim. Now that aim can be fulfilled if first there is a veiling, and then that veil is gradually lifted. Now the psychic being becomes more and more shaped, more and more capable if the body, life and mind begin to develop more and more in the flow which comes from the psychic entity itself. If gradually the veil is thinned and as you thin down this veil, the control of the psychic entity over the body, life and mind becomes greater and greater. The body, life and mind more and more happily obey the orders of the psychic entity. Instead of being ministers who are arrogant and self-willed, they become ministers who are keen to turn to their king for advice and for guidance. They admit, they acknowledge, the soul as their soul.

So the basic problem in life is first to become aware of the veil, secondly to be aware of what lies behind the veil, thirdly to thin down the veil so that the psychic entity's power flows more and more powerfully, more and more clearly in the body, life and mind, and then to become aware that the psychic being has the power to control and to guide. And when the body, life and mind become aware of the will of the psychic entity — not only the power of manifestation but the will of the psychic entity — you not only see the psychic entity as a witness, not only as a sakshi, but also as anumanta, one who gives the consent, and then you realise further that he is not only anumanta but he is also the karta, he is the real doer. And if the will of the psychic entity begins to formulate itself more and more, then the psychic being develops much more clearly, much more sharply. The one in whom the psychic being rules, you find a certain mark of personality, you find the psychic personality where the body, life and mind are the slaves of the soul and they are very keen to obey the orders of the psychic being. When this is not present then the body, life and mind are the masters, and they regard the soul as exiled and they are not prepared to listen to the soul at all. So there is a difference between the two basic types of personalities, personalities in which the soul has become aware and whose will is therefore able to manifest in the body, life and mind, and personalities which are not at all aware and therefore they are acting in their egoism and they believe themselves to be the masters and deciders of their destiny. The egoistic man and the vitalistic man or the man of opinions and self will, are the two basic types of personalities and then there are, of course, many other combinations. When the physical is predominant you get the physical man, when the vital is dominant you get the vital man, when the mind is dominant you get the mental man, and then there are many kind of mixtures of these aspects of personality, so you get various varieties of personalities in the world.

So in our process of development it is not enough to become aware of manomaya purusha, pranamaya purusha, annamaya purusha and of the purusha that can withdraw from the world, but you have to become aware of the Chaitya Purusha. This awareness is very important if you really want to have both silence and activity simultaneously, and because without it you cannot really help in this world which is a world of action. This is all the necessity of this development. When this psychic entity becomes more and more powerful, and the psychic being is formed then all our parts of nature, body, life and mind, as it were, get x-rayed by the psychic being. The veil becomes thinner and thinner, so under the light of the psychic being the motives of our body, life and mind become x-rayed and they are seen very clearly. The purity and the knowledge of the psychic being radiates very clearly on the body, life and mind. The psychic entity is always pure, that is it's very nature. It is the delegate of the Jivatman, which is the eater of honey for ever, eternally. That Jiva is ever free. The experience of this building of the temple of the Divine is made by the Jivatman which is free, through the activity of the soul which is its delegate. Therefore basically this soul manifests only what is given to it by the Jivatman, and Jivatman manifests only what is given by God Himself. So you might say that God alone is the real doer; the real architect is God who is reflected through the Jivatman and through the psychic being. And even body, life and mind actually move from the soul but because of the veil, this is not known, so the real doer is actually God but we do not know it. The body, life and mind believe that they are the doers. That is why the Bhagavad Gita says that people believe that they are the doers, and actually the doer is God Himself. Although activity flows from God, because of the veil that activity flows in a distorted fashion. But this distortion becomes corrected when this veil is thinned little by little and ultimately lifted out. When this flow of the psychic entity becomes very powerful and body, life and mind are suffused with the light of the psychic being, then we say a psychic transformation has taken place. This in brief is the first step of the psychic transformation, when the psychic being begins to infiltrate more and more powerfully, when every nook and corner of the being is exposed to the light of the psychic being and everything is put in tune with the psychic being.

Now, let me read out two passages from here:

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, p.906

..there is even a Self of body of which, by standing back from the body and its demands and activities and entering into a silence of the physical consciousness watching the action of its energy, it is possible to become aware, a true and pure physical being, the Purusha. So too, by standing back from all these activities of nature successively or together, it becomes possible to realise one’s inner being as the silent impersonal self, the witness Purusha. This will lead to a spiritual realisation and liberation, but will not necessarily bring about a transformation; for the Purusha, satisfied to be free and himself, may leave the Nature, the Prakriti, to exhaust its accumulated impetus by an unsupported action, a mechanical continuance not renewed and reinforced or vivified and prolonged by his consent, and use this rejection as a means of withdrawing from all nature. The Purusha has to become not only the witness but the knower and source, the master of all the thought and action, and this can only be partially done so long as one remains on the mental level or has still to use the ordinary instrumentation of mind, life and body. A certain mastery can indeed be achieved, but mastery is not transformation; the change made by it cannot be sufficient to be integral: for that it is essential to get back, beyond mind-being, life-being, body-being, still more deeply inward to the psychic entity inmost and profoundest within us—or else to open to the superconscient highest domains. For this penetration into the luminous crypt of the soul one has to get through all the intervening vital stuff to the psychic centre within us, however long, tedious or difficult may be the process. The method of detachment from the insistence of all mental and vital and physical claims and calls and impulsions, a concentration in the heart, austerity, self-purification and rejection of the old mind movements and life movements, rejection of the ego of desire, rejection of false needs and false habits, are all useful aids to this difficult passage: but the strongest, most central way is to found all such or other methods on a self-offering and surrender of ourselves and of our parts of nature to the Divine Being, the Ishwara. A strict obedience to the wise and intuitive leading of a Guide is also normal and necessary for all but a few specially gifted seekers.

As the crust of the outer nature cracks, as the walls of inner separation break down, the inner light gets through, the inner fire burns in the heart, the substance of the nature and the stuff of consciousness refine to a greater subtlety and purity, and the deeper psychic experiences, those which are not solely of an inner mental or inner vital character, become possible in this subtler, purer, finer substance; the soul begins to unveil itself, the psychic personality reaches its full stature. The soul, the psychic entity, then manifests itself as the central being which upholds mind and life and body and supports all the other powers and functions of the Spirit; it takes up its greater function as the guide and ruler of the nature. A guidance, a governance begins from within which exposes every movement to the light of Truth, repels what is false, obscure, opposed to the divine realisation: every region of the being, every nook and corner of it, every movement, formation, direction, inclination of thought, will, emotion, sensation, action, reaction, motive, disposition, propensity, desire, habit of the conscious or subconscious physical, even the most concealed, camouflaged, mute, recondite, is lighted up with the unerring psychic light, their confusions dissipated, their tangles disentangled, their obscurities, deceptions, self-deceptions precisely indicated and removed; all is purified, set right, the whole nature harmonised, modulated in the psychic key, put in spiritual order. This process may be rapid or tardy according to the amount of obscurity and resistance still left in the nature, but it goes on unfalteringly so long as it is not complete. As a final result the whole conscious being is made perfectly apt for spiritual experience of every kind, turned towards spiritual truth of thought, feeling, sense, action, tuned to the right responses, delivered from the darkness and stubbornness of the tamasic inertia, the turbidities and turbulences and impurities of the rajasic passion and restless unharmonised kinetism, the enlightened rigidities and sattwic limitations or poised balancements of constructed equilibrium which are the character of the Ignorance.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine - II: The Triple Transformation

So this is what happens when the psychic being is able to move forward and become the ruler of our nature.

Distinction between Psychic and Spiritual experiences

Now the next step is the step towards what Sri Aurobindo calls the spiritual transformation.

What is the distinction between psychic and spiritual first of all? In a sense, all that is beyond mind is called spiritual, so even what is psychic can be called spiritual. That is in a very rough and general way. But when we use the word spiritual as distinguished from psychic, then the distinction rests upon the fact that the psychic is connected with the individual. Psychic is connected with the formation of the individual. Psychic is connected with the delegate of the Jivatman and the experiences of this delegate in the relationship that this psychic entity has with the perfection of its formation, by its own specific activity: its unique activity. Unending self-surrender to the Divine is the specific activity of the psychic entity. Even the body can surrender to the Divine, life can surrender to the Divine, mind also can surrender to the Divine but the emotion, the love and the Ananda which is spontaneous in the psychic being for the surrender to the Divine is something which is unique to the psychic entity. So experiences of this kind which are centred in this field and the effect of these experiences in the formation and perfection of the individuality, and the influence of this on the body, life and mind and perfection of the body, life and mind by this influence is all called psychic. But there are other experiences for which also psychic being prepares us but the domains of which are not centred on the individual, they are centred on the universal and the transcendental.

The experience of the immobile Brahman, Akshara Purusha, experience of the self in all, the experience of the cosmic action of Ishwara, the universal and transcendental peace of the Divine, the action of the transcendent on the earth, the downpour of light, love, knowledge, peace coming down from the Supreme, the experience of the spirit that is spaceless and timeless; this domain is specifically called the domain of spirituality as distinguished from the domain of the psychic. In a simpler way you can say that spiritual is designated by experiences which take you away from space and time i. e. "when you transcend space and time. And when you experience continuity of space and time and your individuality as a continuous immortal, that is psychic.

Q: As immortal?

Immortal is that which is constantly in space and time, all the time, but undying.

One of the marks of the psychic experience is that you realise that you are not only in this body but you have incarnated many bodies in the past and you can incarnate many bodies in the future and you are immortal, that which is the same, that you are the one who cast off the old clothes when they are worn-out and you take new bodies and new clothes. It is an experience of being in space and time — you are not out of space and time. In space and time when you are immortal individually, all experiences that are connected with this, are psychic. When you experience the Supreme Divine as spaceless and timeless and the One who stands above space and time — even though you may be in space and time but who stands above space and time —these experiences are spiritual. Secondly in the psychic experiences, you are limited to the fields of body, life and mind. Dealing with body, life and mind, converting body, life and mind, transforming body, life and mind, using these instruments of body, life and mind is something which is peculiar to the psychic level.

Spiritual Transformation

But when you go beyond the mind and develop other experiences of other instruments higher than the mind, then they are spiritual experiences. In the Bhagavad Gita there is a distinction made between Para Prakriti and Apara Prakriti. Apara Prakriti consists of body, life and mind but there is also a Para Prakriti. Apara Prakriti is a lower instrument but Para Prakriti is an instrument of God Himself. So the utilisation of Para Prakriti as an instrument is a part of spiritual development. Sri Aurobindo distinguishes several instrumentations beyond the mind. There is above the mind a higher mind; above the higher mind is the illumined mind; above the illumined mind is the intuitive mind; above the intuitive mind is the overmind; and above the overmind is the supermind. These are the layers of instrumentations. We are aware only of body, life and mind but when you can begin to ascend into these higher planes, then you become more and more vast, not only individualised in this small field of action but your scope of action becomes very vast.

In the higher mind you begin to live in thousands of thought-systems at the same time. At present we are hardly able to keep two or three systems of thought in the mind, that too with great difficulty. You can compare one thought system with another and that too with great difficulty. But in the higher mind, thousands of systems of thought can stay together harmoniously in your mind.

In the illumined mind, not only do you have a capacity of thinking of this kind when you can have thousands of thoughts together, but you have a power similar to thousand eyes so that not only can you think in thousand ways or with thousand systems of thought but you can see at once thousand systems of reality. That is why Indra is called sahastra-aksha. Indra is the Lord of the illumined mind. When thousand eyes open up on the universe at the same time, that is the consciousness in which we live when we are elevated to the illumined consciousness, illumined mind.

The intuitive mind is when you can experience thousands of experiences simultaneously, you can touch, you can smell, thousands of systems. You intimately experience them by identity, not only do you see because when you see there is still a distance between you and the sight, but in the interactive mind you feel yourself penetrating into all things simultaneously. Actually Ramakrishna was supposed to be living constantly in the intuitive mind. He could see and feel and touch thousands of things at the same time, and correctly — intuition is always a truth perception, there is no mistake in it.

And when you can go above it, into the overmind; millions of aspects open out and you can see each one to its logical extreme.

And supermind is one in which these millions of things are united together in one vision, like Vishnu's eye. In the Veda, Vishnu's eye has been described as if one eye is occupying the whole sky. Such is the supramental vision in which there is unity of all things, the supreme universal consciousness, enlightened, illumined.

All this movement from higher mind to supermind is called spiritual consciousness. The descent of all this into the mind, life and body and transformation of body, life and mind by all these powers is called spiritual transformation.

And this is followed by the third notion — I'm speaking rapidly like this so you can have the full picture like a geographical map. When you can, not only ascend into the supermind but can fix yourself in the supermind, and then if that consciousness being fixed can descend into overmind and intuitive mind and illumined mind and higher mind and mind and life and body and even below the body into the subconscient and the inconscient, if it can go down and down and down, and then if it can transform them, not only the coming down but even the transformation right down to the inconscient, that process is called supramental transformation.

So these are the three basic steps to triple transformation: the psychic transformation, the spiritual transformation and the supramental transformation.

Q: The Divine's will can be known in which stage of mind?

Even psychic being can know because it is directly connected. Psychic being is a delegate of the Jivatman and Jivatman is the transcendental himself specifically.

Q: Even in the psychic transformation?

That is why our psychic transformation is so important. The easiest way of finding out God's will is to contact the psychic being. Without doing anything else, if you are in the psychic being, it is the easiest way of doing it. So that is why we are told that the easiest thing is: surrender to the Divine, offer yourself to the Divine, let the Divine take charge of you, that will create the psychic consciousness, and the moment you take that stand the Divine's will flow through you.