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The first vibration of creation from the Brahman is OM. That is why they call it ‘The Word’. By chanting OM, we are put in harmony with the Brahman. For devotees of the Integral Yoga, you can chant it as long as it is useful. But there is a more powerful mantra, ‘Mother’, because Mother will take you directly to the Parameshwara, which includes the Parabrahman.

In the chapter on Conscious Force, Sri Aurobindo uses an analogy drawn from the tradition to explain how formlessness becomes form. The tradition says that everything is created from five elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. The Western mystical tradition speaks of the same five elements. He explains their symbolic significance.

Think of the unmanifest as a sea of energy, an ocean of energy at rest. Sat in the beginning is an ocean of energy at rest. The first sign of manifestation is a ripple of energy on the surface of the sea, which is OM. This vibration through the still ocean of energy is what the rishis called ‘ether.’ When you drop a stone in the water, you see a ripple moving out rhythmically from the centre.

These vibrations may move in rhythmic succession one after the other. They may also collide with one another. When these vibrations make contact with each other, the ripple takes on a momentary shape caused by the force of one vibrating wave hitting against the force of another wave. This contact of force with force is symbolized by the ancients as the element of ‘air’. All forms are forms of force. Forms are created by contact between forces. That is what we mean when we say a child’s character was molded by his early life experiences. Character is the form, life experiences bring forces to impinge on that form and give it shape. Every life experience we undergo is a force acting on the form of our personality.

These temporary forms last for only a split second before they dissolve. They have no sustaining character or life of their own. There needs to be something to hold the forms together, to sustain them. This is the element of ‘fire’, the sustaining principle. Fire, light and heat are all used to describe it. When vibrations emerge from the infinite ocean of energy at rest, the vibrating waves collide to create a form, and something arises from within that form to give it a sustenance or life, which is referred to as fire. The sustaining principle does not come from outside. It is there inherent within each form and gets released by contact. The same thing happens when through training or life experience the innate talents or character traits of a child are given shape or expression. The response we give to the impact of life events depends on the sustaining principle within us, our aspiration, character or nature. Events only help to bring it to the surface. In times of crisis, a person’s capacity for courage, loyalty, generosity or faith may be called forth.

 Forms created in this manner are attracted to each other and also repelled by each other. This principle of attraction and repulsion which can be observed in all the phenomenon of nature from the electrically charged subatomic particles to the polarity between the sexes is referred to as ‘water’, the movement of forms towards and away from each other in the ocean of energy. The direction of that movement depends on the sustaining principle which lies within each form.

The fifth element is the principle of cohesion, ‘earth’. This principle binds together the forms which have been attracted to each other, resulting in the sense of solidity and permanency associated with the material world, like the snowflake depicted here.

This process of the creation of forms out of the formless is of great relevance to practical life as well as to science. The same process helps us understand how new ideas become well-defined mature conceptions or theories, how new social movements arise as ripples in the ocean of society, how new inventions and new social organizations evolve. We can trace these five phases in events such as the Internet boom that started in the late 1990s and set in motion many new forces in society. The emergence of the Internet unleashed new vibrations of energy. Business people explored countless new ways to conduct trade and make money. These emerging vibrations of energy interacted and often clashed with one another. When young people exchanged music on the Internet, music companies protested that they were losing business. Many new companies were started to carry out these new activities. Some based on half-baked ideas were washed away in the first flush. Other companies such as Amazon Books that were started by people with vision, drive and perseverance were able to ride the storm, attract the right people and the resources they required, and solidify into successful businesses.

Modern physics, which has pierced the atom and delved deep into the subatomic world, has come to the borders of the material world where it observes the spontaneous emergence of material particles out of apparent nothingness. The ancient wisdom resolves this mystery by explaining that the apparent nothingness is not a vacuum of emptiness but rather an infinite energy at rest from which the entire universe emerges. Sri Aurobindo starts from the ultimate reality of the Infinite and shows how it becomes the finite universe. Scientists start from the other end, from the finite and try to divide and subdivide it in order to reach the ultimate reality. They know the snowflake’s parts. They have looked within the atom and discovered the forces that hold together its components. But they are not able to imagine where the original forces have come from. Physicists have been able to conduct experiments that reveal matter suddenly appearing in a vacuum where there was nothing. This matter is infinitesimally microscopic and it disappears immediately. Scientists are unable to understand where the matter comes from or where it goes. They are unable to take the last step back to discover the formless reality that contains infinite potential.

What does that have to do with us? We are the product of this same process of creation. We are infinite energy that has been converted into fixed forms. If we know how Sat has converted that infinite energy into this form we call ourselves, we have the power to change the form. We have attitudes, opinions, beliefs, and character. If asked to change our character, we will say it is not possible. Our character is a form which is fixed. But character is only a form of the infinite energy that has been locked into a fixed psychological form. We feel even our mental opinions cannot be changed. It is very difficult to change someone else’s opinion, but it is enough if we change our own. Each of our opinions is a form of energy, like the snowflake, and if we know how the opinion has been formed, we can change it. We can change our attitudes, our feelings and our character. Everything follows the same rule. Mother’s Force comes from that plane where that infinite energy is being molded into these forms. If we rely on Her force, we can remold any form into any other form. He even says we can supramentalize our body with that same force. 

book | by Dr. Radut