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01. VI Man in the Universe

VI. Man in the Universe

The universe has an aim. It has a purpose too. It is by no accident that the universe came into existence. The transcendent Reality is luminous. It progressively reveals itself as relativities. These relativities are innumerable. Some of them we see. Others we do not see. This universe is the means of Reality expressing itself. Also the universe is of the same material as the Reality. The universe serves as a field of expression for the Reality. It also sets down the conditions of manifestation. There is a view that the universe is not real. It is a trick of Mind. Man is deceived by his Mind. The above reasoning denies this view. Another view holds the universe as a self-existent mass. It is a blind mass of events. They cling together or struggle. Their struggle continues through eternity. It is, they say, a self creation. They consider it as an ignorant Force having no goal, no guidance. They see no Intelligence secret within it. This we do not accept. To us it is a wholly self-aware existence. It is, for this reason, entirely master of itself. The world events are its creation. It possesses the events and also involves in them. it creates form to realise itself. Only in the individual it completely unfolds itself.

The Aryan forefathers knew of this. To them it was the dawn. They worshipped that luminous Emergence. Vishnu is its fulfilled perkction. It is world-pervading. To them, it was an eye of vision. That vision extends in the purest heavens of Mind. it is an all-revealing Truth. It guides all. lt keeps a watch over the world. Mortal men are attracted by it. Even without a conscious mind, man is attracted by it. Man progressively awakens and becomes conscious. His self enlarges. Thus begins his divine ascension. That ascent is the Sacrifice. It is the Work of works. It is the human journey to the divine life. This alone is mains real business. This justifies his world existence. Otherwise he would be a crawling insect. The physical universe is immense. A speck of mud and water creates short-lived insects. Man would be one of them.

This is a world of events and things. They are a group of contradictions. The above Truth emerges out of these contradictions. It is a truth of Bliss. The Bliss is a self-conscious Existence. It is the same everywhere and at all times. Even beyond Time it is the same thing. It is aware of itself behind all events. There are events of intense vibrations. Their totality is large. The Existence can never be exhausted by expression. Nor can it be limited in any way, because it is self-existent. It does not depend on its manifestations. The manifestations represent the Existence. They do not exhaust it. It is revealed only to itself. It can be seen in its forms. The forms contain this conscious existence. It knows itself by intuition. It has self-vision as well as self-experience. It becomes itself in the world by knowing itself. It knows itself by becoming itself. It possesses itself inwardly. It carries the delight of Sachchidananda. It gives that delight to its forms and modes. it is a conscious delight. The individual accomplishes itself in this fashion. Bliss, Existence, Consciousness find their expression in mind, life and body of the individual. The Existence exists in identity. Here it expresses in relations.

The Unknowable knows itself as Sachchidananda. This is the supreme affirmation of Vedanta. All else are contained in it. They all depend on Sachchidananda. Appearances have their external shapes and coverings. They can be eliminated negatively. The appearances contain truth. These truths are in forms. Positively the appearances can be removed and the constant truths can come out. What remains is one true experience. It is Sachchidananda. Human consciousness seeks for fulfillment. Sometimes it seeks to exceed itself. Purity, calm and freedom in spirit may be the aim. Or power, joy, perfection may be the aim. For all this, man seeks Sachchidananda. It is the unknown. It is omnipotent. It is necessary.

The universe is one term. The other appearance is the individual. These two are essential. The Unknowable descends into both. So, we have to approach the Unknowable through the individual and universe. There are other collectivities or events. They are born out of these two interacting. They are the intermediaries. The supreme Reality descends into the world. In descending the Reality conceals itself. There are successive levels in the descent. There are successive veils. Revelation is an ascent. Ascent and revelation are progressive. The Divine comes down by successive levels. Man rises by successive levels. Each step of Divine descent is a step of ascent for Man. God is veiled by several veils. Therefore He is unknown. The God lover seeks God removing each veil. The veils become man's instrument to reach God. Material Nature is in slumber. The rhythm of its sleep makes the Soul unconscious. The Idea of the Soul maintains the activities of Nature. Nature, though in trance, has energy. Her trance is mighty and dumb. The world moves into life. Life is quick, varied, disordered. Life is labouring towards self-consciousness. It moves to Mind from Life. Here the unit awakens to itself. It sees the world. That awakening gives a leverage to the universe. This leverage is important to the universe in its work. It is the self-conscious individuality. Mind takes up the work and continues. It cannot complete. Mind is a labourer. Its intelligence is acute, but limited. The materials of Life are confused, varied, and disordered. Mind adapts and improves them. It hands them over to be completed. What is to be completed is man's divine manhood. Supermind is that Artist. Superman is Supermind. That is a higher status and higher principle. It is a higher dynamism. There the universe and the individual become one. They are aware of each other. They possess each other. Each explains itself to the other. They are unified here in harmony.

Life and mind are full of disorders. This order really belongs to the physical. There is a more perfect order. We can discover its secret. Then the disorders will cease. Matter is below life and mind. Life is an immeasurable energy. There is a perfect poise of peace. Matter holds the balance between them. Though matter contains it, it does not possess it_ It is a peace of dull, dark, intertia. It is a sleep of unconsciousness. It worm drugged and consciousness imprisoned. Its real self is a force. It drives it. But matter does not seize its sense. Its own energies are harmonious. That joy has not yet awakened in matter.

Life and mind awaken to this sense. It is a sense of want in the form of striving. It is a seeking ignorance. It is a troubled and baffled desire. These are the first steps of self-knowledge and self-fulfillment. Where then is the kingdom of self-fulfilling? It comes to them by exceeding themselves. We must go beyond mind and life. There we can recover that balance. Material nature grossly represented its divine truth. It is a tranquility. It is neither intertia nor a sealed trance. It is the concentration of absolute force. It is absolutely self-aware. It is an action of immeasurable energy. It is ineffable bliss. It is out-thrilling. It is not ignorant straining. It is absolute peace and self-mastery. Our ignorance is darkened light. It is a partial reflection of light. Ignorance realises its origin of light in this pearl. It is a plenitude and fulfillment. Our desires are our fallen aspiration. These desires are brute material forms of our aspiration. They are dark.

The individual ascends. The universe too ascends. Each needs the other for their ascent. They exist by each other. They profit by each other. The divine All diffuses through Space and Time. The individual is a concentration in Space and Time. The divine is a totality in self-awareness. The universe seeks to realise that totality in extension. It is capable of feeling that totality, not realising it. For in extension existence becomes spread out, expressing itself in Many, thus becoming plural. Though plural, it is not primal. Nor is it final. The primal status is the One, not the Many. The final status is the One to which the Many return. The condition of the universe is a mid-state, but an endless state. Sri Aurobindo calls it a recurring decimal without end or beginning. Therefore it needs a situation where it can manage to realise its final aim of totality. Hence it creates the individual. The universe creates the individual so that it may aspire through it. Thus the individual is a self-conscious concentration.

The conscious individual is no longer a recurring decimal where the recurring digits are outgoing. Prakriti does not go out. It also turns back on the Purushar The world that seeks its own satisfaction, no longer does so. Now that the individual is conscious, it is aware of the Self too. The world seeks Self. God became Nature. Nature is on its own. In the individual Nature seeks to become God.

There is something more. For the individual to realise himself, he needs a wider entity of God. It is the universe. Now the individual needs to realise unity with God. This unity is possible at two levels. One is the intensive unity of Brahman. This is beyond conception. It is also beyond any condition. No term, no limitation, no condition, no bound can enter this unity. There is another unity. It is the multiple unity in the Many. Here, unity is achieved in a pluralistic state. For achieving this unity the individual must enter the universe, enter into unity with each aspect of the universe. He must lose his personality, his individuality. He must impersonalise himself. Thus he can manifest the divine All. In manifesting the divine All, he is manifesting his own reality. Even in these conditions, he finds, he has to preserve something of God in him. It is transcendent but mysterious. He only understands it as his ego. For him to reach his goal of unity, he cannot miss the God in himself. The problem set to man is to unite the three Purushas. The transcendent, the universal and individual are the three Purushas. Man has accepted that goal. Therefore even in universalising himself, he has to preserve the transcendent within him.

What is the universe of the individual? It is his life. The universe comes to him as Life. Life is a whirl of dynamic activity. It is a mass of activities that collide against each other. It is full of potential energies that energise the activities. Behind it has a harmony and a supreme order. It is for man to discover that order. This is after all the real sense of man's progress. This is true progress, not a higher version of Physical Nature. Physical Nature has already accomplished a physical order. We are looking for an order higher than the physical order. The animal has a perfect order for itself We do not also seek a higher version of the animal order. Many systems are there that can give us a tolerable well being. They can give a moderate mental satisfaction. Had man accepted them, there would have been no progress. The animal is easily satisfied. When its necessities are satisfied, the animal becomes quiet. The gods live in splendours. They too arc satisfied for that reason. But man is not so. Neither the needs, nor the splendours satisfy him. Ile has the inner urge for perfection. It urges for some highest good. Until and unless man reaches it, he is discontented. His discontent is divine. Because he is discontented, man is the greatest of living beings. his own limitations put a pressure on him to come out of them. I lis ideal is remote. Only a divine frenzy can help reach it. Man alone is capable of seizing the divine frenzy.

The Life-Spirit seeks a centre of potentials. Man is a pre-eminent centre of potentials. He is the Purusha. Every object incarnates God. But Man is Son of Man. He is supremely capable of incarnating God. This Man is Manu, the thinker, the Manomaya Purusha. He is the mental person. The ancient sages called him soul in mind. Man is not a superior animal. Of course, he has a body. It is an animal body of matter. Basically he is a conceptive soul. The Purusha is the Person. The Person has to deal with the form as a medium. The Person that way deals with the substance. Therefore he is a conscious Name. It is called Numen. The animal life emerges out of Matter. It is only an inferior term of his existence. Thought, feeling, will, impulse, together are mind. Life is full of energies. Matter is below that. Mind tries to seize Matter and Life. Mind seeks to impose its laws on Matter. It would lead to the transformation of Matter. Man stations himself there between Matter and soul. It is the middle term. For effective action man tries to function from Mind. There is a superior term in man, He searches after it. When found, he would affirm that term in his mental, bodily life. This term is superior to his present self. This superior affirmation is the basis of his divine life.

Man's first idea of himself is simple. Now he is awakened to a profounder knowledge ofhimself. For him to affirm his new knowledge, he needs a new formula. He must perceive an appearance of it too. In this search, he sees he is between two negations. Both these negations are of the same one. They lie, apparently, above him and below him. The superconscient above is inaccessible to him as it is too bright. Hence to him it is a neeative of his own life. The subconscient below is too dark. So. it too is a negation of his own human life. The one lies beyond man's present attainment. Man perceives it or is touched by its power, light, bliss. What touches him is a self-conscious infinite existence. For him it is ineffable in its own terms. So, he speaks of that experience in a language conceivable to his mentality. He calls it Infinity, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Immortality, Freedom, Love, Beatitude, God, etc. He sees it shining between two darknesses, a darkness below and a mightier darkness above. He does strive to know it utterly. It changes its appearance. It eludes his mind. All the above terms put together, he finds, cannot describe it. No single term above can do duty to explain it to the human mind.

God, man finds, is beyond thought. God transcends Himself. Here in the world, man finds around him opposites to his new idea. Death is ever with him. He is limited. So his being and experience are weak, full of pain. Evil pursues him. He is unable to get rid of effor. He loses his consciousness. They resist his effort. When he sees them, he denies God. The Divine's true reality is eternal. We do not see it. It is hidden by appearances. So it seems to him.

Manes denial is understandable. The other denial is mysterious because there he denies light. Here there is no mystery. We can understand what he denies and why. But, still the mystery remains. He knows not what they are, why they exist, how they Came into being. He does see their processes. As they affect him, lie is able to see. But he is unable to know their eternal reality.

Are they really understandable? Are they unknowable? Can't we know their essence? Do they really have no essential reality? Are they an illusion? Can we dismiss them as Asat, non-being? Men have called the superior Negation Nihil, a Non-Existence. What then is this inferior negation? How do we understand error, pain, etc.? Maybe its essence too is a Nihil, a non-existence. We have refused to accept this idea in an earlier chapter. So, let us deny this here too. Men deny entirely the reality of life, or they call it illusion and a disastrous illusion. This is an escape. Thus we shall shun our duty. These things are opposites of Sachchidananda. They seem to deny God. But for Life, pain and grief, error and weakness are real. They may be temporary, but they are temporary realities. They are the new materials of life. Good, knowledge, joy, power, pleasure, life, survival, strength are their opposites. Life uses these too.

Maybe these opposites are inseparable accompaniments and not an illusion. Maybe it is a wrong relationship. If founded on a false view, they can be wrong. Their view of the individual in the universe may be false. Their attitude towards God and Nature may be false. Self and environment too may be falsely understood. Man is in essence eternal. But now, he has assumed a body and lives a life. This condition is not in harmony with his inner soul. He should be a soul and is trying to be a soul. His life conditions are not in tune with his soul's aspiration. Nor is it in harmony with the conditions around. Therefore these contradictions arise. They contradict the secret Truth of things. If this is so, it is not a fall. Nor is it a punishment from God. But these are the conditions required for his progress. These are the first stages of his work, lie hopes to win the crown, the crown of becoming God. This is the price he has to pay. Matter tries to escape into consciousness. It has chosen this path. Of course, this is a narrow path. This is the strength of matter. Also this is matter's ransom to Godhood.

Obviously, our present relations are false. But with the aid of these false relations we have to find the truth. We live in Ignorance and face death. But it is with the help of Ignorance that we have to master death. The Vedas too explain a similar phenomenon. Of course, Vedic language is cryptic not explanatory. There are, the Vedas say, women evil in impulse. They wander away from the path. They hurt their Lord. They are false and hence unhappy. But these evil women serve a great purpose. They help build this vast Truth. This Truth is none other than Bliss. To cut out evil from life is no solution. It would be a moral surgery. One can recoil from life. Even that is no solution. But Death is to be changed to a more perfect life. Life's events are small. This is so because of human limitation. In the life of the divine, things are great because the divine is vast. We must change the small into the great, transform suffering into beatitude, evil into good, error and falsehood into their secret truth. Then the sacrifice will be accomplished. The journey then will be completed, Heaven and Earth equalised. They would join in the bliss of the Supreme.

A question arises. How can a thing pass into its opposite? Life is lead of mortality. The future is gold of divine Being. By what alchemy can the one be changed into another? Another question may be raised. Suppose they are not opposites. Suppose both are made of the same Reality, the same substance. Then to change the one into the other is possible. The lead can be transmuted into gold.

Earlier we discussed Non-Being. We refused to accept the traditional views. To us Non-Being too is an Existence, perhaps a greater Existence. Therefore it is ineffable Bliss. Buddhism discovered Nirvana. Its effort was a more luminous effort of man. They reached this Non-Existence. There they rested. In the history of the Rishis it was a landmark. They rested in an unspeakable peace and gladness. It was not just spiritual high in the sky. It had a practical effect too. Ego disappeared. All suffering which ego created disappeared too. Not only the idea of ego but even the sensation of ego disappeared. It is not a negative condition altogether, though it cannot be described as positive. The nearest positive condition we can approach is some inexpressible beatitude. It is such a void, void of contents. All that is concrete about it is the peace of that void. Still the peace as well as Beatitude can be felt. It is existence that can feel joy or bliss or anything. This Nirvana is such a void that even the idea of self-existence is swallowed up. That too disappears. This Nirvana is a Sachchidananda truly. But, since Sachchidananda is the most positive term of existence, we dare not apply the terms Sat, Chit and Ananda. This is a condition where all conditions disappear, all cognitions cease, all terms are meaningless.

Our own position is all is one Reality. We started with that assumption. We do not agree that there are opposites, parts opposed to each other. If there are opposites, or parts opposed to each other, we maintain, they are still of the one Reality. So, there is no contradiction for us. This non-existence is also Sachchidananda for us. What is more, contrary to the popular idea that God cannot be reached by mind, this state, a state higher than Sachchidananda, can be reached by the intellect. The vision can perceive it. Even the sensations could receive it in the nerves. The self same sensations that deny God can sense this non-existence as Sachchidananda. This is so because till now the Rishis acted from the mind. And truly, the mind cannot see Nirvana. Now, the mind has restored its connection with the Supermind and therefore it can see. Because our basic position is even the body can see the Nirvana. What falsifies our vision is our compelling Ignorance. When Ignorance insists on being Ignorance, the mind cannot see. When Ignorance consents to let knowledge emerge, Ignorance becomes a knowing ignorance. So too with Maya or Avidya. The Maya here is lower Maya that can only see the lower triplicity of mind, life and matter. That distorts our vision. The higher Maya can see the lower as well as the higher. Then Maya is no bar. Avidya described by Upanishads as knowledge of the Many cannot let the mind perceive Nirvana. But, if Avidya is a continuation of Vidya, nothing prevents the mind from seeing the Nirvana. Now that we have reconciled the opposites, we can find a solution. Maybe logic will not accept it. It may not be approved by philosophy. But this solution will help us live divine life. And it would be confirmed in our experience. This is so because we are standing on the threshold of the unknowable. Our vision does not extend beyond the line. Philosophy and logic are instruments that would serve up to the line, not beyond.

Ours is a surface being. Our entire life is on the surface. The life of the soul is below in the depth. The surface is created as a field of ignorance by mind in the plane of Time with ego as the centre. We call that finite. The soul is infinite. Our topic of Man in the universe belongs to the soul and the depths, not the surface and the ego. Therefore we have to go below the surface. Mind is on the surface, loves to dwell there. Its business is to tempt the vast and obscure Soul to rise on the surface. It also tries to force the surface personality to reach the depths and identify ourselves with vaster states of consciousness. Human language created by the surface cannot serve these purposes. But that same language permits symbols and figures that hint at the knowledge. These symbols can bring the soul on the surface some reflection of God’s design that is ineffable.


book | by Dr. Radut