Chapter XII Synopsis contd.. & Chapter XIII Paragraph 1

Study Notes

  • When Mind becomes free, unegoistic, strikes harmony with all other beings and with universal forces, the necessity of suffering diminishes. When one develops in the heart a oneness with the universal existence, no contact from outside can be harmful.
  • Because of our egoistic-narrow preferences we are unable to seize the essence- the Rasa of things, which has taken the imperfect and perverse forms of grief and pain, temporary pleasure or a neutral state of indifference. We must impose the sense of detachment on our nervous being. Only then it will be possible for us to sense the true delight of existence in all is variations.
  • We enjoy this universal and variable delight in aesthetic reception of things in Art & Poetry though it is not a pure delight which is supramental and supra-aesthetic. We are able to enjoy the Rasa of sorrowful, even the horrible characters and events described in Art & Poetry because we are liberated in a part of our nature from the grip of our ego. Full liberation can come by a similar liberation in all our parts by a universal perception of things, universal stand point of knowledge, universal detachment from all things.
  •  Suffering occurs when the conscious force in us fails to receive the external contacts equally because of our self-limiting ego. We must first have titiksa- it means our ability to face, endure and achieve victory over all shocks of life to achieve equality. It must be founded on Sachchidananda consciousness which is All-Bliss. We become neutral to the imperfect touches of pleasure and the perverse touches of pain. This is the first and direct and natural result of the soul’s self-discipline. The Sachchidananda consciousness may be transcendent which is the path of the ascetic or it may be at once transcendent and universal, embracing all which is the path of the ancient Vedic sages.
  • The pure self-consciousness in its movement becomes the varied play of Conscious-Force. The delight of existence is at first self-gathered, absorbed and sub-conscious at the level of matter. It emerges as a neutral movement which is not yet called sensation. Further, it emerges with the growth of mind and ego in the triple vibration of pain, pleasure and indifference which is caused by the limitation of force of consciousness in form. Finally, there is conscious and full emergence of Sachchidananda with the qualities of universality and equality. This is the course and movement of the world.
  • Why the One Existence should take delight in such a movement? Only in the mutable delight of becoming, the delight of existences is experienced in which all the possibilities of the Infinite are realised, when Sachchidananda which is hidden, begins to discover itself amidst the terms of Its opposites.
  • Infinite, in its aspects of Consciousness, self-sustaining Force, Delight, Unity loses itself in manifestation and emerges as finite soul, limited consciousness, insecure balance of world, discordant rhythm of pain & pleasure and discord of forces and beings. In this process of emergence there is intermediary status of imperfection which disappears in final emergence of Sachchidananda.
  • How Sachchidananda can emerge amidst this imperfect world?
    – Man has to universalise himself and widen his limited mental consciousness to attain superconscient unity.
    – The vital being of man should be capable of facing the shocks of the universe without shrinking and with equal delight.
    – His physical being must feel itself as one with the whole flow of the indivisible force that is in all things.
    – The whole nature of the individual must have a sense of unity, harmony and oneness with the Sachchidananda in all.
  • Through all this play, the secret reality is always one and the same delight of existence. It is the same in the sub-conscient sleep in matter before the emergence of the individual, the same in the struggle of the Sachchidananda in the varieties, ups and downs, perversions of the effort to find itself in its opposites in a half-conscious state of mind and life of which individual is the centre, it is same delight in the Superconscient into which man must eventually awake and possess in himself.

Chapter XIII
The Divine Maya


     We have so far come to the understanding that the universe is a manifestation of Divine Reality. It is a kind of self-manifestation, not a creation by somebody standing aloof from the universe. The Becoming manifests something that is held in the Being. The creator, the power of creation and the created are one and the same thing. There is one Supreme Existent who brings out from his own Being, the substance of this Universe.
     The Reality does not directly project itself in the form of this universe; there is a process and law. It is worked out by a Power of the Infinite Existence. Why a power is needed, when infinite has all the power in itself? Sri Aurobindo says the infinite force can only produce infinite results. There is a special power needed for the task of translating the truth potential of infinite Reality in to an actuality in the finite world. This power is Maya. It is a power of creation of finite forms out of infinite.
     In Indian Philosophy and Indian Life this word is often misused to refer something inexplicable, illusory.

By the Names of the Lord and hers they shaped and measured the force of the Mother of Light; wearing might after might of that Force as a robe the lords of Maya shaped out Form in this Being.

                                                                                                                                (Rig Veda, 3.38.7)


     Maya is the formative Power of God. The Reality, Sat-chit-ananda is infinite and eternal by its very nature. By itself it can create only infinity. Creation presupposes Form and Form means a finite. So to create finite out of the Infinite, to measure out forms out of the Formless, the Divine Reality puts out of its Being a Power that is conceptively creative. It is the Power that makes the infinite finite, shapes forms out of the boundless. This power is Maya.
     Name is the secret significance of the Gods. It denotes the power, quality and character of the reality to which it refers. The Powers of Maya know this secret of the many embodiments of the Supreme Lord of All. They also know the secret of the several emanations of the Shakti of the Lord. Knowing and operating this lever of potentiality, they bring out into shape and measure out the immeasurable, riches from the bosom(depths) of the radiant vast. They draw upon the puissance (great power) of this creative Mother-Power to hew (shape) this universe of Form in accord with the Real-Idea received by her from the Lord.
     Knowledge of the secret Names, ninya vacamsi, the truths ensouled in the various personalities of the Purusha and the Shakti, gives to these creative agents access to the dynamic Force of the Biune (two-in One) Being and enables them to delimit(measure) what is limitless, to shape form from what is beyond Form.

The Masters of Maya shaped all by His Maya; the Fathers who have divine vision set Him within as a child that is to be born.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (Rig Veda, 9.83.3)


     The higher Gods who are in possession of the knowledge and the process of the functioning of the Power of Maya work to bring out this creation from the Being of the Lord of All. They effectuate His intention, His idea through His own Puissance (great power). These progenitors (originators) of the universe are instinct with the consciousness of the Truth that is to be manifested and they set this Truth as the seed in each form that they shape out. It is this enwombed truth that is born in each as the soul-spark and grows steadily to its full stature in the course of evolution.
     Thus all is real, all derives from the Reality that is divine. The Source is the Being of the Supreme; the initiating power is His own Conscious-Force in action; the executing agents are emanations of this Shakti of the Lord; the directive they follow is the Real-Idea of the Lord; the seed they implant in every form is from the Being of the Creative Godhead.

(Source: Legends in The Life Divine – p.40- Shri M.P.Pandit, Dipti Publications, Sri Aurobindo Ashram)


     EXISTENCE that acts and creates by the power and from the pure delight of its conscious being is the reality that we are, the self of all our modes and moods, the cause, object and goal of all our doing, becoming and creating. As the poet, artist or musician when he creates does really nothing but develop some potentiality in his unmanifested self into a form of manifestation and as the thinker, statesman, mechanist only bring out into a shape of things that which lay hidden in themselves, was themselves, is still themselves when it is cast into form, so is it with the world and the Eternal. All creation
or becoming is nothing but this self-manifestation.


     What is it that really, we call ourselves? We are in reality the existence that acts and creates. What makes us act and create? It is the power of the conscious being is us which makes us act and it is from its pure delight all our acts begin. Existence (Sat)is the cause, object and goal of all our doing and creating.
     What happens when an artist, poet or a musician creates? In fact, he creates really nothing. What he does is he brings out some potentiality which is already in his unmanifested self into a form of manifestation. Man, as a thinker, statesman and a mechanist brings out what is hidden in him, into shapes of things. What they bring out in forms are nothing but themselves. All creation is nothing but self-manifestation. The same is true with the world which is nothing but the manifestation of the Eternal.

Out of the seed there evolves that which is already in the seed, pre-existent in being, predestined in its will to become, prearranged in the delight of becoming. The original plasm held in itself in force of being the resultant organism. For it is always that secret, burdened, self-knowing force which labours under its own irresistible impulse to manifest the form of itself with which it is charged.


     Tree is already involved in the seed. Under suitable conditions it evolves as a tree. That means, tree is pre-existent in the seed(being). It has already decided beforehand (pre-destined) in its will to become a tree. It is prearranged in the delight of becoming.
     The original plasm (the cell material) already has in itself the potential (force of being) of the organism it is going to become. This force of being is secret and self-knowing. It works hard under its own irresistible impulse to manifest the form of itself with which it is charged (like the seed of a tree is charged with the form of tree within itself)

Only, the individual who creates or develops out of himself, makes a distinction between himself, the force that works in him and the material in which he works. In reality the force is himself, the individualised consciousness which it instrumentalises is himself, the material which it uses is himself, the resultant form is himself. In other words it is one existence, one force, one delight of being which concentrates itself at various points, says of each “This is I” and works in it by a various play of self-force for a various play of self-formation.


     What happens in the case of the individual? He creates and develops something. In this process he makes a distinction between himself or the force that makes him work and the material in which he works. For example, a potter makes the clay pot. He makes a distinction between him (as a maker), his force or skill and the clay from which the pot is made.
     Sri Aurobindo says, in reality, the force that makes him create, the individualised consciousness that uses him, the material he uses and the form that he creates are nothing but himself only. It is one existence (Sat), one force (chit-shakti) and one delight of being (Ananda) that concentrates itself at various points. Each one it calls it as “This is I”. In each point it works with various play of self-force and various play of self-formation.