INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME 2: DOMAINS OF CONSCIOUSNESS

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This page of the site presents the domains of consciousness that constitute the underlying frame of Greek myths.

To fully understand this web page, it is recommended to follow the progression given in the tab Greek myths interpretation. This progression follows the spiritual journey.
The method to navigate in the site is given in the Home tab.

Eros as symbol of Bliss or Ananda

Eros (as the symbol of Bliss or Ananda) – Musée du Louvre

« As there is a category of facts to which our senses are our best available but very imperfect guides, as there is a category of truths which we seek by the keen but still imperfect light of our reason, so according to the mystic, there is a category of more subtle truths which surpass the reach both of the senses and the reason but can be ascertained by an inner direct knowledge and direct experience. These truths are supersensuous, but not the less real for that : they have immense results upon the consciousness changing its substance and movement, bringing especially deep peace and abiding joy, a great light of vision and knowledge, a possibility of the overcoming of the lower animal nature, vistas of a spiritual self-development which without them do not exist. A new outlook on things arises which brings with it, if fully pursued into its consequences, a great liberation, inner harmony, unification – many other possibilities besides. These things have been experienced, it is true, by a small minority of the human race, but still there has been a host of independent witnesses to them in all times, climes and conditions and numbered among them are some of the greatest intelligences of the past, some of the world’s most remarkable figures. Must these possibilities be immediately condemned as chimeras because they are not only beyond the average man in the street but also not easily seizable even by many cultivated intellects or because their method is more difficult than that of the ordinary sense or reason? If there is any truth in them, is not this possibility opened by them worth pursuing as disclosing a highest range of self-discovery and world discovery by the human soul? At its best, taken as true, it must be that – at its lowest taken as only a possibility, as all things attained by man have been only a possibility in their earlier stages, it is a great and may well be a most fruitful adventure. »

Sri Aurobindo
Letters on Yoga, 7-1-1934, XXII.188

“When we have passed beyond knowings,
Then we shall have Knowledge.
Reason was the helper; Reason is the bar.

When we have passed beyond willings,
Then we shall have Power.
Effort was the helper; Effort is the bar.

When we have passed beyond enjoyings,
Then we shall have Bliss.
Desire was the helper; Desire is the bar.

When we have passed beyond individualising,
Then we shall be real Persons.
Ego was the helper; Ego is the bar.

When we have passed beyond humanity,
Then we shall be the Man.
The Animal was the helper; the Animal is the bar.

Transform reason into ordered intuition;
Let all thyself be light. This is thy goal.

Transform effort into an easy and sovereign overflowing of the soul-strength;
Let all thyself be conscious force. This is thy goal.

Transform enjoying into an even and objectless ecstasy;
Let all thyself be bliss. This is thy goal.

Transform the divided individual into the world-personality;
Let all thyself be the divine. This is thy goal.

Transform the Animal into the Driver of the herds;
Let all thyself be the Krishna. This is thy goal.”

Sri Aurobindo
(Thoughts & Glimpses Cent. Edition: Vol. 16, pp 377)

We have presented several decryption keys for Greek mythology in the first volume of this study. They enabled us to uncover its general structure, to get closer to its hidden meaning, and to discover that it represented an extraordinary panorama of human evolution and described the paths to the future which the initiates of ancient Greece, and probably those of prior civilisations, had begun to explore.
Two of these paths are of particular importance: the ascension of the planes of consciousness in the lineage of Iapetus and the path of purification-liberation in Oceanos’.

At the beginning of this second volume, if one wants to explore the deeper meaning of this mythology, one will have to deepen the structure of the consciousness on which it relies and try to gain an overall view of the ways of approaching the Absolute, as well as the different types of experiences and realisations.
It is the only way for one to understand the adventures that preceded the War of Troy as well as the stakes disclosed in the long fight between the Acheans and the Trojan coalitions.

Even though all human experiences eventually recount a similar approach to the Truth, they do vary immensely according to the individuals and their backgrounds. The result of these experiences is a multitude of spiritual paths and teachings, of which it is quite difficult to establish an overview, even today.
The Greek heirs of the ancient Vedic and Egyptian knowledge, who had a better understanding of consciousness than we do as they were closer to the “intuition time”, experienced quite some difficulties themselves when it came to organizing the genealogies into a coherent picture that all could agree upon. (“Intuition time” is the pre-Vedic period, which correspond to the symbiotic time in the hypothesis of a mental cycle spread over 26 000 years.)
Homer left very few indications, and it is the work of Hesiod which bequeathed to us the first and nearly only Greek attempt to present an overview of these genealogies. « The Catalogue of Women », a piece attributed to this poet, gives the most reliable expression of this, even though only a few fragments have reached us, most of the time indirectly. It seems to have been the authoritative poem used as reference by the Ancients in this domain. Nevertheless, the many gaps in the texts contributed to the diversity of hypotheses and to the ulterior divergences.

The structure of the Consciousness succinctly presented here is neither arbitrary nor imaginary, it is the result of the experience of many initiates and mystics of all time.
However, it is so complex, and there are so many domains beyond our ordinary comprehension which are difficult to express in words of the common language by those who experienced them, that it is crucial to maintain a certain fluidity in one’s approach. Aware of the human intellect’s tendency of wanting to organize and compartimentalize knowledge in order to master it better and to subjugate it to its own interests, Sri Aurobindo, like Homer before him, always refused to give of it too rigid a description although he gave a rather precise poetic description of it in « Savitri », Book II. And this all the more since there are never any fixed separations, as all things are only forms or infinite variations of the One Consciousness who plays its own game in the universe, instead of following the rules of the human mental, no matter how developed it might be.
Conversely, ignoring this structure and the spiritual paths ensuing from it could result in side-tracking, or into mistakenly taking modest experiences for ultimate realisations, supposing that such erring ways couldn’t also be a necessity for the evolution of those who experience them.
For these planes are not merely the result of subjective experiences, they are in fact domains of the consciousness inhabited by beings, entities and hierarchies which evolve according to their own laws and rythms.

Therefore, the purpose here is not to give the absolute structure of man, of Consciousness and of its modalities, but only to give the indications that are necessary for the comprehension of the general organization of myths and the place occupied by particular experiences and teachings, translated into symbols, that are recounted in them.

The planes of Becoming: The sensitive created world or the external human nature

The simplest way to address this complexity is through the observation of nature and man who, in his growth since conception, revisits the stages of evolution in an accelerated manner, while keeping memories of it and staying a subject to its laws.

In order to relate this evolution to the essential constitutive elements of the being of which we have a sensitive perception, three of them have been chosen from which all the others, brought out by the different psychological, esoteric or spiritual traditions are just subdivisions or particular aspects : matter, life and mind.
These planes will be called « external », in relation to the « internal » domains of the being, or even « inferior » in the sense that they are « under » or were first to manifest in the evolution, and not because they are inferior in terms of quality.

In evolutionary terms, we suggested considering that matter contained life and mind involuted in itself. When it had evolved enough to allow life to appear, a powerful aspiration to realise the junction between the plane of cosmic Life and the germ involuted in matter occurred: this was the emergence of life and the beginning of the vegetal kingdom. The same process took place for the mind, and its progressive development enabled the apparition of the animal kingdom through many stages. The stage of the reflexive mind opened to human evolution.
We also proposed to consider consciousness as a constituent of the universe, hence present in everything and in all beings in varying degrees, and therefore also in the mineral world.

On the other hand, this distribution led us to consider the mind in its broader meaning, not only including all the aspects of the separative mind (intellectual thought, cognitive ideas and abilities resulting from the process of distancing oneself) but also of the « intelligence » in the broadest sense (Metis), integrating faculties connected to the process of identification (such as intuition, direct mental perception, etc.).

The physical

We are going to leave mineral matter and even living matter down to the cellular level aside, since man, with few exceptions, is still far from being able to be conscious of them.
Matter, which we perceive as an inert separated world, contains unsuspected powers which science barely approaches. Furthermore, currents of colossal power run through the universe, unbeknownst to us. These currents, which flow through us without any resistance, connect us to the universe, establishing an interdependence between all existing things.
Not only did science discover that matter is energy, but also that it interacts with consciousness. Science is barely beginning to lift the veil covering the infinite possibilities of the particle world, in which time, space, and information media defy our traditional laws and consistently challenge our beliefs. Spiritual science maintains the tremendous mutual attraction of the Spirit for Matter in which the Divine involuted itself, generating an interval within Himself in order to let manifestation and creation unfold. Matter is actually the place of the eternal New, identical to the Spirit in essence.

While conserving some qualities of matter like the tendency for inertia, this physical body isn’t purely material as it also contains life and a primitive mind at a cellular level (and maybe at even more elementary levels as well). The primary mode at work in the body is « repetition ».
Major evolutions of the species have always taken place through the physical… Thus the body is bound to become the ultimate place for transformation in the next stage of human evolution, under the influence of the supramental creator. And this time, man seems to be destined to participate consciously in this transformation. But it cannot happen too fast at the risk of blowing up all the intermediary constructions put in place by Nature, who works at a very slow pace.
This is why the transformative cur