CHENNAI: Mind is not only awakened by life-action in the body at a certain evolutionary pitch of its operations; mind reacts upon and in certain ways uses, for its own characteristic purpose, modified by its will to act and increase the life action and the ways of the body.
Mind is not limited in its thoughts by the life and body. There is an action in it which is more than a creative stress of life, an attempt to image supraphysical realities, which we may dismiss as an illusion or a result of abnormal physiological states, but may also follow as first clues to a greater truth and possibly a higher tone or tones of the scale of being. In that case, mind appears as a larger thing than life and material being.
Though apparently an evolution from life and the body, it may have been in reality a prior power, life and body only its occasions and means for self-manifestation on the material plane of being.
At any rate, psychology has to regard the scale not only from the upward point of view of body creating life, life creating mind, but from the downward point of view of mind creating new life in body.
Evidently mind is a greater thing, higher than life and body. In that case, besides the ascending scale of the lower rising to a highest possibility, we must regard a possibility of the descending scale, the highest reality involving itself in the lower conditions of being.
But the question arises whether mind itself is the highest possibility or the highest reality.
Vedantic psychology explores the idea and intuition of a higher reality than mind. The intuition can only be verified by psychological experience exceeding the normal action of mind.
The experience may lead to constantly ascending intuitions verified by an ascent of experience to some summit of being.
Beyond mind, psychological experience finds another power of energy, another note in the scale of being. This we will call the supermind.
This supermind lives and acts natively in a domain of experience of which the mind becomes aware by a reflective experience and calls vaguely spirit or spiritual being. Spirit is found to have three tones of its being. Triune, it makes each successively a power of its energy, a status of spiritual experience and form of its action.
Triune, they are inseparable, but one or other can be so stressed as to appear a leading principle. But we have to note three essential facts about spirit: Spirit is infinite consciousness, even when it dwells upon finite formulations of conscious being. Awareness of spirit is infinite self-awareness.
All its three essential principles must have this character of infinity. Infinite self-conscious bliss is the first; infinite self-conscious energy is the second; infinite self-conscious existence the third principle of spirit.
Existence, consciousness, bliss are the three tones of infinity, the three basic colours of the Absolute. The ascending scale of being presents then seven notes -- matter, life, mind, supermind, bliss self, self of conscious energy, self of primary conscious existence.
But the experience we get as we ascend in the scale leads us to the discovery that what in evolution appears subsequent is prior in reality.
Life evolves in matter, but was preexistent to matter, latent, omnipresent, waiting for matter to be ready to be manifest -- which it does when the movement of energy reaches a certain intensity.
Mind evolves in embodied life, but was preexistent to matter and life, latent, omnipresent, involved, a hidden cause of action waiting for life and matter to be ready for its manifestation which comes when the movement of energy has reached a greater intensity.
So supermind is prior to mind, latent, omnipresent, involved even in matter and life, a hidden cause of action and waits for mind to be ready for its manifestation, and since supermind acts only in spirit, spirit too must be there latent, omnipresent, involved, a hidden cause of action.
But spirit is not dependent on the evolution of supermind for its manifestation; it can appear to our mentality, to our life-consciousness, even to our physical mind.
The true nature and rationale of the priority appear in the descending scale. There we see the true development of the universe.
Spirit of self-being develops self of conscious energy which supports its self of cosmic bliss, which acts on the finite by supermind, which offers its differentiations to mind, relates them in life, fixes them phenomenally in body of material substance.
This is the descending scale by which universe is created or made sensible to embodied soul.
But in the material world, all is first involved in matter and has to find itself by a development from material being and with material being as its support and basis.
The evolving process of this self-discovery of the universal existence produces the phenomenon of evolution of higher and greater from lower and lesser principles which we call the ascending scale of being.
This phenomenon, baffling now to the reason, becomes a self-evident proposition when we observe the descending scale and find involution to have preceded evolution.
The phenomenon arises inevitably from the nature of our being. Schema of being has to be formulated from these two points of view, the results, though data of experience being at first taken as a working hypothesis, subject to verification.
We follow actually the ascending scale, but the descending scale has first to be shown, as otherwise the possible explanations of psychological phenomenon which result from this line of experience, would be unintelligible and would have either to be excluded or the whole enquiry restated in altered detail in the end.
All questions of the reality or unreality of the world, its fundamental or ultimate purpose or want of purpose, the destiny of the soul, must be left over till the psychological data have been un
Excerpt from the book Essays Divine and Human by Sri Aurobindo