Understanding the Role and Nature of the Gods in the Universal Creation

It is quite natural for human beings to extrapolate the nature of the universe and the meaning of existence from the limited set of facts and information that we perceive and organize in our normal mental-logical process. Yet there is so much that falls outside the scope of these perceptions and modes of understanding that we clearly miss the much wider significance that the creation holds. In our limited view, we judge everything by the way our world appears to work. Yet when we look at the immensity of the star systems, galaxies, and universes of which we are an infinitesimal part, it becomes clear that many of our assumptions are simply inaccurate or outright wrong.

Because we see an evolutionary world of dynamic interchange we assume the entire creation operates this way. Yet there is no reason why all worlds and all galaxies must function on the very same principle. There can easily be “static” worlds that express a “type” rather than “dynamic” worlds that include a mixing of types and the change and evolutionary potential that such a dynamic world would provide.

Sri Aurobindo views the creation from the wider perspective that can accept both static and dynamic processes, systems and worlds, and thus opens up the potential for the action of beings that exercise specific powers in very directed ways without the mixing or dilution entailed in a common, shared world. This becomes relevant when we consider the role of those beings we call “gods” and the process and significance of the creation in its own right.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The dynamic aspect of the Divine is the Supreme Brahman, not the Gods. The Gods are Personalities and Powers of the dynamic Divine. You speak as if the evolution were the sole creation; the creation or manifestation is very vast and contains many planes and worlds that existed before the evolution, all different in character and with different kinds of beings. The fact of being prior to the evolution does not make them undifferentiated. The world of the Asuras is prior to the evolution, so are the worlds of the mental, vital or subtle physical Devas — but these beings are all different from each other. The great Gods belong to the overmind plane; in the supermind they are unified as aspects of the Divine, in the overmind they appear as separate personalities. Any godhead can descend by emanation to the physical plane and associate himself with the evolution of a human being with whose line of manifestation he is in affinity. But these are things which cannot be very easily understood by the mind, because the mind has too rigid an idea of personality — the difficulty only disappears when one enters into a more flexible consciousness above where one is nearer to the experience of One in all and All in one.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 4 The Divine, the Gods and the Divine Force, The Gods pp. 82-85

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