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The Third (Tertiary) Poise of the Supermind

Concerning the third of the three poises of the Supramental Truth-Consciounsess, Sri Aurobindo says

"A third poise of the supermind would be attained if the supporting concentration were no longer to stand at the back, as it were, of the movement, inhabiting it with a certain superiority to it and so following and enjoying, but were to project itself into the movement and to be in a way involved in it. Here, the character of the play would be altered, but only in so far as the individual Divine would so predominantly make the play of relations with the universal and with its other forms the practical field of its conscious experience that the realisation of utter unity with them would be only a supreme accompaniment and constant culmination of all experience; but in the higher poise unity would be the dominant and fundamental experience and variation would be only a play of the unity. This tertiary poise would be therefore that of a sort of fundamental blissful dualism in unity -- no longer unity qualified by a subordinate dualism -- between the individual Divine and its universal source, with all the consequences that would accrue from the maintenance and operation of such a dualism.

It may be said that the first consequence would be a lapse into the ignorance of Avidya which takes the Many for the real fact of existence and views the One only as a cosmic sum of the Many. But there would not necessarily be any such lapse. For the individual Divine would still be conscious of itself as the result of the One and of its power of conscious self-creation, that is to say, of its multiple self-concentration conceived so as to govern and enjoy manifoldly its manifold existence in the extension of Time and Space; this true spiritual individual would not arrogate to itself an independent or separate existence. It would only affirm the truth of the differentiating movement along with the truth of the stable unity, regarding them as the upper and lower poles of the same truth, the foundation and culmination of the same divine play; and it would insist on the joy of the differentiation as necessary to the fullness of the joy of the unity."
The Life Divine (10th ed.), , pp.147-8

This represents the state that would appear to be closest to duality or manifestation. An analogy might be made with Sadvidya, the third of the three Shanta Tattwas of the Kashmir Shaivite Trika system of metaphysics. However, according to Sri Aurobindo with each of the three poises the Truth of existence enjoyed is the same.

"The delight, the Ananda would vary, but would abide always within the status of the Truth-Consciousness...We cannot stamp any of these three poises with the stigma of falsehood and illusion."
The Life Divine (10th ed.), , p.148

Certainly the Shanta Tattwas might be considered a "lower octave" (if we assume that reality is periodic) of the three poises. So at the transcendent level of Supermind there is no diminishment, but at the level of, say, Overmind, there is, even though these are still realities completely transcendent to ordinary human consciousness. There is a good connection here with Lurianic Kabbalah, where the World of Adam Kadmon, with its ten sefirot, can be compared to the Aurobindonian Supermind, whilst the next hypostasis down, the World of Emanation, might be equivalent to the Trika Shanta Tattwas and Aurobindonian Overmind

Another interesting parallel might be with Proclus, who speaks of a hierarchy of henads or unities, but even the lowest of the henads is still of the nature of complete unity, and superior to the next hypostais down.

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
Quotations by Sri Aurobindo © Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1977
page uploaded 10 July 2004