There are further levels of consciousness beyond the intuition. The next superior level, as Sri Aurobindo has defined it, is that of the ‘overmind’. The overmind involves at least a partial shift of standpoint as it sees and understands the greater oneness and unity and factors that knowledge into its action. It is, however, primarily focused on effectuation of the spiritual knowledge into the limited and much less flexible framework provided by the mind-life-body complex.

The higher light and force of the supreme reality and the supramental level of consciousness is too bright and overpowering for the mind-life-body complex to bear. It is the role of the Overmind to act as something like a “step-down transformer” of the light and force that it receives from above, to make it possible to disseminate a lesser power of that light into the lower terms of the creation.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “…the overmind knows the One as the support, essence, fundamental power of all things, but in the dynamic play proper to it it lays emphasis on its divisional power of multiplicity and seeks to give each power or Aspect its full chance to manifest, relying on the underlying Oneness to prevent disharmony or conflict. Each Godhead, as it were, creates his own world, but without conflict with others; each Aspect, each Idea, each Force of things can be felt in its full separate energy or splendour and work out its values, but this does not create a disharmony, because the overmind has the sense of the Infinite and in the true (not spatial) Infinite many concording infinities are possible.”

“In its nature and law the Overmind is a delegate of the Supermind Consciousness, its delegate to the Ignorance. Or we might speak of it as a protective double, a screen of dissimilar similarity through which Supermind can act indirectly on an Ignorance whose darkness could not bear or receive the direct impact of a supreme Light. Even, it is by the projection of this luminous Overmind corona that the diffusion of a diminished light in the Ignorance and the throwing of that contrary shadow which swallows up in itself all light, the Inconscience, became at all possible. For Supermind transmits to Overmind all its realities, but leaves it to formulate them in a movement and according to an awareness of things which is still a vision of Truth and yet at the same time a first parent of the Ignorance.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Our Many Selves: Practical Yogic Psychology, Introduction, Sri Aurobindo on Our Many Selves, Planes and Parts of the Being, pp. xxx-xxxi

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 17 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.