International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 278

Full Length Research Paper

"Twenty-first Century English Poetry towards Mantric Planes of Consciousness"

Nikhil Kumar
  • Nikhil Kumar
  • Department of English, V.K.S.University, Arrah (Bihar) India-802301.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 08 July 2014
  •  Accepted: 21 August 2014
  •  Published: 31 October 2014


Sri Aurobindo, a man of the supramental plane of consciousness has found ‘Mantra’ to be the future of Poetry, the poetry which expresses the deepest spiritual reality. He discovers that poetry written from some higher plane of, what he calls, the Intuitive Mind Consciousness and Over mind Consciousness, the two uppermost planes of spiritual consciousness on the plane of Mind is the Mantra. Since man is yet to evolve to these higher planes of the spiritual mind-consciousness, the Mantra is the future poetry. On examination of Tomas Transtromer’s Answers to Letters and some other poems of the present century it is found that the evolution of consciousness is going on, and the poetic consciousness is destined to evolve to such higher planes of the Mantric Consciousness. 

Key words: Poetry of Future, Mantra, Sri Aurobindo, Tomas Transtromer.


It raises the thought which goes beyond the strict limits of the author’s subject and suggests the whole question of the future of poetry in the age which is coming upon us, the higher functions open to it—as yet very imperfectly fulfilled —and the part which English literature on one side and the Indian mind and temperament on the other are likely to take in determining the new trend (Sri Aurobindo 1991: 1).

Sri Aurobindo’s vision of the ‘English literature on the one side and the Indian mind and temperament on the other’ as the determining factors of the new trend of the future of poetry is unmistakably the key-point to look into the future of poetry as the evolution of consciousness upon which the future of poetry depends has reached its zenith in English literature and in Indian mind and temperament manifesting the spiritual[1] and finally the supramental[2] consciousnesses-the evolution of consciousness  which is irrefutably the ‘central significant motive of the terrestrial existence’ (1990: 824). In fact, the English literature, and the Indian Mind and temperament come to be the one integral factor for determining the trend of the future poetry. It is for the reason that on examination of Sri Aurobindo’s epic Savitri the supra-mental consciousness is found to have emerged in English poetry. Consequently, being the evolutionary culmination the supramental consciousness in it will shape the course of future poetry.



[1] According to Sri Aurobindo, spiritual consciousness is a higher plane of mental consciousness where we have the knowledge and realisation of the One Divine, the One Cosmic Self or wherein we are aware of the existence of the Divine Self in our being.

[2] The’supramental’, as the word discloses, is the consciousness which exists beyond the plane of the mental consciousness. Sri Aurobindo has discovered that the mental consciousness is the divisive, or to say, the separative consciousness whereas the supramental is the integral consciousness. The supramental consciousness exists beyond the plane of the dimensionality, the dimensionality being the manifestation of separativity. It is the sovereign plane of the Consciousness of the Divine, the Transcendent Divine. 



It is on account of Sri Aurobindo’s yogic attainment that the English Poetry could be able to manifest the supramental consciousness in Savitri. Transcending the Vedic Rishis and the Yogi in the Gita Sri Aurobindo undertook the yoga of supramentalisation and brought down the supramental consciousness from its sovereign supramental plane of existence into his being. It was an evolutionary breakthrough. He did it for the subsequent supramentalisation of the terrestrial existence. Savirti is one of his actions in this direction. One can, therefore, unmistakably view that the supramental consciousness begins to descend into the terrestrial existence through Savitri, for which the ‘submerged Celtic genius’ (1991: 47) in English literature provides base. One finds the base in the ‘Celtic genius’ for the supramental conscious-ness to descend into the English poetry for the reason that mysticism is the essential attribute of Celticism. Spirituality is inherent in it. Sri Aurobindo finds such a Celtic genius to be ‘a decisive force to liberate and uplift the poetic spirit’ (47) from the ‘Teutonic heaviness and crudity’ (45) in the body of English literature. However, the pre-dominantly Anglo-Saxon, or to be more strictly, the Anglo-Norman element provides necessary material and strength to English literature to produce a suitable form for the English poetry to express the spiritual truth brought into it by the Celtic element. Because of a harmonious fusion of the Anglo-Saxon, or to say, the Anglo-Norman and the Celtic elements we find the emergence of the spiritual consciousness in the poetry of the Romantic Revival period of English literature. It is on account of such a harmonious fusion that James Cousins, a poet and writer of considerable force in the Irish movement, could be able to visualise the strong possibility in the English poetry of the discovery of a new Word which, as he says in his New Ways in English Literature, ‘lies in the apprehension of something stable behind the instability of word and deed, something that is a reflection of the fundamental passion of humanity for something beyond itself, something that is a dim shadowing of the Divine urge which is prompting all creation to unfold itself and to rise out of its limitations towards God-like possibilities’(9). Such a discovery of the new word is the result of the ‘divine movement’ (9) in the very psyche and body of the English literature. The divine movement makes the word expressive of the Divine Truth. Sri Aurobindo finds the word to be ‘the form of thought proper to the reality’ (9), the Divine Reality. Of the character of the English language he says:

We have first the dominant Anglo-Saxon strain quickened, lightened and given force, power and initiative by the Scandinavian and Celtic elements. This mixture has made a national mind remarkably dynamic and practical, with all the Teutonic strength, patience, industry, but liberated from the Teutonic heaviness and crudity, yet retaining enough not to be too light of balance or too sensitive to the shocks of life; therefore, a nation easily first in practical intelligence and practical dealing with the facts and difficulties of life. Not, be it noted, by any power of clear intellectual thought or by force of imagination or mental intuition, but rather by a strong vital instinct, a sort of tentative dynamic intuition. No spirituality, but a robust ethical turn; no innate power of thought and the word, but a strong turn for action; no fine play of emotion or quickness of sympathy, but an abundant energy and force of will. This is one element of the national mind; the other is the submerged, half-insistent Celtic spirit, gifted with precisely the opposite qualities, inherent spirituality, the gift of the word, the rapid and brilliant imagination, the quick and luminous intelligence, the strong emotional force and sympathy, the natural love of the things of the mind and still more of those beyond the mind, left to it from an ancient mystic tradition and an old forgotten culture, forgotten in its mind, but still flowing in its blood, still vibrant in its subtler nerve-channels (45-46).

He further states:

And as a necessary aid we have the fortunate accident of the reshaping of a Teutonic tongue by French and Latinistic influences which gave it clearer and more flowing forms and turned it into a fine though difficult linguistic material sufficiently malleable, sufficiently plastic for Poetry to produce in it both her larger and her subtler effects, but also sufficiently difficult to compel her to put forth her greatest energies. A stuff of speech which, without being harsh and inapt, does not tempt by too great facility, but offers a certain resistance in the material, increases the strength of the artist by the measure of the difficulty conquered and can be thrown into shapes at once of beauty and of concentrated power. That is eminently the character of the English language (47-48). 

Such a character of the English language has finally been able to effect a splendid fusion with the ‘Indian mind and temperament’ as we see, for example, in Sri Aurobindo’s poetic consciousness to play a decisive role in determining the trend of the future of poetry.


On the higher spiritual planes of consciousness, Sri Aurobindo says, the future poetry, the ‘Mantra’ as he calls, exists, the potency of which he finds in the poetry of Wordsworth, Byron, Blake, Coleridge, Shelley and Keats. These poets manifest spiritual consciousness on account of which they are, to him, ‘six great voices’ (91) of, what he calls, the ‘new poetry’ (91). In his spiritual consciousness Wordsworth experiences the presence of the Divine Consciousness in Nature.

        I felt the sentiment of Being  spread

       O’er all, that moves, and all that seemeth still,

       O’er all, that lost beyond the reach of thought

       And human knowledge, to the human eye

       Invisible, yet liveth to the heart;

      O’er all that leaps, and runs, and shouts, and sings,

      Or beats the gladsome air; o’er all that glides

      Beneath the wave, yea, in the wave itself,

      And mighty depth of waters

         (Prelude II: 420-28).

It is the Divine Presence that disturbs him ‘with the joy of elevated thoughts’ (Tintern Abbey, 96-97). In such a spiritual consciousness Shelley discovers the existence of the One Transcendent Being, the creator, preserver and destroyer, —the Transcendent who manifests himself in the west wind on the physical plane.

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere; Destroyer and Preserver;…(Ode to the West Wind: 13-14).

In his spiritual consciousness, Keats, too, discovers the truth of immortality, the physical manifestation of which is the Nightingale.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! (Ode to A Nightingale: 61).

He further says:

       The voice I hear this passing night was heard

       In ancient days by emperor and clown…  (63)

The spiritual consciousness makes Blake, too, experience the truth of the One Transcendent who is responsible for the birth of two opposite creatures, Tiger and Lamb, —the creatures which manifest the two opposite realities, or to say, the dualism of the three-dimensional world.

         Did He who made the Lamb make thee?

        (The Tyger: 20)

In Coleridge there is ‘an occult eye of dream and vision opened to supraphysical world’ (1991: 121). His Ancient Mariners bears testimony to such a vision of the supraphysical world. It manifests the spiritual consciousness in him on account of which he could see the supraphysical plane of existence. Sri Aurobindo finds ‘an unfailing divinity of power’ (70) in Shakespeare too. The spiritual consciousness continues to take hold of the beings of A.E. and Yeats further in the twentieth century as he discovers the consciousness of the ‘truth-seer’ (70) in the former and the ‘spiritual intonation’ (70) in the latter’s poetry. Such a spiritual intonation manifests when Yeats visualises the intervention of the Divine in the second coming of Christ, or in, to use the Vedic term, the ‘Avatar’ of the Divine to avert the evolutionary crisis caused by the spiritual sterility in man. The spiritual sterility crops up when the ‘ceremony of innocence is drowned’ (1974: 99) as a result of which ‘the centre cannot hold’ (99) and ‘Things fall apart’ (99). The spiritual luminaries of the world find innocence as the foundation of the spiritual evolution of man. One has to be innocent to evolve to the plane of spiritual consciousness. Yeats’ supraphysical consciousness continues to manifest in his poems like Sailing to Byzantium in ‘Once out of nature I shall never take/My bodily form from any natural thing’ (1974: 105). In these poetic lines he visualises the supraphysical planes of existence in Nature. They are at the back of man’s physical birth. The supraphysical elements in Nature are yet to undergo divine transformation. He does not want to reincarnate with the same untransformed supraphysical elements at the base of his mundane existence after his physical death. The untransformed supraphysical elements will continue to cause spiritual sterility in his rebirth. Therefore, he wishes to take birth only after divine transformation of the supraphysical elements as a new higher creature.

            But such a form as Gracian goldsmith’s make

            Of hammered gold… (lines 106-07)

Sri Aurobindo finds ‘gold’ as the symbol of the Supramental. In the light of such a finding of Sri Aurobindo the poet appears to wish to reincarnate after the Nature undergoes supramental transformation, —the transformation of which Sri Aurobindo speaks in his Savitri, The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga and other works. In his supramentally built mundane form the poet will be able to lead a divine life (Sri, 1990).

The Indian mind and temperament is found to be in possession of the spiritual consciousness since time immemorial, the manifestation of which one finds in the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Gita. These poetic works are the Mantra since they are found to have been written from the summit of the spiritual consciousness. As the time moves on, the spiritual consciousness continues to manifest in the poetic works like Ramayana in Sanskrit and Ramcharitmanas in Hindi literatures and in the persons like Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira etc. South India has witnessed a large number of spiritual personalities and produced spiritual poetry. In the present era, too, beside spiritual luminaries like Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Swami Vivekananda, we find Sri Aurobindo, a great poet, dramatist and short story writer to be the embodiment of the consciousness of the Divine plane when we look into his writings. To be more specific, his writings like Savitri, The Life Divine etc. reveal that he manifests the Supramental Conscious-ness, —the Supramental which, as we have noted earlier, being the integral consciousness, exists beyond the plane of dimensionality of the Existence. When we look into the evolutionary phenomenon, the phenomenon which determines the future of the terrestrial existence, the human mind is found to be the higher plane of consciousness than the consciousnesses which exist in animals, the trees, the plants, and in the material objects, that is to say, in Matter on the lower rungs of evolution, and further the spiritual is found to be the higher plane of the mind-consciousness since it visualises the divine reality of the terrestrial existence. The supramental consciousness found in the epic Savitri and The Life Divine etc. transcends the spiritual mind-consciousness, one of the manifestations of which is the vivid and lucid description of the pre-creation state of existence in the opening canto of the epic Savitri, ‘It was the hour before the Gods awake’ (Sri Aurobindo, 1994: 1). And so on. Therefore, the Indian mind and its temperament manifes-ting the spiritual and the supramental consciousnesses in its spiritual luminaries and literatures and further in English poetry is sure to determine the future of poetry.

Eliot’s negative vision of ‘blight’ in the spiritual con-sciousness of John Keats, —the spiritual consciousness in which Keats finds beauty to be truth, truth beauty in his Ode on a Grecian Urn—, and Prof. F.R. Leavis’ failure to visualise the plane of spiritual consciousness in the poetry of William Wordsworth cannot be taken to doubt the potency of English Poetry for its evolution to the higher planes of consciousness where we find the Mantric poetry, or to say, the Mantra. In fact, on account of its awareness of the existence of the One Divine, or of the One Cosmic Self the spiritual consciousness in the poetry of Keats, Wordsworth, Shelley, Blake, Byron and Coleridge is transcendent to the mortal vision in the intellectual consciousness of persons like T.S. Eliot and F.R. Leavis. Such a spiritual consciousness, as a matter of fact, has laid the foundation for the evolution of the English poetry to the plane of Mantric Consciousness. Though he appears to speak of the need of spiritual attainment in his The Waste Land and other poems, Eliot manifests a spiritually sterile mind when he says:

I am first inclined to agree with him1, because this statement2 of equivalence means nothing to me. But on re-reading the whole Ode, this line strikes me as a serious blemish on a beautiful poem; and the reason must be either that I fail to understand it, or that it is a statement which is untrue (Eliot, 1999: 270).

In fact, we find the gravitational pull of the lower plane of consciousness in Eliot. His intellectual mind which is yet to evolve to the spiritual plane of mind-consciousness, —the spiritual plane which, as we have noted, is higher in the hierarchy of consciousness in this Existence on account of its vision of the existence of the One Divine— fails to visualise that Keats has the vision of divine Beauty. It is this divine Beauty which the spiritual cons-ciousness of the Vedic poets, too, finds to be Truth. It is the Divine Truth, Satyam Shivam Sundaram.

Eliot’s intellectual mind is capable of visualising only the physical beauty which is subject to decay. On account of the intense separativity of the consciousness in it it denies what the spiritual mind consciousness wherein separativity of consciousness tends to lose itself visualises. In fact, it is the malady of the intellectual mind consciousness that to it the spiritual consciousness comes to be ‘a serious blemish’. Sri Aurobindo, who is unquestionably found as the man of supraterrestrial consciousness in his portrayal of a vivid and lucid picture of the pre-creation state of existence in the opening canto of his epic Savitri as stated earlier and in his revelation of the yoga of supramentalisation and so on, says:

…one godhead only he worshipped, the image of divine Beauty, and through this alone he wished to see Truth and by her to achieve spiritual delight and not so much freedom on completeness.

(1991: 126)

He further says:

…it is in the sense of that spiritual joy of vision, and not in any lower sensuous, intellectual or imaginative seeing, that Keats’ phrase becomes true for the poet, beauty that is truth, truth that is beauty, and this all that we need to know as the law of our aesthetic knowledge  


He continues to say:

He is right too in wishing to make poetry more intimately one with life, but again in this sense only, in going back to those creative fountains of the spirit’s Ananda from which life is seen and reshaped by the vision that springs from a moved indentity —the inmost source of the authentic poet vision. The beauty and delight of all physical things illumined by the wonder of the secret spiritual self that is the inhabitant and self-sculptor of form, the beauty and delight of the thousand-coloured, many-crested million-waved miracle of life made a hundred times more pro-foundly meaningful by the greatness and the sweetness and attracting poignancy of the self-creating inmost soul which makes of life its epic and its drama and its lyric, the beauty  and  delight  of  the spirit  in thought, the seer, the thinker, the interpreter of his own creation and being who broods over all he is and does in man and the world and constantly resees and shapes it new by the stress and power of his thinking, this will be the substance of the greater poetry that has yet to be written. And that can be discovered only if and so far as the soul of man looks or feels beyond even these things and sees and voices the eternal and knows its godheads and gets to some close inward touch of the infinite ecstasy which is the source of the universal delight and beauty. For the nearer we get to the absolute Ananda, the greater becomes our joy in man and the universe and the receptive and creative spiritual emotion which needs for its voice the moved tones of poetic speech.                                                                   (237)

He goes to discover:

His death in the beginning of his powers is the greatest loss ever suffered by human achievement in this field.1      


Such a discovery of a very high spiritual potency in Keats reveals the turning point in the evolution of English poetry. Consequently, English poetry has gone ahead and evolved to the plane of the Supramental Consciousness, which is the plane of the ‘absolute Ananda’, transcending the plane of the spiritual consciousness on the plane of Mind, in Savitri, —the Supramental Consciousness which exists beyond the plane of dimensionality as we have earlier noted.    

One will negate the truth of the ongoing evolutionary phenomenon if one takes the plea to refute such a vision of Sri Aurobindo of the future poetry in the spiritual and the supramental consciousnesses that the present day poetic writings do not manifest spiritual consciousness. But such a negation of the truth of the evolutionary phenomenon is scientifically untenable. Moreover, we have to take note of the truth that evolutionary phenomenon follows the spiral path. If long after the Vedic writings the spiritual consciousness, nay, the Supramental consciousness manifests in Sri Aurobindo, there is nothing to deny that the spiritual consciousness will take possession of the entire human race as a result of evolution paving the way for the emergence of the Supra-mental Consciousness therein. Such a spiral movement of the evolutionary force we find in the twentieth century British English poetry, too, with the decadence of the poetic consciousness when the poetic consciousness comes down from the plane of the spiritual consciousness to the lower plane in T.S. Eliot since his The Waste Land and other poems are found to be in possession of the intellectual consciousness. In fact, the poetic consciousness ceases to be poetic when it descends to the plane of the intellectual consciousness. Such an intellectual consciousness in his aforesaid poem replaces ‘the standard flow of poetic language by fragmented utterances, and substituted for the traditional coherence of poetic structure a deliberate dislocation of parts’ (Abrams, 1993: 119). The very fragmented utterances and the deliberate dislocation of parts reveal the intensity of the separativity of the intellectual consciousness in him to the extent that poetry dies in The Waste Land. It remains a verse alone. Consequently, there is nothing in the poem which stirs the latent divine consciousness in us and reveals the latent spiritual truth in the earthly existence. Since he fails to realise that Keats has the vision of the Divine Beauty viewing the vision as the ‘serious blemish’, his consciousness in ‘Shantih Shantih Shantih’ at the end of the poem cannot be said to be spiritual. At best, it can be viewed as an intellectual urge for peace, or as a struggle to get release from the prison of the intellectual consciousness. On the other hand in A.E. and W.B. Yeats the poetic consciousness, marking the spiral movement of the evolutionary force further, ascends the higher plane as it manifests the spiritual consciousness. It is on a very high plane of spiritual consciousness where A.E. has the vision of Divine Beauty. Such a Divine Beauty pervades the universe and the planes beyond the universe. In his poem The Divine Vision he visualises the divine Beauty both in ‘pale forms’ (A.E.: line 3) and ‘kingly crowns of gold’ (3), and further in ‘the shadowy terrors of their hell’ (5) and on ‘the enchanted hills of heaven’ (19). He discovers a divine silence on these enchanted hills of heaven. Further in the poem A Midnight Meditation A.E. visualises the immortal state of human existence when he asks us not to ‘grieve for the immortal dead’ (A.E. Midnight Meditation: 2). He has the vision of the Divine Self of man, —the Divine Self which, transcending mortality, ‘passes on from death to life’ (6). One must transcend one’s mortal consciousness and enjoy death-life continuum as one enjoys the change of ‘worn-out garments’ (1990:742) with the new ones. We shall have, then, no cause for grief.

      Oh, passionate heart, what is thy cause for grief?

                     (A Midnight Meditation: 12)

The consciousness in which one has the vision of the Divine Self and Its supraphysical journey from life to life to effectuate higher and higher divine manifestations brings an end to one’s grief. Such a consciousness in A.E. is that of the Divine Self itself. It is the Divine Self in the Gita which says of Itself:

An end have these bodies of an embodied soul that is eternal;…it is not born nor dies nor is it that having been it will not be  again.  It  is unborn, ancient, everlasting; it is not slain with slaying of the body. As a man casts from him his worn-out garments and takes others that are new, so the embodied being casts off its bodies and joins itself to others that are new. Certain is the death of that which is born and certain is the birth of that which dies…

(1990: 742)


1 In the field of evolution of poetic consciousness.



Such a truth of immortality is in the vision of A.E. It is as if the Soul of Keats has reincarnated in him to express the truth of Divine Beauty and Immortality. The very expres-sion of Yeats ‘The ceremony of innocence has drowned’, too, manifesting his deep spiritual emotion and agony and yearning for the spiritual salvation of mankind emanates from his inmost self, the Divine Self wherein true poetry is born. It is in this Divine Self where the Mantra containing the divine inspiration exists. On the present evolutionary stage of man such a Divine Self is the ‘sealed chamber’ (Hymns to the Mystic Fire, 1991: 5) which, as Sri Aurobindo says, ‘grammarian, etymologists, scholastic conjectures will not open to us’(5). In fact, it is sealed on account of the intense separativity of the intellectual consciousness. The seal will be broken eventually when the consciousness evolves to its spiritual planes. When the ‘chamber’ is no more sealed one has the vision of its eternal beauty and its eternal journey from life to life as such a vision we find in A.E. and Yeats. Even if the absence of the spiritual consciousness in the present day poetry is accepted for a while, it does not mean that the evolution of consciousness has finally stopped. Science, too, has not established that evolution has stopped. In fact, the scientific mind rectifies its vision of evolution in Einstein’s discovery of the four-dimensional plane of existence in his Theory of Relativity coming much closer to Sri Aurobindo’s vision of evolution when the great scientist establishes in his Theory of Special Relativity that the three-dimensional plane of existence is the projection of the four-dimensional plane of existence in the same manner in which shadow is a two-dimensional projection of a three-dimensional object, —the four-dimensional plane which remains unchallenged till now, and to which the three-dimensional plane of existence must evolve for the reason of being its projection. The picture of evolution is no more what Darwin and Lamarck say. Evolution is, therefore, required to be visualised in the perspective of the principle of the four-dimensional plane of existence to discover the new truth. In fact, the very scientific discovery of the four-dimensional plane of existence is the manifestation of the ongoing evolution of consciousness to its higher intellectual plane of Mind. Further, there is no room to deny that such an evolution of consciousness will continue to go on, and consciousness will evolve to its spiritual and supramental planes. The four-dimensional plane of existence comes to be a truth and thing of the supra-terrestrial plane of existence, of which only a mathematical structure has been erected on the present evolutionary plane of the scientific mind. The mathematical structure erected by Einstein is an unmistakable manifestation of the truth that when our consciousness evolves further we shall be able to have its consciousness, and consequently be able to visualise the four-dimensional plane of existence. The latest debate in the world of Science on the higher velocity of neutrino existing at the sub-atomic level of Matter than the velocity of light does not go to disturb Einstein’s findings of the four-dimensional plane of existence. However, the vision of higher velocity of neutrino at the sub-atomic level of Matter has been seriously questioned for certain irrefutable scientific reasons. Einstein’s discovery of the four-dimensional plane of existence continues to reign supreme in the realm of Science despite the latest discovery of what is commonly called the ‘God-particle’, or as Physics terms ‘the Higgs-boson’ which is responsible for giving mass to Matter. The Higgs-boson particle has not solved the mystery of the dualism of wave and particle at the sub-atomic level of Matter as a result of which one is compelled to accept the Uncertainty Principle of Werner Heisenberg. The ‘Higgs-boson’, being a three-dimensional object continues to be the projection of the four-dimensional plane of existence according to the Theory of Special Relativity of Einstein. The most fundamental question regarding the material existence of the universe in the dualism of wave and particle remains unanswered and truth undiscovered. Therefore, the scientific mind continues to remain trapped in the eclipsed vision of the Uncertainty Principle which fails to probe the wave which is not found to be a three-dimensional wave. The scientific mind admits that it is not a three-dimensional wave like sound wave etc. It transcends the three-dimensional plane. In all probability the answer lies in the mathematically established four-dimensional plane of existence which comes to be the physical manifestation of spiritual truth. The ‘One Trans-cendent’ which comes into the vision of the spiritual consciousness comes to be mathematically established as the four-dimensional plane wherein the three streams of time, past, present and future are found to be the one integral whole. It is transcendent to Space and Time of the three-dimensional plane of existence. In such a transcendent state Space and Time come to be the one integral whole. We have the summit vision of evolution in Sri Aurobindo when he reveals the truth of involution which is responsible for the evolutionary phenomenon, —involution which is the inverse phenomenon of evolution. Such an involution, which, preceding evolution, evades the vision of Science, reveals the truth of the involution of the Divine Consciousness. He says:

We speak of the evolution of Life in Matter, the evolution of Mind in Matter; but evolution is a word which merely states the phenomenon without explaining it. For there seems to be no reason why Life should evolve out of material elements or Mind out of living form, unless we accept the Vedantic solution that Life is already involved in Matter and Mind in Life because in essence Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Consciousness. And then there seems to be little objection to a farther step in the series and the admission that mental consciousness may itself be only a form and a veil of higher states which are beyond Mind. In that case, the unconquerable impulse of man towards God, Light, Bliss, Freedom, Immortality presents itself in its right place in the chain as simply the imperative impulse by which Nature is seeking to evolve beyond Mind, and appears to be as natural, true and just as the impulse towards Life which she has planted in certain forms of Matter or the impulse towards Mind which she has planted in certain forms of Life. As there, so here, the impulse exists more or less obscurely in her different vessels with an ever-ascending series in the power of its will-to-be; as there, so here, it is gradually evolving and bound fully to evolve the necessary organs and faculties. As the impulse towards Mind ranges from the more sensitive reactions of Life in the metal and the plant up to its full organisation in man, so in man himself there is the same ascending series, the preparation, if nothing more, of a higher and divine life. (1990: 3)

Further he says:

Matter could not have become animate if the principle of Life had not been there constituting Matter and emerging as a phenomenon of Life-in-Matter;  Life-in-Matter could not have begun to feel, perceive, think, reason, if the principle of Mind had not been there behind life and substance, constituting it as its field of operation and emergent in the phenomenon of a thinking life and body: so too spirituality emerging in Mind is the sign of a power which itself has founded and constituted life, mind and body and is now emerging as a spiritual being in a living and thinking body. How far this emergence will go, whether it will become dominant and transform its instrument, is a subsequent question; but what is necessary first to posit is the existence of Spirit as something else than Mind and greater than Mind, spirituality as something other than mentality and the spiritual being therefore as something distinct from the mental being: Spirit is a final evolutionary emergence because it is the original involutionary element and factor. Evolution is an inverse action of the involution: what is an ultimate and last derivation in the involution is the first to appear in the evolution; what was original and primal in the involution is  in  the  evolution  the  last  and  supreme emergence. (1990:853)

Such a truth of the involution of the Divine Conscious-ness in the evolution further confirms that the evolution of the spiritual and the supramental consciousnesses is destined, —the supramental which is essentially the consciousness of the sovereign plane of the Divine. Consequently poetry from these higher planes will flow, and become the order of the day. A man of Science will realize the truth of involution when he finds in Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity as noted earlier that the four-dimensional plane of existence is responsible for the existence of the three-dimensional plane of existence as the latter is the projection of the former, —the projection which comes into existence essentially as a result of the descent of the thing of the real object of the three-dimensional plane on the two-dimensional plane. Such a descent is the involution of the three-dimensional on the two-dimensional plane.


Sri Aurobindo calls the future poetry ‘Mantra’ as we have noted earlier. He says that Mantra is the poetic expression of the deepest spiritual reality. To be more specific, he says that poetry written from some higher planes, of what he calls, the Intuitive Mind Consciousness and the Overmind Consciousness which are the two uppermost planes of the spiritual consciousness on the plane of Mind is Mantra, —the spiritual consciousness wherein, as we have noted, we have the knowledge and realisation of the One Divine, One Cosmic Self. It is under this spiritual consciousness that we come to be conscious of the existence of the Divine Self in us. It is to be noted that Sri Aurobindo discovers four ascending planes of the spiritual consciousness existing above the plane of, what he calls the ‘mental mind’, or the ‘intellec-tual mind’ as we may call, —the Higher Mind, the Illu-mined Mind, the Intuitive Mind and the Overmind as he terms. He finds the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Gita to have been written from the plane of the Overmind Consciousness, the summit of the spiritual mind-consciousness. Beyond the spiritual mind-consciousness there exists what he calls the ‘Supramental Consciousness’ which is integral in nature. The Supramental Consciousness is the sovereign plane of the Divine Consciousness. Since the planes of Mantra, or to say, the higher planes of the Intuitive Mind Consciousness and the Overmind Consciousness are very close to the Supramental Consciousness which, as we have earlier noted, is the sovereign plane of the Divine Consciousness, the Divine Consciousness in the Mantra is active and works out Its manifestations through the mental principle, —the principle of the divisive consciousness, or to say, the separative principle of the Essential Divine Consciousness as discovered by Sri Aurobindo—, as a result of which the Mantra leads the evolutionary phenomena to arrive at the supramental plane. The separative principle of consciousness on the planes of Mantra is, in fact, creative in nature since separativity tends to lose its existence here. The consciousness here remains ‘ever-ascending’ (1990: 3) to gain integrality for higher divine manifestations. Further, the Divine Consciousness gets the passage to descend on the lower evolutionary planes of consciousness when one concentrates from these lower evolutionary planes of consciousness on the poetic lines of the Mantric poetry. With the descent of the Divine Consciousness the lower evolutionary planes of consciousness undergo the process of transformation to evolve to the planes of the spiritual mind-consciousness.

Thus, the Mantric poetry, or to say, the Mantra, being a result of the ‘divine inspiration’ (Hymns to the Mystic Fire, 1991: 1) will play a decisive role in the evolution of poetry which we have on the planes of consciousness below the spiritual. Of such a decisive role of the Mantra to raise one to the higher plane Sri Aurobindo says:

There was an occult and spiritual knowledge in the sacred hymns and by this knowledge alone, it is said, one can know the truth and rise to a higher existence. This belief was not a later tradition but held, probably, by all and evidently by some of the greatest Rishis such as Dirghatamas and Vamadeva. (6)

Of the Mantra, Sri Aurobindo further says:

In ancient times the Veda was revered as a sacred book of wisdom, a great mass of inspired poetry, the work of Rishis, seers and sages, who received in their illumined minds rather than mentally constructed a great universal, eternal and impersonal Truth which they embodied in Mantras, revealed verses of power, not of an ordinary but of a divine inspiration and source. The name given to these sages was Kavi, which afterwards came to mean any poet, but at the time had the sense of a seer of truth, —the Veda itself describes them as kavyah satyasrutah, “seers who are hearers of the Truth” and the Veda itself was called, sruti, a word which came to mean “revealed Scripture”. The seers of the Upanishad had the same idea about the Veda and frequently appealed to its authority for the truths they themselves announced and these too afterwards came to be regarded as Sruti, revealed Scripture, and were included in the sacred Canon. (1)

Thus, the Mantra comes to be the ‘great universal, eternal and impersonal Truth’ which descends from the plane of Eternity into the ‘illumined minds’ which Sri Aurobindo, as noted earlier, finds to be the higher planes of the Intuitive Mind Consciousness and the Overmind Consciousness. To be more specific, the Mantra is the vision and expression of the Eternal Truth on these two uppermost planes of the spiritual consciousness on the plane of Mind. Such an expression is essentially poetic.

We have, therefore, the summit vision of the Mantra on the plane of Eternity, or to say, the plane of, what Sri Aurobindo terms as noted earlier, the Supramental Consciousness when we transcend the planes of the Intuitive Mind Consciousness and the Overmind Consciousness. On this account the Mantra in these spiritual planes of the Mind-Consciousness, the spiritual Mantra as we may call, is a reflection, or to say, a representation of the Mantra which exists on the plane of the transcendent Supramental Consciousness, the eternal consciousness or ‘the supramental Mantra’ as we may call. Since the spiritual mind-consciousness essentially remains under the separative principle of the Essential Divine Consciousness, the spiritual Mantra comes to be an eclipsed vision of the supramental, or to say, the transcendent Mantra. Einstein would have certainly affirmed the Mantra of the spiritual planes as ‘projection’ of the Mantra of the supramental plane in view of his discovery of the four-dimensional plane of Existence, and of a consequent new picture of the three-dimensional plane of world as ‘projection’ of this four-dimensional plane of Existence. Such a supramental or transcendent Mantra comes into the tangible experience of the Upanishad, too, as it asserts a speech behind human speech, being ‘the expressive aspect of the Brahman-consciousness’ (Sri Aurobindo, 1988: 129). Of this Sri Aurobindo says:

Human speech is only a secondary expression and at its highest a shadow of the divine Word, of the seed-sounds, the satisfying rhythms, the revealing forms of sound that are the omniscient and omnipotent speech of the eternal Thinker, Harmonist, Creator. The highest inspired speech to which the human mind can attain, the word most unanalysably expressive of supreme truth, the most puissant syllable or mantra can only be its far-off representation (1988: 128)

One is, therefore, required to evolve into the Supramental Consciousness which manifests categorically in Savitri to have the ‘divine Word’. On the supramental plane one finds that “‘That’ which is here1 shadowed, is there found” (1988: 118). The supramental poetry in Savitri, being the transcendent Mantra, is the future poetry into which the present poetry will evolve eventually.


1 On the spiritual mind plane of the Consciousness.



In order to evolve to the planes of the spiritual mind-consciousness, and finally to the plane of the supra-mental Consciousness we are required to turn inward to discover our Divine Self which is our true self at the centre of our being. Such a turn is, in fact, the yogic turn which the present day poets have either irreversibly taken or are taking. This is what we find in the 2011 Nobel Prize winner Tomas Transtromer in his poem Answers to Letters published on 25 October 2011. He says:

                     ………………..Or at least so far away from

                      Here that I can find myself.

     (Tomas Transtromer 2011: 806258.ece)

The poet appears to be aware of the existence of his true Self existing in his inmost being ‘away’ from his surface mortal selves, —the mortal selves which Sri Aurobindo identifies to be the body, the life, and the mind in the constitution of our being—, and wants to discover it. The true Self is at the centre of the mortal selves. In such an awareness of his true Self he is aware of the Divine, for the true Self is the immortal self, being an individual poise of the Supreme Divine. Such a discovery of the Divine Self, or Soul, as we may call, comes to be an evolutionary breakthrough in the evolution of consciousness to its higher planes. The soul, or to say, the ‘psychic being’ as Sri Aurobindo terms, which, according to him, remains behind the mortal selves, or to say, the body, the life and the mind prior to the discovery, comes forward and takes their command to govern them. Consequent upon their take over, the consciousness of the psychic being descends into them. They undergo transformation and they become receptive to what comes down from the divine planes of Existence. This is the psychic trans-formation of the body, the life and the mind. Such a psychic transformation of the mortal selves lays down the foundation for the irreversible spiritual and supramental transformations of man. In one of his letters on yoga Sri Aurobindo says:

This psychic development and the psychic change of mind, vital and physical consciousness is of the utmost importance because it makes safe and easy the descent of the higher consciousness and the spiritual transformation without which the supramental must always remain far distant. (1979: 1095)

Consequent upon such a psychic transformation, or to use Sri Aurobindo’s terminology, ‘psychicisation’, of the body, the life and the mind which are, according to him, the instrumental selves of the Soul, the Psychic Being, the descent of the Divine Consciousness takes place in one’s being without obstruction. In their untransformed state the instrumental selves cause obstruction when the Divine Consciousness descends into one’s being as they are under the gravitational pull of Matter operative at the base in the body. Such a pull puts up resistance to the Divine. In other words, one is free from the gravitational pull of Matter as a result of the psychicisation of the instrumental selves, the body, the life and the mind. In such a state of psychicisation the Divine Consciousness descends smoothly as a result of the receptivity of the instrumental selves to the Divine in one’s being. Psychicisation enables the consciousness to be ‘ever-ascending’ on the planes of the spiritual consciousness to gain integrality on account of such a receptivity of the instrumental selves. The receptivity as a result of psychicisation protects one from the spiral movement of the evolutionary force. In such a spiral movement one suffers from fall from the higher planes of consciousness. In ordinary situation the evolutionary force moves spirally because of one’s subjection to the gravitational pull of Matter in the body at the base of the life and the mind in the absence of psychicisation.

Further, the awareness of the existence of the Soul as his true self makes the poet Tomas Transtromer aware of the supraphysical plane of existence and the spiritual Reality existing in the dimensionality of the universe and beyond the universe. He says:

                 …One day when I am dead

                 And can at last concentrate. (2011)

In the above poetic lines, too, he appears to be conscious of the existence of his Divine Self which is beyond the mortal touch, and of the existence of the supraphysical planes as well, —the supraphysical planes  where the Divine Self, or to say, the Soul dwells after the physical death of man. Such discoveries reveal to him further that answer to the ‘unanswered letters’ (2011) which ‘pile high up’ (2011) can be made only after his Divine Self visualises the truth on these supraphysical planes, —the truth which is Divine wherein the mystery of the mundane life comes to its end. That is why he says that when he is dead he will concentrate, and then he will be able to answer the ‘unanswered letters’ which seek for the revelation of the mystery of the mundane life. Further, since he says that he will concentrate when he is dead, it is also revealed here that his mortal selves are not evolved enough to be receptive to the consciousness of the Divine Self, or Soul, to get the answer, or to say, to end the mystery of this mundane life. The Divine Self alone matters in the discovery of the supraterrestrial Reality. Having studied it in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s vision of the supramental evolution of man and earth we find that it is imperative for us to evolve the consciousness of our mortal selves for the vision of the supraphysical planes of Existence and the Divine Truth there in, for which the psychic transformation as a result of the discovery of the Soul is essentially required. It is in the Divine Consciousness, to be more specific, the Supra-mental Consciousness that Sri Aurobindo has discovered the existence of the supraphysical planes and the journey of the individual Divine Self on these planes after the fall of the gross body. In one of his letters on yoga Sri Aurobindo says:

The soul after it leaves the body travels through several states or planes until the psychic being has shed its temporary sheaths, then it reaches the psychic world where it rests in a kind of sleep till it is ready for reincarnation. (1979: 434)

He further explains:

When the body is dissolved, the vital goes into the vital plane and remains there for a time, but after a time the vital sheath disappears. The last to dissolve is the mental sheath. Finally the soul or psychic being retires into the psychic world to rest there till a new birth is close. (1979: 433)

In his epic Savitri, too, he says:

A tissue mixed of the soul’s radiant light

And Matter’s substance of sign-burdened Force, —

Imagined vainly in our mind’s thin air

An abstract phantasm mould of mental make, —

It feels what earthly bodies cannot feel

And is more real than this grosser frame.

After the falling of mortality’s cloak

Lightened is its weight to heighten its ascent;

Refined to the touch of finer environments

It drops old patterned palls of denser stuff,

Cancels the grip of earth’s descending pull

And bears the soul from world to higher world,

Till in the naked ether of the peaks

The spirit’s simplicity alone is left,

The eternal being’s first transparent robe. (1994: 105-106).

In view of this, Tomas Transtromer will be able to know the Divine Truth on the plane of existence where the ‘spirit’s simplicity alone is left’ when he is ‘dead’.

The inward turn which we witness in Tomas Transtromer for the search of the real Self is found further in the poem Hacking into Forever when the poet Iain Galbraith says:

…In search of myself I enter the Eocene.  (2004: 23)

The poet appears to be conscious of the truth that his mortal selves, —the body, the life, and the mind, as noted earlier—, are not real. He is conscious of the existence of a Transcendent Self which is his real Self.  Such a real Self which we call soul is his immortal self which is the individual poise of the Supreme Divine in the constitution of our being as noted earlier. He finds the yogic evolution of consciousness imperative for a higher life on the earth. Therefore, he undertakes the journey, to use Sri Aurobindo’s expression, ‘the rhythmic voyage’ (1991: 16), to search this immortal Self. It is the journey from the plane of Time wherein the materiality of the Existence is worked out to that of Timelessness where the Divine is visualised in its sovereign state. He is aware that such an immortal self of man is transcendent to the world of the material life. This is what we find when he quotes Walter Bagehot at the outset of his poem.

How can a soul be merchant? What relation to an immortal being have the price of linseed, the fall of butter…?(2004: 23)

He finds no relationship between the soul and the ‘price of linseed, the fall of butter’. He discovers the existence of a higher transcendent principle than the principle on which the material life of man is based. A higher life exists on this higher principle. The higher principle will evolve in man as a result of the discovery of the soul. We have earlier found that the discovery of the soul results in the psychicisation of the mortal selves, and such a psychicisation lays the foundation for the irreversible spiritual and supramental transformation of human con-sciousness for divine life on the earth.

Further, in the poem Dusk and Dawn the poet John Fuller speaks of his higher realisations when he visits Mahabalipuram, a place in Tamil Nadu in India, a few miles away from Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, now called Puducherry, —the Ashram where Sri Aurobindo not only brought about the Divine trans-formation in his person by supramentalising his individual being, but also brought down the Sovereign Supramental Consciousness from Its Sovereign Supramental plane of Existence to establish into the earth-existence for earth’s supramental transformation as stated in the beginning of the paper. The poet John Fuller says that in the advanced stage of our mundane life when we discover the spiritual reality based on some other principle than the principle on which we base the material reality, we find that we have lost something valuable by getting ourselves indulged in trivial things of the mundane life. In the afternoon of our life we have therefore an ‘afternoon’s heartache’ (2004:27) over such a loss.  No material treasure of the world can compensate such a valuable loss.

                    “And all the world’s treasures

                      Are never enough to ransom

                      An afternoon’s heartache.”    (2004:27)

Such a valuable loss lies in our failure to realise the spiritual truth. We have, therefore, to evolve to the plane of the spiritual consciousness for the salvation of our matter-oriented mundane life.

In another poem The Thread we find an agony which is spiritually oriented when the poet Peter McDonald gets the news of the death of the girl whom he ‘flirted’ (2004:7) twenty years ago.

                     “How slightly, twenty years ago,

                      I managed to construe the girl

                      I met three times, or twice, then so

                      awkwardly flirted with, by proxy,

                      dispatching printed poems of mine

                      whose frail and thin-spun lines

                      took scarcely any weight (I see

                      that much), carried no weight at all.

                     In a bored moment, by sheer chance,

                     news of her death crosses my eyes,

                     and minutes pass while I realize

                     that now, at this far distance,

                     I can’t so much as picture her,

                     feeling for the least snag or pull

                     in a line that’s barely visible,

                     and slighter than a thread of hair.”  (2004:4)

Since she has now undertaken her supraphysical journey after her physical death, he is unable to ‘picture’ (2004:4) her physically. The poet discovers the supraphysical plane of existence, ‘line’, as he terms, which is ‘barely visible’ to the matter-oriented human mind. It is barely visible because it is ‘slighter than the thread of hair’. The very expression ‘slighter than a thread of hair’ for the ‘line’ which is ‘barely visible’ reveals that he has the vision of the existence of the supraphysical plane. Here, the expression ‘slighter than a thread of hair’ goes to transcend the physical plane exactly in the same manner in which Sri Aurobindo’s expression ‘subtle Matter’ (1994:103) does. The poet’s feeling for the pull of the supraphysical plane of existence reveals his innermost yearning to be one with her on the supraphysical plane. Such a yearning goes to show that he is aware of the existence of her Divine Self which dwells on the supraphysical plane of existence after her physical death.

He is aware also of the truth that her physical death does not bring an end of her existence. She continues to exist in her Divine Self. Further, on a closer examination it is found that the very feeling of the poet for the ‘least snag’ in the supraphysical plane, ‘line’, as he calls, is, in fact, the result of the ‘least snag’, or to say, the least resistance of the mundane elements in his being to the receptivity of the supraphysical plane. There is no snag in the supraphysical world of existence. His very admission of the snag which has, in fact, been created by the mundane elements of his being reveals his inmost yearning to remove the snag from his being to experience the Divinity of his beloved in Its sovereignty on the supraphysical plane. Such a snag is found in the un-psychicised state of human consciousness. In fact, he wishes to evolve spiritually.          

Another poet P.J. Kavanagh hears a voice which comes to him from the supraterrestrial plane of existence where no earthly creature like ‘gulls’(2004:24), ‘fish’, (2004:24) or ‘deer’ (2004:24) exists. In the poem Small Voice he says:

“Nothing is there, not gulls nor fish nor deer,

nothing but moving air and the voice we hear

is not in the wind and what we say we feel

about what we see and we nearly hear will not

(which is good) be ever quite right or enough.” (2004:24)

The voice he hears is spiritual. He says that we can hear the voice when we transcend the physical plane of consciousness since it ‘is not in the wind’, the physical wind. Through this voice we shall attain the Divine Truth. Such a Divine Truth evades our mortal senses. Our mortal senses, more to say, selves are not evolved enough to receive the Divine Truth and Its Voice in Its sovereignty. We have an eclipsed reception of the Truth on the terrestrial plane of existence. Here, it is too eclipsed to be true or correct, or ‘enough’. We need to evolve to the supraterrestrial plane of existence for true receptivity of the voice coming to us from the supra-terrestrial plane of existence. The very fact that the poet has heard the supraterrestrial voice speaks of his discovery of the transcendent plane of existence, and also of his destined evolution to such a transcendent plane of existence. His evolution to the transcendent plane of existence is destined for the reason that some-thing of the transcendent plane of existence has descended into his being as a result of which he has heard the supraterrestrial voice though ‘small’, that is to say, less audible or erroneous. It is logical to state further that when the descent from the plane of the supra-terrestrial existence takes place further, his evolution will get impetus. As a result of the evolution to the higher planes of consciousness the voice of the Divine Truth will be fully audible to him, no more ‘small’. He will hear the voice in its truthfulness. The Vedas speak of spiritual hearing, Sruti as they call it, the capability for which evolves when one evolves to the higher planes of the spiritual consciousness. Many ancient writings of India, such as the Vedas, the Upanishads etc. are said to be the result of the spiritual hearing as noted earlier. Rishis heard the voice which came to them from the spiritual planes of Existence and encoded it poetically. It is to be noted here that the Rishis were not limited to the voice only. The very truth, the voice of which they heard was also seen by them as discussed ealier. 


The self-discovery we see today in the poets like Tomas Transtromer and Ian Gailbraith, and also in Peter McDonald was foreseen by Sri Aurobindo about hundred years back. He said:

That infinite self discovery would be the logical outcome of the movement of the past and the present century and the widest possibility and best chance open to the human spirit: taking up the thought of the ages into a mightier arc of interpretation and realisation, it would be the crowning of one and the opening of a new and greater cycle. (1991:152)

In such a self-discovery we find the evolutionary move-ment of the latent spiritual consciousness on its higher planes. Such a movement erases the illusion created by the materiality of existence as it does in John Fuller. It further reveals the existence of the transcendent plane as we see in the case of Peter McDonald and P.J. Kavanagh. Therefore, the inward turn of the mundane human mind to discover the true Self of its being and, further, the discovery of the transcendent plane of Existence unmistakably show that the human mind is evolving towards the spiritual planes of the Mind-Consciousness where exists, what Sri Aurobindo calls, the Mantra. As a result of such an evolution the Mantric poetry will be the order of the day.


The author has not declared any conflict of interest.


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