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Part 3 - Section 3
The Cosmic Consciousness
The cosmic consciousness does not belong to overmind in especial; it covers all the planes.
Man is shut up at present in his surface individual consciousness and knows the world (or rather the surface of it) only through his outward mind and senses and by interpreting their contacts with the world. By yoga there can open in him a consciousness which becomes one with that of the world; he becomes directly aware of a universal Being, universal states, universal Force and Power, universal Mind, Life, Matter and lives in conscious relations with these things. He is then said to have cosmic consciousness.
The overmind is the basis of the total cosmic consciousness, but the cosmic consciousness itself can be felt on any plane, not only above mind, but in mind, life, matter.
There are in the cosmic consciousness two sides - one the contact with and perception of the ordinary cosmic forces and the beings behind these forces, that is what I call the cosmic Ignorance - the other is the perception of the cosmic Truths, the realisation of the one universal, the one universal Force, all the Vedantic truths of the One in all and all in one, all the various aspects of the Divine in the cosmic and a host of other things can come which do help to realisation and knowledge - provided they are taken in the right way. However all that can be best dealt with when it actually comes. It does not always come as soon as there is the widening - many pass through the widening of the consciousness to what is beyond the cosmic and take the cosmic in detail afterwards - and it is perhaps the safest order.
When one has the cosmic consciousness, one can feel the cosmic Self as one's own self, one can feel one with other beings in the cosmos, one can feel all the forces of Nature as moving in oneself, all selves as one's own self.
There is no why except that it is so, since all is the One.
All is in the Self; when identified with the universal self all is in you. Also the microcosm reproduces the macrocosm - so all is present in each, though all is not expressed (and cannot be) in the surface consciousness.
Everything acts in the self. The whole play of Nature takes place in the self, in the Divine. The self contains the universe.
The Self is being, not a being. By Self is meant the conscious essential existence, one in all.
The original substance of all spirit is pure existence carrying in it pure self-existent consciousness (or consciousness-force) and pure self-existent Ananda.
Substance and being are the same thing. In the creation they can be looked upon as two aspects of the spirit.
The Self is essentially universal; the individualised self is only the universal experienced from or in an individual centre. If what you have realised is not felt to be one in all, then it is not the Atman; it is the central being not yet revealing its universal aspect as Atman.
The self is felt either as universal, one in all, or as universalised individual the same in essence as others, extended everywhere from each being but centred here. Of course centre is a way of speaking, because no physical centre is usually felt - only all the actions take place around the individual.
The usual experience of the Impersonal is that It is everywhere without form or limitation in any place or time.
The impersonal Divine has no abode and cannot have; it is all-pervading. If anybody says the impersonal Divine has its abode in the heart he can be asked what he means by the impersonal Divine.
In the cosmic consciousness the personal 'I' disappears into the one Self of all. The 'I' which alone exists is not that of the person, the individualised 'I', but the universalised 'I' identical with all and with the cosmic Self (Atman).
What will remain after liberation is the central being - not the ego. The central being will live in the consciousness of the Divine everywhere and in all other beings also; so it will not have the consciousness of a separate ego but of one centre among many of the Divine Multiplicity.
What you feel is the normal condition when the liberation takes place. The work of the senses etc. goes on as before, but the consciousness is different, so that one feels not only the sense of liberation, separation, etc., but that one is living in quite another world than that of the ordinary mind, life or senses. It is another consciousness with another knowledge and way of looking at things that begins. Afterwards as this consciousness takes possession of the instruments, there is a harmony of it with the sense and life; but these too become different, with a changed outlook, seeing the world no more as before but as if made of another substance with another significance.
Liberation is the first necessity, to live in the peace, silence, purity, freedom of the self. Along with that or afterwards if one wakens to the cosmic consciousness, then one can be free, yet one with all things.
To have the cosmic consciousness without liberation is possible, but then there is no freedom anywhere in the being from the lower nature and one may become in one's extended consciousness the playground of all kinds of forces without being able to be either free or master.
On the other hand, if there has been Self-realisation, there is one part of the being that remains untouched amid the play of the cosmic forces - while if the peace and purity of the self has been established in the whole inner consciousness, then the outer touches of the lower nature can't come in or overpower. This is the advantage of Self-realisation preceding the cosmic consciousness and supporting it.
When there is the development of the Self-realisation or of the cosmic consciousness or if there is the emptiness which is the preliminary condition for these things, there comes an automatic tendency for a unity with all - their affections, mental, vital, physical may easily touch. One has to keep oneself free.
You had a mental and the beginning of a vital opening to the cosmic consciousness - kept on the spiritualised level, the vision or feeling of the Divine Ananda without seeking for possession or a gross outer enjoyment, it would have established a yogic consciousness and made a base for knowledge and peace and power and psychic love and surrender to come down.
It is very good. The widening of the consciousness so as to be at one with the universal Infinite is an important stage in the sadhana.
Yes, your experience was a very good one and your feeling about it was correct. When the consciousness is narrow and personal or shut in the body, it is difficult to receive from the Divine - the wider it expands, the more it can receive. A time comes when it feels as wide as the world and able to receive all the Divine into itself.
It is an experience of the extension of consciousness. In yoga experience the consciousness widens in every direction, around, below, above, in each direction stretching to infinity. When the consciousness of the yogi becomes liberated, it is not in the body, but in this infinite height, depth, and wideness that he lives always. Its basis is an infinite void or silence, but in that all can manifest - Peace, Freedom, Power, Light, Knowledge, Ananda. This consciousness is usually called the consciousness of the Self or Atman, for it is a pure existence or self that is the source of all things and contains all things.
Yes - it [wideness] is felt as if a great substantial vastness full of power and giving the sense of oneness free and infinite and the same from top to bottom.
At the beginning the experience of wideness like other experiences comes only from time to time. It is only afterwards that it becomes frequent and remains long, till finally it settles and the consciousness remains always wide.
You must dismiss the fear of the concentration. The emptiness you feel coming on you is the silence of the great peace in which you become aware of your self, not as the small ego shut up in the body, but as the spiritual self wide as the universe.
Consciousness is not dissolved; it is the limits of the consciousness that are dissolved. In that silence thoughts may cease for a time, there may be nothing but a great limitless freedom and wideness, but into that silence, that empty wideness descends the vast peace from above, light, bliss, knowledge, the higher Consciousness in which you feel the oneness of the Divine. It is the beginning of the transformation and there is nothing in it to fear.
It means the liberation from the body sense in which one can truly say, I am not the body. This liberation is part of the cosmic consciousness - as is also the realisation of the cosmic Will.
It is the liberation from the body sense only. That is quite different from the control of the body.
What you felt as a strong subtle air was the concrete expression of consciousness or conscious existence in itself independent of the body. As yet the experience is still limited by the body, but when it is felt without that limit then it is a sense of a wide ether filling all space, Akasha Brahman. As this grows, the body sense disappears and when the mind also is quite inactive, one feels oneself to be that spreading out to all Infinity.
If these were imaginations, you would be able to reproduce them exactly each time you thought of them. The idea that it is imagination comes from the physical mind which cannot believe in any thing supraphysical.
This opening of the chest into the void (not really the void, but the infinite Akasha of the Chit universal and illimitable) is always the sign of an opening of the emotional being into the wideness of the Universal Divine. The image of the Akasha is often seen by sadhaks in Dhyana. When the consciousness is liberated, whether in the mind or other part, there is always this sense of the wide infinite emptiness. From the top of the head to the throat is the mental plane of the being - a similar opening and emptiness or wideness here is the sign of the mind being freed into the Universal. From the throat to the stomach is the higher vital or emotional region. Below is the lower vital plane.
It is more, I think, forgetting the body than non-identification with it. In an intense mentalisation or an intense vital activity, the body takes a second place and becomes more outward and the same may happen to a certain extent more constantly in a man who lives in his mind or his vital and is identified more closely with that. But still it is the mental in the body, the vital in the body. There is no release, no getting entirely separate as in the spiritual liberation.
Yes, it is not possible for the human mind to live entirely in itself to such a degree as to ignore the body altogether - a real or complete liberation or non-identification is not possible without the spiritual release. All that is possible to the mind is a constant absorption in itself and an ignoring or forgetfulness as much as possible of the body. That one finds often in people who live a retired mental life (scholars, thinkers etc.) without the need to trouble themselves about their livelihood, family etc.
The sun rising on the horizon is the direct light of the Divine Truth rising in the being - the ray upwards opens the being to the Truth as it is above mind, the ray in front opens it to what we call the cosmic consciousness, it becomes released from the personal limitation and opens and becomes aware of the universal mind, universal physical, universal vital. The action on the heart was the pressure of this Sun on it to have this direct opening, so that the consciousness may become free, wide and wholly at peace.
It is a great thing that you have been able to keep untroubled and undisturbed in the presence of the adverse pressure and kept the consciousness of the Peace still there behind. It is a sign that it is becoming more consolidated and effective.
The wideness comes when one exceeds or begins to exceed the individual consciousness and spread out towards the universal. But the psychic can be active even in the individual consciousness.
The psychic is the support of the individual evolution; it is connected with the universal both by direct contact and through the mind, vital and body.
Love, joy and happiness come from the psychic. The Self gives peace or a universal Ananda.
The Self or Atman is inactive; Nature (Prakriti) or Shakti acts. When the Self is felt it is first an infinite existence, silence, freedom, peace that is felt - that is called Atman or Self. What action takes place in it is according to the realisation either felt as forces of Nature working in that wideness, as the Divine Shakti working or as the cosmic Divine or various powers of them working. It is not felt that the Self is acting.
As for the spectator and the coils of the dragon, it is the Chino-Japanese image for the world-force extending itself in the course of the universe and this expresses the attitude of the witness seeing it all and observing in its unfolding the unrolling of the play of the Divine Lila. It is this attitude that gives the greatest calm, peace, samatâ in face of the riddle of the cosmic workings. It is not meant that action and movement are not accepted but they are accepted as the Divine Working which is leading to ends which the mind may not always see at once, but the soul divines through all the supreme purpose and the hidden guidance.
Of course, there is afterwards an experience in which the two sides of the Divine Whole, the Witness and the Player, blend together; but this poise of the spectator comes first and leads to that fuller experience. It gives the balance, the calm, the increasing understanding of soul and life and their deeper significances without which the full supramental experience cannot come.
The universal forces move by their own force and the consciousness within them - but there is also the Cosmic Spirit who supports them and determines by his onlook and disposing will their play - although the direct action is left to the forces - it is the play of universal Prakriti with the universal Purusha watching behind it. In the individual also there is the individual Purusha who can, if he wills, not merely assent to the play of Prakriti, but accept or reject or will for its change. All that is in the play itself as we see it here. There is something above - but the action of that is an intervention rather than a moment to moment control; it can become a constant direct control only when one replaces the play of the forces by the government of the Divine.
It is the true yogic consciousness in which one feels the oneness and lives in it, not touched by the outer being and its inferior movements, but looking on them with a smile at their ignorance and smallness. It will become much more possible to deal with these outer things if that separateness is maintained always.
It is the Purusha and Prakriti sides of the nature - one leading to pure conscious existence, static, the other to pure conscious force, dynamic. The past darkness they have come out of is that of ignorance, the future darkness that is felt above is superconscience. But, of course, the superconscience is really luminous - only its light is not seen. The three forms of consciousness are the three sides of Nature represented by the three gunas - force of subconscious tamas, Inertia, which is the law of Matter, force of half-conscious desire, Kinesis, which is rajas, which is the law of Life, and force of sattwic Prakasha, which is the law of Intelligence.
There is one Purusha - its action is according to the position and need of the consciousness at the time.
It is the nature of the action above the ordinary mind or in the cosmic consciousness which is many-sided.
Prakriti is only the executive or working force - the Power behind the Prakriti is Shakti. It is the Chit-Shakti in manifestation: that is the spiritual consciousness.
This is true of mental knowledge and will, but not of the higher knowledge-will. In the supermind, knowledge and will are one.
All energies derive from the Chit-Shakti, but they differentiate from it as they descend.
This much is true that Life is characteristically Force - the Physical is characteristically substance, but the dynamism of both derives from Chit - mind dynamism also, all dynamism.
There is one common Force working in all and a vibration of that Force or any one of its movements can awake (it does not always) the same vibration in another.
There is a constant movement (Prakriti) and a constant silence (Purusha).
It is a statement of the Upanishad that there is an ether of Ananda in which all breathe and live; if it were not there, none could breathe or live.
The force created is not yours - it is Prakriti's - your will sets it in motion, it does not really create it; but once set in motion, it tends to fulfil itself so far as the play of other forces will allow it. So, naturally, if you want to stop it, you have to set a contrary force in motion which will be strong enough to prevail against its momentum.
This vision is the perception of cosmic movement of things developing from state to state and in that the individual movements which make it up. There is also possible a sense of the All as Time in flow or of the same as a dimension interwoven with Space like warp and woof of a cloth, etc.
The world is the form, the reality is the Divine. One must see the presence in the form.
The Divine is the Supreme Truth because it is the Supreme Being from whom all have come and in whom all are.
The Divine is that from which all comes, in which all lives, and to return to the truth of the Divine now clouded over by Ignorance is the soul's aim in life. In its supreme Truth, the Divine is absolute and infinite peace, consciousness, existence, power and Ananda.
The Supreme cannot create through the Transcendent because the Transcendent is the Supreme. It is through the Cosmic Shakti that the Divine creates.
The cosmic Force is under the control of the overmind. The supermind does not act on it directly - whatever comes down from there is modified so as to pass through the overmind and take a lesser form suitable to the plane on which it acts, mental, vital or physical. But this intervention is exceptional in the ordinary play of the cosmic forces.
The cosmic spirit contains the supermind, but it keeps it above and works for the present between the overmind and the physical. It is only when the Ignorance is removed that the supramental becomes directly a dynamic part of the workings of cosmic Nature here. Till then there are only reflections of it.
It [the Cosmic Spirit] uses Truth and Falsehood, Knowledge and Ignorance and all the other dualities as elements in the manifestation and works out what has to be worked out till all is ready for a higher working.
The cosmic forces here whether good or bad are forces of the Ignorance. Above them is the Truth-Consciousness that can only manifest when ego and desire are overcome - it is the force from the Divine Truth-Consciousness that must descend; the higher Peace, Light, Knowledge, Purity, Ananda must work upon the cosmic forces in the individual so as to change them and substitute the Truth-Force in place of the ordinary working.
A cosmos or universe is always a harmony, otherwise it could not exist, it would fly to pieces. But as there are musical harmonies which are built out of discords partly or even predominantly, so this universe (the material) is disharmonious in its separate elements - the individual elements are at discord with each other to a large extent; it is only owing to the sustaining Divine Will behind that the whole is still a harmony to those who look at it with the cosmic vision. But it is a harmony in evolution in progress - that is, all is combined to strive towards a goal which is not yet reached, and the object of our yoga is to hasten the arrival to this goal. When it is reached, there will be a harmony of harmonies substituted for the present harmony built up on discords. This is the explanation of the present appearance of things.
Everything here is not perfect but all works out the cosmic Will in the course of the ages.
The harmony of the lower consciousness is a harmony of discords brought about by a clash and mixture of forces.
This vision is a representation in sound of the cosmic harmony from which the Ignorance is a fall and a discord.
There is a rhythm in everything unheard by the physical ear and by that rhythm things exist.
Both of these [OM and the sound of church-bells] are usually sounds that indicate the opening or attempt to open to the cosmic consciousness.
It is when you feel the universal or divine beauty or presence in things that the senses are open to the Divine.
One can live in contact with the Divine even amidst the universal forces - but to live in the Divine one must be able to rise beyond the lower universal Nature or to call down the Divine consciousness here. The beginnings are difficult for most - and at no time is it really easy.
To be always merged in the Divine is not so easy. It can be done only by an absorption in one's own inner self or by a consciousness that sees all in the Divine and the Divine in all and is always in that condition. There is none who has attained to that yet.
The Cosmic Spirit or Self contains everything in the cosmos - it upholds cosmic Mind, universal Life, universal Matter as well as the overmind. The Self is more than all these things which are its formulations in Nature.
[The results of the opening to the cosmic Mind:] One is aware of the cosmic Mind and the mental forces that move there and how they work on one's mind and that of others and one is able to deal with one's own mind with a greater knowledge and effective power. There are many other results, but this is the fundamental one. This is of course if one opens in the right way and does not merely become a passive field of all sorts of ideas and mental forces.
The opening to cosmic Mind makes the experience of the Divine everywhere for instance more easy - but it is not essentially spiritual; if there is not a coming of wider spiritual experiences, then it need not be spiritual at all.
What is happening is that you have got into touch with the cosmic Mind where all sorts of ideas, possibilities, formations are moving about. The individual mind takes up those which appeal to it or perhaps come into distinct form when they touch it.
But these are possibilities, not truths, so it is better not to let them run free like that.
Mind has its own realms and life has its own realms just as matter has. In the mental realms life and substance are entirely subordinated to Mind and obey its dictates. Here on earth there is the evolution with matter as the starting-point, life as the medium, mind emerging from it. There are many grades, realms, combinations in the cosmos - there are even many universes. Ours is only one of many.
[The effect of opening to the cosmic Life:] One becomes aware of all the life-forces and of how they act upon oneself and others, upon mind, upon body - also the force movements behind events. One becomes too directly aware of the vital plane, its worlds, its beings, and the direct action of their formations on the earth-life. One has to become aware also at the same time of one's own true vital being and act from it and not from the surface or desire vital in relation to all these things. All this effect does not come at once, - it develops as the contact with the cosmic Life increases.
In the universal vital especially there is a deceptive attraction and an exhilarating rush of power (not true quiet power but mere force) which those who yield to it cling to as a drunkard to his intoxicants. It gives them a sense of being strong and great and full of interesting things - when it is taken from them, they feel like ordinary people and ask for it back again.
Universal forces means all forces good or bad, favourable or hostile, of light and darkness that move in the cosmos.
The earth is the place of evolution in which all these forces meet and try to manifest and out of their working something has to develop. On the other planes (the mental, vital etc.) there is not the evolution - there each acts separately according to its own law.
Universal applies to everything in the universe - there are individual beings everywhere, but not physical in the terrestrial sense - the composition being different.
No, they [the hostile beings] do not create universal forces; they are themselves moved by them and move them.
Yes, of course, there is always a fight between the forces of Light and Darkness.
In sadhana it becomes concentrated and conscious to us.
As for the hostile beings, they are always in battle with each other; but they make common cause against the Truth and Light.
The forces are conscious. There are besides individualised beings who represent the forces or use them. The wall between consciousness and force, impersonality and personality becomes much thinner when one goes behind the veil of matter. If one looks at a working from the side of impersonal force one sees a force or energy at work acting for a purpose or with a result, if one looks from the side of being one sees a being possessing, guiding and using or else representative of and used by a conscious force as its instrument of specialised action and expression. You speak of the wave, but in modern science it has been found that if you look at the movement of energy, it appears on one side to be a wave and act as a wave, on the other as a mass of particles and to act as a mass of particles each acting in its own way. It is somewhat the same principle here.
Nature-Forces are conscious forces - they can very well combine all that is necessary for an action or a purpose and when one means fails, take another.
Yes. They [the forces] are able to act with a greater force if they can make a special formation than by general psychological action common to all human nature.
They [the cosmic forces] act on everyone, according to the person's nature - and his will and consciousness.
Egoism is part of the machinery - a chief part - of universal Nature, first to develop individuality out of indiscriminate force and substance of Nature and, secondly, to make the individual (through the machinery of egoistic thought, feeling, will and desire) a tool of the universal forces. It is only when one gets into touch with a higher Nature that it is possible to get free of this rule of ego and subjection to these forces.
Yes, if there is the solid experience [that all one's energies and capacities come from the universal forces], the ego habit is much diminished, but it does not go altogether. It takes refuge in the sense of being an instrument and - if there is not the psychic turn - it may easily prefer to be the instrument of some Force that feeds the satisfaction of the ego. In such cases the ego may still remain strong although it feels itself instrumental and not the primary actor.
If the psychic is active - or in so far as it is active, there is something in it which is like an automatic test for the universal forces - warning against, (not by thought so much as by an essential feeling) and rejecting what should not be, accepting and transmuting what should be.
Yes, it is so. The universal forces act very often through the subconscient - especially when the force they send is something the person has been in the habit of obeying and of which the seeds, impressions, complexes are strongly rooted in the subconscient - or, even if that is no longer the case, of which there is a memory still in the subconscient.
There is no rule for that. The human being is ordinarily conscious only on the surface - but the surface records only the results of subliminal agencies at work. It is often through the centres that the forces come in, for then they get the greatest power to act on the nature - but they can enter anywhere.
They [pain and grief] are perhaps rather the result of the action of universal forces - but in a certain sense grief and pain may be said to be universal forces - for there are waves of these things that arrive and invade the being often without apparent cause.
It [death] is a universal force - the happening or change called death is simply one result of the working of the force.
in SABCL, volume 24, pages 1070-1089
published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA
Experiences of the Inner Consciousness are here