Sri Aurobindo asks us to look for a common thread that underlies the “infra-ethical”, the “ethical” and the “supra-ethical” stages of existence. While humans have clearly developed a framework of ethics, it is clear that the manifestation of the physical and vital world is non-ethical or “infra-ethical”. And it is also clear that there are potential stages beyond the human where ethics no longer is an issue as our solutions become “supra-ethical.”
The solution to the problem of pain and suffering comes with the recognition that the starting point is Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss) developing itself into manifestation and evolving through ever more complex forms and relationships, for the purpose of the innate delight of existence.
As the Taittiriya Upanishad puts it, “for who could labour to draw in the breath or who could have strength to breathe it out, if there were not that Bliss in the heaven of his heart, the ether within his being?” Taittirya Upanishad II.7 translated by Sri Aurobindo in The Upanishads.
As long as we are trapped within a purely human awareness with its limitations, we see only joy and pain, delight and suffering. But when we are able to move the consciousness to that place where we become one with the Eternal, Pure Existent, we relate to the impressions differently, and the delight that flows in the consciousness is not offset by pain, but rather, both joy and pain are part of a continuum of energy and vibration contained within that delight. Delight of existence is uncaused, universal, and not dependent on particular patterns, habits or causes. The pure Delight of Existence is not modified by desire or the failure to fulfill desire. In fact, it is the habitual motion of desire that tends to obscure it from our awareness.
We can see in our own limited experience that overcoming the impulsion of desire can yield a much stronger and more lasting joy than the fulfillment of that desire, which then wanes and needs to be repeated. When we can achieve the status of non-desiring, through unification with the all-embracing Existence, Consciousness and Bliss, then we find that we are not troubled by pain, grief or suffering.
The Buddha recognized the need to solve the problem of suffering through breaking the bonds of desire. The resultant state of consciousness need not be an empty, negative space, but can be one filled with the energy of manifestation and the Bliss of Existence not only of Being but of Becoming.
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 11, Delight of Existence: The Problem
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