Acknowledging and Accepting the Dance of Destruction

The spiritual tradition of India provides a clear-eyed view of the process of creation, preservation and destruction. The aspect of destruction is not hidden, minimized or avoided in any way. the imagery used is intended to evoke powerful emotional reactions so that it strikes us at a level deeper than a philosophical understanding in an abstract sense. It is real. It impacts every aspect of life. We cannot turn away.

It is interesting that the world over, destruction when we view it has an undying fascination for the human mind. We cannot turn away from massive fires, floods, tornadoes, or other disasters, natural or otherwise. This fascination is based on our inner sense of the need to face and grapple with this aspect of the Truth of life.

Sri Aurobindo describes the view of the Indian tradition, and in particular the Gita: “This is the figure of the supreme and universal Being, the Ancient of Days who is for ever…, this is he who for ever creates, for Brahma the Creator is one of the Godheads seen in his body, he who keeps the world always in existence, for he is the guardian of the eternal laws, but who is always too destroying in order that he may new-create, who is Time, who is Death, who is Rudra the dancer of the calm and awful dance, who is Kali with her garland of skulls trampling naked in battle and flecked with the blood of the slaughtered Titans, who is the cyclone and the fire and the earthquake and pain and famine and revolution and ruin and the swallowing ocean.”

Most religions and philosophies try to find a way to separate this aspect of destruction from the action of God. Thus arise the various dualities that make of the Absolute something less than “absolute” by positing something other, different and opposed. “The raw religionist, the superficial optimistic thinker, the sentimental idealist, the man at the mercy of his sensations and emotions agree in twisting away from the sterner conclusions, the harsher and fiercer aspects of universal existence.”

Until we can look with an equal eye on the creation and the destruction that accompanies it, we will not be able to view the world from the Divine standpoint.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 10, The Vision of the World-Spirit–Time the Destroyer, pp. 366-367