AUROBINDO YOGA SADHANA
The concept of supramental fitness takes its stand on the Supramental Knowledge and Consciousness. A total and all-comprehending vision is characteristic only of the Supramental Knowledge; whereas our ordinary understanding of life, mind and body is not complete and does not take fully into account their true reality. The limited understanding of life’s truth and the consequential exercise of a substandard knowledge have opposed the true progress of life, suffocated it, deprived it of a harmonious and luminous development. The ordinary concept of life, mind and body is that they are existences tied in fixed rhythms of Nature and that their constitutions cannot be changed. This idea is not valid. We see in fact that the same Nature brings about slow but progressive changes in her manifestations. There is no reason to believe that with man her forward march has come to an end.
To liberate itself from its previous limitations has been the motto of all life. Yet, we find that life still suffers from many limitations - that it is subject to illness, mental depression, discontent, frustration and error. The touch of Superconsciousness will progressively abolish the limitations suffered by our subconscious body-based vitality and by our error-bound mind. Even the sheer Matter constituting our physical body can change, awake and gain a conscious plasticity. A radical change in the realm of body’s, life’s and mind’s consciousness will shift the present course of our life to a new functionality.
The Supramental consciousness was known ever since the Vedic ages, but this knowledge had never been applied to earthy life and matter until Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) took up on himself the Supramental knowledge-force pulling it down to his material body. Sri Aurobindo explained that matter, life and mind are successive manifestations of consciousness, that as we, starting from a subconscious animal past, have climbed into the conscious levels of mind, we can attain also the supramental ranges of consciousness, that this evolutionary progress, which hitherto has been carried out subconsciously by Material Nature, can now be taken up consciously by man. The realization of the Supramental Consciousness will result in an enrichment of our life and vision and also of what we understand as well-being.
To arrive at these desirable results, we must work beyond the borderland of our habitual consciousness. We shall see how our life is seized by forces which oppose our real progress. We shall also see how the touch of Superconsciousness can enlighten the body and abolish life’s and mind’s short-sightedness. As Man was transformed into a thinking personality from a previous subconscious ape-like existence, so he can be transformed into the spiritual superman. The evolution of life does not necessarily mean only the formation of ever-new life-forms; but it is above all the development of consciousness from the inconscient material existence to the highest form of Consciousness. Today’s humanity is half-way from the supreme state of consciousness. A sincere and conscious effort will liberate the buried powers in human nature, will open it to new horizons, will offer to humanity a life in Superconsciousness.
There are lots of publications on the Veda (an ancient Indian scripture). And Sri Aurobindo wrote at length and breadth on Superconsciousness. Still, my students were seeking for a book which could familiarize this great knowledge to their unprepared but yearning minds. Hence, this book took its shape from 30 years of teaching experience, readership, practice of ancient Indian ceremonials and rituals and from the reminiscence of my sensorial experiences in the Indian villages - where Brahmins chant Mantras, monsoonal climate presents every hour new faces of nature, children play with the flood-waters, people worship trees, fishes, snakes, cows and other animals, butterflies bring matrimonial messages to girls before visiting thick vegetations of colourful flowers, bees carry honey from inebriating mango-groves, singing birds keep company to the farmers working in the paddy fields and the horizon wears a mystic cloak both at dawn and after sunset.
The main source of the knowledge handled in this book is not a perfect academic learning, rather it did bloom from memories of my cells, my body-consciousness, my life’s inner vibrations and the candid consciousness of my mind and spirit - even though here things have been outlined in a pattern comprehensible by the taught-mind of an adult. Our selves have experiences of the inner and outer worlds through direct contact and not through the discriminatory labour of intelligence. There are more powerful consciousnesses than the human intelligence, which is but a crude intermediary of the rays of the Spirit.
All human beings have an equal cosmic potentiality to approach the highness of the Spirit. This potentiality is latent within our being and needs to be cultivated so that it may expand to the surface. By our growth in consciousness, we can attain the knowledge and power of our subconscient and unconscient self and of what exists in the upper strata of the mind and beyond it. Unfortunately, our life is mainly focused on vital necessities, personal glory and after-life mysteries. We forget that we have a conscient mind and a freedom which can be employed in unveiling the mysteries of human existence and for becoming stronger and nobler than before. The majority of men still finds vital enjoyments, the bodily wellness, a sense-based surface consciousness of things to be sufficient and satisfactory for a human living. Today, industry-made products and other miracles of the sciences attract the minds of men more than the vibrating voices of the heart. We do not realize that as men we have an important mission to fulfil. Out of the actual animal-born manhood we need to develop the Superhumanity of Tomorrow.
It is palpable now that time has ripened for the emergence of the Superconscious being. Man is realizing that all his attempts by mere reason and intelligence at a harmonious living on Earth are ultimately destined to fail: if he wants at all to realize some kind of perfection here he has to go beyond himself. Behind the Earth’s evolutionary trend there is the will of the Cosmic Spirit, which is trying to emerge with all his splendour in Material Nature.
Birth introduces us to the terrestrial life which terminates as soon as the invisible vital-breath can no longer be maintained in the physical body. The physico-vital system is so sensible and vulnerable that even the smallest interference modifies the state of our life and that of our mind. And we see our Life to deal with the duality of pain and pleasure. Our body-based life and mind, while experiencing the immense joy and beauty of the manifested world, suffer from pains and limitations. However, suffering is a relative term because it is born out of the limitation of bodily power. Life is born for experiencing delight and lives for delight only.
The disappointments in life are so much frequent and common that we consider our physical, vital and mental weaknesses to be natural and perhaps unavoidable. We think that nature is so unkind with us that we are bound to suffer. But we ourselves are part of the same Nature. Our being, our energies, our mind, our humour and our actions all belong to the same Nature.
The whole world is born by an Act of Manifestation, a fact rationally indescribable, but in the last analysis we find that Existence as a whole is a totality of Consciousness. This Existence which we witness has Superconsciousness in the upper hemisphere and inconscience, subconscience and the gamut of mental consciousness in the lower. Everywhere - in void space, in the minutest material particles, in their energies, in the dumb and apparently motionless plant life, in the stereotyped animal life, in human intelligence (which is overwhelmed by the knowledge of the infinite and of the eternal cosmic reality) - we find the play of consciousness in one form or in another. Each human body, life and mind is created by an act of exclusive concentration of consciousness and is working secretly in perfect syntony with the other formations of consciousness like a celestial body moving amidst other celestial bodies in the sky.
The limitations in life have come into being due to the fact that both the bodily mass and life are not sufficiently conscient. Our subconscious biological life has grown and works upon an inconscient base. They are two distinct organizations of consciousness which our mind cannot change. We cannot establish, even temporarily, the willed communication and interaction with them or among them to effect a fruitful change. The thick walls of subconsciousness and inconscience happen to be so strong that our mighty efforts turn out inconsequential. These are the true obstacles of life, which cannot be removed by an external means. The human life has indeed the chance to escape from the vicious circle and darkness of the animal-body-based life to a higher and brighter living and perception, but only through the awakening of our entire being and the direct intervention of a superior consciousness from above.
To arrive at the knowledge of Superconsciousness we need first to go through the vast ocean of the subliminal consciousness. All creatures possess a subliminal layer of consciousness; but only human beings can consciously sound these depths of existence. The subliminal knowledge is somehow accessible to all humans but its feathery touch and complete tales are unknown to our physical mind. The physical mind - in which our consciousness ordinarily dwell - sees only physical things and overlooks the spiritual aspects and other secrets of the worldly manifestations. The obsessive physical mind either rejects the subtleties of the superior visions or it is unable to clutch over the superior values of life because it hasn’t the inherent capacity and power to do it.
Through the subliminal consciousness of our inner being, the knowledge appears more real than if acquired through the activities of the senses. The sense-born experiences stem from sensorial origins and are noted later by the mind. In the direct experience through the subliminal consciousness one finds the knowledge blended within his own energies. Here the knowledge, the knower and the known fuse into one. Such direct knowledge shakes the being wholly, moulds it, fortifies it and liberates it from the slavery of the reasoning mind. Our inner Being knows all because it has direct contact with the secret realities of things. When individuals opened to their inner beings read or learn facts from others, they find their underlying truth appearing from their own secret depths. We come to know these depths sometimes in dreams. Not all dreams in fact are unrealities. There are dreams which are but true visions. These visions appear clearer and profounder than our much-struggled intellectual ideas. In childhood also we have lived a certain relationship with the inner and outer world as if dreaming. We lose access to the subliminal reality once our reasoning mind intervenes.
It is not that visions come only through dreams and not in a wakeful mind. Poets, artists, spiritual men, all see through a high-powered consciousness, which is different from our limited surface consciousness. When there occur high tides in consciousness, extraordinary messages appear. What happens in these circumstances is that the incoming vision is very strong and unperturbed by whatever external force. We are not used to high-tidal consciousness. We live most of our time with a surface consciousness. This happens because our life is so persistently engaged with its basic needs and cultural propensities that our inner being remains isolated, while reason turns blind eyes to the other rainbows of the worldly manifestation. An old alarmism akin to that of the primitive life obliges men to watch over their personal interests, the job of the moment or imminent dangers. Life, accustomed to vital preoccupations, recognizes promptly only those knowledges which are life-saving and intelligible to the physical mind. The result is catastrophic because the voices of our greater selves and their visions happen to be repeatedly doubted, feared, distrusted, discredited and finally abandoned.
The attainment of Superconsciousness (Satyam Ritam Brihat ― the Truth, the Right, the Vast) has been a central idea in the Vedas. It has been typified as the conquest of Swar (the world of Surya, the Sun) by Aryan seeker. This idea has been also mentioned elsewhere. But nowhere and by none in recorded history the science of Superconsciousness has been developed to the point of perfection and overwhelming profundity of the united work of Sri Aurobindo and Mere (1878-1973), who burned all their energies to render Superconsciousness an actuality on Earth and bridge the earth’s soil with the supraphysical world so that the future humanity could proceed towards Superconsciousness.
It is incomparable also Sri Aurobindo’s contribution to adapt old Sanskrit expressions to English language. The Sanskrit terms bear very condensed thoughts and the same phrase covers a variety of meanings. It is very difficult to find out appropriate English equivalents for the Sanskrit phrases as they often convey supraphysical realities. The reader should pay appropriate attention to the Aurobindonean phraseologies like real-idea, truth-consciousness, overmind, earth-consciousness, non-being and so on. “The Life Divine” of Sri Aurobindo unfolds the profound realities surrounding these terms. In addition, the concept of superconsciousness being totally new, numerous ideas have been restated throughout pages of this book for a comfortable reading and for renovating the outlook. Unusual plural form of phrases like “knowledge”, “functioning”, “consciousness”, have been used to relate things to different planes of existence.
Life, mind and any other form of consciousness are powers of Nature and the superior grades of consciousness, simultaneously with their manifestation, will influence and remould them. Superconsciousness will become an actuality in human life. But the practice of the supramental consciousness should never lead anybody to underestimate even slightly the traditional medicine which is as valid as the hidden and unexplored powers of Nature. To get rid of ill health one must consult a medical practitioner.
I expect that this book will help anyone to penetrate into the fascinating subject of Superconsciousness and that every reader will do his best to promote Superconsciousness on Earth.