The Mind and Its Movements
The role of mind is being increasingly recognised in health and healing. Yet after decades of search and research, we are not able to say definitively as to what the mind is. We know that stimulating certain centres of the brain generates certain forms of sensations, perceptions, feelings, cognitions. But we do not know where is the birth place of thoughts, where do they come from and where do they pass on. The ancient query of the Kena Upanishad — ‘Kena Patitam…’ — what makes the thought fall upon its mark remains an enigma to modern science. But the ancient seers had discovered behind our thoughts, in fact behind all psychological movements and physiological functions, certain powers and aspects of consciousness that motivates the organs to function. The brain according to this view is not a generator of thoughts but only its receiver and transmitter. Whether there is a mental consciousness independent of the brain is being increasingly debated by the scientists. Naturally there is no easy answer for how science can discover it unless it goes beyond matter and develops probes that are sensitive to subtler forces and energies. But at least one indirect evidence points out that this could be a possibility. It is in the function of the mental will. One can, for example, give a mental thought suggestion to lift a finger and yet he may consciously refuse to do it. The thought suggestion does not automatically translate into action as it should if the brain and body were simply a complex mechanical wiring network. The thought is powerless unless the will supports it. There are other evidences also such as the recording of experiences, including coherent ones, when the brain is asleep as in anaesthesia or coma. The yogis of course know it very well. They can actually stop thoughts from arising or else let them in at will and turn them in the direction they want. No wonder it was well known to ancient Indian mystics that our mind affects the body, though the text books still mention the field of psychosomatics as if it is only a hundred years old! Nevertheless before we can use this ancient knowledge to the fullest advantage we should try to understand the mind and its movements in a little more detail.
When we step back behind our thoughts, we become aware that the world of thoughts cannot all be clubbed in a single category. There are different categories of thoughts just as there are different types of feelings. What is even more interesting from a practical point of view is that these different thoughts have different effects upon our physical and psychological growth. And since thoughts, like feelings and impulses, can propagate themselves, they have presumably different effects upon people and the environment around us. However, while it is relatively easier to separate the mind and thoughts from our feelings and study them, it is not so easy to do the same with thoughts. That is why we hardly have any proper classification of thoughts as compared to feelings. One general method is to divide them into two broad categories, like for example, convergent and divergent or else concrete and abstract thinking. These roughly denote the less from the more developed forms of thought. However, it also speaks of the limits of our thinking and knowing in present-day times. It does not include many other forms of thought like inspiration, illumination, intuition, vision, etc. Yet our study of human nature will be grossly incomplete without incorporating these as our subject of search and research.
A closer look reveals that thought like feelings and desires climbs through an evolutionary ladder of its own, forming a hierarchy of mind planes. This ladder essentially climbs up from our mind’s excessive preoccupation with the body and world of physical senses through a reason trying to free itself from the clutches of senses up to the higher realms of the supra-sensory worlds of the yogi and the mystic. All these levels are potentially present in every human being but not all are openly active in each one. The mind of a philosopher, poet and a visionary are very different from the mind of a pragmatic man of the world and the practical scientist. Modern education hardly touches upon these layers, leaves most of them untouched, closed or undeveloped for want of nourishment. Modern civilization, being too preoccupied with the necessities of outer existence, hardly encourages it. Yet it is the prime task of evolutionary psychology to discover and uncover these hidden domains of the mind in us.
The Outer Layers: Body-Mind and Physical Mind
There is in us a mind that is ever-preoccupied with our bodily functions. It acts upon our cells with a mechanical intelligence that is astonishingly accurate within its limits. It is this that programmes the body and conditions it to certain automatic responses. It is this body-mind, which gives us fixity of function (like a gramophone record running over and over again). While this fixity is very useful to condition the body against past dangers, there is an obverse side to it. The nature of threats has changed in the course of our evolutionary journey, from the predator to the pollutants, from pure physical to emotional and psychological, yet the body-mind has not developed commensurate resources to cope with this. It reacts upon the body against psychological, even imaginary threats, quite in the same way as it did centuries back against visible external dangers. It is a slave of memory and habit, giving a fixed response and faithfully repeating itself. This fixity may be good for preservation and stability but is counterproductive from an evolutionary point of view. Evolution always requires tackling the resistances of this layer, so needed in the past for survival, and therefore naturally least accommodating to change. Since matter has evolved under challenges and difficulties, this body-mind anticipates difficulties and finds it hard to believe in Grace and miracles. It is full of fear and attracts suffering since over the millenniums it has this experience of pain and suffering as the law of growth. Thus, this rigidity comes in the way of evolution, since it will not allow the body cells to be free of their limitations and fixed responses.
In collusion with it is the physical mind in man. This is the mind, which receives external sensations, stores and reacts upon them. This mind is conditioned by the senses and also responds mechanically to them. Quite understandably, it disbelieves in anything other than the sense-testimony whose answer of true and false it weighs in a balance of pros and cons, and often without any conclusion. Unable to have any sure certitude, it worries and doubts forever tossing from one conclusion to another.
These two minds often work in close conjunction. They have apprehension and fear, weighing one possibility after another, rigidly shutting the doors of our body to Light, Grace and all that is tangible to the inner consciousness, but intangible to our outer senses. More relevant to us, this mind full of scepticism and doubts, prevents and delays our recovery for want of faith, whether in the doctor, therapy or higher Grace. The only thing it is sure of is what it has repeated and rehearsed over and over again. In the social sphere, it promotes conservation and orthodoxy and resists any change. While all this provides certain stability necessary for individual and group functioning, the same stability can lend itself to a pattern of illness and fix it with a severity in the body. It’s distressing action is well known in the pathological state of obsession and compulsion. The ritualistic behaviour of many cults and the fear of displeasing the deity if one does not indulge them is a form of convention that turns into a social pathology when it becomes excessive and the breeding ground for every form of fanaticism and fundamentalism. This mind is the chief stronghold of the conservative and the orthodox but, being detailed in observation, it is also the chief means used by the physical scientists to study physical phenomenon.
Yet there are ways to deal with this mind. Japa, the repetition of certain ‘significant’ sound symbols can quieten this mechanical mind and break through its barriers of rigid resistance, open the body to a higher Light, Consciousness and Grace. Also, one can stand back from these thoughts and reject or indifferently watch them run out their course. A similar principle works in detachment and diversion. Strong-willed people can exercise a powerful formation of a higher mental will that would check these thoughts and their undue apprehension simply by the pressure of greater energy. Finally, one can open oneself to a higher consciousness and Grace through other parts of our nature that labour less under the heavy yoke of the outward and immediate.
An interesting method currently in use in psychological circles is to use repetitive thought suggestions called positive affirmations. Some of these positive affirmations used in the art of healing are ‘I am well’, ‘I will be cured’, ‘I shall be well’ and ‘I am and shall be all right’. Of course one needs to persist and persevere when one is dealing with a structure as rigid as the physical mind. It is only a persistent pressure of positive suggestions, will, detachment, japa and all the rest that can decondition and then recondition this mind (which has been the main curiosity of the ‘learning theorists’). But once reconditioned, this mind can be quite useful.
A Word about Japa
The japa is usually successful only on one of two conditions — if it is repeated with a sense of its significance, a dwelling of something in the mind on the nature, power, beauty, attraction of the Godhead it signifies and is to bring into the consciousness, that is the mental way; or if it comes up from the heart or rings in it with a certain sense or feeling of bhakti making it alive, — that is the emotional way. Either the mind or the vital has to give it support or sustenance. …There is, of course, a third way, the reliance on the power of the mantra or name in itself; but then one has to go until that power has sufficiently impressed its vibration on the inner being to make it at a given moment suddenly open to the Presence or the Touch.
[Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga, Part 2, p. 745]
Getting Rid of an Unwanted Chain of Thoughts
There are several methods. Generally — but it depends on people — generally, the easiest way is to think of something else. That is, to concentrate one’s attention upon something that has nothing to do with that thought, has no connection with that thought, like reading or some work — generally something creative, some creative work. …those who have begun to control their thought can make a movement of rejection, push aside the thought as one would a physical object. But that is more difficult and asks for a much greater mastery. …The third means is to be able to bring down a sufficiently great light from above which will be the “denial” in the deeper sense; that is, if the thought which comes is something dark, … if one can bring down from above the light of a true knowledge, a higher power, and put that light upon the thought, one can manage to dissolve it or enlighten or transform it — this is the supreme method.
The first step is to think of something else; … the second is to fight; and the third is to transform. When one has reached the third step, not only is one cured but one has made a permanent progress.
[The Mother, CWM 6, Question and Answers 1954, p. 23]
Stability, preservation and survival are only the first needs of a human being. His other equally valid needs are growth and expansion. Therefore, man is given a vital mind, which is a mind of fantasy and imagination. It is this mind that is dynamically active in the inventor and the adventurer. It rebels against established and fixed patterns of thoughts and conduct. It breaks old forms, so that out of its materials it can build new ones. And even though in its fantasy it seems to escape into uncharted and even dangerous realms, yet its imaginings lean heavily upon the physical mind on whose back it rides. Its images are borrowed from the sensory experiences. Even in its wildest flights it yet cannot escape from earth’s gravitation. It is this characteristic reliance on the bricks of physical phenomena as its building blocks for its castle in the air that distinguishes imagination from deeper and true spiritual experiences. Most of us not knowing the distinction for want of experience tend to pooh-pooh all higher realisations as myths and fictions of a fertile mind. But the fertile vital mind cannot break free from its earth-bound thoughts. True, to an overeager novice, striving for spiritual experiences under this stress of vital desire and demand, this mind can create an image and a replica, an imitative pseudo-reality. This pseudo-reality has nothing subtle about it and is often crude and close to our gross earth forms. Its paradise is full of mist and its hells full of tortures. Its gods are like humans, only different in degree but yet essentially human in form and content. Its titans are a cross between the horned animal and man. But true spiritual experience comes from much higher, from beyond the borders of form where all our ideas and imagination rest in blissful silence. The vital mind is at the service of our desire self and uses every form of logic to rob the reason and make it collude with our lower impulses. It can twist logic to suit its own convenience.
Yet the vital mind has its role in health and illness. It is like a wild horse that can lead us to dark and dangerous territories, but also, if tamed, becomes useful for hunting down predators or making the journey of our life less weary and tiresome. Caught up in false imaginations, it can fabricate illness or even precipitate one. Many an illnesses arise or perpetuate themselves because of our morbid imaginations. But also it can imagine pleasant, beautiful and healthy things, and by doing that create formations and conditions conducive to the restoration of health.
This potential and power of imagination is used in exercises on creative visualisation. One simple form of this is to imagine that a white light full of coolness and peace is entering our body from the head and gradually passing down level by level to the toes. One can further imagine that this white light full of peace is entering each organ, each part, each cell of the body, especially the diseased part and curing it. For instance, in cases of tumours and cancers, one can imagine that this light is actually healing the cancer tissues by its power and pressure. Similar forms of imagination (of white light killing tumour cells) have actually been shown to aid cancer recovery and improve prognosis. Imagination indeed opens the path by admitting a possibility in our mind.
This mind is restless for change sometimes just for the sake of it, at times under an impetus from within or above. Thus, it also counters some of the rigidities of the physical mind in man, and at least allows us a temporary escape out of it! Without this mind, inventions, explorations and works of art would not have been possible. Only it needs to be channelled and given a right orientation, and since it feeds upon imagination for its development, the best way to train it, in children especially, is through stories of light, beauty, joy and the triumph of truth.
The Power of Imagination
The imagination is really the power of mental formation. When this power is put at the service of the Divine, it is not only formative but also creative. There is, however, no such thing as an unreal formation, because every image is a reality on the mental plane. The plot of a novel, for instance, is all there on the mental plane existing independently of the physical. Each of us is a novelist to a certain extent and possesses the capacity to make forms on that plane; and, in fact, a good deal of our life embodies the products of our imagination. Every time you indulge your imagination in an unhealthy way, giving a form to your fears and anticipating accidents and misfortunes, you are undermining your own future. On the other hand, the more optimistic your imagination, the greater the chance of your realizing your aim. Monsieur Coué got hold of this potent truth and cured hundreds of people by simply teaching them to imagine themselves out of misery. … The imagination is like a knife which may be used for good or evil purposes.
[The Mother, CWM 3, Question and Answers 1929-1931, ‘The Power of Imagination’, p. 156]
Thoughts are forms and have an individual life, independent of their author: sent out from him into the world, they move in it towards the realisation of their own purpose of existence. …. There are some men who have a very strong formative power of this kind and always they see their formations realised; but because they have not a well-disciplined mental and vital being, they want now one thing and now another and these different or opposite formations and their results collide and clash with one another. And these people wonder how it is that they are living in so great a confusion and disharmony!
[The Mother, CWM 3, Question and Answers 1929-1931, pp. 50, 51]
The Rational Mind
The next level of mind accessible to us is the rational or mental mind. Many regard it as the mind proper and the human race is supposed to predominantly take its station there. It is, essentially, a mind that seeks balance and some kind of adjustment and harmony between people and events and things. It is the seat of cognition proper and dissonance is what drives this mind to act until the discordant note in our thoughts is resolved in some higher harmony or synthesis of understanding. More often, however, it eliminates the discordant note from its field by denying its existence. This either-or method makes it quite incapable of knowing the truth. For the only way it can know anything is through comparisons and contrast with other known things. This makes it even more hopelessly incapable of judging things that belong to a higher field of the unknown. Even those below it are never known well because of this dependence on other known things for deriving inferences. It can infer but never truly know. It can analyse by comparisons and contrasts but can never really ascertain the true value of things. It can arrive at approximations of the figure of truth, but never at the body of Truth itself. This becomes an even greater handicap when, as in the field of scientific pursuit, it relies heavily on the limited sense data and struggles with premises and limits fixed by our outer senses. That is why all our rational sciences ultimately enter a zone of the inexplicable and do not know how to break the impasse.
This barrier can only be broken by a higher activity of the mind that is more holistic and less dependent upon sensory evidence — the mind of intuition. Unfortunately, an excessive development of the rational mind suppresses the free emergence of the intuitive mind by creating a sort of shield that encases our human mentality. This is also the reason as to why certain ancient civilizations relying less heavily upon reason discovered amazing truths by allowing a freer play of intuition. The fall of these more intuitive and holistic cultures was accompanied by a development of reason, which began to codify their knowledge into fixed systems of unalterable truths! It needs to live within the boundaries of the little known and is uncomfortable to tread into higher domains.
This, however, serves two useful purposes. One, wary of the unknown, this mind curbs the excessive adventurous explorations of the vital mind by regarding it all as imaginative fantasy or a dangerous futility. If left in command, it will never allow the vital in man to venture into unknown territories and set a limit to its exploration. Our body under the stress of the vital can have bursts of activity followed by exhaustion. But the rational mind will have nothing of that sort. It will set a limit to activity and rest alternating with each other. It will not allow extremes but only a balanced approach. Therefore also it is a great neutralizer of the excessive vital excursions and imaginations. Unfortunately, its cautious approach often closes prevents our entry into pure and luminous truth just as it prevents us from dangerous and extreme falsehood. It turns to the past for support and is uncertain of the future, except as much as can be extrapolated on the basis of the present and the past. That is why this mind has no certain means to know and all its knowledge is at best a reasoned guess.
Yet while this mind can never have any final certitude of knowledge, it is yet a great classifier of things. It can create order among the rank and file of the known, even though it is at the expense of losing the fluidity and plasticity of truth. This makes it easy for the mind to handle data by codifying and systematizing it. By dividing things into a so-called clear-cut black and white it also acts as the chief instrument of the moral educator. But since it lacks both an absolute certainty of knowledge and an absolute power of will, its authority is like that of rubber stamps, readymade, on whose seal and behalf and under whose name the different parts of our nature place their signature and endorse their action. Its knowledge, divorced from the greater expanses of our life, remains largely theoretical, unable to take into full account the smaller practical difficulties as well as the larger idealistic tendencies of our complex and many-faceted nature woven with a mixed fabric and tissue. At its worst, it is like the policeman who takes bribes from both the aggrieved and accused and tries to placate and pacify the disputants by keeping them out of each other’s reach. The conflict remains and does not change but gets only partially restrained. The god in us is also not released and the jinn too remains chained! Its great service to man is mainly in preventing him from extremes, bringing some order into our otherwise chaotic life but it cannot bring enlightenment and freedom. It is sometimes used by the life-force to justify its blind and erring passions. At other times, it clips the wings of life and maims its freedom. At still other moments, it becomes absolutely cold, aloof, as if a detached or rather indifferent observer of all the activities of life, so that it may try to understand and classify. But what it cannot observe is its own self and its thought movements.
This rational mind can be a great help in matters of health by disciplining our life-style and bringing moderation into it. Persistent education explaining the effects and consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle helps and its main instrument is the rational mind. If it can turn upwards rather than downwards, it can become a wonderful coordinator between a greater knowledge above and lesser understanding below. The rational mind is not the last summit of consciousness. There are other levels of consciousness above which are concealed, of which it has no inkling. To open to a greater and higher truth above is its great possibility and privilege.
On the Intellect and Its Functions
Whether the intellect is a help or a hindrance depends upon the person and upon the way in which it is used. There is a true movement of the intellect and there is a wrong movement; one helps, the other hinders. The intellect that believes too much in its own importance and wants satisfaction for its own sake, is an obstacle to the higher realisation.
But this is true not in any special sense or for the intellect alone, but generally and for other faculties as well. … Any part of the being that keeps to its proper place and plays its appointed role is helpful; but directly it steps beyond its sphere, it becomes twisted and perverted and therefore false. … The intellect, in its true nature, is an instrument of expression and action. It is something like an intermediary between the true knowledge, whose seat is in the higher regions above the mind, and realisation here below. The intellect or, generally speaking, the mind gives the form; the vital puts in the dynamism and life-power; the material comes in last and embodies.
[The Mother, Question and Answers 1929-1931, 5 May 1929, p. 33]
We could summarise the role of mind in health and illness as follows:
- It can fix an illness into the physical body as a repetitive pattern, almost as a habit of nature, of the very cells of the body, to respond to the touches of our physical and psychological environment in a certain way. This way of response may have been adaptive at a certain stage or in certain conditions, yet becomes anachronistic later on. But the cells continue to respond the same way as before. They have to then be literally cajoled into giving up this wrong habit and re-educated to respond rightly and adequately. Of course this naturally takes time and one has to have patience in the process. Besides, the physical mind can throw up repeated doubts and suggestions of fear thereby resisting the action of Grace, especially when these doubts and fears are supported by strong prevalent medical opinions and surface observations about the illness.
- The vital mind can enter into morbid imaginations and thereby create symptoms or even actual pathologies. But equally by means of right imagination as in visualization techniques, we can facilitate the healing process and direct the force of a higher consciousness onto the healing spot.
- The rational mind can help us in acting prudently and with a certain measure of balance and common sense. But this too can become a barrier if the reason continues to doubt the efficacy of a higher intervention simply because it has neither the understanding nor an experience of higher things. This mind should not be allowed to judge by appearances but rather learn to wait upon a higher truth to dawn and inform itself.
Beyond the Rational Mind
There is a line of human experience down the ages, which cuts across the barriers of time and space. This concerns a whole range of phenomena and experiences that pass beyond (not below) the realm of the reasoning mind, imagination and belief. Ideative and experiential thinking, inspiration, illumination, vision, intuition, knowledge by identity, bliss of union with a supra-cosmic Truth, oneness, transcendent reality, are examples of the same. So also is the experience of silence and stillness of the mind opening itself to the ranges above and the silent communications from soul to soul, the sense of a living presence guiding oneself and the world, the oneness with all beings, the state of total freedom from grief, desire and fear, the peace that passes all understanding, Compassion that leans from above taking into itself the grief of all living beings, the material evidence of a marvellous Grace, the change of nature through the action of the Divine in us are a few experiences that bear the stamp of authenticity for all who have them. These and other such phenomena can be broadly placed in the range of higher ‘consciousness’, higher in comparison to our reasoning mind. For want of a better term, they have been called spiritual.
This should not be, however, confused with the ‘spirit’s’ or occult, paranormal regions, which take place as a result of the interaction of subtle forces not ‘normally’ sensed by us but which nevertheless exist in the cosmic consciousness. So too must we carefully distinguish the superconscient and the spiritual from the religious, ethical, moral and philosophical dimensions. In themselves the latter do not represent the superconscient. At best they are doors which lead to the sanctum sanctorum of the spirit. At worst they are bureaucratic corridors, where the files of our life are lost in a meaningless debate over petty rules.
Apart from the relatively large body of accumulated experience of yogis and mystics, there is direct evidence of a higher consciousness available to all human beings. This is, however, so evident that we tend to take it for granted. It lies in the innate aspiration of every human being (irrespective of his or her outer behaviour and beliefs) for light of knowledge, love, peace, bliss, and a perfect life on earth. Even the worst scoundrel on earth aspires for love and peace. The search is there, however small, narrow and ignorant; however obscure; however unconscious; it is always there. And we seek it because something in us glimpses and is aware of it. That something, that little flame of light surrounded by the dense darkness of our ignorant nature, that immortal amidst our mortal poverty, is the soul. Its touch can alter the entire balance of our life. It is very, very unfortunate that much of modern psychology basing itself on the study of rats and lost in the chemical tracts of the brain has no clue of it and refuses to admit it. Fortunately mankind is not dependent on the ‘arrogance’ of the psychologist for its self-discovery and self-knowledge. Thus, despite its absence in textbooks, men continue to come in contact and be transformed by it. We shall come back to the subtle distinction between the soul and the spiritual consciousness at a later point. Suffice it to say that there is much in us that goes beyond the boundaries of our limited mental reason; much that exists beyond the scope of our rational mind; much that surpasses our little humanity. Its touch can alter the inner balance for the better, creating peace where there was anxiety, joy where there was suffering, and love where there was division and hatred.
Now, with this background, we can explore the higher ranges of consciousness. We have already mentioned sources of experiences that arise on contact with these ranges. The higher consciousness is largely free of our inner conflicts and hence contact with it translates in our mind, life and body as an experience of Joy and Peace. It is also free from the dull, mechanical rounds of our earthly life and hence a sense of freedom and lightness accompanies it. Knowledge there is no more the labour of the intellect but self-existent, spontaneous, intuitive and at its highest a knowledge by identity (as opposed to indirect and inferential knowledge). Hence the knowledge of the yogi (one who dwells in superconscient realms) is different from that of the scientist. The seeing of the yogi and his understanding of self, universe, phenomena and events are all very, very different since they arise in a vast background of oneness. What to us is a catastrophe is to the man of such vision, an opportunity to progress. What to us is a storm of events is to him a grain of sand floating in boundless space. What to us is an upheaval is to his vastness just another throb in the cosmic rhythm. What to us is destruction is to him just one mood of the eternal Dancer preparing to create a greater rhythm. What to us is death is to him a brief pause in earthly life. What to us is Himalayan greatness is to him a dot in the universe. These are not just metaphors but realities of a higher consciousness. And what to us is crisis, illness and pain, is to him a door to liberation and a pointer towards the imperfection needing to be transformed. Our idea of cure is to him only a regression of surface phenomena, as the unseen roots of illness still lurk within and spring up one shoot after another. True cure is not only cutting the shoots, but also more importantly removing the roots themselves. How much more our science, psychology and medicine could benefit, if the doors to the superconscient opened to earth and mankind changing our in-look and outlook towards life.
Let us fleetingly glimpse some of the effects on health by the superconscient’s touch through The Mother’s words:
There are two ways of curing an illness spiritually. One consists of putting a force of consciousness and truth on the physical spot which is affected. In this case the effect produced depends naturally on the receptivity of the person. Supposing the person is receptive, the force of consciousness is put upon the affected part and its pressure restores order…
In other cases, if the body lacks receptivity altogether or if its receptivity is insufficient, one sees the inner correspondence with the psychological state which has brought about the illness and acts on that…
When the action is directly upon the body, that is, on the affected part, it is possible that one is relieved; then, some hours later or even after a few days, the illness returns. This means that the cause has not been changed, that the cause is in the vital and is still there; it is only the effect which has been cured. But if one can act simultaneously upon both the cause and the effect, and the cause is sufficiently receptive to consent to change, then one is completely cured, once for all.”
[The Mother, CWM, Question and Answers 1950-1951, p. 264-265]
…This peace and fullness and joy given by the psychic contact … gives an openness towards the true consciousness…So long as the openness is there, the peace, the fullness and the joy remain with their immediate results of progress, health and fitness in the physical, quietness and goodwill in the vital, clear understanding and broadness in the mental and a general feeling of security and satisfaction.
[The Mother, CWM 12, On Education, p. 45]
We shall have occasion to return to this most important domain in the course of our study. But one thing needs to be clarified here. We usually speak of the superconscient as a single level. But here too, there are several levels. The first entry into the superconscient is a kind of silence that is vast and impersonal. One can pass from this static silent self into a still deeper stillness where there is a cessation of all motive, action, thought and impulse into Nirvana. It is this aspect of the superconscient, which is most commonly known as well as feared by the individual. Popularly called Mukti, it is a Nihil wherein all enters a void from which nothing returns.
To a still higher and deeper experience, however, this static, silent liberation marks only a transit stage in our growth. Beyond the silence of Nirvana are states of knowledge and power that can radically alter the conditions of our earthly life, individually as well as collectively. If we persist in our ascent, if the fire of our aspiration is not easily quenched with this personal mukti, then we enter into wider and wider fields of light and peace, joy and love, truth and knowledge in an ascending scale of intensities. Thought is progressively replaced by an outpouring of knowledge, which reveals the truth of things against a background of vastness and oneness. The labouring mind and its tumults are hushed and pass into plenary idea and inspiration, illumination, intuition and identity till there is the utter truth-sight, truth hearing, truth-sense and truth in speech and action. This truth is of course not the truth as we understand it by our limited sense. It is not an informational encyclopaedic knowledge which changes and upgrades itself with time. It is the essential knowledge, a knowledge of the movements of consciousness, exact and precise in its details, even as it is in its essence and yet always carrying the truth of oneness within it. This power of knowledge, once acquired, changes our understanding of everything and each event. It illumines whatever it sees awakening in us, not just the thinker but the seer beyond the thinker. Finally, it passes into that sheer shadow-less truth where each particle is held in harmony with all on the breast of oneness like the billion rays of light are held in the sun. That is the origin of our individual and cosmic existence; it has the power to transform all into an image of its light and rapture.