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Tradition created by the Mind


September 30,  2001

  • Mind is an instrument of division that by losing itself in its activities and identifying with life and body creates Ignorance and completes it.
  • It is still capable of not severing its relation with its origin Supermind and can serve as a doorway to reach the Absolute.
  • Man's highest instrument is Mind.
  • The coordinating intelligence of the Mind is ego.
  • Ego which is beyond Time and Space in its active functioning reveals the cosmic Self when it dissolves.
  • Mind's highest reach is a mental glimpse of Sat which is Akshara Brahman.
  • One can reach Akshara Brahman by mind with or without shedding the ego. The mind that has this experience is the surface mind.
  • Surface mind or being extends to all Becoming. Without entering into the subliminal being one has no access to the Being of the Becoming. Otherwise, his reach ends in Being in Timelessness.
  • Tradition is of the surface mind and ego.
  • Tradition has no knowledge of Supermind acting in life. It knows the plane of Supermind and many have realised it individually internally.
  • Every chapter of The Life Divine is so constructed as to reveal the full significance of the difference between mind and Supermind. It comes out in each argument.
  • If a reader of The Life Divine reviews each chapter from this perspective he will be able to enter into its spirit more fully.
  • To do so, it will be better to keep in one's view the various characteristics of mind and Supermind especially in their differing aspects.
  • To know these aspects is not to know how they express in the cognition of objects and persons.





Can lose itself in itself.

Being a self-existent whole, cannot thus lose itself.

Creator of Ignorance.

Possessor of Knowledge.

Acts by thought that understands by difference.

Knows by the vibration of unity, even between will and Knowledge.

Can think only of itself, incapable of knowing another.

Knows the other as itself.

Acts by idea that is a movement of the mind.

Creates by the Real-Idea that is a vibration of Being.

Knows the finite and not the infinite

Knows the finite as the frontal aspect of the infinite.

Is determined by the ego.

Has no ego.

Is on the surface being

Is in the subliminal being.

Is bound by Time and Space

Is in simultaneity of Time and the Timeless.

Is separative.

Is a whole.

Subject to quality, quantity, form.

Not subjected to them as the mind is.

Is partial, psychological; still can reach the other side.

Is a whole, non-psychological.

Uses reason and logic.

Employs intuition and the logic of the Infinite.

Can understand only in terms of name and form.

Can see the Truth beyond it, lying behind.

Incapable of conceiving the Absolute.

Can express the Absolute.

Acts through intellect.

Has integral experience.

Is obliged to Reason.

Not obliged.

Goes into trance.

Always awake.


Seeks Self-affirmation.


I intend explaining the chapter The Pure Existent from the above point of view.

  • Tradition tries to reach higher levels of the Spirit in dhyana (meditation) by concentration which takes one to trance.
  • Sri Aurobindo opens the chapter not with meditation but by an egoless gaze. It can witness the universe as an ocean of energy.
  • These two approaches mainly differ in this perspective.
  • Having seen the Universe as an ocean of energy, the ego resumes its lost position and has two responses to its vision.

1. It desires to use the ocean for its petty purposes, or

2. It feels its insignificant separate existence.

  • He goes on to explain to mind what it is said to be incapable of comprehending. Mind is capable of remembering in its memory, its observer can observe, the thinker think. This thinking is its intellectuality that evaluates the information brought to it by its senses. The pure mind that is separated from the sense impressions is capable of conceiving. This part of the mind can lead to the Supermind, its origin. Sri Aurobindo appeals to the pure mind that can conceive.
  • Behind the solar system and anthill lies the pure Brahman, says He. Mind is unable to conceive of it; at best, it can remember this as an information. Receiving this into the conceptual mind, man can prepare himself for the adventure.
  • That strength and weakness hold the same energy, confirmation and negation are the same, sound and silence are not different are concepts meant for this higher faculty of the human mind.
  • Man, who considers himself a part, does not know he is important to this immensity, nor does he imagine that his own life can be run by this whole. Can we imagine abolishing the family and becoming a part of the wider community which would manage us as individuals? Still, it is the truth.
  • The separative human mind cannot think of it. The mind that aspires to be touched by the Supermind can think of such a possibility. To understand this argument in its own original light, one needs that change of attitude, from the human mind to the Supermind.
  • Sri Aurobindo's experiment in explaining the mystic truths to the human intellect discovers the higher faculties of reason. Reason, He says by implication, can see beyond movement to stability, its opposite.
  • Mind's characteristic is to see one side and only one side.
  • Only the Supermind can see both sides simultaneously.
  • But mind, as it was originally constituted, can see both sides alternately, if not simultaneously. Sri Aurobindo draws upon this capacity of mind and shows us that mind that knows only movement can, when it chooses, see its opposite, stability.
  • Mind seeing only one side is a closed mind. Seeing both sides, it becomes an open mind.
  • He employs logic that knows each affirmation brings in the negation. If movement is there, He says, there will be repose.
  • In this chapter here and at the end, Sri Aurobindo is able to take the mind out of its own self-imposed limitation, but He does not go beyond where both the opposites are united. That lies in the spiritual part of the mind, especially the evolving part of the Spirit - the psychic. He even says on the last page of this chapter that, as we cannot think of the unknowable, let us accept both sides.
  • In repose, Energy becomes Existence - a feat of logical thinking.
  • Man knows the finite; his mind cannot know anything beyond the boundless finite.
  • By a very simple explanation, He shows what we know as finite is truly infinite.
  • The next step is to show that it is not merely infinite but also absolute.
  • As this existence cannot be described by quantity, quality or form it is necessarily an absolute.
  • Sri Aurobindo does not stop with Reason but says one is not bound by reason.
  • To bridge the gap between the intellect and intuition, HE constructs the whole scale adding integral experience.
  • Intellect intuition and integral experience have a correspondence to Time, Timelessness and simultaneous integrality of both of them.
  • Intellectual statement is an account to ourselves, perhaps an opinion of ours not related to the thing in itself. Intuition is knowledge of the outside object directly secured without a medium.
  • Integral experience is to become the object itself.
  • Having made Pure Existence a mental concept now He has shown it is no mere concept, but a fact.
  • Sri Aurobindo stops here, but his method reveals its spiritual significance by the question He raises at the end of the chapter.
  • The world consists of Purursha and Prakriti. Mind can see only one aspect at a time. So it sees the Purusha or Prakriti but also goes to affirm one and deny the other or accepts both as separate aspects. It is not made to see both as a whole simultaneously, but Supermind is.
  • The Upanishads, the materialists and the scientists assert that Prakriti exists by itself. His vision is Purusha and Prakriti are one. The one is the power of the other.
  • In the next chapter, He proves that Prakriti is the power of the Purusha, which is a supramental vision.
  • The points of departure from mind to Supermind are,

- dissolution of ego.

- we are important to the ALL.

- moving from the intellect to the conceptual mind.

- making Reason go beyond movement to stability.

- asking man to take the view of the ALL.

- removing separation by putting one's life at the disposal of the ALL.

- making infinity a practical concept.

- asking man to accept Shiva as well as Kali.

- positing the relation between Being and Becoming and launching to discover it.

- showing the infinite existence is not merely an infinite but is an absolute.

- taking man from his own intellectual understanding to intuition as well as integral experience.

story | by Dr. Radut