Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sri Aurobindo's Call to End the Unnecessary Negation of Matter

'Quantum physics has left many scientists baffled, again, the discovery that our physical material reality isn’t really physical at all can be quite confusing. Scientists began to explore the relationship between energy and the structure of matter at the turn of the 19th century, this is approximately the time when the idea of a Newtonian material universe was dropped from the heart of scientific knowing, and replaced by the fact that matter is nothing but an illusion, that everything in the universe is made out of energy.

“If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet. Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.” ˗ Niels Bohr, a Danish Physicist
I came across the above excerpt and quote in 'The Influence Vedic Philosophy Had On Nikola Tesla’s Idea Of Free Energy' by Arjun Walia, and thought what a shame not only that people continue happily negate the reality of matter and our material universe, but that this ignorance/wrong conclusion is implied to be Vedic in its origin. It seems apparent in much of what I read these days that scientists and spiritualists alike, even those who feel they are in tune with the new age and the new field of consciousness that lies before us to be lived and explored, are still deeply enamored with and fooled by the age-old notion that matter and time, and anything the Earth offers is an illusion, not real. 

People who cite the Vedas to support the idea that matter must be regarded as unreal, arrived at thanks to age-old Buddhist teachings and certain findings of Quantum Physics, need to realize that there was no such ignorance taught in the Vedas ... no such negation of matter. The Vedic seeing that matter IS a manifestation of energy/spirit, in no way justifies the mind's conclusion that matter and material creation is not REAL.

Sri Aurobindo has made this abundantly clear in his many writings on the Vedas and on the evolution of consciousness on Earth. This earthly evolution and forward progress according to him necessitates reversing and leaving behind this conclusion of the old yogas and philosophies, including Vedanta and the entire misconception of the Vedic meaning of Maya as the illusion of material creation.

In The Life Divine he wrote:
 'The word Maya in its original [Vedic] sense meant 'a comprehending and containing consciousness capable of embracing, measuring and limiting and therefore formative; it is that which outlines, measures out, moulds forms in the formless, psychologises and seems to make knowable the Unknowable, geometrises and seems to make measurable the limitless. Later the word came from its original sense of knowledge, skill, intelligence to acquire a pejorative sense of cunning, fraud or illusion, and it is in the figure of an enchantment or illusion that it is used by the philosophical systems.' (p. 111)

'... the old Semitic Revelation tells us, 'God said, Let there be Light, and there was Light. But when we say, 'God said, Let there be Light' we assume the act of a power of consciouness which determines light out of everything else that is not light; and when we say 'and there was Light' we presume a directing faculty, an active power corresponding to the original perceptive power, which brings out the phenomenon and, working out Light according to the line of the original perception, prevents it from being overpowered by all the infinite possibilities that are other than itself. Infinite consciousness in its infinite possibilities that are other than itself. Infinite consciousness in its infinite action can produce only infinite results; to settle upon a fixed Truth or order of truths and build a world in conformity with that which is fixed, demands a selective faculty of knowledge commissioned to shape finite appearance out of the infinite Reality.

This power was known to the Vedic seers by the name of Maya. Maya for them meant the power of infinite consciousness to comprehend, contain in itself and measure out, that is to say, to form ˗ for form is delimitation ˗ Name and Shape out of the vast illimitable Truth of infinite existence. It is by Maya that static truth of essential being becomes ordered truth of active being, ˗ or, to put it in more metaphysical language, out of the supreme being in which all is without barrier of separative consciousness emerges the phenomenal being in which all is in each and each in in all for the play of existence with existence, consciousness with consciousness, force with force, delight with delight. This play of all in each and each in all is concealed at first from us by the mental play or the illusion of Maya which persuades each that he is in all but not all in him and that he is in all as a separated being not as a being always inseparably one with the rest of existence. Afterwards we have to emerge from this error into the supramental play or the truth of Maya where the 'each' and the 'all' coexist in the inseparable unity of the one truth and the multiple symbol. The lower, present and deluding mental Maya first has to be embraced, then to be overcome....  (pp 125-126)
Below are excerpts from a letter Sri Aurobindo wrote to his brother in 1920 and from his book Rebirth and Karma, followed by a link to a lengthy passage from The Life Divine, Book II ˗ 'The Knowledge and the Ignorance ˗ The Spiritual Evolution', Chapter VI ˗ 'Reality and the Cosmic Illusion' which will help readers consider a more integral yoga in which the true relationship between [i.e. unified field of] matter and spirit is understood as it was understood by the Vedic Rishis.

from Sri Aurobindo, 7th April 1920

... The Guru of the world who is within us gave me the complete direction of my path, its full theory, the ten limbs of the body of the Yoga. These ten years He has been making me develop it in experience. But it is not yet finished. It may take another two years, and as long as it is not finished, I doubt if I shall be able to return to Bengal. Pondicherry is the appointed place for my Yoga siddhi, except one part of it — that is, the action. The first centre of my work is Bengal, although I hope that its circumference will be all India and the whole earth. ...
        [The] root principle [of the way of Yoga] is to make a harmony and unity of complete knowledge, complete work and complete bhakti, to raise this above the mind, and to give it its complete perfection on the level of gnosis above the mind. The fault of the old Yoga was this, that it knew the mind and knew the Spirit and it was satisfied with getting the Spirit expressed in the mind. The mind can grasp only the division, it cannot completely grasp the infinite, the indivisible. In order to reach it, sannyasa, moksa, nirvana are the mind's means. One man or another can get this featureless Moksha, but what is the gain? The Brahman, the Self, God, are always there. What God wants in man is to embody Himself here in the individual and the community, to realise God in life. The old way of Yoga would not make the harmony or union of the Spirit and life. It dismissed the world as Maya or a transient Lila. The result has been the loss of the power of life and degeneration of India. It is said in the Gita "These people would perish if I did not do works" and in fact the people of India have truly gone down to ruin. What sort of spiritual perfection is this, that some Sanyasins and Vairagis should be saintly, perfect and liberated, some Bhaktas should dance in restless ecstasy or love and emotion and Ananda and a whole race should become lifeless, void of intelligence, sunk in deep Tamas; one must first get all the partial experiences on the mental level, flood them with the spiritual delight and illumine them with the light of the spirit and then rise above. If one cannot rise above, that is, to the Supramental level, it is hardly possible to know the last secret of the world. The problem of the world does not get solved. There, the ignorance of duality between spirit and matter, the spiritual truths and life, disappears. There one need no longer call the world Maya. The world is the eternal Lila of God, the eternal manifestation of the Self. There it becomes possible to fully know and fully possess God — as it is said in the Gita, "To know Me integrally". ...
        The physical body, the life, the mind and understanding, the supermind and Ananda, these are the spirit's five levels. The higher we rise the nearer we get to the condition of the highest perfection of Man's spiritual evolution. By rising to the supermind it becomes easy to rise to the Ananda. There is a firm foundation in the condition of the indivisible and Infinite Ananda. Not only in the timeless Akshara Brahman, but in the body, in life, in the world. The full Being, the full Consciousness, the full Ananda, blossoms out and takes form in Life. This is the central clue of my Yoga, its fundamental word.
        This is not easy to do. After these fifteen years I am only now rising into the lowest of the three levels of the Supermind and trying to draw up into it all the lower activities. But when this Siddhi is complete I am absolutely certain that God will through me give Siddhi of the Supermind to others with less difficulty. Then my real work will begin. I am not impatient for success in the work. What is to happen will happen in God's appointed time, I am not disposed to run widely and leap into the field of work in the strength of my little ego. Even if I did not succeed in my work I would not be shaken. This work is not mine but God's. I will listen to no other's call. When God moves me then I will move.
        I knew well that Bengal is not really ready. The spiritual flood which has come is for the most part a new form of the old. It is not real change. Still it was needed. Bengal has been awakening in itself the old Yogas and exhausting their sanskaras, extracting the essence and fertilising the soil. At first it was the turn of Vedanta: the Advaita, Sannyasa, Shankara's Maya etc. What is now taking place is the turn of the Vaishnava Dharma — the Lila, love, intoxication of the emotional delights. The merit of Vaishnava is that it keeps a connection between God and world and gives a meaning to life. The tendency to create sects which you have noticed was inevitable. It is the nature of the mind to take the part and call it the whole and to exclude all the other parts. The Siddha who brings the Bhava, although he leans on the partial Bhava, yet keeps some knowledge of the integral, even though he may not be able to give it form. The bundles will open of themselves. All these are the signs of the incompleteness and unripe condition. I am not disturbed by it. Let the spiritual power play in the country in whatever way and in as many sects as there may be. Afterwards we shall see. This is the infancy or embryonic condition. It is the previous hint, not even the beginning.
        I do not want a society founded on division. I want a Sangha which is the image of spiritual unity and founded on spirit. You will say, what is the need of a Sangha I will be free and remain in every vessel. Let all become one without form, let whatever must be happen in the midst of the vast formlessness. That is true but only one side of the truth. Our business is not with the form-less spirit. We have to keep life in motion. There is no effective motion of life without form. The taking of life by the formless, the assumption of name and form is not a caprice of Maya. It was needed. We do not want to leave anything of the world. Politics, industry, society, poetry, literature, art, will all remain. But we shall have to give them a new soul and a new form.
        .... My idea is that the chief cause of the weakness of India is not subjection, nor poverty, nor the lack of spirituality, nor dharma but the decline of thought-power, the growth of ignorance in the Motherland of knowledge.

 An Excerpt from Rebirth and Karma, 'Ascending Unity'

The word of the ancient Veda stands, ˗ out of all the ocean of inconscience, apraketaṁ salilaṁ sarvam idam, it is that one spiritual Existent who is born by the greatness of his own energy, tapasas tan mahinā ajāyata ekam. ... This greatness turns out to have been the very self-existent substance and power of our being.... All assumption of form is a constant and yet progressive birth or becoming of the soul, sambhava, sambhūti, ˗ the dumb and blind and brute is that and not only the finely, mentally conscious human or the animal existence. All this infinite becoing is a birth of the Spirit into form. This is the truth, obscure at first or vague to the intelligence, but very luminous to an inner experience, on which the ancient Indian idea of rebirth took its station. ...

... Individuality is as important a thing to the ways of the Spirit of existence as universality. The individual is that potent secret of its being upon which the universal stresses and leans and makes the knot of power of all its workings: as the individual grows in consciousness and sight and knowledge and all divine power and quality, increasing he becomes aware of the universal in himself, but aware of himself too in the universality, of his own past not begun and ended in the single transient body, but opening to future consummations. If the single aim of the universal in our birth is to become self-conscient and possess and enjoy its being, still it is done through the individual's flowering and perfection; if to escape from its own workings be the last end, still it is the individual that escapes while the universal seems content to continue its multitudinous births to all eternity. Therefore the individual would appear to be a real power of the Spirit and not a simple illusion or device. ...'

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