“Mortal, I am he;
I am that Madan who inform the stars
With lustre and on life’s wide canvas fill
Pictures of light and shade, of joy and tears,
Make ordinary moments wonderful
And common speech a charm: knit life to life
With interfusions of opposing souls
And sudden meetings and slow sorceries:
Wing the boy bridegroom to that panting breast,
Smite Gods with mortal faces, dreadfully
Among great beautiful kings and watched by eyes
That burn, force on the virgin’s fainting limbs
And drive her to the one face never seen,
The one breast meant eternally for her.
By me come wedded sweets, by me the wife’s
Busy delight and passionate obedience,
And loving eager service never sated,
And happy lips, and worshipping soft eyes:
And mine the husband’s hungry arms and use
Unwearying of old tender words and ways,
Joy of her hair, and silent pleasure felt
Of nearness to one dear familiar shape.
Nor only these, but many affections bright
And soft glad things cluster around my name.
I plant fraternal tender yearnings, make
The sister’s sweet attractiveness and leap
Of heart towards imperious kindred blood,
And the young mother’s passionate deep look.
Earth’s high similitude of One not earth,
Teach filial hear-beats strong. These are my gifts
For which men praise me, these my glories calm:
But fiercer shafts I can, wild storms blown down
Shaking fixed minds and melting marble natures,
Tears and dumb bitterness and pain unpitied,
Racked thirsting jealousy and kind hearts made stone:
And in undisciplined huge souls I sow
Dire vengeance and impossible cruelties,
Cold lusts that linger and fierce fickleness,
The loves close kin to hate, brute violence
And mad insatiable longings pale,
And passion blind as death and deaf as swords.
O mortal, all deep-souled desires and all
Yearnings immense are mine, so much I can.”
(Sri Aurobindo: Collected Poems,pg 241-242)
This is the God of Love! These are his gifts! The drama of life needs a pot-pourie of emotions to keep the show going.
If we cannot emotionally perceive ‘Self-Existent Delight’, can we ‘cognise’ it at the level of our outer mind? This also appears impossible. Our ordinary mind is characterized by doubts, preferences, and biases. It cannot take anything for granted. Its standards are always set and reset. Its expectations always need to be exaggerated. And if unfortunately, the ‘mind’ becomes the mind of a paranoid subject, his object of paranoia -- his focus of delusion is very often his most loved persons (his spouse or friends).
Can then the ‘body’ or our outer physical consciousness, experience the Self-Existent Delight? After all, it is the ‘body’ that thrills with rapture when it has an experience of sensual pleasure. But all sensual pleasures are transient despite all vulgar efforts at stimulation . One must not forget that the culture of hedonism made the body react with responses like HIV!
A DIVIDED BEING
Moreover, our outer body, mind and emotional repertoire (the vital) revolve around the Ego. The ‘Ego’ itself is skewed, biased and cannot reflect harmony. It is prone to exaggerations. It somehow maintains a façade of continuity. But it is not really integrative. No wonder, the limitations of our body, vital, mind and the ego have led Sri Aurobindo to emphasize repeatedly that the human being is a divided being. What is interesting is that the ordinary human being LOVES this status of a divided consciousness. As Sri Aurobindo explains:
If we make pleasure the object of life, then we also make pain the condition of life. The two go together and are inseparable companions. You cannot have one for your bed-fellow without making a life-companion of the other. They are husband and wife, and, though perpetually quarrelling, will not hear of divorce. (Essays Divine & Human, pg215)
The Fourth-Dimensional Principle
Sri Aurobindo explains that the ordinary human being cannot directly experience ‘Self-Existent Bliss’ or Ananda unless one has first the experiential identification with a Beyond-Ego, fourth-dimensional principle that stands behind our mind, life and body. He named this principle as the Psychic Being(our inmost essence, also known as Chaitya Purusha) which itself is a projection of the Jivatman or Soul in manifestation. The Psychic Being is actually the gateway to pure Love, unqualified Bliss, true motiveless Joy that is universal is magnitude. The human being cannot directly perceive ‘Self-Existent Delight’ or ‘Universal Love’ unless it is centered in the poise of the Psychic Being. Universal Bliss, Love and Unity cannot be perceived unless one has a contact with the Psychic Being. The Mother’s guarded comments are worth noting:
DO NOT TRY TO COME INTO DIRECT CONTACT WITH DIVINE LOVE BECAUSE THIS WILL YET AGAIN BE A VITAL DESIRE PUSHING YOU; YOU WILL PERHAPS NOT BE AWARE OF IT, BUT IT WILL BE A
YOU MUST MAKE AN EFFORT TO COME INTO TOUCH WITH YOUR PSYCHIC BEING, AND THEN, QUITE NATURALLY, SPONTANEOUSLY, YOU WILL KNOW WHAT DIVINE LOVE IS. The Mother:(Collected Works,vol.4 pg245-246)
Actually The Mother describes that Divine Love and Bliss are not known to ordinary human beings and hence would appear ‘strange’, even ‘colder than ice, or so far-off, so high that you would not be able to breathe’.(Ibid,pg245) She adds that one can have ‘an impression’ of Divine Grace but it is with difficulty that one can feel love:
‘If, through a sustained effort, a deep concentration, a great forgetfulness of self, you succeed in coming into touch with your psychic being, you will never dream of thinking, “Oh!. I would like to be in contact with divine love” – you are in a state in which everything appears to you to be this divine Love and nothing else’. (Ibid)
To Sri Aurobindo, the experience of the Psychic Being with its unalloyed joy, bliss, unity and love is MORE IMPORTANT AND MORE FUNDAMENTAL than the theory of Cosmic Sorrow propagated by Buddhism so that He can categorically declare that PAIN IS NOT THE NECESSARY CONDITION OF LIFE . (Essays Divine and Human, pg 215)
‘Bliss’ vs our ordinary pleasure
The Ananda or Bliss that we aspire to is beyond our usual conceptions of sensation and pleasure. Does that mean that we have to be immune to the ordinary joys of life? Should we forsake our little joys, happiness, pleasures and cherished memories for the ‘DIVINE LOVE” which the Mother has described to be ‘colder than ice’ unless one has the experience of the Psychic Being? After all, Sri Aurobindo Himself mused:
Love, wine, song, the core of living
Sweetest, oldest, musicalest.
If at end of forward striving
These, Life’s first, proved also best? (Collected Poems, pg 33)
Sri Aurobindo Himself gives an answer by explaining that THE EXTINCTION OF SENSATION IS NOT THE NECESSARY CONDITION OF BLISS (Essays Divine & Human, pg.215). On the contrary, “THOSE OBJECTS WE NOW SEEK AS STIMULATING CAUSES OF A TRANSIENT PLEASURE AND SATISFACTION; FREE,POSSESSED OF SELF,WE SHALL NOT SEEK BUT SHALL POSSESS THEM AS REFLECTORS RATHER THAN CAUSES OF A DELIGHT WHICH ETERNALLY EXISTS” ( The Life Divine pg. 108-109)
THE METAPSYCHOLOGY OF DELIGHT
“Delight of being is universal, illimitable and self-existent, not dependent on particular causes, the background of all backgrounds, from which pleasure, pain and other more neutral experiences emerge. When delight of being seeks to realise itself as delight of becoming, it moves in the movement of force and itself takes different forms of movement of which pleasure and pain are positive and
negative currents. Subconscient in Matter, superconscient beyond Mind this delight seeks in Mind and Life to realise itself by emergence in the becoming, in the increasing self-consciousness of the movement. Its first phenomena are dual and impure, move between the poles of pleasure and pain, but it aims at its self-revelation in the purity of a supreme delight of being which is self-existent and independent of objects and causes. Just as Sachchidananda moves towards the realisation of the universal existence in the individual and of the form-exceeding consciousness in the form of body and mind, so it moves towards the realisation of universal, self-existent and objectless delight in the flux of particular experiences and objects”.
“In the egoistic human being, the mental person emergent out of the dim shell of matter, delight of existence is neutral, semi-latent, still in the shadow of the subconscious, hardly more than a concealed soil of plenty covered by desire with a luxuriant growth of poisonous weeds and hardly less poisonous flowers, the pains and pleasures of our egoistic existence. When the divine conscious-force working secretly in us has devoured these growths of desire, when in the image of the Rig Veda the fire of God has burnt up the shoots of earth, that which is concealed at the roots of these pains and pleasures, their cause and secret being, the sap of delight in them, will emerge in new forms not of desire, but of self-existent satisfaction which will replace mortal pleasure by the Immortal’s ecstasy. And this transformation is possible because because these growths of sensation and emotion are in their essential being, the pains no less than the pleasures, that delight of existence which they seek but fail to reveal, -- fail because of division, ignorance of self and egoism. ”.(The Life Divine, pg. 108 –109)
The Bliss of Brahman
I am swallowed in a foam-white sea of bliss,
I am a curving wave of God’s delight,
A shapeless flow of happy passionate light,
A whirlpool of the streams of Paradise.
I am a cup of His felicities,
A thunderblast of His golden ecstasy’s might,
A fire of joy upon creation’s height;
I am His rapture’s wonderful abyss.
I am drunken with the glory of the Lord,
I am vanquished by the beauty of the Unborn;
I have looked, alive, upon the Eternal’s face.
My mind is cloven by His radiant sword,
My heart by His beatific touch is torn,
My life is a meteor-dust of His flaming Grace.
(Sri Aurobindo: Collected Poems, pg 158)
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu