June 11, 2008

There is neither overt nor implied reference to the Théonic Story of Creation in the early works of Sri Aurobindo

Re: Max Théon—the Story of Creation
by RY Deshpande on Sun 08 Jun 2008 04:41 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

The Story of Creation The Mother narrated on a number of occasions the Story of Creation she had heard from Théon when she was in Algeria. She recounted it in the evening classes she gave to the children at the Ashram’s Playground, a story describing the occult beginnings of this creation. The story is a vivid picturisation that depicts in a simplistic but truthful way the process of creation itself, the mystery that lies underneath all that appears as opposite to the luminous possibilities of a divine manifestation. She takes care to say that it is plainly a way of seeing things and cannot be taken in the literal-rationalistic sense, least as a metaphysical argument though it has it also with a much profounder meaning if we can get into its spirit. It helps, by re-living in it, to understand the how and the why of all that is here in the becoming...

  • Was Sri Aurobindo aware of this story?
  • did he know this story himself, or did he learn it from the Mother who in turn got it from Théon?
  • If he got it from the Mother, then the question would arise as to when exactly could it have happened?

If it was during her first stay with Sri Aurobindo in 1914-15 then, arguably, his Arya writings should hold that background behind them, they using the basis to expound his vast spiritual philosophy,—as if Théon in a distant but definite manner entitled to claim its first authorship.

  • Can we say anything about that?
  • Perhaps we might, if we could discern its presence, in some way or the other, in his writings of the period, his Arya-writings as well as Record of Yoga, 1914-21?
  • Or possibly Sri Aurobindo heard it from the Mother afterwards, during the early 1920s, when she came here to stay permanently?
  • If this is the post-Arya event, then would not those boundless oceanic writings of his suffer from a lack of reference to it, its implications being far-reaching and fundamental?
  • If the Story of Creation is so germinal to the evolutionary manifestation, so deep and elemental, then Sri Aurobindo not being aware of it during the Arya-period would question the very foundation of his presentation. And where did Théon get it from? and how?

But one thing is very clear. Sri Aurobindo has presented the story with all the relevant details in Savitri in a number of places, in different contexts with different nuances, something which we do not find in his extensive prose writings...

Re: Max Théon—The Great Separation: The Life Divine
by RY Deshpande on Mon 09 Jun 2008 03:50 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

The Great Separation in The Life Divine Corresponding to the Story of Creation put in a metaphysical language, of the Great Separation from the Divine Origin, we have the following passage from The Life Divine (pp. 286-89) [...]

So we have here “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.” Here are the powers going far away from their original Source, call it a plunge, call it the four beings in their freedom and choice of action cutting themselves off from Divine, call it the Play of the Overmind Maya.

Sri Aurobindo added this chapter—Supermind, Mind and the Overmind Maya—while revising The Life Divine in 1939-40, one of the first things he did after the accident to his right thigh bone on 24 November 1938. For our current discussion it is pertinent to note that this description of Separation and the Great Plunge is not present in the original version of The Life Divine that appeared serially in the Arya writings, 1914-21, although there is the scrutiny of the Divine Maya in them. In fact the term ‘Overmind’ with its globality of consciousness yet leading to separative lines of Truth does not appear at all during this period of writing. Sri Aurobindo found it later, perhaps sometime in the early 1920s. ~ RYD Reply

Re: Max Théon—the Tradition
by RY Deshpande on Tue 10 Jun 2008 05:53 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

That there is neither overt nor implied reference to the Théonic Story of Creation in the early works of Sri Aurobindo is no proof that he was not aware of it. The word ‘grace’ does not appear at all in The Life Divine, but it does not mean that Sri Aurobindo is not aware of its, its importance in the spiritual growth of man’s soul, the sine quo non of the spiritual life. Possibly what the Story is trying to convey, that fundamental fact the Yogi-Philosopher is putting in his own manner and in his own style, with his own vision of things and also in his own vivid and precise spirituo-rationalistic presentation of the theme—first in the nature of the great Involution and the Plunge. The whole argument of The Life Divine runs along such lines appealing to the modern mind. We can safely say that Sri Aurobindo was aware of the Process of Separation even before he came directly in contact with the Mother.

In fact this knowledge belongs to the deep past, something which predated the Cabala and the Vedas. Théon himself said that he had received initiation in India and, as the Mother tells, “he knew a little Sanskrit and the Rig-Veda thoroughly.” The Veda speaks of endless fragmentation of consciousness, infinite fragmentation, tuchhayena, and of the deep and dark ocean of inconscience, salilam apraketam, implying the process of long Involution.

If Sri Aurobindo had direct access to this source of the Vedic lore, then it is wrong to say that “Théon's metaphysic found its way, through Mirra's mediation, into Sri Aurobindo's comprehensive cosmology.” His Record of Yoga bears ample witness to this, to his direct knowledge of the Vedas, to dismiss such a statement. In the Puranas also we have the Inconscient Vishnu, the supreme Being in his deep poise of slumber in the Darkness of the Night, the permanent Avatar who makes the unfolding Evolution possible...

It is hurriedly suggested at times that the Mother’s references to The Cosmic Tradition of Théon are “ambiguous”. Sometimes it seems as if Théon is the author; at other times as if The Tradition is something he in some way acquired or stumbled upon. "...he formulated a tradition which he called the "cosmic tradition" and which he claimed to have received—I don't know how —from a tradition anterior to that of the Cabala and the Vedas." But the Mother was not writing a PhD thesis on The Tradition and very often she was speaking contextually, in response to the questions put to her, or taking those questions as occasions to reveal some of the aspects of the occult knowledge she had of things.

Apart from The Tradition and its utility to Sri Aurobindo, we must also remember that his primary concern was to work out the Evolution which doesn’t seem to be present in it. For this to happen there has to be the Vedantic spiritual experience and realization; there has to be, in an equally important way, the psychic realization which alone can put this nature directly in contact with the Divine. One wonders if there is anything of the sort in The Tradition. ~ RYD Reply

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