The Law of Life

We live in an interconnected world in which all forms and beings have interchange with one another. In reality this is due to their unity, but for those living primarily in a consciousness of separation, it appears to be a “give and take”, an interchange, or even a mutual devouring. Sri Aurobindo summarizes the essence of this relationship: “All active existence must be in its inmost reality a sacrifice of works offered by Prakriti to Purusha, Nature offering to the supreme and infinite Soul the desire of the multiple finite Soul within her.” Regardless of the Divinity to whom we offer the sacrifice, which is purely dependent on the level of development of the being and thus, the level of recognition it can achieve, it is still an offering directed at that larger Reality of which all must partake.

The interconnection cannot be avoided: “…for existence is one and its divisions must found themselves on some law of mutual dependence, each growing by each and living by all. Where sacrifice is not willingly given, Nature exacts it by force, she satisfies the law of her living. A mutual giving and receiving is the law of Life without which it cannot for one moment endure, and this fact is the stamp of the divine creative Will on the world it has manifested in its being, the proof that with sacrifice as their eternal companion the Lord of creatures has created all these existences. The universal law of sacrifice is the sign that the world is of God and belongs to God and that life is his dominion and house of worship and not a field for the self-satisfaction of the independent ego; not the fulfillment of the ego,–that is only our crude and obscure beginning, but the discovery of God, the worship and seeking of the Divine and the Infinite through a constantly enlarging sacrifice culminating in a perfect self-giving founded on a perfect self-knowledge is that to which the experience of life is at last intended to lead.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 13, The Lord of the Sacrifice, pp. 118-119

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All Existence Is One Universal Being In Manifestation

At the start of this new chapter, Sri Aurobindo takes the opportunity to provide a recap and overview of the main issues raised thus far in the Gita’s exposition, with particular focus on the treatment of works and the significance of the concept of sacrifice as the lynch-pin for freeing oneself from the bondage of the ego and attaining a consciousness of unity with the universal Divine.

The Gita proposes a totally different standpoint than that which we normally experience in our daily lives. While we tend to experience our separation and isolation from the whole, and thus, tend to feel like we are having to fight for survival and for success against a world that may be opposed, indifferent or actively hostile, there is a totally different form of consciousness that can be attained whereby we experience the world as one complete “whole” and in fact as a vast consciousness that manifests itself through Time, Space and Circumstance, with the sense of our individuality being a “device” but not an essential reality or fact of existence.

“The gospel of the Gita reposes upon this fundamental Vedantic truth that all being is the one Brahman and all existence the wheel of Brahman, a divine movement opening out from God and returning to God.”

This universal Being manifests by successively limiting its scope from universal undifferentiated awareness down to the ultimate fragmentation and separation of individual forms in the world of Matter. From that point, consciousness becomes its evolutionary climb back to universal awareness, while maintaining the ability to experience individuality. This is done through the mechanism of the triple status of the Purusha. “It must manifest itself in the mutable, and there we see it as the finite, the many, all existences, sarvabhutani.” There is also the immutable poise behind all the movement and changing of forms. And then there is the Purushottama which holds concurrently in its consciousness both the immutable and the mutable forms. The Purushottama is “…the supreme Divine, God, who possesses both the infinite and the finite and in whom the personal and the impersonal, the one Self and the many existences, being and becoming, the world-action and the supracosmic peace,…., meet, are united, are possessed together and in each other. In God all things find their secret truth and their absolute reconciliation.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 13, The Lord of the Sacrifice, pp. 117-118