(a project of Mirravision Trust, Financed by Auroshakti Foundation)

Chapter I
Chapter II - Part 1
Chapter II - Part 2
Chapter II - Part 3
Chapter II - Part 4
Chapter III - Part 1
Chapter III - Part 2
Chapter III - Part 3
Chapter III - Part 4
Chapter III - Part 5
Chapter III - Part 6
Chapter IV - Part 1
Chapter IV - Part 2
Chapter IV - Part 3
Chapter IV - Part 4
Chapter V-Part 1
Chapter V - Part 2
Chapter V - Part 3
Chapter V - Part 4
Chapter V - Part 5
Chapter VI - Part 1
Chapter VI - Part 2
Chapter VI - Part 3
Chapter VI - Part 4
Chapter VI - Part 5
Chapter VII - Part 1
Chapter VII - Part 2
Chapter VII - Part 3
Chapter VII - Part 4
Chapter VII - Part 5
Chapter VIII - Part 1
Chapter VIII - Part 2
Chapter VIII - Part 3
Chapter VIII - Part 4
Chapter IX - Part 1
Chapter IX - Part 2
Chapter X - Part 1
Chapter X - Part 2
Chapter X - Part 3
Chapter X - Part 4
Chapter X - Part 5
Chapter X - Part 6
Chapter XI - Part 1
Chapter XI - Part 2
Chapter XI - Part 3
Chapter XI - Part 4
Chapter XII - Part 1
Chapter XII - Part 2
Chapter XII - Part 3
Chapter XII - Part 4
Chapter XII - Part 5
Chapter XIII - Part 1
Chapter XIII - Part 2
Chapter XIV - Part 1
Chapter XIV - Part 2
Chapter XIV - Part 3
Chapter XIV - Part 4
Chapter XIV - Part 5
Chapter XV - Part 1
Chapter XV - Part 2
Chapter XV - Part 3
Chapter XV - Part 4
Chapter XV - Part 5
Chapter XV - Part 6
Chapter XV - Part 7
Chapter XV - Part 8
Chapter XV - Part 9
Chapter XVI - Part 1
Chapter XVI - Part 2
Chapter XVI - Part 3
Chapter XVI - Part 4
Chapter XVI - Part 5
Chapter XVI - Part 6
Chapter XVI - Part 7
Chapter XVI - Part 8
Chapter XVI - Part 9
Chapter XVI - Part 10
Chapter XVI - Part 11
Chapter XVI - Part 12
Chapter XVI - Part 13
Chapter XVII - Part 1
Chapter XVII - Part 2
Chapter XVII - Part 3
Chapter XVII - Part 4
Chapter XVIII - Part 1
Chapter XVIII - Part 2
Chapter XVIII - Part 3
Chapter XVIII - Part 4
Chapter XVIII - Part 5
Chapter XVIII - Part 6
Chapter XVIII - Part 7
Chapter XVIII - Part 8
Chapter XVIII - Part 9
Chapter XVIII - Part 10
Chapter XIX - Part 1
Chapter XIX - Part 2
Chapter XIX - Part 3
Chapter XIX - Part 4
Chapter XIX - Part 5
Chapter XIX - Part 6
Chapter XIX - Part 7
Chapter XX - Part 1
Chapter XX - Part 2
Chapter XX - Part 3
Chapter XX - Part 4
Chapter XX - Part 4
Chapter XXI - Part 1

A Psychological Approach to Sri Aurobindo's

The Life Divine

Chapter XX Part 4

Death, Desire and Incapacity

The Phenomenon of Desire

The manifestation that has been derived from the unmanifest Consciousness represents a shift from unity to multiplicity. The unitary consciousness had to divide itself ad infinitum to create a world of infinitesimal particles. This movement of endless division had to be complemented by another ceaseless movement of aggregation or coalescence to build forms with temporal durability. Thus, ‘between these two impulses of infinite division and infinite aggregation the material existence of the universe is constituted’. (The Life Divine, pg.208)

The world of material forms is maintained by anabolism and catabolism, portrayed in the Upanishads as mutual devouring. ‘Still what devours must also be devoured; for the law of interchange, of action and reaction, of limited capacity and therefore of a final exhaustion and succumbing governs all life in the physical world’. (Ibid, pg.209)

The equation changes with the appearance of the human being. At a certain optimal point in the refinement of consciousness, the human being becomes secretly conscious of the all-embracing infinity that is the source of all manifestation. There now develops a yearning for a growth that surpasses even the simple equation of anabolism and catabolism. There is a yearning to seek the infinite, to grow in consciousness to reach the ineffable heights of Reality. One seeks to surpass oneself, to aggrandise oneself at all levels of consciousness. Thus is born the phenomenon of Desire.

The Law of Desire

The attempt of the individual, the living atom, to maintain and aggrandise itself is the whole sense of Desire; a physical, vital and moral increase by a more and more all-embracing experience, a more and more all-embracing possession, absorption, assimilation, enjoyment is the inevitable, fundamental, ineradicable impulse of Existence, once divided and individualized, yet ever secretly conscious of its all-embracing, all-possessing infinity’. (Ibid, pg.208-209)

The simple principle of anabolism and catabolism representing the Upanishadic description of mutual devouring was sufficient to maintain homeostasis in the physical world. But once the human consciousness was impregnated with the remembrance of its Infinite origin, there arose an all-surpassing yearning at all levels of the being which culminated in the great adventure of realizing the Infinite in the Finite.

‘In the conscious mind that which was still only a vital hunger in subconscious life, transforms itself into higher forms; hunger in the vital parts becomes craving of Desire in the mentalised life, straining of Will in the intellectual or thinking life. This movement of desire must and ought to continue until the individual has grown sufficiently so that he can now at last become master of himself and by increasing union with the Infinite possessor of the universe’. (Ibid, pg.209)

The Laws of the Supernals (Love, Unity, Immortality)

Naturally the individual in the zeal of continually exceeding one’s finite capacities to reach out for the Infinite has to surpass at some point the simple homeostasis maintained by the principle of anabolism and catabolism –the principle of mutual devouring. One needs to move to progressively higher poises of homeostasis where the principle of mutual devouring is surpassed by the principle of mutual giving. There has to be a shift to ‘an increasingly joyous sacrifice of interchange; -- the individual gives himself to other individuals and receives them back in exchange; the lower gives itself to the higher and the higher to the lower so that they may be fulfilled in each other; the human gives itself to the Divine and the Divine to the human; the All in the individual gives itself to the All in the universe and receives its realised universality as a divine recompense. Thus the Law of Hunger must give progressively to the law of Love, the law of Division to the Law of Unity, the Law of Death to the Law of Immortality. Such is the necessity, such the justification, such the culmination and self-fulfilment of the Desire that is at work in the universe (Ibid, pg.209-210). Thus what starts as the Law of Desire becomes in its movement to the Infinite, the Laws of the Supernals (Love, Unity,Immortality).

Overcoming the Resistance of Inertia

There is one great impediment to the aspirational movement of Desire. That is Inertia or Tamas which is the hall-mark of the physical consciousness -- the basic template that supports the flowering of all the higher planes in its matrix. Some amount of inertia is inevitable as it is needed to maintain the durability and consistency of forms which otherwise would have been swept away in the flood of aggrandizement. Yet a more than optimal dose of inertia than is required for the maintenance of forms can be an impediment to growth and is the origin of laziness and harbinger of Ignorance in human nature. Succumbing to inertia and its consequences, laziness and Ignorance would hold up human progress at all levels of life.

‘Desire is the lever by which the divine Life-principle effects its end of self-affirmation in the universe and the attempt to extinguish it in the interests of inertia is a denial of the divine Life-principle, a Will-not-to-be which is necessarily ignorance; for one cannot cease to be individually except by being infinitely. Desire too can only cease rightly by becoming the desire of the infinite and satisfying itself with a supernal fulfilment and an infinite satisfaction in the all-possessing bliss of the Infinite’. (Ibid,pg.209)

Date of Update: 19-Feb-18

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu


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