On Consciousness

Start Date:21-Aug-2023

End Date:26-Aug-2023



This certificated online course was organised by NAMAH, The Journal of Integral Health, Sri Aurobindo Society from 21st to 26th August 2023 with an aspiration to take the participants on a journey into the heights, depths, and essence of Consciousness. The sessions covered a whole range of subject matter, from a general view on Consciousness to its different dimensions and explaining Sri Aurobindo’s view on Involution and Evolution of Consciousness.

In the first session on ‘Consciousness: A General View,’ Dr Basu gave a glimpse of different scientific approaches to study consciousness and how scientists turned to the mystics for understanding the what and how of Consciousness. The Mystical approach goes beyond the sensory perception and reason thus giving way to Supra-rational methods of acquiring knowledge. Consciousness researchers today acknowledge that the scientific view is practical, analytical, and phenomenal and runs on the matter–energy interface whereas the mystical approach is synthetic, intuitive, and consciousness-based (chit) – a pure state without phenomena. The session ended with a Q&A round.

The second session on ‘The Involution of Consciousness’ opened with Dr Basu talking about the ‘Hard Problem of Consciousness’ – How can qualia evolve from non-qualia (how can a vibrant colourful universe manifest from the stuff from which physics and chemistry come). He shared that science believes that evolution starts from matter and hence this question, but Sri Aurobindo says evolution starts from Inconscience where matter is first produced and explains that the supreme consciousness comes down into the Inconscience in a systematic way producing typal planes (non-evolutionary planes of consciousness). Whatever is evolving is already involved as a potentiality and the process of this involvement is called involution. Dr Basu then spoke about the five lines of Descent of Consciousness and the role of Avatars in the scheme of Evolution of Consciousness. The session once again came to an end with a Q&A round.

In the third session on ‘The Evolution of Consciousness’, Dr Basu began by pointing out the fundamental difference between Eastern and Western perspectives on evolution and Sri Aurobindo brought evolution to the front and made a synthesis of East and West. This evolution is different from the scientific evolution which is the biological evolution of the species (form). Sri Aurobindo talked about the evolution of consciousness that runs parallel to biological evolution and is more focused on the evolution of individual consciousness. The session progressed with an in-depth discussion on how for evolution to be more meaningful, one has to integrate all the planes of consciousness (mind-vital-physical) around the psychic being. Dr Basu also gave participants a glimpse into Mother’s vision of the future body (Lightness-Adaptability-Plasticity-Luminosity) and the session came to an end with participants and Dr Basu engaging in a discussion around the role and function of Psychic Being.

The fourth session titled ‘The Inconscience’ was about understanding that in the Inconscience, phenomenally there is no consciousness, fundamentally, the consciousness got hidden inside the Inconscient through the process of involution and evolution began from the Inconscient and from there, the Subconscient gradually emerged. Dr. Basu emphasised that what Sri Aurobindo says has come from his experience and is not a hypothetical construct, the Inconscience described by Sri Aurobindo extends beyond the individual to merge with the terrestrial Inconscience and carries the seeds of the future that has never manifested and holds the potentiality of the new birth. Dr. Basu then gave a detailed account of The Mother’s experiential visualisation of the Inconscience during sleep, a dynamic mediation that revealed the structural and functional composition of the Inconscience.

The Fifth session was on ‘The Dimensions of Consciousness’, where Dr. Basu brought forward Sri Aurobindo’s newness in approaching Cognitive Consciousness (the possibility to evolve from the present mental state and undergo a series of transformations to reach a very high superconscious cognition state in the cognitive field of the human being) as opposed to the old ways where cognitive experience were surpassed to become one with the Divine. The stairway of four main ascents was discussed, starting from the Higher Mind (domain of the thinker), leading to the Illumined Mind (domain of the seer), and then to Intuition, describing its four types and ways of developing Intuition and taking the discussion further by speaking about the Overmind as the global field of cognition and the Supermind (Integral Cognition) where all of it begins. After such an intense presentation, the Q&A session saw participants emerging themselves into a deep discussion with Dr. Basu on the concepts shared during the session.

Finally, the sixth session on ‘Integrating the Consciousness’ focused on Overmind and Supermind, explaining their role and key characteristics. The Supermind is in between the unmanifest and the manifest and Overmind is the Creative Oversoul (golden Lid) situated between the knowledge of oneness (Vidya) and the knowledge of multiplicity (Avidya – oneness is absent). Dr. Basu explained that Multiplicity that originates in the Supermind comes to its functionality at the level of the Overmind, and determinants behind cognition, volition, and emotion become separate independent idea-forces called as spiritual archetypes. He further went on to speak about the two poises of Supermind – Primary (comprehending poise) where Knowledge of Oneness exists as all manifestation is present as an essence (Impersonal God) and the Secondary (Projecting poise) where knowledge of multiplicity is experienced (Personal God). He also touched upon the role of Avatars in the evolutionary expansion of consciousness and the part Sri Aurobindo and The Mother played as dual Avatars in the activation of The Supermind to ensure the continuity of creation.

This continuous six-day deliberation On Consciousness was well received by the participants. Dr. Basu helped them understand the complex concepts with ease and gave them a glimpse into the vast ranges of Consciousness. The programme ended with a hope of new creation and a powerful message for the participants to continue their explorations after the programme as well— “The Divine Law has got us far, now at our stage we have the option to make a conscious choice, a capacity to collaborate, utilise our potentialities – Evolve further on or destroy the world!”


“It was very good. I really enjoyed but it was very difficult to understand everything, one needs to listen again and again and read more and more or tap into the Divine wisdom and understand things from once.”

“The content of the sessions was very valuable! Dr. Basu’s sessions are always inspiring.”

“Summaries are a treasure.”

“I enjoyed everything, especially the practical exercises.”

“Keep it up and spread the awareness of THE MOTHER and Sri Aurobindo’s mission to everyone.”

“Thank you all for your presence, thank you Dr. Basu for bringing light on consciousness. Thank you James for holding space and bringing us so many amazing opportunities to connect with  the Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s work.”