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The Overmind

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Although Sri Aurobindo only posits seven major planes of existence, he also suggests between Midn and Supermind, or lower (finite, limitred, ignorant) and higher (infinite, divine, perfect) creation, an important transitional or intermediate reality, which he calls the Overmind.

Overmind, according to Sri Aurobindo, is the plane of Gods. Overmental plane is the highest consciousness one can achieve without transcending the mental system. Beyond overmind are the planes of Supermind or unity-consciousness.

A detailed description of the Overmind is provided in Book I ch.28, and Book II ch.26, of Sri Aurobindo's philosophical opus The Life Divine.

At the source of ...Intuition we discover a superconscient cosmic Mind in direct contact with the supramental Truth-Consciousness, an original intensity determinant of all movements below it and all mental energies, -- not Mind as we know it, but an overmind that covers as with the wide wings of some creative Oversoul this whole lower hemisphere of Knowledge-Ignorance, links it with that greater Truth-Consciousness while yet at the same time with its brilliant golden Lid it veils the face of the greater Truth from our sight, intervening with its flood of infinite possibilities as at once an obstacle and a passage in our seeking of the spiritual law of our existence, its highest aim, its secret Reality. This then is the occult link we were looking for; this is the Power that at once connects and divides the supreme Knowledge and the cosmic Ignorance.
[The Life Divine, p.278]

In keeping with the emanationist concept of successive hypostases, Sri Aurobindo presents a series of intermediate or transitional links; each link itself a plane or hypostasis of existence and grade of cosmic consciousness, as well as being transitional between the reality below and the reality above (the Suhrawardan and esoteric islamic concept of Barzakh (interworld) is somewhat similar). Thus mediating between the transcendent Sacchidananda and the lower creation is Supermind, again between the lower creation and Supermind is the Overmind (described here), and between Mind and Overmind is Intuition (of which Overmind is the source)

The Overmind is the region of the great Gods, the individualised expression of the unitary Supramental Truth.  These are the powers that oversee the phenomenal world.  It is the level where (as with Plotinus' Nous) multiplicity first appears, and indeed is the principle that originally causes multiplicity.

 "Overmind Energy (has the)...capacity of separation and combination of the powers and aspects of the integral...all-comprehending Unity (of the Supermind).  It takes each aspect or power and gives it an independent action in which it aquires a full separate importance..."
[The Life Divine, p.279]

Thus multiplicity emerges from Unity; the Archetypes from the Unmanifest Absolute.  Here we have the distinction between the Unmanifest and the Manifest Absolute or Godhead.

Grades of Being - the Overmind in relation to other levels

Illumined Mind
Higher Mind
Mental Mind
Vital Mind
Physical Mind

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 12 November 1998, last modified 23 October 2007