PARAGRAPH 19 (contd…)
It is an operation of Conscious-Force which is neither the mere formation of substance nor the operation of mind with substance and form as its object of apprehension; it is rather an energising of conscious being which is a cause and support of the formation of substance and an intermediate source and support of conscious mental apprehension. Life, as this intermediate energising of conscious being, liberates into sensitive action and reaction a form of the creative force of existence which was working subconsciently or inconsciently, absorbed in its own substance; it supports and liberates into action the apprehensive consciousness of existence called mind and gives it a dynamic instrumentation so that it can work not only on its own forms but on forms of life and matter; it connects, too, and supports, as a middle term between them, the mutual commerce of the two, mind and matter.
Life is an operation of Conscious-Force. It is not a mere formation of substance. Nor is it the operation of mind with substance and form as its object of apprehension. It is rather an energising of conscious being which is a cause and support of the formation of substance. This conscious being is an intermediate source and support of conscious mental apprehension.
Life as an energising of conscious being liberates into sensitive action and reaction, a form of the creative force of existence. This was working subconsciently or inconsciently absorbed in its own substance. It supports and liberates into action the apprehensive consciousness of existence called mind. It gives mind a dynamic instrumentation so that it can work not only on its own forms but on forms of life and matter.
Life is a middle term between mind and matter. It connects and supports the mutual commerce between the two.
This means of commerce Life provides in the continual currents of her pulsating nerve-energy which carry force of the form as a sensation to modify Mind and bring back force of Mind as will to modify Matter. It is therefore this nerve-energy which we usually mean when we talk of Life; it is the Prana or Life-force of the Indian system. But nerve-energy is only the form it takes in the animal being; the same Pranic energy is present in all forms down to the atom, since everywhere it is the same in essence and everywhere it is the same operation of Conscious-Force,—Force supporting and modifying the substantial existence of its own forms, Force with sense and mind secretly active but at first involved in the form and preparing to emerge, then finally emerging from their involution. This is the whole significance of the omnipresent Life that has manifested and inhabits the material universe.
Life provides this means of commerce (between mind and matter) in the continual currents of her pulsating nerve-energy. These continual currents carry the force of the form as a sensation to modify Mind and bring back force of Mind as will to modify Matter.
Therefore, when we talk of Life, we usually mean this nerve-energy. It is the Prana or Life-force of the Indian system. But nerve-energy is only the form it takes in the animal being. The same Pranic energy is present in all forms down to the atom. Everywhere it is the same in essence and the same operation of Conscious-Force. It is the Force that supports and modifies the substantial existence of its own forms. It is the Force with sense and mind secretly active, first involved in the form and preparing to emerge; it finally emerges from their involution. This is the whole significance of omnipresent Life that has manifested and inhabits the material universe.
- Life manifests itself upon earth with Matter as its basis. It is essentially a form of the one cosmic Energy and its dynamic movement. It maintains the forms by an unceasing process of disintegration and renewal of their substance. This process shows that the natural opposition we make between death and life is an error of our mentality.
- Death has no reality except as a process of life. Disintegration of substance and its renewal, maintenance and change of form are the constant process of life. Even in the death only the material of one form of life is broken up to serve as material for other forms of life.
- There is one all-pervading Life or dynamic energy which is the fundamental aspect of Life. The material aspect of Life is its outmost movement. The all-pervading Life is imperishable and eternal. Even if the whole universe were to be abolished Life would itself still go on existing.
- All existence here is a universal Life hidden in material forms, later emerging as submental sensitivity in some plants and mentalised vitality found in animals and man. It remains throughout the same creative Life-principle.
- We do not consider Life as a Force which creates, maintains and destroys forms. What we mean by Life is a particular result of universal force with which we are familiar, manifesting itself only in the animal and the plant but not in other material forms like metal, stone, gas; operating in the animal cell but not in the pure physical atom.
- Animal life is characterised by movement, breathing, eating, feeling and desires. Spontaneous motion or locomotion, breathing, eating are only processes of life and not life itself. They are means for the generation or release of that constantly stimulating energy.
- It is proven that human life can remain in the body when the breathing and the beating of the heart, thought to be essential for life, are temporarily suspended, yet the body can remain in full consciousness.
- It was discovered by an Indian Scientist that plants respond to stimulus, a sure sign of existence of life. The same proof of vitality, the response to stimulus, had been affirmed by him in metals as well. If instruments of the right nature could be invented, more points of similarities between the metal and plant life could be discovered.
- There is no rigid line of demarcation between the earth and the metal formed in it or between the metal and the plant. Each step of this graded existence prepares the next.
- Physical response to stimulus is only an outward sign of life. Yet, during its whole existence the plant is responding to a constant mass of stimulation from its environment. There is a constantly maintained force in the plant which responds to the application of force from its surroundings.
- There is a constant dynamic energy in movement in the universe. In each physical body or object, plant or animal or metal, the same dynamic force is stored and active. A certain interchange of these two forces gives us the phenomena which we associate with the idea of life. It is this action that we recognise as the action of Life-Energy.
- Life-Force maintains dynamic energy of life in the body. Even when a form appears to us to be dead, this force exists in its potentiality and can be revived within certain limits. In certain forms of trance both the physical functioning and the mental activities are suspended. The Force that maintains dynamic energy of life in the body has indeed suspended its outer operations but still gives the character of life to the body.
- When the Life-force in the body becomes entirely inert, not responding to the pressure of the environing forces, the process of disintegration of life begins. In this case, there is Life in the body which is busy with the process of disintegration of the formed substance in order to escape in its elements and constitute with them new forms. The Will in the universal force that held the form together, now withdraws from the constitution, supporting a process of dispersion. Real death of the body happens now only.
- The interchange of Life-Force takes place between different forms it has built up. Each form constantly takes into itself and gives out again the breath and energy of the common Force and nourishes itself with it by various means.
- We admit the presence of life in the plant but not in the metal, the earth and the chemical atom because the phenomena of life are obvious in the plant. If we take the life in the plant and the life in ourselves, they differ from each other. We have power of locomotion and conscious sensation which is not yet evolved in the plant. Plants show symptoms of nervous sensation. The same nervous sensation is felt by us as pleasure and pain, waking and sleep, excitement, dullness and fatigue.
- When a sensitive plant shrinks from a contact it appears that there is a nervous reaction. It means there is a subconscious sensation in the plant as we have subconscious operations of similar nature in ourselves. In human beings these subconscious perceptions and sensations can be brought to the surface long after they have happened or ceased to affect the nervous system. It is quite possible that there is a more rudimentary life operation of the subconscious sense-mind in the metal.
- In certain forms of concentration, our mentality, the Prajnana or apprehensive consciousness almost ceases to act consciously. Yet the work of the body and the nerves and the sense-mind goes on unnoticed but constant and perfect as in the activity of writing. The whole of man may sink into the subconscious. Yet the habitual movements of the mind may continue as in many phenomena of sleep. Or a person may rise into the superconscient and yet be active with the subliminal mind in the body as in certain phenomena of samadhi or trance.
- In the plant the conscious Force manifesting itself in the universe has not yet fully emerged from the sleep of Matter. It is an absorption which entirely divides the worker Force from its source of work in the superconscient knowledge. It does subconsciously what it will do consciously in man.
- There is something in the atom that becomes in us this will and desire. They are inconscient or subconscient in atom yet present in it because, they are present in the Force which builds up and constitutes the atom.
- This Force is basically the Chit-Tapas or Chit-Shakti of the Vedanta, the consciousness-force. It manifests itself as nervous energy full of submental sensation in the plant, as desire-sense and desire-will in the primary animal forms, as mental will and knowledge in man.
- The Life in the plant is differently organised than in animal. Yet it is the same power characterised by birth, growth and death. The identity between the animal and the plant becomes closer if we consider it has a nervous system and its responses to stimuli.
- There is an involution of life with all these powers in Matter for a later evolution and emergence. We cannot think that Life is a new creation magically introduced into the Nature in an inexplicable manner. This assumption is arbitrary. It is true that a pressure from plane of Life above the material universe has assisted that emergence of life here. But it does not exclude origin of life from Matter as a primary and necessary movement.
- The material energy that aggregates, forms and disaggregates is the same Power in another grade of itself as Life-Energy which expresses itself in birth, growth and death. In Matter the Life-Energy does the works of Intelligence in a subconscious sleep-action. Yet it shows itself as the same Power that in another grade attains the status of Mind.
- The soul as a nucleus draws to itself and groups around itself, the elements of its mental, vital and physical sheaths and their contents and increases these formations in life. When the soul leaves the body, it drops and disaggregates these formed elements. It draws back into itself its inner powers till in the next birth it repeats the original process.
- Life is essentially the same everywhere from atom to man. Life is a universal operation of Conscious-Force in three stages. In the lowest, the vibration is still in the sleep of Matter; it is entirely subconscious and wholly mechanical. In the middle stage the vibration becomes capable of a response which is still submental but on the verge of consciousness. The highest is that in which life develops conscious mentality.
- When we talk of Life, we usually mean the nerve-energy, the Prana or Life-force. But nerve-energy is only the form it takes in the animal being. The same Pranic energy is present in all forms down to the atom. Everywhere it is the same in essence and the same operation of Conscious-Force. This is the whole significance of omnipresent Life that has manifested and inhabits the material universe.