July 26, 2002
This article is at pains to explain the knotty points in The Life Divine through a discussion. It is meant for those who are familiar with the Book. Below is a sketchy summary of the BOOK, The Life Divine and the aim of the discussion in life, especially the family and the school.
The Rishis of ancient India discovered God is not a person but an Eternal Infinite known as Brahman (the Absolute of the West), which reveals to us as Sachchidananda as well as its opposite, Asat. This is beyond the reach of Man, as when he attains to it, he does not return. For the same reason, it is ineffable. Man can reach it only in Samadhi and when he returns from there, he does not bring back with him any memory. If he does, it refuses to go into words. On the other hand, there is the world full of its woes. They knew this whole world is Brahman, but never knew how the one emerged out of the other. As God and the world are facts of experience, we have to accept the existence of both. Both being irreconcilable opposites, we can choose either of them, not both. Man chooses life, the Rishi chooses God. The Rishi has perfected his science of yoga so perfectly in innumerable lives that on any line one reaches God, which is known as moksha. He separates the soul from the being of four parts body, life, mind, spirit and takes it to its origin.
The ordinary man chooses life and passes through the four asramas at the end of which he seeks sannyasa. While in life his religion and philosophy have taught him about karma, values, duties, and dharma so that he may one day prepare to be a sannyasi. He finds the philosophic teachings and his practical life agree at many points but are at variance at many other points. Each man, community and nationality works out a practical philosophy as a working hypothesis. Those can be stated in detail in about 100 statements or briefly in 15 or 20 statements.
Sri Aurobindo who took to yoga to win India's freedom was in Jail in 1910. Swami Vivekananda appeared before him for fifteen days and insisted that the thing Sri Aurobindo was seeking was not the true one and showed the Supramental world Vignanamayaloka to be true. Working on those lines, Sri Aurobindo attained to Supermind and saw that world moving down to earth to transform it. It is a world of Truth consciousness, Light, Power, and Love devoid of the distortions of pain, suffering, desire and death of our human world. He understood that twelve yogis who could reach the Supermind would be able to make it descend on earth. In the absence of it, HE and later SHE withdrew to work from the subtle plane. Should the Supermind descend on earth, death will be abolished along with all types of suffering, pain, evil, and darkness. Man will evolve to a Supramental Being who will have the form of man but not the internal organs of heart, liver, stomach, lungs, etc. as he would not eat or breathe. His energy will be drawn from the universe. His thought will have instantaneous effectivity. Sri Aurobindo tried to accomplish this in thirty years which would normally take 30,000 years. The Life of the Supramental Being HE calls 'Divine Life' and it is explained in the book The Life Divine. To evolve into the Supramental Being is the end of the goal of which the beginning is what I call Mother's Life.
The development of products occurs on two lines. 1) the vehicle starts from the horse, the bullock cart and goes up to the plane. Here the quality vastly changes at every step of change; 2) A super computer has its smaller versions and comes down to the PC and a calculator. Here the quality of the computer remains intact all along the line but its use, scope, size, and price vary. Yogic life or Mother's Life is such a miniature of Divine Life. At the human level Mother's life draws upon the Supramental Force that has descended into the subtle plane of the earth in 1956. One who follows the principles of Mother draws upon that infinite force so that the finite human life will flower into infinite Mother's life. Its least character is Luck that has no failure and at most it makes the incidence of grace frequent. Below I give the tenets of human life and Mother's life followed by the traditional spiritual beliefs accompanied in block letters of what Sri Aurobindo offers. As the principles of life are based on the theory of yoga, the latter is important. In the main body of the article, the principles are explained in a discussion. A special attempt is made to make those theories relevant to family and school. The cardinal aspects of it are freedom, freshness, self-discipline, inner life, personal growth, unfailing success in place of the traditional authority, dullness, external discipline, outer life, alternating success and failure.
1. Anything in life is limited resources, energy, material etc. The most characteristic of it is the longevity.
In Mother's life, nothing is limited unless we put a limit on it. One can decide the length of his own life.
2. The ruling power of life is falsehood.
Truth rules, truth alone rules.
3. Man is subjected to his past Karma
No Karma need bind him if he is willing to give up those habits through which Karma has a hold on man.
4. Status, wealth, Power matter.
What matters is consciousness and that alone.
5. External social life, movements of Nature are beyond the control of man.
The outer reflects the inner. All life outside is under man's control.
6. A certain amount of violence, cruelty, and injustice is inevitable.
Mother's life is full of compassion and justice.
7. Waste of material, energy, and Time is a part of life.
There is no waste, real waste as Nature accomplishes several things at one stroke giving the appearance of waste.
8. Blood is thicker than water.
There is something thicker than blood.
9. Success and failure alternate.
This is a life of unfailing success.
10. Human nature will not change.
To transcend nature is our aim.
11. Money, property, women lead to crime.
They lead to stronger affinities.
12. Scarcity of one thing or other is inescapable.
Abundance is the rule. Scarcity is what we create.
13. Man is selfish and mean.
Self-giving and generosity are the rule.
14. Destiny rules.
Man fixes his life.
15. Love, romance, friendship, loyalty are ephemeral.
They are the only lasting values of life.
16. Ideals are not practical.
The greater the ideal, the more practical it is.
17. A sound mind in a sound body.
Mind rules the body.
18. Education means degree.
Neither degree nor knowledge is complete education. Education is the experience of the mind.
19. We have to do as others in the society do.
It is not the society, nor even conscience that we have to follow. We must follow the soul.
20. Every man born should work with his hands and body.
Work must be done by the mind or the soul through the body.
Though an endless list of common beliefs can be written, the central idea is human life is warped, distorted, and suffering is an essential part of it. Mother's life is fresh, LIVE, and expansive, delight and cheerfulness are part of it, while suffering and failure are not. The theoretical basis of these conclusions is the yogic principles of Sri Aurobindo whose main ideas are given below against the traditional spiritual experience.
1) Attaining moksha is the highest human goal.
Not moksha but transformation is the goal.
2) Asana, pranayama, dhyana, samadhi are the instruments
Physical methods will not be of use. Only surrender is the method.
3) Jivatma should reach Paramatma.
Jivatma is itself Paramatma.
4) Time is exceeded by Timelessness.
Both are exceeded by the simultaneous integrality of Time-eternity and Timeless-eternity.
5) Our soul is immutable. It is Jivatma.
Our soul evolves into Brahman. It is the psychic being. The psychic being is the evolving deputy of Jivatma.
6) Man is ruled by Time that is past, present and future.
Man is greater than Time. His Time is ever present.
7) Man is the highest creation of God.
Man is not final. Supramental Being is the next species.
8) Mind has created the world. Or ego has created the world.
Supermind has created the world, not mind or ego.
9) Contradictions are a feature of life.
Contradictions are complementaries.
10) Spirit is different from Matter.
They are one.
11) God has created the universe as His Lila.
God seeks Delight in Self-discovery in creation in which HE has hidden himself.
12) To know God is knowledge. To know the world is Ignorance.
Knowledge becomes Ignorance, the highest product of creation.
13) We cannot know how the One became the Many.
We can know it. One and the Many are part of Brahman.
14) Life is evil.
Life is a creative specialisation of the Force.
15) We cannot know the process of creation.
Self-creation by the Infinite Being creating form out of its force is the process of creation.
16) Sat is different from Chit is different from Ananda.
All of them are one. The world and Sachchidananda are one.
17) The tradition does not define Spirit, Supermind, Mind, Life or Matter.
Sri Aurobindo defines all of them.
18) Evil is the opposite of good and we have to live with it.
There is a self-existent Good against which no evil exists.
19) Rebirth is there for man to overcome his Karma.
Rebirth is necessary for the evolution of the soul.
20) Life is to be shunned to attain to Spirit.
Life is to evolve into Spirit. It must not be shunned.
21) Any work has its own Time. Time has to come.
We can make Time Come. No time is required for work.
22) The Spirit is inside.
The whole universe and the Transcendent are inside.
23) Matter moves Spirit.
Spirit moves Matter.
v We assume God as Eternal, Infinite, and Omnipresent Reality.
v There HE is the One without a second.
v HE seeks Delight.
v Discovery is Delight.
v The greatest of Delights is the delight of Self-discovery.
v Self-discovery is at its height when one forgets oneself.
v In pursuit of that Self-discovery, God the Eternal and Infinite has hidden Himself in Himself, that is, he became the very opposite of what HE is, the finite, Time, in an inconscient form.
v This process is involution.
v His Self-discovery is evolution.
v God is known as Brahman in India and the Absolute in Europe.
v So creation which is involution is the Absolute becoming Existence.
v The very first step in creation is the Absolute becoming Existence.
v The Absolute is a whole, characterised by unity.
v The Absolute is absolute, not capable of qualities.
v The Absolute becoming the relative creates dualities such as Existence and Non-Existence.
v The Absolute, when it becomes the relative, does not cease to be the Absolute at all. It remains the Absolute throughout. Never for a moment is it other than what it is. Only in appearance is it relative, dual, divided.
v At each stage of involution, it is absolute in its primal stage but relative in its further involution which is extension. For example, Existence is Absolute Existence but it puts out four extensions. In its absolute state, Existence is called Transcendent.
v It extends as Sat-Chit-Ananda,
again it objectively extends as Truth
and its third extension it is Time and Space.
While it splits into three aspects of Atma, Purusha, Ishwara.
(Atma is also called Brahman)
v Each of them divides into lower and higher parts as Supreme Brahman, and Brahman; Purushothama and Purusha; Parameswara and Ishwara.
v Their three powers are known as Maya, Prakriti and Ishwara.
v Man seeing from mind sees Atma, from Overmind Purusha, and from Supermind Ishwara.
v Maya is conceptively creative, Prakriti is dynamically executive, and Ishwara is both conceptively creative and dynamically executive.
v When Sat (Existence) objectivises itself it splits into subjective Sat and objective Satyam (Truth). That experience of Sat is Spirit. It is the substance, the Spiritual substance, the only substance by which the Cosmos, Universe and the world are made.
v Sat extends and each stage of involution extends. Often the extended stage is called Nature. Sat is Existence as well as Existent, a Being.
v Sat Chit Ananda are the subjective states of which Satyam Jnanam Anantam are objective states. (Truth Knowledge Infinity)
v These objective states together are also called Truth-Consciousness as well as Supermind.
v Sat and Asat are Existence and Non-Existence.
Chit and achit are Consciousness and Inconscience.
Ananda and Nirananda are Bliss and Insensibility.
v The three powers of creation are Self-Conception, Self-limitation, Self-absorption.
v The Consciousness of the Absolute is Maya.
v Supermind is the creator.
v Sat creates the Cosmos by a vibration of itself known as RealIdea. RealIdea is a vibration of the Being Sat.
v The plane of SatChitAnanda has its manifest and unmanifest parts.
v Sat creates in Supermind through RealIdea in the planes of Time and Space.
v Supermind has two halves -- comprehending Supermind and Apprehending Supermind. They split. Mind is created in between.
v Comprehending Supermind is Timeless, Spaceless unmanifest. Apprehending Supermind is in manifestation, in Time and Space.
v Mind which is the result of a cleavage of Supermind is an instrument of division. It divides continuously until the atomic stage is arrived at. Mind divides NOT the Being, but the Force that issued out of it.
v The Force issues out of the consciousness (Chit) and is known as Consciousness Force. This is the point of Mother's birth.
v Mind, a dividing instrument, looks at the Spiritual substance through its own senses.
v Mind has consciousness and will.
v Consciousness working on will releases Energy.
v That plane of Energy is known as Life.
v Life is created by the consciousness working on will during which process some of the consciousness is lost. When all consciousness is lost, life becomes matter.
v Matter is life and mind involved as well as Supermind.
v The involved forces must evolve.
v Matter is form containing the energy of life the force.
v Involution is a process of inversion in which
Sat becomes Matter
Chit becomes Life
Ananda becomes Psychic
Supermind becomes Mind.
v Sat is called by Sri Aurobindo Self-Conscious Being.
v Sat is the immutable Being.
Ananda is the creative sensation of Sat and therefore the Psychic Being.
v Sat inverts itself into Matter in its substance.
Sat in its sensation of consciousness becomes Ananda (Bliss).
Sat in its creative sensation becomes the Psychic Being.
Therefore, Matter is Delight of existence.
v The involution of Sat into Matter is reversed as evolution of Matter, the Delight of existence tempting the hidden consciousness to discover the secret godhead of Sat.
v Evolution is possible as all the planes from Sat to Matter are of the same substance The Spiritual substance.
v Chapter 28 is written separately. Here ends the argument of the first book.
Construction of the BOOK.
Book I of 28 Chapters
Omnipresent Reality converts Itself into The Universe.
Book II of 2 parts each containing 14 chapters
The Infinite Consciousness becomes Ignorance making Spiritual Evolution possible.
Part I of Book II
Knowledge becomes Ignorance.
Part II of Book II
Ignorance having evolved into knowledge permits the Spirit to evolve out of it This is Spiritual evolution.
The Omnipresent Reality decides to become the Universe and that is creation. Sachchidananda is that creation. Sachchidananda is that Omnipresent Reality described in Book I, Chapters 9-12. For that conversion, the Absolute uses the power of its consciousness, Maya Chapter 13. Supermind is the instrument of creation. Its creative process is Chapter 14. Its consciousness is Chapter 15 and the three poises it takes for that purpose is Chapter 16. Then appear Soul, Mind, Life and Matter. Chapter 17 is Divine Soul, 18 is Mind and Supermind, 19-22 are Life and 23 Psychic Being. Chapters 24 and 25 are Matter. Chapter 26 gives the principle of evolution, 27 the process and 28 the special process of Overmind. There are eight chapters before Sat. The first chapter begins with Man's aspiration and 2, 3, and 4 speak of the contradiction he sees between Spirit and Matter and how they are reconciled. Chapter 5 and 6 raise and resolve the contradictions between Subconscient and Superconscient as well as the Individual and the Universe. The origin of all these contradictions, ego, is Chapter 7. Chapter 8 only says reason devoid of senses is intuition, a finding of Vedanta.
BOOK II Part 1
The second stage of transition that is involution is the conversion of knowledge into Ignorance and its evolution back to knowledge of which the first stage is Omnipresent Reality becoming Infinite consciousness.
Knowledge of the whole is determined into Ignorance of the infinitesimal parts by Supermind. That determinism is really the determinism of Sachchidananda and the Absolute.
That Absolute is a whole when it is the Absolute or when it changes into the relative or form, finite, movement, manifestation or Time. It is the mind of partial vision that sees the parts of the Absolute and mistakes them for the whole and starts discussions.
As the Supermind takes 3 poises of God, Jivatma and ego, the Absolute is described here as ego, Purusha and the Transcendent, all of which are the same and seen inside.
Creation unfolds itself as dualities one of which is positive and negative. There is nothing negative. To know the negative as positive is to know the Absolute.
Chapter V and VI
Were also written in 1940 maybe to offer a fuller explanation to the Mayavadins. They say there is no illusion but what they see as illusion is really Ignorance. Both the analogies they offer -- snake as rope and hallucination -- won't hold.
For the first time here HE comes to the process of self-absorption in detail in the context of creation of Ignorance. This chapter explains the seven levels of Self-absorption to create 7 Ignorances which is further elaborated in the Chapter 'Boundaries of Ignorance'.
Chapter VIII and IX
These two chapters are on memory. The idea here is Self-Consciousness seeking Self-experience in Ignorance becomes the Ego which is served by memory to relate it to the past.
To appreciate Ignorance fully, one needs to know the stages of knowledge which are four.
Boundaries of Ignorance.
Ignorance begins when the Mind forget its origin Supermind.
The highest product of creation is Ignorance, which reaches its perfection in the Surface Mind through exclusive concentration.
Ignorance reaches its logical conclusion of evil when the simple contrary turns perversely into evil.
BOOK II -- Part 2
Either Jivatma or Paramatma is considered so far as God by Mind. To the higher vision of Supermind, Brahman that includes both is Reality.
No view of Life is acceptable if any part is excluded, even if it is the Transcendent.
To elaborate the theme of Chapter 5 of Book I, HE says Man is to unite God and Nature in himself.
That unity needs new forms, an ascent and integration with the high.
The 7 Ignorances explained earlier should be converted into seven knowledges.
Chapter VI, VII and VIII
Now that the Spirit has become a whole, it begins to evolve through rebirth.
The evolving inner Spirit compels the body consciousness too to evolve to house the grown Spirit.
One can now offer his findings to others and become a Spiritual Man.
The Spiritual Man faces triple transformation.
The dark substance of the physical can only be transformed by the luminous Substance above.
The Supramental Being is born.
Man, discovering himself to be Supermind (and not mind) that is conscious, full, universal, powerful, inward, surrenders seeking transformation which results in a Life Divine that can either be simple or luxurious. Hereafter evolution is from knowledge to greater knowledge.
v Suppose several devotees who have studied The Life Divine with abiding interest but still feel there is much uncovered ground join together in a discussion, each can enlighten others on points that are clear to them. If understanding every argument is the first sufficient reward, the participants here may largely qualify. If they must hold the entire essence of The Life Divine simultaneously in the mind as a single entity and as a possession of spiritual knowledge in the mental plane, none of the participants may fully qualify. Below as I imagine such a discussion, their exchanges are denoted as questions from someone and answers from any other person are shown as answer. No single questioner is there nor is there a single person answering all the time.
Q - I have always found that a discussion on The Life Divine with anyone is enlightening. I seem to understand my own previous understanding better when I speak to others or listen to them.
A- In speaking our own view to another, we tend to see their point of view a little and that is the source of enlightenment. Even to get to know all the terms He uses takes more than a few readings. Our tendency is to approach the book as a lay general reader. We forget it is philosophy of the highest watermark and it explains the YOGA of God in terms of the created universe.
Q- If you have cleared some doubts on any of His terminology, I should like to hear.
A- Initially during my several readings I never paid attention to the word Spirit. I took it for granted. In the chapter on Matter He mentions that He had explained Mind, Life and Spirit earlier. Of course, I read those chapters and felt I understood them as I read, but it never came to my mind what Mind or Life was. A thought suddenly struck me: where does HE explain Spirit? It became a search. It took some time for me to discover the answer that as Truth is the objective status of Sat or Existence, Spirit is the experience of that Existence in objectifying Truth. To conceive of Spirit as the experience of Sat and to know that experience is the Substance out of which the universe is created was almost a revelation to me after five or six readings of the Book.
Q- Then how can you differentiate the Spirit from the Soul?
A- Sri Aurobindo says both are the same. What is Spirit in Transcendence is Soul in the Cosmos.
Q- HE says everyone does not have a soul. HE also says there is no one in whom the Spirit is not there. It is confusing.
A- Because the whole world is made by the Spirit, every man is made of Spirit. As soul is the growing spiritual entity in man's life, not all people have a developed Spirit which is soul.
Q- Is there a difference between Being and Spirit?
A- The very first creation in manifestation we call Sachchidananda. Its first aspect is Sat or Existence. The personal aspect of that Existence is the Existent, a being. Sri Aurobindo calls it Self-Conscious Being, Being for short. Spirit is the experience of that Being in objectifying itself. In us that Being is the Soul. Where the difference between Spirit and Being is not technically relevant, they are used interchangeably.
Q- These linguistic significances with their attendant spiritual import are better explained as they arise. I have one important question. Why does the second book open with Cosmic Determinants?
A- HE concludes the Book with 'Divine Life', which opens saying 'It is not Mind but the Supermind' that man represents. Our position is Mind created the world or Ego created the world; Karma is inescapable; death is inevitable; life is full of dualities etc., etc. These are all positions or perceptions of the Mind. HE takes just the opposite positions, in which who created the world assumes importance. Therefore HE opens the second book with Cosmic Determinants and declares the world is created by the Supermind.
Q- If this is so, how do the subsequent chapters justify the sequence?
A- The first part of Book II explains how ignorance became knowledge. Looked at from that view, it will explain itself.
Q- Can anyone explain it?
A- Chapter 13 is about the creation of Ignorance on the surface mind where it becomes complete ignorance.
Chapter 12, Origin of Ignorance.
Chapter 11, Boundaries of Ignorance.
Chapter 10, four levels of knowledge.
After explaining in Chapter 7 how knowledge becomes Ignorance, HE goes through these stages.
Chapter 8 and 9 are about Self-consciousness of Ignorance by Self-Experience becoming Ego. They explain how ego is a centrally coordinating intelligence of Ignorance.
Q- You have missed Chapter 14. Why?
A- The high point of Ignorance is when it becomes evil.
Q- That is interesting to conceive. Quite a philosophical conception.
A- In the second chapter of Book II, HE continues the argument with which HE ended the first chapter that there is a Reality. The first chapter explains that Reality is a whole. The third chapter further explains that the whole contains the Transcendent and the universal and they are included in the Individual.
Q- That was not the view of the Rishis because their instrument was mind. The Rishis have denied reality to the Individual. The crux of Sri Aurobindo's revelation lies there.
A- The basic themes or ideas of Sri Aurobindo basically differ from the tradition in 7 or 8 ways or you can express it in 20 or 30 ways. Each chapter in its own way touches upon them, often all of them.
Q- I know some of them; I would like to know all of them.
A- As we said earlier about words, instead of making a list of them, if we take them up as and when they arise, the discussion will not lapse into an academic one.
Q- In another fashion, I see Him doing it with Ignorance. His whole new basis is well described because of His new explanation of Ignorance.
A- It is not merely a new way of explanation but a new and fuller perception of creation.
Q- Such an important central issue in His philosophy He avoids in the entire first book. Even in the second book He comes to it only after 6 chapters.
A- Until then, HE explains the expressions of Ignorance. He does so about ego too. As He explained Spirit, Mind, Vital, Matter and Supermind, treating each in a separate chapter or in a few chapters, He does not explain the constitution of Ego. In the chapter on Ego He tells us how to overcome it. In the chapter on Matter, He clearly implies the formation of ego but does not dwell on it.
Q- Is there a secret about ego?
A- Creation is in Force that issues out of Consciousness. Being and Consciousness are indivisible. Force is divisible. Mind divides the Force to create life and matter. It creates ego too.
Q- He says it is ego which facilitates the One becoming the Many. The Spiritual Force becomes material force by the mind's perception. The mind divides that material force into atoms. As they are atoms of the material force, they cannot be resolved into spiritual force, which has its unatomic extension. The durable material force resisting division beyond the stage of atom is the physical ego.
A- Here He distinguishes Matter from the status of Matter. The status of Matter has Unity, Matter does not have that unity.
Q- Yes, I remember it is a point that always eludes me.
A- Matter in Becoming has to act. For action, there must be movement. In unity that movement is not possible.
Q- That makes it clear. As the world is a world of action and movement, there must be separation. Without separation, there is unity and status.
A- In the earlier paragraph, HE says mind that divides also aggregates into several aggregates. All these aggregations are parts of the whole of Being. The moment they become a separate aggregate, that separation becomes real in its view.
Q- So the ego is formed. To overcome that appearance of separation is for the knowledge to emerge out of Ignorance. We know of the married son conceiving of himself as a separate entity while he is really part of the family.
A- Family is a concept, a value, an emotion which can never be divided. The Being is like the family. The newly married son needs to be independent for him to develop his creative, productive capacities.
Q- When he is part of a joint family, all decisions are taken by the father. His capacities do not develop. It is necessary for him to go away, and if he remembers while away that he is part of the family, it enriches the family.
A- This dividing function is of the Cosmic mind. That is why when ego dissolves the Cosmic Self reveals.
Q- Cosmic Ignorance is beyond Temporal Ignorance. Does it means Cosmos is first created and Time and Space follow?
A- It looks so. To substantiate it, I have no reference.
Q- Can we say ego is in Time, Purusha is in the Timelessness and the Psychic is in the simultaneous Time?
A- Yes. I think to understand every chapter in terms of these three dimensions is essential.
Q- Of course. In a sense each chapter is conceived on that basis. In the last chapter, HE says this yoga can only be done inside and quotes the Upanishads in His support.
A- The knowledge of this third dimension is not an essential aspect of the Upanishads though they had access to it often and used it at their own level. The instantaneous miraculousness belongs to the inner world. That comes in a chapter before.
Q- The speed of this yoga is faster than light and it is inside. It is perhaps an INSIDE which includes the outside.
A- It is that aspect which makes for integrality.
Q- Perhaps there are two insides, one where the Purusha resides and the other, an all-inclusive one, where the Psychic resides. This theme pervades the whole book.
A- To know conflict, form, movement, manifestation, etc. in this sense is essential to understand the Book.
Q- The chapter 'Evolution of Man' follows rebirth, not precedes. What does it mean?
A- To us man is what we know ourselves to be -- one who dies. It is the animal that dies or animal-like man who needs to seek another body to continue his experiencing.
Q- So, Sri Aurobindo does not consider us to be human beings.
A- Man is evolved, according to Him, when his spiritual evolution continues in the same body.
A- For us spiritual man is one who is awake in his Spirit whom we call Jivanmukta. To him he is not yet a man. Only when he need not shed his body for his spiritual growth, i.e., when he attains immortality on earth, does he become a MAN.
Q- What then does HE mean by Spiritual man?
A- Spiritual Man, according to Him, is one who can help others to find their own Spirit after himself finding it. Where does the third dimension come here?
Q- When man goes inside, the spiritual evolution he pursued in several bodies is transferred to his own body. It means the universe is transferred inside.
A- Do we understand the three dimensions as
Human life is lived largely outside.
The Rishi goes inside to find his soul.
The third dimension finds the psychic and takes the Universe inside.
Q- Let us look at it this way. Spiritual man is one who helps others find the Spirit. This is a tall order. Imagine a genius, rich man, or politician in high position trying to make others geniuses, rich or powerful. It is inconceivable. Spirit is out of the question. Presently God is not doing it! God in man can, He says, do it. It means God evolving in Man, is greater than what we presently know as God. After the chapter 'Triple Transformation' before the end there are two chapters. It is not clear how those chapters are there?
A- You may remember that in the chapter you speak of Triple Transformation before arriving at the Supramental Transformation the distance and stages He traverses. It is a long route of spiritual labour. He goes through the stages of
The Psychic emerging in the mind from the ego.
The passages of inner mind and subliminal mind.
The vital psychic the physical psychic.
Above, the psychic needs to pass through the states of Silence, Light, Intuition and Knowledge.
As He says elsewhere, it is a considerable territory on which one has to wage a continuous war. Thus the chapter ends. It is not the birth of the Supramental Being or the complete conquest of the plane of Supermind.
Q- Now, I remember He is abridging 30,000 years. Fifty years ago the Britisher left. We find him everywhere effectively. His investment in India tops the list of foreign investment and the British population here has increased.
A- That is true. It leads us to the subject of transition. Usually when we speak of transition it is in the horizontal plane. Indian freedom itself is in a large sense such a transition. This is in the vertical plane crossing 4 planes in between, above the golden lid involving a transformation of not just the human being, but the entire lower hemisphere.
Q- Is there any cardinal point there that strikes you?
A- Two are there. One we discussed earlier.
1. The luminous imperative overcoming the dark imperative.
2. The outer shifting to the inner, thus bringing the whole of cosmos spiritually inside.
The slow evolution in Time by this shift reaches or overreaches the speed of Light. God's aim in creation is Joy where Bliss that is objectless changes into Delight that comes to stay in the objects. To maximise it, He inverted Himself into His very opposite so that emerging from there He will experience the greatest ecstasy. Hence the dark imperative of the Inconscience below inviting the bright luminosity of Superconscience above. The innumerable stages that precede it are not only important but difficult to comprehend.
Q- 'Our unity with the world being is the Consciousness of the Self' is a statement that requires explanation.
A- If we go to the first principles, anything explains itself. The difficulty here can be solved if we try to understand the first of the 3 powers of creation, Self-conception.
Q- This is the power of Maya.
A- The question is what is Maya?
Q- Maya is the consciousness of the Absolute.
A- What then do we mean by consciousness?
Q- Sri Aurobindo uses consciousness in the sense of Nature.
A- HE calls Supermind as Nature of Sachchidananda.
Q- Somewhere it is said consciousness is the Nature of Being.
A- Is it the next stage known as Nature or consciousness?
Q- Then Nature and consciousness are synonymous.
A- The Self-conception creates several extensions of Sat.
Q- They are four.
A- Are they four or five?
Q- Sat Chit Ananda
Brahman Purusha Ishwara.
Time and Space.
The Cosmic extension where the One becomes the Many.
The subjective and objective extension of Truth.
TThe being becomes Substance while Sat objectivises itself, as the experiencing of the Being is Spirit.
A- How does this extension occur?
Q- By will or Self-conception.
A- He says Maya is conceptively creative.
Q- We take consciousness for granted and Ananda too for granted. Can we not ask the question what it is to be conscious?
A- If we go inversely from Supermind, let us say when Sat wants to comprehend itself, Sat becomes its Nature Supermind, or its Truth becomes conscious of itself.
Q- The question arises as to what is Truth.
A- What one objectively comprehends of himself is his Truth.
Q- On the lines of describing Supermind as Sat comprehending itself, can we not say Ananda is its (Sat's) sensing Itself and consciousness is Sat being conscious of Itself.?
A- If we take the position that Brahman needs nothing but it can choose to be anything and that is its absoluteness, we can extend that absoluteness to Sat -- in fact to everything and say--
Sat is existence and can exist without being conscious of Itself or sensing Itself or comprehending Itself.
As Brahman chose to exist, Sat chooses to be conscious of Itself; the result is consciousness.
Sat or consciousness chooses to sense Itself and that sensation is Ananda.
Sachchidananda chooses to know or comprehend Itself and that is the Supermind.
Then we can say each successive stage is the Nature of the previous one or the consciousness of the previous stage.
To be conscious of oneself is to express one's Nature or power.
One can choose to be conscious of Himself or NOT.
2. Reconciliation of contradictions.
3. Not to stop the inquiry.
4. Reconciliation at the cosmic and Transcendent consciousness.
5. Reaching the opposite without losing hold of what you have.
6. NOT to exclude what one has exceeded.
7. To unite the above and below in us.
8. To unite the world and ourselves.
9. Not to give the egoistic response.
10. Sift the reason from senses.
11. To see the ocean of energy.
12. To see the small and big are the same.
13. To see no beginning and no end.
14. To understand the meaning of waste.
15. To see life in Matter.
16. To see the Ananda expressed in objects.
17. Life is amoral.
18. To move to the subtle and causal planes.
19. To see we create what we want, Thathasthu.
20. To see the one consciousness splits into three -- knower, knowledge, known.
21. God, Jivatma, Ego are the three poises of the Supermind.
22. God is in all; all is in God; all is in each, each is in all.
23. Mind is born when Supermind splits into two. Ignorance is born when Mind loses its contact with Supermind.
24. Mind is the inversion of Supermind.
25. Life is the inversion of consciousness.
26. Incapacity by exertion becomes capacity.
27. Life takes the bodily sensation to the mind to convert it into thought so that body will obey it.
28. The force and consciousness that are separate in Life will rejoin by evolution at the level of consciousness.
29. Ananda inverts as psychic being.
30. The four above invert as the four below.
31. Evolution is possible because all the eight planes are of the same substance.
32. The world is created by the Supermind, not mind.
33. The Reality is ONE, mind sees its aspects and mistakes them for the Whole.
34. The Eternal is the Individual.
35. The Absolute never ceases to be the Absolute.
36. The law of contradiction cannot be the final arbiter.
37. Not time but Supermind has created the world.
38. Unless the world is divinely explained, we won't understand creation.
39. The negative is not the opposite of the positive, but what is not covered by it.
40. There is no illusion, but there is Ignorance.
41. Mind cannot conceive of non-existent things.
42. Ignorance is the inversion of knowledge.
43. Analysis of action reveals the ego and Purusha when it moves away from action.
44. Reality is wholly known only when the Spirit and Nature are discovered on the surface and in depth.
45. The four types of knowledge are knowledge by identity, intuition, subliminal knowledge and knowledge of the surface.
46. Original, Cosmic, Egoistic, Temporal, Psychological, Constitutional and practical Ignorance are its seven types.
47. Ignorance is not there in any of the eight planes of creation. It begins by mind forgetting Supermind.
48. Ignorance which is completed on the surface mind is the highest product of creation.
49. The simple contrary changes perversely into complex evil.
50. Matter is Delight of existence.
51. Ignorance, inertia and division oppose the evolution of Matter.
52. Life must include the Transcendent.
53. God and Nature must consciously unite in man.
54. So united, they should ascend and integrate themselves into higher forms.
55. Man emerges into seven-fold knowledge from seven-fold Ignorance.
56. Karma is of the Force, not of the Being.
57. The Spirit evolves to return to its origin.
58. Rebirth is inevitable if the Spirit is to evolve.
59. To raise the consciousness of the body to house the evolved Spirit is to evolve man.
60. Man who has discovered the Spirit can serve the world by allowing others to learn it from him.
61. Transformations are three Psychic, Spiritual, and Supramental.
62. The dark imperative of the physical substance can be handled only by the descending luminous imperative.
63. Shifting to the inner from the outer, the instantaneous miraculousness arises.
64. Transformation that is inevitable is attained by the only known method of Surrender.
65. God has created the world for Ananda.
66. Unity with the passive Brahman is not the end;
Unity in Multiplicity is the ultimate realisation.
67. One without the Second, All is Brahman are reconciled in the Brahman that is born in the Becoming. It is the discovery of the Being of the Brahman that is Becoming.
68. There is no pain or darkness in creation.
69. The fulfilment of Ishwara is in his surrendering to Shakti.
70. The aim of creation is to express the inexpressible in the perfect form evolved in Force.
Selfish smallness gives rise to pain. Spiritual aloofness releases Bliss unrelated to life. Selfless living where the rule of Self-giving is practised transforms pain into Delight.
Multiplicity does not abrogate unity.
Unity is the background, multiplicity is to the fore.
Unity in multiplicity is not static, but active, rather an active unity based on static security.
Unity in multiplicity is a unity of a higher level capable of greater enjoyment functioning in the third dimension.
Social experience is concrete but social consciousness is superior to social experience, though not as concrete.
Shed the ego.
See the World Purusha individualising in us.
See it outside and inside.
Inside you can see that the world Purusha is truly the Transcendent.
Q- Only two have shed their ego. Even for the first step one has to become the third person in the world.
A- What about the Vedic Rishis who have shed their ego?
Q- During their time, Mind itself was not there. The ego they shed was the vital, physical ego not the mental or spiritual ego.
A- The argument in the descent that the physical ego is more difficult to shed will not apply to them, as there was no descent in those times.
Q- In our list of principles, naturally we will not cover the methods, strategies, required conditions, etc.
A- Yes, consecration, Silence, surrender, equality, being, becoming, knowing, enjoying, understanding, etc., are not covered here.
Q- These are methods. What is a method?
A- A method is that which converts energy into result.
Q- Why did you include being as a method?
A- In Supermind the aim is to be. Also in Sat, Sat exists not by energy or understanding but by being.
Q- Is Silence a condition or method?
A- It is a condition. In silent will we use it as a method.
Q- If principles are implemented by methods what others are there in the process?
A- It is true that in a plane e. g. mental plane there is a condition, which is mental existence, there is energy, which is mental energy, there is a method of thinking that gives understanding, there are faculties like memory, etc. and there are results, e.g. knowledge.
Q- So, Plane, condition or status, energy, method, faculty, result are the things we have to study apart from the principles.
A- What then is a principle?
Q- A principle is an order in which acts take place in a given condition.
A- Can't we say a principle is the wider law or method governing a wider area?
Q- Maybe we can say all these are parts of which creation is the whole. We give convenient names.
A- I wish our discussion is comprehensive as far as possible.
Q- Then we will stay on one principle forever, but it has the advantage of fully being introduced to The Life Divine.
A- It is possible to get all the aspects in all details from this discussion if we are patient and persistent. Or, one may prefer to get at the essentials and start reading and develop as we go through the book.
Q- I felt the most difficulty in a few chapters of which Matter is one.
A- That is a chapter on which I spent years and finally understood the key sentence on p.237 about creation of Matter. The rest remained ununderstood for a long time.
Q- It is there HE explains the formation of ego.
A- Yes, it is on the next page.
Q- Most of our difficulties issue from the lack of training to read.
A- Yes. Reading means for me reading. I would read ten pages and wonder what I read. We Indians do not know how to read.
Q- It is a major defect.
A- It never occurred to me for several years to ask myself what HE was explaining. No wonder I don't understand.
Q- When I came to ask that question, I had no answer.
A- In this chapter, HE declares HE explains the formation of Matter.
Q- The explanation is in pp. 236, 237 and 238. Finally, when the arguments were less defying I found that there is no Matter but it is only Mind's appearance.
A- Yes. That is what I too thought at first. Only in the view of Matter as explained on p.80, it is confusing. Viewing it from Mind, the confusion disappears.
Q- Mind views Spirit. It views through the senses. Mind sees the Spirit through senses as Matter. So, Matter exists only for the vision of Mind, not elsewhere.
A- That was what I thought too. There is a truth in it. If we persist in it, there is the danger of our landing in Mayavada, as essentially that is what they say.
Q- I never thought of it. How else are we to look at it?
A- Whatever is created in any plane is not confined to that plane. It is not as if it exists only in that plane.
Q- I see now. It exists in that plane too. From each plane it looks different. We must look at it not from this plane or that but from the whole.
A- For Mind it is Matter. For the Absolute, it is the Absolute unfolding in creation or involution.
Q- Once we know the construction which is described in the fly leaves, it is a revelation, but the outline of the construction and details of the chapters are far apart. It takes time to abridge them.
A- What is interesting in the chapter Matter is the masterful way in which HE summarises the position of Matter as Delight of Self-existence. He does so in the last paragraph.
Q- A question I always had is Matter is Sat. He calls it Delight of existence. He used the small 'e' for existence.
A- It is a question, of course.
Q- Can anyone resolve it for me?
A- Sat inverts itself as Matter. Ananda inverts itself as Psychic. The question is how does Delight become Matter or Sat.
Q- Bliss is the sensation of Sat when it becomes conscious of its existence. Delight is Sachchidananda expressing Bliss in the objects. HE actually says objectless Delight expressing in objects is the aim of creation.
A- Bliss is Delight of Self-Existence.
Delight is Delight of Self-existence as this existence is here.
Q- Let us take that last para.
There is a conceptive Self-extension of being.
It becomes substance.
Mind creates matter out of this substance by division and aggregation.
This Matter is Being or Brahman.
It is a form or the force of conscious Being.
It is delight of being offering itself to the secret consciousness.
It is an object of sensation.
It tempts the hidden godhead.
Matter is Sachchidananda represented to His mental experience. It is a formal basis of objective knowledge, action and delight of existence.
A- Matter is basis of knowledge, action and delight. That is how Sachchidananda inverts itself.
Q- Something is clear. Let us wait till the end.
- I am trying to think aloud to understand.
Q- You say as Sat is inclusive of consciousness and Bliss, Matter here in the reverse order is inclusive of knowledge and delight.
A- Put that way, it clears my doubt.
Q- My doubt remains.
A- Sat reverses as Matter. Matter, in evolution, reverses again to become Sat. That is the Delight for which HE started creation. His getting the Delight HE sought is seen in Matter beginning to evolve.
Q- It is clearer still, but not fully. In the previous para HE says it is the status of Matter, not Matter itself.
A- Matter is, as everything else, in both statuses of Being and Becoming. First HE says the division that ends in unatomic extension is the supramental status where Matter formed is in status, not in motion. To be in motion there needs to be separation as well as space between two things. The separation is created by the division and aggregation. There is space between two aggregates, making motion possible.
Q- Your explanation does not help.
A- Let us wait. Let us go to No.35 -- 'The Absolute' never chooses to cease to be the Absolute.
Q- If all is Brahman, if Brahman became the world, if Brahman inverted itself to become creation, it is simple from his analogy of golden vessels from gold to understand the above statement.
A- As long as we are able to see evil as absolute, there is no difficulty.
Q- To understand there is no difficulty. It is the senses that see. They do not.
A- In other words, the difficulty is to make the senses see what mind sees.
Q- Does it amount to saying that the intellect is in the gross plane and senses in the subtle plane?
A- It is. When the body sees, it emerges in the causal plane.
Q- Is there no example?
A- Magic is in the subtle plane. The magician takes us to the subtle plane, makes us see what he wants us to see and later we come back to the gross plane.
Q- Sri Aurobindo says we can see the earth going round the sun in the universal and transcendental planes.
A- The subtle plane when it extends to the whole universe reveals the earth going round. The Transcendental is in the causal plane.
Q- Only in yogic experience can one see them, perhaps.
A- There are moments in meditation when such things are revealed. It is safe for us to confine ourselves to mental explanations.
Q- Spirit is a plane where we are free to quote what they have experienced.
A- For us to fully appreciate this statement we can think of some examples. An Indian or Muslim wherever he goes and lives, basically remains an Indian or Muslim.
Q- That anyone can readily agree with. What he cannot see is the Indian in USA acquires many American habits. His remaining an Indian is partial, though essential. In the example of Sri Aurobindo he says a vessel made of gold only changes its appearance, not the character of the metal.
A- Analogies are helpful only in one point, not thoroughly.
Q- We talk of the 3rd dimension so much. Can we not explain this statement through that?
A- The Brahman in our first dimension (these dimensions are valid only for our discussion and nowhere else) is Eternal, Infinite, Silent, immobile, inside us. In its second dimension it is Nature, sky, men, world, etc Becoming, Prakriti, created world, etc., where it is Brahman in essence as well as appearance but does not appear to us, to our mind, as Brahman. In our 3rd dimension again the Nature, sky, man, and world reveal themselves as Brahman even in its appearance, the Marvel HE speaks of. This is only words to us, not a reality.
Q- This is more satisfactory. Is this what Sri Aurobindo saw in Alipore Jail?
A- Yes. Mother says it is Supramental vision. The Viswarupa darsan that Krishna unveiled to Arjuna is a universal vision which had a positive side as well as the other hideous side. The cruel negative side is not there in the supramental vision. Everyone and everything was Narayana to HIM. I wish to find one life example that explains this.
Q- When a child looks back at its life, it likes many things and does not like many other things. A psychologist, a yogi, an educationist will KNOW that every incident in the child's life was an occasion for education.
A- If the child itself becomes one such, he will surely see that every little incident FULLY played its part in educating him. It serves some purpose, but not striking enough.
Q- We can offer the scientific argument that everything is made up of atoms or everything is energy.
A- That is better. Still they do not serve the purpose of an illuminating example. Let us move to another one. No.51 is 'Reality includes the One and the Many'.
Q- We can compare the all-powerful government to the ONE and all the other activities of the society such as residential life, agriculture, trade, transport, education, etc. etc., the myriad non-government life to the Many Jivatma, the Nature and then say neither the government nor the non-government is the whole. The whole is the society that includes government and non-government.
A- This is a good illustration.
Q- We need to explain the position of the tradition and the position of Sri Aurobindo and draw the distinction point by point as this is of vast importance.
A- For the present, this much looks good. As we said earlier, they could not see the whole with the mind. Hence, all the arguments they offered were amiss.
Q- I wish we restate the position of Sri Aurobindo at least as a summary so that all our discussions will more effectively reflect that background.
A- If you consider the Christian theology of one human life for the soul where the character of his life decides whether he goes to heaven or hell and the Indian position that it is out of original sin a soul takes its birth in the human body to work out its karma in innumerable lives to be liberated from the bondage to birth, Sri Aurobindo's position gains in clarity.
Q- Sri Aurobindo says Man is a conscient being evolved out of inconscient Matter and half-conscient life, seeking to evolve into a Supramental Being. He lives in a world of God's creation, rather God's revelation, of ignorance, suffering and pain with the choice of shedding the ego and the ignorance so that he may witness the unfolding marvel and continue his spiritual evolution.
A- Once the framework is placed around our discussion, the essential confusions are less. The statement No.39 is of capital importance.
Q- Who on earth will agree there is nothing negative?
The bombardments of wars are dreadful.
The nest of gangsters is NOT positive.
Children who desert their parents are no angels.
A trusted friend turning mercenary is no glory.
Crucifixion is no marvel.
Polluted atmosphere is not inviting.
A- Their number is legion.
Q- Our one argument is they are the appearances behind which lurks good and God. It is not appealing.
A- If we can show the gangsters are gods, a virago wife is a sight to see, her words are music, the argument will be appreciated.
Q- I think that possibility is there somewhere, not to be inferred.
A- A teenager who has imbibed his own latest 'ideal' denouncing his parents as his utter ruin, will be to a learned, wise parent an expression deep affection inversely delivered. To his vision of wisdom, nothing but the boy's abiding love will be seen.
Q- Rarely we see that circumstance between a couple who are passionately in love when a prejudice arises, leading to an ugly outburst from the less educated or less cultured partner. The ruling passion of love coupled with the knowledge that the other is smarting under a wound inflicted by a false information, receives every expression of the outburst with a supreme sense of humour. Each sting delivered will be seen as a greater bondage forged.
A- They are rare but not non-existent. To these people, the idea that there is nothing negative will explain itself.
Q- Darcy, in Pride and Prejudice, took the abuses of Elizabeth to some extent in that sense.
A- He endeavoured to rise to her expectations. They were not missiles sweetly landing on him at that moment. Butler in 'Gone with the Wind' fully enjoys the rascality of his ladylove Scarlett. Here also he loves her in spite of her bad character. He does say to her, coming closer to our theme, that he loved her for the rascal she was.
Q- The Marvel is the next step. These are very close to it. A workshop littered with scraps and broken parts, dirt, etc. is a sore to the eyes. The mechanic who has just then completed the repair of a machine removed it from there will KNOW exactly the marvellous role played by each bit there in making the machine work. To the eyes of his whole vision the finished machine and the scraps every bit is a wonder.
A- The theory is there is the whole, neither positive nor negative. For us the village is positive, the surrounding forests are negative. It is the forest that brings in the rain, supplies fuel, fodder, and healing herbs. As it hides the robbers and wild animals, to us it is negative. Negative forest is a social or village conception. Beyond in life, the village and forest are one.
Q- As we go along seeing this truth in various situations, it will render the principle here clear. The idea of void and zero are to be explained.
A- Philosophically it is a revolutionary concept. HE says there is no zero.
Q- He also says what we do not know we have a habit of saying it is nothing. A library is of zero value to an uneducated man. In his mind, he does not think that there is something not useful to him, but he believes there is nothing. This is the characteristic way of mind's functioning.
A- Sri Aurobindo draws our attention to this human attitude in two or three other places too.
Q- It was striking to me when I first read them. They are important arguments too.
A- They are very important. We shall take it up for discussion if the circumstances permit. No. 36 is the law of contradictions, HE says, is not the final arbiter.
Q- As Unity is the final law, contradictions, though they can serve up to a point, will not hold good to the end.
A- Neither in our local life, nor in our ancient literature can we deny this.
Q- When Indira was defeated, she went to Morarji the Prime Minister to request him not to harm her son. After the war was over Dharma went to Dhritharashtra and Gandhari for their blessings. Romeo and Juliet demonstrates the principle.
A- He who emphasises hatred will be compelled by life to go to him whom he hates. Hatred is inverse attraction.
Q- Spiritually it is untenable as Sat and Asat rose out of Brahman. Life never upholds it. In 1942 the Allies who had all joined to crush Russia unsuccessfully in 1917, sought the support of Russia.
A- The Chinese proverb about today's friends and tomorrow's enemies is well known.
Q- Apart from examples and the theory is there anything else we need to know here?
A- The warp and woof are not contradictions. Together they go to make the cloth. Man and woman are not opposites, though they are of opposite sexes. They are the hub of biological creation. Because boys and girls are segregated, it does not prevent them from coming together in marriage. Man developed the law of contradictions out of the two essential elements for all creation.
Q- As we spoke earlier, we need to see this truth everywhere in life. What do we have to say about No.3? Not to stop the inquiry.
A- This is something obvious, but because the Rishis have stopped the inquiry in the middle, man has to accept karma.
Q- Is it right to say mind cannot take the inquiry to the end?
A- As mind has no capacity to see the other side, somewhere it has to stop the inquiry. Where life crashes on it, forcing it to see the results that reveal the other side, mind does see the other side. Until then mind is unable to see it.
Q- The Boxers in China believed in the invulnerability of boxing and boxers. They believed bullets could not hurt them, until the bullets destroyed them. Gandhi was unable to see that non-violence has no power over human darkness. It is certain that it will be unleashed in one fashion or another at one time or other. Non-violence is a great powerful principle within limits. Gandhiji was successful in places where no man could dare to venture but what to do with an aggressive neighbour?
A- To reverse the argument and apply it to prosperity and genius will be helpful.
Q- When the average income from an acre is Rs.10,000, we see one man makes 2 lakhs from flowers or vegetables. It never occurs to the whole village to go for vegetables. If ever people take to it, they do so in less than an acre.
A- In a school, we see a few boys securing centum. Neither to the teacher nor to the boys does it ever occur that each boy should secure centum. It is a form of unconsciousness.
Q- Creation of genius will benefit from that principle, for sure.
A- Asian poverty can thus be eradicated.
Q- It is the Overmind that takes the single possibility given to it by the Supermind to its uttermost possibility, till it becomes unique and infinitesimal beyond which it cannot be divided.
A- 'Do not stop the inquiry in the middle' can otherwise be said as 'go to the Overmind'.
Q- Yes, Yes. Now we understand His language. When we are asked to reconcile contradiction, He says 'look at it from the Supermind'.
A- There must be a way of presenting Sri Aurobindo in the language of ordinary human beings.
Q- I wish someone tries.
A- The last chapter will serve this purpose better.
Q- It is best summarised as
Know you are more than mind.
Realise what you know.
It takes you from the earth to the universe and beyond.
It cannot be mental, partial, unconscious, weak, local.
It will be Supramental, full, conscious, powerful and universal.
For these reasons it has to be inner and not outer.
No method the world so far knows can get it.
HE gives you a method the world does not know.
It is Transformation.
The method to attain to it is also unknown so far.
It is surrender of Brahman, not human surrender.
Achieve it, choose your style, simple or complex.
Evolve in knowledge, not any more in Ignorance.
A- It is comprehensive. Explaining anything in this context will be admirable.
Q- Surely, it will be intelligible. This is manna from heaven.
A- I believe every chapter can be so spoken.
Q- Maybe the whole of The Life Divine can be brought down to the language of the common man.
A- It is largely possible.
Q- Now that the world is moving on these lines feebly, man will be receptive.
A- I believe man is ready to accept the idea of conquering pain as he has been witnessing it.
Q- When he sees a factory producing all that an entire country can consume, the idea of practical infinity is less unconvincing.
A- He certainly sees the phenomenon of children in his own house knowing more than he does. Genius may not be that distant in his conception.
Q- People at the age of 60 suddenly see their company or government department presided over by a 30 year old or even 25 year old person.
A- Events have subconsciously been preparing human kind.
Q- Plague and smallpox have been eliminated from the face of the earth. Democracy, universal education, longevity, and human rights have done a lot so far.
A- People who are on the Internet will be able to believe in anything.
Q- They see the impossible as possible. There they have entered not the global picture, but the very universal arena.
A- It is the ever-lasting day of Savitri where Yama, Lord of Death is not merely dead, but has been transformed into a being of Light.
Q- I should like to take up those principles that dwell on the subliminal moving the surface. Our position is any principle will touch upon it.
A- As we just mentioned, it is important to know how different HE is and what the difference is. As a matter of fact, you can call this 'subliminal yoga', as there is integration only at that level.
Q- The world is starting to treat erstwhile slaves as present day equals, the great social values of the past as social crimes. They all start apologising for every past event then honoured.
A- It is the subliminal coming to the surface. Even the terrorist and murderer are treated with sympathy.
Q- We know in life several instances where life takes a course different from man's ideas. Are they occasions for the subliminal? A rich man, the VIP of a big town while negotiating for a marriage alliance for his younger brother with a poor relative, felt all the prestige of his post and wealth. The poor relative was insistent and assertive in an unbecoming fashion. He was dismissed by the rich man peremptorily. In the very normal course, it is the poor relative who will hang on to the other. All circumstances changed in an unheard of fashion, and the rich man was compelled to go to the poor man and beg for the rejected alliance.
A- How do we see this?
Q- My question is whether the rich man was compelled by his subliminal to go against the normal course.
A- This is a good example. What the rich man wants is humility which his subliminal teaches him.
Q- The conflict has a purpose, is it not? The conflict between the surface and the subliminal.
A- Evolution has created ignorance and perfected it on the surface.
That surface ignorance getting knowledge is knowledge emerging out of Ignorance.
Q- So, if the surface of the rich man learns humility, he progresses towards greater knowledge and his subliminal pushes him to do so.
A- What is the role of man here, his mind?
Q- His mind must choose knowledge instead of Ignorance.
A- Does it mean the subliminal has all the knowledge?
Q- No, it has more knowledge than the surface.
A- What has all the knowledge?
Q- The Superconscient.
A- It is only in Timelessness.
Q- Then the Superconscient evolving or expressing in the inconscient or the conscient has all the knowledge.
A- It is the third dimension, the birth of Brahman, Brahma Jananam.
Q- To bring any argument to the third dimension Brahman Jananam will explain anything.
A- It is true. It is one essential way.
Q- What are the other ways to arrive at the final knowledge?
A- If you ask for a method, it is surrender. If what you ask for is an explanation, it is Fullness.
Q- What are the ways the several ways of arriving at fullness?
A- Rising to the Supermind, emerging out of the seven ignorances, ability to help another find his soul, triple transformation, and to be are the several ways.
Q- In a sense, each chapter ends in telling us that method in its own way.
A- Why not put all of them together?
Q- Shed the ego, find the Supreme inside.
A- Can we dwell on this theme, 'Find the Supreme inside'?
Q- This Supreme is not the Absolute?
A- Nor is this the Superconscient.
Q- Why not distinguish them both from the Supreme?
A- The Absolute is outside creation.
Q- The Supreme is the first step in creation called by Sri Aurobindo the Self-Conscious Being.
A- When the Conscious self absorbs itself, the Superconscient is created which is oblivious on the surface but is aware of itself inside.
Q- The Supreme is a status before any of its extensions -- cosmic extension or objective or Time or 3 aspects or even Sachchidananda.
A- If we attain the Supreme, what about Supermind?
Q- Supermind is Truth acquiring consciousness, but Supreme is an earlier state, the earliest of states.
A- Why not say 'Shed the ego, rise to the Supermind'?
Q- That is all right.
A- Can we say we have fairly covered the territory?
Q- Yes, a bird's eye view.
A- Any detail from any chapter will add to the illumination but the basic outline is referred to in several ways.
Q- I wish we bring out some striking features of this yoga even if we have touched upon it till now, in a fashion it throws light on some essentials in the depth.
A- Can you illustrate what you have in mind?
Q- The creation of Matter by the senses of the Mind is one such.
A- Action revealing Purusha by analysis detaching from it is another one.
Q- His occult link, the secret of rising to the Supermind is one.
A- Reality including the One and the Many is another.
Q- They come in our list.
A- Not all. Whether it is in the list or not, I wish that none of them are left out in our discussion.
Q- Man's irresponsive attitude to the Hour is important.
A- His answer to the scientist refuting chance and iron order but explaining the infinite variation and the cosmic determinism are such.
Q- Along with that goes Mind over Matter. What is His answer?
A- The Infinite emerging out of the finite naturally will have infinite variation. It looks like a perfect explanation that combines chance or iron order.
A- Infinite variation appears to be chance. As it moves towards a goal of infinite from the finite, the iron order emerges.
Q- Cosmic determinism?
A- As the creation is Self-conception, every determinism therein is also Self-conception. It is best seen in our own work.
Q- We speak of it many times, I too explain it that way, but it does not stay in the mind, why?
A- There is no apperceptive mass in the mind to receive it and retain it. We know what we do, but we do not think of it in terms of creative process.
Q- I think like this, it should be nice to take issues of life that touch us deeply and explain them in his terms. E.g. People in India protested against plague vaccination and the British gave it up. More than a million died.
A- Indians had no knowledge that those deaths could have been prevented.
Q- Does it come under the principle that man does not know what he lost or what he gained?
A- It is unconsciousness. Today the USA is leading in the use of computers and Internet. Do they know the Internet can multiply the business? Not only do they not know, they resist it ferociously.
Q- It means superstition has the same force in any century. Perhaps like the elements it is always the same.
A- You mean the chemical elements.
A- In Chapter 9 of the first book Infinity of space and eternity of Time are explained. There HE says at no point of Time or Space can you say there is nothing ahead. So there is no beginning. So also, there is no end. Can we not see the same in production?
Q- What you say is true, but how to explain it?
A- A piece of land produces some grains. How can you show it has infinite capacity to produce?
Q- If it is true, there must be a way to explain it.
A- It may be there, but I do not know it.
Q- Year after year, the land produces, is it not? A machine too behaves like that. But this will not be satisfying.
A- Our speech is infinite in the sense mind can infinitely produce speech.
Q- It is the same as the land. But the example can serve our purpose if we can draw grain non-stop from the land.
A- The principle is everything on earth is truly infinite. There is nothing finite.
Q- That, if we can show or explain it satisfactorily, will be the practical concept of infinity.
A- Compare the present with the 15th century in terms of human needs.
Q- Human needs are infinite. The secret there is the more need we create for ourselves, the greater does it grow.
A- This is the secret of Infinity.
A- If something can grow, as the human needs, -- it feeds grows it grows on what it feeds it is infinity.
Q- Such an element is there everywhere. To be able to see that is to know Infinity. To know Infinity is to know Brahman.
A- Anything retains the absoluteness in some form.
Q- If the absolute is there in some form, we must be able to know it.
A- To discover the Infinite in finite things is the penultimate step to discover the Absolute Brahman in it.
Q- Maybe only those who have discovered the Brahman inside will be able to see the Brahman outside.
A- That is generally true, but not mandatory. Maybe seeing Brahman inside is a bar to seeing Him outside in the sense any realisation unless given up is a bar to further ones.
Q- Can we say the Master Keys are knowing the Infinite and Brahman in life?
A- Yes, we can say so.
Q- Are you not sure of them?
A- The higher the goal, the greater is the difficulty but its other side is the higher, the more accessible.
Q- It may be misunderstood as easier.
A- In a sense it is, as top political posts are more accessible than top administrative posts.
Q- What is more accessible may not necessarily be more easily attainable.
A- Brahma Jananam, the third dimension, the evolving Brahman, the Infinite in the finite, etc. is more easily shown to people than less exalted realisations.
Q- You mean explained to them or shown to their perception?
A- Either way.
Q- Whatever do you mean?
A- Should the person who wants to explain KNOW it fully, he should be able to explain it easier than other things. If the person has realised it, he will be able to reach their perception.
Q- Making pupils understand is easier than making them memorise the lessons.
A- Exactly. The greater comprehension and greater realisation lends itself to easier explanation and easier communication.
Q- The idea itself is of great interest. If we ever reach that point, well, it is something, not a mere understanding of The Life Divine. If this discussion will ever lead to that revelation, it will be great.
A- That secret lies in the spirit of the discussion. No. 70 says the aim of Brahman in creation is to express the inexpressible in perfect form created by the Force. My question is Form and Force are of the Force, not of the Being. The aim is Being of the Becoming. How do Form and Being of any description go together?
Q- It sounds as if the unspoken aim is to raise the Force to the level of Being in the name of Being of the Becoming.
A- Yes, that is obvious. Being that becomes Force in involution becomes Being of a higher order in evolution as Brahman is reaching a higher order of joy.
Q- He wants the consciousness of the body to grow so that the evolved soul need not seek another body. The consciousness of the form grows to perfection as the consciousness of the body grows to immortality.
A- Shall I say the consciousness of our discussion should grow to perfection for us to hit at the Master Secret?
Q- One thing is clear. When the Master Secret is discovered, it will be SIMPLE, elegant, easy of perception, easy to communicate.
A- What is perfection of Form?
Q- Being Consciousness Force Form are the stages. Form rising in quality will be forceful. Rising still further, it will be conscious of itself, at the level of perception, easy to communicate.
A- Then each form, each force, each thing must have a being. Evolution ends in the Self-conscious Being as the Being of FORM. In that case, life is the being of Force.
Q- The musician and the dancer touch their climax when a similar thing happens, if not at the level of Being, but at the level of their performance. Maybe it touches the vital being of the song or dance.
A- Then we should seek for the being of the FORM of comprehension to reach a wider receptivity.
Q- The third dimension we speak of is the being of the FORM of anything or any activity.
A- The third dimension is now philosophically explained.
Q- Philosophic definition becoming yogic explanation may achieve the goal.
A- To explain a thing in life, define it as a proposition, reveal it as a yogic phenomenon, i.e., to give a thing a defining expansiveness in all the 8 planes Sat to Matter is to fully know it, possess it and enjoy it.
Q- No. 45 speaks of four types of knowledge. Our aim is to have all knowledge.
A- The highest knowledge, knowledge by identity is capable of ousting all the other three. I am sure it is of the Superconscient. It is the Superconscient expressing in Becoming.
Q- We know the surface knowledge of objects around us through our senses. The only example HE gives for knowledge of identity is the knowledge of someone that he is alive. We know we are alive. How do we know? HE says the sense of identity with the body for the soul gives that knowledge. The Rishi knows what is in another man's mind without his speaking out. That is intuition. Subliminal knowledge of what is happening at a distance is already explained through an example.
A- Good. We understand the four types of knowledge. Is that all? Or do we have more to say here?
Q- There are ways of encouraging the higher types of knowledge. Which will take us into the domain of yoga or yogic life. In a school of very young children we can look for these higher faculties and foster them. It is a very wide domain.
A- Not to exclude what is exceeded is No 6. At once we can say it makes for the whole. We have mentioned it in the context of moksha. This is a tall order in life. Yoga makes this goal impossible. For that very reason the Rishis took to the forest. We can discuss its aspects if there is any interest in trying it. Otherwise, it is obvious.
Q- It means having exceeded the mind, vital and body, we should not exclude them. Is that it?
A- Gandhiji was a great leader because having risen to the heights of a London educated barrister, he never wanted to be above, but came down to the masses, dressed like them, lived like them, felt like them. No leader was so great as Gandhiji. Einstein said we were fortunate to live when he walked on earth.
Q- Not to exclude what we have exceeded is to be like Gandhiji?
A- He represented Indian spirituality but fell short of the heights of Reality not then explored.
Q- He overlooked the strength of the dark imperative.
A- That dark imperative needs the luminous imperative to be mastered. Or at its own level it should be met.
Q- Perhaps if he had led India to freedom through his satyagraha but recognised the need for armed uprising, India would have become the guru of the world, and her geographical unity would not have been lost.
A- What can be done now?
Q- A leader must arise who is willing to handle his own dark imperative by his own luminous imperative. Mother says such a person must receive the inspiration directly from Sri Aurobindo.
A- How does one receive direct inspiration from the Master?
Q- He must move into the subtle and causal planes.
A- Is not the subtle plane enough?
Q- I have no knowledge. The subtle plane, I believe, will give the insight. The power may come only from the causal planes.
A- Will the complete understanding of The Life Divine do?
Q- I am unable to say. I can say this much. An integral understanding will enable him to know what to do. Whether it will empower him to do it, is not known.
A- Suppose one has conquered in himself the rigidity of religious fanaticism.
Q- Gandhiji was not a religious fanatic, but his was a version of it.
A- Is there a way one can know where he is?
Q- There are dozens of armed conflicts like Kashmir going on in the world. There are minor, local flare-ups. If a devotees emotions are involved in one such conflict, he can test it.
Q- From the point inside where he has overcome that dark imperative, a prayer of his to defuse the conflict he is involved in, will show if he is equipped with that power.
A- It is true of the similar conflicts at home.
Q- True. But to test it outside is easy. Inside it is more powerful.
A- One who does it outside can rule the country. One who does it inside can do yoga. He will be a Master of Cosmos.
Q- No. 14 speaks of waste.
A- Nature is most efficient. It is divine efficiency. It accomplishes several things at once. That is why when one work is completed several other things are simultaneously completed.
Q- We see that in Shakespeare's plays and in all stories.
A- I am tempted to say that what we consider as waste is a method by which ALL work can be simultaneously accomplished unseen.
Q- When you work zealously in the office with a somewhat guilty feeling that you have neglected your son's study during the exam as it synchronised with the office inspection, you find the boy who usually does well now wins the prize. Devoted work in the office sends your subliminal energies to the boy's reading.
A- No. 15 is to see life in Matter. We who see material forms can develop sight to see spiritual, mental forms. Life in Matter is seen when we develop the vision to see life forms.
Q- It is our sensation developing sight.
A- This is a language the common man can understand.
Q- To see life in Matter is the first step of which the final step is to see the infinite in it.
A- Is it at that point Matter changes into delight of existence?
Q- Matter, thus, becomes sensation, a sensation of Delight.
A- We are describing Matter in terms of Bliss.
Q- Integral understanding enables anything to be explained in any term.
A- I feel this discussion is widening the scope of my comprehension.
Q- To see one principle in the context of another principle, in the light of another person or event is to universalise oneself.
A- It is a step towards supramentalisation.
Q- Once we know everything essential, what remains is the intensity we reach.
A- It is then we say we achieve what we want.
Q- Already there is a feeling of understanding.
A- An act will reveal the extent of that understanding.
Q- Still, we do appreciate someone telling us what HE wrote, what HE did, more importantly what we should NOT do and why, and giving us constant guidance.
A- Such guidance is available.
A- In the beginning Mother gives it through impersonal forces of the environment, later through a person or event, and finally from inside.
Q- I wonder why in the published letters written to Him there is little discussion on this.
A- I heard HE would have enjoyed questions on The Life Divine.
Q- Is the same available from Him to us in the subtle plane?
A- Mother took nine years to meet Him in the subtle plane.
Q- I believe HE will answer in the subtle plane, if not in the causal plane.
A- He is available in both the planes and HE will certainly answer.
Q- Is it a hope or experience?
A- It is an experience in the mental plane that raises that hope.
Q- No. 46 is about the seven Ignorances.
A- Incidentally, it reveals the gradation of the worlds. Time and Space are below cosmos. Ego is above Time. These are facts very difficult to understand by any reading where no specific mention is made.
Q- The crux, HE says, lies in the constitutional ignorance.
A- Is it because it is the first step or anything else?
Q- Of course, it is the first step which reverses the division.
A- Perhaps, more than the division, evolution is to integrate the mind with the emotions and body. That may be the reason for its importance.
Q- Emotions are more subtle than thoughts. Therefore, breaking into the emotions, one also knows the other worlds as a next step.
A- I do not remember reading anywhere that Time follows the creation of ego. Whether it is true?
Q- Time is one of the five extensions of Sat. Ego comes when One is divided into Many.
A- Well, One is in timelessness and Many ego are in Time. Perhaps both are simultaneously created and in grading them, sometimes they are placed successively.
Q- His saying practical ignorance will dissolve only after the Original Ignorance has gone is singular.
Q- Nos. 7 and 8 speak of vertical and horizontal unification.
A- A conception the Rishis did not seem to have.
Q- The three purushas were spelt out only in the Gita.
A- The purushas of the parts of the being were given to us by an Upanishad.
Q- As the Ape could not conceive of becoming Man one day, Man could not conceive of becoming the Supramental Being.
A- That is unconsciousness.
Q- Mother summarises all human existence into one category unconsciousness.
A- Perhaps we do not understand the term.
Q- To know Brahman in evolution is consciousness and even to know Brahman in samadhi is unconsciousness.
A- It means before Sri Aurobindo, there was no one who was conscious.
Q- Such a consciousness HE gives us for the asking.
A- The pity is we do not ask.
Q- To unite the subconscious (Pathalam) with the Superconscient (Paramatma) is a unification of the vertical dimension. To unite the universal with the Individual is to unify on the horizontal plane. Both are necessary for the total unification. For an integral consciousness, both are necessary.
A- Can we think of examples?
Q- To reconcile the family's needs with the needs of the office can be horizontal unification.
A- What then is our vertical unification?
Q- To unite our emotions with our ideas can be said to be that.
A- To achieve one is difficult; to do both is impossible.
Q- I have always been amazed by the uneducated people understanding events. They look at events mentally conceived by their emotions and the result is outrageous. When idealists wish to run a free school for very poor children, people refuse to send the children to school. When they send, they try their best to understand according to their emotions. Idealism is something inconceivable to their emotions. That is understandable. They go one step further, and exercise their emotional comprehension and land on a reason that the school conceives of a benefit from their children. Quickly they take them out of school. Integration of emotion and understanding can prevent that tragedy.
A- Principles No. 7 and 8 apply to us in this fashion.
Q- This is very interesting.
A- In application to life, it means the high and low should unite; the distant person in the organisation must have the same intensity as the central person. Explanation is easy; not experiencing.
Q- It is a few thousand years since the Hindu orthodoxy got organised and entrenched. Now you go to any remote place and you find the same rituals well expressed.
A- That is a good example for the reconciliation on the horizontal plane.
Q- In extending democratic rights, rights before law, the highest in the land and the lowliest are on the same footing.
A- In a sense, it means both are integrated. This example will suffice.
Q- As the tradition has eluded this route, is there more we have to know here?
A- If you consider MAN, he is fully satisfied if the life he leads at his present level is successful or comfortable. I am tempted to say people have no ambition.
Q- When you use ambition, tradition in any country frowns on it. Better call it dynamism.
A- How shall we characterise this? Positive or negative.
Q- It is true in tropical countries people cannot work for long hours. In the absence of devastating winter, there is no compulsion to produce in 6 or 8 months the requirements of twelve months. In cold countries, there is a demand for a weather proof house, warm clothing, winter fuel, etc.
A- My suspicion is whether the spiritual tradition has partly induced this laziness as the yogi is quiet and never works.
Q- Not only yogis, but all seriously religious people are dynamic, their movements are brisk. They work for long hours.
A- I understand one reason for the Rishis giving up the body.
Q- Because it is dark?
A- That, of course, is a main reason. It demands great energies.
Q- Spirituality demands vast reservoirs of energy to start with. If you are used to meditation and concentration on the one side and consecration on the other side.....
A- Consecration's demands for energy are exacting.
Q- One can sit and repeat a mantra 100,000 times. The same energy cannot serve to consecrate once.
A- That is what I mean.
Q- Here, one has to fill the universe with energy.
A- It is somewhat true. All the energy the universe needs must be drawn out of the Transcendent inside.
Q- It is better to settle for moksha.
A- Moksha is, in itself, no ordinary affair.
Q- The Rishis are no ordinary people. They are greater than the gods.
A- From a theoretical point of view, the Rishis who spoke about all in each, each in all, did not pursue the goal.
Q- How far they pursued and succeeded I do not know. It is certain they knew it. Is there something more about the divine universality and Supreme infinity?
A- Where does that condition arise in our yoga?
Q- Our yoga contemplates the same for the body too.
A- As they speak of Supreme infinity, does it not mean it is beyond Supermind?
Q- The supramental plane has that infinity and universality. But it is in manifestation. Therefore, it cannot be Supreme.
A- How to pronounce on all these things. Mother was the Supreme.
Q- If the Vedic Supreme infinity is in non-manifestation, of course it is above Supermind. Unless we say Supermind manifests the Supreme infinity too, we cannot explain it.
A- No. 23, 24, 25 speak of inversion. What is the process of inversion?
Q- The process of creation of Ignorance, and creation of Life and Matter are processes of inversion.
A- Division and aggregation invert.
Q- Creation, involution, self-absorption, inversion, division are all on the same line.
A- Being evolving out of Becoming is evolution, not involution.
Q- To know Brahman in the third dimension, to consecrate so as to see it, Brahman taking birth in the third dimension are important for us. Brahma Jnanam, Brahmarpanam, Brahma Jananam.
A- By inversion, we mean Sat loses its purity of heights and step by step it moves till it becomes Matter, which we described earlier.
Q- This the Rishis have not described.
A- The Rishis have seen, perhaps, each of the 8 levels singly as they saw through the mind. They could not know the process revealed to a totality of vision.
Q- Had they known that, they would not have declared that the question of how the world is created cannot be raised.
A- Why should evolution travel the path of involution, why not a new path?
Q- I am not sure Sri Aurobindo ever raised this question to be answered.
A- No one asked Him questions of this type. He raises questions and answers them Himself. It is clear that the path should be through the universe. It is not clear why it should be through the range of Spiritual mind.
Q- As the surface is a tether end, knotted with a twist, we see one cannot rise from the surface. The need to go to the fullness of the subliminal is clear.
A- Perhaps once you go to the subliminal, the universal is open direct through the range of spiritual mind.
Q- Mind purified, HE says, opens to the Spirit, which is a part, whereas the Supramental is the Whole.
A- I do not see the difference between the Spirit that is only a part and the Supramental which is the whole.
Q- One possibility suggests itself. Spirit is only of Sat, Supermind is of the entire Sachchidananda.
A- To accept any logically valid statement we need either His confirmation or our own spiritual experience.
Q- We can say Spirit released from Mind is a part, while the Soul released from the whole being is full.
A- If the psychic is the full being and it is moving towards Supermind, necessarily it has to develop the respective psychic beings of the four levels between Mind and Supermind.
Q- Maybe HE has said it somewhere in the book. Let us look into it more carefully.
A- No. 38. Unless the world is divinely explained, nothing is explained.
Q- All the other explanations come to a loose end. This will have no such loose end, as our basis is the Divine has become the world.
A- Those who claim no knowledge of the creative process are not obliged to explain every phenomenon. They leave out evil. They bring in karma, accept rebirth after a fashion.
Q- Our assumption explains all there. Heaven and Hell meet the mental requirements up to a point, but that position cannot explain suffering and evil. A God who has created Hell is an abomination. Still, why this suffering exists is left unanswered.
A- The 1.Q. test is widely used and serves a lot of purpose. They have no definition of Intelligence. Science rules the world. A leading science journal of this year tries to find a definition of science. Whether it is intelligence or science, the entire field is unconscious. They do not know what they are about.
Q- Does this lack of basic definition have anything to do with pollution?
A- That is a simpler question. The whole cannot hurt its parts. One part can hurt another. If we understand Science as essential knowledge, it cannot hurt other parts. Understanding Science as technology, it can clash with other interests.
Q- Science is knowledge, essential knowledge of the whole. That view is not there. Science is by implication understood as technology, not KNOWLEDGE. The view is partial and warped.
A- Absence of OBJECTIVITY in public life and politics and the partial view of science go together.
Q- It is true. They may say it is far-fetched.
A- Sankhya posited many Purushas. Sri Aurobindo says the universe can be explained only if there is one Purusha.
Q- Is this clear to you?
A- If there are several Purushas. Firstly, all the Purushas have to be united as unity is the goal. That is now with the egos. Several egos join in one Purusha.
Q- So, Sankhyas took the egos as Purusha, is it?
A- They could see the unity at the level of Becoming. They saw Purushas as separate, but Prakriti as one.
Q- Is it a conscious perception or unconscious one?
A- I see the injustice done to me as injustice. But I certainly feel my own injustice to another is inevitable.
Q- That means selfishness is very real.
A- Mind tells me that I too am unjust.
Q- But, something in me overlooks that.
A- That something in me is selfish, unconscious or dark.
Q- Unity is what I am making for. I seek unity in light. There is unconscious unity. There is no UNITY at the level of my consciousness.
A- It looks like a process. Man has UNITY always. He is seeking unity of Light from unity of darkness through lack of unity in his conscious perception.
Q- To bring the philosophy to a practical level is necessary.
A- This statement "explain the world divinely" is possible if there is one Purusha.
A- From division one has to move to unity, first from many Purushas to one Purusha and then the unity of Purusha and Prakriti.
Q- Our basis is the Absolute is ONE and has never lost its unity in creation.
A- Is it not again our assumption?
Q- He assumed that hypothesis and proved that hypothesis.
A- Yes, it is there on p. 304.
Q- Can you repeat now?
A- Scientists see chance and order.
Q- These are contradictory.
A- Infinity, hiding in the finite, evolving back to Infinity reconciles chance and order.
Q- Explain further.
A- The journey from the finite to the Infinite makes possible infinite variety, making it appear as chance.
Q- Then order comes from the fixed goal, is it? That is what we discussed earlier.
A- The great intellectual feat of His comes out in a few ways;
Freedom to lose freedom.
An indeterminability that is beyond the pale of any other determinism.
Chance and order are resolved by the journey of the finite towards the Infinite.
Q- This is how HE presents ideas of intuition to intellect.
A- An intellect that does NOT refuse to see.
Q- HE calls them Higher Reason and logic of the Infinite.
A- Where do these possibilities arise from?
Q- In the chapter on Maya HE speaks of three theories. The idealist's theory assumes no relation between the ideal and the practical. HE goes beyond and says it is the ideal that expresses as the practical.
A- The mind has the ability to restore the lost connection with the Supermind. The intellect can refuse to restore it or endeavour to do so.
Q- Does the argument that Freedom is free to lose itself complete it?
A- The mind can restore the connection because it was there once.
Q- We have the case of an organisation that made its President one of absolute power.
A- When that President chose to destroy the organization, others found themselves helpless, forgetting it is they who gave him that authority and therefore they could withdraw it.
Q- The TRUTH of ever-present GRACE was seen in that case by the President's supporters being in the minority.
A- As the others were in the majority, the President could be readily removed. The organisation had huge debts which the president and his people could not pay. Suppose the Presidents supporters were in the majority, the pressure of the loan would have transferred to the President and he and the creditors would have sought the other members for redress.
Q- Grace would have been behind the curtain.
A- Mother's atmosphere, the third dimension, and grace are active in our daily life.
Q- So, if, in each case where SHE acts, we can see how grace is ever-present, His three or four arguments are likely to become clearer.
A- We have the case of CHOICE.
Q- Our position is the choice is always ours.
A- If choice is always ours, it argues that Purusha is one.
A- The One was created by Self-conception and retains that Self-conception always, when we find the choice is ours.
Q- If we are under the compulsion of society, it means we and the society are different. Now it is not. The society compels only as long as we permit it, which means we and the society are one.
A- To be able to see the choice, oneness, and freedom from determinism in every act of grace will make the book clearer.
Q- 'Society compels us' is true, but are we not free to stand outside the society? We want the society and therefore it compels us.
A- It means we are NOT determined by any other determinism. We are absolutely free.
Q- To feel the FREEDOM we are given, we do not feel free.
A- Man is born free, but is found in fetters everywhere. And that comes from one who was behind the French Revolution. The French Revolution started in the Himalayas.
Q- Great clarity comes, but not enough.
A- We are the determinant of our own life.
Q- It holds good as long as we do not face an issue.
A- It only means the emotions do not accept what the mind understands.
Q- 'The crux of the difficulty lies in constitutional Ignorance', reveals the above position.
A- The Life Divine was written to show that integral spiritual experience can be explained to the intellect through the ideas of intuition and the above three statements show that.
Q- No. 28 is the Force that is separated from the consciousness in Life should in evolution rejoin above in the consciousness.
A- At the point of Chit, Force separates and it is known to us as ConsciousnessForce. In the lower hemisphere, Force becomes life.
Q- Where is the consciousness?
A- If Force is life, the consciousness is behind.
Q- Of course, Being too is there in that consciousness. Going still further, all -- force, consciousness, and being are Brahman.
A- Evolution is the reverse process.
Q- It is NOT just the reverse process?
A- In the reverse process, it goes to the third dimension Brahma Jananam.
Q- That is why His contribution to yoga is great as well as revolutionary.
A- He has introduced in creation the concept of evolution.
Q- Which means the Spirit evolves.
A- Which means Brahman ENJOYS Delight.
Q- It is Delight that excels the Bliss of Sachchidananda.
A- Force joining back to consciousness is such a process.
Q- I should like to see these ideas in life.
A- I have two ideas; I wonder whether they will be good.
1. Man before and after 1900 all over the world.
2. Man in India before and after 1947 August.
Q- Freedom is clear. The first one is not.
A- For nineteen centuries man lived on earth under the impression he should live his own life.
Q- Which means he should feed his family, educate his child, earn his capital or job and he should fully accept the responsibilities of his own life. Now, you point out that the government and society accept some of his responsibilities.
A- It means in theory the society lives his life partly.
Q- And the society does it at a far higher level than what he can do.
A- Looking at it as greater individual benefits, they are fabulous; especially Man is offered what was not available to him so far.
Q- What else do you have in mind?
A- Man evolves socially. Instead of meeting his needs as a lone individual, he now meets his needs as a collective individual.
Q- A collective individual is a million times stronger than an individual is.
A- When Force rejoins consciousness, such a wonder takes place, which Sri Aurobindo calls the Marvel.
Q- At all points of evolution such a flowering occurs. That is the third dimension.
A- Should Man be the point where Force rejoins consciousness, he evolves.
Q- Evolution differs from creation as day differs from night.
A- Our tradition has no idea of this aspect of evolution.
Q- Should that happen, Man becomes apparently a being of Light.
A- And that is the higher Self-existent Light.
Q- Man bringing himself to this point by surrender and living by surrender at those frontiers is the evolving Man.
A- Of course, he is not the supramental being.
Q- Imagine a man in 1930 or 1880 and look at the world around them through their eyes. One was darkness illuminated by candlelight and the other is bright daylight.
A- No. 56 says karma is of the Force, not Being.
Q- The offspring of animals are weaned away early. Man also did so to his offspring. Imagine a child at the age of 5 or 6 sent into the world to live its own life there are such children now also and the child taken care of all his life by the whole family. Liken karma to the life of the child weaned away from parents as Force is separated from the Being, this child is separated from the family. The family is the Being, the child's own life is the Force.
A- No. 68, "There is no pain or darkness in creation".
Q- 'There is no failure in college education' can be stated as a parallel to this. College houses the students, conducts lectures on the subjects, appoints tutors to supervise the studies of the pupils, feeds them, appoints a doctor, offers coaching to weak students, conducts exams, prepares the students for the exams, offers study holidays, keeps a library, arranges special lectures on many subjects. All these are arrangements for the students to pass the degree. But they are free not to go to the class, nor study, take to other avocations and fail in the exam. Even that failure is given other chances to pass.
A- College has created no failure will be a valid statement.
Q- There is no pain in creation, but it is free to seek pain. Is it so?
A- There can be no failure in a college, but there will be no creation without ego. Ego has pain.
Q- Can we say, even if ego is there in ignorance, there is no pain for the ego if the ego chooses to evolve into the psychic?
A- Pain is there for the ego. It is not as if creation aimed at having no pain.
Q- The pain is only for the ego on the surface.
A- The pain is not for the subliminal, rather the pain of ego is joy for the subliminal. Or we can say pain is there in creation as a means to a greater JOY.
Q- He who does not want pain has none.
A- Pain is not for the Being, not even for the Force, but the separated being imprisoned in ego on the surface has pain when it identifies with the ego.
Q- Our list excludes equality, an important concept.
A- Let us look at equality from the third dimension.
Q- Reaction and passive equality belong to the first two dimensions. Active equality is of the third dimension.
A- This is a very high power, power of the consciousness of the Infinite. It can be useful in daily life.
Q- Equality helps one solve problems.
A- Normally equality raises our centre from the vital to the mind.
Q- It is true. But equality is the skill of Spirit that emerges through the parts of our being.
A- Consciousness of equality at home or in the office is a solvent of problems. One can try to prepare himself for some time to be equal inside and then exhibit a determination to practise it. All his problems would have vanished before he starts practising.
Q- Every other person will feel provoked for no reason. And it is a sure sign of his true equality.
A- That is true when the equality is shallow. Every other person will find a calm descending on him when your equality gains in intensity.
Q- Even the idea of equality will give tension for most.
A- The power of equality emerges really when it is based on knowledge, vital strength and physical stability.
Q- In an atmosphere of contention, we see the stronger side wins the day not by right or reason, but by strength. Occasionally we meet with a leader who is inwardly strong and also calm. The same side that has won time and again by virtue of strength, when pitted against this strong calm man on the opposite side, yields on all points which it won so far on its strength.
A- Vinobha and Jayaprakash did so with the dacoits. They did not offer pardon, but advised them to court arrest for their crimes. And they did court arrest.
Q- Vinobha's equality is in which dimension?
Q- Can we think of an example of the third dimension for equality?
A- Sri Aurobindo's equality that won the two wars was able to generate so much of strength in the subtle plane because it was in the third dimension.
Q- The best thing is to experiment ourselves. We know those who came to murder Satprem were cowed down by his looks and went away.
A- No. 9 is not to give egoistic response.
Q- All our responses are egoistic. So this means don't act, be quiet.
A- Exactly, don't act as you have been acting so far. Let Mother act through you.
Q- Let us discard the vulgar exhibitions of ego such as pride, arrogance, self-assertion, reaction, envy, demand, etc.
A- When we have given up all these, we will find they were not given up but were discouraged. They will be there in very full measure just below the surface.
Q- The very best way to get rid of ego is to start with the understanding of what ego is.
A- HE says ego made possible the One becoming the Many.
Q- Spiritually the beginning of ego is there.
A- The root of the ego is in the thinking mind and its knot is there in the subtle heart.
Q- People are totally unmanageable if touched at these points.
A- What are those points?
Q- Those are the various sensitivities.
A- Tell the scientist that science needs to be rational, he will be aghast as he does not know what Science is. He believes in something as science, which is a superstition. It is a mental sensitivity.
Q- All cultural sensitivities are rooted in the physical. Touched there, the man will be up in arms.
A- Ethnic conflicts are because of the outraged physical sensitivities.
Q- If so, will there be a solution for such conflicts?
A- That is a different issue.
Q- It is good manners not to tread on the other mans' corns. Here is an answer for No-Divorce if ever people get married.
A- Egoism is all-powerful, but its public exhibition is now discouraged.
Q- No. 1 is the Third Dimension of Time. There is constant reference to this theme. Can we open a full discussion on this point?
A- This is the dimension of evolution. It is the Supramental dimension. It is this dimension that defies understanding and creates confusion.
Q- We know Time and Timelessness and not beyond that.
A- We know good and bad and not the Self-existent GOOD.
Q- The Delight God seeks is not the Bliss of Sachchidananda, something more. It is the Delight of knowledge emerging out of Ignorance.
A- Surely it is not the knowledge above which is also Self-existent knowledge.
Q- Then how many divisions of knowledge or Delight are there?
A- Knowledge of the lower hemisphere which is the opposite of ignorance.
Self-existent knowledge in the higher hemisphere.
Knowledge that emerges out of Ignorance as evolutionary Knowledge.
Q- The tradition knows the first two. The third dimension is there in Silence, Peace, Truth, Goodness, Knowledge, Power, Love, Time, Space and in every aspect of creation.
A- I feel some confusion is being removed.
Q- We can as well say understand the third dimension in every event of life, in every principle of philosophy, and Sri Aravindam will reveal itself to you. I am unable to think of an occasion in life where this concept of third dimension fails to explain HIS point of view.
A- One can write a thesis, monograph or study this and write a book about it. That is a service rendered to HIM.
Q- Reconciliation of contradiction is No.2. This is explained everywhere, illustrated. I would appreciate a theoretical, rather yogic explanation. I need to know the difference between an explanation, a theoretical explanation and yogic explanation.
A- Maybe our deliberations will become endless. What is clear to everyone is not clear to someone. To make him see what others see is explanation. That is life. Philosophy is the background of life. Theoretical explanation issues from there. Yoga is to bring philosophy to bear upon life the third dimension here.
Q- An example please.
A- One fails miserably in a work harvest, examination, sales, election, etc. after being enthusiastic about it. He fails to understand his failure. Someone says enthusiasm is good, releases energy, but what produces result here is organised energy of sufficient intensity. This can be done by showing where his attention failed to reach, comparing his work with others' work, etc. The first is theory, the latter is explanation. Yogically, a work reaches fruition when it is sanctioned by the soul. What sanctioned the work here is his vital which released its energy of enthusiasm, not even the mind, as the organisation of the mind is missing. The soul's sanction will be quiet, not excited. It will be enthusiastic, and show as good omens in the beginning.
Q- Let us come to contradictions.
In our own life and in history there are numerous examples of contradictions finally resolved giving birth to good results. That is illustration and explanation. Selflessness changing into selfishness creates contradictions out of self-assertion. Mind has created life and matter out of divided existence and they are naturally in contradiction where the whole tries to hide in the parts. The endeavour of the divided parts coming together is seen as conflict. The original intention is to seek JOY by Self-discovery. So, conflict is creation by choice.
A- Well, again these clear explanations can be applied to life situations for greater clarity. I shall not ask for it. If we do it ourselves, the clarity of thought becomes an enjoyable experience of life.
Q- No. 4 is 'Reconciliation of the Transcendent and Cosmic consciousness Matter and Spirit'.
A- It is reconciliation of Matter and Spirit at both these planes, but though it is mistakenly put as you did, it also means that.
Q- Someone wrote to Sri Aurobindo about the Transformation of the psychic. He pointed out that the psychic is not to be transformed but Nature is transformed into the psychic.
A- The reconciliation He speaks of can be considered as the third dimension for Spirit and Matter. In the exercise of Mind, we know Socrates, Newton, Copernicus did it in a fashion that no one until then had done. In Chapters 2 and 3 Sri Aurobindo exercised his Mind in a fashion in which Mind has not till then been exercised. He gave Mind, not His own Mind only, a new dimension.
Q- How could HE do so? Has it been noticed by anyone?
A- Several years after the first flight in the air was successfully experimented, professors of physics were taking theoretical pains to prove it was not possible. An eminent Indian professor of philosophy had the insight to read this book and declare however ingenious the argument was, he could not accept it. He could do so because HE had seen the process of creation and chose such points that would be intelligible to a mind that was closed. Sri Aurobindo went to the length of justifying the closed minds, rather gave their rationale as their loyalty to the old illuminations and their duty to repeat them.
Q- Perhaps HE saw Matter and Energy and Spirit too as a plane of Energy meeting in the cosmic consciousness.
A- Yes. Having seen Sat and Asat emanating from Brahman into the plane of Transcendent consciousness, HE devised a method to reconcile them. He saw man's penchant to be either here or there. So, HE said he must go there without losing hold of the 'here'.
Q- Is it the same argument about not reconciling the one without the second and All is Brahman.
A- In essence it is so. But the difference is great.
Q- What is the difference?
A- All is Brahman is the greatest vision of human mind till today. So too is the other. No mind, however great can think of reconciling them.
Q- HE did so.
A- It was not Mind but Supermind. It is not clear whether different sages made these statements or the same Rishi had these visions alternately.
Q- Surely it is NOT the same person. Suppose the same man had seen both alternately, it would mean his Mind has withdrawn from the first vision to see the second. That freedom is there in the Supermind, not in the mind, but it is still an argument, not my information of the Upanishads.
A- No. 5 is reaching the opposite without losing hold of this side. In politics the distinction between the politician and statesman can serve as a parallel.
Q- Somewhat. One becomes a politician by identifying himself with the party. The statesman refuses any particular identity and seeks the good of the nation. One who goes between lovers carrying messages often ends up marrying the woman. Human emotions are transitory, ephemeral, and the very act of coming into contact wins the person. It is physical emotion that honours touch. One is at the other end; this is at the lowest physical base.
A- I would like to know all about Romance, why it is the universal mark of excellence in human living.
Q- To explain is easy. Even the article on it, short though it is, gives all you need. Let us wait for the right context, not now. Even this principle No. 5 can explain Romance in the sense that man without losing his identity with his own inner Brahman should reach the Brahman in the other person.
A- Discovering the Brahman in the woman is Romance for man.
Q- It needs to be explained in detail. This will not be satisfactory.
A- No. 10 is sifting the reason from the sense.
Q- Though this is known in India for so long, we do not see it in practice anywhere. As it is ancient knowledge, it will be impossible for it to be lost.
A- The preservation of orthodoxy is perversely following it. I wonder why Western philosophy has thus pronounced on intuition, but they have achieved OBJECTIVITY as far as facts are concerned and where their emotions are untouched.
Q- Their objectivity in science and history is commendable. Ours cannot excel. The world should emulate it.
A- The frontiers of their objectivity are unconsciousness in science and subjectivity in history.
Q- Please explain.
A- Science is knowledge, not even the quest for knowledge but the organisation of knowledge. Knowledge is the mental essence of the physical acts and vital energies in movement. Knowledge is that which by knowing, everything else is known. Essential knowledge is knowledge, not the process which is utility. Science is described as the field of study to know the nature of universe. This is to be unconscious of what science is.
Q- Their sense of objectivity is subjective. They can write any number of books exclusively on Russian Revolution without mentioning Lenin or Stalin.
A- To them the world was Europe, and is now USA. The definition of folly is one who knows his own knowledge to be ultimate Truth. In those matters, it is not even possible for them to think of an impersonal standard for civilisation. The Britisher and European, in these matters, are as open minded as Hitler, Stalin, the Sultan and the Indian priest who adores his orthodoxy. There is no attempt to learn from history. I would welcome a discussion of Romance instead of objectivity.
Q- An objective truth becomes an object of Romance when it is given the subjective emotion.
A- Does it go to the third dimension that way?
Q- Romance is the adventure of the unattainable when what is sought is the whole by the part.
A- Is not woman part too?
Q- The partial man seeks the partial woman because he knows it is she who will make a whole of him responding to him from that aspect of hers. She alone can put up that side in herself by which his aspect of fullness meets her to become richer by an integration of their souls in their becoming.
Q- The underlying part of the Absolute, the opposite, rises to meet the other part to bring forth the same underlying part in him, so that the real whole will emerge in both.
A- They meet in their third dimensions. This is the same as principle No. 5 of Sat and Asat meeting in Brahman.
Q- The woman alone serves that role for man. Till they reach the Absolute, it remains unattainable. Hence the Romance.
A- Where does the sweetness come from?
Q- Sweetness is the sensation of love that has knowledge.
A- Love is the delight of the complement. Is the knowledge the fact that he knows her to be his instrument?
Q- Romance is human relationship. Let us look at all of them.
1. Parents' relation with children is physical.
2. Friendship is vital.
3. Mental relationship is that which is formed around an ideal.
4. Spiritual relationship is with the guru.
Wife is physical, vital, and social. It is a fully social vital relationship essentially making physical relationship possible. It never or rarely rises to the mind. One must be clear that marriage is a social institution and Romance is an adventure in the third dimension beyond the ranges of spirit. There should be no mistaking it.
A- In a country where marriage is no longer a viable institution, Romance rules the day in film and fiction. Where does that energy come from?
A- The energy we witness in war, market, mountaineering or any walk of life is a pale insignificant version of Romantic charm.
Q- Romance is out and out charm.
A- Romance is irresistible sweetness, charm and attraction.
Q- All come from the evolutionary urge.
A- Other avenues of evolution do not have this.
Q- Creation began with the opposite dualities of Sat and Asat. Man and woman symbolise that duality.
A- Integration is the climax of evolution.
Q- Nothing integrates so fully as man with woman.
A- So the charm and sweet attraction of Romance issues out of the sensation delight the union gives at its peak of integration of consciousness.
Q- That is symbolised by IshwaraShakti.
A- Maybe this is not all, though it is of exceeding interest.
Q- The gratitude of the body thrills.
A- Yes, it is the beginning of ecstasy.
Q- HE places Love two places before ecstasy.
A- They also use rapture.
Q- We also know that Peace is above ecstasy as the latter is active.
A- Even in the third dimension, the active movement is subordinated to a static base.
Q- Only the body's gratitude thrills, not the mental's.
A- The thrill is for a moment. If it becomes permanent, it becomes intolerable even though it is ecstatic. Another version of it is unflinching rapture.
Q- If the above are the contours of the idea of Romance, it is culminated in the feminine principle in man rising to meet the masculine principle of God.
A- That I have read. Of course, the distance from the thrill to that culmination is great.
Q- The woman continues to be the complement throughout.
A- As the aspects of any principle are infinite, its culmination arrives at the universality of these principles.
Q- Whether it is electricity or words or plastic, they find use in a million fields before they fulfil themselves.
A- What about loyalty and chastity?
Q- They are the greatest ideals of human life. We have long parted with human life and are in zones millions of miles away from human greatness.
A- So, the extraordinary charm of Romance is from its divine character of universal attitude and infinite dimension.
Q- It is true of all human emotions. It is easy to see it in Romance.
A- Romance originates in the body but is not coarse like hunger. It goes to the mind, crosses to the Spirit and spills over into the third dimension of evolution. It does not cease till the two sides masculine and feminine, positive and negative really become complements integrating the initial strands and launching on the grand final integration of each cell with every other cell's existence, as in a massive automated machine or factory.
Q- Writers instinctively unconsciously touch the right chords of such integration of two strands far apart and are implicitly appreciated. That is the maximum of awareness of this theme. They are the points of Life Response.
A- Can we say Romance is the spirit of evolution or the spirit of Spiritual evolution?
Q- That is a good description.
A- In all Nature or life, there is the dull routine part and the lively part. Now we speak of a third dimension of infinite energy, which is an evolutionary part. Romance is of that.
Q- Exactly. We generally use that term for a man's attraction for a woman.
A- Not only man feels it most in Romance, but that is the line along which his own yoga is fulfilled.
A- I am tempted to say that the greatest of Romances is the act of creation where Brahman challenged Himself by losing himself and trying to discover Himself.
Q- Where does Romance come?
A- In the sense of reaching the unattainable. Here one more dimension is Brahman creates the unattainable. A greater element of the adventure is HE can always know what is lost and refrains from knowing it.
Q- Conceived thus, it is great Romance.
A- In a social or psychological set up, don't you see the same element in man?
Q- The social authority, at least in India, is with the man. The psychological authority is with the man in any other country.
A- Bereft of social authority, the psychological is always mutilated.
Q- This man is below average. I talk of those who are above the line. Woman is legally and socially free in the US. She is not psychologically free. In that context, man acts like Brahman not exercising the capacity to know but playing the game.
A- Suppose both are psychologically FREE, then begins the divine Romance of consciousness playing with consciousness.
Q- Without actual examples, this will be abstract. Even the psychological authority of man voluntarily submitted will go unappreciated and unnoticed if men do not have personal experience.
A- As far as I am concerned, the discussion is vastly helpful. I am able to see the Romance of Life in a greater measure.
v Romance never dies. It cannot die. Never has it died in the history of man.
v The Eternal seeks the Eternal Eternally. It is Romance.
v The seeking is the adventure. Attaining is fulfilment.
v The seeking is an eternal flame knows no death. Attaining is a fulfilment that leads to higher seeking. It gives higher life to the unattainable. Death is nowhere on the agenda. Neither decay nor diminishing intensity is permissible here.
v The Eternal extends itself into the ephemeral.
v The Eternal does so, so that the ephemeral can acquire eternity.
v The strength, rather the infinite strength of the ephemeral is so great that it ardently sets to work to convert the Eternal into the ephemeral. Mostly it succeeds, or thinks it succeeds.
v The Eternal never dies; it withdraws temporarily.
v The Eternal eternally presents itself to the ephemeral for its valid acceptance. That is why Romance rears its head all the time at all ages. It knows no death.
v Man misses no opportunity to be false, to falsify anything. The greater the Truth, the more vehement is his effort at falsification.
v When he utterly fails, he falsely announces a victory to falsehood. Thus an ideal gets organised.
v Organisation is death. Romance is said to die when it is organised into marriage. What dies is not Romance, it is the dead organisation that gives life to its death.
v Romance cannot die, it has never died. It emerges to give life to death and dead habits. They smother Romance to death and triumphantly announce their own death as the death of Romance.
Q- No. 11 is to see the ocean of energy.
A- I wish to talk on this chapter itself outlining the ideas, showing the link between them, commenting on his introduction, highlighting the other major ideas of this chapter, its significance to the next, etc. Whether it is welcome, I do not know.
Q- It is a fine approach. Studying one chapter like that is illuminating and leads to better comprehension of the other chapters. As it is philosophy, I am not sure of anyone's attention. Well, try your luck.
A- The tradition is to declare what the sages had seen. Here, HE tries to put it in an argument readers can understand.
Q- Which do you mean?
A- You agree that HE does not demand acceptance.
Q- That HE never does.
A- HE saw the ocean, but how can HE show it to us?
Q- I don't remember. How does HE do it?
A- In Chapter 28 of the first book HE mentions that there are links between the Supermind and us. He uses one such link. Westerners know of the poet's vision, especially the vision of Wordsworth it is spoken of in Synthesis. It is an egoless vision. There HE starts. The ocean is seen by a vision of the unegoistic.
Q- Otherwise, this idea will be a non-starter. No one will accept His vision and will say the 'socalled vision'.
A- The vision seen is immense if the ego is put aside. But having seen the vision, the ego comes back. Its first thought is how to use it. When it finds the ocean is of no use to it, it just turns away.
Q- HIS explaining infinity and its characteristics is because man goes away from it. To convince man that the infinity is understandable, HE launches on a long explanation.
A- Ego stands in the way of seeing the Real.
The Real reveals itself not as it is, but in a form we can see. The Absolute is the Reality. It is seen not as Being or one of its aspects, but as energy. The Being has three aspects of Atma, Purusha, and Ishwara. We don't see any of them. What we see is the energy of Prakriti.
Q- I never thought of it. Now that you speak of it, it strikes me.
A- The Cosmic Self the Purusha is revealed when the ego dissolves. Now that the ego only withdraws for a second, it is not Purusha that is seen but Prakriti, rather Prakriti in its form of energy.
Q- It is quite interesting that the ego thinks of using it.
A- It is equally striking that the ego goes its own way, when it finds the ocean is not available for use.
Q- It is exactly the same response we give to our opportunities.
A- Before saying we must shed our ego and allow the ocean to run our life, Sri Aurobindo offers an explanation of what infinity is. It is equal in the small and the big.
Q- It never occurs to us why it should be equal in both.
A- As the small and big are in themselves infinity, infinity expresses in both equally.
Q- It is a philosophical, mathematical concept. HE puts it to us as a concept of life.
A- Getting at this Truth is one essential basis for understanding The Life Divine.
Q- He extends it to affirmations and negations, thus making everything in creation equal intrinsically. Quantity, Quality, and Character are beside the point before this equality.
A- One implication is man is equal to the ocean. Realisation of this equality helps to remove the separation of ego.
Q- That the ego is separate is seen, but the ego is not condemned to be separate unless it chooses and insists on it.
A- Only the poet and the artist in the West have glimpsed this Truth. So, HE introduces the mind of the Western thinker to the concept of infinity through this. I am not sure whether there are other introductions. It would be meaningful to locate such points and develop them.
Q- Even before HE presents Sat, the Self-Conscious Being, HE is at pains to show WE are that Self-Conscious Being by implication. He pleads for unity in the words of asking us to allow our lives to be ruled by the ocean of energy.
A- HE makes two things clear.
1. Man is infinity closed to himself.
2. It is only by his own choice, maybe wilful.
Q- The argument with which HE ends the BOOK, Taste of Ignorance is not over is brought before us in clear precise terms.
A- One basic concept of Spirituality is Status and Movement, presented generally as Silence and Activity. Here we are shown that this infinite movement is nothing but an aspect of eternal stillness Sthanu which is infinite in its nature.
Q- On. p. 74 HE puts before us the ever-present truth that everything is infinite by the simplest of arguments that there is no beginning or end.
A- Earlier I was at a loss to illustrate the integration of small aspects far apart in an automatic machine or in a story. That is the truth of nature, of creation which the mind is perverse enough not to see. To shut it out of its view, the mind creates a false note (apasvaram). To show us that grandeur, HE changes the false note created by an English word ineffugible into ineffugable and then discloses the great secret that the Infinity imposes itself upon the appearances of the finite by its ineffugable Self-existence.
Q- Perhaps life in the gross plane is full of such perversions which when reversed opens into the subtle plane. A clumsy waddle of walk changing into graceful gait changes the atmosphere even as a coarse loud voice does so giving place to a sweet soft low whisper. This word is not in the language, but is HIS creation.
A- Suppose one can recognise this quality of HIS writings, he would enter the higher regions. In 1909 or 1910 the House of Commons discussed Sri Aurobindo's pamphlet as to whether it was seditious or not. The then obscure MP who appreciated the high prose of Sri Aurobindo later became the Prime Minister.
Q- So, an act has so many aspects that can raise us.
A- We know it from several ways. Intuition in the act is involved is a statement. As it is involved, the act is done several times to reveal the intuition. The act gives the intended result when the intuition is explicit.
Q- Here lies the answer, clue, secret, and formula for luck.
A- Yes, when an act gives the expected result, man never stops acting. If he is a trader, his market expands, if a student his rank rises, etc.
Q- Here the trader sets his limit to trade. He does not stray into family prestige, popularity, or politics.
A- One is vertical and this is horizontal. Together they go to build the pyramid of his personality.
Q- Conversely, to know the intuition is to get the result.
A- A formula for that is simple,
Avoid love of folly; or do the right thing.
Do it intelligently.
98 % of work will yield result. Call Mother and it will be 100 %.
Q- Luck is right intelligent work with Mothers Blessings.
A- People who are known to be lucky do only 40 or 50 % of the work right. Why then is it not done?
Q- Let us not worry about those who do not want luck. In our school the children can be taught this formula and they can inherit luck from the school.
A- How to do it in the class?
Q- That is not complicated. A detailed training can be drawn up if the teacher learns this 80 %.
A- The culprit is the diversion.
Q- The diversion comes from the irresistible immediate result egged on by ego which is known as values.
A- Teach the right values.
Q- What are they?
A- Whatever you know to be right.
Q- The formula for luck is simple to explain, difficult to follow.
A- The difficulty is removed by a hundred ways, all small ways.
Q- Make a beginning. It will work.
A- Go through the 70 principles and the other ideas of life and understand the highest theory. Start work from the bottom.
Q- If you want, you will be a success, says the Gita.
A- Let us come back to the chapter.
Q- Having explained infinity, HE says, it is the infinity of Time and adds there is an Infinity beyond Time and Timelessness.
A- That is the Supreme infinity of Vedic immortality. Please repeat it.
Q- Infinity, as everything else, exists on all planes from Matter and Sat. Form, Knowledge, Silence too exist on all planes in varying ways.
A- Please illustrate through Silence.
Q- In the mind Silence is absence of thought, in the mouth it is absence of speech. Absence of energy is silence in the vital, shedding of movements is Silence in the physical.
A- Please go ahead, this is enough.
Q- The infinity of Sat before it extends into Sachchidananda, Truth, Time or Atma is the Supreme infinity.
A- Having said all this, Sri Aurobindo says all this is what reason tells us. We have the direct insight which is intuition. Looking directly into existence, we look beyond the ocean of energy into existence itself as duration which is Becoming, which is the frontal appearance of Being.
Q- I remember. HE pleads for us to accept both and declares that to know their relation is wisdom. The figure of the white existence of Shiva and the dance of Kali is scintillating.
A- At one stroke, to undo the scientist and the Rishis, HE raises the question whether the Force is independent or a power of Being.
Q- So the main points of the chapter are
· Ego moves to disclose energy in an ocean.
· Ego desires appropriation of the power.
· The power is too big, it is infinity.
· Infinity is infinity everywhere.
· It defies quantity and quality.
· It is the same in negation and affirmation.
· Man too is that infinity.
· Man disregards that.
· Infinity needs man.
· Infinity can take up mans life.
· Behind the ocean of movement is Sthanu, stability.
· This is the infinity of Time and Space.
· Beyond is Infinity and Eternity.
· All this is what reason tells us.
· We can see directly, disregarding reason.
· We see Being and Becoming.
· Of course, behind the intellect there is intuition.
· Integral experience includes both.
· Let us accept Being and Becoming and know their relationship.
· Let us ask whether the Becoming is a power of Being.
The last question is positively answered in the next chapter and thus HE establishes HIS theme of Unity, discounting that Becoming is inert which is the basis of materialism and science. Man at every stage insists on the division. At every stage, Sri Aurobindo pleads for unity. Man would accept either the Being or Becoming. He wants us to accept both. Reason is what takes man away from unity. Sri Aurobindo proves the infinite unity through reason and shows the higher method too. The part, the ego, always wants to remain a part. The All seeks it at every step. Ego constantly breaks the link. The All restores it constantly.
One can understand without stretching very much all these 70 principles in any chapter and here too. I am not taking it up here.
Q- No. 16 is Ananda expressed in objects.
A- An object expresses a form. When we put it to use, it expresses a use being an instrument. It is a partial expression. Expressing Ananda, the object expresses its all.
Q- Shakespeare can be read as a story, we can learn English from it, or it can be used to put a play on boards. To read Shakespeare as a creative piece of literature is its best use.
A- A piece of land is used to stack hay, for cultivation or sold as a house plot. But selling it to an industry will be to put it to the best financial results.
Q- The third dimension emerges in the objects expressing Ananda. Sachchidananda tries to express the objectless Ananda in the objects in its descent.
A- A beautiful lady who desired to marry Bernard Shaw said their child could combine her beauty and his genius. Shaw replied that it could be in the reverse. The parent is not the determinant. But Sachchidananda can choose to express Ananda in the objects. Sri Aurobindo says man goes after the objects, and misses Ananda. In fact, he gets pain.
Q- In a school the aim is to express the efficiency of the school in the child. The very best the school can do is to let the child express his own inner spiritual best which can be genius, if not more. To look at each of these 70 statements from ones own work point of view will be a spiritual exercise.
A- No. 18 is to move to the subtle and causal planes.
Q- Yoga means asana, etc. What do we do here is a common question. We reply we should consecrate which is next to impossible. In the early days of the Ashram, this question loomed large and someone asked Sri Aurobindo about the oldest disciple and said the general feeling was he was not doing yoga. Sri Aurobindo replied by a question that if he was not doing yoga, who else was doing it?
A- So, the question is how do we know we are doing yoga? And one answer is we should be moving to the subtle and causal planes.
Q- He says the first siddhi is to know the subliminal moves the surface which means the subtle plane opens. Many people have subtle vision. Only that one is unable to distinguish between the subtle vital and subtle spiritual. What is difficult to distinguish is the spiritual is expansive and elevating while the vital is muddy, dark and impure. Seeing Mother in dreams is to get the Darshan in the subtle plane.
A- One who is known for dishonesty acts honestly. This is transformation and necessarily in the causal plane. The man gets the result of honesty, unable to see the atmosphere is purer than the purity of spirit.
Q- Someone took exalted passages of English literature and some passages of abuse and showed the language varied accordingly. It is a subtle knowledge to be able to perceive the difference which cant easily be explained.
A- Causal can be detected in some ways.
1. If this is the first act of its kind in the world.
2. If any transformation is involved.
3. When things precipitate at once they must be good things.
4. When the part sees the whole or appreciates the opposite point of view.
Q- Lord Mountbatten came to India in April 1947 with a mandate to complete the work in June 1948. He did so in August 1947. Events then marched with a speed unknown. We know HIS force was there behind and it was causal, not subtle. When his most efficient lieutenant was baffled by Mountbattens request to draft a plan that needed the time, work and thought of months, seeing the Viceroys face, he offered to do so in 15 days. Mounbatten wanted it that evening and it was done. That is the speed of the causal plane.
A- No. 19 is we create what we want -- tatasthu.
Maya is the consciousness of the Absolute. It creates by Self-conception. It creates what it wants. Looking at what we do and removing the social, psychological predilections, it must be easily seen that we create what we want.
Q- There will be a spiritual revolution if only man knows what he wants. Or if he wants what he really needs. Elsewhere, in showing that ultimately the decision is ours, we have cleared the main difficulty about this argument. It will be a BOON if man is conscious of this power of his.
A- Consciousness splitting into knower, knowledge and known is 20.
Q- Creation is possible only when there is movement, play, division. Unity does not permit a universe. The three poises of Supermind are God, Jiva, Ego. God is the knower forever. Consciousness does not actually divide, but concentrates in three ways.
A- This happens all along the way.
1. Sat splits into three -- Sat, Chit, Ananda.
2. Sat itself splits into Atma, Purusha, Ishwara.
3. Consciousness does so into knowledge and power.
4. Ananda is found as Beauty, Love and Joy.
5. Each of the 8 or 12 spiritual determinants divides into three as knower, knowledge and known or Lover, Love and Beloved.
6. Supermind too takes three poises as said above.
Q- No. 22 is the Upanishadic formula.
· God is in all is the basis of our oneness with all.
· All is in God.
· All is in each.
· Each is in all.
Mind saw that each is in all and is not able to see all in ourselves. This is how spiritual selfishness developed.
A- No.26 -- Incapacity for exertion becomes capacity.
The divided parts that are incapable of uniting exerting themselves to do so, evolve the hidden psychic and thus rise. What we consider an incapacity is an occasion for the Nature to exert to secure exertion. Such an exertion brings in capacity. As we take failure as an occasion for a greater success, here incapacity is portrayed.
Q- No.27 is Life taking the bodily sensation to the mind.
A- Here a few points are to be noted.
1. This process integrates mind and body.
2. It brings the body under the control of the mind.
3. It explains the evolutionary role of life.
4. Here is the process of ascent.
5. Sensation is the thought of the body and thought is the mental sensation and therefore one changes into another.
Q- The ancients shunned life saying it is evil. Sri Aurobindo says Life is a specialisation of Force and here HE gives an explanation of that Force working for the ascent of evolution.
A- The idea that thought originates in the body is thus described.
Q- So, Silence will mature or will be saturated when the thought shed at the mental level is dissolved at its roots in the body.
A- Yes. Before any act originated there was Silence. Therefore, Silence and for a similar reason Peace are called God.
Q- Does Existence become reabsorbed into the Absolute through the intermediate stage of Silence?
A- I do not remember reading anything like that, but the two statements,
1. Silence sustains activity and
2. Silence behind Silence
taken together give credence to your description.
Q- I think this comes under the idea that each level of ascent generates a descent on all the parts below to saturation.
A- It is a cardinal principle of HIS. It endorses the idea of a whole. The ascent by itself is part. The ascent taken together with the descent is a whole.
Q- Such a whole is built gradually at each stage of ascent. Here the descent is from mind to matter.
A- No. 29 is Ananda inverts into the psychic being.
The inversion is HIS own idea.
It is part of the process of creation.
It is self-absorption.
The psychic is HIS own creation in Yoga.
It is this that makes Matter Delight of existence.
By taking the psychic on, HE extends the seven planes of the ancients to eight and quotes their idea that it could be ten or twelve.
The idea of static Bliss converting into active Delight belongs to this plane.
Q- The four above invert into four below. This is No. 3. This is in combination with No. 29. Mind sees the four above and four below. It is incapable of seeing all the eight together. Mind, the highest instrument of the Rishis saw all the 8, not at once and understood each one of them. It needs the Supermind to see all of them at once simultaneously. It is a vision of the whole. That can see the lower four are the inversion of the higher four.
A- The uneducated informed common man who knows of the Parliament and the Government may not clearly know that the government is created by the Parliament. He may know both, but may not know politics enough to know how one is created by the other.
Q- To know both is different from knowing that both belong to a single whole.
A- The common man knows someone is arrested by the police. He may not know that the police cannot arrest anyone without a warrant issued by the magistrate.
Q- No. 31 says evolution is possible as all the eight planes are of the same substance. I wonder why Sri Aurobindo makes this statement.
A- We know that transition from one walk of life is not possible from another walk of life. Once specialisation emerges, it is not generally possible to shift from one subject to another. An IAS officer cannot be a politician but he can become a governor as the governor's post belongs to the administration.
Q- We eat rice and vegetables and drink milk. As all belong to the same type of substance, they are digested by our system. Sri Aurobindo raises this question on behalf of the reader and answers it. To one who may doubt the possibility of evolution, he says evolution has no obstacle as all the planes are of the same substance. Sri Aurobindo often raises questions on our behalf and answers them. The pity is, those questions do not arise in our minds.
A- When Sri Aurobindo declares the Spirit moves Matter, the inner moves the outer, we accept it. Someone has asked how and why.
Q- The outer is the Becoming; the inner is the Being. The Being of the Becoming includes the outer as well as the inner and is centred in the inner. Sri Aurobindo means by Spirit the evolving Spirit. Obviously Matter which is the outer is moved by the Spirit which is the Being of the Becoming.
A- In Silent Will we see the phenomenon of the inner moving the outer. The why is answered by "as the inner includes the outer, it is so moved".
Q- The inner here is the supramental to which there is no outer, as it is the One. The Supermind feels the outer objects as itself and finds them inside its own person.
A- How do we get that power?
Q- We speak out an instruction. Sometimes it is not carried out. When we shift to the inner and exercise Silent Will, it is done. This is to shift from oral instruction to silent mental instruction. It is the surface mind of running thoughts. The Silence of the mind is the Silence in the inner mind where dwells the Purusha. Silence here is powerful as it is mental silence.
A- Thoughts originate not in the mind but in the body.
Q- Silence can move from the mind to the vital and finally to the body. It is the silence of the physical which is more powerful than the silence of the mind or vital.
A- To reach that Silence, one should cross the inner mind and enter the subliminal mind. Thoughts from there will move the outer matter.
Q- In work, when work stalls, we at once move to a deeper layer and move the non-moving work. When work does not move, we can move inside and learn to move the same work from a deeper point. Such a practice will raise all opportunities as well as all obstacles and will make continuous learning possible.
A- Moving the outer from the inner can be explained from the points of view of several chapters. To consider it from as many points of view as possible helps. The following chapters are relevant.
Chapter I - Contradictions.
Chapter II - Matter and Spirit are one.
Chapter IV - There is ONE and only one.
Chapter V and VI - Reconciling vertically and horizontally.
Chapter XXVIII - Harmony in the fibre of our being.
Chapter 56 - Most momentous discovery of man.
It is true that this theme can be explained from the point of view of each of the 70 principles we listed. What is necessary is to understand the import.
Q- You have not mentioned the three dimensions of Time.
A- Yes. It is also important. The Brahman becomes the Being. The Being changes into Becoming. All the time the Brahman is there always. The Being is Brahman, the Becoming is the Brahman. To see the Becoming as Being is perfect sight. You can say Becoming is Matter, Being is Spirit and Being of the Becoming is the Brahman that includes Being and Becoming. By centring oneself inside in the Brahman, one can move Matter that is Becoming. It is the Spirit moving Matter.
Q- Putting it several ways raises the comprehension by varying repetition. I have found that greater appreciation of The Life Divine emerges when we consider ONE idea there in the light of every other idea of the book.
A- Does it make for integration of knowledge? Can you illustrate?
Q- We can take the above one inner and outer and see how it integrates with almost each idea of the Book. Some six are mentioned above. Time is not there in the list. The Eternal is the Individual also is not there. Let me hear how Time fits into the theme of the inner moving the outer?
A- HE gives three dimensions of Time. We can assign other characteristics to them.
Time Becoming Outer.
Timelessness Being Inner.
Simultaneous Time Being of the Becoming.
This is the 3rd dimension of Time that is inner, which includes the outer.
Man in Time moving to the 3rd dimension of Time can move the outer by the inner.
Q- Can you repeat it for the Eternal and the Individual?
A- Ego shedding itself emerges as Purusha. This is world Purusha individualising the worldexperience in the individual. One can see that external world-experience inside and its Being or Purusha is the Transcendent.
Time is Ego.
Timelessness the world Purusha.
Simultaneous Time Transcendent Self.
The Transcendent Self, the inner, can move the outer ego.
Q- No. 32 -- the world is created by the Supermind, not mind.
A- This is the chapter on 'Cosmic Determinants'. They are an answer to the tradition, scientists and the materialists.
Q- I know the chapter well, but would like to hear the gist again. If the significance can be brought out, it is good.
A- I II
Mind created the world. Supermind created the world.
Karma rules. There is no Karma.
We cannot explain creation. We can explain the process of creation.
Death is inevitable. Death is not inevitable.
Spirit is immutable. Spirit evolves.
Moksha is the goal. Transformation is the goal.
Shun life. Accept Life.
Q- Summarise the chapter.
1. A- Chance and order simultaneously present is the cosmic paradox.
2. God becoming the world answers, resolving the mystery.
3. Evil in the world is unexplained.
4. Evil is not in creation. It is only for the ego.
5. The Infinite creates by Self-conception a Form that carries the Force of existence, which evolves through a rhythm and a process in appropriate circumstances.
6. Force evolving out of Form is Matter emerging out of Mind, i.e., Mind dominates over Matter.
7. So, the clue must be discovered in Mind.
8. Mind is noisy. Yogic Silence is necessary.
9. Individual Mind could not have created, but a mind that is universal could have created the world.
10. Overmind has NO unity.
11. Supermind has unity. Therefore, it could have created the world.
Q- Explain the significances of the main arguments.
A- The scientist, the Vedantin, the materialist see the world as finite. They see the world by the Mind. So, they see either chance or order one at a time. They cannot see both as part of a single whole. Supermind can do it. It sees life infinite. There is no mystery any longer. It is natural to think that the world is created as a workman creates an object. Mind can only see so. To the Supermind, God and world are ONE. Sri Aurobindo hypothesizes that God became the world.
Q- How does evil disappear?
A- It does NOT disappear. It is explained differently. God, who seeks Delight hides into Himself and separates himself as ego from Himself. This separation causes pain and creates evil. Coming out of ego, there is no evil, no pain. Pain is pain of separation.
Q- Well, isn't that pain REAL? How can we say there is no suffering created in the world?
A- Even that pain is only for the surface, not the subliminal. Only the subliminal is the real being, not the surface.
Q- The joy of the subliminal appears to be pain on the surface. It is only an appearance.
A- Can we say the pain is for the Ignorance?
Q- We can say that. One who wants to enjoy Ignorance enjoys it as pain.
A- No. 33 is The Reality is ONE, mind sees it as Many, mistaking the parts or aspects for the whole. The nation is a whole, the political parties see only their own interests and see them as the whole interest of the nation. Thus, they create problems that are non-existent. Families do so. In an office, severe competition is often set up between various sections. To go back to an earlier analogy, what is the idea of the parts of the bodies contending with each other ignoring the fact that all are parts of a single body.
Q- The Supermind sees the world as one, without problems and a marvel. The mind sees the same world in misery and wants to improve its conditions.
A- Christians want to save souls from going to hell. Indians want to initiate people into spirituality. Britain was on a two-century mission of civilising the world. The former USSR wanted to raise the standards of living of the labourers all over the world. What do we want? We want people to evolve. What then is the difference? Are all these great movements, movements of folly?
Q- No knowledge is valid if it is not self-knowledge.
A- Can we say Jesus, Buddha and Krishna worked in vain?
Q- Nothing is in vain. Each has its place in the scheme of things. Each man or movement when it exhausts itself will discover there is a better method.
A- Our answer must be rational and practical.
Q- Each man exerts himself according to his best light, which is a way of life.
A- I am a devotee. How shall I act?
Q- I must understand what the Master says. HE says 'don't take initiative.' Therefore we must desist from taking initiative. We have a personality of our own. We can't overrule it. Our net result is a compromise between the active urges of our personality and the ideal we have learnt.
A- I wish to hear more on 'Life progresses by consciousness and consciousness by organisation.'
Q- Energy - Life - Consciousness - Organisation - Spirit is a chain.
A- Existence is before energy and Being is beyond Spirit.
Q- I wish to concentrate on ORGANISATION.
A- Elsewhere we have been considering money and Internet as organisation and declare that to know money as organisation is to get more out of our own money.
Q- If this is true, what is the secret of organisation? Why not consider education as organisation, as in our view education is the yoga of society?
A- Organisation is the effective skill of the society. Two results flow out of it.
1. What an individual does is limited to the individual while, if the same thing is done by the society, everyone will be benefitted.
2. In case of society taking over the work of the individual, the benefit of the individual can increase manifold. To organise is to give to everyone in the organisation the skill possessed by one single lone individual.
Q- Explain education in this sense.
A- Education is social organisation. The society has collected the essence of its experience as its own wisdom and devised a system by which it can be passed on to posterity in a short period. The experience is not directly collected as experience, but as its essence which means the physical experience is collected by the mind as its own knowledge.
Q- So, it is a fund of knowledge. How can this be communicated to posterity? In what form?
A- What was lived as experience in one era, comes to another era as laws, truths, knowledge, values, etc.
Q- Society that long valued Time settles on punctuality.
A- Yes. Societies that were wiped out by promiscuity take to monogamy. Having long practised corruption, suddenly society discovers the value of incorruptible integrity.
Q- Then education is the essence of past experience.
A- That is the core. To administer it to the young of the society, a system is called for.
Q- Of course, the organisation of education is multifaceted. One gets educated when he knows the value of education. Knowing education as an ORGANISATION, he is able to serve the society and also receive an enormous benefit from it.
A- There is only one knowledge in the society. One can get it in many ways. Here we discuss education. An organisation organises the result, augmenting it many times. Social knowledge is mostly in potential. A system liberally draws upon it. It does so from below. By doing so from above, the results will be many times greater.
Q- Man is on the mental plane. The organised effort of yoga takes him across several planes to the Superconscient. So, education when approached as an organisation instead of a social skill to be acquired can open the heavens. It has the power to create geniuses.
A- No.34 is Eternal is the Individual.
Q- The Rishis who had said the Individual is Brahman, have also denied reality to the Individual. Why?
A- To know is different from doing it. We do not do things we know to be true. The Rishis had seen the reality is Brahman and everything is Brahman. But we do not act from our understanding. We act from our vital. The Individual was not real to the vital of the Rishi.
Q- This being an important principle, I wish to consider it from as many views as possible.
A- Firstly, we need to know why HE says that.
Q- As there is ONE and only ONE, the Individual is, of course, the Eternal. Sri Aurobindo's position is the eternal became the world in Ignorance, became the Individual in evolution which is evolving into the Eternal. So, the Individual has the reality of the Eternal. The Rishis conceived that the only reality in yoga is the Superconscient and all else does not have that reality. Their reality is in ignorance only.
A- We should see it in terms of the 3rd dimension of Time.
The Individual is in Time.
The Eternal is in Timelessness.
The Eternal emerging in the Individual is in the 3rd dimension of Time.
Q- Can we see it as contradictions?
The Eternal in Timelessness and the Individual in Time are in contradiction. The Eternal emerging in the Individual as Godhead on earth is to reconcile the contradiction and see they are really complements. The one becoming the other is the reconciliation. The ONE Brahman splits into the Superconscient Eternal and the Individual in evolution. The Individual evolving to be the Superconscient removes the contradiction.
A- We say the Individual is in the outer, the Eternal is in the inner. The one evolving into the other is in the inner that includes the outer.
Q- Can we think of a life example?
A- We can, but it will not be fully appropriate. The teacher teaching the child is an action in the outer where the Individual of the child is built up. The boy learning on his own is in the inner and can be said to be the Eternal for him. The boy going in and learning as the Eternal in him would learn is the third dimension of Time. In other words, what the teacher consciously induces in the child, the child himself seeks on his own.
Q- What is the role of the teacher?
A- To teach the child to think is very difficult. To teach the child NOT to think and BE himself, the teacher has to provide the child the environment which the genius is born with.
Q- Do you think it is possible?
A- An MIT professor of computer science says the productive forces released in the society are 10% of the present world economy. Considering their respective volumes at present, the professor says it works out to be 100,000% more than the industrial economy.
Q- That is a thousand times more. It is to say Internet has the ability to multiply the present productivity a thousand times.
A- It is possible to conduct secluded experiments or show from statistics HOW this transition takes place. A thousand times greater intelligence is an I.Q. of 100,000.
Q- I do not doubt that. I am asking whether it is possible for the teacher.
A- I.Q. of over 180 is considered genius. With that great possibility, 180 is not impossible to achieve.
Q- Maybe it is possible in one case.
A- If it is possible in one case, it will be possible in all cases when the method is organised into a system.
Q- A method becomes a SYSTEM when the information is impersonal. Or, one man's method becomes a general system when people are capable of picking up the subtle skills demanded by the work.
A- That is what we call social maturity with respect to that work. We can call it change of consciousness by change of attitude.
Q- Why does the attitude change? Or how does it change?
A- Attitude changes when understanding changes. New information changes the existing attitude. Education brings in new information.
Q- Education is the descent of mind on the body. Suppose we want to pursue the inquiry to the end, at the bottom of this descent is the ascent by energy and work, all of which begins with the beginning of movement of No.9 to No.8 on the scale of 1 to 9. The very first movement of Matter is by self-conception, which is the evolutionary version of Self-conception of the Absolute.
A- No. 35 is the Absolute never ceases to be the Absolute.
Q- Tradition posits a difference between the Absolute and the relative. Now that difference has become an unbridgeable gulf.
A- Sri Aurobindo makes matters simple saying,
The Absolute became the universe and the world.
It exists in eight planes in different intensities.
The appearance changes, not the inner content.
Even that appearance is to the Mind that views and not the object that is viewed.
Not only mind, but each plane perceives It as itself, not as It really is.
Mind is in the plane of Force and sees Force as Force, not as something that issues from Being.
His example is if a vessel is made of gold, the vessel too is gold. It does not cease to be gold.
All that is on earth is earth, is of earth. Earth is the fifth extension of material force which is Spiritual Force viewed by Mind. The Spirit is the experience of Sat which emanates from the Absolute. All, therefore, find their origin in the Absolute. By changing the appearance, the Absolute does not change Itself. Dosai or idli does not cease to be rice because it is so cooked. The dress does not cease to be cotton or polyester or nylon as it becomes a dress. We know hate is inverted love, darkness is dense light, Ignorance is knowledge self-absorbed.
Q- No.36. The law of contradictions is not the final arbiter. We see the truth in this phenomenon often, but it never makes an impression on us.
· The college team is composed of the best players in the two opposite teams in the college sports.
· The two families that were in a feud find their children -- Romeo and Juliet -- fall in love and die for each other.
· A litigant when he goes to appeal sometimes employs the lawyer who opposed his case as he finds him able.
· Enemies in a war are allies in the next war.
· Contending parties in local elections are companions in the Assembly elections.
· Separated couples frequently find their united life more intimate than before.
- The two opposing teams were created to sharpen their skills so that they may win at the state level.
- The two families were in a feud for a generation to outgrow the experience of hatred.
- To the client the case is more important than who the lawyer is. He can go one step beyond which he does not.
- Winning the cause overcomes prejudices of a previous enmity.
- Village is more important than election battle.
- Marriage is more important than personal prestige.
Contradictions are created by Mind whereas creation does not end with the mental plane. To consider contradictions final is to consider mind the only plane. Contradictions of the mental plane are not valid in that limited sense either above the mind or below in the vital and body planes. Even within the plane of Mind one contradiction is not valid in another context of the same plane. Contradictions have complete use and significance in a limited role. To make it the final arbiter is neither possible nor necessary.
A- The ONE Absolute manifested as Sat as well as Asat. The contradictions we see in life are an expression of that. To overcome the contradictions is to go back to the Absolute.
Q- At our level, can we say, if we overcome the contradictions we move from mind to Supermind?
A- Yes. The Supermind is a plane which retains its relations to the Absolute. No. 37 is 'Not Time, but Supermind has created the world'.
Q- What about Supramental Time?
A- The Supermind exists in Time as well as Timelessness. Mind links both planes.
Q- Does not Sat create the universe by extending One into the Many? Again, it extends into Time and Space. Are they not creation of the world or the universe?
A- Sat extends Itself in five or six ways and they all enable the Supermind to create the universe. It is by its cosmic determinism that Supermind creates the world. Even the ONE is determined as the Many by the Supermind. The Mind is its subordinate power. Mind creates life and Matter which constitute the world.
Q- Our question really is whether Mind--Brahma--created the world or Time created the world. If either of them is true the theory of Sri Aurobindo will not find a right exposition.
A- How do they conflict?
Q- Sri Aurobindo has left them unanswered but has given all the parts of the answer for us to know it.
A- Let us not exercise our minds in areas HE left untouched. The main question is we have to accept the contradictions of life as final if we believe that Mind has created the world.
Q- Maybe we will tend to believe in Karma too.
A- If we concede that Time has created the world, it will lead to the possibility of the dissolution of the world when we move into Timelessness. The Marvel, the 3rd dimension of Time, the fulfilment He speaks of will have no further reality. If Time created the world, the world moving into Timelessness dissolves. Sri Aurobindo posits that the world can exist in Time, or Timelessness. It can move into Simultaneous Time.
Q- HIS position is the world is Brahman, a whole, an integrated whole. Neither Time nor Timelessness is a whole; both are parts and cannot contain a world that is a whole. The Absolute is such a whole in its original status and comes back to such a whole in its evolution. This is spiritual evolution. In such an evolution of SPIRIT, the wholeness of the world emerges as a Marvel. The idea of Time creating the world is of the Mind, partial, erroneous.
A- No. 38 is -- unless the world is divinely explained, nothing is explained.
Q- This is from the Chapter "Divine and Undivine" where HE says the positive can be fully enjoyed only when the negative is fully known.
A- Why should it be so?
Q- Theoretically the positive and negative are parts. To know the whole one should experience both. But there seems to be more. By experiencing the negative, one gets the taste of the thing behind the negative which is of the whole.
A- Not clear.
Q- We do not know how thieves live. To us they do not exist. By not knowing them we think we lose nothing. Suppose one is a jail superintendent, he will know the mind of the robbers, pickpockets, etc. Among them there is a code of behaviour which will be upheld at all costs. There we see that these criminals are TRUE to each other, they do not spare their efforts for decades to wreak vengeance upon their enemies on behalf of their comrades. Darkness, we see, lives by light. Or Falsehood is sustained by Truth. This is essential knowledge one cannot afford to miss. Simply put, in adversity one knows those who are his real friends. It is a rare knowledge. Those who become bankrupt, will know the errors they must avoid.
A- In Sri Aurobindo's sense, the Absolute descended into creation as opposites and evolves to reconcile them. Therefore, the negative is something to be experienced, not omitted. There is a businessman who asks everyone he meets, 'Have you lost money? If not, you will not know the business secrets." The experience of the negative teaches the value of the positive.
Q- Similarly those who have not experienced affection, goodness, or affluence cannot emerge out of the cruel grip of disease or poverty. Otherwise, he would think poverty is inevitable. The existence of affluence, its caressing touch of human personality enables him to know the transitory nature of poverty and its cruelty.
A- Life has two sides. The fortunate are on the right side. One needs to experience both sides before fullness emerges in his life.
Q- The knowledge of Self-existent Goodness, however exalted it is, is incomplete without experiencing organised meanness tending to evil actuated by perversity. The further knowledge that meanness, evil and perversity are the intentional inversion of that Self-existent Good liberates one from Ignorance.
A- So, it is the subliminal that pushes the surface to seek things it does not like so that the aims of subliminal will be served. Hence obstacles are opportunities.
Q- No. 39 is 'The Negative is not the opposite of the positive but what is not covered by it'. This is explained in No.38. Explained by a business example or a family event, it will be clear. That may be superfluous.
A- I should like one.
Q- All successful men at the moment of great success know they are positively guided by their earlier failures. We are after social success, affluence, etc. No one crosses that level and seeks even psychological aims. Neither will do for yoga. My approach is to live the social life according to the understanding of life by the ideas of yoga.
A- We concentrate on one aspect of work and excel. The other aspect neglected slowly earns dislike and later becomes rival or enemy. Lawyers concentrate on court appearance and slowly come to treat the judge's office as the enemy. It becomes a wall of prejudice. Seniors know the value of office. The experience in the court is those lawyers who command the support of the office become most successful. The office is considered negative.
Q- Can you apply it to marriage?
A- It is only these issues which will gain precision. Also, it is these people who will easily turn off because of sensitivity.
Q- Is there a secret?
A- A spouse comes to complete one's personality. Man makes it into an occasion of conflict.
Q- How can a marriage become successful?
A- I am sure, you are NOT asking how love can emerge in marriage and grow. You are perhaps asking how a divorce can be avoided?
Q- Of course, that is my question, but I shall be interested to know whether it is possible for love to survive in a marriage.
A- The simple fact is we do NOT have the consideration to the spouse we have for our intimate friends whose sweet relationship has survived for long. Friendships as well as partnerships survive because of good manners.
Q- Good manners issuing from goodwill keep friendships alive.
A- In a marriage the occasions to dominate the other, or where one thinks he can dominate are many. No one, however docile one is, MISSES such opportunities.
Q- The lasting marriage will be proofs of this. What about love?
A- The premarital love is attraction, not love. The question of love surviving marriage arises only in cases where there was love before marriage.
Q- Does it mean I do not know what love is?
A- Love is selfless. Youthful attraction speaks of energy of youth, not love. Love where it exists seeks the fulfilment of the other's aspiration.
Q- In such a case, it may be rare.
A- We do not distinguish between Romance and Love.
Q- I do not know that distinction.
A- There can be Romance outside Love and vice versa.
Q- I have thought only in terms of Romantic Love.
A- Had there been Love, how can it die? Love knows no death. Attraction can pass away. Liking can turn into disliking.
Q- How does it die?
A- It is better to say that Love remains unfulfilled, instead of saying love is dead.
Q- It is unfulfilled when it is one sided.
A- The question arises whether true love has not been born in the human context.
Q- Perhaps human life as it is does not permit Love to be born. If it is born, it is one sided. If it is from both sides, as in Romeo and Juliet, it is fulfilled in death.
A- Divine Love is Love. It is love for the Divine, not for the spouse.
Q- Perhaps the ONE ideal that stirs up humanity is Love.
A- Any touch of that Love awakens all senses in man. Love came into creation to reunite it with the Divine. That spiritual love or divine love finds its own version in human circumstances. Hence its attraction.
Q- How does the negative become positive in love?
A- Man in love is not aware of any negative side at all. As love recedes, the negative surfaces. Love that is there can never see the negative side at all. The merest surface manners refuse to see the negative side. Character trains itself to be incapable of seeing the negative. Spiritual vision sees the whole positive.
Q- So if men of character endowed with good manners marry similar women, they will preserve the marriage.
A- Yes. That reduces to the formula of not trying to dominate the other. Spiritually, it is trying to surrender to the other.
Q- Suppose a person is in love with another in the real sense of the word, marries one who is also in love with him, will that love last forever?
A- This is an impossible hypothesis. Still, assuming it to be so, such a love will be everlasting.
Q- What is the objection to this hypothesis?
A- Humans seek occasions in marriage for a growth of their psychology. Even when the boy and girl make it as their own choice, as it is done in unconsciousness, the one who is in love will choose another incapable of love.
Q- Is there an ideal condition in which the love in one's marriage can last?
A- There is none as humanity knows. In case one is adventurous, he can seek another CONSCIOUSLY who is capable of love and assuming such a one is available, he can try to maintain it. For that he must function from the subliminal or make values normal in life.
Q- The aim here should not be marriage, but love.
A- Exactly. That is why it cannot be practical. Love of that level moves into the realms of Spirituality which is presently alien to domestic life.
Q- This will be a new experiment where he must give up sex relations.
A- That is why I said, it will remain in the realm of the ideal. It does not mean it is utterly impossible, but it is very difficult, as husband and wife must rise above the physical life into the vital energy and mental idealism based on the spiritual light.
Q- As Ishwara Shakti is the principle of creation, my feeling, however remote it is, is that it must be possible.
A- That is possible and is easy to explain. Its main ideas are,
Physical life is animal life.
Love must be felt not as an idea, but as an inspiration.
Self-less self-giving must be the only rule of relationship.
It is possible for the soul on the surface-being.
Childbirth is to insist on physical life.
Romance and adventure are to overcome knots in the inner psychological make up.
Energies of all descriptions will overflow.
What are the indices for one to qualify?
Must be born in affluence.
Must be brought up in an atmosphere saturated with affection.
No one who has done so far should have failed.
Should not have offended any one.
Must be devoid of ambition or jealousy.
The smile of the soul must don the face.
To please must be an article of faith.
Q- That is quite something.
A- No.40 is 'There is no illusion. It is Ignorance.'
Q- Shankara created the theory of illusion. To him the world is an illusion. Sri Aurobindo in two chapters explains HIS view that what Shankara calls illusion is really Ignorance. No. 41 is what is NOT there, mind cannot conceive of. To reply to Shankara in his own words -- illusion is an illusion. Mind is of the Supermind. Supermind creates all and Mind can see all. Mind cannot see what Supermind has not created. That is how Sri Aurobindo changes Shankara's illusion into evolutionary Ignorance. Also HE declares the two analogies of rope and hallucination won't hold, as dream and hallucination are real and not illusions.
A- No. 42 is 'Ignorance is inversion of knowledge.'
Q- We know HIS philosophy overcomes the shortcomings of the Rishis by HIS theory of Ignorance.
A- One of the major defects of our tradition is it is unable to explain the presence of evil. It is incapable of explaining the world divinely.
Q- HE calls evil not evil but Ignorance and says it can be overcome, overcoming separation. He is the only one who has given a solution to evil. To HIM there is no negative. Assertion of ego enables the simple contrary to the complex evil.
A- So, evil, Ignorance, negative, ego, separation, surface go together.
Q- Yes. That is the right understanding.
A- Vedas and the Vedantic Rishis tried to define Knowledge and Ignorance first separating God and the world. So, they could not handle the problem evil is.
Q- We start saying God and the world are one and therefore Knowledge and Ignorance are one, which means evil and good are one.
A- That is why HE says Ignorance is an inversion of knowledge.
Q- How does the inversion occur?
A- Knowledge is that which knows on each of the 7 planes of existence the truth of that plane. In the descent, knowledge moves down, moving away from each of the higher planes. Ignorance accrues thus.
1. Knowledge that moves away from the Absolute turns into original Ignorance as it forgets the origin.
2. Next is the cosmic Ignorance.
3. Universal Ignorance follows.
4. Here it moves into temporal Ignorance.
5. In the lower hemisphere, it starts with the ignorance of the other worlds.
6. Parts of the being not knowing each other is called constitutional Ignorance.
7. Last comes the practical Ignorance of not knowing what to do.
Q- Can you briefly explain each of them?
A- The salient points in this are,
1. Practical Ignorance will persist until original Ignorance dissolves.
2. Constitutional Ignorance is the crux, as it is here separation is established.
3. A break must begin here.
4. We live in the physical world. The universe exists in several worlds where hostile forces, subtle forces, cosmic forces, spiritual forces live. All of them are in touch with our lives. As soon as we act out of the routine, the concerned forces sail into action. Protection from them comes from occult knowledge.
5. Cosmic Self reveals when ego is dissolved.
6. To move away from Time, one should move away from the surface.
Q- What then is the taste of Ignorance?
A- That is the prerogative of human choice.
Q- Does it mean we enjoy ignorance?
A- God has created the world to enjoy the taste of Ignorance.
Q- It means HIS meaning of Ignorance is different.
A- To HIM Ignorance is to forget HIMSELF.
Q- I do not understand the idea of taste of ignorance.
A- It only means enjoyable unconsciousness.
Q- I can understand either or both, not in combination.
A- It means man is vital.
Q- Why should anyone love Ignorance?
A- One loves what one is.
Q- What then is awakening?
A- The Becoming is Ignorance. Being is Knowledge. Parts of being love Ignorance. The psychic loves knowledge.
Q- Ignorance wanting to know knowledge or become knowledge is awakening in this yoga.
A- Awakening means knowing I am ignorant.
Q- That is the one thing inconceivable to man. To him he is the repository of wisdom.
A- Next is 43. Analysis of action moves away to ego and Purusha.
Q- What HE calls action here is a mental movement such as thought or hunger or anger.
A- What is analysis?
Q- When we do not analyse we become the action -- anger or hunger. Analysis is thinking. To think we must be away from the object of anger or thought.
A- Thinking is a mental act.
Q- Does mind act by detaching itself from its action?
A- Yes. Ego is in the mind as its part.
Q- Ego is Purusha's external appearance in Ignorance.
A- Thinking separates ego and the action.
Q- Purusha is ego and ego is action. Thinking is an exertion of mind to detach itself from itself and stand apart to know what it is. That is called analysis.
A- Thinking is the process by which vital and mental are separated.
Q- Mind is submerged in the vital. Thinking emancipates the mind. Initially the mind sees the anger as a separate entity. Further thinking reveals the ego and finally the Purusha is seen.
A- Thinking emancipates mind from the vital and releases the Purusha that is buried in the mind.
Q- The Purusha is in the inner mind.
A- Thinking opens the inner mind.
Q- What will open the subliminal?
Q- Distinguish between thinking and consecration.
A- Thinking activates the light Purusha of the mind. Consecration makes the surface FULL and opens it to the fullness of the subliminal. Therefore thinking is of no help to us here.
Q- No.44 is Reality is wholly known when the Spirit and Nature are discovered in the surface and the depth.
A- Can you please distinguish this from the position of tradition?
Q- The tradition confined itself to the surface.
A- Sri Aurobindo speaks of the surface as well as ego with respect to the tradition.
Q- He also says that the Rishis have not gone beyond the Akshara Brahmam the immutable Self. So these three go together?
A- The Subliminal is the entire life, called the depth. The surface is its limited inversion.
Q- Distinguish between the surface and subliminal more fully.
A- Our entire being belongs to the surface. The whole earth goes into the surface.
Q- Then the subliminal covers what? What about the subconscient? Is not earth the inconscient? How can earth belong to the surface?
A- The subconscient is a whole. It has unity. It does not belong to the surface, not the inconscient earth. In one sense they do not belong to the surface. The earth belongs to the surface in our common parlance. All that our minds conceive of earth and its life belong to the surface.
Q- The surface being is the limited inversion of the whole that the subliminal is. It is created to complete the perfection of Ignorance. Traditional yogas remained there. As ego is there presiding over the surface being, their realisations become egoistic realisations. They rise up to the immutable Brahman. Realisation of the partial being takes us to a partial realisation of the Akshara Brahmam.
A- To have a full realisation we must go further, abolish the division between the depth and the surface. Now we know Nature on the surface and Spirit in the depth. To discover both in both places gives us a full realisation.
Q- No. 45 is the four types of knowledge: surface, subliminal, intuitional and knowledge by identity.
A- The definitions are easy but to know their import is difficult.
1. Surface knowledge is what we have through the senses. The object outside -- a person or a thing -- is represented to us by the sensation of seeing or touch, etc. This is sensational knowledge. It is separative knowledge acquired indirectly through the senses.
2. Subliminal knowledge is the same as sensational one, except that its reach is far wider. It is instinctual knowledge. One knows what is outside his sense reach.
3. Intuitional knowledge is not reached by senses, rather by avoiding the senses. Mind gets this knowledge directly, not through the senses.
4. Knowledge by identity. Here one becomes identified with the object and therefore neither the medium of the senses nor intuition is called for.
Q- Can you offer greater explanations?
A- No. 1 of surface knowledge needs no explanation. No. 2 is the subliminal is the point or plane where the subconscient meets the Superconscient. Imagine a world of light above and darkness below. The above is Superconscient and the below is subconscient. The entire history of earth is in the subconscient. It is the inversion of the superconscient. They meet at a plane. The meeting plane is subliminal. It is universal. The Subliminal is the evolving head of the subconscient by the touch of the superconscient. The Inconscient by evolution becomes subconscient. Nature is trying to perfect Ignorance. As the universe in its attempt to intensify its consciousness creates the individuals, the subliminal in order to perfect its Ignorance, creates the surface by sealing off a small portion. The sealing off is achieved by twisting the subliminal so as to prevent the surface to disperse into the subliminal. Within the Surface Nature tries to perfect Ignorance by confining knowledge into ego, mind and Time. Therefore one reaches the subliminal from the surface by emerging out of the ego, Time and Mind all of which make the infinite knowledge finite.
- When giving up selfish egoistic attitudes, one emerges out of ego.
- By not dwelling on the future or the past, one comes out of Time into Timelessness.
- By ceasing to think, one moves into the Silence of the Higher mind, i.e. comes out of mind.
The Rishis did so by concentration and moved from the surface to the inner mind, which is only the depth of the surface and not the subliminal. In the inner mind is situated the Purusha, a door to Nirvana and a door to the psychic. The subliminal is beyond the inner mind which CANNOT be reached by concentration but can only be reached by consecration. The psychic dwells in the subliminal cave.
- Moving to the inner mind enables one to rise to the levels of the spiritualised mind.
No.3 is the intuitional knowledge which lies below the Overmind and above the illumined Mind of the Rishi. Intuition is of the Mind, which can reach the object directly without the medium of senses, i.e. one can see with eye closed, hear shutting the ears. No.4 HE gives the only example of our being aware of our existence.
Q- No. 47 is the seven Ignorances. Knowledge becoming Ignorance is a process of 1) Self-forgetfulness, 2) inversion and 3) self-absorption. It is here Sri Aurobindo crosses Mind into Supermind, goes beyond the Rishis to see the fullness of the Absolute. To conceive that God has shed His knowledge to become Ignorance step by step by forgetting the planes of origin, cosmos, universe, Time, subtle and occult worlds and finally the fullness of the embodied being, one needs the supramental vision. HE says that will give the practical knowledge of what to do next. Vedas saw knowledge and Ignorance only in terms of God, the Upanishads saw them as two separate entities. The definitions of Knowledge and Ignorance is a major key in understanding The Life Divine. It is a pity that a well-known authority on Sri Aurobindo should declare that HE sought confirmation of His realisations in our scriptures. Our scriptures are products of Mind, an instrument of Ignorance.
Next is 47 which says there is no Ignorance in any of the planes down to Matter.
A- The planes of creation are planes in the grades of involution. They begin from Being, Consciousness, Delight, comprehension, Ignorance seeking knowledge, energy and inert Matter. The plane of Supermind is the plane of Comprehension. Mind is described as an instrument of ignorance seeking knowledge. Life is the plane of energy. Non-life is Matter. How are they created?
Being -- By the Self-conception of the Absolute.
Consciousness -- By the Being desiring to be conscious of itself.
Ananda - Delight -- By the consciousness desiring to experience itself.
Supermind -- By the Being wishing to comprehend itself.
Mind -- By Supermind splitting into Timeless and Time planes.
Life -- By the consciousness of Mind playing on its will.
Matter -- By the energy of Form losing its movement.
The Psychic plane lies between Matter and Life as the inversion of Delight. Matter evolving collects the essence of the experience of the soul and becomes the psychic. There is no Ignorance in any of these planes. Knowledge is one of the 12 aspects of the Spirit. When knowledge chooses to invert or self-absorb, Ignorance is created. Ignorance was created NOT as a process of creation but by the intention of the Absolute to hide in Himself so that HE may have the joy of discovery. Sri Aurobindo says that there can be a creation without Ignorance, but this creation cannot do without Ignorance.
Q- No.48 -- Ignorance is the highest product of creation. Normally it smacks of a violent contradiction, but it is true in two senses: 1. Ignorance is a later product to knowledge and, 2. Evolution begins only when Ignorance becomes perfect. In the process of transformation, the greater the Ignorance, the greater is the emerging knowledge out of it. The point at which Ignorance becomes perfect is the point where the psychic begins to emerge. Is there anything else we need to know of Ignorance?
A- Maybe we have completed the ideas about Ignorance. As far as intellectual knowledge is concerned, we have covered all points.
Q- What else is there?
A- Man's unconsciousness has two powerful expressions.
He is unaware of what he has lost.
He is equally unaware of what he has got.
Q- Maybe we discussed this too.
A- Quite possible. It does not matter how much we know, how many times we discuss it, it will all be like walking on the beach forever without ever entering the sea. You can't jump into the sea without learning to swim.
Q- What are you driving at?
A- To use something, say money, as a thing and to use it as an organisation has a vast difference. Marriage is an organisation. A man marries a woman and she enjoys FULLY the right of her being a rightful wife. There is no difference in the functional value of a concubine and a wife. The concubine is outside the society. Using money as an organisation is like elevating a concubine to wifehood. According to our view, if one can use Money as Organisation, his income of Rs.10,000/- will have a value double that, even ten times.
Q- I do not follow.
A- We have money. We use it as a thing. We lose vastly in that process. We do not know what we are losing. So, we are ignorant, we enjoy being ignorant but we do not KNOW we are losing the great evolutionary uses of knowledge. That is the extent or character of our unconsciousness.
Q- Why don't you elaborate?
A- Not only that. We don't know what we are losing by not being truthful, though we know truth is of value.
Q- Yes, Truth alone can transform us.
A- But, we refuse to be truthful and don't know we are false.
Q- What is the way out?
A- One should awake to the need of being truthful. It is called aspiration.
Q- Is there no aspiration in any of us?
A- In 'The Hymn to Mother of Radiance's' Sri Aurobindo says what aspiration is.
Q- That is a Himalayan awakening.
A- We also do not know that if we have that aspiration, Mother will accomplish the ultimate in us.
Q- Where else are we?
A- Perhaps we are still perfecting Ignorance.
That being the perfect product of creation, is it not worth aiming at? In our situation, to be aware of the fact that we are ignorant is an achievement.
Q- I wish you give me an answer that will shake me out of what I am.
A- We compromise at many points. It must stop. At some point we must be ashamed of what we are.
Q- That will work for those who live on bribes, carry tales, and exploit others.
A- I have about 15 % arrears in my office work. As no one questions me, I am not ashamed of the arrears. My clearing those arrears will introduce a serious note in my life. I am dull and insensitive enough not to worry about it.
Q- There will be many such arrears in anyone's life.
A- By removing all such areas, one will become sensitive, if no aspiration awakes.
Q- That is not enough?
A- It will keep the temple clean for aspiration to awake.
Q- Is aspiration so great a thing?
A- We are not aware how dull we are.
Q- No.48 is 'a simple contrary becomes the complex perverse evil'.
A- The ONE divides into positive and negative. The negative by neglect is upgraded into the unwanted danger and finally branded as evil. There is no real evil in life. Anywhere we keep off some persons, they take on themselves the hue of rivals or even enemies. This is an observed fact.
The next is Matter is Delight of existence, No.49.
Q- The process of creation explains how Matter came into existence. In the evolution Matter gives birth to life. In the above statement the following ideas are implied:
· Sat enjoys Bliss after becoming conscious and desiring to experience itself.
· Sat inverts as Matter.
· If the static Bliss is the experience of Sat, the experience of Matter is Delight, the active Bliss. The Joy sought by The Absolute is greater than Bliss, which emerges in Matter becoming Delight.
The next is No.50. It is 'Ignorance, Inertia and division resist the transformation of Matter'.
A- Matter is created by division. Therefore it comes last. Matter is the result of the vital losing its energy. Thus inertia arises and stands in the way of its transformation. The creation of Matter has nothing to do with Ignorance. Matter in its origin is without Ignorance. Ignorance is created by Mind by forgetting its origin of Supermind. The stages of Ignorance growing into perfection are,
Mind forgetting Supermind -- Origin of Ignorance.
Mind's identification with its work.
Mind's identification with itself.
Similar identifications with the vital.
The two-fold identification of Mind with the body.
At mind, vital and body there are two levels of consciousness and substance.
Ignorance becomes complete when the Mind identifies finally with the physical substance.
A further stage is the creation of the surface where Ignorance reaches perfection.
Q- Life must include the Transcendent is No.52.
A- This is the theme of the second chapter in the second part of the second book. Life is considered as terrestrial, cosmic, extra-cosmic and synthetic. Obviously Sri Aurobindo rejects all views other than the synthetic.
Q- We see him in the previous chapter expanding the conception of Reality to include One and the Many. He started the BOOK with the irresistible unconscious URGE of man to attain to God and find Him closing it with SURRENDER that transforms the partial human being into the integral Divine Being, shifting the centre from outside to inside.
A- The path traversed in these 56 chapters of 2 books of 3 parts can be variously described. HE himself has done it as the
1. Omnipresent Reality changing into universe in creation and seeking the JOY of evolving back through the simultaneous integrality of Time-eternity and Timeless-eternity.
2. Infinity and Eternity of Unity throwing itself into finite Time of Multiplicity and recovering it in an evolutionary JOY.
3. As explained in 1) it is also a movement of Time to the simultaneous integrality.
4. Sat self-absorbing itself into Matter to become the Delight of self-existence.
5. Reality losing Itself by seven steps into Ignorance and regaining it by another seven steps achieving the JOY HE was after through Self-discovery.
6. Process of generation of JOY by the Infinite in Itself through the medium of the Finite.
Q- Hence the importance of the twin phrases of 'Practical concept of Infinity' and 'Spiritual plane of Infinity'.
A- The Supreme Infinity of Vedic immortality is denoted by the second phrase. The first is of Sri Aurobindo's Marvel.
Q- To express the all-inclusive Reality, must Life be all-inclusive too, not excluding the Transcendent?
A- In further chapters the thought is developed, 1. to integrate the Superconscient with the subconscient, 2. raising that to be integrated above, and 3. shedding the 7 Ignorances to start evolving.
Q- Please continue the explanation till the last chapter.
A- This section is entitled, 'Knowledge and Spiritual evolution'.
Q- So far the evolution was in ignorance. Is it not?
A- When ignorance is transformed into knowledge, evolution has no further need for ignorance as a base.
Q- How is knowledge related to Spirit?
A- Knowledge or mind purified is Spirit.
Q- What then is the process of Jnana yoga?
A- Purify the mind and from there move into Pure Spirit.
Q- Oh. I see, Self-Perfection is Self-Purification.
A- It is the Spirit which became Mind, Life and Matter in involution. By evolution it emerges out.
Q- So, the Spirit that emerges, evolves? Evolves into what?
A- Spirit is the experience of Sat which is a manifestation of the Absolute. The Spirit evolves back into its Origin.
Q- The Origin is the Absolute?
A- It can be the Absolute or even Sat, the Self-Conscious Being.
Q- Can we not say the Spirit that emerged in the mind evolves to a similar emergence from the body?
A- It is right and can be stated in various ways. To be able to see the process of creation and evolution as HE details in these chapters and then summarise them into short versions (He has given one) till we arrive at a full expansion of the Upanishadic idea HE quotes (P.175) is to fully comprehend HIM. Elsewhere HE has His version of it.
Q- These 14 chapters take us from Reality to realisation of it in Life as Divine Life. I should like one of you to explain it.
A- Sri Aurobindo, in this section, takes us from the integral knowledge of Reality to its full realisation in life as Divine Life, expressing it first in the theory of life, integrating the upper and lower hemispheres in Man who ascends shedding the 7 ignorances, rather transforming them into corresponding 7 knowledge so that the liberated soul will complete its spiritual evolution in the same body, qualifying him to help others find the same. The further evolution of Spirit down to the physical psychic simultaneously with the ascent to Ishwara till the effort commissions the luminous imperative to handle the dark imperative enabling the birth of Gnostic Being is culminated in Divine Life.
Q- Now this whole section comes into Mind as a single unit of thought. It is my aspiration to hold the entire Life Divine in the Mind like that.
A- It is His NAME lovingly articulated by the Silent Self in the Mind.
Q- It takes the shapes of a golden coloured bust of Sri Aurobindo.
A- Even to see HIM fully is a yoga of yogic vision.
Q- The first of the second book can also be so summarised.
A- Why don't you try it?
Q- Ignorance becomes knowledge when Man emerges out of ego, ringing a death knell to evil and seeking the four grades of knowledge till he reaches the knowledge of identity. That knowledge helps him discover the totality of the Reality.
A- You can as well try to summarise Book I.
Q- Sachchidananda becoming Mind, Life and Matter is there from chapter 9 to chapter 25. Principle of evolution and the role of Overmind are in chapters 26, 27 and 28. The first 8 chapters are descriptions of conflicts of various types. I wish someone comes up with a summary of the entire BOOK.
A- HIS is the most concise. Any other summary can only be its expansion. We saw several versions of it. Any can be expanded.
The Infinite Eternal of the Origin manifests as Being, Consciousness, Ananda and Supermind to hide into Itself as Mind, Life, Psychic and Matter. Its totality represented by knowledge, in this process, becomes Ignorance which when evolved to its beginning goes on to emerge as Spirit and ends up as Divine Life through triple transformation.
Q- Numbers 53 to 57 are answered in several ways. Let us take up 58. Rebirth is inevitable if the Spirit is to evolve.
A- In three chapters Sri Aurobindo pronounces a profound theory of rebirth.
Q- T. T. Krishnamachari, an orthodox Vaishnavite read it and gave it to Nehru for reading, saying it was a must for him.
A- Nothing that is there in these three chapters is unknown to the tradition, but HIS philosophy that explains the phenomenon is not only new, but is startling.
Q- For ages, we have equated Spirit with God and proclaimed that it has no origin nor an end. It is changeless, ineffable, immutable. Now Sri Aurobindo says that the Spirit evolves. It is more than a spiritual revolution.
A- The significance lies in HIS shifting to Supermind from Mind which expresses as
· Partial perception of Brahman changes into Brahman that is an integral whole, never for a moment losing its absoluteness or wholeness.
· Self-existing Infinity as opposed to the infinity which is opposite of the finite.
· Simultaneous integrality of Time-eternity and Timeless eternity.
· Karma has no force.
· Supramental Being is the next species.
All the statements from 59 to 70 have been touched upon earlier in one way or another. They do deserve a longer special treatment. Even our summaries reached their core essentially.
Q- Of course, we have taken only the central idea of each chapter while each chapter contains easily ten to twenty valuable ideas such as 'Taste of Ignorance', 'No inquiry can be abandoned in the middle', 'Overmind exists above the mind of cosmic ignorance', etc. Our discussing all those ideas similarly will complete the study of the BOOK, The Life Divine as a subject of value.
The Infinite, Eternal, featureless Origin of the Absolute desired JOY. Joy is the result of discovery. It is an absolute consciousness. To be conscious gives Joy even to an absolute consciousness. A greater joy is to be conscious of its sensation. Joy is a sensation of Existence which increases with its consciousness. It rises still further in sensing its existence by its being conscious of it. The joy of discovery rises to further heights when it becomes self-discovery. The Absolute Brahman, being an all-pervasive omnipresence permits no hiding place that can lead to discovery. Hence Brahman hides into Itself by a process of Self-absorption. To enable this self-absorption possible, the Absolute limits its action an act of self-limitation. The Omnipotent Absolute conceives of this option, as there is none else to compel. With a view to enjoying by self- discovery, the Absolute goes into Itself by its own Self-Conception. Going into such a hiding is involution and evolving back to its origin is by spiritual evolution, together forming the entire world of creation.
The unmanifest Absolute outside Time and Space manifests in the dualities of Sat and Asat losing its unity which is beyond mental conception. The act of hiding demands a process of lesser means; hence unity chooses division of dualities. The principle of dualities finds four or five further extensions as differentiation without division Sat, chit, Ananda as objectivity the subjective Sat becomes the objective Satyam, Truth as cosmic creation where the One Being changes by division into Many beings, as planes of existence of Time and Space by another subjective-objective extension, as the three aspects of Atma, Purusha, Ishwara intelligible to the Mind, Overmind and Supermind and as the Spiritual Substance of which the world is a creation as the experience of Sat in objectivising Himself. Sachchidananda objectivises itself as Satyam, Jnana, Anantam known as Supermind or its nature or its self-comprehension. These extensions of Sat are the first cosmic exercises in the Brahman trying to hide within Itself. Manifestation of Sat is the beginning of forgetting the Origin, thereby creating the original Ignorance. Assuming the duality of Sat as well as Asat, the Origin lost its unity, being another expression of losing its attributes, if it can be so called.
The process of seeking Ananda, Joy, continues when the Supermind splits into the Timeless comprehending Supermind and the apprehending Supermind in Time. The unity of the nature of Sachchidananda divides into Timeless and Time eternities.
The other 'attributes' of the Absolute or at least Sat are Truth, Goodness, Consciousness, Power and Love. The hiding of the Eternal must continue by losing its Truth in falsehood, Goodness in evil, Consciousness in ignorance, Power in inability and Love in insensibility.
The One becoming the Many by the dividing action of the Mind creates Cosmic Ignorance by forgetting the One. The Many imagining an individuality of its own creates the separative Ego which is egoistic Ignorance. The Timeless going into the processive succession of Time is the way in which Temporal Ignorance is created as the Timeless by a self-choice binds itself by Time. Mind that emerged when the Supermind split brings the Being under its greater hold when it is denied access to other worlds than the Mind in Time on the surface being. Consciousness chooses to confine itself into one part of the being, thus creating the constitutional Ignorance of the divided parts of the being. Its power is further abridged. Mind born between the two parts of the Supermind looks at the Spirit through its senses to find the Spiritual Force as Material Force out of which Matter is created by division and aggregation. The insensible Matter loses Love.
So much is covered by Book I of The Life Divine. This is involution. Evolution consists of two parts. One describes the process of creation of Ignorance and how knowledge emerges out of it. The Spirit that emerges out of knowledge evolves through several births and undergoes a transformation till the Supramental Being is born. The Book ends describing his life as Divine Life.
Chapters 1 to 4 of the second book emphasize the totality of the Being which is seen by the human mind variously as parts. The Positive and Negative parts of the Whole Being are mistaken as two parts by the partial mind of man. Brahma, Purusha, Ishwara are three aspects of the One Self-Conscious Being which mind takes as three distinct parts. The Transcendent, Universal and Individual are again three poises of the Being seen by mind as three different parts. The Indian tradition considers that the world is created by Brahman, a god of the Overmind. Others hold that Time created the universe. Chapter I answers the scientists and materialists as well as the Vedantins declaring the universe to be created by God becoming the universe and not by an extra-cosmic God. Here He declares that the mind cannot have created this world of unity in multiplicity, it being an instrument of division. So, seeking the answer in Supermind, HE shows it is the Supermind that created the world.
This part of the Book, apart from describing the wholeness of the Being in four chapters describes the four types of knowledge and how Ignorance is perfected in the surface being. He goes on to show that the Ignorance that is a simple contrary by a perverse turn becomes a complex evil.
The last part of the Book (Book II, Part II) is devoted to the Spiritual Evolution after the knowledge has emerged out of Ignorance. The ignorance of considering either the Jivatma or the Paramatma final is shed when one knows Brahman, which includes both, is the ultimate. The next chapter speaks of life that expresses this Reality, not other versions of it as synthetic life. The unity of the subconscient and the Superconscient is achieved in Man in himself and it is raised to its perfection above by an ascent. This move is completed by the seven Ignorances transforming into seven knowledge. Thus the purified knowledge releases the spirit, which evolves through many births. Thus man is born. His own body which is to be shed when not able to sustain the further evolution of the spirit is itself capable of evolving the spiritual being inside, thus avoiding the necessity of rebirth. The evolved Spirit undergoes transformations at three levels psychic transformation, spiritual transformation and supramental transformation. The Ascent towards Supermind stops when the process meets with the subconscient dark imperative awaiting the descent of the Superconscient. Only its luminous imperative can handle the dark imperative. Thus the Supramental Being is born. His life is Divine Life. Man realising himself as not Mind but Supermind becomes conscious, universal, full, powerful and then moving inwardly, realises the Supermind he is. The only method that can achieve it is transformation which can be reached by surrender.
The first eight chapters of Book I serve as an introduction that draws our attention to the various contradictions in the human being and outside him in the universe and the subconscient. All these originate from ego, the parent of contradictions.