A basic premise of the Noosphere II Project of the Galactic Research Institute is that the noosphere represents a major evolutionary alteration of human consciousness. This is a shift from atomized individual consciousness to the consciousness of a vast single entity, what might be referred to as the collective telepathic field of planet Earth. Given this premise, a fundamental purpose of the Noosphere II Project is to identify the qualities of the new evolutionary consciousness and to identify antecedents for this consciousness in the principles and methods of earlier schools of thought and experimental thinkers. In general, the elaboration of mystical contemplation of every kind, the definitions and explorations of cosmic consciousness, and the techniques of yoga and meditation are all considered as providing clues as to the nature of the forthcoming evolutionary shift, the noosphere.
When we talk about this shift, the advent of the noosphere, Earth’s mental sheathe or envelope, it is often spoken of as something imminent or inevitable due to various factors of Earth’s evolution and biogeochemical mutations. Thus, we speak of this change as the biosphere-noosphere transition. We can elaborate upon the biosphere-noosphere transition as the mutation of the life system of planet Earth into its next evolutionary stage, the more purely mental level of planetary consciousness. But how are we really to think about the noosphere, a planetary mind, something far beyond each of our little minds? How can we grasp a consciousness greater than the highest consciousness which we can experience? How do we, as humans in our individualized consciousness, make the leap to planetary consciousness? What does it mean, the planetarization of consciousness?
If we read Teilhard de Chardin or Vernadsky, the noosphere appears to be something that is imminent and toward which our biological and terrestrial evolution is inevitably advancing us. But this may not be the only way to think about it. We might also think of the noosphere as an increase in synchronicity, and as a participation in a divine descent. The very emergence of the word “noosphere” into the vocabulary of world thought occurred in a synchronic nexus of events indicating that the planetary moment was ripe for the appearance of a complex new thought form, noosphere. In other words, the noosphere needed to make itself conscious at this time, and, partaking of synchronicity as a fundamental aspect of its nature, it manifest itself in a multiple synchronic manner - a chronotopology - at a given moment. As we shall see, the notion of the noosphere as an aspect of a divine descent of consciousness was part of this chronotopology or nexus of events. This chronotopology occurring in the Gregorian year 1926, includes the following:
First of all, it was in this year, 1926, that a scientist from Marxist Russia, Vladimir Vernadsky, a French Jesuit paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and a Parisian philosopher and student of noted thinker, Henri Bergson, Jules le Roi, were brought together in Paris, France, to coin the word “noosphere”. They needed a word to define the next critical phase toward which the evolution of the biosphere was tending, a phase in which the factors of consciousness would predominate over biological factors to create a greater synthesis of life - hence, noosphere, Earth’s mental sheathe.
It was in this very same year that South African statesman and philosopher, Jan Smuts, published his book Holism and Human Evolution, the earliest exposition of the principle of holistic philosophy by which life and evolution are defined in terms of a synthesis of whole systems rather than as an analysis of ever more minute parts. While Smuts’ book does not refer to the noosphere as such, it could be stated that without the principle of holism, it is difficult to think about the noosphere. By its very nature the noosphere is a whole system predicated by the holistic perception and philosophy which further states that evolution moves in the direction of greater, all-encompassing whole systems which of necessity embrace an increasingly greater consciousness as well. As the thinking layer of the planet, the noosphere can only reflect the holistic nature of the planet as a whole system.
Then on November 3, 1926, occurred the death of the French psychomathematician, Charles Henry. Just before he passed away, Henry published a little treatise entitled, “The Post-mortem Survival of consciousness,” anticipating a transcendence of consciousness into a greater whole. Two years before, in 1924. Henry had published the Generalization of the Theory of Radiation, in which he posited the existence of a “psychone,” a “psychic atom” consisting of three mutually coexisting fields. Each of these fields is defined by a resonator: an electromagnetic resonator, a gravitational resonator, and a biopsychic resonator. This is also known as the resonant field model, and is applicable to a description of a planetary system. As such it is not unrelated to the principle of the noosphere, which could be defined as the conscious evolutionary unfolding of the biopsychic resonator. Looking ahead to the future, in his “Post-mortem Survival of Consciousness,” Henry declared, “Death is only a physiochemical change. It is only after death that I shall truly begin to amuse myself.”
It was on November 24, 1926, exactly three weeks after Henry’s higher consciousness transition, that the Indian philosopher and mystic, Sri Aurobindo experienced what is called “The Day of Siddhi” (day of victory): The descent of Krishna, an unprecedented descent of overmental consciousness, into the physical. From that point he retired into a concentrated sadhana - spiritual practice. This event completed a strategic year for the expression of the possibilities of a more expanded evolutionary consciousness for humanity. In fact, we could say that having been theoretically construed and placed into the world consciousness, the noosphere experienced its divine descent and for the first time precipitated itself as “overmental consciousness” into a human form through Sri Aurobindo. All advances in human consciousness must first be manifest in a living human form, else there would be no way really of knowing what is to come. This expresses the principle of the avatar, a descent of a particular principle into human form so it may be exemplified to humanity at large.
It matters not that Aurobindo seems to not have been familiar with the word noosphere. He died, December 5, 1950. At that time Vernadsky’s work, most of it in Russian, had been translated into English but little, and mostly in American scholarly journals, so most likely it would never have found its way to Aurobindo’s retreat on an ashram in South India, At the same time, Teilhard de Chardin’s work was not published until after his death in 1955, so there is no way Aurobindo could have known about the word noosphere. Nonetheless, through the “descent of the overmental” which altered his life irrevocably, and his profuse descriptions of consciousness, most specifically of the Supermind, the role of the Overmind, and the principle of supramental descent, Aurobindo gives us some of the best accounts of the noosphere from the higher point of view of the evolution of consciousness. This is a perspective that few other thinkers have been able to provide systematically.
Unlike Teilhard de Chardin and Vernadsky, who were more concerned with the biological and biogeochemical aspects of our evolution into the noosphere, Aurobindo was a philosopher mystic whose primary interest was in defining the future evolution from the standpoint of a comprehensive system of evolving states of consciousness. Because his focus was on the evolution of the human Mind of Ignorance into the supermental realms, accompanied by a simultaneous descent of the Divine Consciousness, his definitions of the next stages of consciousness are as vivid and descriptive of the actual nature of the noosphere as a state of consciousness as any that exist. For this reason a brief survey of Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts on this issue are most helpful to us at this step of the journey as we approach the noosphere’s imminence.
Whereas Teilhard de Chardin and Vernadsky saw the noosphere - the planetary mind - as an imminent possibility resulting from inevitable tendencies in biological evolution, for Aurobindo the Overmind - his term most closely approximating the notion of the noosphere - is as much a matter of the descent of the Divine as it is a matter of the rising or aspiring upward of the spirit trapped, as it were, in the lowest stages of material involution. But, as is implicit in Vernadsky’s term for the next geological era, the psychozoic - the psychic spiritualization of life - Aurobindo also foresaw a spiritualization and transformation of matter totally inseparable from the liberation of the spirit into Divine Consciousness. Because of his Catholic training, Teilhard de Chardin as well viewed the noosphere in a spiritualized context, but as a more Christlike form of a descent of divine consciousness. The systematic elaboration of the structure of cosmic consciousness as a vast arena in which the evolution of matter itself is considered as an aspect of the involution and evolution of the soul by the medium of Divine Consciousness is characteristic of the thought of Aurobindo, the breadth of which is really not equaled by any other thinker since his passing in 1950.
Even in this brief study, we can only give the merest hints of the vastness of his thought, and in focusing on but one aspect of his detailed elaboration of consciousness we only mean to suggest from that in what way he anticipated the nature of noospheric consciousness. As we shall see, it is in Aurobindo’s definition of the Overmind that we have what we could say is his term for the noosphere. But his perception of the Overmind is set within a highly structured description of the nature of consciousness, mind, Supermind, and Divine Consciousness. For that reason, however, it also defines the noosphere from a far more spiritual perspective than even Teilhard de Chardin, and it may be that this description of the noosphere is most necessary as an antidote to the final desacralized nature of historical materialism which now inundates the world with its violence and triviality.
To understand better the conception of the Overmind as Noosphere, it is wise to consider Sri Aurobindo’s perception of the nature of consciousness. While brought up on traditional Hindu and Vedic thought, the thrust of Aurobindo’s originality was to not be satisfied with the notion of the Absolute as a static phenomenon. His critique of traditional thought was that the yogas or meditation systems did not admit of the possibility of a radical, evolutionary transformation of human consciousness, but rather rest with a state of nirvanic bliss or quietism, beyond which there is no motion. Hence, arose his pursuit of the experience of consciousness as an evolutionary momentum toward a higher supermental condition, which, at the same time, would be experienced as a supramental descent. Aurobindo’s perspective is unique and can be seen as that of a radical evolutionary transformationalist. This is not surprising considering Aurobindo’s early life.
Born August 15, 1872 (Blue Self-existing Storm), in his early youth Aurobindo was an activist for Indian independence. He was aware of the modern trends of thought, but even more, he was aware that the ferment of the contemporary world was actually a sign of an evolutionary movement toward a new transhistorical state of being and consciousness. Interestingly, India attained Independence on Aurobindo’s 75th birthday, August 15, 1947.
As he was to write later in his life: “Man is a transitional being; he is not final. For in man and high beyond him ascend the radiant degrees that climb to a divine supermanhood. There lies our destiny and the liberating key to our aspiring but troubled and limited mundane existence.” (Essential Aurobindo, p.54) The “divine supermanhood” we can now say is the quality of life and consciousness as lived by the noosphere, while the ascent by “radiant degrees” is the fulfillment of a realization of the relation of the biopsychic to the electromagnetic fields of the Earth in helping to foster a psychoatmospheric trigger event for noospheric consciousness.
One of the founders of the Indian Nationalist Party, Aurobindo had been quite a radical and was arrested twice, once in 1907, and again in 1908. It was during his second jail term in Alipore that he began to seriously study the Bhagavad Gita and practice yoga. From here his life was to take a new turn. It was in Alipore jail that Aurobindo experienced the first transformation when his self-awareness gave way to the presence of a divine force. From here his studies, meditation and sadhana enriched him incomparably. In 1914 he met the Mother, Mira Richard. This was a truly transformative encounter, for Mira was to become Aurobindo’s chief disciple and coworker. In 1920, she returned to live with him the rest of his life in Pondicherry. It is to the Mother that the great visionary community of Auroville owes its existence.
Following his meeting with the Mother, Aurobindo experienced a great creative outburst, and immediately after their first meeting much of his original synthesizing, critical and systematic philosophy of Divine Consciousness and Integral Yoga was written, including the Life Divine and A Synthesis of Yoga, as well as Essays on the Gita, The Secret of the Veda, The ideal of Human Unity and the Human Cycle. This massive body of work was written between 1914-21, when he was between the ages of 44 and 51. If one contemplates, much less gives serious study to just The Life Divine and a Synthesis of Yoga, one will see what a masterful synthesist of human thought Aurobindo was. Though based on the Gita and the Vedas, his thinking transcends altogether the limitations of any tradition. The patriot of Indian independence had become a thorough evolutionary universalist. As he wrote in the Human Cycle:
“The coming of a spiritual age must be preceded by appearance of an increasing number of individuals who are no longer satisfied with the normal intellectual, vital, and psychical existence of man, but perceive that a greater evolution is the real goal of humanity and attempt to effect it in themselves, to lead others to it, and to make it the recognized goal of the race. In proportion as they succeed and the degree to which they carry this evolution, the yet unrealized potentiality which they represent will become the actual possibility of the future.”
Essential Aurobindo, p. xii
Of course, the greatest exemplar of this process was Sri Aurobindo himself. The very principle of evolutionary transformation upon which the coming of the noosphere is predicated is at the heart of Aurobindo’s perceptions and life-experience.
"There must first be the psychic change, the conversion of our whole present nature into a soul-instrumentation; on that or along with that there must be the spiritual change, the descent of a higher Light, Knowledge, Power, Force, Bliss into the whole being, even into the darkness of our subconscience; last there must supervene the supramental transmutation - there must take place as the crowning movement the ascent into the supermind and transforming descent of the supramental Consciousness into our entire being and nature."
Srinivas Iyenegar, p. 696, Life of Aurobindo, 1972
This presents an accurate description of both the type of personal transformation necessary to realize the potential of noospheric consciousness, as well as the actual nature of the shift into the noosphere itself as a supramental transmutation which is a simultaneous ascent into the supermind and a transforming descent of the supramental Consciousness. In other words, from the human perspective, the noosphere represents the attainment of the supermind, a singular state of mind and consciousness where the individual and the personal have been totally subsumed into the workings of a higher mind - a superhuman mind. This is a mind and consciousness beyond what can be conceived of if we limit ourselves to descriptions and conceptualizations of consciousness that remain centered on individual self-realization.
It was precisely this kind of transmutation that occurred in the second transformation of Sri Aurobindo’s consciousness, the descent of the Overmind which occurred on November 24, (3 Dog) 1926. This was the first such descent into human form of the Overmind, which was accomplished on the Day of Siddhi (supernatural power), and hence also known as the day of spiritual victory. Sri Aurobindo announced the third transformation of consciousness immediately after the descent of the Overmind. This third transformation, he explained, would be a supramental transformation, the descent of the Supermind, which, he declared just before his death, would occur through the Mother. On February 29, 1956, the Mother confirmed that this descent had occurred through her.
The fullest manifestation of the Supermind is through the expression the Mother gave to the conception of Auroville, February 29, 1968. Here is a fully intentional international community where the noospheric design of transcendent human consciousness can experiment and flourish without inhibition or allegiance to any religion or state sanctioned custom, such as marriage. The only prerequisite is a belief in the Divine Consciousness toward which humanity aspires, more often than not, despite itself. “The time of religions is over. We have entered the age of universal spirituality, of spiritual experience in its initial purity” (“The Teaching of Sri Aurobindo,” p. 62). Through the efforts of the Mother, Auroville was able to flourish as the laboratory of human evolution free of conventional social morality.
"There is therefore no reason to put a limit to evolutionary possibility by taking our present organization or status of existence as final. The animal is a laboratory in which Nature has worked out man; man may very well be a laboratory in which she wills to work out superman, to disclose the soul as a divine being, to evolve the divine nature."
XXVII p.380, Quoted in Essential Aurobindo, p. 45
If such is nature’s design for man, then the noosphere as the Overmind will be no less divine in its nature and place in the supernatural evolutionary scheme of things. What the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother project on to the notion of a noosphere is that it represents a necessary stage in the universalization of humanity toward the One, and at the same time becomes a meeting ground for the supramental descent of the Supermind itself.
Before going into a more systematic understanding of Sri Aurobindo’s terminology and understanding of consciousness and divine evolution, let us hear him speak on the nature of universalization, for if the noosphere is anything it is the universalization of consciousness, dissolving all barriers that now cause such a painful sense of separation, conflict and disease in the human race.
"The ordinary man lives in his own personal consciousness knowing things through his mind and senses as they are touched by a word which is outside him, outside his consciousness. When the consciousness subtilizes, it begins to come into contact with things in a much more direct way, not only with their forms and outer impacts but with what is inside them, but still the range may be small. But the consciousness can also widen and begin to be first in direct contact with a universe of range of things in the world, then to contain them as it were - as it is said to see the world in oneself - and to be in a way identified with it. To see all things in the self and the self in all things - to be aware of one being everywhere, aware directly of the different planes, their forces, their beings - that is universalization."
XXII p.317, quoted in Essential Aurobindo, p. 54
This description defines the stages that move from the personal egoic consciousness where everything is directed outwardly or comprehended only as something coming from outside, as it were; thence comes a shift toward a consideration of the inner meaning of things; and then finally to that great mutation in the consciousness where the distinction between the ego and the other, the subject and the object are erased, and the perceptions become cosmically enlarged as “one being everywhere.”
Now to better understand Sri Aurobindo’s contribution to our understanding of the nature of the noosphere as a state or condition of evolving consciousness - the Overmind - let us turn to a brief review of his systematization of consciousness and the “Life Divine.” What is significant is that through Sri Aurobindo’s systematic rendering of the nature and evolution of consciousness from Matter and the Mind of Ignorance to supreme Divine supramental consciousness, the noosphere (Overmind) is placed within the context of an evolving spirituality, rather than just as the conclusion to and transformation of a biogeochemical process - which it also is. This the key point of this brief review. In this regard, future studies should be made more closely aligning Sri Aurobindo’s evolutionary schema with the Law of Time and the evolution of time as consciousness as the supramental descent initiating the biosphere-noosphere transition.
At the simplest and most synthesizing level, Aurobindo speaks of the “Sevenfold Chord of Being.” It is interesting, in light of the Law of Time, that Sri Aurobindo is obedient to the principle of the power of seven which corresponds to the ratio of the primal cosmological fracture in Eternity, and hence is at the root of all cosmic manifestation. An evocation of this primal cosmic fracture in Eternity, the source of the universal drama of the soul in its involution into and evolution out of matter, echoing as well as the primacy of the number seven in its relation to time is reflected in the following passage from the Rig Veda:
In the ignorance of my mind, I ask these steps of the Gods that are set within. The all-knowing Gods have taken the Infant of a year and they have woven about him seven threads.
The power of seven extends to the number of chapters in both volumes of The Life Divine. Each volume contains 28 chapters, and each volume has one chapter devoted to the power of Seven. “The Sevenfold Chord of Being,” Chapter XXVII of Volume One (Life Divine, pp. 262-270), and “Out of the Sevenfold Ignorance to the Sevenfold Knowledge,” Chapter XIX of Volume II (Life Divine, pp, 726-741). Regarding the numerology of the two chapters, while 27 represents the power of the Nine Lords of Time, the “Sevenfold” of Chapter XIX (nineteen) - show the two prime numbers (7 and 19) underlying the mathematical code of the Law of Time matrix, the 260-unit Tzolkin/Harmonic Module. *(See: Arguelles, 19 = 260, The Law of Time and the Holy Quran, unpublished manuscript, Foundation for the Law of Time Archives)
Sri Aurobindo’s conception of the Sevenfold Chord of Being corresponds to the fundamental formulation 4:7::7:13. That is within the Sevenfold Chord of Being, the principle of the four is at the center between two triune principles: A higher, purely divine level, Being, Consciousness and Bliss (corresponding to the Vedic-Hindu concept - Sat-Chit-Ananda), and a purely lower physical sensory plane triad, Matter-Energy-Life. This principle of the four and seven is again reflected in the Rig Veda where it is written, “He found the vast Thought with seven heads that is born of the Truth; he created some fourth world and became universal ...” While the lower triad may be said to have an ascending principle, the higher possesses a descending power. The upper descending trinity would correspond to the primal telepathic quantum - telepathy being supramental - and the lower, ascending triad to the sensory quantum. Between the two is the catalytic middle fourth term, the Supermind. Closely related to the Supermind is the Overmind (noosphere), which could be said to be the Supermind operative on a finite plane of existence.
With the Sevenfold Chord of being as a kind of armature, we may construct a synthesis of Sri Aurobindo’s vast conceptualization of consciousness. (See graphic: Thinking about the Noosphere) Starting at the top of this graphic rendering, above everything else, is the All-existing Truth-Force or Divine Consciousness. Although Sri Aurobindo speaks of God, in some ways that term is too static for the dynamic perception evolved through Sri Aurobindo’s soul. Thus, the phrase “Divine Consciousness,” is Sri Aurobindo's preferred term for the Supreme Absolute. As an all unifying transcendental cosmic principle, Divine Consciousness is thoroughly supramental, another term used often by Sri Aurobindo. Supramental means “beyond the mind.” That is, there is consciousness dependent upon the mind, and then there is consciousness beyond the mind. For Sri Aurobindo, what we commonly think of as mind is fundamentally a function of ignorance or the lower physical plane of existence. It is the realm where error and illusion work themselves out. What all of Matter, Energy and Life aspire to is the supermental, the egoless higher mind. This aspiration or movement toward the supermental is an inevitable but mostly unconscious process, the trial-and-error of samsaric existence.
As the supramental principle the Divine Consciousness is the “Mind of God,” coextensive with the higher dimensional as well as the lower dimensional cosmic universe. Its nature is Sat-Chit-Ananda - “Being-Consciousness-Bliss.” These are the qualities that pervade the universe supramentally. This is the realm of Pure Spirit. But, as in Ibn-al-Arabi's theophanic vision, the Pure Spirit of Sat-Chit Ananda cannot be satisfied until it has descended and completely spiritualized the lower realm of existence. The fulfillment of the spiritualization of the lower realms by the principle of Sat-Chit-Ananda is concordant with the final realization of the aspiration of the soul of the lower realms in the complete fulfillment of its impulse toward perfection. This is the human aspiration accompanied by divine revelation known everywhere in every form of spirituality that has ever existed.
To attain its ends the upper trinity factors into existence an intermediary state of consciousness, Supermind. All Mind ultimately is Supermind, but to complete its descent into matter - involution of the spirit - Supermind must then become mere mind or the Mind of Ignorance. But before this occurs and also independent of it, Supermind is the “Creator” of all that is visible or sensible in the manifest realm. That is because Supermind is a function of the self-existent ocean of knowledge which is the result of the self-illumination of the Divine Consciousness. This ocean of knowledge is the origin of revelatory Gnosis and of all gnostic consciousness, the higher superpersonal realm of consciousness of the evolved being who has is entered into the Overmind or Noosphere. The gnostic type as the mystical personality has always been at the forefront of things.
"It is possible indeed that it is the mystic or the incipient occultist who was everywhere the creator of religion and imposed his secret discoveries in the form of belief, myth and practice on mass human mind; for it is always the individual who receives the intuitions of Nature and takes the step forward dragging or drawing the rest of humanity behind him."
Life Divine, p. 869
In its ascent the creative individual is drawn always by the Supermind and, through that aspiration, receives “the intuition of nature” from the vast bank of self-existent knowledge which informs the Supermind and which is made available through the Overmind (noosphere) to the finite creature struggling to Return to the Divine Source. This Supermind is the Source of all realities, the universal cosmic mind, the ground of all consciousness, the alaya or storehouse consciousness, tathagatagarbha, the womb of the Buddhas. It is this Supermind that perceives the perceiver who is deep in meditative samadhi.
The Supermind is what is channeled, as it were, as Overmind (noosphere) on the finite planetary plane of existence, at least on those planets capable of attaining a synthesis of Matter, Energy and Life. For it is only through the attainment of the stage of the Overmind (noosphere) that the ascent to Supermind can be realized. For the Overmind is the resultant descent of the Supermind, and what goes down in consciousness must come back up. The Overmind as noosphere is then that fully intermediate state of consciousness, accommodating at the correct moment the ascent of the Spirit struggling upward through the Mind of Ignorance.
As we know from our investigations, the noosphere, the supernatural Overmind of Earth, provides a matrix for the reformulation of all realities. This reformulation on the finite plane takes the form of the psi bank, a coded structure of possibilities of thought and being registered as a whole number pattern 2080. This number is critical because it is coded by the number of the DNA codons, 64, and the number of the Law of Time frequency matrix, 260 (1+2+3+ ...+ 64 = 2080; 2080 = 8 x 260; 8 x 8 = 64, the magic square of which has a pulse of 260 that is, all rows add up to 260. 260 = 13x20 fourth dimensional timing matrix).(See: Arguelles, Earth Ascending, 1984, 1996)
It is through the full realization of the single mind that unifies this matrix, that the noosphere- Overmind attains its enlightenment, making possible the full ascent back into Supermind. However, to attain this state is not simply a matter of evolving into it.
"The transition to Supermind through Overmind is a passage from nature as we know it into Supernature. it is by that very fact impossible for any effort of the mere Mind to achieve; our unaided personal aspiration and endeavor cannot reach it; our effort belongs to the inferior power of nature; a power of the ignorance cannot achieve by its own strength or characteristic or available methods what is beyond its domain or Nature."
Life Divine, p.921
This returns us to the question raised at the beginning of this set of reflections: “How can we grasp a consciousness greater than the highest consciousness which we can experience? How do we, as humans, in our individualized consciousness make the leap to planetary consciousness?” For if anything, the attainment of the noosphere represents an ascent of consciousness, a liberation from a lower evolutionary state of consciousness to a more all encompassing and unifying higher state.
All the previous ascensions have been effectuated by a secret Consciousness-Force operating first in the Inconscience and then in the Ignorance: it has worked by an emergence of its involved powers to the surface, powers concealed behind the veil and superior to the past formulations of Nature, but even so there is needed a pressure of the same superior powers already formulated in their full natural force on their own planes; these superior planes create their own foundation in our subliminal parts and from there are able to influence the evolutionary process on the surface. Overmind and Supermind are also involved and occult in earth-nature ...
"In order that the involved principles of Overmind and Supermind should emerge from their veiled secrecy, the being and powers of the Superconscience must descend into us and uplift us and formulate themselves in our being and powers; this descent is a sine qua non of the transition and transformation." ibid.
This movement of the Superconscience into the plane of the Mind of Ignorance in 1926, is precisely what brought the noosphere from the previously occulted realms into formations accessible in the subliminal inner consciousness of humanity. The actual descent of the Overmind, not just as the concept “noosphere” but as a full embodiment within a single human, then occurred within Sri Aurobindo. It takes but a single match to start a fire whose light can be seen for a thousand miles. In actuality the movement of the superior pressures from higher planes of existence has always been active within the dormant condition of the human race. This is the meaning of revelatory gnosis, the impulses not just of nature but of Supernature which have guided all religious, spiritual, mystical and, indeed, even scientific perceptions of humanity as it has struggled and toiled in its long night of unconscious testing.
Following the descent of the Supermind into the Mother in 1956, the third Transformation, and the subsequent founding of Auroville, in 1968, the quickening of the noosphere was inevitable. Already in 1955, Teilhard de Chardin’s Phenomenon of Man appeared (English edition, 1959), placing the concept of the noosphere into the consciousness of a small awakening minority of humans. In Russia, too, following Vernadsky's death in 1945, the noosphere slowly gained greater currency in scientific and philosophical circles. With the work of Oliver Reiser, Cosmic Humanism, 1966, and Dane Rudhyar, Planetarization of Consciousness, 1970, the way was cleared for a beginning comprehension of a higher planetary consciousness - the Overmind as the next inevitable step in the ascent toward the Supermind.
In 1969 occurred an event that finally placed the Earth as a whole system in the mind and consciousness of humanity as a whole, and that was the view of Earth from outer space beamed live on the television. This collectively perceived image would make the possibility of the next step something realizable and tangible at last. But this next step would of necessity involve the psychic transformation of a few more individuals to act as the ignition of a collective psychic transformation of at least a critical minority of the human race. This also defines one of the goals of the Noosphere II Project.
Now it becomes possible to speak of the Overmind as the noosphere, but the Overmind as both the stepping down of and the stepping up back into the Supermind. As such the Overmind is the “representative” of the Supermind, formulated as single mind or plane of consciousness. We can think of the Overmind-noosphere as the One Mind of planet Earth, of which we are the entities intended to animate it. But first we need to dissolve our separatist fictions so that we can be the One mind that we actually already are. In this way the Overmind constitutes the Upper Planetary hemisphere of Consciousness, the Lower planetary hemisphere of consciousness being the Mind of Ignorance.
Within the Overmind-noosphere all contradictions coexist and are harmonically resolved. Because it really is just one mind as of a single entity, a unitary being, there is a maximum unity. This is only logical because Earth itself is living unitary system. All subsystems of Earth cooperate as one grand synthesizing order. There are not two minds or two biospheres, but only One. And as One single mind, when it is fully conscious, as the representative of Supermind, the Overmind will experience full cosmic consciousness.
Finally, in order to understand even more clearly the necessity of the role the Overmind has to play in our continuing evolution toward the Divine Source, it is important to consider the bottommost stage of the spectrum of consciousness, the lower Planetary Hemisphere or the Mind of Ignorance. This is the realm of what we usually refer to as Mind but as Sri Aurobindo makes clear, this mind is really the playground of Maya as illusion, and hence is actually the Mind of Ignorance. Here what predominates is the struggle of mind subdivided into separatist egos which create the various dualistic fictions or thought layers of nationalism, tribalism, religious sectarianism, and conflicting ideological and political world views of every kind. Here we experience Consciousness atomized into six billion units of egoic selfhood, a maximum disunity of mind, a total experience of the MANY as opposed to the distinct experience of the ONE.
Of these six billion, there are many who strive for the One, a return to the source. This is so, because, as has already been observed, it is really the mystics who are the forerunners of every major change in consciousness - and among six billion there are many closet mystics. Nonetheless, virtually all of the literature that exists regarding human aspiration toward enlightenment, liberation, realization of the Godhead, is written in a language that must begin with the Mind of ignorance, as if working one’s way out of a paper bag, the paper bag of the Mind of ignorance. All enlightened views see ignorance as an enmeshment in illusion, the play of Maya. If it were not for this Mind of Ignorance arising from the ocean of the cosmic unconscious, there would be no techniques and methods for penetrating the veil and glimpsing the light on the other side. This veil marks the Threshold of Light which separates the Upper Hemisphere of the Overmind from Lower Hemisphere of the Mind of Ignorance.
Within the context of the lower triad, the Mind of Ignorance is the characteristic of Life as it proceeds upward from Matter and Energy, remembering but dimly its origins and point of return. So over the eons its mystics develop methods and techniques for penetrating the veil of illusion, of defining the source and how to attain unity with it once again. The highest of these teachings would declare that this unity was never even lost. For what is one can never be separated from itself. The main point, however, is that these teachings exist to assist the human not to merely escape, for that is really impossible, but instead to realize that he/she is a link in an evolutionary chain of consciousness. Therefore, what is important is defining and preparing for the next stage in the evolution of consciousness.
To this end meditation and yoga techniques - raj yoga, karma yoga, Tibetan yoga, shamatha vipassana meditation, zen and dzogchen, tantric practices and the various forms of meditative theophanic prayer - dhikr, remembrance of God - all exist merely to point us toward the Supermind. We are, as Aurobindo puts it, only a transitional being. Enlightenment is not the last stop of human potential, it is but the waking up from the ignorance to our true nature. But that is only on an individual level. There is no such thing as ultimate enlightenment like some absolute rest stop on the freeway of evolution, because we are all in flux whether we are enlightened or not. That is why the Dalai Lama is a peripatetic globe-trotter. In reality, the next stop is the Overmind, which in planetary terms, is the advent of the noosphere. In the noosphere you don’t have to free Tibet, because Tibet will already be free.
Through the singular efforts of people like Vernadsky, de Chardin, Reiser and Rudhyar, the territory has been sighted. Through the instruments of people like Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the actuality of the next stage of conscious evolution has been experientially embodied. The discovery of the Law of Time further defines the approaching moment of the ascent into the Overmind-noosphere, and the next simultaneous descent of the Supramental. This Supramental descent is actually the full range of the synchronic order as the “map” of the territory of the Overmind. The synchronic order describes and makes available the entire range of the possibilities of all realities on Earth as they are all connected in time.
Here again, in his vast and comprehensive survey of the reaches of consciousness beyond our limited individual range, Sri Aurobindo has prefigured the discovery of the Law of Time. The very last chapter of his monumental Synthesis of Yoga is entitled “Towards the Supramental Time Vision.” In the opening paragraph to this chapter, Sri Aurobindo states the primal polarity regarding the nature of time, a perception which is also synthesized into the Law of Time:
"All being, consciousness, knowledge moves, secretly for our present surface awareness, openly when we rise beyond it, to the spiritual and supramental ranges, between two states and powers of existence, that of the timeless Infinite and that of the infinite deploying in itself and organizing all things in time. These two states are opposed to and incompatible with each other only for our mental logic with its constant embarrassed stumbling around a false conception of contradictions and a confronting of eternal opposites. In reality, as we find when we see things with a knowledge founded on the supramental identity and vision and think with the great, profound and flexible logic proper to that knowledge, the two are only coexistent and concurrent status and movement of the same truth of the Infinite. The timeless Infinite holds in itself, in its eternal truth of being, beyond this manifestation, all that it manifests in Time. Its time consciousness too is itself infinite and maintains in itself at once a vision of totalities and of particularities, of mobile succession or moment sight and of total stabilizing vision or abiding whole sight what appears to us as the past of things, their present and their future."
Synthesis of Yoga p. 853.
Just such a perception is necessary if we are to understand the principle and nature of the psi bank as the time consciousness regulator of the infinite possibilities occurring in the noosphere or Overmind. For as the dynamism of the evolutionary stages move through their various mutations and permutations both of form and consciousness, the psi bank which regulates these changes remains constant in its 2080-unit structure, nonetheless maintaining a “whole sight” of what appears to us as the past, present and future of things. Such a description of the two polarities of time as coexistent in some sense summarizes the nature of the Overmind or noospheric consciousness. For as the stepping down of the Supermind into a finite planetary plane there must be an orderly manner in which all of the possible realities comprehended by the Supermind may be coordinated within the Overmind (function of the psi bank), while simultaneously holding all possibilities in an instantaneity of timelessness.
As we evolve into the noosphere-Overmind we will inevitably discover that we are each a divine perceiver, or as Ibn al-Arabi understood it, we will discover that our souls are the sense organs of the Divine.
"If we regard the Powers of Reality as so many Godheads, we can say that the Overmind (noosphere) releases a million Godheads into action, each empowered to create its own world, each world capable of relation, communication, and interplay with the others."
Life Divine, p. 280
The Godheads are the divine potentials in each individual human. Yet all are manifestations of but a single God. Many know this, but few have really experienced what this means, and as a result humanity remains mired in the Mind of ignorance. The remedy is to actually experience that each Godhead is at the same time a manifestation of the One God or Divine Consciousness. This is analogous to the experience of time as the Infinite Timelessness and at the same moment the organizing of everything in time by the Infinite. This is the essence of the experience of Synchronicity, in which we apprehend a simultaneity of the particular event, and a wholeness of being connected to a larger web of events at the same time. Such experiences prepare us for a holistic whole body perception in which we experience the unity even of contradictory states.
"Overmind (noospheric) consciousness is global in its cognition and can hold any number of seemingly fundamental differences together in a reconciling vision ... To the Overmind (noospheric) intelligence these are separable Powers of the one Existence which can pursue their independent self-affirmation and can also unite together in their independence and in their union of different states of consciousness and being which can be all of them valid and all capable of coexistence.” ibid., p. 281
This is the supreme expression of world peace as a state of consciousness. Meditation practices such as Dzogchen prepare one for this at an individual level, but for it to be a common collective expedience mutually shared in a telepathic knowing in the moment is another matter. That is again one of the characteristics of the noospheric mind. As we know, one of the functions of the Law of Time is to make conscious what was unconscious and to elevate to the forefront of human conscious activity the latent powers of telepathy and other paranormal capacities. Sri Aurobindo, of course, in his way also foresaw this in his comprehension of the Supramental Sense.
For when the mind is tranquilized and purified the pure psyche liberated from the insistence of the desire soul ... there is then a pure action of true psychical consciousness and its powers, a reception of psychical experience pure in itself ... and capable of a high spiritualization and light. The complete power and truth, however, can come only by the opening of the supermind and the supermentalising of the mental and psychical expedience.
"The range of the psychic consciousness and its experiences is almost illimitable and the variety and complexity of its phenomena almost infinite ... but the psychical sense has also the power of putting us in a more direct communication with earthly or supra-terrestrial beings through their psychical selves or their psychical bodies or even with things, for things also have a psychical reality and souls or presences supporting them which can communicate with our psychical consciousness."
Synthesis of Yoga pp. 844-45
According to the Law of Time, the freeing up and harmonization of the human energy by being in the correct timing frequency, the universal natural 13:20 and not the artificial 12:60, will open the psyche to the field of universal telepathy. This field is the quality of the noosphere itself, for in no other way can the planetary sphere of Earth - the Overmind - be understood as a single-minded possibility except for its being a function of universal telepathy, and its attendant paranormal or psychical phenomena. Indeed the noosphere as a plane of consciousness will be as thoroughly psychic in its texture and operations as our third-dimensional existence in this final stage of the historical cycle has been drenched in an all-pervasive despiritualized and materialist level of consciousness. This seems to be what is implied in Sri Aurobindo’s sense of the psychical as constituting a plane of consciousness, “attached to and dependent on the earth plane.”
"For there is a continuous scale of the planes of consciousness, beginning with the psychical and other belts attached to and dependent on the earth plane and proceeding through the true independent vital and psychical worlds to the worlds of the gods and the highest supermental and spiritual planes of existence. And these are in fact always acting upon our subliminal selves unknown to our waking mind and with considerable effect on our life and nature ... The awakening of the psychical consciousness enables us to become aware of these powers, presences and influences in and around us; and while in the impure or yet ignorant and imperfect mind this unveiled contact has its dangers, it enables us too, if rightly used and directed, to be no longer their subject but their master and to come into conscious and self-controlled possession of the inner secrets of our nature. ... The awakening of the psychical consciousness liberates in us the direct use of the mind as a sixth sense, and this power may be made constant and normal ..."
Synthesis of Yoga, pp. 846-847
The noosphere-Overmind is precisely the making constant and normal the mind as a sixth sense. Much as we use our eyes and ears to orient ourselves, which can only give physical sense impressions from which we must hazard emotional or psychical information, what a great difference it will make when our mind as the psychical sense organ will give us direct information which we must now infer, and that without much precision. The manner in which it will alter our entire modus operandi as humans will elevate us from the imprecision of six billion individual minds trying to figure it out, to the monumental grandeur of a single mind properly orientating the direction of the six billion units - or however many units actually make it to this next plane of consciousness.
In its power of origination and in the process of its executive dynamis Overmind (noosphere) is an organiser of many potentialities of existence, each affirming its separate reality, but all capable of linking themselves together in many different but simultaneous ways, a magician craftsman empowered to weave the multicolored warp and woof (See Earth Ascending, Map 42 “Psi bank warp and Holonomic woof”) of manifestation of a single entity in a complex universe.” Life Divine, p.282
It is the emphasis on the Overmind-noosphere being the dynamic of a single entity in a complex universe that is most important. Such a mind, as a reflection of the Supermind, cannot be divided against itself. Only the little minds operating within the Mind of Ignorance can experience schizophrenia, precisely for not being able to realize their wholeness within the guiding context of a larger comprehending mind. There is only one ground of consciousness, and only one planetary field, hence there can ultimately be but a single unified consciousness.
When we see a map of the world or a globe, though there are many distinct parts, there is really only one ocean from which the land masses protrude in various areas, and ultimately there is only one land mass, here submerged, elsewhere rising above sea level. But it is all one. The island of Ceylon as a geological feature isn’t at war with the island of Madagascar. Each remains content in its geographical setting. They coexist in a condition of sublime indifference. So it will be when the noosphere-Overmind as a single entity is the conscious operating force of the next stage of the evolution of consciousness - no parts of the mind will be feeling a need to compete with or be at war with any other parts of the mind or its various conceptualizations.
"There is no exclusiveness ... each god knows all the gods and their place in existence; each idea admits all other ideas and their right to be ... To the Overmind (noosphere) ... all religions would be true as developments of the one Eternal religion, all philosophies would be valid each in its own field as a statement of its own universe-view, all political theories with their practice would be the legitimate working out of an Idea-Force with its right to application and practical development in the play of energies of Nature.” Ibid., p. 283
When we contemplate such a world, or rather planetary mental field, in which the autonomy of each psychic unit is guaranteed its right to be and manifest as it needs to, knowing that the operating field of the whole will provide all the right buffers and feedback, we will most certainly realize that we have entered a true age of harmony - psychoplanetary oneness. As Sri Aurobindo comments, “An Overmind world (noosphere) would be a world of harmony; the world of Ignorance in which we live is a world of disharmony and struggle.” (Ibid., p.284).
Yet, within the Overmind-noosphere which embraces all and everything as complementary polarities constituting the single whole, “The principle of separation must also be allowed its complete course and arrive at its absolute consequences ...” (Ibid., p.284). In fact, it would seem that this principle of separation running its complete course on a world scale is an exact description of our embattled world today - what Dane Rudhyar referred to as the “civil war of man.” For it is not, as we have indicated, the world that is in conflict, but the human in the world who is at war with himself. At the same time this stage of the separation arriving at its “absolute consequences” is a prerequisite for the next descent of the Supramental as the advent of the noosphere (Overmind). For it is only when the human species is at such a point of mortal self-wounding and self-dividing that the aspiration of the spirit must be met by the compassionate inclination downward of the Divine Consciousness to our plane of superphyscial ignorance. As Aurobindo has made clear, such a descent at this point in time has already been prepared for in some mysterious occult way from deep within ourselves, for it is we who call it forth.
"But it is only by the evolution in us of the concealed superconscient powers of Cosmic Truth and of the reality in which they are One that the harmony and unity we strive for can be dynamically realized in the very fibre of our being ...The Overmind (noosphere) and Supermind, too, must in the end fulfill themselves in this apparently opposite organization from a dark infinite ... Overmind, intuition even Supermind ... are secretly present, occult actively with flashes of intuitive emergence in the cosmic activity of mind, life and matter ..." Ibid., 285, 288
So we arrive at this very moment of understanding. The noosphere is a stage, a plane of consciousness within a continuum or spectrum of consciousness in which there is movement both ways - aspiration, for if we do not aspire, there is nothing to heed from Above - and descent - for only by divine compassion has the soul been moved ever upward in its journey back to Source.
"A supramental change of the whole substance of the being and therefore necessarily of its characters, powers, movements takes place when the involved Supermind in nature emerges to meet and join with the supramental light and power descending from Supernature.... A supermental principle and its cosmic operation once established permanently on its own basis, the intervening powers of Overmind (noosphere) and spiritual Mind could found themselves securely upon it and reach their own perfection; they would become in the earth-existence a hierarchy of states of consciousness rising out of Mind and physical life to the supreme spiritual level. Mind and mental humanity would remain as one step in the spiritual evolution; but other degrees above it would be there formed and accessible by which the embodied mental being as it became ready, could climb into the gnosis and change into an embodied supermental and spiritual being."
Life Divine, 962-63
With such a description one can readily contemplate the function and purpose of the noosphere as a thoroughly spiritual stage in the evolution of the individual soul into its capacity to participate in the manifestation of a single world soul, and thence to continue in its collective evolutionary trajectory toward the One - in what the Law of Time describes as a “collective radiosonic mass.” In the advent of the noosphere we see the Overmind intervention - the descent of light co-emergent with the aspiring manifestation of the concealed Godhead within. Unimaginable to the lens of the materialist world-view, but to those whose hearts have been opened by one of the infinite pathways of the eternal religion of love, this is the next step. And we will take the world with us. Omega point 2012 is right before us. Let us aspire with purified heart and soul and be ready to meet the Divine descent when it enters us.
These reflections on some aspects of the work of Sri Aurobindo within the context of the Law of Time are written as part of the research of Noosphere II. In no way do I pretend to have a thorough comprehension of the whole of Sri Aurobindo’s work, and if I have distorted or mistakenly viewed any of it, the witness to the purity of my intentions is the Supreme One. On behalf of all beings laboring in this dark hour of the passage of the world through the shadowy depths of the Mind of Ignorance, may these reflections better prepare and inspire us for the joyous experience that awaits us.
Director of Research, Galactic Research Institute
Foundation for the Law of Time
Kin 131, Blue Magnetic Monkey, Silio 21, Overtone Moon
Blue Crystal Storm Year(Gregorian: December 5, 2004
54th anniversary of Sri Aurobindo’s death, December 5, 1950)
A Noosphere II Project Research Paper
Main Texts Consulted: Sri Aurobindo, The Essential Aurobindo. Edited by Robert McDermott. (Schocken Books, New York. 1973)
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine.(Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. Tenth edition, 1977)
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga.(Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, Sixth edition 1976)