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Sri Aurobindo and The Veda - Track 1201

Last time we spoke of some of the riddles that arise out of the supposition that Reality is Satchitanand, particularly the nature of reality is Ananda. The problem was how can Ananda be reconciled with the experience of suffering and with the experience of evil, these two important elements that we experience in the world, how can they be explained, if at the root of the world is Ananda because these three things are quite opposite of Ananda this was the main problem that we were grappling with. So, I shall now revise very rapidly and then take up the thread further.

First of all It'll be argued that this word is not entirely painful, some philosophies do refer the world to be entirely painful, ‘dukhmaya sansara’ this whole world is nothing but full of misery. If you examine the nature of the world objectively, you'll find that there are three experiences of this world, there is a pleasant and a painful experience and neutral experience. And if actually you can feel it more accurately you'll find that the sum total of pleasant and neutral is far greater than the sum total of the suffering in the world. Normally we don't put into our account book the pleasant and the neutral; in any case neutral is hardly taken into account because it doesn't enter into our conscious experience. But if you take the neutral and the pleasant together than the sum total of these two is much greater than the sum total of the suffering. But we feel suffering much more acutely than the experience of neutrality and pleasantness that is because normally we have pleasantness and neutrality. And since suffering comes as a kind of an exception, it looms large in our consciousness and we feel as if the world is full of suffering.

In any case the one who is suffering certainly feels that the world is nothing but suffering. But even if the sum total of pleasure and of neutrality is greater than the sum total of suffering, the problem remains. If Ananda is at the root, how can there be suffering, even this little bit of suffering in the world, if Ananda is the Reality then manifestation also should be Ananda; how can there be suffering?

Question: In the Bhagavata Gita Sri krishna says, ‘anityam asukham lokam’, could you please explain this statement.

Answer: Well! this is quite true, this is what I was referring to is that there are many statements of this kind, that this world is described as‘anityam’, ‘asukham’, and it is not untrue. But if you want to state the whole experience of Reality then the statement has also to be read in the context in which Sri Krishna says that he is present in all the natural phenomena. If you examine the ‘Vibhuti Yoga’ in which Sri Krishna is described as being present, as Arjuna among the Pandavas, and He is Brihaspati amongst the gods, all that is not asukham at all So, if you take the full account of Sri Krishna's account of the world, then this statement is to be read in the context of the rest. But there are philosophies, which even go beyond and they really believe that whatever happiness you have in the world is like having a picnic party on a mountain near a volcano, and the volcano is about to burst out.  What will be the pleasure of that picnic, such is the pleasure in this world, is how it is described that people do not know that they are sitting on a volcano. Not knowing they're enjoying, objectively speaking, you know that below this is all volcano and suddenly it will burst out and rebel with the pleasure of this picnic then it is with regard to that statement that he had to say that everything is not volcanic.

That statement is even made that everything is volcanic in the world that statement is not objectively true. But even though it is not objectively true it is a fact that there is a volcano there is in this world the seed of suffering and their experiences of suffering which are extremely intolerable. And that is what constitutes the problem if reality is Ananda how can there be this kind of suffering now this problem becomes even acute when you assume that this Ananda which is at the root is an omnipotent creator and that is also a farther statement about Satchitananda; Satchitananda is not only the basic stratum of this word but is also a supreme Creator an omnipotent creator. So last time I addressed the problem that if the Divine is the supreme Creator omnipotent creator then it is inconceivable as to how that omnipotent creator was incompetent to eliminate suffering from the world. How could he create a world which was full of suffering even though suffering may not be the totality of the world even partially there is suffering in the world how could he create the suffering and tolerate it? If he's omnipotent he should be able to eliminate it. I'd referred to the dilemma which is presented by Mill very yet said that God is either omnipotent in which case he will could not have existed or if evil exists he must be evil himself so either God is omnipotent in which case he must be evil also because evil exists in the world. Or if he's good he cannot be omnipotent because he's not able to eliminate evil from the world God is either omnipotent or good but he can't be both. This is one of the ways of presenting the problem in fact Shri Aurobindo called this chapter number 11,‘Delight of the Existence: The Problem’. So the statement of the problem has to be quite accurate first we must understand where the sting of the problem lies so this is one of the ways by which it is attempted to ensure that there is dilemma the moment you assume that God is good and he's omnipotent and that is the notion of Satchitananda, Satchitananda is good and he's omnipotent before the problem arises how can we explain the problem of evil and suffering. To save God have told you that there are many ways many adherents try to save God from this reproach if you criticise that God must be either omnipotent or good but not both and to assert that God is both omnipotent and good a kind of a series of arguments are brought forward one argument is that God himself is omnipotent and good but he has given freedom to man, why freedom because God is good and freedom is good therefore God being good he has given freedom to man but that freedom is misused by a man and evil and suffering is the result of the use of freedom in a wrong way and the wrong ways is attributed to man not to God. So this is one of the ways by which God is protected from being reproached of the presence of evil and suffering in the world.