(a) ‘EXISTENCE’ is represented through ‘forms’ – animate or inanimate. In fact, what is experientially perceived as ‘existence’ in Sachchidananda is represented in each form as an ‘essence’. The scientist views this ‘essence’ as a ‘nucleus’ or ‘sub-atomic’ particle. The spiritual seeker views ‘essence’ of any form as a poise of the ‘self’. That ‘self’ is unconscious in inanimate matter but gets progressively revealed as evolution manifests higher and higher forms. What we call ‘personality’ in psychology is viewed in spirituality as a structure formed by interaction of ‘self’ with external nature in the background of a temporal and spatial reality. Naturally, this ‘personality’ as a construct will have different connotations at different points in history. In the time of Ramayana and Mahabharata as well as in ancient Greece and Rome, the personality had its focus on building a sound social order. With the triumph of science, the ‘personality’ became more oriented towards ‘individualism’. To Freud, the study of personality was relevant from the ‘libidinal’ perspective. Today, a researcher might consider the ‘ecological’ perspective to be more relevant! Thus, the ‘personality’ as a ‘construct’ will change with time but the ‘self’ represents the changeless existential aspect of Reality that survives all mutations.
(b) ‘CONSCIOUSNESS’ is ‘That’ which INVESTS all forms. In matter, ‘consciousness’ is ‘veiled’ but nevertheless present in the perfect harmony of physical laws and processes- in the systematized behavior of atomic and subatomic particles, in the perfectly orchestrated movements of the celestial bodies, in the ebbs and tides of our river-ripples, in the serenity of nature’s beauty. In plants, ‘consciousness’ becomes a rudimentary phenomenon, conducting ‘photosynthesis’, sending the stems towards light, directing the roots towards soil-sustenance, producing a riot of colours in the world of flowers, enrichening our taste-buds with a variegated array of fruit-choices. In animals, ‘consciousness’ is discernible in species- specific behaviors, in the search for sustenance, in the urge for procreation, in the instinct for survival. In selected animal species, ‘consciousness’ makes it possible for ‘taming’ and ‘training’. That is why dogs can be used in the activities of Scotland Yard and we can make money from horse races.
(c) ‘Force’, ‘Energy’ or ‘Shakti’ is an inseparable aspect of consciousness. In fact, Sri Aurobindo prefers the term ‘Chit-Shakti’ or ‘Consciousness-Force’ in place of ‘Consciousness’ when He speaks of the triad of ‘Existence-Consciousness- Bliss’. This Energy builds the worlds and is present at every level of creation. It is nuclear energy in matter, instinct in animals, ‘will’ in human being. Without ‘Force’, consciousness would be inactive. If consciousness represented only ‘wisdom’ and not ‘dynamic power’, ‘we could hope to attain by its contact a beatific state of mental illumination, but not a great light and power for the works of the world’.(The Life Divine, pg.133)
(d) ‘Bliss’ or ‘Ananda’ is evident in the ‘value’ aspect of reality as we conceive it. Of course, in a world of dualities, ‘Bliss’ is not readily evident. We apparently live in a world that contradicts ‘Bliss’. Yet our yearning for love and happiness, our ‘sacrifices’ for peace and harmony and our ‘clinging ‘ to life despite all odds are a testimony to a motiveless Bliss that supports creation and gives meaning to life.
It is interesting that these principles that are present in the creation, as ‘DISTINCT and differentiated’ attributes, appear to be present in a Unitarian poise as an indivisible Sachchidananda Consciousness justifying the Vishnu Purana verse quoted at the beginning of the chapter ‘All things are self-deployings of the Divine knowledge’. (Ibid, pg 132) Therefore, the Sachchidananda experience, even through beyond the constraints of space and time, still represents ‘an original self-concentration in which all is contained.’(Ibid, pg. 138)
How does the ‘indivisibility’ of Sachchidananda-Consciousness get converted in the divisible and differentiated principles of the creation?
Sri Aurobindo answers that it is ‘Supermind’- the Creatrix, the ‘Truth-Consciousness’, the Creative Idea-Force, the ‘Real-Idea’, that allows this to happen.
This immediately sparks off a second question: Can this ‘divided’, ‘dualistic’, ‘differentiated’ consciousness of the multiplicity REGAIN its unitary, indivisible poise without rejecting the multiplicity? In other words, can ‘Sachchidananda’ be attained WITHOUT getting ‘liberated’ from the world of dualities?
Sri Aurobindo answers that this is also possible if we can make the supermind-principle operative in earth-life. He of course points out that it has not get been achieved in our present cycle of creation- ‘it is a victory that has not yet been made humanly possible’ (Ibid, pg134)
There are therefore two movements mediated by the supermind-principle:
(A) MOVEMENT TOWARDS MULTIPLICITY:
The supermind-principle allows the undifferentiated Sachchidananda Consciousness to move towards differentiation. Pursued further, the differentiation leads to division and fragmentation. Existence, Consciousness and Bliss get de-linked from each other and each principle in turn gets replicated in endless representations to build a gigantic and variegated universe that appears to be ever-expanding, teeming with endless possibilities and potentialities.
This movement towards differentiation and division does not follow a haphazard pattern. The Life Divine will explain how it works out a graded trajectory. One must however note that though the differentiation is initiated at the level of the supermind; the ‘oneness’ is not lost as a link. It is only when the differentiation proceeds to move further that the link appears to be gradually lost so that each ‘aspect’ of the triune reality gets a chance for maximum individuation.
(B) MOVEMENT TOWARD UNITY
The creation represents an apparent differentiation and diffusion of all that was concentrated in the Unitarian Sachchidananda consciousness. However, the seed of the original unity-principle is hidden in the creation – it remains latent, unmanifest and wears the mask of inconscience. It gets progressively unveiled in evolution from where the unity-principle can again be reconstructed. Science attempts this reconstruction by seeking a ‘common’ building block viz – the atom, the electron, the cell, the gene. Votaries of humanism attempt to build a unity in a different way- by seeking universal love, equality, and comradeship. Spirituality goes yet deeper – it ‘experiences’ unity in a Sachchidananda Consciousness that impartially supports the diversity in creation. The only problem is that to ‘experience’ that unity, one has to get ‘liberated’ from the world of differentiation. This is how was born the world-negating ascetism that regarded the ‘experience’ of a world of differentiation (that appears ‘chaotic’, ‘cruel’ and ‘disorganized) as secondary in comparison to the overwhelming and fulfilling ‘experience’ of Sachchidananda.
Sri Aurobindo points out another possibility. He explains that the ‘Sachchidananda’ experience can be constructed without rejecting the world of differentiation. To do that, the ‘supermind-principle’ has to be ‘activated’ in earth-consciousness. This is an endeavor that
can be attempted through an evolution of consciousness that supplements the biological evolution of forms. This movement is the ‘hidden agenda’ of the Life Divine. It will be a movement towards unity that does not negate the world of multiplicity. This movement allows the manifestation of ‘Spirit’ in the bosom of ‘Matter’.
Sri Aurobindo writes:
Supermind is the vast self-extension of the Brahman that contains and develops. By the Idea it develops the triune principle of existence, consciousness and bliss out of their indivisible unity. It differentiates them, but it does not divide. It establishes a Trinity, not arriving like the Mind from the three to the One, but manifesting the three out of the One,- for it manifests and develops,- and yet maintaining them in the unity,- for it knows and contains. By the differentiation it is able to bring forward one or other of them as the effective Deity which contains the others involved or explicit in itself and this process it makes the foundation of all other differentiation. And it acts by the same operation on all the principles and possibilities which it evolves out of this all-constituent trinity. It possesses the power of development, of evolution, of making explicit, and that power carries with it the other power of involution, of envelopment, of making implicit. In a sense, the whole of creation may be said to be a movement between two involutions, Spirit in which all is involved and out of which all evolves downward to the other pole of Matter, Matter in which also all is involved and out of which all evolves upwards to the other pole of Spirit.
Thus the whole process of differentiation by the Real-Idea creative of the universe is a putting forward of principles, forces, forms which contain for the comprehending consciousness all the rest of existence within them and front the apprehending consciousness with all the rest of existence implicit behind them. Therefore all is in each as well as each in all. Therefore every seed of things implies in itself all the infinity of various possibilities, but is kept to one law of process and result by the Will, that is to say, by the Knowledge-Force of the Conscious-Being who is manifesting himself and who, sure of the Idea in himself, predetermines by it his own forms and movements. The seed is the Truth of its own being which this Self-Existence sees in itself, the resultant of that seed of self-vision is the Truth of self-action, the natural law of development, formation and functioning which follows inevitably upon the self-vision and keeps to the processes involved in the original Truth. All Nature is simply, them, the Seer-Will, the Knowledge-Force of the Conscious-Being at work to evolve in force and form all the inevitable truth of the Idea into which it has originally thrown itself. (The Life Divine pg.139-140)
But when the hour of the Divine draws near
The Mighty Mother shall take birth in Time
And God be born into the human clay
In forms made ready by your human lives.
Then shall the Truth supreme be given to men...
(Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, pg 705)
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu