workshop explored the deep universal or cosmic consciousness that sustains, nourishes and envelops us. It is the ego that tricks the individual into believing and acting in an exclusivist way, as if one were the centre of the universe. One remains unaware of a shared identity that is beyond our social and cultural parameters. In the Indian tradition, a return of the individual to the cosmic consciousness was eulogised, but Sri Aurobindo explains that the individual and the cosmic are two equally relevant poises of the same Transcendental Consciousness and one does not belittle the other. Psychology has peeped into the nethermost recesses of the cosmic consciousness, but the seer wisdom of India has traced the upper illumined realms of cosmic consciousness. Sri Aurobindo had emphasised that psychology needs to acknowledge the reality of the cosmic consciousness.
The facilitator for the programme, Dr. Soumitra Basu, is a consultant psychiatrist, practising in Kolkata and Pondicherry who works with Consciousness paradigms of health and psychology. He conducts workshops on personal growth and is a Founder-Editor of NAMAH, the Journal of Integral Health. He is author of the book, Integral Health. He is deeply interested in the interplay of Aurobindonian metaphysics and mental health. He has developed a module of Consciousness based Psychology (CBP) and, along with Dr. Michael Miovic of the USA, and together they have authored a book by that name, which looks at psychopathology and counselling from an entirely new perspective that arises from the experiential teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
Dr. Basu, beautifully guided and led the attendees to connect with Consciousness, beyond what is available to us in our ordinary states of being. In the first session titled ‘Introduction to Cosmic Consciousness’, the concept of ‘Suprasensible’ – as perception of materially imperceptible realities was explored. It was highlighted that as one transcends one’s ego, one enters a vast gestalt where universal thoughts and idea–forces, cosmic energies, archetypal images, universal rhythms of art and music intermingle to weave the matrix of Cosmic Consciousness. In this cosmic scheme, the individual is a distinct point co-existing with countless such ‘points’. If one is shut off in one’s own ego–centricity, then one thinks oneself to be the centre of the universe. If one is successful in breaking the veils of ego-centricity, one is immediately aware that an individual exists as a cente within the universe through whom universal forces act. In universalising oneself, the individual ‘centre’ does not become insignificant but becomes a ‘conscious centre’ in the cosmic whole.
‘The Nethermost Realms of Cosmic Consciousness’, the second session of the workshop focused upon the Unconscious, the Collective Unconscious and the Inconscience as parts of the Cosmic Consciousness. The Inconscience in Sri Aurobindo’s paradigm carries the seeds of the future that has never manifested so far, the potentiality of the new birth that is yet to evolve out of the Inconscience. Inconscience is the apparent absence of consciousness. It is in fact a state of Consciousness where the Superconscient has come down and become dormant (like potential of life lying dormant inside a seed). The Inconscience is akin to night – in the bosom of the deepest darkness the womb of the future dawn lies. Working in the Inconscient holds the power of transformation that can deliver the New World. The Mother has assured that a perfect surrender, a total self-giving to the Divine Will, even in the midst of night, even in the abyss of ignorance, carries the conviction of its appearance one day. There is the night and there is the sun, the night and the sun, again the night, many nights; but one must cling to this will to surrender, cling to it as in a tempest, and give up everything into the hands of the Supreme Lord, until the day when the Sun will come for ever, the total victory.
The third session of the series, ‘The Occult forces in the Cosmic Consciousness’ focused on evolutionary and non-evolutionary worlds. It was highlighted that before evolution there is a process of involution from the Superconscient to the inconscient. And then, there is a reversal in movement from the inconscient for growth and transformation towards the Superconscient. The process of involution of the Superconscient into the inconscient happens at many levels. Before the inconscient ascend into the individual forms, the being descends at the level of the Cosmic Consciousness – Supermind, Overmind, Mind, Vital, Consciousness touching Matter and finally Matter. Evolutionary worlds co-exist with non-evolutionary worlds and there is a constant interchange between them.
Between the Unregenerate animal Soul and the vital energy of human beings, non-evolutionary hostile forces work to combat forces of Light. This lies at the core of our understanding of the occult forces and their influence on our lives.
‘The Creative forces in the Cosmic Consciousness’, the fourth session talked about the fact that positive forces in the Cosmic Consciousness are greater in number than the negative ones. They enter us to give us impetus for creativity and creation. Influence of the Cosmic Consciousness enters the Inner Being and a small portion of this influence trickles from the Inner Being to the outer being through channels of communication called the Chakras. These subtle channels are mostly closed and allow for only a minuscule trickle of the Cosmic influence into the outer being. This little trickle is responsible for all creative works in various fields. Sri Aurobindo prefers the descent of the higher force which would open the centres (Chakras) by pressure from above. It would be flexible as the force would open necessary centres that would vary with individuals. The descent would also allow a release of forces that ascend. Sri Aurobindo’s process is new for the descending force is the force of transformation that has been worked upon by him. Sri Aurobindo described that the activation of the force was done by the psychic being—the evolutionary soul-principle projected by the unevolving self. Behind the heart Chakra, in the fourth dimension, is the seat of the psychic being. The psychic being is activated with the downward descent of the higher forces. Therefore, Sri Aurobindo’s vision enriches and changes the chakra paradigm from a liberative to a transformative paradigm. Force of transformation does its work automatically even if individual is not aware of the Chakras.
The fifth session, ‘The Superconscient Realms of Cosmic Consciousness’ highlighted that in order to access the Superconscient Cosmic Consciousness we must get rid of the ego and become aware of our Spiritual mind range. The Spiritual mind range is a different type of cognitive experience. It is vastly different from the cognitive experience that we have access to through our outer being. The Spiritual mind range can be experienced by our Inner being as it is in connect with the Cosmic Consciousness and has access to the Superconscious as well as the inconscient. While the outer being experiences the universe with limitations imposed upon it by space and time. Further, limitations of sensory perception and reason constrict this experience to a still greater extent. The Inner being is free of such limitations. We can cultivate the Inner being by developing the inner senses – the Spiritual mind range in order to experience the supracognitive ranges.
In ‘The Transcendent, Cosmic (Universal) and Individual poises of Consciousness’, the final session of the workshop elaborated upon the three equally valid poises of the same reality. While in the individual poise we are mostly concerned with the individual outlook. From the materialistic viewpoint, the individual is very important. Collective dimension of existence is seen as essential for the preservation of the individual. This grouping of individuals, on the basis, of some commonality does not comprise Cosmic Consciousness. Cosmic Consciousness comprises of the Universal elements such as Cosmic Love which has a very different texture than inter personal love. Universal Love can hold the greatest misery in the world – crucifixion of the Divine body where Jesus seeks forgiveness for those who have wronged him. Universal Love arises from Cosmic Consciousness. Individual is a concentration of Consciousness while the Universal is the diffusion of the same Consciousness. Thus, the same consciousness in diffused form is the Cosmic poise and in concentrated form is the individual poise. Cosmic Consciousness contains the grammar of the entire creation. Individual is seen as a phenomenon of the Cosmic Consciousness. Beyond the individual and the Cosmic is the Transcendental Consciousness. The Transcendental status of reality is beyond the universe and the individual. It is the very source of the Universe and the individual, as it produces consciousness. The Transcendental is the origin of all. The Transcendental is the essence which when diffused develops into Cosmic Consciousness and when it is concentrated, it becomes Individual Consciousness. Sri Aurobindo considers the Cosmic and individual Consciousness to be the product of the Transcendental, but not subservient to it.
About 25 people registered for this online course.
“The mastery of Dr Basu with what he teaches and his patience paves the way for us to understand his presentation. Learning is so beautiful from these classes. Thank you, James and all those who made this class come alive. One big thank you to Dr Basu too.
Thank you, Dr Basu for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and thank you James for organising this.”
“Thank you, Dr Basu for the profound insights we received through your lectures.”
“I enjoyed Dr. Basu’s deep understanding of the Subject. I enjoyed the guided meditations.”
“It widened my understanding. I need to practice to open to the Cosmic Consciousness.”