Paragraph 12 – 15

Study Notes


     From our ascending point of view we may say that the Real is behind all that exists; it expresses itself intermediately in an Ideal which is a harmonised truth of itself; the Ideal throws out a phenomenal reality of variable conscious-being which, inevitably drawn towards its own essential Reality, tries at last to recover it entirely whether by a violent leap or normally through the Ideal which put it forth.


     There is an ascending scale of evolution from the subconscient matter to the superconscient plane of existence. At all levels it is the Real (Supermind) that is behind all existence. This Real, expresses itself intermediately in an Ideal. This Ideal is nothing but the harmonised truth of itself.
     First comes the Real, then comes the Ideal which translates into a phenomenal reality (the manifested world) of Conscious-being. This conscious-being is inevitably drawn towards the essential Reality (Sachchidananda). It tries to recover the Reality either by a violent leap (by ascetic path, rejecting the world and embracing the Transcendent) or normally through the ideal (embracing the world and yet transcending it) which puts it forth.

It is this that explains the imperfect reality of human existence as seen by the Mind, the instinctive aspiration in the mental being towards a perfectibility ever beyond itself, towards the concealed harmony of the Ideal, and the supreme surge of the spirit beyond the ideal to the transcendental. The very facts of our consciousness, its constitution and its necessity presuppose such a triple order; they negate the dual and irreconcilable antithesis of a mere Absolute to a mere relativity.


     It is this intermediary status of human being which makes the Mind to conclude imperfect reality of the human existence. There is an instinctive aspiration of the mental being always towards perfection beyond itself. It aspires towards harmony which is hidden behind the Ideal. Finally, it aspires to rush beyond the ideal to the Transcendent (Sachchidananda).
     The very facts of the of our consciousness, its constitution and its necessity requires such a triple order – imperfect reality of human existence, aspiration to harmonise with the Ideal (Truth, Beauty, Love etc) and going beyond the Ideal to transcendent- as a pre-condition. The theory that the Absolute (the Divine) and the relative world are irreconcilable opposites is negated by such facts.


     Mind is not sufficient to explain existence in the universe. Infinite Consciousness must first translate itself into infinite faculty of Knowledge or, as we call it from our point of view, omniscience. But Mind is not a faculty of knowledge nor an instrument of omniscience; it is a faculty for the seeking of knowledge, for expressing as much as it can gain of it in certain forms of a relative thought and for using it towards certain capacities of action.


     Why Mind is not able to explain the existence in the universe? We know that universe is the manifestation of Infinite Consciousness. Only infinite faculty of knowledge or omniscience can explain the existence in the universe. But Mind is not a faculty of knowledge or an instrument of omniscience (all-knowing). Mind is a faculty for seeking knowledge. It is a faculty for expressing in certain forms of thoughts and using it towards certain capacities of action.

Even when it finds, it does not possess; it only keeps a certain fund of current coin of Truth—not Truth itself—in the bank of Memory to draw upon according to its needs. For Mind is that which does not know, which tries to know and which never knows except as in a glass darkly. It is the power which interprets truth of universal existence for the practical uses of a certain order of things; it is not the power which knows and guides that existence and therefore it cannot be the power which created or manifested it.


     Even when the mind finds knowledge it does not possess it. It only keeps a certain aspect of the Truth for its future use. Mind is that which does not know but only tries to know. Mind never knows and what it knows is something seen through the dark glass. Mind is like a mirror which only reflects what is already there. Mirror does not possess the image. Law of gravitation exists independent of the mind. It would be still there even if the mind does not discover it.
     Mind is only a power to interpret certain truths of universal existence for practical use in life. It is not the power that guides the existence. Therefore, Mind cannot be the power which created and manifested the universe as the monistic Awaita believes.

     (……This is true of the mind; for everybody moves in a mental world of his own, created by his own thoughts. And it is so true that always, when something has been said, each understands it in a different way; for what he catches is not the thing that has been spoken but something he has in his own head. But it is a truth that belongs to the movement of the mental plane and holds good only there.
     For the mind is an instrument of action and formation and not an instrument of knowledge; at each moment it is creating forms. Thoughts are forms and have an individual life, independent of their author: sent out from him into the world, they move in it towards the realisation of their own purpose of existence. – The Mother: CWM; Vol 3: p.50)


     But if we suppose an infinite Mind which would be free from our limitations, that at least might well be the creator of the universe? But such a Mind would be something quite different from the definition of mind as we know it: it would be something beyond mentality; it would be the supramental Truth. An infinite Mind constituted in the terms of mentality as we know it could only create an infinite chaos, a vast clash of chance, accident, vicissitude wandering towards an indeterminate end after which it would be always tentatively groping and aspiring. An infinite, omniscient, omnipotent Mind would not be mind at all, but supramental knowledge.


     We have seen in the earlier paragraphs that the Mind cannot be the creator of the universe. Because mind represents finiteness and division. Then, Sri Aurobindo takes us to the next possibility. Can we not think of an infinite mind which is free from the limitations of the finite mind that could create the universe?
     If there is such a mind, then we cannot call it by the name ‘mind’ in the usual sense of the term. It would be something beyond mentality. Sri Aurobindo calls it Supramental Truth.
     We cannot think of an infinite mind constituted in terms of the usual mentality. It could only create an infinite confusion, clash of chance, accident, leading to an end without any decisive result. Mind at the present level cannot be infinite, omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipotent (all-powerful). Only supramental knowledge possesses such characteristics.


     Mind, as we know it, is a reflective mirror which receives presentations or images of a pre-existent Truth or Fact, either external to or at least vaster than itself. It represents to itself from moment to moment the phenomenon that is or has been. It possesses also the faculty of constructing in itself possible images other than those of the actual fact presented to it; that is to say, it represents to itself not only phenomenon that has been but also phenomenon that may be: it cannot, be it noted, represent to itself phenomenon that assuredly will be, except when it is an assured repetition of what is or has been.


     Mind is like a mirror. The Truth or Fact is something which is pre-existent outside the mind. Often such a Truth is vaster than the Mind. What Mind does is, it simply reflects the Truth like a mirror that reflects the sun light. For example, all scientific discoveries are pre-existent truths. Law of gravitation is there ever since earth was formed.
     This universe is phenomenal – meaning, a place where something or some event is always happening. Mind puts before it all such phenomenon that is and has been. Mind also has the capacity to construct images other than those of actual facts presented before it. That is its imaginative power. For example, mind knows the fact that for every action there is an equivalent and opposite reaction. Mind could create an image of a rocket based on the above fact.
     Mind can create all possibilities from the facts presented to it. It can present to itself not only the phenomenon that already exists but also the phenomenon that may exist. Yet, what mind cannot represent to itself is the certainty of occurrence of a future phenomenon unless it an extension of the repetition of the past events (Forecasts made by science in respect of events like eclipses).

It has, finally, the faculty of forecasting new modifications which it seeks to construct out of the meeting of what has been and what may be, out of the fulfilled possibility and the unfulfilled, something that it sometimes succeeds in constructing more or less exactly, sometimes fails to realise, but usually finds cast into other forms than it forecasted and turned to other ends than it desired or intended.


     Mind is capable of forecasting new changes that may happen by the meeting of the past and future possibilities. Mind sometimes succeeds in this exercise or fails sometimes. Sometimes there is the deviation of forms from the original prediction (Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming by an accidental fungal growth on a bacterial culture. The growth killed the bacteria)

     (……. It is an instrument of organisation and formation, very powerful and very capable when it is well developed.
     One can feel this very clearly when one wants to organise one’s life, for instance—to put the different elements in their place in one’s existence. There is a certain intellectual faculty which immediately puts each thing in its place and makes a plan and organises. And it is not a knowledge that comes from the mind, it is a knowledge which comes, as I said, from the mystic depths of the soul or from a higher consciousness; and the mind concentrates it in the physical world and organises it to give a basis of action to the higher consciousness.
     One has this experience very clearly when one wants to organise one’s life. Then, there is another use. When one is in contact with one’s reason, with the rational centre of the intellect, the pure reason, it is a powerful control over all vital impulses. All that comes from the vital world can be very firmly controlled by it and used in a disciplined and organised action. But it must be at the service of something else—not work for its own satisfaction.
     These are the two uses of the mind: it is a controlling force, an instrument of control, and it is a power of organisation. That is its true place. – The Mother: CWM: VOL 8: p.189)