Monday, April 28, 2008
10. My soul knows that it is immortal. But you take a dead body to pieces and cry triumphantly, “Where is your soul and where is your immortality?”
(Thoughts and Aphorisms: Sri Aurobindo)
The vision and experience of soul alone can lead us to Truth.
And we have seen earlier what the soul is. The Supreme is the Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, as I have earlier told. He exists. He is eternal Existence, and seems even to go beyond and become Non-Existence, beyond the understanding of any manifested existence. As Sri Aurobindo has rendered from Taittiriyopanishad, “In the beginning all this was the Non-being. It was thence that Being was born.” He has further stated: “But, still, there is the absolute withdrawal, there is the Non-being. Out of the Non-Being, says the ancient Scripture, Being appeared.” [The Life Divine: Reality Omnipresent]
The possibility of Non-Being may lead one to reason that the ultimate reality is, therefore, a state where there is no manifestation, no universe, and ultimate truth leads one to Nihil, Nirvana. The question arises, as Sri Aurobindo puts it, “… does not the Non-Being, at least, as primal state and sole constant reality, negate and reject all possibility of a real universe?” And this may lead to the confirmation of the stand of certain schools of thought that Nirvana or a similar solution is the correct and only Way.
Sri Aurobindo has also answered this question. He says: “Non-being is only a word.” He says that the concepts of an absolute non-existence and of the infinite Self of Being are both the ideative formations of Mind. He says further: “We erect a fiction of nothingness, in order to overpass, by the method of total exclusion, all that we can know and consciously are.”
Thus, Existence is the Ultimate truth — Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.
In the Universal mode, He is the Creator of the Universes, and is one with them and also above them. He is the Manifestation, and also He is the One who manifests. The entire Manifestation is He. It is His Leela, His Play. He is both beyond it, and within it, and in each atom, each living being.
And Individuality is also an aspect of the Manifestation that Existence-Consciousness has become. The Supreme Consciousness has manifested Himself in and through all the individual beings. The Existence-Consciousness became many, and each of the many is a Soul. The Soul is the individual aspect of Manifestation. A soul, which is termed the atman in Sanskrit, is a part and portion of the Supreme Consciousness, the Divine — a part who is one with the Whole, who can be the Whole also, who can unite with the Whole.
The Soul is originally and can become, through Realization, One with the Supreme Consciousness. It is thus, in truth, immortal and eternal, beyond Death. The body, which is subject to death, is an evolutionary condition and is subject to Transformation and change.
Written earlier and published in Sulekha (http://www.barinchaki.sulekha.com/) on
Thursday, April 17, 2008
9. What the soul sees and has experienced, that it knows; the rest is appearance, prejudice and opinion.
(Thoughts and Aphorisms: SriAurobindo)
The vision and experience of soul is alone the true and real knowledge. Whatever is other than what the soul has seen and experienced is only an appearance. It is something that appears, a phenomenon, a semblance, a purely external and superficial aspect of a thing — as opposed to something as it is in itself, independent of the mental reasoning and judgment and discrimination. That which is not as per the vision or experience of soul is a prejudice, which may be an opinion, idea or judgment formed without sufficient knowledge or examination of the facts, a sort of a preconceived preference or idea .
Thus, according to Sri Aurobindo, whatever is seen or understood by the ordinary mind is not real knowledge. Truth is seen and experienced by soul alone. Soul alone knows Truth, the ordinary mind or the vital consciousness does not know.
What is soul, as defined by Sri Aurobindo?
The Ultimate Reality is the Infinite and One Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, whom we name as the Brahman, the Divine, and God etc. He has three aspects, the Transcendental, the Universal and the Individual.
In the Transcendental mode, He is above all manifestation, above all the Universes, all the worlds. He is the Supreme Divine, the One, Indivisible, Infinite, Pure, and bears the eternal consciousness in Him, above all Time and Space.
The Supreme Divine is the Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, as I have already told. He is, He is Existence, eternal existence, and can even become Non-Existence, beyond the apprehension of any manifested existence.
In the Universal mode, He is one with the Universes, though also above them and is their Creator. He is the Manifestation; He is the One who manifests. It is His Will that is manifested. The entire Manifestation is He, and it is His Leela, Play. He is both beyond it, and within it, and in each atom, each living being.
And He is also the Individual, Personal God. All the Avatars are but His Individual Manifestations. The Supreme is with His Creative Force, the Mahashakti, whom we call the Divine Mother. They are One and Indivisible, and yet They are Two in Manifestation and even above Manifestation. It is the Will of the Supreme that created the Manifestation. In words, it may be said that he thought, in the Upanishadic language: “Ekoham, bahu syama.” [I am alone, and shall become many.] The Existence-Consciousness became many, countlessly many, and each of the many is a Soul. A soul, or the atman in Sanskrit, is a part and portion of the Supreme Consciousness, the Divine — a part who is one with the Whole, who can be the Whole also, who can unite with the Whole.
In all living beings, there is a soul, who resides in the background, not easily known or realized. The soul presides over the living being, but somewhat inactively, in the background. The Soul does not generally participate in the Evolution. In the Evolution from the animals to the human beings there has been no active role of the Soul, though the Divine Will was ever active. However, in Man, there is an active part or aspect of the Soul, which is termed by Sri Aurobindo as the Psychic Being, which participates in the Evolution of Man, in the onward journey of the human being on the Path of Evolution into the higher beings, the supramental beings, towards the Manifestation of the Supramental Consciousness, the next phase of the Evolution. The Psychic is not present in any other living beings.
Sri Aurobindo adopted the term “psychic being” for the following reason: “The word soul is very vaguely used in English- as it often refers to the whole non-physical consciousness including even the vital with all its desires and passions. That is why the word psychic being has to be used so as to distinguish this divine portion from the instrumental parts of the nature.”
The Presence of the psychic being in man is the Promise that one day a new and higher Divine race shall emerge on earth and shall form the crown of the Evolution, shall be the apex of the Manifestation. The psychic being is a special term and it should not be confused with the other uses of the word in general. In spite of the Presence of the psychic being, human beings are in general not yet conscious of his Goal, of his higher possibilities, of the Higher Existence on earth. But there are persons, who are becoming conscious, maybe in an imperfect way, incomplete way, but they are being conscious, growing towards the New Becoming.
Truth is revealed, Knowledge is revealed, only when the Psychic is unveiled. Though Soul or the Psychic is the most essential element in Man, it is mostly veiled and closed and dormant in the majority of human beings. But it has to be unveiled. The Soul has to come to the front. And then only Truth will be seen and experienced.
The Mother was asked the question : ‘How do we know what the soul sees?’ She gave us the answer : “Obviously there is only one solution : to become conscious of one’s soul.” In other words, the psychic being has to be unveiled.
Prior to unveiling of the psychic being, whatever we think we know, whatever we have learnt and whatever has come to us through observation, reasoning or intellectual speculation or understanding, all that is but a relative knowledge. When we have the question in our mind as to whether we have known our soul, that very question indicates that we have not yet become conscious of our soul, we have not yet realized the soul. When we are conscious of our soul, as The Mother has said, we have no more any such question in our mind. When we have the realization of the soul, when we have the psychic experience, we positively know it and we do not ask any question about it.
The Mother says :
And that experience can neither be counterfeited nor imagined; you cannot pretend to be in contact with your soul — it is something which cannot be contrived or counterfeited. When the soul governs your life, you know it with absolute certainty and no longer ask any questions.
Until and unless we have known the soul, and until and unless the soul or the psychic being takes up the governance of our life and existence and consciousness, we cannot really proceed further in life, and we continue to grope in darkness or twilight, as the case may be.
We have seen what the vital being [life] and the mental being [mind] can give us : half-knowledge, uncertainties, constant debates, chaos and disorder and indiscipline, differences and conflicts and wars, enmities and jealousy and violence. We have so many theories and speculations and ways — but the Knowledge is not there, the Way is lost.
If the New Race has to be here, the first requirement is that some persons must have the psychic unveiling.
Written earlier and published in Sulekha (http://www.barinchaki.sulekha.com/) on 1-11-2007.
Friday, April 04, 2008
8. Either do not give the name of knowledge to your beliefs only and of error, ignorance or charlatanism to the beliefs of others; or do not rail at the dogmas of the sects and their intolerance.
(Thoughts and Aphorisms: Sri Aurobindo)
All that we believe in the name of our religions or sects, we regard that as Knowledge. What others believe, we think that to be an error or a dogma. Sri Aurobindo points out to us that this is wrong. We need not or should not criticize or find fault with others’ beliefs or religious faiths. This very act of ours, the human beings, the practice of mocking at and criticizing others’ beliefs, finding fault with others’ beliefs, have led to conflicts and wars between religions.
We should ever be in search of Truth, if we want to go beyond these conflicts and beyond these beliefs. We should be directly in touch of Truth, NOT by reason and logic and rational philosophy, NOT through beliefs only, but through direct spiritual knowledge, through spiritual wisdom, though Intuition and Identity, as we have discussed earlier.
As long as we are limited in the level of mind, of reason and beliefs, we shall have to stop being dogmatic and calling others dogmatic.
However, insofar as the religions are concerned, we shall have step beyond them, NOT by criticizing them, but simply by passing ahead in the Adventure of Consciousness. Our known continents are there. But we shall have to take up Adventures to find out new continents, within our inner Consciousness. We shall have to go beyond ourselves to reach and enter the Higher Planes of Consciousness, in search of Truth, to go beyond the mental and intellectual conflict and wars.
In Sri Aurobindo’s style of expression, one can say: Religion was the helper; religion is the bar. Religion helped men, in the earlier stages, in mastering the inborn beast in him, to channelize one’s physical, vital and even mental energy, one’s life-force towards a creative and constructive aim, the aim of knowing and reaching the Ultimate Truth, the Supreme and the Source and Origin of all beings and the Universe, to surpass the Ego and selfishness and all darkness and ignorance, to be in search of the Supreme.
Sri Aurobindo has said:
“Each religion has helped mankind. Paganism increased in man the light of beauty, the largeness and height of his life, his aim at a many-sided perfection; Christianity gave him some vision of divine love and charity; Buddhism has shown him a noble way to be wiser, gentler, purer; Judaism and Islam how to be religiously faithful in action and zealously devoted to God; Hinduism has opened to him the largest and profoundest spiritual possibilities. A great thing would be done if all these God-visions could embrace and cast themselves into each other; but intellectual dogma and cult-egoism stand in the way.”
Evolution — to transcend beyond the narrow and limited religious ideas, practices and dogmas that stand against the Truth. Religions have helped us in raising ourselves beyond the animal consciousness, beyond the lower physical and vital consciousness and the limited and unenlightened consciousness of the cave-man. Religions, as we understand and practise them, the backgrounds they have with them, and the differences and battles that have originated from them, cannot lead us to the supramental manifestation and transformation. We need not stamp ourselves with the narrowness and limitations that we have given to these beliefs and creeds and dogmas that we have made of what we have termed as religions.
Sri Aurobindo has further said:
“All religions have saved a number of souls, but none yet has been able to spiritualise mankind. For that there is needed not cult and creed, but a sustained all comprehending effort at spiritual self-evolution.”
Each sect and creed and religion regard their belief to be the only Truth, whereas other beliefs are stated to be errors and dogmas. The Mother has said :
“The dogmas of sects and intolerance of religions come from the fact that sects and religions consider their beliefs alone to be knowledge, and beliefs of others to be error, ignorance and charlatanism.”
The Mother has further said:
“In a general and almost absolute way anything that shocks you in other people is the very thing you carry in yourself in a more or less veiled, more or less hidden form, though perhaps in a slightly different guise which allows you to delude yourself. And what in you seems to be inoffensive enough, becomes monstrous as soon as you see it in yourself.”
The Mother said on April 29, 1953:
“Otherwise [if people sought for the truth], there would be no religion : there would be masters and disciples, people with a higher teaching and an exceptional experience. That would be fine. But as soon as the master is gone, what happens is that the knowledge he gave is turned into a religion. Rigid dogmas are established, religious rules are born, and all you can do is bow before the Table of the Law…. Luckily for all of you [children here], you have no religion. And I hope you will never have any, because that is closing the door on progress.”
Let us see what Sri Aurobindo has further told us in this connection :
“How much stupidity and hatred men succeed in packing up decorously and labeling ‘Religion’!
The quarrels or religious sects are like the disputing of pots, which shall be alone allowed to hold the immortalizing nectar. Let them dispute, but the thing for us is to get at the nectar in whatever pot and attain immortality.”
Sri Aurobindo said in connection with the Ashram : “The Ashram is not a religious association. Those who are here come from all religions and some are of no religion. There is no creed or set of dogmas, no governing religious body; there are only the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and certain psychological practices of concentration and meditation, etc. for the enlarging of the consciousness, receptivity to the Truth, mastery over the desires, the discovery of the divine self and consciousness concealed within each human being, a higher evolution of the nature.”
He has also said: “We are not a party or a church or religion.”
Sri Aurobindo has also stated : “I may say that it is far from my purpose to propagate any religion, new or old.”
He has stated further: “Churches and creeds have, for example, stood violently in the way of philosophy and science, burned a Giordano Bruno, imprisoned a Galileo, and so generally mis-conducted themselves in this matter that philosophy and science had in self-defense to turn upon Religion and rend her to pieces in order to get a free field for their legitimate development.”
The Mother stated, in connection with Ashram:“Here we do not have religion.”
The Mother’s had answered to a question related to religion:
“Q. Sweet Mother, what is the difference between Yoga and religion?
The Mother: Ah! My child. It is as though you were asking me the difference between a dog and cat.”
The Mother had further stated on religion:
( A note to a visiting Western woman who wanted to teach in a “religious school.”)
One must not confuse a religious teaching with a spiritual teaching. Religious teaching belongs to the past and arrests progress, while spiritual teaching is the teaching of the future. It enlightens the consciousness and prepares it for the future realization.
Spiritual teaching is above religions and strives towards a total truth. It teaches us to come into direct contact with the Divine.
The Mother has said that the Age of Religions is over. With reference to Auroville, She has specifically said that “Auroville is for those who want to live a life essentially divine but who renounce all religions whether they be ancient, modern, new or future.”
Placed below the oft-quoted declaration of the Mother relating to Auroville:
Auroville and the Religions
We want the Truth.
For most men, it is what they want that they label as truth.
The Aurovillians must want the Truth whatever it may be.
Auroville is for those who want to live a life essentially divine
but who renounce all religions whether they be ancient, modern, new or future.
It is only in experience that there can be knowledge of the Truth.
No one ought to speak of the Divine unless he has had experience of the Divine.
Get experience of the Divine, and then alone will you have the right to speak of it.
The objective study of religions will be a part of
the historical study of the development of human consciousness.
Religions make up part of the history of mankind and it is in this guise
that they will be studied at Auroville - not as beliefs to which one ought
or ought not to adhere, but as part of a process in the development
of human consciousness which should lead man towards his superior realization.
Research through experience of the
A life divine
Our research will not be a search effected by mystic means. It is in life.
Whatever is true of Auroville, in The Mother’s view, is true with relation to the whole world. The same Truth of ‘No Religions’ is applicable to all sincere followers of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Whatever may be the Religions theoretically, we the human beings have made them means of difference and hatred and violent conflicts and battles, instaed of being the means of reaching the Truth.
[Published earlier in Sulekha on 11-10-2007.]