July 30, 2008

We are "self-exiled" - we have come down deliberately, voluntarily

According to the Mother, Savitri is:
1) The daily record of the spiritual experiences of the individual who has written.
2) A complete system of yoga which can serve as a guide for those who want to follow the integral sadhana.
3) The yoga of the Earth in its ascension towards the Divine.
4) The experiences of the Divine Mother in her effort to adapt herself to the body she has taken and the ignorance and the falsity of the earth upon which she has incarnated. MCW 13:24 Invocation 01 .pdf

"A god come down and greater by the fall"
Based on the talk by Professor Arabinda Basu at Savitri Bhavan
August 9, 1998 Invocation 01 .pdf

Sri Aurobindo also says that "We live self-exiled from our heavenlier home." [p.262] The normal idea is that man has fallen because he has disobeyed God’s command. Or in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism we find the idea that one has karma from previous lives, and has come down to exhaust that karma. Judaism doesn’t insist so much on the idea of the original sin, but Christianity does. And because of this original sin of pride, hubris, disobedience towards God, we have fallen.

But here there is no such idea at all: We are "self-exiled" - we have come down deliberately, voluntarily. There must be some purpose in this, for nobody would by choice come down to a life which, as Sri Aurobindo says, is condemned to an imperfect body and mind, living in the inconscient with all the indignities of the physical life.

Yes, there is indignity, there is dishonour, there is a lack of bliss, even of pleasure: we are all born into a world of division and discord, ambition and frustration, failure and futility; of Knowledge ringed by ignorance, and pleasure by pain. This is our life. How can it be greater than the existence that we had before we fell? We will find the answer in the poem itself.

Can God be incomplete? The Upanishad tells us that he is full there and here, and that if we subtract fullness from that fullness, what remains is still full. So God in himself is complete, full, fulfilled. And yet Sri Aurobindo dares to say: "A god come down and greater by the fall". We shall see that this is because God has a definite purpose in descending into matter.

This means that in the light of what Sri Aurobindo says, the ancient Indian concept of Maya appears to be an incomplete knowledge. Taking his terms from Indian spiritual thought Sri Aurobindo says that we can look at creation from three points of view: as Prakriti, Maya and Lila. Prakriti, in the Sankhya philosophy, refers to inconscient Nature, a creative power without any trace of consciousness in it at all.

There is Purusha, or pure consciousness, which is static, and there is Prakriti who is unconscious but dynamic. You can see the world as the evolution of Prakriti - which it is, to a very great extent. Then there is the concept of Maya, which says that the world isn’t really there - it only seems to be there. According to this philosophy, Brahman is purely static, it has no creative power, no quality, no feature, no nothing as Americans would say. So the world is Maya, the world doesn’t exist, it only seems to exist. This too is a truth of a certain plane of experience - even for those who are trying to practice Integral Yoga.

Sri Aurobindo says that every integral yogin must go through this experience sooner or later. At some time in your sadhana, you must know that the world is nothing, absolutely nothing. Only when you know that the world is nothing at all, can you be utterly and completely free of attachment...

Don’t leave Nature in the lurch: make it divine - because Nature is concealed divinity.

We would expect a fall to be debasing, but the poet says: "No fall debased the godhead of her steps". [p.128] Where is our share in this? In a brilliant line, Sri Aurobindo says: "In her gold liberty of divinity all had a share." As we take to Savitri as a refuge, we will share in her golden-coloured splendour. "No fall debased the godhead of her steps" - the godhead has come down to what is fallen, but it is not itself fallen. It always keeps its nature of spirituality and divinity, and yet it has assumed, deliberately, all the limitations of the material physical life...

In God there is no creation. Sri Aurobindo tells us over and over again that in God there is no progression. But then where is progression, where is evolution, where is movement? Where God has limited himself.

As you know, philosophically speaking, this world is a result of God limiting himself. If the Absolute remained Absolute always, there would be no relative. If God did not give up his unity, there would be no Many. If the Divine did not renounce his divinity there would be no humanity. So this is the holocaust of the soul, the Supreme Soul, a self-sacrifice that is made for the sake of a result and a fruit. And that fruit is the world becoming a new world, the creation assuming a novelty, a freshness, a spiritual fulfilment...

In all your instruments, your powers and abilities, in all of them God’s power lurks. But it is hidden, it needs to be brought out, manifested, expressed. In one sense we can say that evolution is really the emergence of the hidden powers of the Divine in man. There is the evolution of the soul, but there is also, parallel to it, the evolution of nature, and nature means all the physical, vital, mental powers and abilities or potentialities. Invocation 01 .pdf

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