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Notes on Sri Aurobindo on Life Divine in Archives

December 23,2007

April-December 1979

  1. Being is one, not multiple. All Becomings are expressions of One Being.
  2. The individual is always subject to the law of the universal group to which it belongs, since it has no reality of becoming other than as a part of that group. Therefore freedom for the individual lies in universalizing.
  3. Form is bound, limited, subject to bondage. Consciousness is free and unbound. But consciousness emerging in form is limited by the processes and laws of the form. Form is the principle of law. Consciousness is the principle of freedom.
  4. Evolution from body to mind is a movement from lesser to progressively greater levels of freedom. Matter is subject to rigid law and fixed process. Mind is flexible and capable of self-adaptation.
  5. The principle that all becoming is subject to law of its processes is corrected by the principle that each level of becoming moves toward the level above it and strains to realize what is higher than itself.
  6. God inhabiting Nature, not just God and Nature as Brahman.\
  7. Renunciation and enjoyment: The two master impulses of Nature. Renunciation of nature to gain freedom, enjoyment of the freedom in Nature as the Lord and master and spirit.
  8. Renunciation is surrender of
    1. Outer results and attachments
    2. Inner preferences and attachments
    3. All initiative of ego - self-will and self-action
    4. Ego sense and separate personality
  9. By expenditure, acquisition: Sacrifices to the Gods (universal forces) lead to double or treble the gifts in return of the same powers that we offer, e.g. physical exercise builds the body. There is no gain without effort or giving. Sacrifice to God leads to God giving Himself to us, coming to us as a gift, rather than just the universal forces, an inner ananda and enjoyment. The true object of all bhoga is God, not Nature, God in Nature and through Nature.
  10. "Lust after no man's possession" means in the language of the Upanishad ‘realize that you are not the ego, but the One existent which is the same in all... you are the other man and already possess all that anyone else possesses. Reject ego and desire which conceal from you this truth of Oneness.
  11. If ego were the truth of our being, limitation would not be painful, the heart would be incapable of excess yearning. We are driven to an infinite stress toward increase because we are ourselves really infinite. (84)
  12. We seek our infinity not only in and through the finite, but by insisting on the conditions of the finite and exaggerating them (85) - by seeking to satisfy their desires, standards, habits and limiting preferences. To the infinite ananda, all things are delight, even those touches that mind and body present falsely as grief and pain.
  13. Enjoy the whole of the universal being in God by renouncing the attempt to enjoy through egoistic desire and physical possession.  Mind and heart desire the universe. Self alone can possess it and already possesses it. Shift our center from mind and heart to all-blissful secret Self.
  14. Activity and Peace, Force of Nature and Stillness are the two poles of existence, both of which are aspects of the Absolute. Science knows the activity as energy and the peace as a vacuum absent of energy, yet out of which energy and even universes can temporarily manifest.
  15. Two fundamental faces of existence: self-conscious, self-governing existence and mechanical force.
    1. Vedanta holds that mechanical force is subordinate to self-conscious existence and therefore an expression of the Conscious Will of the Sole Existence which freely formulates its laws and processes for the ordering of the universe.
    2.  Modern materialism holds that self-conscious existence is subordinate to mechanical force and therefore only a movement of its force, a side play of Necessity. (169)
  16. Modern rationalistic, materialistic and Buddhistic conception of human consciousness and personality  as expressions of mechanical energy, workings of the law of cause and effect, the law of karma. (171).
  17. Rationalism ignores the reality of subjective experience.

April 1980 - Life Divine Chapter V: The Soul, Causality and Law of Nature

  1. Law of Nature in Science is the vast generalization of mechanical energy in matter. Law of Nature in Vedanta includes not only law of matter, but law of life, law of mind and law of supermind as well. It is the normality of a regular or habitual process in self-intelligent World-Force, i.e. in the cosmic Will-Power of universal self-existent Being. The process of Force, however fixed or imperative, is neither mystically self-existent nor mechanically self-determined. It depends upon certain relations, exists in certain conditions, amounts to certain fixed motions of the cosmic Will-Power which have been selected from the beginning in the universal Wisdom and are manifested, evolved, established and maintained in the workings of Cosmic Energy. (41)
  2. The world is a rhythm of action and movement in God's conscious being, a formal harmony of his self-expressive consciousness, selected out of God's infinite possibilities and exposed therefore to perpetual attack of those infinite possibilities. Laws of Nature, being rhythms and harmonies of God's active energy, truths of recurrent motion and not truths of eternal status, are alterable and dissoluble and therefore ever attacked by powers of disorder and world-dissolution and ever maintained by the divine Powers consciously obedient to eternal Will. (42)
  3. Laws of nature evolve: Law of Nature is in God's being what social Law is in man's action and experience, not indestructible essense of that being or indispensable condition of that action, but formed, evolved and willed condition of a regular, ordered, complex and intricately combined self-expression in a harmony of various relations and grouped workings of energy. Nature is self-power of Divine Being hidden by the modes of its own workings...a self-imposed system, a mighty ordered Wisdom, not an eternal and inexplicable mechanical necessity. Laws of Nature are those general processes or movements in Conscious Being in which the rhythm of the universe is framed.(43)
  4. The working of determining means (nimitti) and pre-existent conditions are followed by results, but it is not true to say the these factors are the cause of the result, they are only the occasion for its emergence into form out of latency. Cause and result are merely the evocation of a latent and potential shape or condition of things out of the previous condition or status in which it is latent be some particular movement of a Conscious Force. Cause is only a means of manifestation and not itself a creative power. The real cause is only the Will of God working through its own fixed and chosen processes. (44)
  5. Realized form is only the material appearance of a truer reality which is not shaped in matter but in consciousness: the oak tree is in the seed not in form but in being. Form is only a circumstance of being and is contained latent in the being out of which it is born.
  6. There is no inevitability that a given set of pre-existent conditions and determining means should produce a specific result. That perception is only an attempt to disguise from ourselves that an infinite possibility of negation or modification, of non-happening, pursues and surrounds every actuality and eventuality in the universe and we can relate how and under what conditions a thing has happened once or repeatedly and may be expected to happen again, but we cannot fix inevitable cause to inevitable result.
  7. That which determines the result is not chance or fate but conscious Will. Fate is merely the inevitable working out in itself by a cosmic will of its own fixed, predetermined self-perceptions. Nature to Vedanta is only the mask of a divine cosmic Will. (47)
  8.  Causality is the willed arrangement of successive states and events and the choice of particular means in accordance with a fixed system of relations by which Will works out its intentions. So a poet might work out in execution the original plot and characters as arranged in his mind and reject at every step the infinite possible variations which suggest themselves to him as he writes.
  9. Infinite possibility is real, not merely a mental conception. The Might Have Been in the past is the material out of which much of the future is shaped. Possibility is a living entity, a positive force, the material out of which God is constantly throwing up the finite actuality. The forces that we spend vainly for an unrealized result have always their ultimate end and satisfaction...The future carries in it all the failures of the past and keeps them for its use...Even our attempts to alter fixed process are not lost or vain; they modify the active vibrations of the fixed current of things and may even lead to an entire alteration of long standing processes...The refusal of great minds to accept the idea of impossibility is a just recognition of the omnipotence divinely present in us. (48)
  10. The attempt is often more important than the success. The infinite possibilities surrounding an act give to the act and event their full meaning and value. (Arjuna's hesitation to fight created the occasion for the Gita which would not have been created had he initially consented. Romeo and Juliet's story is a tragedy because of the very real possibility of happiness which was denied due to minor quirks of ‘circumstance').
  11. God in the world (as God above) is not bound but free, but only pretends to mind to be bound.(50) The soul of man is also eternally free. Mind in its multiple and dual play is the creator of the illusion of bondage. (51)
  12. Causality consists merely of the successive conditions of things in the world, one emerging out of another, by which Will acts out its rhythm of rearranged eventualities. (54)
  13. Man's first error is he believes the results belong to him. The second error is to assume the soul is subject to Nature. The soul is free to enjoy God's action in the world. Ego is subject to law of nature, not soul. By renouncing desire for the fruit of action and attachment to action itself, the soul gains freedom in action and God's will expresses through that action.
  14. The soul can not only be free but also be master. It is free when it stands back from the parts of being, free from ego. It is master when the soul identifies with the Lord, Ishwara, which is its true being.(58)
  15. To know the reality of mind, life and matter, we must cease to look only at the outside of things and look at their insides. Then we discover matter is only a term of energy, of force, prana, life energy. All material objects resolve themselves into constructions or forms of this subtle energy. All energy apparent in matter -- nervous energy, electric energy, even mental energy as far as it works in matter - are different forms of one working, Energy of Life, formulated force of existence. (60) According to Vedanta, the characteristic nature of any energy is to recognized in its highest rather than in its lowest expression. The higher expression is not a creation by the lower of something previously non-existent in it out of Nothingness, but a fuller manifestation of its true nature. [As we judge the nature of consciousness in the human embryo by the consciousness of the adult that emerges from it and not vice versa.]
  16. Going farther, we find that Mind knows itself independent of the senses as self-existent to itself. But three observations stand in the way of our accepting mind as the creator of life and matter. First, it knows itself only as individual mind, not as a universal creative force. All outside itself it knows only through the senses. Second, mind appears to be a servant not a master of life and matter, a translator and interpreter. Third, mind seems unable to create life or change material forms by direct action.
  17. But the true nature of mind is obscure, not fully revealed, in human mind. Vedantins experimented and discovered the powers of the divine mind: first, mind exists in man in its own self-sufficient consciousness, independent of the sense life. Second, mind in one body can subconsciously or superconsciously watch the workings of mind in other bodies, independent of senses and external means. Third, mind can know external objects without the senses. Fourth, the values put by mind on external contacts are determined not by the contacts but by the habits of mind, and they can be changed or varied or reversed at will. Fifth, mind can and does by will modify life forces as in hypnosis and heredity, and can even directly create forms. These powers are abnormal to humanity unless it evolves. (64)
  18. Mind has these powers because the values of all forms and forces in the universe have been originally and secretly created and determined by universal mind and are its formulations. All forms of life-energy are formations of mental force in which the principle of mind broods self-absorbed in work of life and concealed in form of life, just as life is concealed and self-absorbed in the clod and metal and has emerged in plant and animal.
  19. Mind is omnipresent. It does its works mechanically in bodies not organized for its conscious workings. The animal has more of sensational perceptive consciousness than contemplative conceptual consciousness.(65)
  20. As all forms that dissolve go back into the sea of life energy, so all forces that dissolve must go back into the sea of mental being by which and out of which they are formulated. Thus, we arrive at idealistic rationalism (after materialistic and vitalistic rationalism) and the monism of mind.
  21. Vedanta is not satisfied. It perceives that mind is a special force manifested out of being and not itself the ultimate nature of being. It discovers that life and matter are not developments of universal mind, but subordinate formations and movements of a supramental something. (66) 
  22. Science is limited in its power because it manipulates the same laws of matter by the power of mind, but it is limited to use of the existing formulas. One day it will discover the laws of life as well and utilize those laws both to manipulate life and matter. Eventually too it will discover the power of the laws of mind over all three planes. But still it will be limited to working through the established laws of each plane and not truly possess the power to create. For that, it must discover the power of the plane above mind, supermind, vijnana. (70)
  23. Mind (like supermind) is a principle of knowledge, life a principle of force, matter a principle of substance. 
  24. Space and time are the first symbols in a universe of consciousness symbols.  Space, a term of Being. Time, a term of Consciousness. (72)
  25. Conscious being has a double status of rest and motion, of Will for manifestation or for unextension. Will is Power of knowledge or Act of knowledge. [Knowledge is the passive state, Will the active.]
  26. Nimitti, process or order, figured in relation, succession and causality, is the third symbol of consciousness by which the universe is made possible. It makes possible arrangement of things in the idea of Space and arrangement of happenings in the idea of Time. (73)
  27. Consciousness working as Will is the agent and condition of cosmic existence, Ananda (the Self-delight of manifestation) is its cause [i.e. not the preceding conditions and process studied by science].


  Point PointNo


Point PointNo Text-Original Text-Modified Type
1 6 God inhabiting Nature, not just God and Nature as Brahman.\   Please check if this sentence conveys the intended meaning correctly.
2 21 Cause and result are merely the evocation of a latent and potential shape or condition of things out of the previous condition or status in which it is latent be some particular movement of a Conscious Force   Please check if this sentence conveys the intended meaning correctly.

story | by Dr. Radut