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Contradictions are Complements

The Life Divine is replete with principles. One of the central principles is that contradictions are complements. Our life is filled with contradictions, things opposing us, people disagreeing with us, our emotions coming into conflict with those around us. We want to go to a fine university, but our marks are too low. We want to marry our daughter well, but our social status prevents it. Constantly we are faced with contradictions. He says all of those contradictions in life can be seen from a higher point of view as complements to what we are, as opportunities to make us more than what we are today, as the exact conditions needed to help us discover and bring forth hidden potentials within ourselves.

What we call opposition is the method, the process, by which the Divine creates the world. It is the opposition of the power of water rushing through the land that forms valleys. Everything is shaped by a conflict of forces with each other. That is the way life has been created. Darwin spoke of it as ‘survival of the fittest’. In human life, we are capable of converting that opposition into a complementarity in which conflict is no longer necessary. When we understand the purpose for which any force comes and impacts on us, then we know what progress we have to make. In this manner, Mother says, we can convert difficulties into opportunities. We convert the force that presses against us into a force for progress.

What are the oppositions He refers to? When God wanted to manifest himself in the world, the first opposition he created was a world of unconscious, unthinking, inanimate, unsensing matter. Out of that stone or rock, life had to emerge. Out of stone nothing can come, we may suppose. Stones do not think or move. Yet all life responds when the sun shines down. The roots of the plant know where to go for water. So the great opposition that the Divine started with was creating a world of inanimate matter in which it wanted to manifest animate life. Even this stark opposition between lifeless stone and animate life has been overcome in the course of evolution. Compared to that, everything we want to accomplish looks very easy. The creation of apparently contradictory opposing forces that interact with each other to evolve into complements is one of the fundamental principles of creation.

Sri Aurobindo goes even further. He says that the very fact that things appear to be contradictory and impossible to reconcile is the clearest proof that it is going to happen. Think about what looks impossible to you. When Sri Aurobindo started talking about India’s freedom at the beginning of the 20th century, He was the first leader to proclaim that the goal of the freedom struggle should be complete independence from Britain. The idea that India could be totally free was something unimaginable to people at the time. How many of you can imagine today that India can one day be as prosperous as the USA?

In 1989 when I met Professor Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate in economics, he was not a very famous man. Today he is a world figure. Can we not become famous like that? When Sri Aurobindo says that contradictions can become complements, he means that contradictions are really a sanction for accomplishment. Nobody has attempted more impossible things than the Divine. What, then, is impossible for us? 

book | by Dr. Radut