Meeting the Divine Along the Path of Evolution and Yoga

In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna is granted the vision of the Divine and is overwhelmed by the experience. Similarly we learn of those who are vouchsafed an extraordinary experience or vision of some ultimate form of the Divine, generally as a result of a Grace acting upon the seeker who has dedicated himself to the spiritual quest. We thus conceive of the vision of God as being something miraculous and rare, the result of long efforts. The vision quest, the sojourn in the desert, the fasting and prayers in the monastery, the solitary contemplation in the caves or the forest or along the river bank, all represent our ways of seeking this extraordinary experience.

Sri Aurobindo reminds us, however, that God is not separate from the creation and that, therefore, we may see and experience the Divine at any time, along the path of our seeking, in our evolutionary progression. “Already he was there in the world as the Originator and Receiver of works behind the dense veils of the Inconscient, disguised in force of Life, visible to the Mind through symbol godheads and figures….Or even, wearing still vaguer masks, he may be conceived by us as an Ideal or mentalised as an abstract Power of Love, Good, Beauty or Knowledge; or, as we turn our feet towards the Way, he may come to us veiled as the call of Humanity or a Will in things that drives towards the deliverance of the world from the grasp of Darkness and Falsehood and Death and Suffering–the great quaternary of the Ignorance. Then, after we have entered the path, he envelops us with his wide and might liberating Impersonality or moves near to us with the face and form of a personal Godhead. In and around us we feel a Power that upholds and protects and cherishes; we hear a Voice that guides; a conscious Will greater than ourselves rules us; an imperative Force moves our thought and actions and our very body; an ever-widening Consciousness assimilates ours, a living Light of Knowledge lights all within, or a Beatitude invades us; a Mightiness presses from above, concrete, massive and overpowering, and penetrates and pours itself into the very stuff of our nature; a Peace sits there, a Light, a Bliss, a Strength, a Greatness. Or there are relations, personal, intimate as life itself, sweet as love, encompassing like the sky, deep like deep waters. A Friend walks at our side; a Lover is with us in our heart’s secrecy; a Master of the Work and the Ordeal points our way; a Creator of things uses us as his instrument; we are in the arms of the eternal Mother. All these more seizable aspects in which the Ineffable meets us are truths and not mere helpful symbols or useful imaginations; but as we progress, their first imperfect formulations in our experience yield to a larger vision of the one Truth that is behind them….At last on the supramental borders all these Godheads combine their sacred forms and, without at all ceasing to be, coalesce together. On this path the Divine Aspects have not revealed themselves only in order to be cast away; they are not temporary spiritual conveniences or compromises with an illusory Consciousness or dream-figures mysteriously cast upon us by the incommunicable superconscience of the Absolute; on the contrary, their power increases and their absoluteness reveals itself as they draw near to the Truth from which they issue.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 11, The Master of the Work, pp. 248-250

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