Sri Aurobindo has a bad reputation: the reputation of being too difficult to understand for ordinary people. This is not necessarily true, but the fact is that the most famous books by him were destined to the big philosophical and spiritual heads of that time, for presenting to them from all necessary angles a vision of everything that was revolutionary; the impressive volume of even one of those books can be discouraging.
Moreover, people who are interested in ‘Indian spirituality’ and go around exploring India’s innumerable ashrams, often simplify the task for themselves: it’s all more or less the same thing, they think, so why should the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo be any different?
If any mental arrogance adds itself to their ignorance, they can be heard saying with utter seriousness the stupidest blunders about Sri Aurobindo in general and the Supramental in particular.
Many people, reading for the first time a text in which Sri Aurobindo mentions the ‘Supramental’, tend to imagine that what he calls thus must be what is usually called the ‘Spiritual’, simply clad in a different name. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If those people want to understand what Sri Aurobindo is really talking about, let them read what he has himself written about this ‘Supramental’ and exactly what he meant by that word. For example in the following letter:
‘If spiritual and supramental were the same thing, as you say my readers imagine, then
all the sages and devotees and yogis and sadhaks throughout the ages would have been supramental beings and all I have written about the supermind would be so much superfluous stuff, useless and otiose. Anybody who had spiritual experiences would then be a supramental being; the Ashram would be chock-full of supramental beings and every other Ashram in India also. Spiritual experiences can fix themselves in the inner consciousness and alter it, transform it, if you like; one can realise the Divine everywhere, the Self in all and all in the Self, the universal Shakti doing all things; one can feel merged in the Cosmic Self or full of ecstatic bhakti or Ananda. But one may and usually does still go on in the outer parts of Nature thinking with the intellect or at best the intuitive mind, willing with a mental will, feeling joy and sorrow on the vital surface, undergoing physical afflictions and suffering from the struggle of life in the body with death and disease. The change then only will be that the inner self will watch all that without getting disturbed or bewildered, with a perfect equality, taking it as an inevitable part of Nature, inevitable at least so long as one does not withdraw to the Self out of Nature. That is not the transformation I envisage. It is quite another power of knowledge, another kind of will, another luminous nature of emotion and aesthesis, another constitution of the physical consciousness that must come in by the supramental change.’
(Letters on Yoga, I, The Supramental Evolution)
There! A square and vigorous clarification of the topic.