Through the use of logical reasoning the human mind can extrapolate along a straight line of development once a pattern is seen and understood. We can also combine things through the use of the faculty of imagination to spin a web of speculation about the future, building on what we already experience and the trend line that we can observe, and constructing on that foundation. The limitation of the mental framework, however, does not provide us any real insight into any processes that fall dramatically outside the factual basis we can see and know. Just a few short centuries ago, it was virtually impossible for anyone to determine that humanity would travel to the moon, or be able to do genetic recombination and gene-splicing, or that all of humanity would be tied together in a communication network for voice, image and instant communication. How then can we expect to appreciate what is possible with the advent of an entirely new power of consciousness that operates on a totally different basis of knowledge by identity compared to our constructed step by step, block by block, process of mental knowledge?

Sri Aurobindo provides an example by describing the difference between a “typal” world and an “evolutionary” world. A “typal” world is static and expresses a specific type that characterizes the action and methods of that world; to the extent that a new principle becomes active it will override the methods and actions of the prior principles. On the other hand, an “evolutionary” world is dynamic and will continue to show a range of actions, and interactions, as each evolutionary principle finds its relation and role in the complex environment of dynamic evolution. The typal world will obviously be easier to describe as it carries out the character of the principle of which it is the expression. The evolutionary world has to account for a complex interaction of potentially vastly different ways of living, seeing, knowing and acting, and the rich play of forces can lead to less clarity and more unexpected results and additional time involved in developing and stablising the unique balance that must eventually result as the forces involved find their equilibrium. We exist in an evolutionary world where the principle of Matter, the principle of Life and the principle of Mind all are active and modify the pure action of one another to the extent of the variance in their modus of operations. Adding the Supermind principle into this dynamic mix provides another element to be harmonised and worked out while maintaining the basic mechanisms of action of each of the other principles.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “… speculation on the results of the manifestation of a new supramental principle in the earth-consciousness organising itself there as mind, life and matter have already organised themselves — for that is what it comes to — is a little perilous and premature, because we must do it with the mind and the mind has not the capacity to forecast the action of what is above itself — just as a merely animal or vital perception of things could not have forecast what would be the workings of Mind and a mentalised race of beings here. The supermind is a different order of consciousness far removed from the mental — there are in fact several grades of higher consciousness between the human mind and the supramental. If the earth were not an evolutionary but a typal world, then indeed one could predict that the descent of a higher type of consciousness would swallow up or abolish the existing type. Ignorance would end and the creation in the ignorance disappear either by transmutation or by annihilation and replacement. The human mental kingdom would be transformed into the supramental; [the] vital and subhuman, if it existed in the typal world, would also be changed and become supramental. But, earth being an evolutionary world, the supramental descent is not likely to have such a devastating completeness. It would be only the establishment of a new principle of consciousness and a new order of conscious beings and this new principle would evolve its own forms and powers in the terrestrial order. Even the whole human kingdom need not and would not be transformed at once to the whole supramental extent. But at the same time the beginning of a supramental creation on earth is bound to have a powerful effect on the rest of terrestrial existence. Its first effect on mankind would be to open a way between the order of the Truth-light and the orders of the Ignorance here on earth itself, a sort of realised gradation by which it would be possible for mental man to evolve more easily and surely from the Ignorance towards the Light and, as he went, organise his existence according to these steps. For at present the grades of consciousness between mind and supermind act only as influences (the highest of them very indirect influences) on human mind and consciousness and cannot do more. This would change. An organised higher human consciousness could appear or several degrees of it, with the supermind-organised consciousness as the leader at the top influencing the others and drwing them towards itself. It is likely that as the supramental principle evolved itself the evolution would more and more take on another aspect — the Daivic nature would predominate, the Asuro-Rakshaso-Pishachic prakriti which now holds so large a place would more and more recede and lose its power. A principle of greater unity, harmony and light would emerge everywhere. It is not that the creation in the Ignorance would be altogether abolished, but it would begin to lose much of its elements of pain and falsehood and would e more a progression from lesser to higher Truth, from a lesser to a higher harmony, from a lesser to a higher Light, than the reign of chaos and struggle, of darkness and error that we now perceive.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, The Supramental Evolution, pp. 69-75

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at He is author of 16 books and is editor in chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.