The Life Divine—Chapters 1-7 (New Delhi, at Shubhra Ketu Foundation) - Q&A: 25 April 2008

About this tradition all Indian sects agree. There is no disagreement on this, except that some of these brahmakumaris. They also say that Satya Yuga is to come, but that is not an old tradition that is a new invention of theirs. How to reconcile this? Shall we say that Sri Aurobindo deviated from the tradition in this respect, or just it is a fresh interpretation of some tradition in a way which I am not able to understand?

First of all, I don't know if you understand this tradition of yugas. That there are cycles of time. They are cyclical and repeated. Sri Aurobindo speaks of the human cycle, the very title that is given to one of his books. The human cycle indicates that Sri Aurobindo admits the cyclical nature of time and time movement. Sri Aurobindo also use the word kali yuga from time to time. He has also used the words krita yuga or satya yuga, but somewhere in our own ideas of yogas. There is a view that in every yuga as in the case of astrological counting of the dasha system, in every dasha there is antardasha, and in antardasha there is pratyantar dasha. And in these cycles all the periods repeat themselves under the general umbrella of one idea, mahadasha, many dashas come up and if you take up this idea of pratyantar dasha, why should you limit only to pratyantar? There can be said for the internal dashas to such an extent that even every day can be analysed, and you can say enough: every half an hour there is a change in your fortune and the whole dasha can be seen.

So. Similarly, there is a view that in this kaliyuga, there is a cycle at the end of which there will be a satya yuga, in the overall movement of kali yuga there will be a Satya Yuga. It is in that context that this idea, if at all you want to fit in, it can be fitted. But it is true that of course according to Sri Aurobindo there is this great advent, because Sri Aurobindo speaks of the end of the age of the reason that this age has come to an end is decisively stated by Sri Aurobindo and the next one has got to be the advent of spiritual age, in fact he has written three chapters only on the advent of the spiritual age and has described how that age will come, what are the conditions to be fulfilled and how, what will happen when that age is operative.

But this is because we want to fit in into a traditional idea of the yuga system. What is that yuga system personally speaking, I do not myself understand, because if this system was correct, there was first of all a satya yuga sometime and according to that calculation should be 2 crore 40 lakh years, I don't know how to fit in the 2 crore 40 lakh years in the human history. Then there is Dwapara Yuga which is double that age and then the Treta. So, how do we fit in such a huge period of time? If you rationally think about it, I am not able to fit all these ideas into that system. So as an idea, it is as a cyclic idea. I accept it, but in the absence of any such perception in which such huge time cycles can be put together.

It is said, for example, that we have stories in the puranas of the Satya Yuga. Some stories are of Dwapara Yuga and some of Treta Yuga and now after Sri krishna's death kaliyuga has started. Now Sri Krishna's death is not so much prehistorical, as some people would believe it, because it’s only about 5000 years. It’s not very, very ancient one. So I do not stress myself to labour on this point. I would have laboured on this point if somebody were to show that during the satya yuga, so many things happened. We have one or two examples, but more than one or two examples we do not know, and I cannot say how, for example, it is said that Dasratha's Ayodhya is described in a very idealistic manner, whether such a kingdom existed or not? Historically speaking, it is very difficult for us to imagine. Sri Aurobindo says that Valmiki described an idealised age, not an ideal age but idealised age.

He gives a vision of an age in which ideas were as it were, realised, but whether they were really realised or not, one does not know. In fact, if Dashratha’s story is correct, if an idealist kingdom existed, I cannot understand why Vishwamitra was required to take away Rama and Lakshmana to protect his yajna from the attack of the rakshasas, because there must have been a huge number of rakshasas to be killed only in order that yajna to be performed, that such a man like Ravana who can abduct the wife of a king, such a man existed at that time. Such rakshasa was there. How can it be called Satya Yuga or Dwapara Yuga? What are the characteristics of Dwapara Yuga at that time? Where men like Ravana, and not one there were many, I mean they were huge, the whole nagari was rakshasa nagari.

So I am not able to reconcile myself with all that concept of Puranic ideas. Maybe that Puranic idea has some symbolic meaning. I cannot fit it into our physical story. That’s why Sri Aurobindo says that the geography of puranas is not this physical geography. Even this morning, we were reading a sentence where he says that this Puranic geography is not a human geography. It is an idealised geography. It is a geography which belongs to higher planes of consciousness. So, in the absence of clarity on this subject, even to comment on it, I would hesitate.

I can only say that Sri Aurobindo distinguishes between three main stages of human history, the infrarational age, the age of reason and the suprarational age. And up to the age of renaissance, we count all that to be an infrarational age and he said that even in the infrarational age, some peaks like the peaks of Vedic knowledge, Vedic knowledge cannot be called infrarational, it was suprarational. Such periods also can come into being. In that infrarational age, great heights like those of Plato also could be because if rational age started only in the 16th century, Plato was much much earlier, and yet he had reached a very high level of rationality and Sri Aurobindo explains it in his human cycle that intra-rational age does not mean that everything in that age was entirely infra-rational.

There are also cycles in the infrarational age and during which time heights of the spiritual attainment were also reached, heights of rationality also were reached, but they were all on a small scale. They were not widespread, while the general humanity remained infrarational, a small group could achieve very great heights. That is his explanation. The age is to be determined by the largeness, the sweep of a given idea. So up to the middle ages, you might say mankind was under the sweep of physical and vital being of man that was very widely spread. Only from the time of renaissance reason has spread all over the world, and today science has advanced so much, it has shaped the whole humanity.

So you may say, therefore, that where even a common man is supposed to be rational today he is demanded of him and if he does not become rational, he can't survive in the modern age. Therefore, you can say that the present age is the age of reason, and even in that age, when Sri Aurobindo says now the age of spirit is going to come, he says it is not that the whole humanity en block will rise to supramental or supra-rational age. It will be a small group first of all, and an island of beings will be supramentalized and gradually the effect of it will be felt on a larger scale on humanity. So what will be the extent of this satya yuga which is going to come one does not know, and then once it comes, will humanity sink below or will it come to an end in that way, so that once the superman is manifested you don't need to come down on the lower plane of existence, it will have already achieved momentum toward higher and greater heights.

Involution and Evolution

There is one more philosophical deviation as far as I can understand it. In Sankhya for example, the process of evolution is from subtle to the gross, from above to panchamahabhuta, whereas in this theory of evolution of Sri Aurobindo, we find that it is an evolution from gross to the subtle. How do we reconcile these two processes of evolution which are contradictory to each other?

Sankhya philosophy is not exactly Vedic philosophy. Sankhya does not fully explicate the idea of involution and evolution. In the Veda there is the idea of involution, which is not present in Sankya, but if you analyse it, you will find that fundamentally the description given there is from mahat to matter. So you might say it is a theory of involution. It’s not a theory of evolution. So Sankya theory is not sufficiently explicated, we usually call it a theory of evolution, but it's a very peculiar theory. First of all, it says it's a theory of the movement of prakriti and prakriti is jada, and yet it says the first evolute is mahat and mahat is called buddhi. Now how jadah in his first manifestation produces buddhi is a great surprise and then out of buddhi is the principle of egoism, aham bhava, arises. Now how does it happen?

There is no explanation as to what is the logical connection out of prakriti, which is entirely unconscious the first evolute is buddhi. Nobody is asking the question how buddhi arises. The explanation of Sankhya is that purusha is reflected in prakriti, but that explanation is in the human condition, in the human consciousness you might say the purusha consciousness shines out in prakriti and buddhi is manifested, but in that large evolution, where there are many purushas how these many purushas reflect on prakriti in such a way that buddhi is manifested? First, why should buddhi manifest first of all, at all? That also is not explained.

So Sankhya theory of evolution is itself, to my mind, a kind of a reflection of the Vedic theory, but in a slightly distorted manner, in the following sense: that if mahat is the principle of the supermind, which is the case of the Veda, Veda speaks of mahat, and from mahat buddhi can manifest. It is easier because mahat is not unconscious in the Veda. In the Sankhya mahat is unconscious, but not in the Veda, so that from the higher consciousness of mahat in the process of involution buddhi can arise, can be understood by going down, by devolution and then there is a further devolution and a further devolution until you come to a point where there is complete darkness. so in the Veda there is a theory of involution from mahat all this is coming down.

Now, If Sankhya theory is that ultimate prakriti is not unconscious, supposing I regard Sankhya prakriti to be conscious, then I can understand that from mahat ahambawa can arise, from large small by devolution can arise, but merely jada, sometimes buddhi arises, then aham bhava arises and then tanmatras and then physical gross realities arise. It looks very, very irrational. So Sankhyan account, which is respected by all the Indian traditional systems, can be regarded as almost something uncritically accepted by all systems of philosophy. To the extent to which my researches have gone, I really find that it is a reflection of the Vedic idea of involution, but Sankhya is a kind of a portion taken out of the Veda. It is not purely Vedic, it does not fully reflect the Vedic idea.

The very fact that sankhya regards dualism, whereas Veda is not dualism, Veda and Upanishads are not dualistic. They are tremendously monotheistic. Veda is at least monotheistic, if not monistic, but is also monistic. Ekam sat vipra bahuda vadanti is a pure monism. Not only monotheistic, it is pure monism. So that which is pure monism, giving rise to sankhya, which is dualistic and pluralistic, not only dualistic but also pluralistic. How that theory can be called Vedic is itself a question mark simply because the sankhya thinkers pay attribute to the Veda, they say we are derived from the Veda and Veda is unquestionable. Shruti is accepted. Therefore we call it Vedic, but not..

There, Sir, perhaps science is not so much faithful to the word in its own confession in the sense that it says that all Vedic rituals, since they involve violence, therefore they are not sinless. That is what the science itself confesses. So I’m just corroborating what you say, leaving aside your judgment, even the confession is there. If Vedic rituals are not sinless, that is what they say themselves. They are only partly following the way, they are not fully following. If you fully follow it, you cannot say that they are not sinless. They are prescribing the ways, and you say they are not sinless. What does it mean that the Vedas are prescribing sinful things? That comes to that. Therefore, I agree with it that it is not a fully Vedic system, but in the Vedanta also my understanding was that it is from the subtle that the gross comes in the sense that this world has come out of Brahman, the world is gross, Brahman is subtle, so my understanding of Vedanta is also this that it is a devaluation when there is any process in the sense that we start from pure consciousness and add with this dead matter. So if in the process, it is a process of growth from the subtle, how come this that from matter will come life and from life mind and from mind supermind. This is a reverse order. From the order that we understand of creation. In creation, the order is from subtle to gross, and now Sri Aurobindo is having us to believe that it will be from gross to the subtle.

No, but Sri Aurobindo speaks of involution first. In the involution it is from subtle to gross, and that is also the Vedic view. The Vedic view is that from the mahat there has been a gradual devolution into tamas.

If it is that, it is understandable for human beings to attempt evolution. What brought about that devolution? There cannot be any effort on any intelligent being to be devaluated.

Now That is the question where I would go back to the aghamarshana mantra where it says very clearly in the beginning there was only the truth and the right, then came out ratra and then samudra, the great darkness. After that, you take up the nasadiya sukta which says that out of the complete darkness there arose the breath and kama asit agre, then came life and life is the seed of mind, manasa retas. So life itself is described as the raitas of mind. So nasadiya sukta describes that from complete darkness came out of breath, kama, life force and from life force came the mind and after the mind has come out somewhere the truth of purusha sukta is to be fitted. As I said once that the different suktas of the Veda are to be read in a certain order. Purusha sukta describes that stage where whatever happened in the history of the world, at a given time purusha was sacrificed and, as a result, all the manifestation has taken place. So at what stage and why purusha was sacrificed, this is a mystery which is not sufficiently understood.

Now there must have been some knowledge which is still not fully manifest. The Mother, while explaining the world, said that there is even a pre-Vedic tradition. According to the Mother, there is a pre-Vedic tradition. Even the Veda itself speaks of purve bhi, so that there were more ancient people is also confirmed. So there is nothing surprising when we say that there was a pre-Vedic tradition.

Now Mother had made a study of pre-Vedic tradition also, in fact Mother's capacities of consciousness were so great that she even describes that when the very first woman being evolved, she was present, and she has said it very clear that even when the first human being was evolved on the earth she was present, she herself was one of the first human beings on the earth, so she was able to go to that tradition from which many accounts which are required to be fitted into the one complex world. Now, if that thing is to be explained, Mother said that when the first manifestation took place, four beings were manifested. Now These four beings were beings of Light, Delight, Life and Truth. Four beings were manifested according to that tradition.

ऋतं च सत्यं चाभीद्धात् तपसो ऽध्य् अजायत |
ततो रात्र्य् अजायत ततः समुद्रो अर्णवः ||

ṛtaṃ ca satyaṃ cābhīddhāt tapaso 'dhy ajāyata |
tato rātry ajāyata tataḥ samudro arṇavaḥ ||

Rig Veda 10.190.1

Now in the aghamarshana mantra something of this is reflected when it says that first was the tapas, तपसो ऽध्य् अजायत at the very beginning and first was ritam cha satyam, so ritam cha satyam refers to truth. At least the tapas may be a process of incubation or whatever the power of light or whatever it is, it could be light. Now, if that is so, any ultimate reality is sachchidananda, then truth, light and delight could be quite understandable, and we also know that light has two aspects: chit-shakti, consciousness and force, so light and life is dual. That also can be understood. So if that is true, it can be said that the ultimate reality being sachidananda, it is quite logical that the first manifestation must be of four beings who represents these four aspects, so that fits in with the ultimate idea of the Veda that ultimate reality is sachchidananda, and the first manifestation, naturally would be, there is no deviation from there, four manifestations are the manifestations of sachchidananda.

Now comes the problem. Mother says that these four beings decided to manifest in a particular manner, namely to manifest in such a way that they could hide from their consciousness the reality. Now this is the real mystery. They decided, they resolved to manifest further by hiding themselves, that is to say, a process of concealment arose. Now there is somewhere, a movement of concealment is also recognized in the Veda and Upanishads. There was a time or there was a plane where satyasya hiramayam patram is api hitam. That is both in the Veda and the Upanishad this description is given. The face of the truth is covered by the truth, this is the Veda and in the Upanishad hiramayam patram, so that somewhere at a certain stage, this movement of concealment did arise.

हिरण्मयेन पात्रेण सत्यस्यापिहितं मुखम्‌।
तत् त्वं पूषन्नपावृणु सत्यधर्माय दृष्टये ॥

The face of Truth is covered with a brilliant golden lid; that do thou remove, O Fosterer, for the law of the Truth, for sight.

ईशोपनिषद् 15

Now this movement, you may say, is a mystery. Why should it arise and this question we can come back to afterwards? Why? But as a process, we can see that this happened, and this is what Mother has written in her own handwriting. This story she has written while explaining the first line of Savitri, because Savitri also begins with the book of beginnings, so it describes the first condition of beginning and the very first line is:

It was the hour before the Gods awake.

And Mother has said it is a description of that stage where gods had not yet come into being and then Sri Aurobindo describes, the description he gives is the Vedic description of the darkness wrapped in darkness. If you read the first few lines of Savitri, you get these lines of complete darkness described. So you might say the beginning, as we see, not the absolute beginning, not from the story which I gave you just now. But if you see only a first stage like nasadiya sukta, it doesn't say how that darkness came about. Similarly, Sri Aurobindo also begins with like nasadiya sukta, but there is a anterior story, and that is why Mother while commenting on the first line, she gives his anterior story that this line can be understood only if the earlier story as to how this came about and she gives that story which she says is pre-Vedic story and this story she said, even in Chaldean civilization that story is known. In the ancient Chaldean civilization this story was known.

So it is that knowledge which is extremely important to answer this question that you are raising. In the Veda if you read only the Vedic hymns, you won't get an answer to this question, excepting a little sprinkling of some indications like aghamarshana mantra. It doesn't say why should ritam cha satyam should ultimately result in ratri. Why should it happen? There is no explanation in the Veda, nor is the description of evolution described in the Veda except that it begins with the darkness, nasadiya sukta only says darkness, life and mind, and then if you now combine the purusa-sukta, at a certain time there was a sacrifice of the purusha as a result of which this whole world manifests.

Now these are all the glimpses given to us, and if you want to fit into one consistent story, then this can be done when, if you understand what Mother has said about the beginnings of the universe.

Now, having seen this, when these four beings decided, sometimes you use a very great word like deviation, these four beings deviated from the Supreme and then Mother says that this deviation turned these four beings into what are known in the world today as asuras, these four beings were the Supreme manifestations, but by virtue of this deviation, they have become the asuras, and these four beings plunged further into themselves, as a result of which inconscience came out. This is Mother's explanation of the beginning.

Now this whole process of involution is presupposed. This whole period of involution is presupposed as a precedence of the process of evolution. Now, in The Life Divine Sri Aurobindo says very clearly that evolution cannot be explained, except in terms of an earlier involution. Now he does not describe here in the first chapter from where this involution has come about. Why has it come about? There is no explanation here but later on, because the first chapter is a kind of a rapid summary and certain questions are left unanswered. This question as to how this process of involution has taken place begins to be explained from chapter 16 onwards. If you see the chapter number 16, The Triple Status of Supermind, so in The Triple Status of Supermind Sri Aurobindo describes the first status, then the second status and then the third status.

Now having the third status, if you read the third status, Sri Aurobindo says that, from the third status, something happened by the intervention of avidya. In fact, Sri Aurobindo introduces the word avidya at that stage. There is one line I will show you here so that in future, when you read it, it becomes much easier.

The previous paragraph describes the third status of the supermind and now comes in his description:

It may be said that the first consequence would be a lapse into the ignorance of Avidya which takes the Many for the real fact of existence and views the One only as a cosmic sum of the Many.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine - I: The Triple Status of Supermind

This is the first time in The Life Divine the word avidya is introduced. This is a starting point of avidya, the description of avidya.

But there would not necessarily be any such lapse.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine - I: The Triple Status of Supermind

That’s right, that is to say, from third status next one could be ignorance, but it is not a necessary consequence unless there is a will.

For the individual Divine would still be conscious of itself as the result of the One and of its power of conscious self-creation, that is to say, of its multiple self-concentration conceived so as to govern and enjoy manifoldly its manifold existence in the extension of Time and Space; this true spiritual Individual would not arrogate to itself an independent or separate existence. It would only affirm the truth of the differentiating movement along with the truth of the stable unity, regarding them as the upper and lower poles of the same truth, the foundation and culmination of the same divine play; and it would insist on the joy of the differentiation as necessary to the fullness of the joy of the unity.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine - I: The Triple Status of Supermind

It is a description of divine rasa in which multiplicity and unity and all that is in complete harmony, so lapse into ignorance is not inevitable, but if it happened, it is because these four beings who were having this rasa they decided - that is the lapse. That lapse is not inevitable. The ignorance and the evil in the world are not inevitable according to Sri Aurobindo, they have happened as a result of this lapse, which was optional.

Now you may ask the question why this option, which was available, why this option was exercised? I will not immediately answer that question, but let it be left unanswered. This is a big question why this lapse took place. Now this particular lapse did take place. These four beings did decide to conceal from them the supreme light. Ignorance actually means ignoring, ignoring does not mean destroying. You just ignore, so these four beings decided to ignore the supreme and they began to act as if that supreme doesn't exist like ostrich, you don't see therefore it doesn't exist and its action is ignorant, but that does not get extinguished.

Mahat remains present throughout whether you notice it or not, but in the active consciousness, which ignores that reality, there is an effective division from that reality. I act now, according to my limited field of consciousness, and then I begin to take many as real and one only as sum of many that oneness that unity, ekatvam anupashaytha, that realisation is lost. There is no oneness anymore, and this is the parent of ignorance.

Once you start with this, what is the end? You go into greater and greater and greater ignorance until it falls into the abyss of inconscience. So this is how Mother explains the beginning of inconscience. Now, when that inconscience arises, Mother tells the story: the supreme supramental shakti went to the lord and said this is what has happened. Mother uses the word even the word accident, that this accident has occurred, but she put the word accident in inverted commas. It’s not exactly an accident because in the divine consciousness there is no accident as such, but an accident takes place.

So the supreme lord now, at that stage decides how to deal with it. One decision could have been that tathastu to let it remain like this forever and ever, this ignorant abyss would have remained as it is. But the supreme divine said that now this abyss has to be remedied, redressed. Now how do you redress it? It would not be possible for the supreme lord and the Mother to turn a magic wand, because they are omnipotent and this abyss could have been immediately brought back to light. These asuras could have been brought back. That also was one possibility.

The supreme lord did not decide that way. You may say why he did not? We can put that question later on, but this is what happened. I’m only telling the story, these four asuras had fallen into complete darkness. The divine Mother was told that now you have to remedy. For remedying, she said the lord said: you now create new beings, you have put forth four beings, now you put forth new beings and give them an order not to behave as the first four ones behaved. The first four ones had decided to deviate, otherwise the same consequence also might happen with others also. So divine Mother was told now you produce other beings out of your own being and tell them not to have that kind of game which the other ones have played. Tell them now to make this abyss of darkness luminous. A task is given.

As a result, the gods came into being. That is why, in the Veda also gods are later creation. Nasadiya sukta itself says that when the darkness came into darkness, nobody knows the mystery, because even gods do not know, because even gods were not present at that time. So what Mother says fits him with the story of the nasadiya sukta that the gods were then the second creation, the first creation were the first four beings, satyam cha ritam and tapas. But now the gods were created and they are all gods because they are luminous. These gods are described in the Veda, all the gods, the whole pantheon is what they produced.

Now According to the Mother, these gods went to visit the field of darkness and they came back to the divine Mother and said this darkness is so dense we don't think we shall be able to handle it. This can't be done. So now you kindly do something, but then the gods said to the divine Mother that we know there is in you a power, if that power comes down here in the darkness, then we promise that that power will be helped by us all, but it is by that power that this darkness can be turned into light. When this was done, then the supreme Mother took out that element from her, which was shown by the gods to be lying in the bosom of the divine Mother, and that was put forth.

Now this putting forth is described in purusha sukta, the purusha, the whole sacrifice, as Sri Aurobindo says, the divine Mother sacrificed herself and came down into this abyss. This says that sacrifice of prakriti is actually the sacrifice of purusha, because in their eternal being purusha and prakriti are not two different powers, they are one and the same, so the sacrifice of prakriti was actually sacrifice of purusha, and it is that purusha sacrifice which is described in the purusha sukta. Now, this purusha himself came down along with it, along with the divine Mother, divine lord himself. That element, the most essential element of which the gods had seen also came down, and that is what is designated by the Veda as Agni.

Agni is that which the gods had seen in the waters of the divine being. This is what Vishwamitra says in one of his suktas. That Agni was seen in the waters of the divine being and that Agni was put forth into the abyss, and that is why Agni is the latest one, the last god and he has a very special place, because the gods had promised that if Agni is invoked we all will come and help. That is why, in the Veda Agni is specially described as devo devebhir agamat, he is the one god which if we invoke all the gods will come.

So if you want all the gods to help you, you call Agni and wherever Agni is invoked, all the gods will come. So it's also Vedic knowledge. Now this Agni element is what may be called in the Puranic sense the first original Avatar. This purusha sukta is the first Avatar. The supreme lord and supreme divine Mother came down in the inconscient and if evolution has taken place, it is thereafter that evolution has taken place, and that is why the Veda describes that the first movement of Agni, Agni is as you rightly said, the Veda says Agni is the lord of matter, and that is quite true that it is because of Agni’s presence matter has come out out of that aushadhis have come, out of aushadhis all these creatures have come out, out of the creatures Man has come out.

So the whole movement of evolution is an evolution because of the presence of Agni. So Mother has given the story that this is the real story of involution and evolution. Now this story Sri Aurobindo does not describe in The Life Divine, because The Life Divine is a philosophical work. In a philosophy you cannot have a place where philosophically you cannot demonstrate. In a Puranic story you can write the story, but the system, Sri Aurobindo is very particular that if it's a book of philosophy, it should be philosophically stated, and this story Mother also said that I am telling a story as a story to be told to small children, because it's such a profound story and that, if You really want to tell the story exactly as it happened, you have to bring all the glory of the supreme and the great freedom that is available to the supreme and who can allow even the gods to deviate from himself, what a majesty it is. His freedom is so great that he is not at all thwarted by the deviation of small little beings there. His majesty remains the same, and he can play with them as he likes; he's a majestic omnipotent lord.

So if you want to describe it exactly as it happened, a great poet has to write the whole story somewhere. In any case, unless this story is explained, this mystery of which you are speaking, remains a mystery. But you might say that this book is complete because Sri Aurobindo does admit a process of involution. Why should involution take place? Why should it happen?

Now if I reflect philosophically, I would venture to answer that question. Why? We speak of the divine consciousness as omnipotent consciousness, as a consciousness of delight and as a consciousness which is utterly free. These three statements are to be first of all, the starting point of our argument. You might say that, in the context of all that you said, these three statements are automatic. If divine is the only being existing, ekam sat, then there is nothing which can limit it. Therefore, it is free. My freedom can be abridged only if somebody else comes and abridges me, therefore, that being only being only one and now no other, ekam eva advitiyam, then it must be a free being. It must be omnipotent because that free being is capable of any method of manifestation. It is not limited to one method of manifestation or the other. This being contains all possibilities. The only thing it does not contain is the impossibility, but otherwise it contains all the possibilities, whatever is possible is contained in it.

Now, if the reality contains all possibilities, all methods of manifestation, it is even free not to manifest at all also, no compulsion, it is free. If you have to remain alone, there is no question that you are bored by being alone, not at all, it's a wrong statement when you say the divine was alone and he was bored so he created the world. He does not need to be delighted by any company unnecessarily, so that is a very banal way of saying, it is not true, but it is true that bahusyam bahusyam was a decision taken by him. Why? Because it was possible for him. To be many was a possibility and he decided freely. His delight was not to manifest, that also was a delight, to manifest was also delight, purnamadah purnamidam. So there is no question of his not being perfect in any state.

So let us say he decided to manifest. Now when he manifests, what does he manifest? He manifests himself, there's nothing else than manifesting. Now this manifesting himself is the mystery and the wonder of it. What do you mean by manifesting? There must be a distinction between unmanifest and the manifest; this manifestation gives rise to the concept of the other.

This is the important point that the moment there is a manifestation, he decides to become other than himself without ceasing to be himself. He is omnipotent; even though he becomes other than himself, he remains himself. This is what is called the process of objectivization. He is able to mirror himself, see himself, but this mirroring himself is other. That is why the Veda says that this reality is adbhutam:

न नूनमस्ति नो श्वः कस्तद्वेद यदद्बुतम्
अन्यस्य चित्तमभि संचरेण्यमुताषीतं वि नश्यति ॥१॥


1) It is not now, nor is It tomorrow; who knoweth that which is Supreme and Wonderful? It has motion and action in the consciousness of another, but when It is approached by the thought, It vanishes.

Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda: The Colloquy of Indra and Agastya

Why? Because the moment it manifests it becomes संचरेण्यम, it becomes other than himself. This anya is the most mysterious thing in the whole creation, this capacity of objectivization, to become other, in the terms of bhagavata purana Sri Krishna becoming radha himself and Radha as Krishna and Krishna as Radha, and yet Radha being different from Sri Krishna and having a very peculiar relationship between Radha and Krishna, so that Krishna is a servant of Radha and Radha is a servant of Krishna. This kind of a special relationship that exists is because it is the same reality. There is no loss of oneself. The other is myself.

So this mystery was known to the Vedic rishis that manifestation implied this kind of अन्यस्य चित्तमभि संचरेण्यम. This is the only thing which is beyond intellect, उताषीतं वि नश्यति, you cannot understand it. If there is anything that is understandable basically, it is this power. It’s a peculiar power, and it is you can only say it is that power, such is the reality having a mysterious power of becoming himself, remaining himself and yet becoming other than himself.

Once you start with this, his freedom must also be present in the other one. If he is free, then that freedom also must be present there. Now, what is the meaning of freedom here and freedom there? This is a matter of a great reflection and contemplation. If I put myself a figure of my being, I am free to do so, and I am there now, there also I don't cease to be free, so even Radha is also free. Sri Krishna is free, Radha is also free.

Now this freedom implies that Radha freely offers herself to Sri Krishna freely. Is there no compulsion on Radha out of freedom, but in the relationship Radha also can say: I won't look at you. It’s also freedom and that's why we have a lot of quarrel between Sri Krishna and Radha. That is also possible because of this freedom. It's only a play, but that play is a play of freedom, and that is what makes a play so joyful. There is no compulsion. If you like to be with Sri Krishna, you can be if you want to go away from Sri Krishna also, you are free, but going away from him is actually impossible, except in a certain degree, because reality is only one, where can we go away?

Now that mystery is repeated when she manifested four beings. These four beings also are nothing but the supreme, because Radha is also supreme, and the four beings also are himself because there is nobody else and himself. Therefore, this freedom should be present also in these four beings. Therefore, these four beings are free as much as the supreme lord.

Now, because of this reason there is a play of freedom. The Supreme Lord may will one thing: these four beings may will something else, they are free. Therefore, the supreme being over here may will something that he does not will here. Here he does not will that they should deviate from himself, but here he wills that. Now there are many possibilities. Deviating and manifesting from the supreme is one of the possibilities. Therefore they deviated.

So if you ask the question why they deviated, that was one of the possibilities of the play and they played it. Then now the supreme lord says all right, let them play, I should also play another game now with them. He says to the supreme Mother: now you create other beings but tell them that their freedom which was given to them I won't give to them. That is also play, is a freedom.

So you might see if anybody asks a question why they deviated, the answer is that they deviated, because that was one of the possibilities and they freely chose that possibility. That is the only answer. Now the only question that could be raised is that, if deviation meant choosing a lesser good against a greater good, then there'll be a problem, but the possibilities of the divine are all equally good, all the possibilities. God being good himself, every part of his being is good. Every possibility of his is good. Even the decision to deviate is also as good as the other one. Who says that deviation by hiding himself from the divine the game will not be so nice. Of course, other games could have been, but this also is a good game, as good as the other one. You may, of course, cry that because of this I have so much of pain or suffering, and therefore it is worse. According to some stories this whole thing is a damned evil thing that has happened. How can you see it is as good as the other one, but I ask anybody who has written to God. This is a good game, those who return to God, they don't complain. They say we had a very good game, a very intense game. So how can you say it was a bad game or a lesser game? It was one good game. Like many other games, either you play with playing cards or play cricket, all are equally good games. Therefore, this is one important consequence which has happened.

Now the story continues. Now there are how many players? There is God, there is the supreme Mother, there are four beings who become asuras, their darkness has come about. Then the gods have come, then the Supreme Lord and Supreme Mother and the Agni have come down, and now Agni is a real tiller. The whole burden is actually given to Agni. That’s why Agni complains in the Veda at one time. Oh yes, there is a verse. I will show you sometime where Agni says that God deceived me, they sent me to darkness and they did not tell me how difficult the task was. There is a sukta in the Veda where the Agni says, because afterwards, God went to him to do another task.

The player that you have spoken about, we come to Durga Saptashati..

Everything falls in place with this story. Everything becomes so consistent and intelligible. That this is the real drama which is going on. There is a supreme Mother, the supreme lord agni, and we all have plunged into it. This is also our story, that is to say, we being the children of the Mother, we are individual jivatmans, we also when our Mother goes down, we said we also will go down.

There is a very interesting letter of Sri Aurobindo called the riddle of this world. When you find time, you read this particular letter where he has explained this, and maybe that we read it here so that the story becomes complete. (volume 22, page 24)

The whole world, as it is, is a riddle.

It will remain riddle as long as we think on the mental level, because on mental level we cannot understand how the option that was chosen by them is as good as any other option. At the mental level it is not understandable, it can be understood only when we supersede them.

No, even at the mental level, it is possible, provided we understand the nature of suffering, nature of pain, nature of evil, if you understand it properly, even at the mental level, and that is what requires a real metaphysical acumen to really impartially understand. What exactly is error because basically pain, suffering and evil? All this is translatable ultimately into the problem of error.


So last, but not the least, is a question from my wife. It is an important question, sir, because it is not a personal question. It is a question which pertains to all of us. She says that she feels that in this life she doesn't have the feeling of fulfilment, which most of us don't have?

First of all, there can be fulfilment even in this life, even though one may not have it already. One need not think that one is going to pass away. You can see 25 years more ahead of you, so one need not be in that way in a state of anxiety about it.

Secondly, that even one day more may not be available. That also is possible for all of us, any one of us whether young or old, it is possible to any one of us. Even then one can, if one has done his or her best, even though their best may remain incomplete, there is a sense of fulfilment. If one knows that one has done one's best, whatever I could, whatever I should have as long as one has done, that that much even that could be a fulfilment.

The sense of unfulfilled condition arises when I have not inquired what I ought to be doing and I have not yet got the answer for it. I am still looking for that answer. I have still not got the answer in spite of my effort, then one certainly feels unfulfilled all the time. Now the answers can be of three kinds. One is like the answer demanded by Arjuna from Sri Krishna, who do not bewilder my mind, Sankhya is also a path Yoga is also a path, bhakti is also another path and you must act and then next time I say, buddhi is even higher than the karma, so one can tell Sri Krishna as Arjuna did: do not bewilder my mind. You just tell me what I should do and that's the end of the matter. I will do it. So this is one demand one can make to Sri Krishna because he can give that answer also. Trust that if you ask this question, Sri Krishna will tell you. So that is a question of trust. Even overnight, you will get the answer. If you really say, I really want to know what I ought to be doing and if it takes more time to answer, you think that he wants you to have more time. That tomorrow is not the end, we are sure about it. Once you have gone to him and told him these questions: do not bewilder me, but give me the answer what I should be doing, then trust he will give the answer. A better question would be simply: I do not even want to know what I ought to be doing but see that at the end of my life I feel fulfilled and trust that this will be done.

So either of these two positions you can take and there should be no need of any sense of unfulfillment. This is at the level of what can be told at the highest to anybody, at the highest. If one is prepared to listen to the highest wisdom, this is the highest wisdom that there is divine lord. People may question whether God exists or not. So I am not saying that you should go into it. Highest wisdom says: God exists. If you want to debate you go to philosophical society and debate it and waste your time over it. But the point is, God exists, this is the answer of wisdom not of a philosopher. God exists. Secondly, God knows you better than anybody else more than you, and he knows the answer to your question, so you just tonight itself you close your door, be alone and in trust, you just put this little thing. You can write down a short letter because you know me the best. I am feeling unfulfilled. My prayer to you is, please give me a sense of fulfilment. I want to do the best, be the best and be in your hands at the end of this life cycle. Also, I want to be in your hands. How to take me is in your hands. I do not know. From today all responsibility lies in you.

Trust him and sleep. Already finished, it will be now over. This is the highest answer one can get, but highest answer is sometimes not practicable because everybody will not do it. I know, but I’m saying that the highest answer is not practicable by many people. They don't want the highest answer, they want to linger on, they want to debate, they want to be satisfied because they want to be sure.

The problem is that we are all mental beings. So, even if you say that you believe god exists, then you say you are all dogmatic, you are superstitious. And you are enlightened, rational human beings, full of light, you cannot be dogmatic, you should really know you must really catch all of god before your eyes. You must really see him, then you can believe him. That also is the attitude of mind, for example, how many of us have followed this path and wasted so many years, even Karthikeyan, he went around. Ganesha was wise, so he did the wisest thing in the world. So we should be like Ganesha and know that God is here only, even if you don't see, he sees you. You may not see him so what? He sees you.

So I would simply say that you just do this little exercise, finished and don't worry, he will show you what is to be done once you have told him. This conversation must take place. This is the effective method. If you are able to converse with him in this way, he will do the rest, and then you don't need to worry, because you have done the best from your side. You’ve done the best. The best thing is to tell the lord go to him and say now I have come to you. It is now your responsibility if I remain unfulfilled, it is your responsibility, not mine, because this is the best I can do. I can only come to God who is all giver and tell him, look. I am in your hands, now I do what you like. So this is all my answer to your question.