January 01, 2008

Where light does not depend for its existence on the shadow

The Origin and Remedy of Falsehood, Error, Wrong and Evil
by RY Deshpande on Mon 31 Dec 2007 06:16 AM PST Permanent Link
When Knowledge is veiled by Ignorance the appearance of Falsehood-Error-Wrong-Evil is inevitable. But can Knowledge get veiled by Ignorance? If so, it might not be Knowledge at all. Ignorance may have the power to lend enchantment to what is false, but whence this power? The Gita says that when intelligence has attained to Unity, there is no more sin and virtue, no more is there the troubling duality. “These are they,” says the Vedic Rishi, “who are conscious of the much falsehood in the world; they grow in the house of Truth, they are the strong and invincible sons of Infinity.” Here is the clue also,—by being conscious of Falsehood one grows in the Truth. The amazement is, falsehood can enter by taking cosmic truth either from above or from below.

Such is the scriptural basis in The Life Divine for a spirituo-metaphysical discussion of the origin of Falsehood-Error-Wrong-Evil...
In The Life Divine this is expounded in great detail in a chapter dealing with the origin of Falsehood, Error, Wrong, and Evil. (pp. 596-632) We present here a quick summary of the same.

The first question that always troubles is: Is in some manner the supreme Reality itself the originator of the contrary phenomena of evil and good, pain and happiness, sin and virtue, falsehood and truth? But it is maintained that they have no direct root in the supreme Reality, that they are creations only of the Ignorance and Inconscience, appearing somewhere in the sequence, that they are not fundamental or primary aspects of the Being, not native to the Transcendence or to the infinite power of the Cosmic Spirit. Like Truth there is no absolute of Falsehood. Naturally when Ignorance is gone, with it also goes away Falsehood.

If good, happiness, virtue, truth exist by the true consciousness, the opposite set of evil, pain, sin, falsehood survives only by wrong consciousness. Human values about them are uncertain and relative... This relativity is a circumstance of human mentality and the workings of the Cosmic Force in human life... Therefore the relation of truth to falsehood, of good to evil is in the nature of a contradiction as of light and shadow; a shadow depends on light for its existence, where light does not depend for its existence on the shadow.

In the process of manifestation of truth and good there is a possibility of the appearance of evil and falsehood. In fact if it is there then, in a way, it is inevitable also it materialises. When these opposites appear in the cosmic manifestation they take rank as implied absolutes. As soon as separateness enters in, so do these; but even this simultaneity is not inevitable.

But then where do these exist? do they exist originally in the mental and vital planes and are native to mind and life, or are they proper only to the material manifestation? It may be questioned too whether they are original and inevitable there, that they simply arose as an enabling supraphysical affirmation in the universal Mind and Life.

When one goes beyond the material plane, these things are found to exist there also, in worlds beyond us. There are powers and forms of vital mind and life that seem to be the prephysical foundation of the discordant, defective or perverse forms and powers of life-mind and life-force. There are forces that are attached to ignorance, to darkness of consciousness, to misuse of force, to perversity of delight. These powers, beings or forces are active to impose their adverse constructions upon terrestrial creatures. There are Powers of Ignorance and tenebrous Forces of the Darkness whose work is to prolong the reign of Ignorance and Inconscience.

Being vast, these Forces in their action seem often to surpass the measures of human relativity. They may create their formations in man, they may seize and drive him, they may influence his impulses or his acts or possess his whole nature. If that possession happens, he may himself be pushed to an excess of the normal humanity of good or evil. In the extreme situation if pain becomes immeasurable, it ends itself or ends that in which it manifests, or collapses into insensibility or, in rare circumstances, it may turn into an ecstasy of Ananda. If evil became sole and immeasurable, it would destroy the world or destroy that which bore and supported it; it would bring things and itself back by disintegration into non-existence.

The adverse opposites are not, then, primal powers of the cosmos, but creations of Life or of Mind in life. Their supraphysical aspects and influences on earth-nature can be explained by the co-existence of worlds of a descending involution with parallel worlds of an ascending evolution, not precisely created by earth-existence, but created as an annexe to the descending world-order and a prepared support for the evolutionary terrestrial formations; here evil may appear, not as inherent in all life, but as a possibility and a pre-formation that makes inevitable its formation in the evolutionary emergence of consciousness out of the Inconscient. ...It is as an outcome of the Inconscience that we can best watch and understand the origin of falsehood, error, wrong and evil; it is in the return of Inconscience towards Consciousness that they can be seen taking their formation and it is there that they seem to be even inevitable.

The first emergence from the Inconscient is Matter, and in Matter falsehood and evil cannot exist, because both are created by a divided and ignorant surface consciousness and its reactions. There is no such active surface organisation of consciousness, ...there is no psychological organisation, no system of conscious actions or reactions. It is only by contact with conscious beings that material objects exercise powers or influences which can be called good or evil; but that good or evil is determined by the contacted being's sense of help or harm, of benefit or injury from them... The world of pure Matter is neutral, irresponsible... The duality of good and evil is not native to the material principle, it is absent from the world of Matter.

The duality begins with conscious life and emerges fully with the development of mind in life; the vital mind, the mind of desire and sensation, is the creator of the sense of evil and of the fact of evil. In animal life the fact of evil is there, but the sense of moral evil is absent; in it there is no duality of sin or virtue, all action is neutral and permissible for the preservation of life and its maintenance and for the satisfaction of the life-instincts. The sensational values of good and evil are inherent in the form of vital satisfaction and vital frustration, but the mental idea, the moral response of the mind to these values are a creation of the human being. There is an infrarational truth of Life and Matter which is impartial and neutral and admits all things as facts of Nature and serviceable for the creation, preservation or destruction of life. There is too a truth of the detached reason which can look on all that is thus admitted by Nature as serviceable to her processes in life and matter. There is too a suprarational truth formulating itself in spiritual experience which can observe the play of universal possibility, accept all impartially as the true and natural features and consequences of a world of ignorance and inconscience. But there is also this other middle truth of consciousness which awakens us to the values of good and evil and the appreciation of their necessity and importance; this awakening is one of the indispensable steps in the process of evolutionary Nature.

But then from what does this awakening proceed? If we regard only the process, we may agree that it is the vital mind that makes the distinction. Its first valuation is sensational and individual,—all that is pleasant, helpful, beneficial to the life-ego is good, all that is unpleasant, malefic, injurious or destructive is evil. Its next valuation is utilitarian and social: all that is considered helpful to the associated life, all that it demands from the individual in order to remain in association and to regulate association for the best maintenance, satisfaction, development, good order of the associated life and its units, is good; all that has in the view of the society a contrary effect or tendency is evil. But thinking mind then comes in with its own valuation and strives to find out an intellectual basis, an idea of law or principle. Religion brings in her sanctions; there is a word or law of God that enjoins righteousness even though Nature permits or stimulates its opposite. There is also a feeling that there is something deeper, that there is a deeper abiding truth and something within us that can have the intuition of that truth.

But what is the value of the sense of good and evil? For much more than the mind or life which can turn either to good or to evil, it is the soul-personality, the psychic being, which insists on the distinction. It is the soul in us which turns always towards Truth, Good and Beauty, because it is by these things that it itself grows in stature. The soul's perception of good and evil may not coincide with the mind's, but it has a deeper sense, a sure discrimination of what points to the higher Light and what points away from it.

If, then, evil and falsehood are natural products of the Inconscience, automatic results of the evolution of life and mind from it in the processus of the Ignorance, we have to see how they arise, on what they depend for their existence and what is the remedy or escape. In the surface emergence of mental and vital consciousness from the Inconscience is to be found the process by which these phenomena come into being.

In its first appearance consciousness has the semblance of a miracle, a power alien to Matter that manifests unaccountably in a world of inconscient Nature and grows slowly and with difficulty. Not a miracle but the fact is, evolution can be accounted for only because there is already a concealed consciousness in things with its inherent and native powers emerging little by little.

This concealed consciousness, the secret Conscious-Force sends up to the surface the minimum of intuition necessary for it to maintain its existence and go through the operations indispensable to life and survival. This intuition can be unerring; the instinct is automatically correct as a rule, but also it can err. Here it is just the secret consciousness rendered into surface sensation and perception, the secret force into surface impulse. But here it can be fallible.

When the underlying subliminal consciousness comes to the surface, there can be a direct meeting between the consciousness of the subject and the contents of the object and the result would be a direct knowledge; but presently this is not possible because of the veto or obstruction of the Inconscience. The secret consciousness-force has therefore to limit itself to imperfect renderings. Slowly mind starts its task of disengaging itself; it still works for the life-instinct, life-need and life-desire. However, its own special characters emerge, observation, invention, device, intention, execution of purpose, while sensation and impulse add to themselves emotion and bring a subtler and finer affective urge and value into the crude vital reaction.

When human intelligence adds itself to the animal basis this basis still remains active, but it is largely changed, subtilised and uplifted by conscious will and intention. Even when there is still a strong vital intuition, its vital character is concealed by mentalisation. In mental man when the intuition rises towards the surface, it is caught at once before it reaches and is translated into terms of mind-intelligence; a gloss or mental interpretation is added which conceals the origin of the knowledge. The emergence of mind in life brings an immense increase of the range and capacity of the evolving consciousness-force; but it also brings an immense increase in the range and capacity of error. The desirable gain is accompanied by the loss.

If in the evolution the surface consciousness were always open to the action of intuition, the intervention of error would not be possible. For intuition is an edge of light thrust out by the secret Supermind, and an emergent Truth-Consciousness, however limited, yet sure in its action, would be the consequence. Intelligence would be subservient to intuition and would be its accurate mental expression; its brilliancy would perhaps be modulated to suit a diminished action serving as a minor, not, as it is now, a major function and movement, but it would not be erratic by deviation. But this could not be, because of the hold of Inconscience on Matter.

There are, in practical fact, two poles of the conscious being between which the evolutionary process works, one a surface nescience which has to change gradually into knowledge, the other a secret Consciousness-Force in which all power of knowledge is and which has slowly to manifest in the nescience. The surface nescience full of incomprehension and inapprehension can change into knowledge because consciousness is there involved in it, but still it works as an inconscience trying to be conscious. All that is unknown is met on the basis of what is known; but as this knowledge is imperfect, as it receives imperfectly and responds imperfectly to the contacts of things, there can be a misprision of the new contact as well as a misprision or deformation of the intuitive response, a double source of error.

It is in these conditions that Error is a necessary accompaniment, almost a necessary condition and instrumentation, an indispensable step or stage in the slow evolution towards knowledge in a consciousness that begins from nescience and works in the stuff of a general nescience. The evolving consciousness has to acquire knowledge by an indirect means which does not give even a fragmentary certitude.

Intuition itself is limited in the human mind by mental misprision of its intimations and is unable to act in its own right; whether it be physical, vital or mental intuition, it has to present itself in order to be received, not nude and pure, but garbed with a mental coating or entirely enveloped in an ample mental vesture; so disguised, its true nature cannot be recognised and its relation to mind and its office are not understood.

Error by itself does not amount to falsehood; it would only be an imperfection of truth, a trying, an essay of possibilities. In spite of the mixture, intelligence and reason could arrive through this mixed truth to a clearer and truer figure of self-knowledge and world-knowledge. The obstruction of inconscience would diminish and an increasing mental consciousness would reach a clarity which would enable the concealed powers of direct knowledge and intuitive process to emerge.

As mind develops, there develops also a mental individuality with a personal drive of mind-tendency, a mental temperament, a mind-formation of its own. This surface mental individuality is egocentric; it looks at the world and things and happenings from its own standpoint and sees them not as they are but as they affect itself. Here we have an almost inexhaustible source of distortion of truth, a cause of falsification, an unconscious or half-conscious will to error, an acceptance of ideas or facts not by a clear perception of the true and the false, but by preference, personal suitability, temperamental choice, prejudgment. Here is a fruitful seed-plot for the growth of falsehood or a gate or many gates through which it can enter by stealth or by an usurping but acceptable violence.

In all that is developed by the life-force there is developed at the same time a secret delight somewhere in the being, a delight in good and a delight in evil, a delight in truth and a delight in falsehood, a delight in life and an attraction to death, a delight in pleasure and a delight in pain, in one's own suffering and the suffering of others, but also in one's own joy and happiness and good and the joy and happiness and good of others. The vital being and its life-force and their drive towards self-affirmation are, in the absence of an overt action of soul-power and spiritual power Nature's chief means of effectuation, and without its support neither mind nor body can utilise their possibilities or realise their aim here in existence.

Here therefore exists the origin of error, falsehood, wrong and evil in the consciousness and will of the individual; a limited consciousness growing out of nescience is the source of error, a personal attachment to the limitation and the error born of it the source of falsity, a wrong consciousness governed by the life-ego the source of evil. But it is evident that their relative existence is only a phenomenon thrown up by the cosmic Force in its drive towards evolutionary self-expression, and it is there that we have to look for the significance of the phenomenon. Emergence of the life-ego is a machinery of cosmic Nature for the affirmation of the individual, for his self-disengagement from the indeterminate mass substance of the subconscient, for the appearance of a conscious being on a ground prepared by the Inconscience; the principle of life-affirmation of the ego is the necessary consequence. But because it does these things as a separate ego for its separate advantage life-discord, conflict, disharmony arise, and it is the products of this life-discord and disharmony that we call wrong and evil. Nature accepts them because they are necessary circumstances of the evolution, necessary for the growth of the divided being; they are products of ignorance, supported by an ignorant consciousness that founds itself on division, by an ignorant will that works through division, by an ignorant delight of existence that takes the joy of division.

The true call upon us is the call of the Infinite and the Supreme; the self-affirmation and self-abnegation imposed on us by Nature are both movements towards that, and it is the right way of self-affirmation and self-negation taken together in place of the wrong. If we do not discover that, either the push of life will be too strong for our narrow ideal of perfection, or at best a half result will be all that we shall obtain, or else the push away from life will present itself as the only remedy, the one way out of the otherwise invincible grasp of the Ignorance.

There can be no artificial escape from this problem which has always troubled humanity and from which it has found no satisfying issue. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil with its sweet and bitter fruits is secretly rooted in the very nature of the Inconscience from which our being has emerged and on which it still stands as a nether soil and basis of our physical existence; it has grown visibly on the surface in the manifold branchings of the Ignorance which is still the main bulk and condition of our consciousness in its difficult evolution towards a supreme consciousness and an integral awareness. As long as there is this soil and this nourishing air and climate of Ignorance, the tree will grow and flourish and put forth its dual blossoms and its fruit of mixed nature. It would follow that there can be no final solution until we have turned our inconscience into the greater consciousness, made the truth of self and spirit our life-basis and transformed our ignorance into a higher knowledge.

But since the root of the difficulty is a split, limited and separative existence, this change must consist in an integration, a healing of the divided consciousness of our being, and since that division is complex and many-sided, no partial change on one side of the being can be passed off as a sufficient substitute for the integral transformation. To affirm our being rightly so that it may become one with all is the true principle, not to mutilate or immolate it. Sacrifice and self-giving are indeed a true principle and a spiritual necessity, sacrifice and self-giving done with a right consciousness and will founded on a true knowledge.

The true solution can intervene only when by our spiritual growth we can become one self with all beings, know them as part of our self, deal with them as if they were our other selves; for then the division is healed, the law of separate self-affirmation leading by itself to affirmation against or at the expense of others is enlarged and liberated by adding to it the law of our self-affirmation for others and our self-finding in their self-finding and self-realisation. Our oneness with others must be fundamental, not a oneness with their minds, hearts, vital selves, egos,—even though these come to be included in our universalised consciousness,—but a oneness in the soul and spirit, and that can only come by our liberation into soul-awareness and self-knowledge.

1 comment:

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