The consciousness of Matter could not anticipate or dream of the manifestation of the Life-principle, and the vital living plant and animal consciousness could not anticipate the advent and impact of the mental consciousness. Similarly, the mental consciousness cannot truly understand nor anticipate the appearance of a being organised under a principle of consciousness so far beyond the mental, as the mental is beyond that of the plant and animal stage of consciousness. We see here on earth, however, that as a new principle manifests, the former principles are not either destroyed or utterly removed, but simply respond to the changing conditions imposed by the new principle, while continuing, more or less, subject to the new influence, their former mode of existence.

Clearly the mental principle has had a dramatic impact on both the material and life principles on earth, and clearly changes have been wrought which involve a certain amount of development, a certain amount of change and a certain amount of destruction upon the former expressions to bring about the accommodations necessary for the new principle to act in any real measure of the new powers it brings to the earth consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “Your statement about the supramental evolution is correct except that it does not follow that humanity as a whole will become supramental. What is more likely to happen is that the supramental principle will be established in the evolution by the descent just as the mental principle was established by the appearance of thinking Mind and Man in earthly life. There will be a race of supramental beings on the earth just as now there is a race of mental beings. Man himself will find a greater possibility of rising to the planes intermediary between his mind and supermind and making their powers effective in his life, which will mean a great change in humanity on earth, but it is not likely that the mental stage will disappear from the ascending ladder and, if so, the continued existence of a mental race will be necessary so as to form a stage between the vital and the supramental in the evolutionary movement of the Spirit.”

“Such a descent of higher beings as you suggest may be envisaged as a part of the process of the change. But the main part of the change will be the appearance of the supramental being and the organisation of a supramental nature here, as a mental being has appeared and a mental nature organised itself during the last stage of the evolution. I prefer nowadays not to speak of the descent of the higher beings because my experience is that it leads to a vain and often egoistic romanticism which distracts the attention from the real work, that of the realisation of the Divine and the transformation of the nature.” 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.