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Notes on the Life Divine

                                                  February 14, 1991

Chapter I

Question No. 1   "Awakened thoughts....secret immortality"  pg. 1

   Thoughts are in the mind. Mind is a subordinate action of Supermind. Supermind is in touch with Sachidananda, the Godhead.

   Mind is in relation with life below. Life relates to matter and darkness below.

   Thought in the mind has a tendency to be active. It can move downwards or upwards. Moving downwards it comes to life and is active, becoming less bright and later dark. Moving upwards, it turns towards Supermind, Sachidananda and God. Thought that turns around and looks upward is awakened thought. Therefore it can become divine, a search for God. As God is the seat of perfection and Truth, thought that moves upwards has an impulse to perfection. Sachidananda is Sat, chit, ananda, thus nit is the seat of Bliss. So thought moving upwards is searching for Bliss too. Mortality is in life, immortality is in Sachidananda. Thought moving down towards life is mortal. Thought moving upwards is searching for the sense of secret immortality.

No. 2   "To know, possess....terrestrial evolution." pg. 1-2

   Life is animal-like. It is egoistic. Life can be lived only by fulfilling material necessities. Material necessities are fixed, limited and mechanical. Life and man in life are mortal. Every one born must die. He must constantly grow, change, change into old age. Human satisfactions are short-lived, transitory. Physical pain is the order of the day in our life.

   Our mentality is dark, unclear and obscure. It is full of ego. But man is not condemned to darkness. Above is Supermind, full of illumination. There is peace and bliss. Man's mind issues out of supermind. It is for man to DECIDE whether he wants to move downwards to life or upwards to super-mind.

   When man decides to move upwards, he can change the small, dark, little life of his into super-life. Only man can do this, not the animal. This opportunity to convert human life into divine life is given to MAN

Q, pg. 2    "All problems of existence....all Nature seeks harmony."

   Harmony makes things possible, relationships smooth and pleasant, thus making existence and life productive. When harmony is lacking, there is quarrel and no production is possible till harmony is restored. If we examine problems at home or at the workspot, it will be clear that all problems are problems of harmony, i.e. because harmony is lacking, problems arise.

   You can see families where two brothers living in the same house will behave as strangers. In a good family this will be a grating discord whereas in families of low culture, it will be taken for granted as some-thing permissible. When the discord is not perceived as discord, there is no problem! A problem arises when the behaviour of brothers as strangers is disturbing to others. Also, even after the discord is perceived, and something inside us tells us that there is no possible solution, it will not present as a problem, as if there is no problem. Suppose the family has an instinct that at bottom there is unity and it can and must be discovered, efforts are made to bring the brothers together. Such an effort appears as a problem.

   In other words, there is no problem when the discord is not perceived or a solution is not perceived. Perception of the discord and the perception of the basic agreement hidden create the problem, the problem of restoring harmony.

Q, pg. 4     "Man himself may well.....the superman the God."

     Life evolving from Matter and Mind evolving from life are explained as evolution. If life can evolve out of Matter and Mind can evolve out of life, the process need not stop there. When continued, Mind has to evolve something out of it. Naturally Supermind evolves out of Mind. It is easy for us to see this. Where do all these take place? The monkey has evolved the MAN, i.e. Man has evolved out of the animal for which the monkey provided the base. So, he says Man has been worked out of a laboratory and that laboratory was the animal, represented by the monkey. If so, where will the Superman be worked out is the question? In which laboratory the Superman will be created? Superman is God, rather above the gods. Superman is one with Supermind. Supermind is to be evolved out of mind. Man is the only species endowed with mind. So Man has to create the Superman. Hence he says the Superman, the God, will be created in the laboratory of Man.

CHAPTER TWO  --  The Two Negations

Q, pg. 6   "The affirmation....series of HIS mansions."

   In the first chapter, HE (Sri Aurobindo) concluded that a Divine Life in an animal body justifies to reason. Once that is conceded then the spirit occupies the top and the matter serves as the foundation. In that case, the animosity or opposition between matter and spirit ends. Also, it follows that the spirit accepts matter as a noble garb or dress for it to wear. It is not as if the spirit concedes a place for matter condescending to it but accepts the nobility of matter to be its fit external dress.

   Life is a continuous current, not a static block. So the spirit continuously creates out of matter His mansions i.e. His creations.

   In short the discussion in the first chapter ends the controversy between matter and spirit and has secured the right place to matter in the scale of spiritual values of life, so that a Divine Life can be built with body as its pedestal.

Q, pg. 7    "If we assert....from Nature." 

  The Materialist relies only on Matter and denies the existence of the

Spirit. The Ascetic denies Nature and relies only on the Spirit.

Sri Aurobindo's position is to accept both and reconcile them. Instead

of announcing His (Sri Aurobindo's) reconciliation, He argues his case and tries to win. As he established in the last chapter  the possibility of Divine Life in animal body, now he argues that we are not free to deny either. So, He warns us not to take the extreme position of asserting either the Spirit (or Nature).

Q, pg. 7   " these barren contradictions human mind cannot be satisfied....luminous reconciliation."

   Mind is an instrument of understanding. Understanding is reached by knowing what is not known. When there is a contradiction, there is no understanding. To understand, the contradictions should disappear in a reconciliation.

   We know every instrument works according to its construction and nature. E.g. a mirror reflects and cannot but reflect. Stomach feels hungry and does not keep quiet till it is full. So Mind is created to understand. Therefore it refuses to keep quiet till it understands.

   Reconciliation is not a compromise. In a compromise each party loses a little to accommodate. In a reconciliation each party understands the other better and therefore sheds its contradiction. Mind is an instrument of light. Therefore He says it is a luminous reconciliation. Affirmation issues out of each contradictory partner reconciling with the other out of understanding.

Q, pg. 9    " Europe and in India respectively...bankruptcy of spirit"

   The European was very affluent in 1900 while in India there was poverty. Today the minimum wages in USA are Rs 560/- per day which is over

Rs. 16,000 a month. Our President is paid only Rs. 10,000. India was poor not because we are incapable but our capacity was the greatest in the world as a nation. That was why we followed the Spirit. We could discover the Spirit because we were a people of great capacities. We succeeded in Spirit and also believed that Life had to be neglected. Therefore we neglected Life and therefore we are poor. In Europe they believed in Life and followed Science and their life is very, very rich, but spiritually the European intellectual is not even as equipped as the Indian farmer

(Mother says so).

   As India is bankrupt in Life, Europe is bankrupt in Spirit. Neither life nor Spirit alone can fulfill man's life. We need both.

Q, pg. 9   "...the denial of the materialist...its own cure."

   There are certain occasions in life where a method works against itself. If in a dispute one man is right and out of culture he refuses to go to court but the other who is legally at fault, not knowing his situation, insists on going to court, this man's seeking legal remedy will go against him. In the USSR there was a dictatorship but they gave education of a very high order. Nehru said the high education will give mental freedom and when that generation comes of age, the dictatorship would fall down. It is now happening.

   The materialist's method is search or research. Research breaks the barriers of superstition. Also search and research will always break the limits of knowledge one day or other. When the limit is broken, one is

face to face with the limitless, the Infinity.

   The materialist who denies the Infinity, employing the method of research indirectly arrives at Infinity. Thus his own method contains the cure for his materialism.

Q, pg. 11   "The rationalist tendency of materialism has done mankind a great service."

   The rationalist is dynamic, active, propagates his ideas all over. The spiritualist minds his own business and is not capable of doing the propaganda for God. The materialist is doing what the spiritualist cannot, but against the spirit. People responding to the materialist begin to think and they are unable to accept the ideas of the materialist, but are led to the Spirit. In Tamilnadu EVR carried on a propaganda for 40 years against God. What is the result? At least 200 temples are renovated. Visitors to Sabarimalai, Tirupati and all temples increased 100 fold. Surely the spiritualist would never have done this service. This is the service of the materialist.

Q, pg. 11   "It is necessary...that advancing knowledge should base herself on a clear, pure, disciplined intellect."

   Knowledge is a powerful weapon which when improperly used can harm others or the user himself. The person who wields the knowledge must be well trained and highly disciplined. When high powered machines are handled, the user is a highly qualified engineer. Supra-physical knowledge which we are considering is powerful in the sense it can unleash powers from other planes. It should be handled by one who is disciplined to use it only rightly.

Q, pg. 11   "Rather we should observe with respect...near the goal."

   Agnosticism means refusal to believe in anything. This is the most difficult thing for the mind. For the mind is anxious to believe in something and when it believes, it feels comfortable and rested. To keep the mind open, to accept no idea as final, is impossible for most. When the mind accepts such a discipline, its energies are great. It is easy for one to be employed, get married and work for social success. Suppose one says he will not accept any employment final, will not accept the bondage of family and remains alone and aloof, he must be greater than most persons. If he has to earn his bread afresh in a new occupation every time, must have no friends permanently, no family where he can seek refuge, no party that gives him psychological support, none of his energies will be used by family or friends. So he will be full of energy. Likewise the agnostic keeps his mind open. It remains full of energy and therefore makes great discoveries. Bertrand Russell was an agnostic. His contributions are great in the field of intellectuality.

Error is the handmaiden of truth: What we know fully we do without an error. We go to our shop from home without committing an error. What we do not know, we accomplish through error. If you have to find someone in a new town, obviously we have to err many times. But the error leads to accomplishment. Suppose someone who wants to meet his son in a new place in a college town says, "I shall not commit one error. If I cannot find my son without committing an error, I shall not try." He may not commit an error but he will not be able to find his son. It is error that helps him to find. In the search for truth error has played the role of a handmaiden. Sri Aurobindo says that error is Truth disguised, a poetic way of saying.

Q, pg. 12   "A certain kind of agnosticism...effort of consciousness."

   Agnosticism, a final truth of all knowledge. As we rise in knowledge, we give up believing in the lower knowledge. Unless you give up lower knowledge, the mind will not accept the higher knowledge. In the beginning, man believes in material possessions. Giving that up, he believes in mental knowledge. Further he gives up the mental knowledge in favour of spiritual knowledge. Silence comes in and pushes out even the spiritual knowledge. This growth is a kind of agnosticism. Only in agnosticism they begin by saying that they would not believe anything which even the seeker of knowledge by any other path does anyway.

Reality translates into different symbols: Table is an object. When we analyse what 'table' is to us, it reduces itself to a certain shape, form, sensations when touched, feelings in recollection. The table is there outside in life; but to us table reduces to certain feelings and sensations. It will be clear if we replace table by a 'child'. What is my child to me--a strong feeling of affection, pleasure in touch, feeling of having a child--except all the inner values or symbols I associate with my child. (This is metaphysical and is difficult to explain--see separate article attached). So also, the entire universe is only a set of symbols, figures, sensations etc. The closest example is for the blind man life is a symbol of sounds. For us life is a symbol of 5 senses.

Attainable by a supreme effort of consciousness: In finding a solution, if one method fails, we go to the next higher method. If a boy makes mischief and is not amenable to reasons, we go to his parent. If a lower court is unfavourable, we go to a higher court. If the highest court in the land--

legislature--fails a leader, he goes to the people who created the legislature as the legislature was created by the people.

   Thought is a great instrument. If thought fails to understand spirit or matter, it is not final. Where does thought come from? Thought is generated by consciousness. So let us try to understand by consciousness something which the thought cannot understand. Consciousness is the parent of thought.

How to understand by consciousness: On some important issues our mind fails and does not know which way to go. What do we do? We keep quiet. In a few days, an idea occurs. It clarifies. That which was not clear is now clear. What happened? Thought failed but we have not taken that failure as final. We did not give up the search. As thought has failed, it is quiet. Consciousness behind the thought becomes active and sends in the answer.

Q, pg. 13   "The unknown is not unknowable...persist in our first limitations"

   Man is mind or body. He is a soul. When he identifies himself with body or mind his knowledge is limited. Choosing to know his soul, all knowledge is available to him. Man is so satisfied with his first discoveries--of knowledge, wealth etc.--that he stops there. They become his limitations.

Q, pg. 14   "Matter expresses...unknown force."

   Standing on a hill 3 miles from the sea, the sea appears to be concrete landscape. Coming closer to it, it is fluid. A leaf under the microscope is not a leaf anymore, it is full of cells or a piece of cloth under a lens. When thought withdraws falling silent and consciousness looks, the walls begin to wave, things are in a flux and finally one sees it is a wave of a force.

Q, pg. 16   "There is the central theme...human existence."

        When the consciousness sees matter as a force, one begins to     see that that force is energy and mind and life are also planes  of energy. At a further point this outward vision changes into an inner vision.

   Imagine with the mind of a cat our house where he lives. The cat sees what he can eat. He does not see all that we see in the house. The distance between the cat's perception and ours is great. Man has evolved from the cat's vision to the present knowledge. The cat does not know that our vision exists. Similarly, we do not know a vision of the Divine exists. Passing from thought to mind, from mind to mental consciousness, from there to human consciousness our perception of the wall changes into force, and then into energy and finally in will. From human consciousness we can still move to the Divine Consciousness and finally to the Divine Mind. Then the will changes from individual will to collective will and then to the Will    of the Almighty. As our point from where we see changes, so that vision changes. The passage quoted describes the final vision.


Q, pg. 17  "If the materialist...pure spirit as the reality."

   Something becomes a sole reality to us when all our needs are met by it and all our problems are solved by it. Many find the family like that, some think money is for them the sole reality. Whether it is so or not, a thing becomes the sole reality when it is comprehensive and all-powerful. The materialist finds all his food, clothing, shelter, security, joy etc. coming out of matter. What is baffling to him, reveals to his search and he finds it as matter. So there is nothing wrong in his conception, though we may not accept it as final.

   If the materialist finds his needs, desires, security and everything else he can conceive of is made of matter, the Sannyasin too can discover a similar truth in Spirit. His needs of food, security, shelter etc. are much less and he is not to have desires. A thought of his brings him his food, so powerful is the spirit in him. He may solve all his problems by referring to the spirit inside, though he is not supposed to have problems. He may even solve other's problems. The more the materialist analyses world existence, the more he discovers the matter behind it and the Presence of matter--the earth, the house, the lands, the atom, the molecule etc. etc.--are all-pervasive and all-powerful. The more the sanyasin delves deep into the secrets of life, family, property, idea, miracles, the sun, the moon, the earth, the atom etc. the more he sees the spirit. Why should he not declare that the spirit is the sole reality. He sees the Brahman behind all things. He sees them as Brahman too.

Q, pg. 19   "But the worlds are only...the senses instruments."

   In a university, there are classes, there is the hostel, the office that collects money, the playground, the lectures by great men who often visit and the convocation that confers the degree.

   The classes etc. are only instruments, not the ultimate. The office is necessary but is a part. Convocation is great but is only a function, even the degree is only a symbol, the hostel is a necessary convenience but education is the great underlying fact. The student is all important for whom the university is a field, playground a medium. As the student goes to the debating society to enlarge his experience, Man, for whom consciousness is the fact, lives in the world which serves as his playground, a frame of reference.

Q, pg. 20   "The extension of our consciousness...Cosmic existence."

   Consciousness is inward and does not exist outwardly. To extend the conciousness means to extend it to outside. We extend our sympathy from family to the community i.e. we try to feel for the community as we feel for our family. So, as we feel ourselves by our consciousness, if we try to feel the outside we extend our consciousness. Stopping short of the cosmos, the answer will be incomplete. So we reach upto the cosmos from inside.

Q, pg. 22   "The world is real...   assumes the form..."

   As we moved from thought to consciousness, it is possible, He says, to move from consciousness to Being. For one who lived in the cosmic consciousness--he explained this in Chapter II--consciousness is more real than physical matter. Once he feels the consciousness very real, the world which is only an expression of that consciousness is also REAL.

   A thought illumined by mental light can create an idea and it would be very real to the man who creates but it will not be real to other people.

World is not such a creation but is REAL because it exists in the consciousness which man has seen as more than real.

Q, pg. 22   "World lives by That. That does not live by the world."

   When the higher creates the lower it can either be dependent or independent of it. The Parliament has created the Government, the judiciary and several other bodies like Reserve Bank etc. The Government (i.e. the Cabinet) is entirely dependent on the Parliament. It can dismiss the government wherever it wants but the judiciary does not depend upon the government. It is independent. The mother who creates a child is psycho-

logically dependent on the child. We can say the People who elect a Parliament are independent of the Parliament. Parliament lives by the people, the people do not live by the Parliament.

   So also the Conscious Being creates the world but is independent of it. The world lives by the Being. The Being does not live by the world.

Q, pg. 22   " luminous, pure, sustaining the world but inactive in it...transcendent Silence."

   We have seen Silence sustaining activity, Energy issuing out of tranquility as active thought issues out of silent, tranquil consciousness. In the previous paragraph he asks what is the relation between world and the Conscious Being. The Conscious Being sustains the world and the world lives by that.

   The world is active, full of energy, works through dualities of light and darkness, high and low etc.; it is divided by Mind into small finite, separate items as the wall is separated from man, water is separate from mountains. The world contains types (man is a type as there are many men answering to the type) and is scattered with multiple varieties.

   The Pure Spirit described in the Upanishad which has created the world is the opposite of the world. It is inactive, tranquil, without duality, without division, without multiplicity, pure, luminous and has no types in it. It is unique.

Q, pg. 23   "All voices are the featureless unity of indefinable Existence."

   When we want to reach an ideal we try to go up. A village boy wanting to take the highest degree goes to the university and takes it. The ideal of a degree is available in the town, in the university. It is plain common sense that the degree is not going to come to the village. Either you go to the university and take the degree or do not take it. There is no question of the university coming to his village or everyone in the village raising themselves to a degree holder, thus making the village a university.

   So far, rishis have attained Moksha by reaching the high heavens, giving up the world, neglecting the body. Sri Aurobindo's ideal is to

accept life, divinise the body, reject moksha, work for moksha for everyone in the world, so that death and suffering will be wiped out from Earth.

   All those who tried to bring God to Earth found Earth too dark and unanimously declared that if there is Ananda, it is there in high heavens, the Vrindavan.

Q, pg. 24   "One without a Spirit"

   Man has so far aspired to reach god. The gods of Shiva, Krishna, Indra, Lakshmi etc. are in the overmental plane. Supermind is above that. Satchidananda, whom we know as God, is above Supermind.

   Man's tapas is to reach Gods. The Vedic rishis reached God through the Gods. This is the upward movement. The world knows only this. God in his compassion reaches Man through his Grace. This is what all of us know, but our spiritual emphasis is only on man's tapas to rise, not on the Grace of God that comes to Man seeking to confer spiritual benefits on him. Sri Aurobindo's contribution is here. That is why I often write     

Q, pg. 24   "We have seen.....Asceticism of Life"

   Materialism has initiated the search, though it denies God. Search is God and will end in God. Unconsciously materialism has opened the doors to the knowledge of God. This is its service.

   Asceticism has explored the opposite and nobler side of Life and has

seen God, even though it denies the part of matter. Man's mind and spirit are opened to the universe, creation and God by asceticism which is certainly a greater service.

CHAPTER IV      Reality Omnipresent

Q. pg. 25   "We admit both the claim....condition of our manifestation."

   In the previous chapter we saw the conditions in which the Spirit exists and the conditions of its manifestation. The Spirit exists on its own and does not depend even on the world it creates. It exists in freedom and absolute freedom.

   In the second chapter HE explains that if we station ourselves in consciousness, Matter rivals as Energy and further Mind and Life too reveal themselves as Energy. But Matter appears to us as solid, life is less felt and we do not see the mind. In a somewhat metaphysical passage He explains the whole universe comes to us as symbols and figures. It is matter but gives us the appearance, thus giving us the mould of our condition of life.

Q, pg. 25   "True reconciliation...and his outer existence."

   Earlier he distinguishes between compromise and reconciliation.

Compromise is arrived at by each giving in on some points to arrive at asolution. Reconciliation is arrived at by each discovering in the opposite point of view a complementary component and pushing aside the opposition joining the complementary aspect to work out a solution. Two brothers one owning a starch factory and the other agricultural lands, when they turn rivals can, by mediation, arrive at a compromise not to quarrel.

But, if both realise the need to work together as a team so as to guard the family status in future against the forces that are gaining strength and the landholder comes forward to grow tapioca to be processed at the starch factory of the other, it is reconciliation. Reconciliation is made possible by each acting as a complement to the other. For that to be effective, a higher vision of their basic unity must arise in the mind as the brothers recognising the wider value of the family status ten years hence.

Q, pg. 25   "...meeting place...agents of separation."

   In chapter II He asked us to know from consciousness when thought fails to give the explanation for the supra-physical facts. What is not known by thought, He said, can be known by consciousness. Seeing from the conscious-

ness we see Matter, Mind and Life as formations of Energy, i.e. Matter and Mind reconcile at the (Cosmic) Consciousness. Further He says Energy is Will and will is not individual will but a collective will and it is not collective will but Almighty Will i.e. God. So God and mind meet here in consciousness i.e. cosmic consciousness. As mind is already seen as matter, here He argues that we see Spirit and Matter meet in Cosmic Consciousness.

   We see in our ego that mind is against life and life is against matter. They are there to separate each from the other. While in Cosmic Conscious-

ness each is above the other in succession and therefore only intermediaries, i.e. one leading to the other and not there to separate the one from the other.

Q, pg. 26   "Both admit and confess each other as divine, real and essentially one."

   A metaphoric way of expressing the thought that Spirit and matter are reconciled.

Q, pg. 26   "The Silent and active Brahman...each necessary to the other."

   An activity is a whole, but we see a part of it. It splits into two in several ways as opposites or different parts or lower and higher parts etc. In a family the aged father lies in bed half dead and several children go and engage in several activities, all sanctioned by the father, guided and controlled by the father. People see the activities, not the Silent Will behind. At home people see the father's importance, not realising the importance of outside activities. Both are essential. Apparently one is against the other. When the family is harmonious the opposition is not felt. There are occasions when the children act against the wishes of the father. Even then all their activities are silently supported by the status of the father, even the activities that are directed against the father!

There are other ways of division too!

Q, pg. 27    "Man becomes sustains it."

   The same above idea elaborated. The President of the country is silent but holds within himself all the power of the Prime Minister. The President does not by his Silence reject the Prime Minister but supports him.

   People are afraid of the police and some hate them but because the police are there, life is possible for us; law and order obtains in the town. Normally people and police are in our conception, opposites, but it is the police that enable our life to be smooth.

Q, pg. 27   "Out of the Non-Being, Being appeared."

   The same argument repeated in another fashion.

--The Silent Engineer who designed the building versus the active buzz of the workers putting up the construction;

--The involuntary muscles and organs working unobserved vs the active life of man.

--The unseen woman at home fashioning the character of children vs the active family outside.

--The deeply buried wisdom unexpressed in us vs. the chattering mouth;

--The silent capital in the company vs. the free flow of the working capital;

--The invisible Board of the big company vs. the active salesman on the road.  

   These are the TWO sides of SILENCE and ACTION in life of which the NON-BEING and BEING are the prime movers.

Q, pg. 28   "Sat and each other."

   The above argument elaborated.

Q, pg. 29   "It is possible to pass into...silence and activity."

   When a cleaner of a bus becomes the driver and owner later, it is possible for him (say during a strike) to drive the bus or again clean it. He has in him the capacity of the owner and the capacity to do the lowest work. With such people the control of the management will be perfect. Only in the first generation people have that capacity, not in the successive generations. The Nattu Kottai Chettiars who know the value of this truth

send their children to start at the bottom. So, in business, they become invincible. In 1950, it was said that 1/3 of the industrial capital of Tamil Nadu was with them, a population of 1.5 lakhs at that time. To be able to be a boss or an officer is a partial capacity; to be able to be both is a complete capacity. Non-Being is the origin. World came out of that. We are in the world. The rishi is able to enter the Non-Being. Entering there, he dissolves or disappears. It is like the second generation of wealth entering wealth and getting lost in it. They are unable to keep their touch with the realities at the bottom. To be able to be at both places one requires a work ethic, a higher vision of creation, higher than the rishi's ideal of Moksha.

Q,   "There is only one lord...and becomings."

Q,   "If the gold....vessel is a mirage."

   The analogy of gold is apt. Even so, the world and its objects are made out of the Lord and His substance. We are able to accept the world and not the Lord. It is only an illusion.

Q, pg. 31   "The discord and apparent evil...our conquerors."

   Later in the book He explains how evil comes out of good and good comes out of evil and they are only different and not opposites. He also says evil is the perfection of good circling itself. For the present I can give one example. The food is good but the excrement is evil, they are opposites in our view. One we are fond of, the other we detest. The excrement goes to earth, feeds the soil, returns to us as food again. One comes out of the other.

CHAPTER V    The Destiny of the Individual

Q, pg. 33   "...the Reality is one and not a sum or concourse...Brahman is the One."

   A sum or concourse is a total of several parts like a clock that contains several parts which unite to function whereas Earth is one which we have named as several nations or the pattas of several people. In our social or mental conception Bay of Bengal and Indian ocean are separate while it is all one sea. Reality is like Earth or Sea--one, indivisible.

   Rice lends itself to making several dishes but at bottom, it is only rice and remains rice, though for taste it gets different names. The One varies as many even as rice varies as Idli, dosai, etc. Gold changes into various ornaments but all the ornaments also can change back into gold. Idli and dosai may not change back into rice, but gold can change back.

   Life exists in widening concentric circles. What is a negation in one level becomes affirmation at the next higher level. Remaining at the same level, affirmation and negation are opposites. Raising one level more, the character changes. Opposing parties in national politics become uniting partners in national emergency of external threat. Two brothers who are rivals become united as never before into an invincible team against a common enemy. When a state football team is made, players are selected from several districts who opposed each other tooth and nail.

Q, pg. 37   "Just as we need not give up...the cosmic consciousness."

   We give up life and body to do tapasya. Normally our mind thinks that if we want to enter politics we have to neglect the family. HE has earlier explained in Chapter I that Divine Life is possible in a human body that is animal. Again when we want to enter cosmic consciousness, ordinarily we think the individual life must be given up or dissolved. He says, it is not necessary.

Q, pg. 38   "In the monistic view...Supreme its salvation."

   Monists are Adwaitins. For them everything is ONE. The second is an illusion. The monist says that a tree is Brahman seen in his yogic vision. To see or know it as tree is an illusion. When knowledge comes, the tree vanishes and changes into Brahman. The same applies to the individual soul, the Jivatma. For the Adwaitin Jivatma is really Brahman. To know Jivatma as Jivatma is illusion,             . Therefore when the sense of separateness disappears, Jivatman is discovered as Brahman or Paramatma and that is its salvation.

Q, pg. 38   "There is none bound, none freed, none seeking to be free."

   This is a humourous statement at the expense of the Adwaitin. If all is Brahman, bondage is Brahman, freedom is Brahman. If so, who can be seeking freedom from bondage? If man is Brahman, mango is Brahman, it is said; instead of saying "Man eats a mango", we can say, "Brahman eats Brahman."

(This is not part of his essential arguments)

Q, pg. 38   "These things, it is said...remain behind in the bondage."

   (In your note you say this entire para is not clear). This paragraph is not essentially connected with the chapter. The idea of the Adwaitin, the followers of Sankarachariar, is so dominant in India that HE wants to answer them. The position of the adwaitins is that we must seek Jnana and moksha and it is not our concern what happens to the world. For them the world is MAYA. Only our ignorance sees it as the world, in reality the world is Brahman. Therefore let us not worry about the sufferings of the world or the moksha for the other souls, but concern ourselves with seeking Brahma Jnana. Once Brahma Jnana is there, one is able to see the other souls too are Brahman.

   Sri Aurobindo gently but implicitly exposes their view as it is a partial view. It is a truism that when one's knowledge is partial, he should not attempt total solutions. Should he do so, he will end up ridiculously. In a family of 6 members if the most selfish man starts talking that everyone else should be selfless, soon the argument will go against him.

   Shankarachariar's experience is great. Sri Aurobindo says it is over-

mastering experience. But it is the experience of the spirit in Mind. Mind, He says, is an instrument of falsehood. It is partial. When the mind starts making universal statements, it goes wrong.

   So, He asks the Adwaitins how other souls would live if we alone seek salvation. The adwaitin is working for his moksha. If so, what about the moksha of other souls. If other souls are MAYA, is not my soul too MAYA?

Thus he powerfully puts in the previous paragraph. Whatever it is, this entire para is a digression.

Q, pg. 39   "We must accept the many-sidedness...of the manifold."

   The manifestation is the world. It consists of Earth, vegetation, animals etc. Hence the manifestation has many sides. As He has been arguing these many things issue out of the One and the ONE is buried in the stone, tree and man, the buried One remains united at its level, though on the surface we see the difference. The One is the manifested in the manifestation. Therefore in the manifested there is unity.

Q, pg. 39   "There is none bound...self-imposed convention."

   The Adwaitins explain everything upto a point extremely well. When they come to the world Jagat, they are unable to explain to themselves how it is created. Therefore they solve the problem by saying, "We cannot ask a few questions. And the creation of the world and its evil is one." If their adversaries do not ask this one question, the Adwaitin is the master of the situation.

   I do not think there is an answer for this question except from Sri Aurobindo. (I am not a student of philosophy). In the quoted passage, he answers this difficult questions, "How is evil created?" In the chapter on Delight he explains in great detail the answer. Here he gives only the principle.

   If the Omnipresent Reality is Free, it must be Absolute Freedom. That absoluteness includes the Freedom to lose the Freedom and be a slave! How can we deny God the freedom to become anything? Even evil? If we deny HIM that freedom, then that Freedom is not Absolute.

   Later in the book He explains that evil is not really evil but the perfection of good. From inside ego what man finds evil, discloses to him when he rises out of ego as a stage in the preparation of good. Mother calls theories of evil childish. Poison is used to cure diseases. Also what is evil in one society is not evil in another society. What is evil in one century is not evil in another century.

   As He asked us to know from consciousness when thought fails, here He asks us to withdraw from ego and look at evil. The evil will lose its evil look. We can wait till you proceed to the latter half of the book.

Q, pg. 40   "The liberation of the individual...divine action."

   There are three levels of existence, the subconscient, the conscient and the superconscient. The subconscient is the vegetable, animal kingdom; man is the conscient; above Man is the Superconscient. Man often errs and fails because in him there is no unity, i.e. his feelings and mind are not united, his parts of his being are not united. They are at war with each other. In the subconscient animal there is no such cleavage, there is the unity of being. Also in the superconscient there is unity. For the sub-

conscient, conscient and Superconscient to unite into one single whole is necessary. This cannot be done by the subconscient animal which is not aware of anything except its own life. The superconscient is not interested in the conscient or the subconscient. Only MAN is aware of himself, aware of the superconscient and the subconscient. Therefore he alone can unite all the three. Presently he is not free. He is in bondage of Ignorance. His deliverance is therefore essential for restoring the unity of creation. 

CHAPTER VI     Man in the Universe

Central theme:

   Let us consider the beginning before creation. Let us call what existed then as Brahman. It created a luminous shadow and that is the first stage of Existence. This existence has no form, it has no cause, it is before Time or Space and therefore timeless and spaceless.

   For creation to come into being, there must be form. This existence knows itself and therefore it is self-aware. As creation needs FORM, this existence realises in Form at the beginning. Passing through several stages that Form ends in an individual being. Tradition calls it Vishnu.

   Man below finds this VISHNU an ideal to aspire for which is accepted as a goal.

   Creation exists in two halves, the lower and upper hemispheres. Life, mind and body are the lower halves. Sachidanandam (Sat, chit, Ananda) are the higher half. Vignana--i.e. Supermind--is the link between the lower and the higher halves. Everything in the higher is infinite, in the lower finite.

   God is INFINITY. The Infinite becoming finite is creation. The infinite becomes the finite in mind, life and body of the individual. As the Infinite finds itself as finite--i.e. creates--in the Individual, the individual is important. 

   God exists as Transcendent, Universal and the Individual. (Transcendent,

he is paramatma, individual, he is jivatma, Universal, he is the Virata purusha or the soul of the universe). Though they are three states, they are in another sense one, each lives in the other. They can be compared with the central, state and local governments (local bodies). The state government to better fulfil its duties in a locality creates local authorities like Municipality. So also the Universe to fulfill itself more fully creates the individual.

   The spiritual parts of the Individual are Annamaya purusha, pranamaya purusha, and manomaya purusha. The local bodies are best administered by a government servant viz a Municipal Commissioner. Similarly the purusha in each plane is the leader of that plane. In man the highest Purusha is manomaya purusha. It is he who so far helped MAN to progress. The universe has created the Individual and the highest purusha in him is the manomaya purusha.

   Life can rise still further to Divine Life. For this a higher purusha is needed. It is the supramental purusha or vignanamaya purusha. He is not yet created. The manomaya purusha must evolve into vignanamaya purusha for human life to rise to Divine Life.

   For this to be accomplished man must go below the surface and from there rise above till the summit of creation.

CHAPTER VII   The Ego and the Dualities

Q, pg. 51   "If all in truth is Sachidananda...deviation from fullness."

   The phrase 'positive in effect and negative in essence' needs clarification. This can be likened to the fulfillment of desire. Man likes the desires satisfied. Its effect is negative. A student who likes to chat, enjoys his chatting, but his studies suffer. Enjoyment of chatting is felt as a positive effect for the moment, while its lasting effect on his studies is bad.

   Here if earth is Sachidananda, there is obviously no scope for evil or suffering. Still, evil and suffering are FACTS of life, i.e. we see them exist. Then what are they? They are true events i.e. typhoid is a reality we suffer from. Typhoid is not positive. Its effect is true, positively true. In essence typhoid has a negative effect on our life. HE argues that evil is a fact of life (it is positively there) and its lasting effect is negative.

Q, pg. 51   "The redemption the individual."

   The individual soul is also universal soul. If the universal is restored to the individual, how can evil exist. One man inflicts evil on another. If one man feels in fact he is universal, no man in the universe can inflict evil on him, like the opposition party joining the coalition government. No longer there will be opposition.

Q, pg. 51-2   "To Sachidananda...where there should be understanding."

   After the opposition joins the government they cannot vote against the government, but inside the party there will be heated discussions, almost a quarrel. But once the party meeting is over, inside the Parliament they do not vote against the government. Suppose the party is unified, harmonious, full of people with service motives, still on a programme there can be serious differences. A hot discussion will change into lively discussion that desires to discover the truth of that programme. So, we have three stages. When the opposition sits in the opposition, they oppose the government and defeat their bill. Secondly if the opposition joins the government, defeat is no longer there but it becomes a hot discussion of differences INSIDE the party. Thirdly, if it is a homogenous party of service-minded persons, the hot discussion turns into a lively discussion to discover facts. Likening death to defeat of the bill, lively discussion to immortality, there is a middle term of hot discussion after abolishing death. In that context the hot discussion is a reverse term of a lively discussion. HE likens death, evil, suffering etc. to reverse terms of their luminous opposites of immortality, good, joy etc.

Q, pg. 52   "States of consciousness there are...self-perfection."

   When someone is dead we do not see him there anymore. But, with a little higher consciousness, one can see his spirit (         ), soul (          ) being (            ) still alive. The spirit dissolves shortly; the being takes fresh birth and continues to grow while the soul is eternal, it does not grow or change. What dies is the body, not what is inside. One in higher consciousness can see the death of the body, the spirit hovering over the place for some weeks, the being that remains calm but is completely unaffected while the soul flashes out. When Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi attained samadhi, many saw a flash traveling in the sky.

   An officer when transferred from the village can witness, at least in the 40's, the villagers crying at his departure as if the officer lost his job or died. He is shifted to another post, has not lost his job. For the villagers, from their sentiments and limited view, the officer is lost for ever. Death is like a transfer to another body. Normal vision does not see it but a little higher consciousness enables one to see it.

   The same argument is extended to pain and evil.

Q, pg. 53   "For the senses the sun goes....ego rotates."

   It is true we are NOT able to SEE that the earth moves round the sun while the truth is it is the earth that goes round. Sitting in a moving train and seeing the telegraph posts running past us, however much we TELL  our senses that the train is running and not the posts, the eyes do see the posts running. There is no convincing the senses. But the intelligence need not be convinced because it KNOWS that the posts are not running. BUT the same sense, if raised in their level of consciousness, can see that the train is running and not the posts; the earth moves and not the sun.

   I am sure you know very well an affectionate family where family is above self. Also you may have seen at close quarters extremely selfish people to whom self is above family. It is impossible for him to consider the good of the family by which he suffers as good. It is beyond his mental capacity. When he changes to the first type--family above self--it is transformation.

   Man, says HE, wants a God who serves his interests, satisfies his desires. If not, Man readily says, "I do not need this God" or "this is not God." To this man, life's centre is ego. God moves around it. Man, when he changes from here, to the position where God is the centre and his ego must be dissolved and his life should revolve around God, it is transformation. We can mentally accept this position but what HE says is we must accept this position in our senses. HE illustrates this idea by a poignant example of His, "God has removed my sins. I thanked him. Next God removed my punya. Am I to curse HIM?"

   If God is the centre of our life, we must thank God when someone abuses us, a loss comes, a work fails. Then it means our senses have accepted the idea that God is the centre of our life.

Q, pg. 53   "Man because he has acquired...higher than his own."

   Manas in Sanskrit is feelings. It is chitta. Buddhi is reason. Manas colours thinking, i.e. thinking is based on sensations, i.e. what you like is right and what you do not like is wrong. Buddhi is not like that. It is reason which can think beyond feelings, independent of feelings. Buddhi can say overeating is not good, though stomach likes it. Buddhi can tell us that a bitter medicine is good for health. Reason is a great instrument in evolution which man alone is endowed with. Only that his reason is clouded by his feelings. In the 8th chapter on Vedantic methods, He explains how the Rishis discovered that REASON when freed from the emotions, turns into INTUITION and is able to see the Self, the Brahman.

   Imagination is a greater endowment. It must be distinguished from fancy. Imagination is the capacity to see the future possibility. Fifteen years ago no one, not even the Prime Minister, was able to imagine the level of industrialisation in India today. How many men who became very rich had had the imagination 10 years prior to that of this possibility. If you distinguish imagination from ambition and desire and fancy, IMAGINATION is the capacity to foresee the possibilities of today turning into realities of tomorrow by the cooperation of circumstances. The ape could not imagine Man evolving out of itself, but Man can imagine a Supramental Being evolving out of him.

 CHAPTER X     Conscious Force

Q, pg. 81   "The problem of consciousness is not solved by this theory."

   In the previous paragraphs He explains the creation of Matter and how the five senses are formed. You say it is all clear.

   HE goes on to explain in this paragraph what is consciousness and how it comes into existence. This is a basic explanation.

   There are religious practices, political parties. Women try to understand their life in terms of the religious practices. If something is all right, it is because of their prayer. If something goes wrong, it is because they missed a puja. That way, women are more religiously conscious than men. In them there is religious consciousness. Men are more politically conscious. We say women are not politically as conscious as men.

   Women evaluate their life events in terms of their religious practices.

Therefore religious consciousness is created. Men reflect on political events and therefore there is political consciousness in them.

   In creation only SOUL is conscious. The rest are not conscious. Body reflection on the soul is body relating each act of itself to soul; physical consciousness is born. So, vital and mental consciousness are born.

   A plane reflecting the soul generates consciousness of that plane. Mahat is Force, ego is the self centre. Force reflecting on the Soul becomes Consciousness. Ego reflecting on the soul becomes conscious, i.e. ego consciousness is generated.

Q, pg. 83   "This question does not be immaterial."

   This is one of the philosophical questions HE raises and answers. As long as the question does not itself arise in the mind of the reader, this is not very important for him.

   If we assume Existence is non-conscious, no question arises. If a Christian mission settles down in a town but does not at all relate to the population as far as this population is concerned, the mission is non-

conscious. So, the mission is not of interest to people. The people may try to know who they are, why they are there and what they do, but that is out of curiosity, not in terms of how the people are really touched. What the people in the mission do is their affair. It begins within their compound and ends within. The mission becomes a problem to the population when their activities touch the lives of the population thereby becoming conscious in relation to the town.

Q, pg. 84   "Existence which is really nothing but Force, Force at rest  or in movement, absolute Force perhaps, but not absolute   Being."

   HE answers the questions of other schools who say that existence is compelled by a Force. That which is compelled from outside is not absolute. Force comes out of Existence which comes out of Being. So HE says even if we argue that it is an absolute force, it cannot be absolute Being because there is an external influence.

           The Universe is a set of symbols, figures, values, etc.

                          Chapter II

   The deaf man sees the movement of life as words. The blind man knows men by their voices, their footfall. The world comes to the deaf man as thousands of sights whereas to the blind man the world is a set of noises or sounds. For us the world is a set of symbols of 5 senses while the world is not limited to human senses only. The politician remembers places by the voting support he received from that town. Even inside the family, family means different things to different people, comfort for children, responsibility to the father, work for the mother etc. Each sees the family as it comes to him. No one sees the other man's part. No one sees the whole.

   Man is centred in his thought. Thought is fed by senses. Thought is one of the dozen faculties of the mind. Mind is one of the four parts of the human being. The human being itself is a small part of the world. Hence seeing the world through senses, Man certainly sees a part and that too as those parts represent the world to him.

   We know our life is more than our family members know of. When we go to t he doctor after five years, he identifies you as a typhoid patient, the bus conductor knows you as one who gives the right change, your office knows you as a late comer, your hotel waiter identifies you as a customer for light coffee. All these people are right, but partly. You alone know you are a hundred-fold more than what others know of you. So also, the world is a million-fold more than what we know and also we do not know what we know fully, but only as a symbol e.g. light coffee customer.

   At different levels the symbols vary. For a child the world is one set of symbols while for the adult it is another set of symbols. It varies according to the centre from which we perceive. Only when we go out of the universe and see it from above and outside, it is no longer a set of symbols but reveals the Reality it is. Just as the office we are working in appears different when we are promoted to the higher office and then we return to our office for inspection, the universe will reveal to us when we are outside it.

story | by Dr. Radut