The Aim of Sri Aurobindo was never to lead and take the mankind to any heaven, away from this earth of ours, to lead the mankind to Moksha or Nirvana, away from this troublesome and difficult manifested existence on earth. He did not advise us to go back to the Origin. He did not ask us to merge with the Divine, back from the Creation, from this earth.
Sri Aurobindo was a philosopher par excellence, a poet par excellence, a rare and superb visionary of evolution. But that is not the complete truth about Him. Further, He has been described as the Hope of Man. And Satprem, a disciple of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Mira Alfassa, has described Sri Aurobindo as the Adventure of Consciousness. He was not only an Adventurer of Consciousness, but Himself the Adventure.
Yes, He was an Explorer of Consciousness, and further, He was also the builder of the New World, basing on the New and a Higher Consciousness, the Supramental Consciousness, a much higher level of Consciousness, which was hitherto unmanifest, and which is re-discovered by Him. Though it has been mentioned in the Vedas, there was never any attempt to reach or realize that level nor to bring it down or live with and in it.
And He has shown us the Way, the Integral Way to the New Realisation, not of realising the Divine Consciousness and merging into It, transcending and leaving the Manifestation, the World and the Universe, forgetting the mankind and its past and present and future.
As we have stated earlier, He did not teach us to have Nirvana, or Moksha, or of reaching the Heaven and staying there forever hereafter. He did not ask us to return to the Source, to the Origin. He has given us a Way to discover and manifest and realize our own possibilities, our human and also our superhuman and divine possibilities, step by step. He tells us about transforming our individual existence and also the world, breaking all our personal and egoistic limits, becoming one with our earth, as vast as our earth.
To divinize and supramentalize the world was and is the Task He performed and asked us to perform. As a philosopher, we find Him to be at the topmost level of Consciousness, denying none of the philosophical truths reached by the earlier philosophers, but by accepting and transcending and integrating them all in a new synthesis into one whole Truth. As a poet, he shows us the Way to the Future Poetry, and His Poems were expressions of the Truth, which He saw and realized and lived, and which are creations of higher planes of mind and Consciousness.
The Mother has said :
What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world’s history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action, direct from the Supreme.
What is this decisive and direct Action from the Supreme? We may try to have some understanding of the Supreme and His Will and His Action.
The Infinite and One Existence-Consciousness-Bliss is the Ultimate Reality, known as the Brahman, the Divine, the Supreme, God. 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 is 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 above them and is their Creator. He is One who is the Manifestation, who is manifested, and 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, in limited human parlance, that He thought: I am alone, and shall become many. And the Existence-Consciousness became many, countlessly many, and each of the many is a Soul.
However, there was no particular Time, when Souls were created. They are eternal aspects of the Eternal Supreme. There was and is no time, when the Souls were not there, or when the Souls will no more be.
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 generally no active role of the Soul, though the Divine Will was ever active. The Divine Will is the Source of the Action.
A human existence is a part and portion of the Pure Existence, conditioned by all the inconscience (unconsciousness) and half-consciousness of our earthly and physical surroundings. Inconscience belongs to Matter. Or it seems inconscient to the half-awakened human being. Half-consciousness belongs to the animal world, the world of the vital consciousness, as per the definition given by Sri Aurobindo.
However, Man is not only an animal. He contains in him the Divine possibility. As is generally accepted by many of the philosophical and spiritual thinkers, all living beings have a soul.
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, as there is no such evolutionary necessity.
Sri Aurobindo adopted the term “psychic being” for the word soul is vaguely used:
“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.
In the onward progression of Evolution, Time has now arrived, when Man has to transcend himself and further the Evolution in manifesting the Supreme Himself, as per the Will of the Supreme.
Man dwells only superficially in the Mind, mainly as a mental animal, not always a rational animal. But he is generally in the lowest rung of the mental principle, covered by some grossness, some darkness, some ignorance, more or less to a great extent.
Time has come that the scene and the situation has to be changed, uplifted, and man has to be established in his divine consciousness, with his divine possibilities. That is the Reason why Sri Aurobindo was / is here - on earth.
Sri Aurobindo has began the journey to the New World, for the entire mankind, scrapping all religions, all sectarianism, all divisions, all differences. Not theoretically, but in action, by discovering and ascending to the Supermind, by preparing for the Descent of the Supermind on earth, for the well-being and progress of the humanity. For this Descent, in the Course of this Descent, He sacrificed His own body on the Day of His physical withdrawal, on 5th December 1950.
The Mother met Sri Aurobindo on 29th March 1914.
The next day, on 30th March, She wrote :
“Gradually the horizon becomes distinct, the path grows clear, and we move towards a greater and greater certiude.
It matters little that there are thousands of beings plunged in the densest ignorance, He whom we saw yesterday is on earth ; his presence is enough to prove that a day will come when darkness shall be transformed into light, and Thy reign shall be indeed established upon earth.
O Lord, Divine Builder of this marvel, my heart overwhelms with joy and gratitude when I think of it, and my hope has no bounds.
My adoration is beyond all words, and my reverence is silent.”
This prayer of The Mother is self-explanatory. It shows what She saw in Sri Aurobindo. Inspite of the fact thousands of beings are ‘in the densest ignorance', it matters little, as Sri Aurobindo was here on earth. When such a Being as Sri Aurobindo is / was on earth, Darkness will cease to be and will be transmuted into Light, and the Divine reign shall be there on earth. To Her, He was the Hope of Man. Through Him, the Divine has assured the world, the earth, that it shall be tranformed, and and the dream for a better, happier, diviner world shall be fulfilled.
When Sri Aurobindo came to Pondicherry, He had two major spiritual realizations, one of Nirvana and the second one of the cosmic consciousness and of the Divine as all beings and all that is. Let us see what Sri Aurobindo speaks about Himself :
“Sri Aurobindo had already realized in full two of the four great realizations on which his Yoga and his spiritual philosophy are founded. The first he had gained while meditating with the Maharashtrian Yogi Vishnu Bhaskar Lele at Baroda in January 1908; it was the realization of the silent, spaceless and timeless Brahman gained after a complete and abiding stillness of the whole consciousness and attended at first by an overwhelming feeling and perception of the total unreality of the world, though this feeling disappeared after his second realization which was that of the cosmic consciousness and of the Divine as all beings and all that is, which happened in the Alipore jail and of which he has spoken in his speech at Uttarpara. To the other two realizations, that of the supreme Reality with the static and dynamic Brahman as its two aspects and that of the higher planes of consciousness leading to the Supermind, he was already on his way in his meditations at the Alipore jail. Moreover, he had accepted from Lele as the principle of his Sadhana to rely wholly on the divine and his guidance alone both for his Sadhana and for his outward actions.” [On Himself, by Sri Aurobindo]
The most important of the major spiritual discoveries of Sri Aurobindo is the Supermind. ‘The Aurobindonian Supermind is not an entirely new discovery,' says K D Sethna (Amalkiran, disciple of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother). In the Veda and some of Upanishads, there is mention of the plane of consciousness, beyond and above mind, which is named Supermind by Sri Aurobindo; let us see what K D Sethna has said in this regard :
“As early as the Vedas, there was the vision of it as Satyam Ritam Brihat - the True, the Right, the Vast - and it was symbolized as the Sun of Knowledge in the highest heaven. But either it was experienced in deep trance from which its whole import could not be transmitted or what was seized was its reflection in the several grades between it and the mental level - grades distinguished by Sri Aurobindo from that level [mental level] upwards as Higher Mind, Illumined Mind, Intuition, Overmind. …”
And K D Sethna has further said :
“They had grand hints and glimmerings of it : the Vedas' Satyam, Ritam, Brihat, the True, the Right, the Vast — the Upanishad's Vijnana, the all-comprehensive Knowledge — the Gita's Purushottama with Paraprakriti, the Supreme Being with his Super-Nature. But no radically transforming intimacy with it was present. To be uplifted into it in a trance or to belost in it and pass through its golden gate into the supra-cosmic Unknown or else to work under its glowing guidance from afar and above is not the same thing as to ascend to it and live in it with one's physical eyes open and bring about its progressive descent — as Sri Aurobindo and The Mother do.”
A question has been asked by Satprem, a French disciple and the confidante of The Mother during his stay in Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the author of Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness, has asked a question :
“What can Sri Aurobindo do for us at this low altitude?”
In my understanding, the answer is :
He has given us the Way to the New World.
We shall have to walk on the Way.
And He has given us the New World.
We shall have to reach and enter and live in this New World.
That is the Way we can change our present world and solve all our human problems and transform ourselves into the divine beings, NOT limited by human frailties and falls and failures and sufferings.
[Earlier written by me on 15-08-2009]