Responding to the Attraction of the Divine Bliss

Those who are awakened to the seeking of the Divine are called in innumerable ways. Some may experience some kind of overwhelming sorrow or despair and turn to the Divine for understanding and solace. Others, again, may try to understand why they are alive, what the meaning of existence is, and they pursue a quest to find the answers. Still others may be swayed by the beauty of nature and the wonder of the inter-connections and the secret harmony of all existence. When they become conscious of the Divine, there is a tendency, based on the limitations of the mental consciousness, to treat one as the opposite of the present existence, and to define the seeking as an abandonment or denial of the reality of the outer life in order to focus all the attention and effort on the Absolute, the Infinite, the Divine Presence.

“We discover in the end that not only is that higher Reality the cause of all the rest, not only it embraces and exists in all the rest, but as more and more we possess it, all the rest is transformed in our soul-experience into a superior value and becomes the means of a richer expression of the Real, a more many-sided communion with the Infinite, a larger ascent to the Supreme. Finally, we get close to the absolute and its supreme values which are the absolutes of all things. We lose the passion for release,…, which till then actuated us, because we are now intimately near to that which is ever free, that which is neither attracted into attachment by what binds us now nor afraid of what to us seems to be bondage. It is only by the bound soul’s exclusive passion for its freedom that there can come an absolute liberation of our nature.”

The seeking of the Divine can take many intermediate forms: “First, in order comes the lure of an earthly reward, a prize of material, intellectual, ethical or other joy in the terrestrial mind and body. A second, remoter greater version of the same fruitful error is the hope of a heavenly bliss, far exceeding these earthly rewards; the conception of heaven rises in altitude and purity till it reaches the pure idea of the eternal presence of God or an unending union with the Eternal. And last we get the subtlest of all lures, an escape from these worldly or heavenly joys and from all pains and sorrows, effort and trouble and from all phenomenal things, a Nirvana, a self-dissolution in the Absolute, an Ananda of cessation and ineffable peace. In the end all these toys of the mind have to be transcended.”

When this occurs, the unity of all existence can be embraced by the seeker. “…the soul that has realised oneness has no sorrow or shrinking; the spirit that has entered into the bliss of the spirit has nought to fear from anyone or anything whatsoever. Fear, desire and sorrow are diseases of the mind; born of its sense of division and limitation, they cease with the falsehood that begot them. The Ananda is free from these maladies; it is not the monopoly of the ascetic, it is not born from the disgust of existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 24, Gnosis and Ananda, pp. 486-487