The Supreme and the Manifestation of Nature

When we reflect on the supreme, immutable, infinite Self-existence of the Divine, immanent, pervasive, unmoving and unmoved, and then turn our attention to the manifestation of Nature, with its variety of forms and forces, interactive, ever-changing and limited, the question arises as to what process gives rise to the manifestation and what the relation between the Immutable and the Mutable must be.

Sri Aurobindo provides us the insight into this question as set forth in the Gita: “The Supreme from above cosmic existence leans, it is here said, or presses down upon his Nature to loose from itin an eternal cyclic recurrence all that it contains in it, all that was once manifest and has become latent. All existences act in the universe in subjection to this impelling movement and to the laws of manifested being by which is expressed in cosmic harmonies the phenomenon of the divine All-existence.”

From the human standpoint, we can perhaps get a glimmmer of the process when we consider the inter-relationship of the sun and the earth. The light and energy of the sun strikes the earth, vivifying it and bringing forth from it the life-forms of the plants and from there, the development of animals and man. The sun also sets the atmosphere in motion and interacts with the earth to produce rain, wind and currents. Clearly without the sun to energize and “press upon” the earth, there would be no life on earth and no possibility of life. In a certain sense this is a general representation of the concept which takes place on the universal scale from the Gita’s perspective.

As with the forms that arise through the sun’s interaction with the earth, all forms and beings that arise from the pressure of the Supreme on Nature will follow their own nature and interact in ways that carry out the intention of the Supreme manifesting through Nature.

Depending on whether one is ignorant of this action or participates with knowledge, one may experience being controlled by or master of this action of Nature. “He is the presiding control of his own action of Nature….-not a spirit born in her, but the creative spirit who causes her to produce all that appears in the manifestation.”

Nevertheless, “the silent self that pervades and supports the cosmos is not affected by its changes because, though supporting, it does not participate in them. This greatest supreme supracosmic Self also is not affected because it exceeds and eternally transcends them.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 5, The Divine Truth and Way, pp. 305-306