The Life Divine—Chapters 1-7 (New Delhi, at Shubhra Ketu Foundation) - Q&A: 21 April 2008

Defining God-Light-Freedom-Immortality in The Human Aspiration

And, along with God, all others also go because immortality is not there, it is an atma there and that Freedom of course means extinction of the ego there. Nothing remains so Light also is not relevant. Now, how would Sri Aurobindo place a person like lord Buddha in this paragraph?

See there is a difference between writing for mankind as a whole and writing as an address to a particular point of view. First of all Sri Aurobindo gives a kind of an outline, a main figure of development. As far as belief in God is concerned, Sri Aurobindo does not say in the history of thought there has been no movement of scepticism, so if you say that Buddha doubted the existence of God or denied the existence of God, Sri Aurobindo cannot be accused of not taking that into account. He is aware of it. There have been, there have been movements which have denied all these four things or one or two things. You now said all the four are denied, so that also could be regarded as a sceptical movement. You might say a period of scepticism. Let us say Buddhism reigned over India for a long time. God was banished from India, but, as Sri Aurobindo said, it came back. Even after the exile, the same aspiration again returns. That is one answer to this question. Even Jainism, you might say, is a similar, the same standpoint, that is, if you interpret Jainism and Buddhism as movements of scepticism or denial, they are accounted for at the same time, the question is what is meant by God.

Sri Aurobindo is not defined in this chapter. He has not defined light. He has not defined mortality, he has not defined freedom. However, this is in the style of a philosophical writing where what is defined is what is specially focused upon. There is always a difficulty in metaphysics that every statement you make is to be a meaningful statement. And yet, if you define every word, you will define every other word, and that would mean defining other words, mean other words and the two other words. In which case you have to define a very big encyclopaedia. But that is not a justifiable method of exposition of metaphysics. A metaphysical exposition concentrates upon one point on which full light is thrown, the others all are in the periphery, and they are to be understood in the way in which you understand.

At the beginning, the reader is free to understand the meanings of the words which are not defined as yet. So from that point of view, you might say that these four words are not defined. The state of nirvana may be regarded as the state of God. There can be debate, let there be debate, but it can be said that the search for nirvana was a search for all the four. Nirvana is permanent therefore immortal, nirvana is a freedom not of individual freedom, but freedom. You have no pain, no suffering, freedom from suffering. It is light in the sense there is no darkness in it. Nirvana is not a state of darkness, and God means that state in which all perfection that you can conceive of exists if, according to you, perfection, consists in the void. That is what it contains. Therefore, you can say that even Buddhism is contained in it. The same thing can be said about Jainism.

Further Sri Aurobindo defines to know, to possess and be the divine being as opposed to what? so divine being is defined as something opposed to narrow and egoistic consciousness. Therefore, we would say that Sri Aurobindo defines God in this way. Therefore, you take the word God as something that is not egoistic, something in which you feel that you have known, something in which you feel you are possessed, something in which you feel your being, your becoming. It will apply both to Jainism and Buddhism that experience whatever the highest kaivalya, whatever experience you may define, it is a condition of knowledge, possession being as opposed to anything that you have in regard to these things in the egoistic consciousness. So you might say that even that is contained in it. By God he means this, yet to define God in this way now why has he not taken the trouble of defining these four words at all? You may ask if this is such an important thing. Why has he not done it?

Because the main purpose of this article is to bring out a most important phenomenon, that is of aspiration, and this aspiration may be manifested in many forms, in many many terms, but all these terms can be ultimately summarised by these four words. Let people understand these four words in the way in which they understand. That is not the important point in this chapter. What is God, what is Light, what is Freedom, what is Immortality is in the whole book is written for that purpose, but this is the first statement made in which the emphasis is upon aspiration. Is this aspiration expressed or not? That is the question. Has he brought out from human history an aspiration which has been described as the highest aspiration of mankind, even when exiled, which has come back again and then that depicts aspiration. Sri Aurobindo has defined in these four terms Divine, he speaks of freedom, freedom from mechanical necessities. He has defined a bliss as against pain and suffering besieged by a lot of pain and human suffering, visited by temporary satisfactions, transitory satisfactions. So these four terms he has defined - and now you ask the question whether this aspiration can be regarded as the overwhelming aspiration in human history or not. You study the whole human history. How is it the earliest?

Egyptians, for example, were looking for this immortality with even mummies. Why were they thinking of mummies? The aspiration for immortality was so great, why? To take, for example, the example of Greeks, the mysteries of Orpheus. What was the mystery of Orpheus? One does not know exactly like the way the Veda is available. Unfortunately, there is nothing like Veda known as containing the mysteries of Orpheus, but surely some of the beliefs are now uncovered and we have that literature and Burnet, for example, says that when you read Orpheus and the orphic mysteries, they are very similar to Indian beliefs. So Burnet, who has studied his whole life, this is his conclusion that if you read Indian mysticism, ancient Indian mysticism and orphic tradition, you find so much of similarity between the two.

So you go to any historical evidence as Sri Aurobindo says ancient witnesses, they manifest the same kind of an aspiration. What they meant by immortality may be quite different from what you and I would mean by immortality. If Sri Aurobindo had to spend time on explaining all this, then this chapter would have never been completed, but in general it can be said that there was a search for immortality and then he defines it very briefly here. Afterwards of course he will define at very great length. So you might say this is the prima facie, the first sight definition sufficient for the purpose that he has in view as far as this chapter is concerned. This is a style of Sri Aurobindo. Whenever you read any philosopher, we must first of all enter into what he intends to do and whether ultimately defines or not, if, ultimately, he equates nirvana with God. Why Buddha was led to deny God is in a certain sense similar to the way in which God was denied by purva mimamsa. Purvamimamsa speaks of karma as the basic thing and not God. Similar was the case of Buddha also, but therefore you can't say that purva mimamsa is nastik. It believes in Veda and the truth which has been revealed in the Veda.

Therefore, if you want to make a general statement, then this is the general statement. So this is my immediate first answer to this question.

Sir, does it mean that Sri Aurobindo is not going to establish a particular system of philosophy, but takes a view of philosophy in such a way that all, even opposing systems of philosophies are covered in that? Does it mean that?

It is not that straightforward a statement, as you would make it. It is true that Sri Aurobindo's philosophy is a great synthesis. His vision of things is very, very synthetic. It is a vision of the totality. In that vision of totality is a big sweep, and you might say that all different philosophical systems are interwoven in that vision. But if you ask the question whether each and every tendency of philosophical thought is woven into it or not, I wouldn't say yes immediately, because there are many points, many conclusions which are not interwoven to this, because when you see the whole thing, many things which are loose ends they also get lost. Take for example anekantavada, you might say the basic anekantavada is present in Sri Aurobindo. That all statements are true statements from a certain point of view, and yet anekantavada says Jainism is the highest, is the ultimate truth. That way anekantavada will not work as Jainism accepted, all other propositions are valid. That kind of anekantavada is not here. The kind of Jainistic anekantavada is not here.

So it's a synthetic point of view in which there is a wide sweep, in which many points of view are interwoven. But you can't say every point of view is interwoven. There are many points of view which get lost ultimately, when you try to interweave everything. So that will be my general answer to your general questions. If you put a specific question whether this philosophy is included or not, then I would give a more specific answer.

My next query will be that, for my personal sake, if I wish to fix what aspiration should be my aspiration, how does this statement help me? Because God means many things here. Therefore, I cannot ascertain what type of aspiration I should have than Bhargava could have if such a wide range is covered here, the answer to a person is not available in that?

It is because Sri Aurobindo answered to know, to possess, and be the divine being, as opposed to.. just read that sentence.

Yes, I know that.

And many things apply to you.

Then it is a sort of a negative statement of my aspiration rather than the positive contents of my aspiration?

You might say that negatively it can be understood and for arriving at a positive statement, I need to study more. This is the first step of exposition. In the first step of exposition, very often we start with a negative statement. It is that is not this, then what is neti afterwards can be followed by iti. So, as you move forward, you will try to understand what exactly is the meaning of to possess, to know, to possess and be the divine being. These are positive words, it's not merely negative, but what exactly it means at present, you have many concepts of divine being. Therefore, your problem, if your own concept of God had been fully analysed, it would be quite a different state of affairs.

For example, when you come to understand what is the meaning of to know, possess, and be, it is fully expounded only in the second chapter of the second volume, if you see the second chapter of the second volume of the Life Divine— Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara - Maya, Prakriti, Shakti. So that is the meaning of God, as understood by Sri Aurobindo.

Sir excuse me, then you're saying that the first chapter summarises the whole thing and the first para has summarised the whole thing is only partly true in the sense to my mind, and I even otherwise..

No, but you must understand the word summary.

Yes, sir, even otherwise. Yes, when I was looking into the contents of this book. Yes, this is only one volume covering both volumes. Yes, I was finding that all characters are equally important.

Of course, if they are, you are absolutely right. As I was saying, that is a lifelong subject of study and whenever you open it, you'll find it relevant and very important. That is also true, but at the same time, if you just want to see what Sri Aurobindo wants to say, it can be said in a few words: the whole mankind has been aspiring after God, right with the beginning, and that this is the highest that the thought can envisage, mankind has tried to aspire, but from whatever history you study, ultimately, you will see that the earliest formula also promises to be the last.

You stand today in a certain sense at the last stage at the present stage, wherever you stand, you are in the last stage at present. Therefore, you can take it for your understanding that, for you, this aspiration is inescapable. If, therefore, if this is inescapable, you really want it, then strive to have it. If you are in a hurry - and you just want to know - please tell me what Sri Aurobindo says that this is enough. This is all that he wants to say ultimately that for you it is inescapable. You may go around somersault in any way you like, ultimately you will say I want God-Light-Freedom-Immortality. You yourself are going to say this, even if you say now, no, I tell you as a philosopher whatever I have studied of the mankind's history, ultimately you yourself will come and say: I must have God; I must be free from this egoistic narrowness; I really want to be free from this mechanical necessities. I want to be free, you are bound to say this, ultimately, after making all kinds of efforts. So this is all that I want to say.

Afterwards if that is so, then you will ask me the next question: then tell me how to do it. Then you read my Synthesis of Yoga, which I have written. So that is the answer to that question.

Sir, the difficulty is that, since you said that first six chapters or seven chapters are the summary of The Life Divine, I tried to read the first six chapters at one time. I could understand the para. On the second day when I read it, I forgot what I understood, and I have noted down in the margin also what I understood at that time, but my own, nothing became not understandable. How does it happen? It doesn't happen in the case of other books when you have understood a para, this is all right we have understood for forever, but how to overcome this? I feel since you are not going to be that kind to me that you will be reading the whole of it with me, if you can do that, I am ready for that. I understand, I don't have any other business in my life except reading this book now, because this book means reading life itself.

That is true.

Preparation for reading The Life Divine

It is not a book. No, it is reading the whole reality. How to overcome this difficulty because you said that you read it at the age of 18 without the help of a teacher, of course, how to overcome this difficulty I was presented to at one time? I could understand what he's saying, but the other day I found that, well, this I cannot understand. How to overcome this difficulty? This is a practical problem for me.

You see my advantage was, I was by ignorant of many things, of which you are aware, at the age of 18.

No, you must have done your MA in philosophy?

I was at that time in senior college actually, but I had the advantage of having done something of the Veda in my boyhood, I read Satyarth Prakash at the age of 11. So I had a good background of what the Dayanand Saraswati had said. I had heard many lectures on Satyarth Prakash in my boyhood. Then I had read Vivekananda quite greatly by that time. Then I came to read Plato a great deal and then I read the history of western philosophy, very minutely. So by the age of 18, I had studied practically both Indian philosophy and western philosophy in its basic fundamental terms.

And I had certain questions which were very, very powerfully formulated in my mind, and I thought that nobody has answered those questions, because wherever I touched any book, I found on this point particularly they all floundered. So I had come to the conclusion that nobody has answered some of the most fundamental questions. To my surprise and my happiness, this book answered those questions thoroughly and therefore I became a bride of this bridegroom, and this is my condition all the time even today. So you might say I’m a permanent virgin before this bride and I always love to refer to this book, and I find answers to my questions.

As you rightly said, this book has got depths in depths. Therefore, when you read for the first time, you derive one depth, afterwards you read after three days, you find another depth in it and you feel, oh I have not understood at all, then you are trying to understand, again there is a further depth in it, so I can fully understand when you say that I feel I have understood and then next time when I read, I feel I have not understood it. I fully understand it. There is nothing wrong either with you or with the book. It is simply a question of your having gone deeply into the problem. It only means that you have now become a fresh person. We are reading something new for the first time. So if you have forgotten what you understood previously, that also is good. All clothes are thrown out. Now you come to the new clothes.

So I don't see any difficulty about what you are saying, that there are depths into depths in this book and it is written at such levels. You see it is like a telescope and when you see through a telescope something and if you concentrate upon only one star, you see it more vividly, not that others are not there. Others are also seen and you in the beginning, you can say that I have seen all of them also that but again when you try to consider another star, then you say: oh, my lord. I have never seen this star at all. It is a telescopic writing. In fact, this book is telescopic and microscopic at the same time. This is a style of Sri Aurobindo that is both telescopic and microscopic.

Even the complaint that you made Sri Aurobindo uses these four words—God-Light-Freedom-Immortality—in a very loose manner, it’s a telescopic method of stating. When he afterwards contrast to know, possess and be the divine being in an egoistic consciousness, it is a more microscopic writing and, as I said, if you go on and on and on until you come to the chapter Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara - Maya, Prakriti, Shakti, there you get both telescopic and microscopic views together in precise, absolutely clear, crystal terms, what he means by God. So you might say that this word comes very often. You see if you like, Buddhistic point of view. If you open chapter number 11, you see here Chapter number 11 Delight of Existence: The Problem. Now, you open the chapter. Buddhism is explained by Sri Aurobindo.

By the way, when I opened this book at random, this chapter was there and I thought that delight is an attractive word, I can read it once it is not about metaphysics, but about something practical. So I read the whole of it. I wrote a note also because I gave it to you, but perhaps you have missed it or you have somewhere it has gone forward. I do not know, I sent it through Akhilesh. And I was delighted really to read that he says that what we feel that there is pain in the world is not a true statement, not like Buddha. In fact, there is delight in the existence itself. I could feel it also, pain is the creation of my mind. It is not there in the existence itself. That is what I found, and I was really delighted to come to that conclusion. It is not that God created misery, it is I who create misery in the universe. He didn’t create misery in the world. He created only happiness. That was a revolution for me, because this is also a problem with Indian philosophy.

So there I shall show.. you see this paragraph, if you read, the whole Buddhist philosophy’s argument is given here. It says:

Sachchidananda, it may be reasoned, is God, is a conscious Being who is the author of existence; how then can God have created a world in which He inflicts suffering on His creatures, sanctions pain, permits evil? God being All-Good, who created pain and evil? If we say that pain is a trial and an ordeal, we do not solve the moral problem, we arrive at an immoral or non-moral God,—an excellent world-mechanist perhaps, a cunning psychologist, but not a God of Good and of Love whom we can worship, only a God of Might to whose law we must submit or whose caprice we may hope to propitiate. For one who invents torture as a means of test or ordeal, stands convicted either of deliberate cruelty or of moral insensibility and, if a moral being at all, is inferior to the highest instinct of his own creatures. And if to escape this moral difficulty, we say that pain is an inevitable result and natural punishment of moral evil,—an explanation which will not even square with the facts of life unless we admit the theory of Karma and rebirth by which the soul suffers now for antenatal sins in other bodies,—we still do not escape the very root of the ethical problem,—who created or why or whence was created that moral evil which entails the punishment of pain and suffering? And seeing that moral evil is in reality a form of mental disease or ignorance, who or what created this law or inevitable connection which punishes a mental disease or act of ignorance by a recoil so terrible, by tortures often so extreme and monstrous? The inexorable law of Karma is irreconcilable with a supreme moral and personal Deity, and therefore the clear logic of Buddha denied the existence of any free and all-governing personal God; all personality he declared to be a creation of ignorance and subject to Karma.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine - I: Delight of Existence: The Problem

So Sri Aurobindo justifies why Buddha denied God, if God is the creator of this world - and this is the theory of God, such a God can't be accepted. Therefore, Sri Aurobindo’s theory of God is not this God. He agrees entirely with Buddha. If this is the idea of God, then Buddha is quite right. What is that God - and that is the problem which has remained inexplicable - this problem of evil has remained inexplicable in the history of mankind, so you might say that Buddha was quite right in denying the existence of God. If by God, you mean this, whether he ultimately denied God altogether is a question because he only said I will not answer these questions. So whether he believed or not, is a different question, he may be. According to Mother and Sri Aurobindo, he knew God the best. He very well knew God, but he denied the idea because he argued, he said that if God means this, I don't want to propagate that idea of God, and that was the idea of God which was current in his time.

Even today, many people think that is the nature of God, so if that is the meaning of God, Sri Aurobindo in The Life Divine also says, don't believe in that God, such a God cannot be accepted, such a cruel master and a monster, such a God does not exist. If God is a God of love, of wisdom, he can't be this kind of God. Therefore when Sri Aurobindo says we aspire for God, surely he does not mean this God, he agrees with what Buddha said. That is not the God. What he sought for Sri Aurobindo also says I seek for that God, he also sought. In his own time there was a big search and what was he seeking? Ultimately he's seeking God, is not surely for the highest satisfaction of the world as it is. He renounced everything for what? Whatever he was seeking, you can see your quest of God in a certain sense. He may not have used the word God for whatever he found, but surely he did not seek all this. So he sought something else than this and if, by God you mean something else than this, he was a seeker of God. Aspiration is fulfilled, it's answered. Buddha did not seek after all that we think this world is, he sought for something else.

Sir there is a psychological difficulty there. Unless you give me something better than what I have already with me say the sensual pleasures. I am asked to forsake those sensual pleasures, but I am not given anything positive, which is better than that. Rather saying that you first live there, then you will get something. Psychologically it doesn't appear to be wise on my path to learn to leave something which is already in my hand, for something which I don't, which I expect that I will get. Maybe I do not get it at all. So can you suggest something positive to summarise things because at the end of the book, maybe that I get something positive, but it will take a whole lifetime to read this. In short, can you give something positive for this? I can be prepared to leave what I have already with me: money, sex position, prestige, etc, etc. That I have already with me - and they are giving pleasure to me - you can't deny them. Now what do I get in exchange if I leave all these? Because unless I get a glimpse of what I can get, how can I leave this which I have already? Do you understand my difficulty?

I suppose so, but it's a difficult question to answer. We can argue in the following manner: it is said whether it is right or not. It is said that Alexander wanted to enjoy domination and he sought domination by expanding his empire, went on and on and on. At the end of that whole journey, it is said when he was about to die he said I came empty-handed and I go away empty-handed. Unfortunately, for him it came to him only at the end of his life, so that afterwards, if he wanted to do something, he had no time to do anything. So you can say that perhaps I can learn a lesson from Alexander's life? What he learned at the end of his life, can I learn it now when I’m not at the end of my life?

If that example does not satisfy me, we can say that he thought at that time if he had to live longer, he would have still got more domination. Ultimately, he would have been satisfied. Who knows even his disappointment was only temporary. Why should I take him as my guide?

There is a story of Buddha that when he was starving himself and he even fainted and fell down, he also asked this question. I have made a lot of quests. I had a lot of fasting, a lot of tapasya. I am now at the end and my search will remain incomplete, but then he remembered one experience that when he was sitting in a garden as a child in his early boyhood, he had suddenly felt a great happiness. He remembered that experience of his and he said that the experience of happiness did not depend upon fasting. I was not fasting at that time, and yet I had that experience. Now what you are looking for is something similar to this. He said, therefore, he came to the conclusion that fasting is not the means of getting what I want to look for, because in my boyhood I had an experience of that delight and that delight is now no more there even after fasting. So there must be a condition in which I can have that delight without undergoing fasting.

Now I would suggest that in every human life at a given time, that does happen in a state of delight, as you rightly said, that you have that delight. It’s not that you don't have.

But it withers away.

Quite right. Now that is our point, that there is a delight which is neither sensuous nor coming out of money, nor coming out of position. It is independent of it. The question is therefore that delight which is independent of all this, can it be made permanent? So it is not as if you do not know it. There is some kind of an experience which you have already enjoyed. You know it. The only question is how to make it permanent.

Therefore now your question is of a different kind. If anybody can give me a guarantee that such a thing can be made permanent, then I am prepared to do it and there Buddha tells you it can be made permanent. All Jain munis tell you, it can be made permanent, kaivalya is possible. All systems of Indian philosophy tell you it is possible, except Purva Mimamsa. All yogis tell you that such a delight is possible and hundreds of ways have been found by which this can be done. Therefore, as far as this question is concerned, it is not a very difficult question. You can simply say that there are assurances available.

Now, which assurance you will follow, because there are multiple voices, so your question is only to decide whose voice I shall accept. That question I would simply say you have to work it out and nobody can tell you an answer to that question. I would simply say, personally, that after studying various systems of yoga, I have come to the conclusion that the synthesis of yoga that Sri Aurobindo gives is the answer to this question. As a friend, I can simply say, study it and make an experiment of it. I believe that what you are looking for, you will get from it. This is my personal belief as a brother, as a friend, but more than that, I can't tell you.

I can only say that what I am telling is not so extraordinary. Many yogis have done it, but as far as you are concerned, I would simply say that for you this process of synthesis of yoga, which Sri Aurobindo has given, is much more in fitness of your quest and your personality. This is as a friend I would say that after so many years of your quest you have become ripe to arrive at that point and it is that gate which you are knocking, and I personally tell you it is the right gate for you. For others it may be different, but for you that is the right one.

Why? Because Veda attracts you. Jainism attracts you, Buddhism attracts you. Even worldly life attracts you. Now, having seen this opening of your personality on many directions, the one path which satisfies all these is only Sri Aurobindo’s, because he is like you, he opens to the Veda, he opens to Jainism, he opens the Buddhism, he is open to the worldly life. He was a great master of the worldly life, so this is something that is appropriate to your being. So my intuition is that that is the path and that is why you should follow, and that is why you should study this thoroughly and practice this path. This is your path, truly your path. This is my friendly advice, but it is for you to decide. The choice is yours and that choice nobody can make for you. It is only you who has to make a choice.

Sir, whatever little I have read, I also feel the same. That perhaps is for me. You have been in association with Mother.. What happened with me in my life is that those who have been claiming from the stage that well, there is a spiritual bliss and claiming it in such a voice as if they have experienced it when they fell ill, or there was some kind of misfortune with them, I found them perturbed like any other man. What does it mean? Were their claims just illusions, or if they have attained a stage where misfortune doesn't perturb a person which is really a problem, then they should not have been perturbed. In fact, one of the Jain pundits, not a muni, when he was ill and was in the hospital, he said. Well, I have been preaching that the body is different from the soul, but now I feel I was not true. The body is the soul. I am perturbed by the body. How do you say that there is something different from a body which is not perturbed by illness? He was a very honest man when he confessed it. There may be dishonest persons who may not say it so openly, but this happened with them. I have a question. I have heard that Mother was also having difficult pains sometimes, seriously. Did you feel that she was perturbed by that illness or not?

She did experience pain, yes, she used to say even infernal pain. She was capable of withdrawing herself from that pain, this was one of her greatest experiments. What is this pain? pain which is not in the soul, but the pain which is in the body and the pain in the body that afflicts? Her discovery was that there is a mind of the cells.

This body is full of cells. This is a biological fact. These cells are coated with a mental consciousness, which is that the cells are not pure cells. Even these cells, just as we have got a mental sheath. Similarly, even the cells have got a mental sheath. Now their mental sheaths are in a state of a certain kind of sleep just as this table, for example. Ultimately, the matter which is there is the origin of the cell. Ultimately, therefore, you might see that even this table also has a mind. It is completely sleepy. It’s completely asleep, even if you beat it, it doesn't wake, it is completely asleep, but the mind which is on the coating of the cell is not so much asleep. Therefore, whenever there is injection into it of some awakening there is a panic in it. Just as a child is slightly awakened in sleep, you awaken him, there is a panic in the child. Similarly, this panic is coated over the cell and whenever there is an effort to awaken it, there is a panic and what you call pain is that pain. It’s a panic of awakening. It can't bear just as when you look at the sunlight and the eyes cannot bear the light. So there's a panic in the eyes - and there is a kind of immediate reaction to close down the eyes - can't bear the light. Similarly, any attempt at the awakening of that mind, which is on the cells, any awakening, causes this problem. As long as it is allowed to sleep, nothing happens. At present our mind, the mind of the cells is sleeping, so no pain comes up.

Now what you call illness is nothing but an effort to awaken it. There are degrees of awakening. Therefore, there are degrees of suffering and degrees of endurance. These are special qualities of your suffering. All sufferings are not equal, there are depths and depths of suffering, and some people can endure tremendous pain and some cannot. It is said about Stalin, for example, that when his stomach was being operated on, he said, don't give me anaesthetic, I want to experience it and he did it. I mean he has so much of endurance, not that he was a divine being, but even his mind was so powerful that he could bear it. So there are levels of endurance. The conclusion was that between the ordinary awakening, whenever the mind is awakened to some extent there is a pain.

A child is sent to a school. He cries and says I don't learn, it's a pain for the child. I don't want to learn. What is all this trouble? Gradually he begins to then even enjoy learning afterwards. It’s the same mind of the cells actually, basically all pain is a pain of the awakening of the mind, which is on the cell.

Now Mother’s discovery was that, if you can dissociate yourself from the mind of the cells, you will feel no pain, even though there is a pain here, there are other layers of consciousness which won't feel the pain. It is like a siddha pragya who may physically be pained, but if somebody.. there is a loss like Janaka being told your palace is burnt off, there is no pain at all, so a consciousness which is free from that to that extent, you can be free from pain. So there are degrees of your endurance, degrees of your severance from the physical coating, the metal coating on the cells, it is the mind which is in a state of panic basically.

According to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the phenomenon of pain came when life was injected into matter. When matter alone was there, there was no pain, in matter there is no pain, it is a complete sleep. The phenomenon of pain is only the injection of life into matter and the disbalancement which has taken place and this balance is still not complete. There has been a contrast between the condition of life and matter. The two are in a sense, completely opposed to each other. As Sri Aurobindo says that matter is defined as a state of inertia and life is defined as dynamism, completely opposite of each other, and yet it is this very life which is injected into matter to such an extent that no living organism on the earth can exist without the support of matter. It's a fact: life itself cannot subsist on this earth, except on the condition of matter. So this injection is, as it were, so imperative, and life is told that you must embody yourself in matter, you are quite opposed to matter.

In the very first chapter which you read today, Sri Aurobindo says this is one very big problem of conflict and you might say the whole world is confronted with this problem of injecting life into matter, and yet this problem has been resolved to a great extent. The fact is that so many organisms are able to survive, some for a short time, some for a long time, some even a long long time, some organisms can live for thousands of years. There are some trees which can remain alive for thousands of years.

In human beings, there is a further complication. There is a big contrast between the life nature and the mental nature, and the two are quite contrasted with each other. Life by nature is rushing blindly. Mind is slow, thinking, deciding. The two are quite in contrast with each other. So there is a contrast between life and mind and yet again no mind can subsist in the world except in life. Prana is the very basis of mind as far as human consciousness is considered, the world is concerned, this world. No mind can function where there is no life and the two are injected as it were, mind is injected in this life.

Now you can see that this coating which is on the cell, becomes affected by all these layers right up to our present condition of consciousness. Now this mental consciousness is capable, this is something special of the mind, its capacity to go withdrawing from itself. The mind is the one power which is capable of withdrawing from one state to the other. It can distinguish many states of itself. It can stay in one state of consciousness, dwell upon another and dwell further in the third state. This is a special quality of the mind, power of the mind. As a result, you can have the experience of witness self, because the mind is capable of withdrawal. There is, in the mind, a capacity to say: I think that I think that I think that I think that I think I think that I think, like a mirror. And it is indefinite. It’s a special quality of mind.

In life it is not possible. Life is a direct movement and rush. It has no time to withdraw itself even for a moment. It’s a rush, immediately it has to be done. It’s a continuous pressure on action. In the mind, it is not so. It can leisurely reflect, quietly think; although the mind also has a rush, there are moments when you can say, I cannot keep my mind quiet, there is all the time the rush of so many thoughts. But by some practice you can do it. It's a capacity of the mind and when you do it, you do find that the mind becomes aware of a consciousness which is quite different from the mind.

This is what is available to human consciousness, that if you can strain your mind at a given stage, you can perceive that there is a consciousness which is absolutely immobile. This is what is called a yogic experience. When the mind becomes quiet, then you begin to perceive that there is a.. you may not even give a name to it, but there is in you something which can witness without being affected, as we witness any other article in the world. As you can see a cinema whatever may happen to the events in the cinema, you are quite above it, it doesn't affect you, it all happens in cinema, similarly you can see about yourself whatever happening here is only a cinematographic picture before you, you can see nothing is happening to you; you are absolutely immobile.

This is one minimum experience on the basis of which Jainism is based and Sankhya is based. This is one experience that there is a soul. This soul experience, however, gets very easily coated once again by the mind.

The rush of the mind is so constant that this experience is lost. You don't experience it meaningfully. Now, if you can repeat it again and again and again, then you can for a long time remain unaffected by any pain. You can see pain is there, but you are not affected by it. Ramana Maharshi, for example, it is said during the day he was available to everybody with that terrible cancer here in the arm, a terrible pain, but at night he was groaning. These are recorded facts that it is said that yogis, even they have tremendous pain. How does it happen? It’s only a question of the depths under which you can withdraw from the pain. The pain is only here. Pain is only in that mind, which is a panic of awakening. If that awakening is fully awakened, there is no pain, but if that awakening is partial, that partial awakening is a pain.

Now, as Mother said, Mother could withdraw completely from pain and if she wanted to be completely out of it, but she said I have been commanded to remain in that pain as far as she was concerned, so that I discovered the real remedy for it. Unless you are in that condition, the remedy will not be found, remaining there she said it can be remedied only if the supermind is conjoined with that mind of the cells, not only mind consciousness but the full awakened mind consciousness called the supermind.

This is the discovery that real conquest of pain will come only if the supermind gets injected into this mind within the cells, that will be the final victory or conquest of the pain, all human beings who are looking for conquest of pain, ultimately, that conquest of pain can come, of course, when you can witness, but as you said, you have seen that people are not able to sustain it. The phenomenon of pain is not dissolved. You can remain away from pain and the moment you cannot withdraw fully again the pain is experienced. Therefore, if you really want to come out of the pain, you have to inject into it full awakening of the supramental consciousness, in the full awakening of consciousness that pain has no place because pain is nothing as Sri Aurobindo points out in this chapter we have read, pain is nothing but a negative manifestation of ananda. If ananda was not behind it, there could be no phenomenon of pain. In fact, that is one of the solutions to the problems of evil and pain. All pain and evil is nothing, but it presupposes inevitably, the existence of the supreme lord, not that it denies, it actually presupposes, implies. If ananda did not exist, pain could not have existed at all. Because the ananda is not fully experienced therefore there is pain, pain is nothing but incomplete experience of ananda. And there is a flickering which says: no. I don't want to open out fully, therefore there is pain. In the words of the Ishopanishad:

न विजुगुप्सते

यस्तु सर्वाणि भूतानि आत्मन्येवानुपश्यति।
सर्वभूतेषु चात्मानं ततो न विजुगुप्सते ॥

But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self, shrinks not thereafter from aught.

ईशोपनिषद् 6

Ishopanishad speaks of ‘there is no shrinking’. All pain is shrinking, I shrink and the shrinking is pain, but if I don't shrink, if I can absorb whatever comes upon me, if I can receive all the impacts of the world without shrinking, there is no pain. This earth, for example, has no pain, because anything that happens on the earth is the censoring from it, whether it's a rain or lightning or whatever happens. It is so insensitive. There is no shrinking at all, but the moment some consciousness comes and shrinks from it, the forces, immediately there is a pain and there are degrees of pain as I said earlier.

Therefore, this conquest of pain is possible only when you can convert the pain into ananda. Sri Aurobindo says that when he was put in the Alipore jail, that jail was actually a torture house, it was British jail and it was a small room which was given to him. It had no payment and the red ants used to come out of the floor of that jail, and it was mid-summer. He was taken in the month of May and May June July August in Bengal at that time you can see what it must be, and he was only given a blanket to lie on, no pillow, nothing at all and there he had to remain all solitary. It was solitary imprisonment and there his guilt was not yet proved, he was only under trial, and that was the jail experience he had. I

t is there that he said I saw Sri Krishna and I stepped with him. So it was in that painful experience that he had the delight of the embrace of Sri Krishna, and he said at night these ants used to come out and used to bite him, and he said he turned these bites into ananda. That was in 1908 that he could achieve this great thing that that pain could be transformed into delight and his whole life also turn all experiences of pain into delight. It’s a part of yoga itself, I mean the conquest and ultimately it could be seen that that conquest can be completed only when supermind injects itself into the mind of the of the cells, and this is what Mother says if you read the Agenda of the Mother, it is very interesting how she says that for a few seconds I am in heavenly delight and immediately there is infernal pain. It's not easy to inject this supramental consciousness into the mind of the cells, Sri Aurobindo himself said, it's the most difficult yoga, but Mother has said that since he has done it, it is much easier for all of us. It has been even in evolution it has been effected, therefore for us now to go through it is much easier, much more quick.

So, but that is the true solution of the problem that you are speaking of, that yogi's having experience of pain, even Sri Ramakrishna when he had throat cancer, he was under tremendous pain and there's no question of hiding it. He was pained and he expressed his pain very clearly, but there are degrees of endurance and degrees of withdrawal, so yogis can attain that kind of immunity from pain, but not that complete immunity. As far as the body is concerned, even life is concerned, even the mind is concerned, that suffering exists. And if you really want to solve the problem, then there is no solution. That’s what Sri Aurobindo’s analysis is about. If it was possible to liberate the pain experienced from the world merely by nirvana, he would have preached the same doctrine, but he found that merely going into nirvana will not release the pain which is there in the whole world history. Pain is all over. It won't help the others. If I really want to help others, I must work out the problem myself, eliminate this, make an operation to inject the supramental consciousness. I bring the supramental consciousness, bring it down right into the cells of the physical, of the cells, then only it can be helpful to the others.

Then you can say a new world, divine life can be created, life divine means the divine life, collective divine life, not merely for one individual life living in a ecstasy with a God, but a divine life in which you can spread the divine joy and ananda all over. So that was the whole proposal and if you read the Agenda of the Mother, it can be said, Mother accomplished it, she said it is now I have done it. She said it. So if the shabda pramana is there, you can say this pramana is there. Mother herself has written, it has been done, but even when she says I have done it, scientifically says it has still to be worked out. I have done it principally, but it is still to be worked out in detail, and that is a work still to be left, still left for us in due course of time.

So the problem of pain ultimately, basically the problem of pain and evil is the same basically and the answer of the problem of pain is the following: if ananda did not exist, pain could have never existed. Pain is only because it is a negative current of ananda itself. If I did not love you immensely, your betrayal of me would have never given me the pain. This is a fact of human life. It is only because I love somebody so deeply that his aversion to me gives me tremendous pain. If somebody whom I don't love does not look at me, it makes no effect on me at all. It is only because of the presence of love that their pain is connected with it. It is a shrinking from that. It is not the fullness of expression of it. The true expression of love is fulfilled only when there is a response of love. Love is not fulfilled and therefore there is a pain when it is not fulfilled, so this pain is only because of love. Pain is only because of the delight of existence, so you might say, pain necessitates the existence of joy. If joy did not exist, pain would not have existed. Therefore, the solution also is in the joy.

If you can expand this joy into every action and reaction in which I can feel that I can look upon everything in the world. Even somebody who hates me, I can kiss him, there's no aversion, no shrinking. Then there is no problem at all. As Sri Aurobindo says, who is my enemy? The one who took me to the embrace of God? What is my enemy? So how can he be my enemy, he took me to God himself, so he's my enemy? So how can I? What will be my attitude towards him? This is the consciousness state of consciousness and with the idea of pain can be conquered. So this is the solution of the problem. The solution of the problem is the manifestation of delight of existence in its fullness right up to the mind of the cells.

So when Mother was experimenting and she said that she was now able to see nothing, what happened to the mind of the cells at that time? Were they sleepy or were they awakened or were..?

Partly awakened. Mind of the cells if it is fully sleeping, there is no problem. It’s only when the mind of the self is partly awakened that there is the pain, there is shrinking. There is pain. There is revolt, which is only when gradually calm down and when supramentalized that the delight can come into it.

Does it help the mind of the cell at that stage, when Mother was having supermind supervising the mind?

To that extent to which it has to do something, but it did not cure the pain. Mother was not free from any experience of pain because supermind she had in 1956, even then after 1972-73 we find Mother says there is a tremendous pain.

Jains clearly distinguish between suffering and pain. You can get rid of pain to only a certain level. Suffering could be totally eliminated from life, and then they say that suffering is psychological and pain is physical. So they have escaped what they have denied, but they have settled the question of physical pain, physical suffering by saying that karma has to really take on and it can be relieved only when all these and sanskars are burnt. The psychological suffering is eliminated.

You are right, that is to say, even Buddha for example, he had a terrible stomach upset towards the end of his life and there was a very painful experience, so he does not deny that pain at all. He draws the pain so but suffering, as you say, the psychological suffering can be conquered. So that is true.

What I see in the scripture is this that yo mansastu prabuddhi, they say buddhi if I translate it as intelligence, that intelligence is beyond mind. That is what it literally means. It means that we have to equate supermind only and nothing else.

No, you speak from kathopanishad, which makes a distinction between mind and the intellect, but even beyond the intellect, there is a great one, mahat; beyond that is unmanifest; and beyond that is a Purushottama. So it is not merely that the supermind is not such an immediate.. beyond the intellect is the supermind, beyond the superman is unmanifest, beyond that manifest is the Purushottama.

So Motilal Shastri has said how do we recognise what is intellect, he has given a hint about it. I do not know whether it is the same. He says that involuntary actions like pulsation or beating of heart, etc, they are the working of mahat because we do not do them intelligently. It is not the time using my intellect, my heart to be. It is going on involuntarily, automatically. So who controls this beating of heart? He says that this is the working of mahat. That is how he defines it. I do not know whether this coincides with the supermind?

It does in a sense because the speciality of the supermind is conscious, but spontaneous, inevitable, right action. In the mind you have to make an effort, there is a strain, it’s not spontaneous. In the supermind, there is a spontaneity but conscious, spontaneity normally is only the unconscious in an impulse. There is a spontaneity, their spontaneity is lost as you rise higher and when you come to the mind and intellect their spontaneity is gone completely. Intellectual man does not become spontaneous. We are all unspontaneous human beings because we have developed a mind, so we cease to be spontaneous, and that is one of the great complaints of the lovers.

Lovers when they do not use their mind, they are very much at peace with each other. They are absorbed into each other. But if somebody becomes mental, then their spontaneity is gone and there is a big problem. One is spontaneous, another is thinking, so that disparity comes about. Now that disparity can be lost only when mahat begins to act beyond the intellect. It’s a spontaneity, spontaneous, fully conscious, fully controlling.

Sir, what does it practically mean to have supermind, supermind is already there with us?

It is not, it is behind the screen. You see, the working of the supermind exists all the time, but that working is secret as he himself told you that it is that which is controlling the spontaneous movement of the lungs and of the heartbeats, but it is only secretly controlled. Mere secret functioning is not the end of our movement. The real point is - and this is the Vedic experiment - to make the supermind active even in the physical consciousness, not secretly manifest.

Everything starts being controlled by mahat.

Yes. Mahat is the beginning of the functioning of the whole world. Beyond mahat is only unmanifest. Therefore, the very first manifestation of the supermind is the mahat. The very word mahat itself is that consciousness maha, mahan; brihat, vast, was another word used in the Veda, mahaha is also used, brihat is also used. Both the words are used. Vijnana is also used later on, it's the same as mahat. If you read vijnanamaya.. sushupti avastha is also the same consciousness. These are the different words used in different times, but if you just see the descriptions, you find the same thing. If you read the Mandukya Upanishad where sushupti avastha is described, it says it is omniscient. Sushupti avastha is omniscience, it’s a definition of it given. What is omniscient consciousness? It is supermind, omniscient.

*But sir obviously apparently sushupti appears to be a stage of inertia, tamah?

Therefore, this word sushuti is used. We have to understand that sushupti which is described as sarvajna. It is said already it is described. If you see the description of there, it is a very interesting description. It’s a description of supermind consciousness. It is yoga nidra, it is so said because of the following reason that in yoga, when you want to attain higher states of consciousness, you are required to withdraw from the ordinary consciousness. Now, when you go on withdrawing the connection between the state where your have reached and the ordinary consciousness is lengthened, therefore, the experience over here is not experienced here, just as in ordinary dreams when the dream takes place at a very deep level, when you get up, you don't remember it, it is almost like sushupti. Why? Because the distance between the ordinary consciousness and that consciousness has become very high. Similarly, when you go into yogic samadhi, you reach a very high level inwardly, then those experiences are not recorded in our surface consciousness. So from this point of view, that is analogous to sleep, it is only analogous.

So what Mandukyo Upanishad has described are only the words taken from yogic processes of withdrawal from the ordinary consciousness. The swapna avastha is not the ordinary swapna avastha; they are corresponding to what Patanjali describes as the experience of vibhuti. What is the experience of vibhuti? your vibhuti powers describes so many extraordinary powers. Now these extraordinary powers begin to function when you go into swapna avastha, when you go to sushupti avastha still higher, then omniscience works. That is why swapna avastha is not described as omniscience. It is only sushupti avastha which is described as omniscience, so Mandukya Upanishad only describes to you the supermind and beyond supermind is turiya, it is unmanifest, it says it is neither outer consciousness nor internal consciousness. It is even beyond supramental consciousness. Now that expression, turiya avastha is not also fully expounded, people think it is simply a state of unmanifest. It says it is not merely unmanifest, it is neither this, not that. It is neither unmanifest nor manifest. It is something that is beyond it. Turiya avastha is the state of purushottam that which is beyond unmanifest, that which Katho Upanishad says purusha and beyond which there's nothing, but you cannot enter into purusha without going through unmanifest, avayakta. So that's why you can say that beyond supermind is avyakta but beyond avyakta also is the purusha.

So if you can reconstruct the entire Upanishadic knowledge, you will see it is a restatement of the Vedic knowledge. In the Veda all this is given. There was neither non-being nor the being, that is that turiya avastha, neither being nor non-being, and that was the one state in which he was only breathing. It’s the same description as Katho Upanishad, beyond unmanifest is the purusha. So in the Veda these experiences are quite well described, but in words which are not easy for us now to understand. The Upanishads are more easily explained, but even there is so much of confusion because we are unable to re-correlate different Upanishads in one single line, as it were, because these Upanishads were written by different rishis and they use their own terminologies. And we have no capacity of finding out the meanings of their corresponding terminologies, and the word like sushupti, for example, is used in a certain context, and we simply think that sushupti is sleep. But we do not see the description of sushupti, if sushupti is described as omniscience, what does it mean? That consciousness which is controlling my heartbeats in a sense is sleeping because I don't see that consciousness at all, but secretly it is controlling spontaneously. To arrive at it consciously and to make it manifest that which is behind it, how to make it fully manifest. That is a big problem and our whole existence is nothing but to bring it out, to manifest it. This is the problem which the Vedic rishis have seen earlier.

According to Sri Aurobindo the Vedic rishis had made tremendous experiments. In fact, Mother says in one of her statements that thousands of years of experiments were behind the Vedic experience. So now this is Mother's own experience that thousands of years were behind the Vedic experience and the Veda was actually a kind of a combination of so many experiences put together in their most refined form. So we do not know actually how such refined things have come up and we look upon Vedas as a surprise actually.

People have not been able to fathom into the creation of these Vedic verses. Surely they were not barbaric people as western scholars maintained, because barbarians cannot write poetry of the kind that they have written and they cannot be very precise whenever they describe Agni, they always describe Agni as moving upward. It has never said it has come down. Indra always comes down, there is no mistake about it at all. Barbarians cannot do that. It is only those very conscious people who have done a complete analysis. They made no mistake in their language at all. So Vedic rishis themselves made a tremendous experiment. They discovered a supermind, and this is Sri Aurobindo’s assertion. Vedic rishis had discovered the supermind and Manilal Shastri when he says mahat is that consciousness, he’s quite right. It is a spontaneous consciousness, which is secretly at work in everything, but how much he understood of mahat, I do not know because I have not read him, but mahat certainly means a supermind.

So he says that the word mahatma means one who is controlled by man. His old activities are not controlled by buddhi just as ours are, they are controlled by mahat. Therefore, he is called mahatma. That is how he explains.

It's all right I mean, but the main point is: what is the description of mahat?

It’s not given.

That is where most of the difficulties arise. When you come to precision about it, the modern mind is much more precise than ever before, and the ancients were also very precise, but in the middle time we all declined from the precision. So we lack all this and we mingle up many things, mahat actually has been described in the Veda. There are many descriptions of the supermind like satyam-ritam-brihat, one of the descriptions is the consciousness which says it is straight consciousness, as distinguished from crooked consciousness. It is also a distinction made in the Veda. It is that consciousness in which thousands of horses are unyoked. It is sve dame, it is the ultimate home of Agni, the final home of Agni, where all the gods ultimately find their home, and there are many other descriptions also of the supermind in the Veda and Sri Aurobindo finds all these and said that these are the descriptions of supermind in the Vedas, therefore, you can definitely say that Vedic rishis have discovered the supermind.

Sir, when such spontaneous activities as beating of heart are disturbed, is it that the mahat becomes corrupt, or is it that mind overtakes over mahat at that time, because our mahat in itself is something pure and it cannot commit mistakes, but heart beating is disturbed?

Yes. The question is: how does the supermind allow the functioning of the world which is full of chaos? It’s a basic problem. The supermind has a capacity of comprehension, but also the capacity of apprehension and apprehending consciousness when it is an operation does not cancel comprehending consciousness. It’s a speciality of supramental consciousness. It is because of the apprehending consciousness, where it functions it can produce the phenomenon of ignorance. Ignorance can be further deepened into inconscience, but behind inconscient and behind ignorance that consciousness is not lost. It’s always present behind, but in the ignorant consciousness that consciousness functions. In the supramental consciousness, the comprehensive consciousness - that comprehensive consciousness is not lost, it does not become diminished only because of the operation of the apprehending consciousness. In the apprehending consciousness. There is a loss of the comprehending consciousness. It is something similar to the follower. A mother is looking after a child in the kitchen and she is cooking at the same time, she is aware of vegetables of pulses, flour and the different conditions in which each of these things is at a given time. She is also aware that the child is resting in a cradle which is in the kitchen, she is keeping awareness of what the child is doing. All the time her mind is quite aware of what the child's condition is which is not lost. This can be compared to comprehensive consciousness. It is aware of all the things around, it is similar analogically, at the same time she's capable of looking after cooking very minutely. It’s not as if, because she's attending the child, there is any defect in cooking the vegetable. She is an expert cook and at exactly the right moment she gives the right attention to it, even though at the same time, she is aware of the child's condition also quite well. This is the capacity of consciousness.

This capacity of multiple attention is a power of consciousness. Therefore, that is what you call comprehensive consciousness. It is also apprehending consciousness in the sense it is aware of each one in detail, also at the same time, so comprehensive consciousness and apprehending consciousness both are simultaneous and by the combination of the whole the work is done fully well. If the child suddenly moves a little, the mother is quite aware now the child has moved a little. If the child needs even a little pet, she goes and then makes him sleep again, it does not disturb her cooking. That also goes on at the same time. Now, supposing at the same time there is a big knock at the door and there is a tremendous force now, because she is not supramental actually, but only this analogically supramental, she is attracted to that noise and runs out, and for the moment she forgets about her child's condition, the kitchen what is happening and if from outside there is a big attack in which she is completely involved. Even if the fire breaks out in the kitchen, she's not aware of it, she becomes absorbed in that state of consciousness. That is called exclusive concentration of consciousness.

But this exclusive concentration of consciousness is a part of that consciousness, which was aware of all this. Now, if she was in possession of supermind, she would be aware of this also that she would not be lost here also. This is what happens to some commanders in chief who are not overpowered by any kind of attack that comes and while he gives an order here, order there, order there, etcetera, all apprehending consciousness, comprehending consciousness, they both work very powerfully, and actually all human beings can be judged in that light, how much comprehending and apprehending consciousness is simultaneous. That’s the only difference. Like Napoleon for example, it is said that at a given time, a certain attack was expected and he had given a drawing that if this attack comes about, you kindly deal with this and he had gone to sleep, after some time the general came and said, unexpectedly, the attack has taken place from elsewhere, so we can’t take this drawing, he had kept it ready. He knew that even that could happen, and he said he was not disturbed at all. He said take this drawing and now you general fight according to this plan, that was the majesty of the mind of Napoleon. Why Napoleon was so great in the history of mankind is because there walked on the earth a planner of such great magnitude. This comprehending and apprehending consciousness was so developed, he could work on both the planes so simultaneously, but even then this consciousness lapses.

Our consciousness, we are human consciousness, lapses. From this comprehending consciousness, we immediately a little bit of comprehending consciousness, but actually we are not possessing that consciousness. That comprehending consciousness is never lost once you are there, it remains always. It can perceive where exactly ignorance lies. You see there is a very important distinction. According to one theory, where there is knowledge there can be no ignorance where there is ignorance, there can be no knowledge. The two are opposite of each other, but Veda says that both can exist simultaneously. That is why Ishopanishad says that one who has both knowledge and ignorance, he by ignorance crosses the death and by knowledge he attains and enjoys immortality, says that knowledge and ignorance both are known at the same time. It doesn't exclude each other, so supramental consciousness is aware of all that is happening both in the ignorance and in the knowledge at the same time, but to make supermind active in the ignorance, certain operations shall be worked out and that operation is the real work of yoga and what Sri Aurobindo says that Vedic rishis had reached that even they had done a lot and Sri Aurobindo has given the actual mapping as to how far the Vedic rishis had reached that point, but ultimately he says that the Vedic rishis could not reach the final point. That also he has said in one of his letters that they could not fix a supermind in the physical consciousness, whether they knew about it or not, they wanted to reach or not, is difficult to determine, but it was not done and because it was not done, the whole history of Indian experiment remained blocked and Sri Aurobindo says that he is now taken up that task, which has never been done. There was no clue to it and he discovered the clue and he did it.

So you might say that can supermind fall into that irregularity, is there a supermind which is falling into it? It remains all the time breathing, but this consciousness, which is beating, it is only the operation of the inconscience. It is so far continuing, but when a greater consciousness begins to act, then there is a disturbance. Actually, what we call death is actually a gate to a greater consciousness. It’s an effort to burst out and we cannot bear it, therefore there is a death and we constantly go through these experiences until we can arrive at a point where supramental consciousness can work in those states of consciousness which you call death.

So it is this question of ignorance, which is at work on the outside with supermind at the back, how to make supermind work in the inconscient and in the ignorant consciousness. That is the problem, so ultimately Sri Aurobindo says it can be conquered and as Mother says it has been conquered in principle. So that is where the whole yogic effort has reached today and therefore divine life which is conceived by Sri Aurobindo is inevitable, is on its way. The whole book is written only for that purpose to affirm that divine life’s intention, a divine life which is not a solitary individual escaping from the world and enjoying heaven. A divine life will be a life in which human beings who are quarrelling and who are disharmonious, we shall be able to lead a life of rasa. What Sri Krishna says about rasa is what is in Vaikunta, what is in Goloka is a thing to be transacted on earth. As Sri Aurobindo says the ancient formula promises to be also the last one. It is that promise that was thought which was sought after can be achieved and can be attained. That affirmation is a fundamental statement of the life divine, so the whole book is actually a kind of an argumentative assertion of this in which all the negative propositions are considered and denied. Until you can see that this is inevitable can happen and will happen, and this is a process by which it can happen. So it is not merely speculation, it is an experimentally proven statement.