Incapacity and Strife constitute the basis law of Life
Yet this incapacity and strife constitute the basic law of life, albeit, ‘the first law of life’ (Ibid, pg.211). Viewed in a consciousness perspective, the incapacity arising from limitation of the Infinite in the finite is not considered to be absolute because every limitation must have as its support the Unlimited, every limitation must be in some way a projection of the Unlimited : ‘behind every act of the individual, however weak, however futile, however stumbling, there must be the whole superconscious and subconscious presence of infinite omnipotent Force; without that presence behind it no least single movement in the cosmos can happen; into its sum of universal action each single act and movement falls by the fiat of the omnipresent omniscience which works as the Supermind inherent in things’ (Ibid, pg.210). This means that the Supreme Creative Consciousness (The Supermind) sanctioned the phenomenon of limitation in the world to develop out of the Unlimited. In the process, it had to develop a mind of Ignorance, a cosmic mind that can sustain the multiplicity by being oblivious of the truth of the underlying and upholding Unity. The mind of Ignorance assures that the individual will-power does not act in consonance with the Divine Will.
However, once the decree for limitation was issued from the Absolute, incapacity and strife would automatically follow. The manifestation requires an endless variety of limited forms marked by uniqueness of each form to be rich in diversity but this also means a clash of forms to ensure the survival of the fittest. A first level of strife ensues.
A Hypothetical situation
Sri Aurobindo envisages a hypothetical situation where the manifestation has been worked out not by the Mind of Ignorance but directly by the Mind of Knowledge. What would be the characteristic of such a manifestation? Obviously, desire would not exist as the gulf between the impulse to aggrandize and the omnipotent Force would not be there.
There would be however a great catastrophe. As the limited form would be a direct formation of the mind of Knowledge, an ignorant force could strive to become omnipotent. This could upset the cosmic balance and infuse chaos in the movement of universal harmony. Sri Aurobindo explains: ‘the practical omnipotence of an ignorant force even in a limited sphere is unthinkable, since in that sphere such a force would set itself against the working of the divine and omniscient omnipotence and unfix the fixed purpose of things, -- an impossible cosmic situation’ (Ibid, pg.211).
The clasp of strife & the clasp of Love
It is therefore ordained that the manifestation has to be regulated by the mind of Ignorance which permits the multiplicity to develop in its full extent by being oblivious to the unitary nature of Reality. However as everything is sustained in the background by the unitary Reality, the incapacity of the limited form to access the Reality becomes an issue that cannot be brushed away. The human being can not live with this incapacity ad infinitum, it has to grow and expand -- the finite always seeks the Infinite. And this growth and expansion progresses through a struggle, a strife at multiple fronts. There is a strife between individual forms so that the fit can progress; there is strife with the force that limits and the omnipotence that is unlimited. It is by working through this strife at multiple fronts that consciousness enlarges, expands and uplifts to a point where the Superconscient can descend and transform the manifestation in terms of Knowledge replacing the nuances of Ignorance. The clasp of Love has to replace the clasp of strife.
Strife ‘must rise into a mutually helpful trial of strength, a conscious wrestling of brother forces in which the victor and vanquished or rather that which influences by action from above and that which influences by retort of action from below must equally gain and increase. And this again has eventually to become the happy shock of divine interchange, the strenuous clasp of Love replacing the convulsive clasp of strife. Death, Desire and Strife are the trinity of divided living, the triple mask of the divine Life-principle in its first essay of cosmic self-affirmation’ (Ibid).
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu