1/5 - Psychicisation
2/5 - Spiritualisation 1-Ascent
3/5 - Spiritualisation 2-Descent
4/5 - Supramentalisation 1-The supermind
5/5 - Supramentalisation 2-Body Transformation & Immortality
Part 4 - Section 1
The Triple Transformation:
Psychic - Spiritual - Supramental
(2/5: Spiritualisation 1 - Ascent)
All this is perfectly correct. The practice of this yoga is double - one side is of an ascent of the consciousness to the higher planes, the other is that of a descent of the power of the higher planes into the earth-consciousness so as to drive out the Power of darkness and ignorance and transform the nature.
All the consciousness in the human being who is the mental embodied in living Matter has to rise so as to meet the higher consciousness; the higher consciousness has also to descend into mind, into life, into Matter. In that way the barriers will be removed and the higher consciousness will be able to take up the whole lower nature and transform it by the power of the supermind.
The earth is a material field of evolution. Mind and life, supermind, Sachchidananda are in principle involved there in the earth-consciousness; but only Matter is at first organized; then life descends from the life plane and gives shape and organization and activity to the life principle in Matter, creates the plant and animal; then mind descends from the mind plane, creating man. Now supermind is to descend so as to create a supramental race.
The sadhana is based on the fact that a descent of Forces from the higher planes and an ascent of the lower consciousness to the higher planes is the means of transformation of the lower nature - although naturally it takes time and the complete transformation can only come by the supramental descent.
There is no fixed rule in such things. With many the descent comes first and the ascension afterwards, with others it is the other way; with some the two processes go on together. If one can fix oneself above so much the better. I have explained to you why it did not happen.
I am not speaking of mere rising above. The rising above has to be followed by the descent of the higher consciousness into the different parts of the being. That aided by the psychic development and aiding it changes the external nature.
Yes. To ascend is easier than to bring down; the higher consciousness gets entangled and impeded in the physical and the mind and vital.
In the physical consciousness the descent is the most important. Something of the subtle physical can always go up - but the external physical consciousness can only do it when the force from above comes down and fills it. There is then a sort of unification made when the higher consciousness and the physical are one undivided consciousness and there is an ascent of forces from below and descent from above, simultaneous and mutually interpenetrating.
The upward movement and the silence are indispensable for the Truth to manifest.
The ascent or the upward movement takes place when there is a sufficient aspiration from the being, i.e., from the various mental, vital and physical planes. Each in turn ascends above the mind to the place where it meets the supramental and can then receive the origination of all its movements from above. The higher descends when you have a receptive quietude in the various planes of your being prepared to receive it. In either case, whether in aspiring upward to rise to the higher or in remaining passive and open to receive the higher, an entire calmness in the different parts of the being is the true condition.
If you do not have the necessary force in a quiet aspiration or will and if you find that a certain amount of effort will help you to rise upward, you may go on using it as a temporary means, until there is the natural openness in which a silent call or a simple effortless will is sufficient to induce the action of the Higher Shakti.
Everything in the Adhara in the sadhana has at one time the tendency to rise and join its source above.
The Adhara is that in which the consciousness is now contained - mind-life-body.
To live in a higher plane and see the action in the physical from it as something separate is a definite stage in the movement towards transformation.
It is the aim of the sadhana that the consciousness should rise out of the body and take its station above, - spreading in the wideness everywhere, not limited to the body. Thus liberated one opens to all that is above this station, above the ordinary mind, receives there all that descends from the heights, observes from there all that is below. Thus it is possible to witness in all freedom and to control all that is below and to be a recipient or a channel for all that comes down and presses into the body, which it will prepare to be an instrument of a higher manifestation, remoulded into a higher consciousness and nature.
What is happening in you is that the consciousness is trying to fix itself in this liberation. When one is there in that higher station, one finds the freedom of the Self and the vast silence and immutable calm - but this calm has to be brought down also into the body, into all the lower planes and fix itself there as something standing behind and containing all the movements.
There is something in you that has become aware of the higher consciousness and gone up there - above the head where the ordinary consciousness and the higher planes meet. That has to be developed till the whole source of the consciousness is there and all the rest directed from there - with, at the same time, a liberation of the psychic so that it may support the action from above in the mind, the vital and the physical parts.
It is the Atman, the spiritual being above the mind - the first experience of it is a silence and calm (which one perceives afterwards to be infinite and eternal), untouched by the movements of mind and life and body. The higher consciousness lives always in touch with the Self - the lower is separated from it by the activities of the Ignorance.
If your consciousness rises above the head, that means that it goes beyond the ordinary mind to the centre above which receives the higher consciousness or else towards the ascending levels of the higher consciousness itself. The first result is the silence and peace of the Self which is the basis of the higher consciousness; this may afterwards descend into the lower levels, into the very body. Light also can descend and Force. The navel and the centres below it are those of the vital and the physical; something of the higher Force may have descended there.
And how is the outer nature to rise into the higher Prakriti before you realise the Self? The higher nature is that of the higher consciousness of which the first basis is the peace and wideness and realisation of the Self, the One that is all.
There are two movements - one an ascension of the lower consciousness to meet the higher, the other the descent of the higher consciousness into the lower. What you first experienced was an uprush of the lower consciousness from all parts so strong as to break the lid of the inner mind - that was the splitting of the skull - and to enable the going of the two consciousnesses above to be complete. The result was a descent. Usually the first thing that descends from the higher consciousness is its deep and entire peace - the second is the Light, here the white light of the Mother. When the higher consciousness descends or is intensely felt, there is usually an opening of the limited personal being into the cosmic consciousness - one feels a wide and infinite being which alone exists, the identification with the body and even the sense of the body disappears, the limited personal consciousness is lost in the Cosmic Existence. You had all this first in the impersonal way; but after the burning up of the psychic fire, you felt the Personal wideness, the cosmic consciousness of the Divine Mother and received her blessing.
It is very good. The ideas and feelings that come up from within you were those of the new-born psychic nature.
The feeling you had in the afternoon of the cessation of thought and the sensation of something within you going up above the head is part of the movement of the sadhana. There is a higher consciousness above you, not in the body, so above the head which we call the higher spiritual or divine consciousness, or the Mother's consciousness. When the being opens then all in you, the mind (head), emotional being (heart), vital, even something in the physical consciousness begin to ascend in order to join themselves to this greater higher consciousness. One has when one sits with eyes closed in meditation the sensation of going up which you describe. It is called the ascension of the lower consciousness. Afterwards things begin to descend from above, peace, joy, light, strength, knowledge etc. and a great change begins in the nature. This is what we call the descent of the higher (the Mother's) consciousness.
The unease you felt was because of the unaccustomed nature of the movement. It is of no importance and quickly goes away.
The experiences you describe are coherent with each other and very clearly explicable. The first shows that some part of your mind was open and this aided by an opening in the psychic enabled you to ascend into the regions above, the ranges of the liberated spiritual mind with the infinite path of the spirit leading to the highest realisation. But the rest of the nature was not ready. The straining to recover the experience was not the right thing to do then; what should have been done was the aspiration for the purification and preparation of the nature, the permanent psychic opening and the increase of the higher spiritual opening above till there could be a total release of the being. The vehemence of the action of the forces was due to the resistance and the breaking of the knots in the head and different parts of the nature was their working for the release.
The electricity passing through the spinal column was the passage of the Force making its way down through the centres.
Obviously, it is the dark resisting force of the vital, the desire nature, that rises up and clouds all up to the heart. On the other hand the flow from above and the release it creates is a sign of the opening above being still there; for the silence, the quietude of the nature is a touch from above and very necessary for purification and release. What is lacking is the full opening of the psychic being behind the heart - for that could liberate the heart from the dark force and make possible a cleaning of the rest by a quiet and steady rather than a vehement working attended by a chaotic action and struggle. When there is an opening in the spiritual mind but not a sufficient psychic change, there is or can be this kind of vehement force-action and resistance; when the psychic opens, then it acts on the whole nature, mind, vital, physical, governing them from within, to transform themselves and become ready for the complete spiritual opening and spiritual consciousness.
Devotion and a more and more complete inner consecration are the best way to open the psychic.
That is good - the awakening of the psychic consciousness and its control over the rest is one of the most indispensable elements of the sadhana.
It is what we call the higher or spiritual consciousness - it contains or supports all the higher planes, the higher worlds.
When one begins to feel this always above, it is a great step forward in the sadhana; then the consciousness can go up there and from there see, discern and control all that is in the mind, vital and body. It is the meeting-place of the ascending and descending forces, as you see.
What you see above is of course the true or higher consciousness - the Mother's - in which one sees all the world as one, a vast free consciousness full of freedom, peace and light - it is that that we speak of as the higher or divine consciousness.
Even if it comes and goes, yet its effect on the heart shows that a connection has been established through the psychic - for the psychic is behind the heart. It is there above the head that the consciousness has to ascend and remain; while it also descends into the head and heart and lower vital and physical and brings there its wideness, light, peace and freedom.
What you felt was not imagination at all, but the usual experience one has when the consciousness is lifted out of the body and takes its stand above the head. One is no longer bound then by the physical consciousness or the sense of the body - the body becomes only an instrument, a small part of the consciousness which has to be perfected. One enters into a larger free spiritual consciousness in place of the present bound and limited physical consciousness. If this lifting up above the body can be repeated always until it can be maintained, it will be a great landmark in your progress. It is the confinement in the physical consciousness that makes you (and everybody) narrow and selfish and miserable. Hitherto the higher consciousness with its peace etc. has been descending into you with great difficulty and fighting out the vital and physical resistance. If this release upward into the higher consciousness can be maintained, then there will be no longer the same difficulty. Much will still remain to be done, but the foundation will have been made.
The consciousness is usually imprisoned in the body, centralised in the brain and heart and navel centres (mental, emotional, sensational); when you feel it or something of it go up and take its station above the head, that is the liberation of the imprisoned consciousness from the body-formula. It is the mental in you that goes up there, gets into touch with something higher than the ordinary mind and from there puts the higher mental will on the rest for transformation. The trembling and the heat come from a resistance, an absence of habituation in the body and the vital to this demand and to this liberation.
When the mental consciousness can take its stand permanently or at will above like this, then this first liberation becomes accomplished (siddha). From there the mental being can open freely to the higher planes or to the cosmic existence and its forces and can also act with greater liberty and power on the lower nature.
Sometimes one feels an ascension above the head. I think he has had that, but that is the mind going up (when it is not simply a going out of the body) into the higher mental planes. To be above the mind one must first realise the self above the mind and live there.
Freedom from cares, lightness of mind and body are very good results. They do not usually become permanent at once - it is sufficient if they are frequently or ordinarily there.
Chest and head rising higher are sensations of the subtle body - it means that the mind and heart consciousness (thinking mental and emotional) are rising to meet the spiritual consciousness plane above the head.
The sound is a sign of the opening of the consciousness and of the working of the inner Force. Such subtle sounds are very frequently heard by those who practise yoga.
When the consciousness is centred above, it can be said to be located above. That does not mean that there is no consciousness left in the lower parts.
One may get influences from above, but so long as the mind is not full of the higher calm, peace, silence, one cannot be in direct contact. These influences get diminished, mentalised, vitalised and are not the powers of the higher planes in their native character. Nor is this sufficient to get control of the hidden forces of all the planes of consciousness, which is perhaps what he means by occultism.
That is quite natural. The higher planes are not planes on which one is naturally conscious and he is even not open to their direct influence - only to some indirect influence from those nearest to the human mind. He can reach them only in a deep inner condition or trance and the higher he goes the less easy is it for him to be conscious of them even in trance. If you are not conscious of your inner being, then it is more difficult to be conscious in trance.
Indirect connection (with the Divine) is when one lives in the ordinary consciousness without being able to go up above it and receives influences from above without knowing where they come from or feeling their source.
Do you realise the higher being in your ascent as wide and infinite? When you are there, do you feel it spread through infinity? Do you feel all the universe within you, yourself one with the self of all beings? Do you feel the one cosmic Force acting everywhere? Do you feel your mind one with the cosmic mind? your life one with the cosmic life? your matter one with the cosmic Matter? separative ego unreal? the body no longer a limitation? What is the use of merely saying that the higher being is wide and infinite? Do these realisations come when you are in the higher being and if not, why not? The inner being easily opens to all these realisations, the outer does not? So unless your inner being becomes conscious of itself, the mere ascent gives only height or some vague sense of other planes, not these concrete realisations.
I meant that it [the inner consciousness] is there established, even when it is covered over. Once it is there the descent of force etc. becomes more continuous or at least more frequent. The difficulties of the outer nature have still to be dealt with, but that can be done more securely and effectively with this inner consciousness as the basis.
There are two different things. One is the consciousness actually going out of the body - but that brings a deep sleep or trance. The other is the consciousness lifting itself out of the body and taking its stand outside it - above and spread round in wideness. That can be a condition of the yogin in the waking state - he does not feel himself to be in the body but he feels the body to be in his wide free self, he is delivered from limitation in the body-consciousness.
There are two different experiences which from your account would seem to have happened together.
1. An exteriorisation of the consciousness out of the body. Part of the consciousness, mental, vital or subtle physical or all together rises out of the body, leaving it in a strongly internalised condition, sleep or trance and can move about alone in other planes or in the room and outside on the earth plane. In such cases the body can be seen as lying below or in the room, seen clearly as one sees a separate object with the physical eyes. A fear such as you had can come in these exteriorisations and bring the consciousness back with a rush to the body.
2. An ascension of the consciousness to a position which is no longer in the body but above it. The consciousness can thus ascend and rise higher and higher with the awareness of entering regions above the ordinary mind; usually it does not go very far at first but acquires the capacity to go always higher in repetitions of this experience. At the close of the experience it returns to the body. But also there comes a definitive rise by which the consciousness permanently takes its station above. It is no longer in the body or limited by it; it feels itself not only above it but extended in space; the body is below its high station and enveloped in its extended consciousness. Sometimes indeed the extension is felt only above on the higher level and the enveloping extension below comes only afterwards as a later experience. But the nature of it is to be definitive, it is not merely an experience but a realisation, a permanent change. This brings a liberation from identification with the body which becomes only a circumstance in the largeness of the being, an instrumental part of it; or it is felt as something very small or even non-existent, nothing seems to be felt but a wide practically infinite consciousness which is oneself - or if not at once infinite, yet what is now called a boundless finite.
This new consciousness is open to all knowledge from above, but it does not think with the brain as does the ordinary mind - it has other and larger means of awareness than thought. No methodical opening of the centres is necessary - the centres are in fact open, otherwise there could not be this ascent. In this yoga their opening comes automatically - what we call opening is not that, but an ability of the consciousness itself on the various levels to receive the descent of the Higher Consciousness above. By the ascent one can indeed bring down knowledge from above. But the larger movement is to receive it from above and let it flow through into the lower mental and other levels. I may add that on all these levels, in mind, heart and below there comes a liberation from the physical limitation, a wideness which no longer allows an identification with the body.
In this experience there is not usually the fear you had, unless it is in the body consciousness, as it were, which is alarmed by the unfamiliarity of the movement and fears to be abandoned or cast off. But this occurs rarely and does not usually repeat itself. It is therefore likely that there was an exteriorisation at the same time. You speak of being able to leave and enter the body at will; but this capacity is marked only for the phenomena of exteriorisation - in the ascension of consciousness the ascent and coming down become easy and ordinary actions and in the definitive realisation of a higher station above there is really no more coming down except with a part of the consciousness which may descend to work in the body or on the lower levels while the permanently high stationed being above presides over all that is experienced and done.
There are various states of experience in which the expression 'taken up out of the body' would be applicable. There is one in which one goes up from the centres in the body to a centre of consciousness extending above the physical head and takes up a position there in which one is liberated from subjection to the body sense and its heavy hold and this is certainly accompanied by a general sense of lightening. One can then be in direct connection with the higher consciousness and its power and action. It is not altogether clear from the description whether this is what happened. Again, there are phenomena of the breathing which accompany states of release or of ascension. But the breath here perhaps stands, generally, for the life-principle.
It is a very usual experience. It means that for a moment you were no longer in your body, but somehow either above or somehow outside the body-consciousness. This sometimes happens by the vital being rising up above the head or, more rarely, by its projecting itself into its own sheath (part of the subtle body) out of the physical attachment. But it also comes by a sudden even if momentary liberation from the identification with the body-consciousness, and this liberation may become frequent and prolonged or permanent. The body is felt as something separate or some small circumstance in the consciousness or as something one carries about with one etc. etc., the exact experience varies. Many sadhaks here have had it. When one is accustomed, the strangeness of it (dreamland etc.) disappears.
It is the subtle parts of the physical that go up. The external consciousness can also go up, but then there is a complete trance. There is not much utility for the complete trance in this sadhana.
If all went up, there would be no existence in the body. There is always some consciousness and therefore some self supporting the body.
No, the body itself cannot go up - how could it? The body is meant for keeping the consciousness linked to the physical world.
Once the being or its different parts begin to ascend to the planes above, any part of the being may do it, frontal or other.
The Sanskar that one cannot come back must be got rid of. One can have the experience of Nirvana at the summit of the mind or anywhere in those planes that are now superconscient to the mind; the mind spiritualised by the ascent into Self has the sense of laya, dissolution of itself, its thoughts, movements, Sanskaras into a superconscient Silence and Infinity which it is unable to grasp, - the Unknowable. But this would bring or lead to some form of Nirvana, only if one makes Nirvana the goal, if one is tied to the mind and accepts its dissolution into the Infinite as one's own dissolution or if one has not the capacity to reorganise experience on a higher than the mental plane. But otherwise what was superconscient becomes conscient, one begins to possess or else be the instrument of the dynamis of the higher planes and there is a movement, not of liberation into Nirvana, but of liberation and transformation. However high one goes, one can always return, unless one has the will not to do so.
These are the ordinary normal experiences of the sadhana when there is an opening from above - the contact with the peace of the Brahman, Self or Divine and the contact with the higher Power, the Power of the Mother. He does not know what they are, quite naturally, but feels very correctly and his description is quite accurate. How beautiful, calm and still all seems - as if in water there were not even a wave. But it is not Nothingness. I feel a Presence steeped in life but absolutely silent and quiet in meditation, - there could hardly be a better description of this experience - the experience of the peace and silence of the Divine or of the Divine itself in its own essential peace and silence. Also what he feels about the Force is quite correct, something from above the manifested creation (mind - matter), a Force behind that is distinct from that which gives rise to emotions, anger, lust which are all purified and transformed gradually, in other words, the Divine or Spiritual Force, other than the cosmic vital which supports the ordinary embodied consciousness; that is also very clear. I suppose it is only a contact yet, but a very true and vivid contact if it gives rise to so vivid and true a feeling. It looks as if he were going to make a very good beginning.
The experience described in your letter is a glimpse of the realisation of the true Self which is independent of the body.
When this settles itself there is the liberation (mukti). Not only the body, but the vital and mind are felt to be only instruments and one's self is felt to be calm, self-existent and free and wide or infinite. It is then possible for the psychic being to effect in that freedom the full transformation of the nature. All your former experiences were preparing for this, but the physical consciousness came across. Now that you have had the glimpse of the self separate from the body, this physical difficulty may soon be overcome.
In the first realisation of silence in the higher consciousness there is no Time - there is only the sense of pure existence, consciousness, peace or a strong featureless Ananda. If anything else comes in it is a minor movement on the surface of this timeless self-existence. This and the sense of liberation that comes with it is the result of the mind's quiescence. At a higher level this peace and liberation remain, but can be united with a greater and free dynamic movement.
In the self or pure existence there is no time or space - except spiritual space or wideness.
Yes - in the silence of the self there is no time - it is akâla.
The experience you had of something going out from the head like an arrow probably indicates something going out of the mental consciousness towards some aim or object. Sometimes it is a part of the mind-consciousness itself that goes like that either upward to a higher plane or somewhere in the world around - and afterwards returns. Sometimes it is a thought-force or a will-force. Forces are always going out from us without our knowing it even, and often they have some effect there. If we think of a person or a place and things happening there, something can go out like that to that person or place. If we have a will or strong mental desire that something should happen, a will-force may go out and try to make that happen. But also forces can go out from the inner mind without any conscious cause on the surface.
The vision of the yogi may have been that of some being of the higher planes or it may have been a form of Shiva. The lotuses indicate fully developed consciousness in the places indicated.
What you desire about the self-giving free from demand is sure to fulfil itself when there is the full opening of the psychic.
The position you took finally about what happened today is right - to make the effort for one's own perfection and not to be disturbed by any mistake in others but reply by a silent will for their perfection also is always the right attitude.
The experience of the great expanse of golden light on a mountain-top came because I had asked her to aspire for the higher experiences of the consciousness from above. The symbolic image of the mountain with the light on its top comes to most sadhaks who have the power of vision at all. The mountain is the consciousness rising from earth (the physical) through the successive heights (vital, mental, above-mental) towards the spiritual heaven. The golden light is always the light of the higher Truth (supermind, overmind or a little lower down the pure Intuition) and it is represented as a great luminous expanse on the summits of the being. X by concentrating on the light entered into contact with the higher reaches and that always gives these results, peace, joy, strength, a consciousness secure in the power of the Divine. It is of course through the psychic that she got into this contact but in itself it is more an experience of the higher spiritual consciousness above mind than a psychic experience.
The nature of the meditation depends on the part of the being in which one is centred at the time. In the body (rather the subtle body than the physical, but connected with the corresponding parts in the gross physical body also) there are centres proper to each level of the being. There is a centre at the top of the head and above it which is that of the above-mind or higher consciousness; a centre in the forehead between the eyebrows which is that of the thinking mind, mental will, mental vision; a centre in the throat which is that of the expressive or externalising mind: these are the mental centres. Below comes the vital - the heart (emotional), the navel (the dynamic life-centre), another below the navel in the abdomen which is the lower or sensational vital centre. Finally, at the bottom of the spine is the Muladhara or physical centre. Behind the heart is the psychic centre. If one concentrates in the head, as many do, it is a mental-spiritual meditation one seeks for; if in the heart it is a psychic meditation; these are the usual places where one concentrates. But what rises up first or opens first may not be the mental or the psychic, but the emotional or the vital; that depends on the nature - for whatever is easiest to open in it, is likely to open first. If it is in the vital, then the meditation tends to project the consciousness into the vital plane and its experiences. But from that we can get to the psychic by drawing more and more inwards, not getting absorbed into the vital experiences but separating oneself and looking at them with detachment as if one were deep inside and observing things outside oneself. Similarly one can get the mental experiences by concentrating in the thought and by it bringing a corresponding experience, e.g. the thought of all being the Brahman, or one can draw back from the thought also and observe one's own thoughts as outside things until one enters into silence and the pure spiritual experience.
The illumination above the head as usually seen in this yoga is the Light of the Divine Truth. It is above the head that there is perfectly the Divine Peace, Force, Light, Knowledge, Ananda. These begin to descend into the body when the personal consciousness is prepared sufficiently. The preparation is usually full of vicissitudes such as these but one has to persist patiently, opening oneself more and more till that is ready.
If one can remain always in the higher consciousness, so much the better. But why does not one remain always there? Because the lower is still part of the nature and it pulls you down towards itself. If on the other hand the lower is transformed, it becomes of one kind with the higher and there is nothing lower to pull downward.
Transformation means that the higher consciousness or nature is brought down into the mind, vital and body and takes the place of the lower. There is a higher consciousness of the true self, which is spiritual, but it is above; if one rises above into it, then one is free as long as one remains there, but if one comes down into or uses mind, vital or body - and if one keeps any connection with life, one has to do so, either to come down and act from the ordinary consciousness or else to be in the self but use mind, life and body, then the imperfections of these instruments have to be faced and mended - they can only be mended by transformation.
You say you rise a little above into the higher consciousness, but where do you rise? Into the quiet mind and above the vital or above the mind itself into something always calm and pure and free?
No. I did not intend any sarcasm by my question. You had written that by rising a little above the ordinary consciousness one was free from difficulty and that this was what one felt. I thought you meant that this was your own experience. So I put the question, as the experience of the quiet mind is one that can easily be broken by the uneasiness of the vital or the inertia of the physical being. The experience of the deeper freedom and calm which belongs to the self remains but it can be covered up by the lower consciousness.
One can remain in the higher consciousness and yet associate oneself with the change of the lower nature. No doubt, it is the Mother's Force that will do what is necessary, but the consent of the sadhak, the association of his will with her action or at least of his witness-vision is necessary also.
Your tendency was to go up and to leave the higher consciousness to deal with the lower nature without any personal effort for that. That could have worked all right on two conditions: (1) that the peace and force would come down and occupy all down to the physical, (2) that you succeeded in keeping the inner being unmoved by the outer nature. The physical failed to absorb the peace, inertia arose instead; force could not come down; the suggestions from the outer nature proved too strong for you and between their suggestions and the inertia they interrupted the sadhana.
I have not said that you made a mistake. I have simply said what happened and the causes. If you had been able to remain above and let the Force come down and act while you were detached from the outer nature, it would have been all right.
You were able to go up because the Peace descended. You were not able to remain above because the Peace could not occupy sufficiently the physical and the Force did not descend sufficiently. Meanwhile the inertia arose, you got troubled more and more because of the vital suggestions in the outer nature and rush of inertia, so you were unable to keep detached and let the Force descend more and more or call it down more and more. Hence the coming down into the physical consciousness.
That you should be able to keep your consciousness uplifted is already something. As for the opening, its coming and apparent closing is a normal experience - it needs several openings before the thing is settled by a permanent poise of the consciousness above and an increasing descent into the head and below. It is the pull from below that should get no indulgence - for that though most do indulge in it is a wrong crabby way of doing it. One must be stationed above before one can descend without a tumble. Not that the tumble if it comes precludes a going up again - it doesn't; but that is no reason for letting it happen.
I see no reason for either ripping or wandering or throat-slitting. Even if the permanent opening does not come at once, you have only to wait and it is bound to come. It is certainly a pity that the restlessness of the vital should kick so much against vacancy of the consciousness; for if you could stand it this emptiness, now neutral and therefore not interesting to the vital, would become positive and be the powerful recipient of the pouring from above. The difficulty is that the vital has always been accustomed either to doing something or to something doing and when it is doing nothing or nothing is doing (or it seems like that on the surface), it gets bored and begins to feel and talk or to do nonsense. However, even with this obstacle, the Descent can come down - it need not wait for the supramental.
I may say that the opening upwards, the ascent into the Light and the subsequent descent into the ordinary consciousness and normal human life is very common as the first decisive experience in the practice of yoga and may very well happen even without the practice of yoga in those who are destined for the spiritual change, especially if there is a dissatisfaction somewhere with the ordinary life and a seeking for something more, greater or better. It comes often exactly in the way that she describes and the cessation of the experience and the descent also come in the same way. This first experience may be followed by a very long time during which there is no repetition of it or any subsequent experience. If there is a constant practice of yoga, the interval need not be so long; but even so, it is often long enough. The descent is inevitable because it is not the whole being that has risen up but only something within, and all the rest of the nature is unprepared, absorbed in or attached to ordinary life and governed by movements that are not in consonance with the Light. Still, the something within is something central in the being and therefore the experience is in a way definitive and decisive. For it comes as a decisive intimation of the spiritual destiny and an indication of what must be reached some time in the life. Once it has been there, something is bound to happen which will open the way, determine the right knowledge and the right attitude enabling one to proceed on the way and bring a helping influence. After that, the work of clearing away the obstacles that prevent the return to the Light and the ascension of the whole being and, what is equally important, the descent of the Light into the whole being, can be begun and progress towards completion. It may take long or be rapid, that depends on the inner push and also on outer circumstances but the inner aspiration and endeavour count more than the circumstances which can accommodate themselves to the inner need if that is very strong. The moment has come for her and the necessary aspiration and knowledge and the influence that can help her.
The force which you felt must evidently have been a rising of the Kundalini ascending to join the Force above and bring down the energy needed to ease the depression and then again rising to enforce the connection between the Above and the lower centres. The seeming expansion of the head is due to the joining of the mind with the consciousness of the Self or Divine above. That consciousness is wide and illimitable and, when one rises into it, the individual consciousness also breaks its limits and feels wide and illimitable. At such times one often feels as if there were no head and no body but all were a wide self and its consciousness, or else the head or the body is only a circumstance in that. The body or the physical mind is sometimes startled or alarmed at these experiences because they are abnormal to it; but there is no ground for alarm, - these are usual experiences in the yoga.
The spine is the main channel of the descent and ascent of the Force, by which it connects the lower and the higher consciousness together.
The sensation in the spine and on both sides of it is a sign of the awakening of the Kundalini Power. It is felt as a descending and an ascending current. There are two main nerve-channels for the currents, one on each side of the central channel in the spine. The descending current is the energy from the above coming down to touch the sleeping Power in the lowest nerve-centre at the bottom of the spine; the ascending current is the release of the energy going up from the awakened Kundalini. This movement as it proceeds opens up the six centres of the subtle nervous system and by the opening one escapes from the limitations of the surface consciousness bound to the gross body and great ranges of experiences proper to the subliminal self, mental, vital, subtle physical are shown to the sadhak. When the Kundalini meets the higher Consciousness as it ascends through the summit of the head, there is an opening of the higher superconscient reaches above the normal mind. It is by ascending through these in our consciousness and receiving a descent of their energies that it is possible ultimately to reach the supermind. This is the method of the Tantra. In our yoga it is not necessary to go through the systematised method. It takes place spontaneously according to the need by the force of the aspiration. As soon as there is an opening the Divine Power descends and conducts the necessary working, does what is needed, each thing in its time, and the yogic Consciousness begins to be born in the sadhak.
Sri Aurobindo cannot undertake to guide you as your Guru, for the reason that he takes as disciples only those who follow his special path of yoga; your experiences follow a different line. In his yoga there may be an occasional current in the spine as in other nerve channels or different parts of the body, but no awakening of the Kundalini in this particular and powerful fashion. There is only a quiet uprising of the consciousness from the lower centres to join the spiritual consciousness above and a descent of the Divine Force from above which does its own work in the mind and body - the manner and stages varying in each sadhak. A perfect confidence in the Divine Mother and a vigilance to repel all wrong suggestions and influences is the main law of this yoga. Your opening having once been so powerful on the more usual Tantric lines (even without your own will intervening), it is hardly probable that it could now change easily to other lines - any such effort might create a serious disturbance. In speaking of a competent Guru Sri Aurobindo meant one who had himself practised this opening of the centres and become siddha in that line of yoga. It should not be impossible to find one - when one has the call for the Guru, the Guru sooner or later comes. Meanwhile to put away fear and have confidence in the Divine working is indispensable - but no effort should be made to force the pace by concentrated meditation unless you have a guide whom you can trust - a clear guidance from within or a guide from without. The inspiration about the Ida nadi and the subsequent working of the Shakti show that there was an intervention at a critical moment and that the call to it whenever needed is likely to be effective.
In the experiences proper related in your first letter there is absolutely nothing that should have disturbed you - all was quite normal, the usual experiences of the yogin at such a juncture, and very good and powerful, such as do not come except by the grace of the Divine. Probably the opening came after slow invisible preparation as a result of the meditation on the lotus at the top of the head; for that is always an invitation to the Kundalini to awake or for the lower consciousness to rise and meet the higher. The disturbing factors came with the feeling of discomfort in the heart due to some resistance in the physical being which is very often felt and can be overcome by the working of the Force itself and the fear that came afterwards in the seats of the vital Nature, heart, navel etc. But that was no part of the experience; it was an interference by a wrong reaction from the lower or exterior consciousness. If you had not allowed yourself to be disturbed, probably nothing untoward would have distorted the process. One must not get frightened by unusual states or movements or experiences, the yogi must be fearless, abhî; it is absurd to have a fear because one can control one's states; that is a power very much to be desired and welcomed in yoga.
The crises related in the second letter would hardly have come, if there had not been this reaction; but in any case there was the intervention and setting right of the trouble. However these reactions and the fact that the disturbance came show that something in the exterior consciousness is not altogether prepared; it is better to wait and seek for a guide so that ignorant steps or reactions may not bring again a serious trouble or danger. It is all that Sri Aurobindo can say by way of enlightenment and advice. He does not usually intervene with anyone not his disciple, but as your case was an unusual one and your call was great he has given you what light he can on your experience.
Yoga means union with the Divine - a union either transcendental (above the universe) or cosmic (universal) or individual or, as in our yoga, all three together. Or it means getting into a consciousness in which one is no longer limited by the small ego, personal mind, personal vital and body but is in union with the supreme Self or with the universal (cosmic) consciousness or with some deeper consciousness within in which one is aware of one's own soul, one's own inner being and of the real truth of existence. In the yogic consciousness one is not only aware of things, but of forces, not only of forces, but of the conscious being behind the forces. One is aware of all this not only in oneself but in the universe.
There is a force which accompanies the growth of the new consciousness and at once grows with it and helps it to come about and to perfect itself. This force is the Yoga-Shakti. It is here coiled up and asleep in all the centres of our inner being (Chakras) and is at the base what is called in the Tantras the Kundalini Shakti. But it is also above us, above our head as the Divine Force - not there coiled up, involved, asleep, but awake, scient, potent, extended and wide; it is there waiting for manifestation and to this Force we have to open ourselves - to the power of the Mother. In the mind it manifests itself as a divine mind-force or a universal mind-force and it can do everything that the personal mind cannot do; it is then the yogic mind-force. When it manifests and acts in the vital or the physical in the same way, it is there apparent as a yogic life-force or a yogic body-force. It can awake in all these forms, bursting outwards and upwards, extending itself into wideness from below; or it can descend and become there a definite power for things; it can pour downwards into the body, working, establishing its reign, extending into wideness from above, link the lowest in us with the highest above us, release the individual into a cosmic universality or into absoluteness and transcendence.
There is a Yoga-Shakti lying coiled or asleep in the inner body, not active. When one does yoga, this force uncoils itself and rises upward to meet the Divine Consciousness and Force that are waiting above us. When this happens, when the awakened Yoga-Shakti arises, it is often felt like a snake uncoiling and standing up straight and lifting itself more and more upwards. When it meets the Divine Consciousness above, then the force of the Divine Consciousness can more easily descend into the body and be felt working there to change the nature.
The feeling of your body and eyes being drawn upwards is part of the same movement. It is the inner consciousness in the body and the inner subtle sight in the body that are looking and moving upward and trying to meet the divine consciousness and divine seeing above.
The Energy in the Kundalini is the Mother's.
I do not see what is your difficulty. That there is a divine force asleep or veiled by Inconscience in Matter and that the Higher Force has to descend and awaken it with the Light and Truth is a thing that is well known; it is at the very base of this yoga.
I am afraid the attempt to apply scientific analogies to spiritual or yogic things leads more often to confusion than to anything else, - just as it creates confusion if thrust upon philosophy also. Kundalini coiled in the Muladhara is asleep, plunged in the inconscience, supporting the play of the Ignorance. Naturally, if she heaves up from there, there may be a disturbance or disruption of the states of the Ignorance, but that would be rather a salutary upheaval and helpful to the purpose of yoga.
Kundalini becoming conscious rises up to meet the Brahman in the thousand-petalled lotus. A mere ejection from her uniting with the higher consciousness would hardly lead to a radical change. Of course she need not abandon connection with the physical centre altogether; but she is no longer coiled there: if she were, the great occult force residing there would not be liberated. The usual image of her risen and awake is, I believe, that of a serpent standing erect, the tail touching the lowest centre, the head the highest at the Brahmarandhra. Thus with all the centres open and active she unites the two poles, superior and inferior, of the being, the spirit with Matter.
That [rising above the head] is very good. Such risings help to break down the lid between the higher and lower planes in the consciousness and prepare the wideness.
What is to be done depends on where the block is. There are two movements that are necessary - one is the ascent through the increasing of peace and silence to its source above the mind, - that is indicated by the tendency of the consciousness to rise out of the body to the top of the head and above where it is easy to realise the Self in all its stillness and liberation and wideness and to open to the other powers of the Higher Consciousness. The other is the descent of the peace, silence, the spiritual freedom and wideness and the powers of the higher consciousness as they develop into the lower down to the most physical and even the subconscient. To both of these movements there can be a block - a block above due to the mind and lower nature being unhabituated (it is that really and not incapacity) and a block below due to the physical consciousness and its natural slowness to change. Everybody has these blocks but by persistent will, aspiration or abhyâsa they can be overcome.
Wideness is a sign of the extension of consciousness out of the ordinary limits - whiteness of the wideness means that it is the pure consciousness one is feeling, unless it is white light or luminous light which indicates the Mother's consciousness there or some influence of it. The subtle barrier you felt must have been the same thing that prevents your ascent from the heart and from it your going beyond into the regions above. There is always a sort of a lid there and it is only when that is opened or disappears that one can go freely above. One can be aware of unseen wideness but one is not a self there until that is done.
Wideness is necessary for the working of the higher consciousness - if the being is shut up in itself, there can be intense experiences and some opening to touches from the heights, but not the full stable basis for the transformation.
The emptiness and wideness in the brain is a very good sign. It is a condition for the opening horizontally into the cosmic consciousness and upward into the Self and higher spiritual Mind above the head.
The lightness, the feeling of the disappearance of the head and that all is open is a sign of the wideness of the mental consciousness which is no longer limited by the brain and its body sense - no longer imprisoned but wide and free. This is felt in the meditation only at first or with closed eyes, but at a later stage it becomes established and one feels always oneself a wide consciousness not limited by any feeling of the body. You felt something of this wideness of your being in the second experience when the Mother's foot pressed down your physical mind (head) till it went below and left room for this sense of an infinite Self. This wide consciousness not dependent on the body or limited by it is what is called in yoga the Atman or Self. You are only having the first glimpses of it, but later on it becomes normal and one feels that one was always this Atman infinite and immortal.
I don't think the lack of sleep when it comes is due to want of work; for even those who do no work at all get good sleep. It is something else; but it must be got over.
The constant remembrance of the Mother is a difficult thing and few have it, but it will come in time. Meanwhile her Force is working in you and preparing your consciousness for that.
The Self is met first on the level of the Higher Mind, but it is not limited to one station - it is usually felt as something outspread in wideness, but one may also feel a centralising consciousness in the Sahasrara or above it.
The Self governs the diversity of its creation by its unity on all the planes from the Higher Mind upwards on which the realisation of the One is the natural basis of consciousness. But as one goes upward, the view changes, the power of consciousness changes, the Light becomes ever more intense and potent. Although the static realisation of Infinity and Eternity and the Timeless One remains the same, the vision of the workings of the One becomes ever wider and is attended with a greater instrumentality of Force and a more comprehensive grasp of what has to be known and done. All possible forms and constructions of things become more and more visible, put in their proper place, utilisable. Moreover, what is thought-knowledge in the Higher Mind becomes illumination in the Illumined Mind and direct intimate vision in the Intuition.
But the Intuition sees in flashes and combines through a constant play of light - through revelations, inspirations, intuitions, swift discriminations. The overmind sees calmly, steadily, in great masses and large extensions of space and time and relation, globally; it creates and acts in the same way - it is the world of the great Gods, the divine Creators. Only, each creates in his own way; he sees all but sees all from his own viewpoint. There is not the absolute supramental harmony and certitude. These, inadequately expressed, are some of the differences. I speak, of course, of these planes in themselves - when acting in the human consciousness they are necessarily much diminished in their working by having to depend on the human instrumentation of mind, vital and physical. Only when these are quieted, they get a fuller force and reveal more their character.
The substance of knowledge is the same on all the overhead planes, but the higher mind gives only the substance and form of knowledge in thought and word - in the illumined mind there begins to be a peculiar light and energy and Ananda of knowledge which grows as one rises higher in the scale - or else as the knowledge comes from a higher and higher source.
This light etc. are still rather diluted and diffused in the illumined mind; it becomes more and more intense, clearly defined and dynamic and effective on the higher planes so much so as to change always the character and power of the knowledge.
The Ignorance can act from above the head - but not as part of the higher planes - it comes from outside. The higher planes just above the head are not however the absolute Truth; that you only get in the supermind.
The planes and the body are not the same. Above the head are seen all the planes from the overmind down to the higher mind, but this is only a correlation in the consciousness - not an actual location in space.
[This and the following letter were written in reference to Thought the Paraclete, a poem of Sri Aurobindo.
See Sri Aurobindo, Collected Poems and Plays, Vol. II, p. 300.]
As thought rises in the scale, it ceases to be intellectual, becomes illumined, then intuitive, then overmental and finally disappears seeking the last Beyond. The poem does not express any philosophical thought, however; it is simply a perception of a certain movement, that is all.
Pale blue is the colour of the higher ranges of mind up to the intuition. Above it, it begins to become golden with the supramental Light.
Thought is not the giver of Knowledge but the mediator between the Inconscient and the Superconscient. It compels the world born from the Inconscient to reach for a Knowledge other than the instinctive vital or merely empirical, for the Knowledge that itself exceeds thought; it calls for that superconscient Knowledge and prepares the consciousness here to receive it. It rises itself into the higher realms and even in disappearing into the supramental and Ananda levels is transformed into something that will bring down their powers into the silent self which its cessation leaves behind it.
Gold-red is the colour of the supramental in the physical - the poem describes Thought in the stage when it is undergoing transformation and is about to ascend into the Infinite above and disappear into it. The flame-word rune is the Word of the higher Inspiration, Intuition, Revelation which is the highest attainment of Thought.
By the intuitive self I meant the intuitive being, that part which belongs to the intuitive plane or is in connection with it. The intuition is one of the higher planes of consciousness between the human thinking mind and the supramental plane.
The intuitive mind does not get the touch direct from the supramental. Above it is the overmind in which there is a higher and greater intuition and above that are the supramental ranges.
I do not think it can be said that there are separate strata in the intuitive mind for purity, strength and beauty. These are separate powers of the Divine, not separate strata. But, of course, they can be arranged by the mind in that way for some organised purpose.
Revelation is a part of the intuitive consciousness.
There is a discrimination that is not intellectual - a direct perception.
One can get intuitions - communications from there [the Intuition plane] even while the ego exists - but to live in the wideness of the Intuition is not possible with the limitation of the ego.
To live in the Intuitive it is necessary first to have the opening into the cosmic consciousness and to live first in the higher and the illumined Mind, seeing everything from there. To receive constantly the intuition from above, that is not necessary - it is sufficient to have the sense of the One everywhere and to get into contact with things and people through the inner mind and sense more than with the outer mind and senses - for the latter meet only the surface of things and are not intuitive.
The cosmic consciousness has many levels - the cosmic physical, the cosmic vital, the cosmic Mind, and above the higher planes of cosmic Mind there is the Intuition and above that the overmind and still above that the supermind where the Transcendental begins. In order to live in the Intuition plane (not merely to receive intuitions), one has to live in the cosmic consciousness because there the cosmic and individual run into each other as it were, and the mental separation between them is already broken down, so nobody can reach there who is still in the separative ego.
A reflected static realisation of Sachchidananda is possible on any of the cosmic planes, but the full entering into it, the entire union with the Supreme Divine dynamic as well as static, comes with the transcendence.
It [the individual self] is not specially related [to Intuition] - intuition is the highest power the embodied individual can reach without universalising itself - when it universalises itself it is then possible for it to come in contact with overmind. If by the individual self is meant the Jivatman, it can be on any plane of consciousness.
It is not the psychic but the mind that gets raised and transformed and its action intensified by the intuitivising of the consciousness. The psychic is always the same in essence and adapts its action without need of transformation to any change of consciousness.
Yes, there are beings [on the Intuition plane]. Intuition is in direct contact with the higher Truth but not in an integral contact. It gets the Truth in flashes and turns these flashes of Truth-perception into intuitions - intuitive ideas. The ideas of the true Intuition are always correct so far as they go - but when intuition is diluted in the ordinary mind stuff, its truth gets mixed with error.
I do not remember in what context I wrote it. But intuitivising is not sufficient to prevent a drop; if it is complete (and it is not complete until not only the mind, but the vital and physical are intuitivised) it can make you understand and be conscious of all the processes in you and around but it does not necessarily make you entire master of the reactions. For that Knowledge is not enough - a certain Knowledge-Will (knowledge and will fused together) or Consciousness-Power is needed.
The overmind receives the Divine Truth and disperses it in various formations and diverse play of forces, building thus different worlds out of this dispersion.
In the Intuition the nature of Knowledge is Truth not global or whole, but coming out in so many points, edges, flashes of a Truth that is behind it and supplies it with its direct perceptions.
He seems to say that beyond the overmind there is a plane of higher luminous Intelligence. This is impossible. Beyond the overmind there is the supermind - the overmind is the highest of the planes below the supramental, and he is not yet in touch with the supramental. What he calls here the overmind cannot be the true overmind. His experiences are those of the mind opening to the higher mental planes and trying to bring down something from them and their powers into the mind, life and body.
His classification of four worlds is an attempt of the mind to interpret something he had seen, but it has not got it all right. If Mahasaraswati stopped him at this moment, it must have been because his mind was making a wrong formation and it was no use carrying it any farther.
At this stage in his yoga he must observe what is going on, but not attach a definitive or final importance to any such classifications or mental arrangements. The mind at this stage sometimes gets these things correctly, sometimes makes formations of them which are not correct and have to be discarded or set right when a higher knowledge comes.
The consciousness which you call supramental is no doubt above the human mind, but it should be called, not the supramental, but simply the higher consciousness. In this higher consciousness there are many degrees, of which the supramental is the summit or the source. It is not possible to reach the summit or source all at once; first of all the lower consciousness has to be purified and made ready. That is the meaning of the Light you saw, whose inner body or substance is too dense and powerful to be penetrated at present.
Certainly, the overmind descent is necessary for those who want the supramental change. Unless the overmind opens, there can be no direct supramental opening of the consciousness. If one remains in the mind, even illumined mind or the intuition, one can have indirect messages or an influence from the supramental, but not a direct supramental control of the consciousness or the supramental change.
People talk very lightly of the overmind and the supermind as if it were quite easy to enter into them and mistake inferior movements for the overmental or supramental, thereby confusing the Truth and delaying the progress of the sadhana.
It is not very clear what is meant by this Knowledge-Will. It is usually a description of the supramental where there is no division between Knowledge and Will, each acting on each other or rather fixed together in oneness and therefore infallible.
You say it has taken form in mind, vital and body; if that is so, it would mean the fixed and decisive transformation; so it cannot be the supramental. It must be some overmind Truth plane.
Knowledge and will have naturally to be one before either can act perfectly.
It is the experience of the transcendent planes as reflected on the higher planes of consciousness (overmind, etc.) in relation to them; just as one can have an experience of Sachchidananda and these planes as reflected in the mind or vital or physical consciousness, so one can have it there - but on each plane it appears in a different way.
Overmind experience comes when one rises to the overmind plane and sees things as they are on that plane or as they look to the consciousness which sees the other planes from the overmind view. When one is in the mind, life or physical plane, then it is the overmind Influence that comes down and modifies the mind, life or physical workings in greater or less degree according to the possibilities or the thing to be done at the moment. It is not the sole power as it is in its own plane but works under mental, vital or physical conditions. Its power is more subjective than objective - it is easy for it to change our view and experience of the object and our knowledge about it, but not so easy for it to change the object or its nature or circumstances or the outward state of things in that plane.
There are no overmind dangers - it is only the lower consciousness misusing overmind or higher consciousness intimations that can make a danger. There are also no overmind Falsehoods. The overmind is part of the Ignorance in this sense that it is the highest knowledge to which the Ignorance can attain, but the knowledge is still divided and so can be a knowledge of parts and aspects of the Truth, not the integral knowledge. As such it can be misused and turned into falsehood by the Mind.
The overmind experience does not necessarily deliver from the lower vital and physical movements - it changes them only to a certain extent and prepares them for a greater Truth.
It is perfectly natural. In these experiences you become aware of the consciousness proper to other planes. Thus you get the experience of being a form of the Divine Consciousness, the Mother, and while the experience lasts you feel her power - when the experience ceases, you come back to your normal state, the power withdraws. These experiences are proper to the consciousness with the overmind Knowledge and they prepare it for transformation.
It is perfectly simple, it is the attraction towards the Divine Consciousness represented in a concrete experience. It is the concreteness of the experiences that puzzles you. All experience there tends to be concrete, there are no abstract truths as in the mind, - even thought in the overmind is a concrete force and a palpable substance.
Yes - it is one aspect of the Truth, - for in the overmind there are many aspects of Truth, separate or combined together or arranged one above the other.
Why not? Both are true on the different levels of the overmind or in different cosmic formations that come from the overmind. All aspects are there in the overmind, even those which the intellect considers contradictory to each other; in the overmind they are not contradictions but complementary to each other.
It is only the supermind that has an absolute freedom from error. The overmind presents truth in all sorts of arrangements all of which taken together presents something like the whole truth - but these again are reflected in you in the terrestrial consciousness or conveyed to your terrestrial consciousness by the descent from the higher planes, but in receiving it the terrestrial consciousness can make mistakes in interpretation, in understanding, in application, in arrangement.
Absolute certitude about all things can only come from the supermind. Meanwhile one has to go on with what knowledge the other planes give.
in SABCL, volume 24, pages 1126-1163
published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA