Hollywood director Christopher Nolan has stirred the creative world and enthralled fantasy-loving cine buffs by mixing the psychologists' old muse —dream reading — with a high-tech, special effects bonanza called "Inception."
He has understandably made some compromises with the plot — car-chase, shootouts, killing et al — to keep the audience engaged while dealing with a complex subject and a mental game which could otherwise have easily gotten swallowed in psycho-technical mumbo-jumbo.
While western audiences marvel at this " James Bond meets Matrix" tale, very few are perhaps aware that Sri Aurobindo, the renowned mystic and spiritual master had spent considerable years through his Integral Yoga, probing what he called the `subconscient' human mind and came up with some interesting insights on universal consciousness as a whole.
Sri Aurobindo discovered, for example, that there are several realms of consciousness beyond the physical world we live in, and that these planes of consciousness are in fact the other worlds that are as real as we take our own world to be. When one sleeps, he said, the subconscient mind is freed from the shackles of the mind that operates in the physical world, travelling across those other worlds soaking in experiences, both good and bad, that are needed for further consciousness evolution of the individual in the dream state. Our skepticism or ignorance notwithstanding, these "other worlds" not only coexist with our physical world but they also impinge on it in myriad ways.
According to Sri Aurobindo these other worlds are stacked in a spiral of lower and higher levels of consciousness. We have good dreams or nightmares, depending on where our subconscient mind chooses to travel in the labyrinthine spiral, with each level having several sublevels. Without our being aware, we draw upon these worlds for some of the vilest, crudest or most noble and sublime ideas that eventually shape our known world. It isn't surprising therefore that for a Jesus who comes to redeem our world we are also visited by others who wish to subvert and destroy it.
Sri Aurobindo believed -- through his own experience of yoga spanning over 40 years -- that through regular practice one can raise one's consciousness to various higher levels until one reaches what he called the supra-mental level, the pinnacle of evolution. (He never took others' word for any kind of truth, and insisted on testing it through self-experience). Sri Aurobindo made another profound revelation that unlike what scientists tell us, man is not the pinnacle of Nature's evolutionary cycle. Human beings are transitional beings. We will undergo transformation and reach our ultimate evolution level when we reach the highest plane of consciousness. However, we will have to delve deep into our subconscient mind and begin rising through the spiral consciousness to reach the pinnacle.
Sri Aurobindo's spiritual endeavor was not, however, aimed at his own personal salvation. He wanted to share his experience with others and inspire them to follow this path so that it would lead to a spiritual revolution in us and usher in lasting peace. He didn't accept the old spiritual belief that one could reach moksha only if one quit this so-called wretched world and ascend to a heaven above. "It is here on this earth that we can create heaven and find release in our own lifetime," he said.