Paragraph 9 – 11

Study Notes


     This power was known to the Vedic seers by the name of Maya. Maya meant for them 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 all without barrier of separative consciousness emerges the phenomenal being in which all is in each and each is in all for the play of existence with existence, consciousness with consciousness, force with force, delight with delight.


     The power which brings out a finite possibility out of the infinite possibility was known to the Vedic seers by name Maya. They meant by the word Maya, the power of the Infinite consciousness to include, to contain in itself and to measure out to form. This form with Name and Shape is a delimitation (limiting the limitless) of the vast illimitable Truth of infinite existence.
     The truth of the essential being (which is the unmanifest Brahman) is static. By Maya this essential being becomes ordered truth of active being. In the supreme being there is no division; all is all without barrier of separative consciousness. There is Oneness. From the supreme being emerges the phenomenal being (manifested form in the world). Here Sachchidananda which is the One becomes the Many. Sachchidananda is in each; each is in Sachchidananda. There is play of existence with existence (sat with sat), consciousness with consciousness (chit with chit), force with force (chit-shakti with chit-shakti), delight with delight (Ananda with Ananda).

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.


     Sachchidananda is in each individual being. Each individual being is in Sachchidananda. We are unable to see this truth because we are limited by our mind’s incapacity and the illusion of lower Maya. This illusion makes the mind believe that he is in all but not all in him. It makes one believe that he is in all as a separate being; not as inseparably one with the rest of the existence.
     This error in our perception is rectified when we emerge into the supramental plane or when we realise the truth of higher Maya. Here, we realise the truth that each and the all are not different but they coexist. They exist in inseparable unity of one truth and the multiplicity.

The lower, present and deluding mental Maya has first to be embraced, then to be overcome; for it is God’s play with division and darkness and limitation, desire and strife and suffering in which He subjects Himself to the Force that has come out of Himself and by her obscure suffers Himself to be obscured. That other Maya concealed by this mental has to be overpassed, then embraced; for it is God’s play of the infinities of existence, the splendours of knowledge, the glories of force mastered and the ecstasies of love illimitable where He emerges out of the hold of Force, holds her instead and fulfils in her illumined that for which she went out from Him at the first.


     We live presently in this lower mental Maya which creates false appearances. First, we have to accept this lower Maya and then we have to overcome it. We cannot escape from this world of multiplicity. We should live in it and yet go beyond it. This lower Maya is God’s play with His opposites – division, darkness, desire, strife and suffering. These opposites are nothing but His Force that came out of Him. God subjects Himself to the darkness of this Force.
     In this process the mental Maya conceals the higher or Divine Maya. There is an aspect of infinite concealed behind each aspect of finite. Going beyond our mental or lower Maya we have to embrace the Divine Maya. The Divine Maya is the God’s play of the infinities of existence (Sat), splendours of knowledge (Chit), mastering of Force (Chit-Shakti) and ecstasies of illimitable love (Ananda). Here the God is no more under the hold of the Force. Instead, he takes control of the Force. The Force that came out of the God into darkness fulfils itself by returning back into the hold of God.


     This distinction between the lower and the higher Maya is the link in thought and in cosmic Fact which the pessimistic and illusionist philosophies miss or neglect. To them the mental Maya, or perhaps an Overmind, is the creatrix of the world, and a world created by mental Maya would indeed be an inexplicable paradox and a fixed yet floating nightmare of conscious existence which could neither be classed as an illusion nor as a reality.


     The lower Maya or mental Maya is the world of duality and multiplicity we live in. This lower Maya conceals higher or Divine Maya. The higher or Divine Maya is the realm of infinity and unity. There is a distinction between the lower and higher Maya. This distinction is the link in thought and in the Fact of the universe which connects the lower and the higher Maya. The illusionist philosophies fail to take note of this link. For them the world is nothing but illusion, Maya.
     For the Mayavadins it is the mental Maya or an Overmind which created the world. They say, the world is the creation of mind. Naturally, a world created by mental Maya would be an inexplicable paradox (seemingly contradictory). For them existence is like a bad dream which can be called neither an illusion nor a reality.


“The Divine … is behind all action but he is veiled by his Yoga Maya….”
     Yes, he is veiled by the consciousness of material Nature. There is the consciousness in its origin which does not veil the Divine but expresses him. There is the consciousness in its outer form which veils him. Some say this is willed, that it is to allow the game to be played; that the Divine hides himself behind material Nature to compel all conscious beings to find Him. That is an opinion… people say many things.
     One of the great difficulties for most philosophies is that they have never recognised or studied the different planes of existence, the different regions of the being. They have the Supreme and then the Creation and then that’s all, nothing between the two. This makes explanations very difficult…. All explanations, in the last analysis, are simply languages—there are languages which make understanding easier and others which make it more difficult. And some of these theories make the understanding of things very difficult—while if you recognise and study and become aware of the different intermediary states between the most material Nature and the Supreme Origin, if you recognise and become conscious of all the intermediary regions, of all the inner states of being and all the outer regions, that can explain many problems.
                                                                                                        The Mother: CWM: VOL 4: P.369)

We have to see that the mind is only an intermediate term between the creative governing knowledge and the soul imprisoned in its works. Sachchidananda, involved by one of His lower movements in the self-oblivious absorption of Force that is lost in the form of her own workings, returns towards Himself out of the self-oblivion; Mind is only one of His instruments in the descent and the ascent. It is an instrument of the descending creation, not the secret creatrix, —a transitional stage in the ascent, not our high original source and the consummate term of cosmic existence.


     There is a governing knowledge (Supermind) behind the creation. The soul, which is the delegate of the Divine is imprisoned within its forms. Mind is the intermediate term between emerging soul below and the governing knowledge above.
     Sachchidananda in Its lower movements in the world has completely gone into hiding in the workings of Its Force. Sachchidananda emerges out of its self-hidden status. Mind is the instrument through which Sachchidananda descends into the lower and again ascends into the higher. Mind is only an instrument of the descending creation. It is not the original, secret creatrix.
     Similarly, it is only a transitional stage in our ascent (rise). It is not our high original source. It is not the ultimate accomplishment of our cosmic existence.


     The philosophies which recognise Mind alone as the creator of the worlds or accept an original principle with Mind as the only mediator between it and the forms of the universe, may be divided into the purely noumenal and the idealistic. The purely noumenal recognise in the cosmos only the work of Mind, Thought, Idea: but Idea may be purely arbitrary and have no essential relation to any real Truth of existence; such Truth, if it exists, may be regarded as a mere Absolute aloof from all relations and irreconcilable with a world of relations. The idealistic interpretation supposes a relation between the Truth behind and the conceptive phenomenon in front, a relation which is not merely that of an antinomy and opposition.


     There are philosophies which consider Mind (here Mind refers to Universal Mind) alone is the creator of worlds. Or they accept an original principle which is responsible for creation of forms in the world with Mind as a mediator. Mind conceived as sole truth, it is noumenal; mind being an intermediate truth, has an ideal behind it, that is called idealistic philosophy.
     The noumenal philosophy considers the universe the work of the Mind, Thought, Idea. This idea may be purely arbitrary (random) not relating to any real Truth of existence. Even if there is any Truth such a Truth may be an Absolute one, aloof and irreconcilable with our relative world.
     The idealistic philosophy conceives of a world where there is ideal Truth behind and a phenomenal world in the front without any conflict or opposition between them. This is a very idealistic concept in contrast with the reality of the world.

The view I am presenting goes farther in idealism; it sees the creative Idea as Real-Idea, that is to say, a power of Conscious Force expressive of real being, born out of real being and partaking of its nature and neither a child of the Void nor a weaver of fictions. It is conscious Reality throwing itself into mutable forms of its own imperishable and immutable substance. The world is therefore not a figment of conception in the universal Mind, but a conscious birth of that which is beyond Mind into forms of itself.


     Sri Aurobindo says, his view of the creation of the universe, goes beyond in idealism. He says there is Real-Idea behind the creation. This Real-Idea is the power of the Conscious Force (chit shakti). This power is the expression of real being (Sat, Existence) and is born out of the real being. It is a part of the nature of the real being. This power which creates the universe is not something which came out of Nothingness. It is not something which creates an unreal world.
     The power which creates the worlds is conscious Reality. By nature, the substance of this Reality is immutable (not subject to change) and imperishable (not destroyable). Out of its substance, it creates mutable (changeable) forms in the universe.
     Therefore, Sri Aurobindo says, the world is not an imagination in the universal mind. But it is a conscious birth of ‘that’ which is beyond mind. ‘That’ only has created various forms of itself in the world.

A Truth of conscious being supports these forms and expresses itself in them, and the knowledge corresponding to the truth thus expressed reigns as a supramental Truth-consciousness** organising real ideas in a perfect harmony before they are cast into the mental-vital-material mould. Mind, Life and Body are an inferior consciousness and a partial expression which strives to arrive in the mould of a various evolution at that superior expression of itself already existent to the Beyond-Mind. That which is in the Beyond-Mind is the ideal which in its own conditions it is labouring to realise.

(** I take the phrase from the Rig Veda, —rta-cit, which means the consciousness of essential truth of being (satyam), of ordered truth of active being (rtam) and the vast self-awareness (brhat) in which alone this consciousness is possible.)


     Sri Aurobindo says, a Truth of conscious being supports the forms in the universe and It expresses Itself in these forms. The knowledge which corresponds to the truth thus expressed in the forms is seated as supramental Truth-consciousness. It organises real ideas in perfect harmony before they take the mental, vital and physical forms.
     Mind, Life and Body are an inferior consciousness. In the course of their evolutionary journey, they move towards the superior expression of that (Truth-consciousness) that lies Beyond-Mind. The Truth-consciousness which lies Beyond-Mind is the ideal labouring to realise itself in its own conditions.

“It seems to me that the number of people in the world accepting the truth of our Yoga of Transformation would not be as large as those who accepted Buddhism, Vedanta or Christianity.”
     Here is Sri Aurobindo’s answer. Notice his humour. I draw your attention to his humour.
     “Nothing depends on the number. The numbers of Buddhism or Christianity were so great because the majority professed it as a creed without its making the least difference to their external life.
     “If the new consciousness were satisfied with that, it could also and much more easily command homage and acceptance by the whole earth. It is because it is a greater consciousness, the Truth Consciousness, that it will insist on a real change.”
                                                                                                      The Mother -CWM: VOL 6: P.454)