The Lower and the Higher Forms of Delight

The Divine is not separate from the manifested world, so we could expect to see the outpouring of the Divine Delight, Ananda, in the external world. Sri Aurobindo observes: “For all joy, beauty, love, peace, delight are outflowings from the Ananda Brahman,–all delight of the spirit, the intellect, the imagination, aesthetic sense, ethical aspiration and satisfaction, action, life, the body. And through all ways of our being the Divine can touch us and make use of them to awaken and liberate the spirit.”

The joy and delight that we can experience in the external world, however, is a weak, filtered and inconsistent form of the Ananda, not the intensity and purity of Ananda in its native form and on its native plane. Just as existence is filtered into an inconstant struggle for life, with death as a constant process, and just as consciousness is filtered into an ignorance that attempts to gain knowledge through acquisition of bits and pieces of information and through extrapolation, so too Ananda, bliss, is filtered into the experience of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

We live in a world that has consciousness deeply involved and embedded in Matter, and systematically evolving out into ever higher, purer and more powerful forms, through life, mind, and the supramental planes until we can identify with and experience the pure force of Sat-Chit-Ananda in the fully evolved soul. Each level of evolution is more refined, more subtle and more powerful than the one before it. This is the key to attaining the higher form of delight.

“But to reach the Ananda Brahman in itself the mental reception of it must be subtilised, spiritualised, universalised, discharged of everything that is turbid and limiting. For when we draw quite near or enter into it, it is by an awakened spiritual sense of a transcendent and a universal Delight which exists within and yet behind and beyond the contradictions of the world and to which we can unite ourselves through a growing universal and spiritual or a transcendental ecstasy.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 7, The Ananda Brahman, pp. 568-569

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