“The Supermind is the divine Gnosis which creates, governs and upholds the worlds: it is the secret Wisdom which upholds both our Knowledge and our Ignorance.”—The Life Divine
“The spiritual life will draw its sustenance not from desire but from a pure and selﬂess spiritual delight of essential existence.” —The Synthesis of Yoga
Creating one of these darshan pages is like jumping into the unbounded ocean of being qualified by the specific dramatic visions and undertakings of great souls who have walked among us, or who are still spreading their divine natures to all who wish to live an awakened life. Sri Aurobindo, who lived from 1872-1950, was a political revolutionary activist early in his life and a revolutionary thinker and spiritual visionary for the greater part his adult life. He grew up and was educated in England but when he returned to Calcutta, he took up violent opposition to the British occupation of India. He spent a year in jail, where he had life-transforming visions of God. When he was released from prison, he fled south to Pondicherry, which at the time was a French enclave, with the intent to continue his political activity. It did not turn out that way. Most of his adulthood until he died in 1950 was spent in seclusion with a small group of devoted disciples as he managed his experiences of higher dimensions of reality, God-realization (in the form of Krishna), God union, and ongoing cognitions of reality beyond human consciousness, as well as the influx of divine consciousness into humanity as part of the evolution of spirit, all of which in its totality he called Integral Yoga. He wrote books, many books, which probably constitute the most inclusive model of reality around, a model which, by the way, is devoid of influence of western religion, which he knew about intimately, but which chose not to include in his written expression.
“Good grief!” as Charlie Brown used to say. I am embarrassed to have tried such a simplistic verbalization of Aurobindo’s work, but my job at the moment is just to provide a match for the reader to strike on whatever ground he or she wishes. Many grounds are provided on this page. Besides, as I move deeper into Sri Aurobindo’s consciousness, I anticipate making more precise statements. This is just for starters.
Sri Aurobindo made two major revisions to Indian spiritual thinking. First was his emphasis on the “Supermind,” which he described as the link between cosmic intelligence (sachchidananda) and human existence; it functions as the active evolutionary intelligence of all reality (I hope I got that right), as opposed to the indefinable Brahman, which is beyond being and doing. His second contribution was to reject the Indian depiction of reality as an eternal repetition of cycles of eons called yugas; he depicts human existence as part of an ever-expanding evolution of consciousness into a beyond still yet to be discovered. He wrote profound and densely packed expositions of these realities.
His companion, The Mother, became the translator of his experience and knowledge into a practical landscape, which included teaching and giving darshan, and the creation and maintenance of an Ashram in Pondicherry in southern India until her death in 1973. The Supermind is said to have “downloaded” into her in 1959. She also was the inspiration for the small, dedicated community of Auroville outside of Pondicherry which draws many visitors and seekers who come to bathe in this knowledge.
The videos below are all extraordinary. The first three are a discussion of Sri Aurobindo’s life and cosmic vision, which is delivered by a wonderfully articulate Dr. Debashish Banerjee. They are well worth a listen and will be sufficient for those who wish to take a quick dip into Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual energy and teachings.
The two videos that follow are dynamic animations of Sri Aurobindo’s cosmic vision. The visuals, music, and descriptions of these realities are a powerful immersion into Aurobindo’s full vision in a very short time. Don’t be surprised if your intuition starts flashing insights. If you want to cut to the chase and go big, go directly to “Evolution Fast Forward Part 2.” If you want to see the multi-dimensional reality of the human being and our connection to higher planes of existence, go to “Evolution Fast Forward Part 3.” One should prepare for a shift in consciousness while watching these videos. The analytical mind will not fare well.
After imbedding oneself in Sri Aurobindo’s massive cosmology, one has to ask: Is there any more the mind can do in addressing the evolution of humanity? and What does it say about the state of one’s personal evolution, if one simply passes Sri Aurobindo by? Not a light undertaking. Simple truth is: It’s not just the information or the intellectual vision. Things change inside by exposing oneself to this material. It’s so inclusive. Doors open. Consciousness seeps out of its personal boundaries into an unfamiliar vastness. Higher this or that? It doesn’t matter. These doors don’t close. That’s all you need to know.
My most life-altering experience of Sri Aurobindo has come in reading his major work The Life Divine. This book does not open up to the faint of heart, and those readers who approach it with no background in Indian spirituality would probably find it too daunting to undertake. Naturally, when I became aware of its challenging qualities, I dove right in thumping my chest. Things did not turn out the way I thought.
Lesson: you must learn to use the mind in a different way reading this book; you use it as a launching platform rather than as a thought processor. Think of a Saturn V rocket on the way to the moon. As you read, you find yourself drawn into a higher cognitive function where the abstract conditions, which are the characters in this life divine drama, become as real as the person sitting next to you at dinner. One’s consciousness is the life divine active within itself.
Originally, my intent was to read it beginning to end as was my predilection with books. After reading through nearly half of it in that fashion, my intent broke down. I was devastated to find that it was so hard to manage. Understanding was not a problem. It was the fact that each sentence required deep attention. Imagine a swimmer diving deep into the ocean; he can get where he wants to go but cannot stay long. In reading this book, I had to revise what it meant to “understand” something. I had to learn to dive deeper and to stay longer. Takes practice.
One morning while reading I was hit by a flash of psychic lightening which cracked open my mind as if it were a walnut, and suddenly I knew things the human mind was not structured to know. Alas, I knew them for only as long as it takes lightning to strike. After spending weeks cultivating these intuitional lightning strikes in short bursts of random reading, and having great experiences, I put The Life Divine on my bookshelf, where it rests just to my right. After all, where to go with this? Did these experiences have anything to Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga? Look at the image below. From which gradation of mind do we experience life energy, including language arising out of reading?
Approaching Sri Aurobindo and The Mother requires a willingness to submit yourself to the cosmic mind, or the “Supermind,” as they called it. It is not a warm invitation. The outer cosmos is a real place, but it is not a warm place. Once your psyche breaks through to this level of existence, all pretenses of personal spiritual accomplishment evaporate. I heard Osho say once that Sri Aurobindo wrote great books but that he was not enlightened. One crack of lightning from the Supermind into one’s small personal existence will make such a comment irrelevant and, indeed, any pretenses about enlightenment as a personal goal seem trivial, at least for as long as one is in contact with that higher consciousness space.
A day devoted to viewing the two “Evolution Fast Forward” videos and reading a chapter or two from this book can be life transforming. Be with it and things will change.
I love walking through doors through which there is no return!
All of Sri Aurobindo’s books are available as PDF files at this site:
Don’t forget to scroll down past the videos to the photo gallery.