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Beyond mind, what is there? Sri Aurobindo and Mother tell us to go beyond the divided and ignorant mind and move to the psychic. From there, seek a higher knowledge. They talk about four types of knowledge:

Mental knowledge – this is the knowledge on the surface which pieces things together but never knows the whole and never knows the depths.

Subliminal knowledge – in the animal this is the instinct. There was a true story about a Greek scholar who had an uneducated servant working for him for years. Every day the scholar used to read out to himself Greek passages while he was studying. The scholar died, the servant became old, and fell into a delirium. She started speaking out the Greek classics in her delirium. She had learned it subliminally. Her inner consciousness had learned it and she did not even know she had learned it. There is a subliminal knowledge in us that perceives everything and remembers everything, even when we are not mentally conscious.

Intuitive knowledge – Sri Aurobindo defines intuition as reason without the influence of the senses. Intuition is a direct knowledge, a direct experience of something else. That knowledge can come from inside us or from outside. There are many different types of intuition. First there is the spiritual intuition. When Mother first met Sri Aurobindo, She immediately recognized that He was the Krishna who had been teaching Her for many years in Paris. That was a spiritual intuition. Once Mother had a subtle experience at night, in which a figure just like Sri Aurobindo came to Her and told Her about how he was organizing this and that and how he wanted to make the Ashram into a religion. Mother intuitively knew that this was a false Sri Aurobindo. If we have sincerity and purity of consciousness, we can always know intuitively which things are true and which are false. Sri Aurobindo discovering that the secret of the ascent was the psychic was a spiritual intuition. The secret of this yoga is that the method for realization is not concentration, it is surrender. The surface personality surrenders to the psychic and the psychic surrenders to the Supramental. He discovered this for the first time. Mother said that the gods do not have the psychic, they do not aspire for a perfect realization, because they feel they are already very high. Mother showed Durga what surrendering to the Lord is.

These are examples of spiritual intuition. Then there is mental intuition. Einstein discovered in his intuition the relationship between mass and energy in the universe. Maybe in a million years someone could have calculated it out. It is not something obvious or rational. While Archimedes, the ancient Greek philosopher, was bathing, he suddenly figured out the relationship between the mass of water in his bathtub and the weight of his body which was displacing the water. He became so excited that he jumped out of the tub and ran out naked into the street shouting “Eureka, Eureka! I found out!” That is mental intuition with a little bit of vital enthusiasm.

Then there is vital intuition. If someone knows who is calling on the phone even before they pick up the receiver, that is vital intuition. A man working on our agricultural estate had vital intuition. He could be busily talking to someone, but, if a mile away at the bus stop a friend of his was getting down, he would know it. He would say, “My friend has arrived from town.” Gurusamy Mudaliar was a famous doctor who used to have two lines of patients outside his house, one for paying patients and the other for non-paying patients. He used to see them alternately. He did not even examine the patients. He just looked at them and wrote the prescription. He was always correct. One time a very famous businessman came to him in the paying line. The doctor looked at him and wrote the prescription, and the businessman made a face. The doctor did not say anything to him. He just handed him the prescription and said, “Next.” The businessman was cured. He was so curious that he came back again and got in the line. The doctor asked, “Why are you here? There is nothing wrong with you.” The man said, “No, but I want to know how you do it.” The doctor asked the businessman if he recognizes his children when he sees them. The man said, “yes”. The doctor replied, “I recognize the disease the same way you recognize your children.” This is vital intuition.

Animals have physical intuition. It is a natural sense that tells them what is good for them to eat. They can also sense danger approaching. Young children sometimes display this intuitive knowledge until they are taught to ignore it.

In addition to intuition, there is something called subtle sense. It is not on our list of four types of knowledge, because it is something different. As there are physical senses through which we perceive physical vibrations in the material world, there are also subtle senses through which we can perceive vibrations in the subtle plane. There was a devotee who had a moving vision. He saw Mother as a huge ball of light which broke into a billion tiny sparks, and each spark went and lodged in the hearts of all the people on earth. Later he learned that Mother had left Her body at the time he had the vision. That is not an intuition. It is a subtle vision of what actually happened in the subtle plane when Mother left Her body.

Supramental Knowledge – The fourth type of knowledge is also an intuition, a knowledge by identity, but it is an intuitive knowledge that comes from within. Until you experience it, the only analogy that will make it clear is the fact that we all know who we are? We know who we are by identity. We know ourselves, our thoughts and feelings by identity, not by any other faculty. It’s an intuition, we can say, but it comes from inside, not from outside. That is the closest we can come to a description of the Supramental way of knowing. Supramental knowledge differs also in one other important respect. It is always knowledge of the whole, not just the parts. Even when the Supramental concentrates on a part, it always sees the whole. It never makes the mistake of thinking one possibility is the only possibility. It not only sees the whole, it automatically sees the solution to any problem. There is nothing missing in its knowledge. The senses tell us that the sun moves around the earth. The mind tells us that the earth moves round the sun. But Sri Aurobindo explains that to the supramental vision, neither of these is fully true. In supermind, neither earth moves nor sun; there is only a change in the relation of sun-consciousness and earth-consciousness. Einstein’s theory of relativity leads to a similar conclusion. Both sun and earth are in motion as parts of a larger whole called the universe and what changes is only their position relative to each other.

Moving to the Supramental Consciousness is a long and arduous path. It is a path of yoga. But there is something we can do to move towards this consciousness at every moment. We can take the other person’s point of view. Every time we stop identifying with our own mental ego’s perception and we see things from the perspective of other people, we are moving away from mind toward the Supramental Consciousness.

In one of the stories about Birbal, Emperor Akbar wakes up one morning and the first person he sees is a lowly sweeper. Then a courtier comes in and announces that there has been an attack on the kingdom. A half an hour later another bad news is given to the Emperor. In the next two or three hours, a whole series of bad news comes. The emperor wonders why everything is going wrong that day. One of his attendants asked him whom he saw first when he woke up in the morning. Akbar remembers that he first saw the sweeper. He decides the man has bad rasi and orders him to be hung. As the guards are leading the sweeper down the hall to his doom, Birbal happens to come upon them and he asks why they are taking the sweeper away. When he learns that the sweeper is to be hung, he stops the guards and instructs them to bring the sweeper back to the throne room. Akbar looks up and sees Birbal coming in with the sweeper and shouts, “Why are you bringing that man in here again? When I woke up today, I saw that man and everything is going wrong!” Birbal replies, “Your majesty, you were also the first person that this man saw when he woke up this morning, and now he is going to die!” Who then has the bad rasi? Only then Akbar understood there was another point of view. That is taking the other man’s point of view.

These are the four types of knowledge. The path of the Integral Yoga is to go from the surface to the psychic in the subliminal and then rise through intuition to Supermind along the same path as the descent of God into matter.

book | by Dr. Radut