Sri Aurobindo explains that the answer to this riddle can only be sought at the creative consciousness or the Supramental Truth-Consciousness that is the matrix of an integral cognition. This Supramental Truth-Consciousness is not outside the Absolute but actually poised in the very substance of the Absolute and simultaneously represents
(a) The self-awareness of the Infinite and Eternal, and
(b) A power of self-determination inherent in that absolute self-awareness. (LD, pg.327)
This means that the Absolute is aware of its own potentialities that may be dormant at the moment but can be activated. And activation of dormant potentialities cannot be possible unless the Absolute has a power of self-determination -a power that can be quiescent or dynamic.
But who is it that motivates the spaceless and timeless Absolute to develop and project potentialities in space and time? For if the Absolute had been solely absorbed in its own purity of existence or purity of consciousness or an immobile self-absorbed delight, there would have been no creation. There is no external motivator for the true motivation is intrinsic and arises out of itself, "since there could be nothing else out of which it could create; any basis of creation seeming to be other than itself must be still really in itself and of itself and could not be something foreign to its existence."(Ibid) Moreover the Power of the Absolute must be TOTIPOTENT so that it is not merely a Force that can be in quiescence but can be reproduced through endless powers of the being. Likewise an infinite Consciousness must be ALL-PERVADING so as to "hold within it endless truths of its own self-awareness". (Ibid) In other words, what appears to be a great featureless, eternal and infinite Absolute must, because of its sheer quality of Absoluteness, hold in its bosom all that would be manifest in time and space. "Creation would then be a self-manifestation: it would be an ordered deploying of the infinite possibilities of the Infinite."(Ibid)
Truth of Being
Creation is not only a self-manifestation, it carries an intrinsic perfection because every integer of the manifestation is supported by a "Truth of being" -"a predetermining truth, an imperative behind... which capacitates the possibilities, decides the actualities". (Ibid, pg.328)
It would be interesting to go through a reported conversation with Sri Aurobindo on 25 December, 1939:
Disciple: Ouspensky has an idea in his Tertium Organum that our three-dimensional world is a projection from a subtler fourth-dimension which is supra-sensual but real. He means to say that to each solid form we see here, there corresponds a subtler form of it which is in the fourth dimension.
Sri Aurobindo: That is perfectly true, the cube would not be held together and therefore would not be a solid if something in the subtle dimension did not maintain it. Only, it is not visible to the physical eye but can be seen with the subtle eye.(Evening Talks, pg.102)
Extending the pre-determining truth from the subtle world of the cube to the creative consciousness, we can surmise that the Supramental Consciousness carried the essence of all that would be "solid" objects in the manifestation. This essence would give rise to many possibilities of being worked out and eventually the actualities of being worked out would appear in the subtle physical before being materialized in the actual physical world. This means that there is a spiritual antecedent to all that manifests in the world.
"In manifestation a fundamental reality of the Existent would appear to our cognition as a fundamental spiritual aspect of the Divine Absolute; out of it would emerge all its possible manifestations, its innate dynamisms: these again must create or rather bring out of a non-manifest latency their own significant forms, expressive powers, native processes; their own being would develop their own becoming, svarupa, svabhava. This then would be the complete process of creation: but in our mind we do not see the complete process, we see only possibilities that determine themselves into actualities..."(LD,pg.328)
We ordinarily lack the occult vision of the pre-determining truths of things that have issued from the Original Determinant or determinants as we are clouded by Ignorance. Such a vision can only be obtained with certitude if the cognition is poised in the Supramental Truth-Consciousness where "the imperatives, the nexus of possibilities, the resultant actualities would be a single whole, an indivisible movement". (Ibid)
Cognizing the Absolute
The Absolute has to conceptualized in its poise of a single whole together with the nexus of possibilities and resultant actualities. Is that possible?
Sri Aurobindo explains that our knowledge about Reality has been not through mental cognition but by supra-rational cognition like intuition and identity. In intuition there is a sudden Truth-flash while in identity, one identifies with one's deeper states and then extends the identification to the correlates of those states in the cosmic and transcendental realms. This is how one surmised that if one existed, one could trace back to the Truth of an infinite and eternal existence at some deeper realm (Sat); if one had a consciousness, one could trace back the consciousness to the infinite and eternal Truth of Consciousness at some deeper realm (Chit-Shakti or Consciousness-Force); and if one was motivated by an inner joy, one could identify with a motiveless infinite and eternal Bliss (Ananda). And as the ultimate Truth was one, a spiritual intuition suggested that these different truths supporting Existence, Consciousness and Bliss would be different poises of the same Reality which in the Supermind would be an inseparable Trinity.
Thus Existence, Consciousness-Force and Bliss would express through fundamental determinates:
(a) Love, Joy and Beauty would be fundamental determinates of the Divine Ananda;
(b) Knowledge and Will would be fundamental determinates of Chit-Shakti;
(c) Self or Atman, the Divine or Ishwara and Conscious Being or Purusha would be the fundamental spiritual determinates of Sat or existential Reality. (Ibid, pg.329)
Triadic poise of fundamental determinates
It is also interesting that each primal or fundamental spiritual determinate that is self-determined reposes on a triadic poise for its initial flowering:
(a) Knowledge poises itself in a trinity of the Knower, the Known and Knowledge;
(b)Love finds itself in a trinity of the Lover, the Beloved and Love;
(c)Will is self-fulfilled in a trinity of the Lord of the Will, the object of the Will and the executive Force;
(d)Joy has its original and utter gladness in a trinity of the Enjoyer, the Enjoyed and the Delight that unites them;
(e)Self establishes itself in a trinity of Self as subject Self as object and self-awareness holding together Self as subject-object. (Ibid)
These primal determinates next ramify into derivatives, imperatives, possibilities and actualities of the manifestation and yet all these deployments are held together in the supermind cognition in an intimate oneness and perfect harmony.
However, that intimate oneness and harmony disappear in the Mind of Ignorance. Each integer, each determinate and its ramification become separate objects of cognition in Ignorance and yet each has to grow into perfection. (Ibid) Therefore, even in Ignorance, development of separate integers which are no longer linked to the wholeness point to a divine significance and bring out a particular truth or possibility of the Infinite. Yet the mind, even in Ignorance yearns for the wholeness that has been lost. "This limitation of consciousness and this awakening to the integrality of consciousness are also a process of self-manifestation, are a self-determination of the Spirit." (Ibid) It is only in the supramental cognition that the One Truth could be seen everywhere and our existence, the secret of creation and the significance of the universe would be arranged simultaneously and harmoniously in one integral whole.
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu