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January 16, 2006
God means traditionally one who grants our prayers. Only those temples that answer to this description are popular. This is an important aspect of worship but not in philosophy or yoga. The Life Divine was mainly addressed to the European intellect to give an outline or sketches of a new human discovery of the eternal godhead. The result was like the book of Copernicus on his system read by one whose ocular evidence was the sun goes around the earth. The Realities The Life Divine tries to describe are in a plane of Mind that Man does not know. Hence, the reputation of the Book as “unintelligible”. Charles Darwin who is the ruling deity of the evolutionary theory whose book was purchased by an anxious public on the day of its publication to the last copy, knocked his head against this phenomenon which remains unaddressed till today. His theory was of the evolution of the form while evolution is of the consciousness. Hence the unexplained gaps in the transformation of one species to another. The parts of a whole together do not make up the whole, as one cardinal element of how the parts should come together is missing. Life has evolved. Social life too has evolved. Scholars study the details of the parts such as population, migration, economy, war, government, etc. The conception that the society is a whole is still not apparent. Hence phenomena of life such as terrorism, hippie movement, etc. constantly throw a surprise. Such surprises were always there in every period.
The institution of marriage held sacred for ages is being dissolved but what the woman represents to man remains a mystery. In a higher plane of life which is truly a plane of spirit in life, there are no mysteries, nor unanswered questions. Philosophy has not solved the question of creation or the principle of determinism. Sri Aurobindo who could do such a lofty yoga as Rajya yoga in three days found the basis of Indian spirituality inadequate. He moved to an adequate basis in Supermind, apparently guided by Swami Vivekananda in the subtle plane.
- Man lives in the partial planes of the vital and the mind.
- His life exists in the whole plane of Life where consciousness and Force are one.
- All his problems till now are NOT problems but conceptions of the partial instrument of the phenomena of the whole.
Any satisfactory comprehension of the Book demands a full understanding of this conception of the whole which occurs in all His chapters. Issuing out of this basic conception dealt from a dozen perspectives in the chapter ‘Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara’, there are 770 subordinate principles spread over 56 chapters. One of them is Oneness is not One. In all, there are 1452 valid ideas explained in 1452 paragraphs. The aim of this article is to present such ideas in their totality so that the reader of The Life Divine will not meet with one obstacle in the Book. Whether that totality can also be simplicity is the question. Some near analogies, if not apt examples can bring such simplicity in some measure. As these intricate phenomena are already half buried in our life, such an attempt may yield the expected result in some measure.
The example of parts and whole can be taken up for examination.
The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Apparently, this is contradictory. Common sense dictates that when all the parts of a whole are put together, it must make up the whole. But, experience can be otherwise. A machine is made up of 275 parts. We can dismantle it into individual parts. In bringing them back together, we assume that it is assembled back into the same old machine. Well, we can collect all the 275 individual parts in a basket. And that will not make the machine. The machine has a form. The parts fit into each other in the pattern of that form. The parts are physical. The FORM is subtle, invisible. That form is in our mind. Here we are face to face with one mystery of life. In the parts becoming a machine the physical planes of the parts and the whole invisibly pass through the subtle plane. There is a reality in the subtle plane that determines the reality of the machine. Later in the Book, in describing the constitutional ignorance, Sri Aurobindo refers to this determinism which man overlooks. Constitutional ignorance is to separate the parts of the being. He says that that ignorance is not shed just by bringing the parts together, even all the parts, as that too misses the subtle parts of the being wherein the determinism dwells. Here we come across one shade of the truth we usually miss.
Philosophy speaks of good as the opposite of evil. This is simplicity itself. When philosophy goes further and speaks of GOOD that is not the opposite of evil, our intellect is confounded. It is called ‘Self-Existent Good’ and it is said in the higher consciousness of the higher world there is no evil, only the good. We call it GOOD. It looks irrational. We can concede the existence of a higher GOOD in a higher world, but we clearly see our sense of appreciation is left behind. We are told that it is a world of Light which is not the opposite of darkness, a world of joy that is not the opposite of pain. We are offered a world of conceptions we are not used to. They are Truth, Unity, Goodness, Knowledge, Power, Beauty, Love, Joy, Purity, Silence and Peace. The intellect is hard put but it is not utterly impossible for it to accept it. Then we come to infinity which is the opposite of finite. What about Infinity that is Self-Existent and not the opposite of the finite? He calls Infinity the boundless finite and describes it as Infinity that retains its infinite character in the plane of finite Time. Here is a rich field of confusion. Brahman is the Absolute. It is the Infinite that is Eternal. Brahman is without attributes of form or force. We are told that because it is without attributes, it is capable of creating anything and everything on earth. The comprehension of our intellect comes to an end. The subject matter of The Life Divine lies beyond this finite world. It is my pious hope to clear this confusion as much as possible, as He has given us several leads in the Book. In the measure this confusion is cleared, the Book will reveal itself to the reader.
The ancients discovered Brahman. It was the ultimate discovery of the human mind. It still remains so. To them, Brahman was Ineffable, Immutable, Akshara Brahman. It was Infinity and Eternity. It was featureless. They said it was incapable of determinism and therefore declared that the world was created by Mind. Sri Aurobindo too had this experience, early in His yogic life. But He could go beyond and see that all the above is only one side of Brahman. To Him, Brahman was mutable too. It was an Infinity that could take on features. It could determine though It is beyond any determinism. This experience of His too was another side of Brahman. In reality, Brahman was capable of both these statuses of being immutable as well as mutable. As the Rishis saw Brahman was Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, He too saw, but His experience discovered the fullness that Brahman was. He then saw that He had moved from Mind to Supermind. The Rishis even in Vedic times knew of the existence of Supermind but had not risen to that plane to possess it as a human faculty. To Him, Mind was not the end. It could rise into what HE called Supermind. Man is not the end, the Supramental Being is the next species. Mind that is in Time can move to the plane of Timelessness. But Supermind is in a plane where Time and Timelessness co-exist. He called it simultaneous integrality of Time eternity and Timeless eternity. It is this plane that perceives the fullness of Brahman.
He explains in the latter chapters of the Book that Mind is a partial instrument. It was created for dividing things. It can see only a part of a whole and therefore Mind saw only one aspect of the Brahman and mistook it as the whole. To Him, Mind has a range. He calls it spiritual range of Mind. Our mind is a power of Ignorance which to arrive at an understanding resorts to thought devoid of sense impressions, though all its impressions reach it through the five senses. This is the human mind, the lowest level of Mind. This exists on the surface being in Time and is possessed by the ego as a finite. Above this surface mind lies the Higher Mind of Silence of the Muni, the Illumined Mind of the Rishi, the Intuitive Mind of the yogi and the Overmind of the gods. Below our surface mind is the Inner Mind that is in Timelessness and beyond it is the subliminal Mind that spreads all over the universe and beyond. It is a plane of Mind where the Superconscient and the subconscient meet. The psychic Being, the evolving part of the Immutable Soul is hidden in a cave in the subliminal mind. To understand the full range of Mind from the subliminal to the Supermind, their scope, the instruments they use, the popular terminology given to them, etc. will clear much of the confusion generally created.
As the Rishis found the Brahman passive, inactive, immutable, so they saw the Spirit, the inner subjective experience of Existence, inactive and incapable of movement or change or growth. To Sri Aurobindo, again, this too is a partial experience of the dividing Mind. He found the Spirit capable of movement as well as a moveless static status. In His fuller vision, He was able to see the Spirit in a greater role in evolution that is preceded by involution. He had this fuller vision because He had a fuller instrument of Supermind that the ancients never possessed. This enabled Him to declare a few things:
- Man is not the last species, but will be succeeded by the advent of the Supramental Being, a Purusha of the Supermind called by the Rishis vignanamaya loka.
- Time exists not in two dimensions, but there is a third dimension where Time coexists with Timelessness.
- Not only Time, but all planes exist in these three dimensions. (This fact is the real source of rich, varied confusion that confounds.)
- It is not Mind that has created the world, but Supermind.
- The determinant that defies the modern day scientist is not the Mind but Supermind. Really it is far beyond the Brahman.
- As His vision is from the Supermind and is of the Supermind, He was able to see the Process of Creation which eluded the Rishis.
- Contrary to the spiritual experience of the Rishis, He saw the Purusha and Prakriti as one, two expressions of one status.
- The Indian Mind that is more than wedded to the power of karma is to Him a victim of this partial vision. He declared that Man is not bound by karma, if he chooses to move to the Being.
- He was able to see the two devils of chance and necessity of earlier thinkers as expressions of the evolution of the finite into the Infinite.
- The cardinal venom of all those theoretical attempts – Evil – yielded to His wider perception and He proclaimed how evil dissolves.
- He made the profound discovery of the creation of the surface being and the surface mind as a narrow Time-bound phenomenon enjoying an additional aspect of inversion.
- All the yogas so far done, He said, were yogas of the surface mind.
- They were the yogic realisations of the ego.
- His basis is ego is to be dissolved, the surface is to be crossed to initiate Purna Yoga.
- He was even able to explain WHY Brahman set Himself on creation.
- As His philosophy and yoga are new, He has employed a new terminology. In fact, He tried His best to suit His new conceptions to old phrases, thus making an original linguistic evolution of expressiveness.
- This extraordinary, creative, literary, linguistic feat that is a wonderful efflorescence of thought has become a source of lack of clarity for the ordinary reader.This article endeavours to eliminate this aspect. At least it will minimise the obstacle.
This preliminary effort can be followed by a summary exposition of the various chapters or at least various sections of the text. The first of our exercises can be the three dimensions of existence. In His phraseology, we find the following concepts either exactly in these words or in phrases that mean as much. They are:
- Silent activity
Sound of Silence
Noise of Silent Stillness.
- Movement of Stillness
Movement of Status – Sthanu
- Divided Unity
- Self-multiplied Identical
- Form of the formless
- Dark light
- Matter that is Spirit
- Universal Individual
- Subtle concreteness
- Infinity of the infinitesimal
- Part is great than the whole
- Determination of the Indeterminable
- Ascent in the descent
- Descent int the ascent
- Steadied lightnining in the sky
- The Eternal Individual
- Ignorance that is greater than knowledge
- The evolving soul
- Freedom is the final law and the last consummation
- Knowledge that is work
- The Undivine Divine
- memory of the future
- Imagination that brings the future into the present
- The ever-present moment
- The moment of eternity
- The point of infinity
- The One that is the Many
Freedom that is free to lose its freedom – freedom in fetters
All these concepts express one cardinal spiritual fact which is the idea of Infinity that never decreases or increases by subtraction or addition. That concept clears the mental horizon. Sri Aurobindo extends it to our human life which I term as practical concept of infinity. A full appreciation of infinity and its practical expressions will remove all the vestiges of lack of clarity.
These three statuses belong to three dimensions of Time. They are 1) Human time in ignorance of the lower hemisphere, 2) Timelessness of the higher worlds and 3) Simultaneous Time which is yet to be born on earth. The successive and processive action of Time is what we know. Any work of ours needs a certain duration and is punctuated by precise processes each succeeding the other. No work of ours is instantaneous. The Rishi lives in Timelessness while in Samadhi and is capable of invoking that dimension if he chooses. The seed he sows can sprout into a tree at once. Timelessness dispenses with the long duration Time needs but it does not dispense with the successive stages. In the Simultaneous Time, work in Time is done with the speed of Timelessness, abolishing space and Time. It does not need the process of successiveness. Successiveness becomes simultaneous there. In this transition, there are other casualties such as evil and karma. It is a world free of evil, death, karma, waste, punishment, ethics, pain, failure, etc., etc., all these phenomena are creations of ego in the plane of Time made possible by the divisive action of Mind. It is a perfect creation in the field of ignorance for the everlasting enjoyment of what He calls “Taste of Ignorance”.
The world knows of the higher hemisphere of Light and Love and the lower hemisphere of darkness and pain as planes of Timelessness and Time. The new spiritual experience of Sri Aurobindo is the new world not yet manifested seen by the new faculty of Man, Supermind. This new world includes both world and rejects none. Only that it raises both to a new greater height that is of fullness, wholeness, integrality, universality, etc. He describes this world in the last chapter “The Divine Life”. Non-perception of this new higher dimension in all our existence leads to unintelligibility of the Book The Life Divine. I hope to spotlight this aspect repeatedly by laying emphasis on these 29 phrases listed above. The principle is the same but the phenomena are different. Nor are they confined to these 29 items. In truth, it embraces every item of life however insignificant it really is. In my varied writings over two decades I have been speaking of these phenomena not so much in their aspects of theory, as in their practical manifestations such as prayers, yield:
- Final results in the beginning;
- solutions to our problems defying laws of the government, laws of life and laws of Nature;
- results almost resembling materialisation;
- benefits unimaginable as well as inconceivable, as copious ground water in a desert;
- universal results for individual acts;
- impacts on human nature so as to make it turn around 180 degrees, as the Americans are fond of saying;
- infinite results for finite actions;
- Divine JOY for acts that are apparently anti-divine.
- There is light that is the opposite of darkness.
- There is self-existent light in the higher dimension where no darkness is possible.
- He defines Matter as Spirit viewed by the Mind through its senses.
- We know Matter. It is Sat in the higher world. In the third higher dimension we witness Matter is Spirit. It is a higher level of Matter. And Spirit too is evolved to a higher status here and remains the evolving Spirit.
- There is individuality at all levels.
- Individuality in ignorance is ego.
- Individuality in knowledge is Purusha.
- Individuality in the universal is World-Purusha, Viswamanava.
- Individuality in transcendence is the Eternal.
- A piece of metal is gross material.
- Sat is Spiritual matter and is subtle.
- The evolving Sat is Supramental matter and is more than subtle, causal, inclusive of the two earlier stages.
- Metal is in Time.
- Sat is in Timelessness.
- The evolving Spirit – Sat – is in simultaneous Time
- Man continually progresses.
- Vertical progress occurs by a reversals.
- There is no progress without a reversal.
- The history of human progress is a history of a chain of reversals. Mother laughs at this phrase.
- So far, Man reversed from physical to vital and from vital to the mental. The result is the present civilisation.
- In the first, Man relived himself from physical drudgery and protected himself from physical dangers.
- In the second, he fashioned new institutions of trade, money, education, politics, etc. and endlessly extended the scope of human life and created unheard of new comforts and facilities. The two most important advances are education and language apart from money.
- The next reversal gave him his Mind. Now came science and all its wonders. Newer conquests were the order of the day as well as newer inventions. What remains to be conquered is death and evil. All the rest is being overcome in some substantial measure.
- Sri Aurobindo offers the reversal of Spiritual consciousness. This conquers death and suffering apart from abolishing ALL problems of humanity so far left unconquered. This dissolves Evil by dissolving ego. Life is taken to a dimension of higher consciousness, and a new species, the Supramental Being will be born.
- Ego is in Time, on the surface in ignorance.
- Purusha is in Timelessness in the inner mind which is subtle and not spiritual, where ignorance remains.
- The Eternal, the Transcendent Purusha is inside in the subliminal, in the simultaneous Time.
- There is a self-extension of being. It is conceptive.
Rather, there is a conceptive self-extension of the being.
- It works itself out in the universe as substance. This substance is the object of consciousness.
- This substance is represented by cosmic Mind and Life in their creative action. It is represented by atomic division and aggregation.
- The result is called Matter.
- This Matter is Being or Brahman.
Mind and Life too are Brahman likewise.
They are all Brahman in their self-creative action.
- It is a form of the force of conscious Being.
It is a form given by the Mind.
That form is realised by Life.
- Matter holds within it its own reality consciousness.
It is concealed from itself.
That reality of consciousness is involved and absorbed in the result of its own self-formation.
Its own self-formation conceals, involves, absorbs the reality of its consciousness.
This is the reason for its self-oblivion.
- Matter is brute and void of sense to our view.
It has a secret experience of the consciousness hidden within it.
Matter is the delight of being offering itself to this secret consciousness.
It offers itself as an object of sensation.
It does so in order to tempt this hidden godhead out of its secrecy.
- Matter is Being manifest as substance.
It is force of being cast into form.
The form is a figured self-representation of the secret self-consciousness.
It is delight offering itself to its own consciousness as an object.
Matter thus is Sachchidananda.
- Matter is Sachchidananda.
It is Sachchidananda represented to His own mental experience.
Matter is a formal basis of objective knowledge, action and delight of existence.
- Of a sudden the pages of The Life Divine will read like the most interesting novel.
- What was heavy earlier will now become heavy laden will spiritual sweetness. Sweetness is the Love that acquired knowledge.
- The unspoken argument of surrender that surrender is the only desirable human movement will reveal itself through each word read.
- The Life Divine will be a revelation of the Absolute godhead.
- Spirit is the substance by which the creation is made. It is the subjective state of Existence. Its objective state of Truth is the Spirit's way of outer existence.
- The unformed pervasive Spirit is the creative material. It takes forms. That form can be at all levels - Spirit, mind, vital, body. We call the Spiritual form as Soul. That form which is common to all parts of the human existence is Being.
- The Soul outside cosmos in the transcendence is Self.
- All things in the world are made of Spirit -- the subjective part of existence -- called spiritual substance.
- Mind looking at this spiritual substance through its senses sees it as material substance. Out of that material substance our body, vital, and mind are made.
- The substance of body, vital, mind has in it Spirit indwelling waiting to emerge by evolution.
- So the inner spirit in mind evolves as mental psychic being, in the vital as vital psychic and in the body as physical psychic.
- This physical psychic is the Supramental Being which completes the evolution.
- We find ourselves as ego.
- Ego dissolving discovers itself as Purusha. It is really world Purusha.
- The world Purusha is outside us giving us the world experience in our individual life -- individualisation.
- The same world Purusha and world experience are inside.
- Seen inside, it is the Transcendent and Transcendent life.
- We see this Transcendent in our individual soul, jivatma.
- The Transcendent is the Eternal. The individual is jivatma.
- Hence the Eternal is the Individual.
- The creature mind conceives all the facets of the process of creation one at a time.
- The divine mind is able to understand all of them in toto.
- It is the Supermind that lets these aspects integrate themselves into the intensity of Reality when the taste of ignorance tends to change into taste of knowledge -- an evolutionary turn of the self-forgetful Brahman recovering its loss.
- · The Absolute is absolutely free, not under any other influences, because there is nothing but Absolute.
- The Absolute became creation. It is not as if the Absolute created the world.
- The Absolute is Eternal and Infinite. It is the self-existing Eternal and Self-existing Infinite, nor the infinite that is the opposite of the finite.
- It created the universe in quest of Joy, at its own maximum, the maximum of it being one of self-discovery when it loses itself into itself.
- At no point is it under any outside obligation. All through it is by self-choice.
- Throughout the creation down to Matter and the Inconscient, the Absolute remains Absolute retaining its absoluteness. What changes is the form, not the content.
- The first step of creation is perceived as Sat as well as Asat. In fact, both are one. Only the perceiving mind by its dividing faculty sees them as two. They are really one. As so far creation was followed by this divisive mind and was taken as Sat, let us start from here.
- Sat is Existence. It can be Existent too.
- As Brahman was under no obligation to create, Sat is under no compulsion to be chit, but it chooses to be chit. Similarly, chit chooses to be ananda. Sat is Existence. It simply exists. It is not conscious of itself and has no need to be conscious of its existence. Thus Existence becomes consciousness. Consciousness chooses to experience itself. Its experiencing itself is ananda.
- Its objective status is Supermind.
(Sri Aurobindo uses nature, objectivity, consciousness to denote the next stage in the chain. Thus Supermind is called the objective status of Sachchidananda as well as nature of Sachchidananda.)
- Supermind splits itself into comprehending Supermind and apprehending Supermind. Between them the Mind is born. Mind is the last stage of creation.
My thoughts are me, nothing but my personality.
My acts are also similarly me.
The game I play with another is me and the other player is also my extended being.
The executioner who hangs the convict must know both are one.
The convict finding the executioner as himself and vice versa is the spiritual truth of oneness behind it.
Man can extend his personality to the world.
To know the entire universe is Brahman is to know the oneness of Brahman with his creation.
The division is a phenomenal appearance, the oneness is the reality.
Human ego sees them different. It is in conception, perfection and sensation they are different, as it humanly i.e. egoistically sees.
The Divine soul divinely conceives, perceives, senses that all beings are Self, all beings are in the Self and all beings find the Self in them. The first is oneness, the next is oneness in difference and the last is the individuality of the Soul-forms.
Silent activity, sound of Silence, noise of silent stillness
We know the silence of the mouth, the silence of thought, the silence of mind, the silence of Being, the silence that arises by the absence of thought. He adds the Silence that arises out of the absence of activity and calls it Silence and goes on to say there is a Silence behind silence. Having said that much, He declares Silence sustains activity. Theoretically, the activity needs a base in consciousness. It is of Silence. Anyone who has made substantial progress in yoga, He says, knows that enormous energy wells out of such Silence. We know Silence is the opposite of noise, thought, speech, etc. It is true. It is equally true that all activities well out of Silence. So there is a silence with a small ‘s’ which is the opposite of noise, thought, speech, etc. And there is a Silence with a capital ‘S’ which includes silence and its opposite. This world is seen only by the Supramental Time vision and exists in the plane of Time called Simultaneous integrality of Time-eternity and Timeless eternity.
We know of silence often in meditation, on Darsan days, our own birthdays. Sometimes, for no reason, we see the Silence deepening and taking possession of our whole being. Surely this is the Silence of the third dimension of Time. It is Supramental Silence which is the beginning of the birth of Supramental love. This Silence makes the activity powerful, instantaneous in producing results. This is the gift of Sri Aurobindo to humanity.
Movement of Stillness – Movement of Status – Sthanu
Of infinity it is said that it never moves but is always ahead of you. It is a movement ahead of us while it never stirs. In Sanskrit it is called sthanu. Sri Aurobindo cites the running train in which we sit. Watching the telegraph posts outside, the posts seem to run while the train gives the feeling it is still. When the spokes of a fast rotating wheel move faster than our persistence of vision, we feel the discontinuous spokes as a continuous disc. Existence is moving at a speed greater than light all the time giving the appearance of stillness. When two trains run on parallel lines, we feel both are still. Their movement is unperceived by our consciousness.
Unity and division are opposite concepts as well as opposite realities. When aspects are divided, the object is not. One who occupies three posts has three powers, not three persons. The One is divided by the dividing mind into the Many. To the Mind, they are distinctly separate, disparate, but Supermind sees no division of substance. It only perceives division of consciousness. The father is a brother and is also a son to his father. He has three different relations, not three different persons. In philosophic language, we say there is the unity that is the opposite of diversity and there is the self-existing UNITY which has no opposing phenomenon. In the cinema the film is not a continuous movement. The film catches in distinctly separate plates different ‘stills’. Run on the wheel at a certain speed, the screen produces the original movement. In the film, there is the division. Neither on the screen nor in real life is there division. Unity is real which is capable of appearing divided as well as united.
This is similar to the One and the Many. We speak. Our speech is one, but its expressions are many. With different people we speak differently, but all is SPEECH. One speech expresses itself as several conversations. The words are many but the speech is one. Man is One, but he varies as American, Canadian, Indian, Chinese or Japanese. The multiplying number of varieties does not rob Man of his character of being human. A road is a phenomenon. And there is an infinite variety of roads. Such a rule applies to all phenomena of the world. The oneness is impersonal. The individual particularity is one form of the variety. The Upanishads said, “This boy, this girl, this tree are all Brahman”.
Form and the Formless
We know they are opposite phenomena, but we miss seeing the fact that formlessness is the parent of Form. It is the formless state that enables the form to arise. Gold is formless. The jewel’s form issues out of the formless gold. So, formlessness contains the form as well as its opposite. In a higher sense, formlessness is the higher dimension in simultaneous Time that contains form and formless ness. The tree has a form. The mud gives birth to the form of the tree and in that sense it is its opposite. In a higher sense, Mother earth, which we call mud and dirt contains the form of the tree as well as the formlessness out of which the form of the tree issues. Speech has a form, but not mere sound. Hence we can say,
Speech x sound, as well as
Sound is the source of speech and its opposite.
Darkness and Light
To us, darkness is absence of light. The spiritual truth about darkness is it is greater denser light. Even the physicist says the dark surface absorbs all the light without reflecting even a part of it. Mother says before spiritual light sunlight is pitch dark and before spiritual darkness our darkness is as bright as midday. Sunlight is not the original pure light. It is light reflected in Matter, called material light. Consciousness becomes knowledge which in its next stage is light.
Matter that is Spirit
Chapter 2 of the first book is Materialist Denial. The main argument here is Matter is the robe of the Spirit. Moving from intellect to consciousness, one sees Matter is a vibration of energy. He also, at that level, finds the Spirit is a vibration of energy. This occurs at the plane of cosmic consciousness. Hence Matter and Spirit are reconciled here. Further He explains here in this chapter how Matter and Spirit are reconciled in the transcendental consciousness.
We know the Man, the citizen. He is confined to his own experience. Man extending his personality to society and life becomes vastly more informed and his knowledge then is universal. Both are conceivable. Man never loses his individuality. Having acquired universality Man’s individuality asserts now at the level of universality. The individuality he lost in becoming universal he now endeavours to restore at the level of universality. He is the universal Individual, viswamanava.
We move in evolution from ego to the transcendent Eternal via the World Purusha. The Eternal, please note, is not the unevolving Spirit, the Immutable Spirit. It is evolving, called the evolving Spirit, the Psychic Being.
Iron is strong, concrete. New alloys are formed for greater strength. When a stronger material emerges, it is found to be light. A famous metallurgist said that the stronger a metal is, the lighter it is. A metal rod beats the flesh and inflicts a severe wound. Mantra is subtle. It too can inflict a wound. One can cure the wound in the flesh, not what is caused by the subtle mantra. As the evolution proceeds, concrete material becomes subtle material. The subtlety includes the concreteness at its higher level. Mantra can be harmful as well as beneficial. A boon is given in words. Its power is greater than material benefits, vastly.
What Sri Aurobindo offers to the world is a New World free of death, suffering, karma, etc. It is attained by Man rising from mind to Supermind. Sri Aurobindo says that the change arrives by a reversal of consciousness. The hunter became a cultivator producing his own food grains. He is now producing in a vast greater abundance what Nature was so far producing. It is an advance. He reverses his role from gathering what Nature offered to producing it himself. Man, by long experience, became a leader. He led others physically. Man discovered education. What leadership he attained at a ripe old age by experience, he acquired early in life by training and education. He gives himself what life was giving him so far. It is another reversal. Man produced goods, sold them for money and bought with that money other things. Later he invented credit. One got money without producing any goods. It is one more reversal of another type. Man produced anything for his own consumption. Later he devised trade. He now produced for sales. It is another reversal.
He who sees this new dimension in Time, Being, Consciousness, Ananda, Supermind, Mind, Life and Matter will have no single argument in this Book unintelligible. These points are the knots. Breaking these knots, the first major victory will be won in comprehending this Book. As said earlier, the other 1452 and 770 minor ideas are minor obstacles. Most of them will lend themselves to be solved by a good mental academic education. Others draw their difficulties from their relating to this higher dimension. Here I hope to handle some typical instances and hope to clear the way. I do not have in view handling every single difficulty.
This new dimension of life is reached by a new attitude, a new motive. They fashion themselves as strategies of understanding in reading and strategies in living in life. Grow by giving is one such. The physical vital man is possessive. He grows by taking. At the plane of Mind, growth demands giving. In Spirit, all growth is only by giving. Surely for a possessive physical man, this presents a difficulty. Even after giving up property, the mind refuses to give up its possessiveness. It is felt more in possessing a woman or man as wife or husband. Unless the society overcomes it, the individual is unable to do so. This book is meant for those individuals who have acquired this new dimension of thought and would prepare the society for that wider mission.These obstacles arising as mental phenomena stand in the way of comprehending these arguments. This article aims at clearing such impediments at the theoretical level, explaining them philosophically.
Infinity of the infinitesimal
The infinitesimal is the finite and is the opposite of the infinite. The mind is baffled at the thought of the infinity of the infinitesimal. The finite is in Time. The infinite is in timelessness. In the next higher plane of Simultaneous Time,the infinitesimal itself is the infinite.Theory says that the infinite converted itself into the infinitesimal. Or what is infinitesimal on the surface is really the infinite behind the surface.
The Part is greater than the whole; the Inner includes the outer
To us, the inner and the outer are apart and are opposites. In theory, there is only inner and no outer. In the higher third dimension, the Inner includes the outer. That is why the inner is able to move the outer.
Determinism of the Indeterminable.
We can determine our acts. We cannot determine other acts. In the first chapter of the II Book ‘Cosmic Determinants’, He proves what is indeterminate to us is really cosmic determinants. The argument is extended to Sachchidananda and the Absolute.Thus, He proves His thesis that anything in this world is determined by the Brahman, the Absolute, while it is considered as indeterminable.
Tradition finds the Immutable Brahman incapable of any determinism. He goes further on to say the Brahman is Immutable a well as Mutable, as it chooses. What the tradition knows is the partial Brahman. The Fullness of Brahman is beyond and is capable of anything. We cannot attribute any incapacity to It. He meets the logic of the tradition saying that Brahman is not capable of determinism but is incapable of being limited or controlled by any other determinism. Hence in the title of the chapter, He calls it ‘Indeterminable’. This is the self-existing Infinity as against the infinity that is the opposite of the finite. Sri Aurobindo describes this infinity as ‘boundless finite’ and offers a theoretical explanation: Infinity is there in all planes, only that it takes on different hues in different planes. In a nation, the political WILL of the people is crystalised in the plane of political administration that is the government as constitution. In the legislature, that constitution becomes law while in the administration it becomes rule. In the various departments, the same undergoes another conversion and it is G.O., government order. Further down, it is procedure, custom, usage. The political will of the people and their constitution is met as G.O. and rules. The invisible determinism of the Indeterminable is the same as our own decision in ordinary activities. Thus the determinism and indeterminable are of the same plane.
Ascent and Descent
Man rising from his body to the Spirit via his vital and mental is ascent. He says when we reach the Supermind, it descends on all the planes of our being. It acts at every stage. When Man ascends from his body to his vital, his vital descends on his body and the descent is continued till the body is saturated with the vital. This occurs at all stages. In 1926, the Overmind descended into Sri Aurobindo down to His very cells. Thus it was called Siddhi Day. Even though He touched the Supermind in 1910, it took sixteen years for the Overmind to descend into Him. In the ascent, body is the lowest and Supermind is the highest. In the descent, Supermind begins and the descent is consummated at the body, thus making the Body the highest in the descent. Note as the descent occurs, each plane ascends. It is called ascent in the descent. What Mother called True Physical, baffling our comprehension, is the Physical that has received the Supramental force. There is the gross physical and subtle physical. Both are primary. The Physical becomes True when the Supermind descends and the subtle Physical matures into the causal plane.
In our life, lightning is for a fraction of a second. In the Third dimension of Time, there will be lightning steadied in the sky. It is a world of Marvel. There is no darkness there. We must be able to conceive of it. This is not the higher world of the cosmos. It is in the second dimension. This world I speak of is in the Simultaneous Time.
The Eternal Individual
We know our ego to be ourselves. In dissolving the ego, we find we are not dissolved. Only the ignorance of the ego is dissolved. When the dissolution of the ego is complete, we find the Purusha there. It is the world Purusha. The world Purusha individualises the world experience in us. It is done outside. Inside the same process reveals the Transcendent in us. That is, world Purusha outside is the Transcendent Purusha inside.
Ignorance that is greater than knowledge
Ignorance is a limitation of knowledge. For it to become perfect, it needs to be confined in scope. So a limited surface is created inverting the subliminal where Ignorance is made perfect by the combined action of mind, Time, ego, making it finite. As Ignorance is a later product than knowledge, it is greater than knowledge.
The Evolving Soul
This is a concept unknown to the tradition in whose perception the Soul is ineffable, immutable, without beginning or end. It is infinite. This is only one side of the soul. In a fuller view of the Supermind, Soul is seen in its fullness as the Spirit in a Being in creation. Sri Aurobindo calls His yoga the Yoga of Spiritual evolution. In His theory of creation, we find the Brahman becoming the world and emerging out of it. Spirit is only an intermediary term between Sat and Truth. The Prakriti too has a spirit involved in it. As the Prakriti moves, the hidden spirit there evolves. It is the Psychic Being. This creates the new dimension of Time known as simultaneous Time. This is called the evolving Soul, evolving into Sat and Brahman. Sri Aurobindo repeatedly says what issued out of Brahman as involution must return to Brahman through evolution. So far, involution alone was known. Evolution is a process and plane which Sri Aurobindo experienced for the first time.
Freedom is the Final Law
The freedom tradition knows is a freedom that stops short of the ultimate goal. To it, Sri Aurobindo adds one more dimension of a Freedom to lose its freedom. No one can deny the Absolute this freedom. It is by losing this freedom that the Absolute becomes the cosmos.
Allied to this conception is the determinism of the Absolute. While the tradition says the Absolute cannot determine because it is without attributes, Sri Aurobindo says the Absolute is beyond determinism in the sense that no determinism can control the Absolute. It is incapable of being determined by anything else.
Knowledge that is work
Knowledge is of the mind, work is of the body. Knowledge by itself will NOT be able to move work. There is a knowledge of the body indicated by No. 7 in our chart. Mental knowledge is in No. 1. If No. 1 reaches No. 7, knowledge of Mind becomes knowledge of work which means work moves. To win an election, to accomplish a project in the office or at home, this knowledge can be used. For that, the very first step is the conception of the MIND must be flawless, without gaps in understanding, logically valid and reasonable in all its premises. The moment it reaches this perfection it moves down to No. 4, the vital knowledge. In the vital, the knowledge has energy, relationship with the connected people and the knowledge of the sensation. This energy must be saturated, all the relationships with all the people must become harmonised and all the related sensations must be agreeable, preferably pleasant. At this point, it moves down to No. 7, in the physical, the knowledge seat. Here that knowledge is ORGANISED energy as skill. Possession of that skill and its presence in No. 7 moves the work at once.
The Theory is mental knowledge becomes perfect and moves into the 3rd dimension of Time when it becomes knowledge of the physical which is work.
The Undivine Divine
Brahman is a whole, creation is a whole, the infinite is a whole, the finite is a whole and everything is a whole. The divine and undivine are the divisions of the Mind. There is no real division Our body is a whole. Our being is a whole. There is no division in any of them. It has parts that are dirty which produce excrements. To us, they are undesirable, but they are indispensable for the existence of the body. The sewage of the town, the criminals of the society are unwanted for our mental understanding, but to a completer understanding they are essential. The undivine is in Time, the Divine is in Timelessness, the whole of life that is existence is in simultaneous time. This explanation answers incidentally the question of evil.
Memory of the future
It is almost a metaphor. Only when we conceive of the whole of which the future is a part, does its memory come into the picture.
Imagination that brings the future into the present
Sri Aurobindo defines imagination as the formulation of future possibility. Such a formulation makes its possibility greater. It is to bring the future into the present. The present maturing into ever-present takes the past and future into its immediate Present. This is to upgrade Time into Simultaneous Time.
The moment of eternity, the point of infinity
As in the ever-present, the entire eternity is compressed into one point called MOMENT. Similarly, the entire space is abridged into one point.
The above powerfully touches upon some points of the mystery, if not clearing them entirely. Basic familiarity with these thoughts will lessen the difficulties in comprehending the Book. Sri Aravindam is beyond Moksha. It is a condition attained by sacrificing Moksha. Asceticism shuns life. It considers life as its enemy. Sri Aravindam can be called transformation. He who seeks Moksha has no transformation. The human being is made up of four parts of which Spirit is the highest. The Spirit being the most refined finds itself burdened by the other darker parts. So tapas and yoga sought a way to separate the noblest part from the others and offer it freedom into the domains of the original Spirit, the Superconscient. By this, our best part is released and other parts remain in ignorance that is darkness. Transformation has another philosophy. All the parts of our being are fundamentally made up of Spirit out of which evolved the physical, vital and mental parts. Should we continue that evolution, SPIRIT too will emerge out of Mind and later vital and physical parts. This is evolution. Brahman that created the world has not stipulated moksha for its best part, but expected to emerge out of ignorance by evolution to its original status, thus giving it the joy it has sought in creation. This was the divine intention. So transformation gives up moksha which is attained by giving up life.
Having fashioned a new philosophy, He sought new terminology too. It is necessary for the reader to familiarize himself with all the terms of His philosophy. Self, Soul, being, Spirit is one such set of words. Our basis is the Absolute became the world. The Absolute became Sat, Existence, who became the Existent, Sat Purusha. The Existent created the world by objectifying itself, its subjective part being the Spirit and the objective part being the Truth. Cosmos above and the world below were created by the Spirit. Everything in it is Spirit. The Spirit in the universe is Spiritual substance. Knowledge and the Mind its instrument are the extension of the Existence. Viewed by the Mind through its senses, the Spiritual substance appears to be material substance out of which Matter is created by the divisive action of Mind. It is this secret of creation that Mind could not see and only the Supermind could see. In the chapter on Matter there is a brilliant exposition of this process and an able summary of it in the last para of that chapter. It is given below:
The Truth of Matter:
In the above we see Sat becomes Matter by a process of objectification and Matter again becomes Sat by evolution. In returning to the original status, Matter raises the level of Sat by evolution and takes it to the third dimension of Time. Thus the self-discovery of Sat that was lost in Matter leads to a generation of greater joy which was the object of creation.
Objectification splits the One into two and creates a play of one against the other. Self-forgetfulness of the whole while in each status – subjective and objective – enables the play. The play raises both sides to a higher dimension creating a higher joy.
Process of Creation
This is variously described in various places in the Book. Mind being partial can understand each of these facets well. Of course, Mind cannot put all of them together at once. It can try. Such an attempt is likely to merge all these phases and reveal the central process which is a supramental vision.
1)Divine Maya rendering the essential truth of a static being into the ordered truth of an active being is the first step in creation.
This is otherwise described as 'all in all' changing into all in each and each in all.
2) One becoming the Many is spoken of as a process of creation.
Sri Aurobindo says this is the process of the One splitting into two, the inner subjective and the outer objective, called objectification.
3) Being extending into substance, Mind and Life creating Matter out of that substance in the universal by their atomic division and aggregation resulting in Matter.
Consciousness and Force separating to give birth to life.
Consciousness issuing force of form and form resulting in Matter is another version.
4) The 8 reversals.
6) Existence becoming Spirit and Truth in the inner and outer.
7) Consciousness becoming Time and Space in the inner and outer.
8) Spirit creating Time and Space by looking at itself and looking at its movements.
9) Supermind splitting into comprehending and apprehending Supermind.
10) Mind creating Matter by looking at the Spiritual substance through its senses.
11) Self-conception, Self-limitation and self-absorption creating Superconscient and Inconscient.
12) Sat changing into Sat, Chit and Ananda.
13) Sat becoming Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara and Maya, Prakriti, Ishwara.
14) Knowledge becoming Ignorance.
15) He is the player, He is the Play and He is the Playground.
If all these statements are taken together simultaneously, we get the whole of the Process of creation. It means the firmaments of Mind would give way revealing the horizons of Supermind. How ready one's mind is for this opening can be seen in many ways. It is a fact life that is gross flashes across the subtle regions to knock at the doors of the causal -- Supermind. Every event, thought, sensation, and movement will show, but I wish to mention only one.
Spirit, Self, Soul, Being
The 8 reversals
He says the subliminal is formed where the superconscient and the subconscient meet. The superconscient comes into existence when the consciousness self-absorbs and totally disappears. Its counterpart is the Inconscient. The subconscient is the evolved Inconscience. Mind exists between the superconscient and the subconscient. It is the entire mind, spreading all over the universe. This He calls the subliminal mind. This wide subliminal mind is narrowed by mind, time, ego, finite and reversed to seal it from the wideness to make Ignorance perfect. So, in the surface mind a reversal is necessary to get away from its ignorance. Such a reversal is in order at all further levels. Such levels are 4 and it can be subdivided in 8 as each level splits into consciousness above and substance below. Surface mind, Inner mind, Subliminal mind, Psychic Being are these four levels. Even after the Supermind descended into His physical, he felt or said that it was only in His physical consciousness and not in the physical substance. It was given to Mother to receive the Supermind into Her physical substance. It was a constant burning inside to Her.
It can be explained somewhat to offer clear indication, not a final precise definition or description.
|1)||Surface mind-consciousness||Quarrel of husband and wife. Hate is love||Contradictions are complements. Obstacles are opportunities.|
|2)||Surface mind-Substance||Defeat is the steppingstone to victory.
No one who has not lost money can become wealthy. Recovery from typhoid restores an invalid part.
|The wives of Socrates and Lincoln expressed their love through broomsticks and chamber pots.|
|3)||Inner mind-consciousness||Gross sense knowledge becomes subtle.
Man's thoughts and speech are opposite.
|Akalya enjoyed Indra and became one of the 5 chaste women in scripture.|
|4)||Inner mind-Substance||Ego becomes manomaya Purusha, thinking becomes silent.
Time become Timeless.
|Nalayaini stopped the motion of the Sun.|
|5)||Subliminal consciousness.||World becomes the universe. Timelessness becomes simultaneous Time.||Anusuya turned the Tirumurthis into children.|
|6)||Subliminal substance||Pain turns to ananda, Subconscient, Superconscient.||Krishna relieved Bhishma of his pain while on the bed of arrows.|
|7)||Psychic Being Consciousness||Bliss into delight. Ego and manomaya Purusha evolve into psychic being.||Gopi's love for Krishna.|
|8)||Psychic Being Substance||Evil and pain dissolve creating the Marvel. Subconscient and Superconscient meet in Mind.||Desire that the tiger should eat him.|
To see these eight reversals in one's own life is a great yogic knowledge. To see all these eight expression in one SINGLE event is consummate knowledge.
Yoga of Self-Perfection
Synthesis of yoga is divided into four parts of which the last part is the Yoga of Self-Perfection of 25 chapters divided into 9 sections.
1) Principle of Integral Yoga
3) Yo yas shraddhaha sa yeva saha
4) Purification of Nature
5) Purification of Mind
Purified Mind and Nature following the principle of this yoga through Intuition can realise the power of, "You can become what you aspire for". That leads to perfection and equality. Action by faith on the basis of equality by such a perfected being will realise the Supermind. He explains the nature, gradation, thought process, knowledge, sense and the Time Vision of Supermind in seven chapters.
Principle of Integral Yoga
Raja Yoga purifies the Mind and uses it as an instrument of liberation. Purified mind leads to the purified mental soul manomaya Purusha which, being part of jivatma, realises it becoming a Jivanmukta. A still higher stage of liberation is the Jivatma dissolving in Paramatma.
Hatha yoga does the same thing through Annamaya Purusha, Jivatma and Paramatma. Karma yoga achieves the same end through Pranamaya Purusha. The triple path uses the faculties of knowledge, devotion and work for the same end. It is Tantra which synthesises all these yogas after a fashion not only for liberation but for the enjoyment of life. Tantra considers Man as soul in the body and starts the yoga from the body, hence they employ physical methods of asanas and pranayama. To Sri Aurobindo, the method is to start from the highest point of human evolution; hence Man is a soul in the Mind, not the unevolving manomaya Purusha, but the evolving soul, the psychic being. Therefore the physical methods of asanas and pranayamas are discarded. Here the method must be purely mental or spiritual -- psycho-spiritual. The method in view is surrender.
This yoga's basis is dissolution of ego. When the ego is dissolved, the Purusha is revealed. Further, it becomes the universal Purusha, and the transcendent Purusha. It goes still further because we want that transcendent Purusha to enjoy itself in life. For that is not enough to have surrendered the ego. The swabhava, the nature too must be surrendered. The Life then lived by the Eternal in us is the divine life.
This is achieved by a Mind purified of the ego and a Nature purified of dualities if the action is initiated in Faith and executed on the basis of equality by a perfected soul.
Man and the Universe
The normal view is Man is made of 4 parts of body, vital, mind and Spirit. At death the body decomposes and enters into earth. The vital is a spirit that can trouble men. In all religions there are rituals that propitiate this 'spirit' so that it goes away from the human world and usually disintegrates in 7 to 15 days. Hence the funeral rituals fall in this period in varying measures. The 'spirit' of the man who destroyed himself is not thus propitiated and roams about the place of self-destruction. His mental ideas go into the stock of universal thoughts. His soul retires from the human world and awaits rebirth. Only in the case of the Rishi or Yogi, it rises into the Superconscient and dissolves.
Sri Aurobindo propounds another theory. It has two parts -- one theoretical and the other in life. In life He says.
The other side is.
The Transcendent has become the Individual, first becoming the Universal.
Divine Mind and Creature Mind
Mind is born when Supermind splits into two -- comprehending and apprehending Supermind. This Mind is called Divine Mind. It is incapable of seeing the universe as a whole, but is capable of seeing both alternately. It chooses NOT to see both but only one side. Seeing the comprehending Supermind alone, it becomes the Rishi who lives in Timelessness. Seeing the apprehending Supermind above, it sees Time. That Mind which chooses to see only ONE side is called creature mind. Ignorance begins by this choice. By this latter choice, Mind loses its contact with the Supermind. Ignorance is the loss of contact for the mind with the Supermind.
Time in Creation
Man is in Time. He scarcely understands creation or its process. When it is explained to him by Sri Aurobindo, he understands it as a process of successive steps because he is in Time. Nor is the Rishi gifted to understand Sri Aurobindo's explanation any better than we do, as he too is not in the dimension of time in which creation exists - it exists in Simultaneous Time. The process of creation is instantaneous, though successive steps may be built into it. Hence the difficulty to the human mind, the creature mind, to comprehend either the creation or its process. It is a masterly comprehension to 'subdivide' this integral simultaneous process of His vision and present it to the human intellect as 15 or 25 facets. To know these several processes itself is great. But it requires an ability to give up the MIND that reaches those processes meaningfully. Obviously it is a process from active thinking of the mind to the supramental intuition of seeing the whole inside passing through Silence, Light, Intuition and Knowledge. Before this, the aspirant should have penetrated the inner mind and subliminal to the psychic being which alone can rise through the levels of the Spiritual mind creating the appropriate psychic beings at each level. All these several processes are so intertwined -- or better stated as integrated -- that they are all simultaneous making the instantaneous miraculousness possible. About 14 of them are mentioned on p.12 such as objectification, self-absorption, the action of Divine Maya, etc.
The Brahman that forgot itself is infinite. The Brahman that remains outside the oblivion is infinite. The infinite whole contains infinite parts each of which is infinite it its own plane. Grace is the act of the one outside reminding the one that is lost in itself. Supergrace is the response of the lost sheep. To bring in the seven stages of ignorance in the Existence of Brahman and witness it passing into the practical ignorance needs far more than the human comprehension of mental time. The comprehension demanded includes the comprehending and apprehending Supermind. Involution lets the process unroll itself in Timelessness, evolution pressurises the processes to come together in Time. At the point both -- they always meet at every moment – meet, Simultaneous Time emerges resulting in the Supramental revelation. Perhaps it yields the Narayana Darsan Sri Aurobindo had in the Alipore Jail. That may be the first touch in a quick ascent. Between that and the commencement of the descent of Supermind which He expected in 1934 -- it really came in 1956 -- the distance is great. Whether the Supermind descended even into His consciousness some time after the descent of the Overmind in 1926, I am unable to say. It is probable that it did in 1934, the original date fixed.
Sat is called Sachchidanandam because Sat is Chit and Sat is anandam. Our bases are,
The above is not a successive process. It is really simultaneous. More than being simultaneous, it is a single process or rather a process of ONE within Himself. It is mind which is incapable of seeing them as one that sees parts of it each time.
A man conceives of an institution, say a school or college or a company. It is obvious that this conception is he and not separate from him. He goes through several steps such as taking partners, appointing managers, starting an office, founding a company consisting of building, machinery which produces and sells. It is not equally obvious that the company, the partners, his manager, the building, the production, sales, profits are all the MAN. It is all one. They are different aspects of the same man. Even the building, the machinery and the market are he, his extended being. It is easy to concede that his thoughts are parts of his being as they are subtle. It is not so easy to think the building and machinery are he. We can say they are his. But the truth is even his market is his extended vital being and the building is the extended physical being. So, Sachchidanandam, Supermind and Mind are Brahman. It can be extended to life and Matter. It is best seen spiritually concrete when we speak and act. It turns out like this.
The oneness of creation is the basis; the difference of phenomena is appearance. The one is infinite. When the Supermind splits into two, the infinity of the One changes into Time and Space. One can conceive of Time and Space, but the One and its infinity defy conception. The One is beyond conception. It chooses to conceive. To conceive it becomes conscious. Consciousness conceiving is an inner process. Thus Time comes into existence. The inner Time, by objectification, becomes outer space, as space is the field that holds the figures or objects Time conceives. At this crucial point of creation, He speaks of three changes.
The infinity of the One changes into conceptual Time and Space.
The omnipresence of the One becomes the many souls, and
The multiplicity of the One becomes the divided habitation of the Many
This is the crux of the process of creation, at least one of the cruxes.
The Absolute creates
Tradition says Brahma has created the world. Brahma being a god of the Overmind, it means Mind has created the world. Sri Aurobindo says it is not true and it is Supermind that creates the world. The tradition finds Brahman passive, immobile, Silent, Immutable. Hence it is incapable of action or any creation. So tradition conceived that Brahman is incapable of determining what should be what or which form should be assigned to which object. That led them to fix on Mind as the creator. To Sri Aurobindo Mind is an instrument of creation and the last rung of it. In the chapter on Cosmic Determinants His views on creation are detailed. They are,
There is a view that the world is created by chance.
There is another opposite view that the world is created by Necessity, as there is found in this world an iron order.
There is a third view that an extra cosmic God has created this universe.
Sri Aurobindo postulates that God became the world.
To Him Chance and Necessity contradict each other and we should look for a view which reconciles both.
He is unable to accept the Extra Cosmic god as it does not adequately answer the presence of evil.
To him God is Infinite consciousness.
He is in search of delight.
Such delight lies in self-discovery.
Hence God chooses to hide and discover Himself.
As there is nothing other than God, He can only hide into Himself.
His hiding into Himself is called creation.
His discovering Himself is called evolution.
He being Infinite consciousness, His hiding into Himself will naturally be a reversal of His becoming finite in conscience.
The Infinite emerging from the finite is a vast process making us believe that events are chance occurrences.
The Being has powers, truths and principles.
So, the evolution passes through those powers and truths.
Each such power is well ordered and governed by fixed laws.
This answers the presence of Necessity amidst chance.
Hence His hypothesis is proved.
The evolution starts with substance and proceeds in consciousness.
Quantity, number and design belong to substance.
Quality and property belong to consciousness.
That explains why material substances like genes and chromosomes carry psychological prosperities.
Creation is a process of creating forms.
Forms are made out of force that merge out of consciousness.
It is the Infinite that emerges out of the finite.
The infinite chooses that form into which it should emerge.
This form contains the force as if it is compressed into it.
The force is compressed into form in creation.
The hidden force emerging out of that form is evolution.
This requires a rhythm and process.
[The seed in the basket does not sprout. It sprouts when it is buried in the soil and watered. This is the rhythm and process].
Elsewhere He talks of the subjective consciousness and objective matter and says the former governs the latter.
Above we see the inner -- the mind -- decides.
The outer obeys the inner determinism.
This leads us to the argument that Mind dominates Matter.
Thus the argument of creation is proved from below – Matter onwards.
It is worthwhile to prove it from above.
Life exists above Matter.
Life is in a turmoil and there is no use to discover any law in that plane.
Next comes the Mind.
Mind is overburdened by running thoughts.
Only by yogic Silence can we discover in Mind anything worthwhile.
Yogic Silence reveals in Mind its highest reach, the Overmind.
The two great powers of Overmind are Nirguna and Saguna.
Following Nirguna, we end up in the Supreme Absolute unable to determine.
Following Saguna, we end up in the Divine Absolute.
We know creation is a whole as Brahman is a whole.
Overmind presents no whole and therefore there is no answer there.
Supermind as Creator
So, in quest of an answer, we move to the Supermind.
Here infinite Being is in full evidence.
It is not a Being Self-existent in the sense it is shut up inside itself.
A Being will naturally have powers and truths.
These powers and truths do find an expression.
They are expressed by their fundamental spiritual determinants.
They seem to us as knowledge, power and joy.
The infinite being gives them its own form and power which is called Swarupa and Swabhava.
This, He says, is the complete process of creation.
This creation is made by Supermind.
It is as well to say it is done by Sachchidananda.
Thus the argument ends in The Absolute creates
Our theme is nothing that is there in the universe and the world escapes being created by the Absolute.
Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara
This is the title of the second chapter in Book II. The full title includes their powers Maya, Prakriti, Shakti. The theme of the BOOK is the oneness, wholeness, integrality of Brahman, the Absolute in its status, creation and evolution. This spiritual fact was not known to humanity till Sri Aurobindo propounded it in The Life Divine. In elaborating this theme and emphasising the unity of Existence, He brings out the following facts.
1. Dozens of statements about Brahman each valid in itself, but partial, have been made. E.g. Brahman is one without a second; Sarvam Brahman; Man, woman, boy, girl are Brahman, etc. One must take all these statements together and live their totality in his SOUL, not mind, to glimpse the totality of Brahman which these individual statements miss.
In declaring so, He only asks us to move from our plane of Time to the plane of Brahman that is the plane of simultaneous integrality.
Our tradition knows of two dimensions of existence expressed in terms of Time as Time and Timelessness. Sri Aurobindo shows us a third dimension where Time and Timelessness coexist. There is a very elaborate explanation at the end of the chapter (p.360-364).
This third dimension is not confined to Time but envelops all facets of existence such as Silence, Unity, Form, One, Manifestation, Personality, Universality. E.g.
Many exist in Time.
One exists in Timelessness
That which includes the One and the Many exists in the third dimension of Time. This is called evolution, particularly spiritual evolution. It radically departs from the tradition that believes that Spirit is immutable and has no beginning and no end. He explains the Spirit is the subjective status of existence while Truth is its objective state. By evolution the Spirit reaches Existence and the Absolute.
Much of unintelligibility will vanish when we see this totality of Brahman. So, He describes the creation of Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara, Maya, Prakriti, Shakti and declares all are ONE and they are only six different aspects of the ONE.
Process of creation described in the chapters between The Divine Maya and The Divine Soul
I have listed the various parts of the Process of creation. These list out the independent facets that can be discerned in time. Theory can give us the insight into the other facets of it in Timelessness. But that dimension where its truth exists, the dimension of Simultaneous integrality will always elude us. Should we use the enumeration of these processes a little more carefully and provide for the comprehension of that elusive dimensions, we will see insights growing into us. Following their lead, we will land in the necessary intuition for a fuller grasp of these expressions. Such an effort will help reduce the incomprehension of the Book. Let me illustrate through some partial analogies.
Any act of ours gains our full attention in the most external form of it. The rest of it is taken for granted. A little thought will reveal the hidden background. There are several such backgrounds. If we persist we will reach the final secret, the Simultaneous integrality of Time. Such backgrounds exist in the horizontal and vertical planes.
In writing a letter we are aware of the contents of the letter, the courtesy the phrasing requires, the possible response of the receiver. We are fully aware of them. The pen, paper, stamp, post office, etc. that are part of the communication process are implicit and taken for granted. Expanding horizontally, the pen, paper, etc., were created by a society of a million dimensions exercising themselves in a million ways for their own existence. And we draw upon their service a little. We are totally unaware of this fact, though on serious consideration it will be self-evident.
By no stretch of imagination can we ever know that the thoughts we are expressing are no thoughts of ours, but only the tether end of a universal thought to which we give our version. It is one vertical version of the extending dimension. This single dimension further extends to our complete mind and fuller being till it embraces the universe and existence.
When He says the infinite is in the finite, He means this.
Should we look at the process of creation detailed in these 5 chapters from this point of view and wait on it to reveal the extra dimension, it is quite likely one will get a glimpse of it.
While we are negotiating a sale we certainly know all our thoughts, but we do not know similar thoughts of the other person. Further, there are in us subtle ideas we do not know and similarly in the other persons. Professionally experienced negotiators know most of them, but not all. Beyond these lie circumstances which no human being can foresee such as cultivable land turning into house plots by a decision made by a builder after our sale or during the process of our sale without our knowledge. Such facts lie in the subtle, causal planes hidden from our sight. The third dimension He shows us lies beyond the subtle plane entirely in the causal plane. Still there are hints and inklings in the writing that to a careful reader will distantly indicate such openings. One such example is seen in the Self-conception of the Absolute.
The Self-conception of the Absolute creates Sat.
It is done by Maya, the consciousness of the Absolute.
At the same time, Supermind which is the objective status of Sachchidananda comes into existence to divide Sat into chit and ananda. As mind is born when Supermind splits, Supermind is born when the Absolute self-conceives generating Maya.
Sat becoming Atma, Purusha, Ishwara is another occasion.
The births of Spirit, Time, and Mind are such occasions of evolutionary secrets.
What we know as creation is the One becoming the Many changing the all in all into each in all and all in each.
All these and many more are points creative of fresh planes of existence where we have to specially look for the emergence or existence of the third dimension of existence.
We perceive its existence when we move from Mind to the mental psychic.It is a move away from ego into the Individual that reveals the Eternal inside us. The human journeying through the universal to the transcendental is thus described. It is actually done by moving from the surface mind to the subliminal mind via the inner mind. It is noteworthy that all these movements are simultaneous. We can think of a dozen but in reality, every facet of existence is covered without exception, making for totality. Its totality is integrality. It is a plane where the Spirit evolves. We are in ignorance and knowledge emerges from it at the physical, vital, mental levels so that mental knowledge grows into spiritual intelligence before becoming Supramental intuition. The passage is thinking – understanding – Silence – light – intuition - partial knowledge - Total knowledge. It is a knowledge that takes one to the Divine Soul that is always in the Presence of the Absolute.
The Aspects of the Spirit
Sachchidananda is the origin of the Spirit in the sense that the Spirit is only the experience of Sachchidananda or its subjective status. So all the aspects of Sat, Chit, Ananda are in that sense aspects of Spirit. Sat emerges as unity, Truth and goodness, Chit as knowledge and power, Ananda as Beauty, Love and Joy. Purity that entirely depends on the Divine is a natural characteristic of the Spirit. Silence, Peace, Infinity, Eternity are its own innate traits. Yogic aspirants seek usually one of them. Mostly it is Silence. Spirit reveals itself when all these 12 or 13 traits converge in one.
The normal tendency which is apparently essential in trying to secure one trait, say Silence, is one tends to move away from others, as only concentration will help achieve. Acquiring one automatically brings others partially. The tendency to focus on one is a trait of the plane of Time. Non-focussing is similarly the aspect of Timelessness. Active opening to all other traits is an invitation to the fullness of the Spirit.It is mind's tendency to carve out one faculty for concentration. It makes for separation and rigidity. Overmind is in Timelessness. It does not close its borders with a vengeance as ignorant Mind does, unless it begins to act vigorously. The quiescence of Timelessness has a native capacity not to seal its borders. In Supermind there is an active going out to all other aspects and a forging of relationships in harmony to initiate an intense play, Lila. In keeping the outskirts of a faculty or trait open, one endeavours to reach out of the creature mind to its origin, the Supermind, via the Divine Mind.
Consecration that brings in the atmosphere conducive to spiritual evolution does so by shedding the rigid walls of the ego. Incidentally it relaxes the hold of Mind, Time, surface and the finite on the Person enabling the emergence of the Purusha.Spiritual aspects acquired through consecration and not through concentration bring in the fullness of the Spirit.Brought in thus, Spirit is poised for evolution. Concentration is for partial goals; consecration is for the totality that is integral.
The Eternal and the Individual
In the terminology of our tradition, the Individual is Jivatma, and the Eternal is Paramatma. Sri Aurobindo avoids using those terms. In the popular experience, an orphanage is called ashram. Illiterate people usually mistake spiritual ashrams to be a refuge for orphans. Again in colloquial language, any Brahmin is called Swami. The word Swami denotes a Brahmin by birth. Also it denotes with a vengeance the mendicant or even the beggar in ochre robes. Still no one mistakes "Swami Vivekananda” or “Ramalinga Swami" to mean a Brahmin or a beggar. It is all right in popular writings. In serious philosophical inquiries, it is better to avoid serious misconceptions by loose terminology.
Jivatma of the tradition has according to them no immortality while Sri Aurobindo's Individual is both eternal and immortal.
The Sat Purusha of the tradition is the Akshara Brahman which is only a part of the Absolute. So, He does not employ the traditional terms and resorts to His own terms.
We are aware of the ego as ourselves.
His yoga needs the dissolution of the Ego.
The dissolution of the Ego does not lead to the disappearance of the Individual, meaning Ego is not the Individual.
The Individual remains as Purusha.
It is the World-Purusha.
The World-Purusha individualises the world experience in each Individual thus fulfilling the individual in the universe and the universe in the individual.
Transforming the World-Purusha inside we discern He is the Transcendent Purusha, the Eternal, the Self-Conscious Being.
Thus the Eternal is the Individual.
Even if this concept is mentioned earlier, maybe more than once, its repetition here is significant as here the Individual and the Eternal are in their own territory or contextEvery concept of Sri Aurobindo must be viewed in His own context and be comprehended in the significance He attaches to the terms. Otherwise one will create an original confusion rich in many facets.he ego on the surface mind is often mistaken for the individual Soul. He even says till now all spiritual realisations are realisations of the Ego and on the surface. His own yoga goes beyond the surface mind as well as the inner mind to the subliminal mind. The Psychic Being dwells in the subliminal cave. His yoga is one by the Psychic Being in the subliminal mind. In this context, the Eternal and the Individual have different definitions.
The Divine & The Undivine
To us deva and asura; good and evil; world and heaven, etc. are stark realities. To Sri Aurobindo such divisions are only apparent and not real. This conception of His flies in the face of all that is central to our traditional philosophy and all traditional beliefs. One who desires to familiarise himself with the tenets of His yoga must severely part company with those of the tradition. The above is the title of a chapter. It essentially says,
Creation is a single integral whole and is the external appearance, a phenomenon, of the Absolute retaining His absoluteness essentially. The whole world is Divine.
The Divine and the Undivine is an artificial division valid only to human perception and that too only as long as man is imprisoned in his ego.
Ego is a limitation by division that was essential to evolution till Man became conscious. The ego that was a help so far became a bar after Man became conscious.
Man cannot experience the full intensity of the Divine till he experiences the undivine. It is the purpose served by the undivine.
Man has no business to shun a part of the universe which the Divine does not shun.
Giving up the evil means the Good too is given up.
Buddha, Shankara, Sri Aurobindo
It is a truism of yoga that MAN can reach the ultimate if his efforts are total, organised and exhaustive. Still, his ULTIMATE will be what his own personality can receive or permit. The Vedic rishis reached the ultimate vision which is not excelled in its reach till now, either in India or elsewhere. India attained Freedom in 1947 which is the ultimate in the freedom struggle, but it was freedom to be poor, freedom to run riot with the vast increasing political social opportunities for the outcaste, downtrodden, have-nots and the oppressed. Settlers in USA in the earlier centurieswon infinite freedom of every type.It was a freedom for infinite toil which resulted in infinite material plenty. Look at their social, cultural, psychological condition century by century. It was pathetic. Today they rule the culture of the world. The realisations of Vedic seers were ultimate, never to be excelled till today in reach. All that subsequent Rishis could do was to fill up the myriad gaps between the heights and the bottom, just as USA was and is. Of course the advancement of the Upanishads and the Gita was monumental. Buddha and Shankara too added to such treasures. Let us consider one line of succession of thought and see what it looks like. Buddha remains, in His words, the greatest Personality that walked on earth.Touching upon the essentials of their realisations Sri Aurobindo says
Buddha refused to inquire what Existence is, and
Shankara who opened a way out, refused to take a further step.
Such men, in the words of Sri Aurobindo – Shankara, the greatest intellect born, Buddha, a mightier soul than he – stopped their inquiry in the middle. He says do not stop, go to the very end, as it will come back with a greater and fuller vehemence, as we see in their cases.
Buddha saw ego was the impediment.
He devised an inquiry that dissolved ego.
Buddhists till today are devoid of any trace of ego.
As he succeeded with ego, he extended the argument to Self and said Self will dissolve by human enquiry. Hence there is no god, he said.
Ego is created by Mind and Mind by a changed attitude can dissolve it.
Self was there before Mind ever existed. How can Mind get rid of ego?
Shankara's realisation of the Supreme went beyond Buddha's yoga.
Starting in the resplendent presence of the Eternal Self, Shankara saw the world as Maya and declared it.
He could have, says Sri Aurobindo, gone beyond Maya and discovered it was Ignorance. He refused to do so. Sri Aurobindo did so.
Shankara, finding the world Maya, advocated shunning it.
Sri Aurobindo, finding the world enveloped by Ignorance, asked us to emerge out of it into knowledge and said it was evolution. It is only spiritual evolution.
Knowledge and Ignorance
Philosophy of yoga is to know what knowledge is of that system . Each system distinguishes itself by the knowledge it has of knowledge. Vedas and Upanishads have explained existence mainly through knowledge. Their definition of knowledge differs. Existence has a chain of 8 or 12 dualities, all objective statuses of Sachchidananda – Truth, Unity, Knowledge, Will, Beauty, Love, Joy and a few more. Both the Vedas and the Upanishads insist on explaining Existence only through knowledge. Sri Aurobindo too resorts to it. To explain through Truth or Delight is possible, but, I feel, as Man's supreme instrument is Mind, the seat of his knowledge, all systems have chosen knowledge and Ignorance for this purpose. Sri Aurobindo does not employ either system but goes on to create a new one. Nor does He use citti or vidya for knowledge, but calls it knowledge in English
To the Vedas to know God is citti, knowledge.
Not to know God is acitti, Ignorance.
To the Upanishads to know God is vidya, knowledge
And to know the world is Avidya, Ignorance.
To Sri Aurobindo knowledge limits itself voluntarily to become Ignorance. It does so in seven stages by forgetting, the central power of that stage, viz. Absolute, Self, Universe, Timelessness, circumconscient, unity of our being and the next step to be taken just then.
Creation is a whole and a unity. The Vedas and Upanishads have started with a definition of knowledge that prevented that unity. The Veda’s definition starts with God and ends with God. It has no place for the world. It can never hope to describe the creation of the world. The Upanishads separate God and world under the heads of knowledge and Ignorance providing no meeting ground.
Sri Aurobindo takes knowledge as a continuum from God to the world. Ignorance being a self-limitation does not interfere with the scheme. Hence his scheme can explain the creation in terms of knowledge that unites God with the world. After all, Ignorance is a kind of knowledge.
Ignorance comes into existence by losing each plane of existence in succession. It does so in seven stages and He calls it seven-fold ignorance. Then there is the evolutionary need to perfect it. It is done by creating the surface mind out of the subliminal mind and inverting it as a kind of sealing. At that stage, Sri Aurobindo calls ignorance greater than knowledge, as it is the final product.
Error, Mistake, Falsehood, Evil
Nowhere in the philosophic literature is there a description of evil, much less a solution to it. To Him, evil is the result of the simple contrary becoming a perverse complexity. Ego divides Man from the universe. This division turns the vision inwards creating selfishness. The very separation from the whole creates fear in the separated ego. Ego acts in self-defence protectively. This separation by division lies at the root of the creation of evil. When Man outgrows this separation, evil dissolves. There was a time when the ego served an evolutionary role. Now that that period is over, the ego has become a bar.
Reality and Integral Knowledge
Neither the One nor the Many is the Reality, but that which includes both, the Brahman, is the Reality. Such a Reality cannot be known by the Mind which can see only a part. Integrality is a concept generally not met with in life except in our subconscious existence and experience. We know of cooperation and coordination between parts. Integrality exceeds totality, whole, completeness, etc. in that each part is essentially and effectively related in its constitution and functioning with the other parts. The best example is the human body. Any act of ours like walking affects every part and functioning of ours and is made possible by their cooperation. It rests on harmony, not mere cooperation. A knowledge that is capable of knowing such an integrated existence is integrated knowledge. For such a knowledge to dawn on us, the one major condition is the dissolution of the separate ego.
Theories of Life
Terrestrial, cosmic, supracosmic, synthetic lives are known. We accept synthetic life. Ours being a synthesis of the whole, we cannot accept a life that excludes transcendence. Hence our preference of synthetic life. An integral knowledge gains in significance only when it is expressed in such a synthetic life. It must be expressed through that. The soul in the Becoming arrives at self-knowledge and immortality when it knows the Supreme and the Absolute and possesses the nature of the Infinite and Eternal. This is the aim of our existence. Immortality is to have the knowledge of the Soul in the Non-birth and Non-becoming. This was a Vedic realisation. Integral knowledge is to know the Reality that is ALL. Integral life is the life of that reality. Surrender advocated by The Gita is that of the Jivatma to Paramatma, giving up mental belief in dharma. In Purna Yoga, surrender is,
Surrender of the human being, consciousness, power and delight to those of the Divine Being. For that, the surrender of the Soul is not enough. The human nature must be surrendered to the Divine Nature so as to make surrender complete and integral.
Our aim is total and integral. Such an aim cannot exclude anything of creation. So Transcendence cannot be excluded from this life. The dualistic theories affirm God but deny the unity of God and the soul. Vedanta accepts Becoming as Brahman but the immortality of the Individual is not accepted. This is a yoga of spiritual evolution. Man is the centre of that evolution who becomes universal and later Transcendent in his inner life. It is he who is the link needed for the reconciliation of life and Spirit.
As the vision of Vedanta does not include the Eternity of the Individual, it stops short of our ideal. Lacking the instrument of Supermind somewhere, they are bound to fail.
The Progress to Knowledge – God, Man and Nature
In the earlier chapter, ‘Destiny of the Individual’, the theme of uniting the subconscient and the superconscient falling to the lot of man and not to the animal or god was stated. In a greater elaboration of that theme which is the process of spirit evolving out of knowledge and its involved status Ignorance, this chapter opens with the beginning of beginnings that,
Ignorance is the first formulation of consciousness in life.
From here, Man has to grow into Sachchidananda. He does so by mastering the environment, becoming complete in his being. Becoming complete in his being is done by spiritual evolution. It is a process discussed earlier where the Individual becomes the Eternal. It starts with exceeding the ego and passing through the stage known as Vedic Immortality.
His Being presents itself to Man as God, Man and Nature.
His own attempt to arrive at God through the individual (Moksha). Man loses himself in the indefinable, does not integrally grow into the Infinite.
Man initially seeks Power and later knowledge as his own formulation is closer to the will.
In our progress for self-knowledge, we discover That by which all is known. He discovers his Being which is one with the self-conscious Being which is a reflection of That.
Conscious unity of God, Man and Nature in his own consciousness is a sure foundation of that knowledge.
In the first book, what He said was in involution. The same thing here is amplified in evolution. The first speaks of theory and the goal. The second speaks of how the Spirit evokes out of the fullness of creation when the subconscient and Superconscient unite. It is important for us to know that they unite in MAN, in his conscious awareness.
There are eight planes and seven intervening zones. Each zone represents one ignorance in involution and one knowledge corresponding to it in evolution.
When there is no ignorance, one must be able to know what to do next. That will come only when the final ignorance is abolished.
There is a crux for all these ignorances which is a knot. It rests in the constitutional ignorance which is created by the parts of the being standing separate from each other.To unite mind, emotions, body and Spirit is the first step to abolish it.his is not enough as the power of determinism lies in their subtle parts. That can be reached only when we know ALL the other worlds around us. Not to know them, He says, is psychological ignorance. The work we do by our hands and ideas is complete by the support and sanction of those worlds. If they disapprove, they would cancel the work.
The psychological worlds are worlds in Time. Hence the temporal ignorance gains in significance. One must not be imprisoned in Time. It would normally mean to move into Timelessness. To Sri Aurobindo, that is not enough. He wants us to rise to the plane of Simultaneous integrality. Releasing from the stranglehold of Time, one is universalised as ego and begins to dissolve. The dissolution of ego directly helps the cosmic ignorance to disappear. As the cosmic ignorance rose by the Many mistaking themselves as ego, it is so.
The values of the Absolute at this stage will take one to the Absolute removing the original ignorance. Now he would know what to do next, i.e. the practical ignorance finally and permanently disappears.
To know that is to solve the problem. To be aware of it is to let the opportunity that comes reach fruition. Those symptoms are:
All pervading Silence
A bubbling inner cheerfulness that is irresistible.
An unquestioning Mind.
An attitude that considers everyone an angel.
An inner expansiveness that instantly changes the outer circumstances.
In an instant, the entire circumstances will change in our favour.
One can see the entire atmosphere charged.
Of a sudden, what was defying our understanding so far will reveal itself readily.
The outer and inner atmosphere will coalesce into one.
To those who look for the third dimension, it will reveal a little.
Ignorance is in Time. Knowledge is in Timelessness. It is in the third dimension knowledge emerges from ego. When a problem is solved for us or a Mother’s opportunity moves toward us, first we are moved by the Force to the third dimension of Time.
The Evolutionary Process -- Ascent and Integration.
To evolve forms of Matter, subtle, intricate, complex is the necessary physical foundation.
What we call evolution, is evolution of forms. Without forms there is no creation.
An upward evolutionary progress from grade to grade is the emerging curve. Transformation of what has risen and integration of it at the higher level is the 3rd part.
It is not Matter, Life or Mind that is the creative evolutionary Power, but it is the Supermind.
Evolution is not one of predictable steps with a well-mastered process but a miracle of metamorphosis.
Evolution is from the finite to the infinite.
Hence the scope is infinite which appears as chance.
Evolution moves from the gross physical plane of one level to the gross physical plane of the next higher level through the subtle, causal planes that intervene.Hence it has the appearance of metamorphosis and miracles.
Man gazes down to raise up the lower. Ascent and integration are the aims.
Inner mind which can open to the heights of the range of spiritual mind and the occult spirit within, provides the double opening, the secret of new evolution.
Swami Vivekananda showed Him the Supermind as the thing, but did not tell him HOW to reach there.
He says it took ten years to find the path after He had the Supramental vision of Narayana darsan.
To go up, one has to go down to the inner mind. It is this inner mind which opens to 1) the spiritual mental range above, 2) Nirvana, and 3) the subliminal where the psychic dwells in its cave.
Sri Aurobindo calls this going down to go up as the occult secret and the secret link to the Supermind.
The Mind to reach the Supermind should reverse itself and that reversal is expressed in going down to go above.
There is NO single upward movement without such a reversal or a similar one.
Reversal is an inescapable, indispensable process in this spiritual evolution.
The whole concentration will be shifted from below upwards and from without inwards.
The outer becoming inner is another type of reversal.
Such reversals conquer Time and Space.
Mother laughs at the phrase 'reversal of consciousness' and jokes that the poet in Him indulges in such things. To Her it is one single evolutionary journey and there is no reversal!
Karma, Rebirth, order of the worlds
As human memory does not go before birth and after death, rebirth is always unknown and baffling.
To the Buddhist and the Mayavadin, rebirth is unnecessary to their philosophy.
In the Vedanta rebirth is not inevitable, as it is a mere Lila of the Lord.
In Sri Aurobindo's theory of the Spirit involving in creation and evolving out of it, rebirth assumes significance and becomes inevitable.
The Individual's increasing consciousness becomes important ONLY if the Self as the Individual no less than the Self of the Cosmic Being or the Spirit are both powers of the Eternal.
When the individual is ego or has no immortality or is found incidental, his role is something that can be bypassed.
Sri Aurobindo describes the Individual as the Transcendent Purusha which he reaches through the World-Purusha. Then the significance of the Individual is consummate.
Involution started with unity, and lost it by the dividing mind. The goal of evolution is to recover that unity. Unity of Sat must be recovered in the body which is the inverted status of Sat. At that point, the play is exhausted.
Rebirth is inevitable as the unity is to be recovered in the body.
Self-expression and Self-experience are sought by the soul by birth.
Karma will not bind the spiritual being unless the idea of the immutability of the soul is accepted as final. It is the idea of the physical mind.
Man and Evolution
- Birth is the machinery of the outward evolution of form and the inner evolution of consciousness.
- Man does not have the potentials for evolution as the ape had.
- In the case of the ape and mind, it is only a further development of mind while the form remained intact.
- The Supramental being will not be born of a woman, he will not have organs of digestion, respiration, etc. For such a transformation, Man has no physical potential. But, he can exceed himself and that impulse is there in him.
- Evolution needs the earlier type to develop the form to its utmost capacity.
In rebirth the soul changes the body to house the higher consciousness it attained. Now the consciousness of the body itself is changed to house the higher consciousness. This compels the body to evolve in spite of its physicality.
- Discovery of the separate soul is the discovery of the Purusha.
The Spirit emerges when the inferior powers perfect themselves.
For the transformation of Ignorance into knowledge, spiritual intelligence is of importance.
To discover the spiritual being in himself and to help others to achieve it is his real service.
The Triple Transformation
The Ascent Towards Supermind
- An inner awareness, the emergence of the psychic are the first necessities.
- His Purusha becomes conscious master of Prakriti in the universal working of it.
- The blind imperative Necessity of Inconscience is met by the luminous necessity of Supermind.
The Gnostic Being.
Supermind puts out Overmind. It enters into the Truth in ignorance.
Individualises universe andTranscendence.
Reverses outer into inner.
Mental seeking by identity.
Life is for the Eternal.
Matter reveals the Spirit.
Power of inner to control the outer, to change pain into Ananda.
Supermind's AIM is to be.
Aspiration becomes ecstasy and vision, energy and eternal Ananda.
Outer action can be controlled and transformed (by Personality).Personality is supported by Impersonality.
Person emerges as Purusha.
Nature's automation is replaced by supernature's will.
Knowledge and will, order and freedom co-exist.
Infinite works out finites.
Universe works out individualities.
Self is possessed of Truth, not seeks.
Liberty, not law.
All-inclusive self, not selfishness.
Instrument is enriched.
Inherent self-knowledge and intimate world knowledge.
There are grades in creation. Untransformed humanity will be there.
Further evolution will be in knowledge and in harmony.
The Divine Life
We must discover and realise the inner reality.
Supermind is that inner reality.
That is attained by inner growth and inner perfection.
Nature endeavours to be fully, i.e., conscious, forceful, delightful, universal by an occult process.
Spiritual process is inner process of becoming divine Reality and its self-creation.
Dynamic Unity founds and governs divine life.
Inner completeness of being achieves it through spiritual self-knowledge and world knowledge.
Mind rises above life; Spirit rises to master matter.
Spontaneous unity of beings around a gnostic being.
Only intuition can achieve it, not rationality.
Individual is the key. Freedom of the soul and perfection for the nature are conditions.
Full emergence of the Spirit and Transformation are inevitable.
Life and body cease to tyrannise.
A self-realised being, a spiritual self with mastery over instruments is the supermanhood.
Dualities are based on inconscience. It is over now, as taste of ignorance is over.
New creation is self-creation of infinite in infinite forms in knowledge, raising inexhaustible rasa, making life a constant miracle, resulting in fullness of being and life. Evolution of life returns to the Absolute in consummation of the effort.
Pearl and Diamond
Sri Aurobindo gives the analogy of pearl and diamond to illustrate individuality, commonalty and essentiality.
There was a time when Pearl and Diamond were strewn on the earth and man, in his physicality, was unaware of their great value for him. The Sun and Earth were there all the time. We have been seeing the Sun going round the earth until Copernicus told us it is the other way about. Even now, we do not see the earth going round the sun, but we understand MENTALLY the definition of Copernicus and accept his conclusion. Sri Aurobindo goes further and says neither moves. All the changes are in our consciousness. He saw and as devotees we accept His vision but the world does not see it yet.
Knowing the individual use-value -- social value, psychological value -- of pearl or diamond, we use them with pride. To develop that sense and see the individuality of pearl and diamond, man has to develop a society and acquire a psychological value for the possession of a pearl or a diamond. Since the advent of Man on earth, it took this long for him to arrive at it.
Sri Aurobindo names it as INDIVIDUALITY of Pearl or diamond.
Next is commonalty. Now science knows that pearl and diamonds are made up of the same atoms. His own mental development and his creation of scientific study has enabled him to know the PROCESS by which a pearl or a diamond is constituted. This is to know their commonalty. Knowing their commonalty, we now make them.
The physical man rising to the vital man
has known the individuality of pearl and
diamond. He began to use them.
The vital Man has grown to become the mental man. His developed MIND devised science. Science knows the process. Now man makes them.
Beyond lies their essentiality. The essence of a pearl or a diamond is Brahman. One who has realised Brahman in himself knows their essentiality. He can take a pearl in his hand and transmute it into a diamond.
Copernicus mentally understood the motion of sun and earth and developed a mental argument to explain to us his understanding. Neither he nor we see the earth moving around the Sun. We conceive, but yet do not perceive. For us to perceive we have to move from the human consciousness to cosmic consciousness. Stationing oneself in cosmic consciousness, one can SEE with his own eyes the earth moving around the Sun. The scientists make a pearl and we use it. We see diamonds in the market and use them. We understand HOW the scientist does it, but we cannot make them. We conceive his process and become the end users. We know their essence is Brahman. We can conceive of it. We cannot transmute one into the other. For that we have become a spiritual man or a supramental being.
Creation has been a MARVEL from its beginning
Man perceives the creation with his best instrument. As the primitive man was not able to see the value of a pearl or a diamond we are not able to SEE man is divine, everything is divine.
As his own capacities began to grow, he extricated himself from physical drudgery and bodily pain. Mental knowledge and scientific study came to his help. He has conquered pain to a great extent, was able to prolong life. In a large measure he gave up military conflicts and the need to die on the battlefield. He still sees evil as his seeing is vital essentially. He has brought himself to value the oppressed man, the invalid, has some unconscious subtle perception of their evolutionary value and honours them accordingly. He now can make a pearl or a diamond, but is yet not able to create native spiritual joy by his mental process. He could bring his soul to enjoy the ecstasy of identifying with God in his meditations which Sri Aurobindo calls unconscious. Yet, he is alien to that bliss in his waking consciousness.
He knows pearl and diamond are essentially Brahman, but has not yet developed the capacity to transmute one into the other as he has not yet realised the Integral Brahman that is whole -- not the passive Brahman that is partial
The Life Divine offers Man that insight, if not that full intuition. Holding the basis of the Book -- Omnipresent Reality becoming the universe to enjoy the Self-discovery through Spiritual evolution -- while reading each chapter, he will see the lightning steadied in the sky of Sri Aravindam peeping at him in flashes or glimpses. This article aims at bringing such insights to the fore. To know of the new dimension of existence Sri Aurobindo shows us in His basic tenets in each chapter is a valuable mental exercise in that direction. Essentially, it emerges in about 30 major ideas of His. This article handles most of them. In a smaller way we see them in 700 philosophic truths. Each of the 1452 paragraphs clearly brings them out in a small way but significantly.
* As He says, ceasing to reason we discover knowledge seated on the throne.
The arguments, examples, illustrations, descriptions in this article are aimed at appreciating the thirty major ideas, 770 smaller ones and 1452 small significances. Let me repeat some of those illustrating one from each category.
*The Surface being is the soul's adventure in Time.
It contains several truths fully and specially valid for Him. 1). The constitution of the surface as a reversed subliminal mind and narrowed within the confines of Mind, Time, ego and the finite. The Soul, for the adventure of Self-discovery to realise the greatest possible JOY, perfects ignorance on the surface by making the field small and reversing the subliminal being. When ignorance is thus perfected, it enjoys emerging out of it realising its goal -- the Joy of Self-discovery. To the Soul it is an adventure, made possible by time on the surface being. This is one such statement. I would take it as one of the 770 minor ideas. Taking it as one of the thirty major ideas may not be wrong.
The sum of the parts brought together in some fashion does not equal the whole, as the whole is greater than their sum. This is fully explained in the text. Of course it is one of the 770 minor ideas.
The ideal of humanity cannot be achieved by a state or an institution but can only be realised by the Individual is one of the 1452 tiny ideas.
The nomad settled down in a village, evolved leadership for his physical protection and enjoyed the security offered by the leader. The leader soon claimed divine right and created a dynasty. Man, little realising that it was he who gave the king the power is still worshiping the Royal Dynasty long after 50% of the world population enjoys democracy. In Asian nations, the President or Prime Minister is still treated as the absolute monarch. The voter still is unable to conceive that he too can become the candidate. Man is vital politically, and is yet to become mental. Sri Aurobindo offers the vital man, because his mental faculties have reached in some Rishis’ maturity, the opportunity to exceed his mentality which has not struck roots in his consciousness.
In Savitri we can see how He ascended the stairs of consciousness. We can read in The Synthesis how we too can ascend. In The Life Divine we can prepare our mental instrument for the evolutionary adventure.
Doors that open on Insight
- How Shankara came by Illusion?
- Why did Buddha refuse to inquire into Existence?
- The link in thought between the higher and lower Maya.
- The Infinity mathematics does not know now.
- The reality of the uniqueness created by the Overmind.
- Transitions from Pranamaya Purusha to Manomaya Purusha and the Supramental Purusha.
- Relation between Maya, Supermind, objectification, consciousness, nature.
- Matter is delight of existence offering itself to its own consciousness as object of sensation.
- How the Rishis have come to realise that Mind created the cosmos?
- Why was the immortality of the Jivatma unseen? (It is the view of the physical mind of the soul as immutable)
- Agnosticism, illusion, Absolute and the fullness of the Absolute.
- Mind is the formal basis for Sachchidananda to represent itself to Himself as Matter.
- The two mysteries of Life.
- Memory and the inverse creation of the Surface Being.
- Why doesn’t the scientist know Matter as the Sannyasi saw the Spirit?
- To perceive the absence of waste in Life.
- To see in our own life the process of creation.
- Insight – intuition – integral experience.
- Intellect seeing Simultaneous Time from Time is Insight.
- Emotions perceiving Simultaneous Time from Timelessness is Intuition.
- Body sensing the Simultaneous Time from Time and Timelessness is integral experience.
- The inevitability of the occult secret of rising to the Spiritual ranges of mind by going in to the inner mind.
- The evolutionary significance of Surrender as an all-inclusive method.
- The presence of substance and consciousness and their relation to surrender of being and surrender of Nature.
- The existence of the Divine Soul, its characteristics, its enjoyment of God and other souls.
- The sequence of resistances of Matter through ignorance, inertia, division.
- The theory behind instantaneous miraculousness. It is the reversal of objectification.
- The Ideal that pre-exists.
- The ORIGIN of ego, its constitution and functioning.
- The need to carry the inquiry to the end.
- The Marvel is not to be created by the evolving Man. He must discover the ever-present Marvel by rising to the Supermind.
- The JOY the Divine seeks is not only in evolution but also in involution.
- As we rise from below, each plane loses a certain capacity. As we descend, each plane acquires a further capacity. The shedding and acquiring are joys.
- Capacity of Brahman to create a new joy for itself.
- To perceive the occult imperatives, if not sense, between the nexus of possibilities and resultant actualities. To conceive it is indispensable.
- To know one cannot teach another anything and appreciate its spiritual reality. And then to go beyond that and conceive or perceive or sense a little that that infinitesimal gives way to evolutionary aspiration.
- The inevitability of the Supramental transformation.
- Comprehensive preciseness makes for integrality where all parts are aware of their wholeness.
- The free will of fate.
- Capacity of Freedom to lose itself as a means of Supreme delight.
- Action of Mind and Spirit in Matter is swiftest and leads to NO action, thus making NO action the greatest of actions.
- How does the One without a second reconcile with All is Brahman. What made the Rishis of the Upanishadic period give up the unity enjoyed by the Vedic Rishis?
The sannyasi who saw his Spirit more fully than the materialist has known his matter, has NOT seen the fullness of the Absolute. What allows the scientist to miss the fullness of Matter?
- How does one move to the transcendent consciousness from cosmic consciousness? How do we reach the cosmic consciousness?
- The response of the universal instinct to stopping the Inquiry in the middle.
- The idea that the subconscient and the Superconscient must be united.
- The concept that the Individual is universal and transcendental maturing a perception in social life.
- We are not obliged to respond with the sensation of pain. It is the instinct of the body to reject death. The conception that man is moral and ethical but not life becoming a perception.
- The mental sensation of being free from sense impressions and feeling rational.
- The Reality of the illusion of quantity and quality.
That infinity of Time and Space are real.
That there is an infinity beyond Time.
The truth of sthanu.
Existence is infinite.
Being is real, Becoming is real.
- The Force is the function of Being, not independent.
- Sachchidananda is trying to express objectless Ananda through objects.
- Static joy becoming active joy.
- The key and lock for the creation.
Divine Maya is the consciousness of the Absolute.
Maya assigns the office of division to Mind.
- Divine Maya, Truth-consciousness, Supermind, Real-Idea, vibration of the Being. Common aspects and differences.
- The impersonal psychological truth of the Divine Consciousness.
The equable and unequal concentrations that divide the spiritual determinant into three, such as knower, knowledge and known.
- Why does the Supermind take three poises?
- The difference between the Divine Soul and the human soul.
- Mind is the last stage of creation.
What about the creation of life and matter?
- Life will persist even after the abolition of the universe.
- Death makes life immortal.
- Manomaya Purusha is not the Spirit.
- Strife creates love.
- Force and consciousness will not unite until the consciousness is universalised.
- Why can there be 7 or 8 or even 10 or 12 planes?
- Why is the psychic placed below life and not above life in the scale?
- The rationale of going in to rise above.
- The Infinite’s self-conception of the significant form.
How is His hypothesis proved?
- Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara, Maya, Prakriti, Shakti are one.
The relationship between Self-conception, Self-limitation, Self-absorption and Maya, Prakriti, Ishwara,
The double opening, the secret of the new evolution.
Conceptively creative Maya, dynamically executive Prakriti are merged in Shakti which is both simultaneously.
Simultaneous integrality of Time eternity and Timeless eternity.
- 'It is Time that created this world.'
The law of contradictions cannot be taken to the end.
The Absolute is the relative; the relative is the Absolute.
- The Evil cannot be refused without giving up good also.
It is the experience of the negative that enables one to fully enjoy the positive.
- The Self-experience of Self-consciousness in Ignorance is ego.
Direct contact with the Spirit is to know Nature and Spirit on the Surface as well as below.
- Ignorance is made perfect on the surface being.
The surface being is an inversion of the subliminal mind.
The Psychic Being is in the subliminal cave.
- The simple contrary becomes complex perversity.
- Neither the One nor the Many is the ultimate Reality.
- The very fact that there is unity and division presupposes something that is inclusive of both.
- To conceive of the difference between Mental knowledge and Integral knowledge.
- Trying to explain to oneself the difference between human life and synthetic life.
- What does it mean to unite the subconscient and the superconscient?
- To conceive of actions when the unity of the subconscient and the superconscient begin to ascend, form, integrate.
- To perceive one move at each level of ignorance dissolving.
- Distinguish in conception, perception, sensation the immortality in terms of Non-birth and Non-Becoming.
- If the physical mind believes in the immutability of the soul what are the beliefs of the vital, mental, spiritual minds.
- The points of transition:
- when the body begins to evolve,
- when one is able to extend help to another in a similar realisation.
- Conceive of the simultaneous movement of the Psychic upwards and downwards.
- How does the shift inside bring about instantaneous miraculousness?
- Explain to yourself the fullness of being in becoming universal, forceful, conscious, perceptive of delight.
- How does surrender become indispensable for transformation?
- Why are simplicity and luxury based on an equal footing?
- Conceive of the Taste of Ignorance and Taste of Knowledge.
- Is there a Soul-mark in that transition?
- Taste of Ignorance is physical, Taste of Knowledge can be mental as well as spiritual and Supramental.