Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12 (The Mother Insitute of Research - MIRA) - Session 11 (22 September 1997)

Now we come to the last lap of the journey of these four chapters that we are dealing with can be seen from many points of view one of them is consider the existence of God does God exist and these three chapters can be regarded as an answer to that question the ninth chapter which we saw first the pure existent was one answer to the question whether God exists or not and if you take the entire chapter and look for the quintessential point for the chapter it is one sentence pure existence without quantity without quality is not only what can be conceived but is the one thing that can be conceived you might say this is the proof of the existence of God if you put the word God in place of pure existence that is to say if you mean by God the pure existent then it's very clear that this pure existent is not only what can be conceived but is the one thing that can be conceived. In the next chapter the question was raised whether this pure existent is conscious or unconscious and we had a debate on materialism on the one hand and the one who holds that consciousness is the ultimate reality. And then we concluded that pure existent is the pure conscious being and the force which is insured from that pure existent is also a conscious force, having reached this point there is a third question and that question arises from the present world experience jesters of unconsciousness was one of the phenomenon of the world we seem to contradict conscious being similarly there is another phenomenon in the world which seems to contradict the pure conscious being and therefore this is a question which is to be answered if you are ready to prove the existence of God. So in the chapter number 11 which is entitled the delight of the existence the problem Shri Aurobindo first to fall enunciates the problem that seems to contradict the phenomena which contradicts the existence of God if you define God as pure existent as conscious being and is a being that is delight if you so conceive God then this is contradicted by certain phenomena unless you satisfactorily answer those phenomena you won't be able to assert that God is pure existent conscious being and delight. Now First to all before presenting the problem there is one logical argument which we need to state at the very outset. Once you grant that reality of God is pure existent and is conscious being it follows that he must have or he must be pure delight once you grant those two premises that God is pure existent and is conscious being it follows that God must be pure delight. Now let us see how does it follow there is a logical connection between God is pure existent God is conscious being an conclusion that God must be delight what is the logical connection the logical connection is as follows, if God is pure existent it follows that he needs nothing is pure existent anything that is in need of anything is to some extent in want of something but that which is fully existent there is not an even any lacuna of any kind that means that pure existence needs nothing That is why we also say that pure existent is pure silence the highest inactivity in fact one of the definitions of pure being was that it is immobile, the mobile because there was nothing wanted therefore is no need for any activity at all. Now is in addition to that pure conscious being then it is up to him to decide whether he wants to remain immobile or whether he also wants to become mobile, conscious being it follows that he has possibility of deciding if he was unconscious then you cannot say that he is powered of will but if he is a conscious being then he has a will to choose between immobility and mobility so pure existent which is already in need of nothing he has a choice to remain immobile or to remain mobile or to remain both at the same time and if he chooses to the mobile as we see that he has decided to be mobile because the whole world is mobile therefore we say that he has chosen to be mobile then the question is asked why has he chosen to be mobile he is conscious he could have chosen to remain immobile yet he has become mobile so you have to ask the question why he chose to be mobile many could have remained immobile the only answer that is possible to such a question is that he is not necessitated to become mobile there is no force external to him which obliged God to be mobile it was possible for him to be mobile and immobile at the same time it was possible for him and he chose to do it but no compulsion in it now when there is an activity behind which there is no compulsion then the only answer you can give is that it is for the sake of delight it was delight for him to remain immobile it was delight for him to be mobile in both the cases whether he remains mobile or a mobile remains both at the same time it adds nothing to him since there's no compulsion of any kind at all the only answer that you can give is that also was possible for him to be mobile and he chose to be mobile why there was no compulsion if you says that there was no compulsion and yet he chose it what is the answer that you can give I chose because it was possible for me when you have eight items to eat all are equally good nothing better than the other and yet you take one what is the answer why you take one instead of the other one you took it because you could have taken it there was no compulsion it simply happened you chose because that was also a possibility to choose this kind of a condition is called delight. The light is a condition where out of various possibilities, every possibility is as good as the other and then there is no compulsion and part of that choice to choose one or the other or to choose all at the same time and then something is chosen then the condition in which it is chosen can be only termed as delight that's the definition of delight if you find any reason as to why it should be done then that region compels him to do then therefore that is not delight; delight means absence of compulsion that is why it is said that there are three words which mean the same freedom delight and grace all the three words really mean the same.

The utter state of freedom if you examine the state of true freedom you will find the experience of delight wherever there is some kind of pain suffering it means that there is some compulsion on it which are resisting which is opposing your will when there is no compulsion whatsoever where there is a real absence of compulsion and absence of compulsion means a real freedom there is no compulsion at all of any kind whatsoever that state will automatically be a state of delight because all pain comes out of compulsion if you examine any pain in the experience of the world is a result of compulsion when there is a compulsion you feel pain but where there is no compulsion it is all delight you feel happy to look after the child because there's no compulsion that you must look after the child you are really freely looking after their child it is the very pouring out of your heart and there's no compulsion from anywhere. When a poet writes his poem he could remain without writing he could also equally right there is no compulsion that he must write and yet he writes its state of delight

That is why in the field of arts, which is the real field of creativity, all art is nothing but creativity; all art is fundamentally a domain of joy. If there is no joy there can be art, even when the poet sings out of sorrow there is some kind of inner joy, which bursts out in the poem of the poet. Sweetest are the uses of adversity; this is how the poet looks upon the sorrowful song that he sings. In all creativity there is freedom and where there is this freedom there is this burst of joy.

It is in that sense you may say that artists are the companion of God because in his activity he comes close to God. Just as God is utterly free not compelled, similarly an artist is not compelled to express and yet he expresses, by expressing he doesn't become a better artist, he doesn't add something to himself. So, whether he expresses, or he does not express he remains equal, ‘purnamadah purnamidam’, ‘That is perfect and this is perfect’ if you add something to perfect it is perfect. If he writes, the poet here added something to his expression but basically nothing is added to him, it was because it was already there in him. The poem was there already in him, only he brings it out, to take out what is already there yet the perfect remains, if you add to perfect it is perfect and if you take out from the perfect it remains perfect. That is why the Pure Existence which is perfect, Pure Existence means nothing more is needed it is everywhere Existent. With regard to the activity of the perfect, you can only describe it as a creativity of joy and delight that is why the word very often is called creation.

The world is not added to the Divine, it is not something that adds something to the concreteness of the Divine. If something is taken out from the Divine, the Divine does not become something less divine therefore, it is a creative joy, creative manifestation. In any case the moment you grant a full premise that God is Pure Existence and God is conscious being then the only answer that you can give in regard to the movement of the world is that this world is a Manifestation, a creation of God's perfection without any compulsion in complete freedom and therefore, it is an expression of delight. God being Pure Existent and Conscious Being the manifestation of the world necessarily proves that His very nature must be delight. So, logically now you establish that God must be Pure Existent, Pure Conscious Being and Delight. And this very statement, which we have logically done so far, first of all we showed logically; how Pure Existence was the only thing that can be conceived, and secondly we saw that your consciousness must be a Conscious Being and thirdly we saw that he must be Delight.

This very thing is also experienced; the Reality is experienced, anybody who realises God he confirms that he is Satchitananda. This is what the Veda, the Rishis who experienced God, described God as Satchitananda. Not exactly in these three terms, this formulation Satchitananda came in the Upanishads, in the Veda there is no word like Satchitananda. There are three words in the Vedas, the reality is Vasu.(6.23)Vasu means that which when you eat can satisfy yourself, that is called Vasu. If it was non-existent you cannot eat therefore, you could not satisfy yourself. So in the image of the Veda, if you eat and see the vegetables, it is a perception of Vasu, it is a reality, it's the prosperity, is the real being that is the Vedic imagery. The Vedic imagery is ratnam, dhanam, dravayam, annam, these are the words used in the Veda, to describe the Pure Existence. The reality is described in many ways; it is described as ekam sad, vipram bahuda vadanti, that is also the Vedic expression, ‘Tad Ekam’ that is another expression of the Veda. Then Vasu is another term, which is used the ‘ratnam, ratna dhatamam’ is the very first word used in the Rig Veda.

agnim īḷe purohitaṃ yajñasya devam ṛtvijam |

hotāraṃ ratnadhātamam ||

So ratna is also another word, which describes the pure existence it is a reality it's not a flux, in other words it is something if you undertake to put it and you're being, which fills you, it is Existent so that is why it fills you. Vasu, Vasudha is also from the same root. Then there is another word ‘urja’, urja is energy, conscious energy is urja, and the Veda speaks of priyam, the reality is priyam , is full of delight, Madhu is another word also which is used, mayas is another word which is used. For reality all of them mean delight. These three concepts, reality as existent, conscious force and as delight, were found by the Vedic Rishis who tasted God and described God. Having seen God, having touched him, having tasted him they all declared that he is Vasu, he is urja, he is priya.

The same reality described by the Rishis is of the Upanishads who were different lot of people much later than the late Vedic Rishis, they also examined God, they also experienced God, and they also came to the conclusion Satchitananda, the reality is pure existence conscious being and the delight. They also described reality as ‘tat sat’. Just as the Vedas spoke of Sat, the Upanishads also described it as ‘tat sat’ so that to describe it as Satchitananda is also to bring him down on a lower plane, it is as it were, at the level at which we can understand him. Because we understand concreteness, we understand consciousness, we understand the delight therefore, we describe it in the highest terms, in the terms that we understand, we describe Him as Satchitananda but in itself if you ask, what is it in itself? The answer of the Upanishads is, it is ‘tat sat’. ‘It is That’ you can't even define it, if you want to say it mathematically, you can say it is’x’. Or as Satprem very often said that it is something else, it is not this, is not that, it is something else; but it ‘Is’, it is something else. But just as in the case of our proposition that God is Pure Existent, we had to take into account the phenomena, in regard to which we had to posit the Pure Being, the phenomena are not exactly the Pure Being, they are those which are in succession, so just as a successive movement required the positing of a Pure Existence, just as the conscious being had to be established in the opposition of the being of the unconsciousness, and we had to explain that unconsciousness is also another mode of consciousness, and therefore, unconscious was reconciled with the conscious being. Even so, there is a phenomenon of pain and pleasure, particularly, in the phenomena of grief, which stands out as a direct contradiction to the existence of God. Although, logically God being Pure Existent and you are conscious, it has got to be concluded that God must be delight, logically that is inevitable.

Yet this question can be raised that if God is really Delight, what is the relationship between that delight and this experience of suffering that we have in the world, provided that there is nothing but only God. If of course, you have a theory that God is not the only Reality, there is something else than God then of course this question does not become so stark and so very devastating. But if you've maintained that God is only one and there is nothing else than God, that He is Conscious Being, that he is Delight. Then the presence of experience of suffering is a direct contradiction of that. And then you can say that if God is delight then this experience of suffering does not seem to be congruent with it, therefore, our description of God as Delight becomes challengeable, God must not be Delight because there is experience of suffering, suffering exists. And if there is nothing else but God and he is Delight then how can they be suffering at all, why don't we experience everywhere only delight, why everything is not priyam, why is not everything madhu, why is there suffering in this world. This question has to be answered, and answered properly.

This is the problem, that's why; Sri Aurobindo gives the title "The Problem”. If everything is Pure Existent, Conscious Being and Delight; why is it, how is it, that there is suffering in this world. There are several answers to this question actually, one answer is to say that there are two origins of the world not one, God alone does not exist there is something else than God also. So you can say that all that is priyam is a result of God, and all that is apriyam is a result of an opposite force in the world, which is also original,− this is called Dualism.

Dualism in which God is, as it were, confronted by a shaitan, and where the good is confronted with the evil, and therefore, it is suggested according to this idea that the world is nothing but a battle between the good and the evil and this battle goes on and on and on. And let us see now, what happens in this, we can have faith that ultimately that good will prevail, only faith; you cannot be sure because both are equal forces. But against this Dualism there is one basic opposition, if both of them exist in existence, also there must be both common in existence. So, as far as existence is concerned there must be only one, there can't be two Ultimate Existences, if both exist then both must be common, as far as existence is concerned 16.44 therefore, existence must be One.

Later on, you may discuss how the two are different and so on. But as far as Existence is concerned there must be only One therefore, Dualistic Philosophy is always subject to this criticism and therefore, Dualism is not ultimately sustainable. But Dualism can be stated in another form also. It may be argued that God is all Delight, God is all Good, sarvam mangalam, Divine is nothing but mangalam, but God is not omnipotent; this is another way of describing Dualism, God is good but not omnipotent. A limited God, Good God, but limited; if He is not omnipotent, it means that there is a force over which he has no sway, not omnipotent. According to this argument God is good but not omnipotent, there is existence of another force not exactly coincident with God, therefore, there can be something else than God, it's a kind of dualism. God is good but not omnipotent is a concept of a kind of dualism because a force is not omnipotent there is some other force, which is not part of God, therefore, there is another Reality outside God.

There is a philosopher called Mill in the west in the modern times. While dealing with this problem, he said that considering God on one hand and considering the world on the other, you conclude that God is either good or omnipotent but not both. God is either good or omnipotent but not both, because if he is good and also omnipotent there could have never arisen evil at all.

If he is omnipotent and he is good then evil cannot arise out of him and still if evil exists and yet you insist that he's also omnipotent; then it means that God himself must not be good. Because if he was really good and omnipotent, he would have killed evil, if he is omnipotent and yet evil exists then it means that he allows evil to exist. If God is not opposed to evil, then God also must be himself in some way evil. Either he himself is producing evil out of himself or is evil has not come out of him and he is omnipotent, he is not killing it, therefore, he allows evil to exist. Therefore, in his own consciousness evil is not something objectionable that can be only, if he himself is not good. Or if he himself is omnipotent and yet he allows evil and yet does not kill evil, he must be full of evil. One who allows evil although capable of taking it out, he himself must be mischievous, sadist, He can destroy evil and he is omnipotence and yet he doesn't do anything when evil is there all-around, why doesn't He just come down on evil and kill it at once. It must be because although he's capable of destroying, he says it doesn't matter and see how the drama goes on, so he's like a very cruel man.

Therefore, if you really want to say that God is very good and very compassionate and grant that he's not omnipotent. Although he would like to destroy evil, he's not able to do it, therefore, evil exists and that kind of proposition is admissible. If God exists but not omnipotent is admissible logically or God exists, who is omnipotent but not good in himself that is accepted logically. But to say that God is both good and omnipotent and yet evil existing that is logically impossible. And this is the argument that is extremely important, very powerful and it is opposed to what is called monism, monotheism, theism. All those theories regard God as both good and omnipotent and that theory is bombarded by this argument.

There are answers to this question which are offered by all monotheistic religions. Christianity is a theistic religion, Islam is a theistic religion, Judaism is a theistic religion, some forms of Hinduism are also theistic religions, Shaivism is theistic, Vaishnavism is theistic, so there are many forms of theistic religions. They are all monotheistic religions, there is only one God, therefore, they are called monotheistic religions.

Let us see how they answer these questions. According to one answer, God is both good and omnipotent, and out of his omnipotence and out of his goodness he has conferred upon human beings a free Will. And free Will itself is a goodwill and freedom is a good thing and God has given the freedom to man. God being good and omnipotent, he is given to man a free Will, which is a good thing; a good gift has been given by God. But man having got free will, he misuses freedom and all evil in the world is a result of the free will of man; it is not willed by God.

Evil is a resultant of the exercise of the will on the part of man because he is free, he can choose between good and evil and he is free to choose evil therefore, evil exists because he chooses it. But if it chooses evil and the question may be asked but God is omnipotent he could do two things, God is omnipotent, he could take away the freedom of man, if everything is because of the gift of God’s goodwill he could take it away, why does he not do it? Or else in spite of that there is evil in the world, he could alchemise everything because he is omnipotent, all evil things can be destroyed at once at one stroke. Even as the evil arises I may do something evil, God can optimise it to make it good, he could do it, if he is omnipotent. I may do a wrong thing and injustice is created, now, God can immediately come and put everything right, why does he allow injustice to remain? I may be doing injustice but God is omnipotent, fine, He allows me my freedom, I do an unjust act, God can immediately intervene and put it right, why does he not do it, he is omnipotent? This is the argument which baffles theists and there are various kinds of answers which are given. One answer is the following: God has given goodwill to man, the goodwill itself is a good thing, therefore, God wants that by his own will he chooses good. God wants man to arrive at a point where he chooses willingly, the good. And since choosing God willingly is more valuable than compelling man to choose God or good, therefore, God is allowing this free will to remain. Fine, this can be an answer that alright God wants a willing will, a freedom in man to choose God which is the greater good than asking man to be compelled to choose God but then the deeper question is not answered by this.

In the meantime, so much injustice is going on in the world, if it is only the question of asking man to choose God really, fine, and again it is quite alright but in the meantime innocents are killed, fire breaks out and destroys the world in many important matters and there are blind forces working in the world and God doesn't intervene then the answer comes that all that is evil in the world is a method of God, to train the individuals. If I choose evil then God punishes me, so He trains me so gradually that I learn how to choose God. God does not compel me to choose God, but He punishes me so that I may awake and gradually come to understand one or the other and ultimately choose God. So, it is argued that all evil in the world is in the form of punishment, it's a kind of a school in which the souls who were given the freedom are trained, so that gradually with these experiences they will learn how to choose good, instead of choosing evil.

Fine! this may be an answer but does it does it satisfy, it may be argued has God no better method of training individuals, even we human beings, when we want to teach our children how to choose good, we are told don't punish, do not scold, explain, nurse them and love them, adored them and gradually bring them to the right path. So is God worse than man that he has no other method of training people except that punishing and putting them into all kinds of trouble, is he not capable of giving a better training than human beings are proposing.

Or else let us go deeper and ask this question. What after all is choosing the evil, when I choose something that is evil, if you really examine the psychology, you will find that evil is the result of ignorance. I choose evil because I'm ignorant. I don't really know what is right and wrong. So, I fall into the trap and choose evil, ignorantly I choose something that is evil and you think I deserve to be punished? If somebody is ignorant and chooses something not right and I can't say that now, I punish you because you chose that thing and if you still go farther, you'll find that in many experiences of choosing evil there is some kind of mental disease or even mental ignorance can be called a kind of a disease. So, if people choose evil simply because they are mentally diseased, do they deserve to be punished? And God has found no other means than this to train individuals by punishing ignorance, which is highly objectionable. If somebody is ignorant or chooses the wrong thing, we shall explain: Look! This is not the right way. Give the knowledge instead of punishing, what is this punishment?

All the religions therefore, which regard experience of punishment as a method of training on part of God, all stand convicted of thinking of God in the image that is worse than man. Now there is on this basis another line of argument, which tries to save God from this problem. It simply says that God is of course good and omnipotent but individuals and their lives and their experiences are all according to the Law of Karma. I do an action and it has its consequence and God is just, He is good and omnipotent and just, so, somebody has done an action and if the consequence come to him, it will be injustice therefore, for every action there must be its appropriate consequence and that it should be so only proves the justice of God and if evil exists, it is only because of karma of individuals.

God is not responsible for evil; it is all resultant of man's actions and the natural consequences which are done according to Justice. To a God who is absolutely in balance, very good himself, very omnipotent and he allows all the individuals to carry out their own actions and accept their own consequences. But then the question arises who created this law, there is a justice you say who created this law that if you do this action, this consequence will come out, why did they create this law to combine an evil action with suffering, why did He do that instead of that He should have said that if you do an evil action, I'll give you knowledge, I will clarify to you, to do the right thing; instead of that he made a law, already allowed this law to come into existence, he's omnipotent he could have chosen another law. Why did he allow this law, if He is omnipotent, this is the argument. If he's omnipotent then this argument won't stand that there is a law which is just, a God who is good and just at the same time cannot allow this kind of law to operate at all, he could have invented another law instead of this law. Or you go deeper, if the Law of action is a process of doing the action and suffering the consequences the first question is, who starts the first action, if out of action consequence comes about; the question is who starts the first action? If God is omnipotent, all energies must start from him, all actions must start from him, for God must be responsible for everything that happens here, why should we suffer out of the consequences, he could have chosen otherwise.

So under the weight of this argument another argument starts which says that God does not exist at all. All these problems arise, if you grant God's existence, because God is good, just and omnipotent. The fact is that the world exists and there is evil, this punishment and that there is suffering, these are all facts and they are inconsistent with the theory that God is good, omnipotent and just. Therefore, you have got to make a decision and you can clearly see that if God really existed, this could not have existed here. This kind of world could not have existed but evil exists therefore God must not be existing. In fact this is the argument of Buddhism; Buddhism argues that the Law of Karma is inconsistent with the existence of an omnipotent, good God. If God is good and omnipotent and also just the Law of Karma cannot exist, but Law of Karma however exists, then God must not be existing, therefore, Buddhism denied the existence of God that is the clear logic of Buddhism, God and the Law of Karma are inconsistent with each other. Law of Karma exists; therefore, God does not exist. Fine, now supposing, God does not exist; the basic question still remains, how does Karma start, where does it start, why does it start; this question remains. Now, if there is no God and yet you have to explain how action starts and how the world of karma operates, if you want to explain it; you have got to say that at one point action started and then the consequence came about and then another action came out and then the consequence followed, was the very first action good or bad? If it was good, then all the chain must be the chain of good action, which is not the case, if the first action was evil then all the consequences must have been evil only.

We find that both good and evil are related to each other, out of good evil arises, out of evil good arises, and good is partly evil, and evil is partly good. All things in the world as such, it's a multicoloured existence. It is not black and white that this is good and this is evil. If you examine the world you find it's a multicoloured existence, in which the same colours give some kind of tone of another colour. For the original must be itself mixed, if it is not, why should individuals strive for complete elimination of pain and pain is evil, it's always mixed with pleasure. How is it that human beings have a tendency to eliminate pain altogether; if it is always a mixture and if the whole humanity is the result of that action, which is a mixture then how is it that human beings want to eliminate pain altogether.

If the very constitution of our being is a mixture, why is it that we want to eliminate one element out of it that will be impossible to explain. Human beings should be able to say that let me have some pleasure and some pain; I like both of them together. To take any pain makes the experience and you will say that I want to eliminate it altogether, this is a tendency in our being we want to eliminate pain altogether. Not only that but there are religions like Jainism and Buddhism, which don't accept the existence of God but they maintain that ultimately you can arrive at a point, where evil, pain and suffering can be completely eliminated. If there is a possibility of a complete elimination, it means that the Ultimate should not be a mixture, it must be without any mixture then only you can attain to it, there must be somewhere something, which itself doesn't exist. So, if at the root there is no mixture, the question is how does this mixture come about? At what point, what is the law, what is the method by which this mixture comes about, and these nontheistic religions have no answer to this question.

The answer is that we find that the world is full of mixtures, secondly that these mixtures can be cured and there is a process by which the cure can take place, and ultimately you arrive at the simplicity where this mixture doesn't exist. If you ask those questions which I asked, they say that these are questions which should not be raised, they don't deserve to be raised. All you can say is that they are not answerable and then you're turned back. And you are asked, you want an answer or you want a cure; choose between the two. If you want an answer from me, I’ll simply say it is unanswerable but if you want a cure, I can give you the cure. So, why do you worry about the answers, this is the logical position that they take. When the thorn is in your flesh, you don’t ask the question, what is thorn, and what is flesh, what is pain and how did it come about? You simply want to take out the thorn and throw it away. Therefore, you have a problem in your life and I only want to give you the remedy.

Buddhism and Jainism tell you the remedy you take out and it can be effectively taken out. And both Buddhism and Jainism do give you the medicine which gives a cure, but the intellect of man raises the deeper question. It is true that you have remedied me, my thorn is come out but if I knew, what was thorn, what was flesh, how do they come into conjugation with each other; maybe I could have found out a better remedy than the remedy that you are proposing and maybe the kind of bliss that I'm going to, or I'm getting now, could be of a different kind of which we were not aware of at all because you have not enquired into this question. So, if I enquire into this question and find out really the origin of all this, maybe that the remedy that I will come to, will be a greater remedy than what you are proposing.

This is where the Vedantic answer comes up, to say that things exist by themselves that they are there, just take them for granted is not a satisfactory answer to this, there is a need to go deeper and find out a deeper answer to this question. We come back again to the proposition that Reality is one without the second; Reality is good, Reality is omnipotent, Reality is just and yet there is the suffering, and yet there is this evil. All the answers that have been given so far are all unsatisfactory answers. Is there a satisfying answer, if so, what is that satisfying answer? This is the problem; I think I'll stop here today because we only wanted to enunciate ‘The Problem’. Next time, we shall see how this problem can be further refined because even this problem as it is presented so far, and all the arguments that I have delineated, they still have some kind of wooliness they are not yet fully spun out as fine as they are to the groovy shell against rain further and put the question much more bluntly and much more forcefully because it is only when the problem is put forcefully that the real answer can be found. So, that is the task of Chapter Eleven and then the answer is to be found in chapter Twelve.