The Gnostic Tradition à la Théon speaks of the Separation from the divine Origin, but not much is available about what this Separation is going to achieve, whether it is functional, is designed towards some great and mysterious finale, is a mode of manifestation in delight through possibilities of the creative Inconscience. We do not know whether the ancient occultism even of the brightest kind or even spiritual practices are in a position to offer us any clue regarding the wonders of the One in manifold glory, the Inexpressible becoming Unexpressed to give rise to countless Expressions. The Rig Veda speaks of the Divine Multitude, dīvyam janam but the lack of modus operandi eludes its realization.
We must first recognize that there were many successive involutions following the primary Separation, there were many descents in Matter. The Gods themselves came much later on the scene. The Mother speaks of the descent of the Divine Love into Matter because of which the evolutionary unfoldment in Matter becomes a possibility:
“Consciousness became inconscience... so total that no contact seemed possible between the Origin and what was created. And this total inconscience made a direct descent necessary, without passing through the intermediate regions, a direct descent of the divine Consciousness in its form of Love. And it is this descent of Divine Love into matter, penetrating it and adding a new element to its composition, which has made possible the ascent, slow for us, but an uninterrupted ascent, from inconscience to consciousness and from darkness to light.”
We cannot say it was salvaging a situation that had arisen as if by a peculiar accident. If this was an accident, then it was a willed accident, a fruitful accident to give rise to a creation emerging out of the Great Nothing, the Wonderful Void, out of the Inconscience. What more fantastic a possibility there could have been than this! The delight itself! And this delight worked itself out in full freedom and in the truth of its own joy. We may therefore call this creation adbhūta, marvellous; also that which cannot be derived from any more fundamental entity, which has no other elemental origin, which is ādi bhūta; nothing existed prior to it. It is only now that all these varying countless elements have started appearing. The possibility of the Infinite is now multiplying itself infinitely—to such an extent that even the very opposite of its truth is allowed to have its sway in the process. The Being of Falsehood and the Being of Death are the ones who dominate the present evolutionary scene. As long as these beings exist, there will be difficulties,—says the Mother. That is the occult problem which has to be solved. That is the Riddle of this World and for its unravelling there is no Théonic intimation available. He spoke of the glorious body and wanted to have the Mantra of Life revealed to him by the Mother when she once discovered in their occult sessions. But surely enough there were other indispensable conditions to be fulfilled which he couldn’t.
In this involutionary-evoltionary chain of happenings when exactly did the material world arise? Subsequent to the appearance of the Inconscience—there is a great gulf between Inconscience and Matter. Matter is already an advanced state, a wonderful formation coming out of the absented Consciousness. The Mother explains:
“When, precisely, the Consciousness ‘began’ its creation... the first manifestation of the creative Consciousness was just an emanation of consciousness—of conscious light—and when this emanation separated itself from its origin, the Inconscient was born... Consequently, the birth of the Inconscient is prior to the formation of the world, and it was only when the perception came that the whole universe was going to be created uselessly that there was a call and Divine Love plunged into the Inconscient to change it into consciousness. Therefore, it can be said that the formation of the material worlds as we know them is the result of the descent of the supreme Consciousness into the Inconscient.”
About the first separation and the appearance of the four opposite powers, we have a very vivid Vedic description in the nature of the Sacrifice of the Purusha, the abandoning of the triple Splendour by the Supreme, that alone could dissolve the ignominy of the Nothingness, that alone could meet the opposition which arose out of the emanated powers’ deliberate distancing of themselves from the Origin.
“Which came first in the manifestation, the god or the Asura?”—that was the question put to the Mother. She answered as follows: “The oldest tradition says that the first four emanations of the Mahashakti—Consciousness, Love, Truth and Life—cut themselves off (separated themselves) from their Supreme Origin and became Unconsciousness, Suffering, Falsehood and Death. Then a second emanation was made to repair the damage. They are the Gods.”
Clearly, the emanations—love-hate, delight-pain, truth-falsehood, life-death—we meet in Savitri are the emanations of the Mahashakti and are not the direct powers and personalities coming from the supreme Being whose first emanation is the inconscient Void or the Nothingness. “All was plunged in the negating Void”—that is the first movement and the emanations followed it. The will of the Supreme is carried out by the Mahashakti as her assigned work. Out of his sleep of trance he called out his mute Force, the great Power, brahmaiva śakti, the Executrix of the Worlds, the manifesting Word with the power of execution. It is her work that we witness here.
“Let me withdraw myself into myself,”—that is the first urge of the Absolute towards manifestation. Because he has withdrawn, there is no activity, no sensation, no awareness. In it nothing happens, nothing can happen. This Non-Existence or Asat is the reality of that absoluteness itself, a kind of first Nothingness coming out of the last or originating Nothingness. It has its absolute omnipotence, a power resting in the full Void. If this has now to become a basis for manifestation a second plunge is needed: the Absolute has to send its creative Powers to base themselves in the Void. They came in full freedom and in the joy of separation from the Source itself. But in the process, the Absolute as the Void overpowered them and deformed them totally, thus frustrating the first attempt. Yet by that very act something remarkable happened to the Void and a possibility opened out for several transformative descents. The four Asuric Beings are now standing as Guards at the Gate of the utter Void, the Abyss of Inconscience. The occult-metaphysical aspect of it Sri Aurobindo explains as follows:
“The complete separation can take place only when the stage of Inconscience has been reached and our world of manifold Ignorance arises out of that tenebrous matrix... Existence plunging into an apparent Non-Existence, Consciousness into an apparent Inconscience, Delight of existence into a vast cosmic insensibility are the first result of the fall and, in the return from it by a struggling fragmentary experience, the rendering of Consciousness into the dual terms of truth and falsehood, knowledge and error, of Existence into the dual terms of life and death, of Delight of existence into the dual terms of pain and pleasure are the necessary process of the labour of self-discovery. A pure experience of Truth, Knowledge, Delight, imperishable existence would here be itself a contradiction of the truth of things... Still, because the Non-Existence is a concealed Existence, the Inconscience a concealed Consciousness, the insensibility a masked and dormant Ananda, these secret realities must emerge.”
Creation of the Void, plunge to form Inconscience, first Incarnation, permanent Avatar, great Separation of the Four Powers from the Origin because of the Joy and Freedom with which they moved out, setting up of the cosmic ladder to realise the possibility of a divine manifestation, a possibility which is there—these are some of the rapid steps in the sequence of this evolutionary creation. About this mysterious Void we may speak in the language of Nagarjuna as that which cannot be called void or not-void, or both, or neither; it is only to indicate it that we speak of it as the Void—śunyam iti na vaktavyam aśunyam iti vā bhavet, ubhayam nobhayam ceti; prajnāptyartham tu kathyaté. What is occult has to become spiritual. “The world is due to the will, samkalpa, of God,” says the traditional knowledge. By his own Will the Divine has taken, via the Void, the status of Inconscience. How does it happen? But that knowledge always will remain a puzzle, a mystery. It could be the will to create; it could be inherently an aspect of joy; it could be the self-existent; it could be a movement of consciousness in its own awareness. It could be all these or else something altogether different. In fact there was nothing like a beginning, because there was no time present then. However, as far as the individual is concerned, he advances in time. He offers his progress to the Master of the Works. The spiritual path is the path of progress, of evolutionary advance towards all-knowledge, towards the divine fulfilment in creation. That is what really matters to us—with the occult providing the necessary basis for action and growth. Sri Aurobindo explains:
Only when we cross the border into a larger luminous consciousness and self-aware substance where divine Truth is a native and not a stranger, will there be revealed to us the Master of our existence in the imperishable integral truth of his being and his powers and his workings. Only there... will his works in us assume the flawless movement of his unfailing supramental purpose. But that is the end of a long and difficult journey, and the Master of works does not wait till then to meet the seeker on the path of Yoga and put his secret or half-shown Hand upon him and upon his inner life and actions. Already he was there in the world as the Originator and Receiver of works behind the dense veils of the Inconscient, disguised in force of Life, visible to the Mind through symbol godheads and figures. It may well be in these disguises that he first meets the soul destined to the way of the integral Yoga. Or even, wearing still vaguer masks, he may be conceived by us as an Ideal or mentalised as an abstract Power of Love, Good, Beauty or Knowledge; or, as we turn our feet towards the Way, he may come to us veiled as the call of Humanity or a Will in things that drives towards the deliverance of the world from the grasp of Darkness and Falsehood and Death and Suffering—the great quaternary of Ignorance... For the supramental Transcendence is not a thing absolutely apart and unconnected with our present existence. It is a greater Light out of which all this has come for the adventure of the Soul lapsing into the Inconscience and emerging out of it, and, while that adventure proceeds, it waits superconscient above our minds till it can become conscious in us. Hereafter it will unveil itself and by the unveiling reveal to us all the significance of our own being and our works; for it will disclose the Divine whose fuller manifestation in the world will release and accomplish that covert significance. (The Synthesis of Yoga, pp. 248-50)
Such are the indisputable yogic pragmatics and our earnest searching endeavour should be to live in them.
The occult of the Plunge has taken up the Spiritual, providing descending and ascending grades of manifestation. It shall then acquire a fuller significance in multifold manner of the terrestrial scheme, the significance of Truth and Consciousness and Delight. Indeed, the Inconscience itself being infinite—for it is the Absolute who has, to be sure, become that—there is the infinity in this multifoldness emerging out of the Inconscience. Such is a marvel worthy of the Divine himself, celebrating its happy surprise. The Gods are later participators in this surprise of the utter Inexpressible. But the reward is entirely the earth’s—or is it the Divine’s? Perhaps it is so.
This Inconscient’s vast disguise is the pre-condition for evolution to begin. Eventually
Earth must transform herself and equal Heaven Or Heaven descend into earth’s mortal state.
To the evolutionary necessity there is therefore yet another significant term: Earth or Bhumi. We must include it in the series consisting of the omnipresent Being, omnipotent Consciousness-Force, the great wonderful occult Void, the presence of the divine Love in the dark Abyss, the evolving Soul; it is here on Earth that the entire effort is concentrated. It is the only ground in the cosmic vastness that supports the Spirit’s urge to be multiply divine. It is the only place in the entire creation where the divine Flame burns in the form of the psychic being, always carrying with it the Godward aspiration. The growth of the psychic being means the growth of the Earth, thus proving it to be bhūmī in the real root sense, bhūmī one who grows, expands, increases, of course spiritually, getting more and more ready for higher manifestation. Sri Aurobindo writes:
“…here where we dwell are the worlds of Ignorance, worlds of mind and life and body separated in consciousness from their source, of which this earth is a significant centre and its evolution a crucial process.”
If organisation of conscious experience is the aspect of evolution, then a focal point has to be formed in order to gather around it the endeavour, to bring together all the gains on which can be confirmed and shaped further prospects of the evolving future. In the physical universe Earth is presently the chosen place. There are beings and beings everywhere but it is the specificity of the psychic being that makes Earth a “significant centre”. This revelation of the occult-spiritual knowledge is charged with meaningful and profound connotations, and taking them away from it will mean a disastrous dogmatism; a distinction must be made, for instance, between the spiritual and scientific geo-centricity, even as their implications are of altogether different kinds. But religious obscurantism and scientific obstinacy have to become things of the past; they must get dissolved.
The Titan entreaties in Sri Aurobindo’s Ahana are poignant even as they tell how they, who were once in the mystic and vast world, who dwelt in delight, those who could help, the Ancients of Knowledge, the Sons of the Morning, were condemned to languish in Hell. They ask Ahana, the Dawn of the Future, if she had not hidden herself in the mask of a million faces: In the beginning of things when nought was abroad but the waters,
Ocean stirred with longing his mighty and deep-bosomed daughters. Out of that longing gigantic we rose from the voiceless recesses; Candid, unwarmed, O Ahana, the wide ethereal abysses Stretched enormous, silent, void of the breath of thy greatness; We alone peopled, and troubled with rapture their ancient sedateness: We are the gods who have mapped out Time and measured its spaces…
Yes, indeed, the demons weeping with joy about their returning into the One from whom they had come is the glory and the marvel of the incarnate Shakti herself taking birth here and opening the way for the long desired-for transfiguration and ecstasy—sung by Narad while on his way to King Aswapati’s palace in Madra where is about to return Savitri after her discovery of her Love in the distant Shalwa woods. ~ RYD