The Divine Shakti Undertakes All Action in the Universe

Sri Aurobindo begins the second chapter with the following statement: “In all that is done in the universe, the Divine throughg his Shakti is behind all action but he is veiled by his Yoga Maya and works through the ego of the Jiva in the lower nature.”

In the space of this one sentence, Sri Aurobindo has clarified the Oneness of everything that exists, placed primacy on the Divine as the source of action, and described the manner in which the individual, rooted in the lower Nature, is misled into believing that it is he, the egoistic individual, which acts.

First some definitions. “Shakti” is the ultimate power of creation. “Yoga Maya” is generally translated under a sense of cosmic illusion, but it is probably more clearly understood as the “creative power that separates” the Oneness into Multiplicity, similar to the way a prism breaks white light into a rainbow of colors. The “Jiva” is the individual soul, the delegate of the Supreme in the form of the individual, which sanctions behind the veil of the ego, the individual action.

Most of us, fixed into our egoistic personalities, believe that the universe is more or less an impersonal machinery and that our conscious awareness has the power of choice and action. Sri Aurobindo points out that in fact, behind and above the individual personality, there is the Divine Force which is the true actor. If we recognise that the sun does not revolve around the sun, despite appearances, we can infer similarly the relationship of the individual personality to the Divine.

This reminds me of the first verse of the Isha Upanishad: “All this is for habitation by the Lord, whatsoever is individual universe of movement in the universal motion.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, Chapter Two, pg. 8 and , pg. 19