classes ::: Isha_Upanishad, Sri_Aurobindo, chapter,
children :::
branches :::
see also :::

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object: - Birth and Non-Birth
book class:Isha Upanishad
author class:Sri Aurobindo
--- Birth and Non-Birth
Verses 12 - 14*

The Self outside Nature does not become; it is immutable as well
as eternal. The Self in Nature becomes, it changes its states and
forms. This entry into various states and forms in the succession
of Time is Birth in Nature.
Because of these two positions of the Self, in Nature and
out of Nature, moving in the movement and seated above the
movement, active in the development and eating the fruits of
the tree of Life or inactive and simply regarding, there are two
possible states of conscious existence directly opposed to each
other of which the human soul is capable, the state of Birth, the
state of Non-Birth.
Man starts from the troubled state of Birth, he arrives at
that tranquil poise of conscious existence liberated from the
movement which is the Non-Birth. The knot of the Birth is the
ego-sense; the dissolution of the ego-sense brings us to the NonBirth. Therefore the Non-Birth is also called the Dissolution
* 12. Into a blind darkness they enter who follow after the Non-Birth, they as if into a
greater darkness who devote themselves to the Birth alone.
13. Other, verily, it is said, is that which comes by the Birth, other that which comes
by the Non-Birth; this is the lore we have received from the wise who revealed That to
our understanding.
14. He who knows That as both in one, the Birth and the dissolution of Birth, by the
dissolution crosses beyond death and by the Birth enjoys Immortality.

Birth and Non-Birth are not essentially physical conditions,
but soul-states. A man may break the knot of the ego-sense and
yet remain in the physical body; but if he concentrates himself
solely in the state of dissolution of ego, then he is not born again
in the body. He is liberated from birth as soon as the present
impulse of Nature which continues the action of the mind and
body has been exhausted. On the other hand if he attaches
himself to the Birth, the ego-principle in him seeks continually
to clothe itself in fresh mental and physical forms.

Neither attachment to Non-Birth nor attachment to Birth is the
perfect way. For all attachment is an act of ignorance and a
violence committed upon the Truth. Its end also is ignorance, a
state of blind darkness.
Exclusive attachment to Non-Birth leads to a dissolution
into indiscriminate Nature or into the Nihil, into the Void,
and both of these are states of blind darkness. For the Nihil
is an attempt not to transcend the state of existence in birth,
but to annul it, not to pass from a limited into an illimitable
existence, but from existence into its opposite. The opposite of
existence can only be the Night of negative consciousness, a state
of ignorance and not of release.
On the other hand, attachment to Birth in the body means
a constant self-limitation and an interminable round of egoistic
births in the lower forms of egoism without issue or release. This
is, from a certain point of view, a worse darkness than the other;
for it is ignorant even of the impulse of release. It is not an error
in the grasping after truth, but a perpetual contentment with the
state of blindness. It cannot lead even eventually to any greater
good, because it does not dream of any higher condition.

On the other hand each of these tendencies, pursued with a certain relativeness to the other, has its own fruit and its own good.

Non-Birth pursued as the goal of Birth and a higher, fuller and
truer existence may lead to withdrawal into the silent Brahman
or into the pure liberty of the Non-Being. Birth, pursued as a
means of progress and self-enlargement, leads to a greater and
fuller life which may, in its turn, become a vestibule to the final

But neither of these results is perfect in itself nor the true goal
of humanity. Each of them brings its intended portion into the
perfect good of the human soul only when it is completed by the
Brahman is both Vidya and Avidya, both Birth and NonBirth. The realisation of the Self as the unborn and the poise of
the soul beyond the dualities of birth and death in the infinite
and transcendent existence are the conditions of a free and divine
life in the Becoming. The one is necessary to the other. It is by
participation in the pure unity of the Immobile (Akshara) Brahman that the soul is released from its absorption in the stream
of the movement. So released it identifies itself with the Lord
to whom becoming and non-becoming are only modes of His
existence and is able to enjoy immortality in the manifestation
without being caught in the wheel of Nature's delusions. The
necessity of birth ceases, its personal object having been fulfilled;
the freedom of becoming remains. For the Divine enjoys equally
and simultaneously the freedom of His eternity and the freedom
of His becoming.
It may even be said that to have had the conscious experience
of a dissolution of the very idea of Being into the supreme NonBeing is necessary for the fullest and freest possession of Being
itself. This would be from the synthetic standpoint the justification of the great effort of Buddhism to exceed the conception of
all positive being even in its widest or purest essentiality.
Thus by dissolution of ego and of the attachment to birth the
soul crosses beyond death; it is liberated from all limitation in
the dualities. Having attained this liberation it accepts becoming
as a process of Nature subject to the soul and not binding upon
it and by this free and divine becoming enjoys Immortality.

Thus, the third movement of the Upanishad is a justification
of life and works, which were enjoined upon the seeker of the
Truth in its second verse. Works are the essence of Life. Life is
a manifestation of the Brahman; in Brahman the Life Principle
arranges a harmony of the seven principles of conscious being by
which that manifestation works out its involution and evolution.
In Brahman Matarishwan disposes the waters, the sevenfold
movement of the divine Existence. That divine Existence is the
Lord who has gone abroad in the movement and unrolled the
universe in His three modes as All-Seer of the Truth of things,
Thinker-out of their possibilities, Realiser of their actualities.
He has determined all things sovereignly in their own nature,
development and goal from years sempiternal.
That determination works out through His double power
of Vidya and Avidya, consciousness of essential unity and consciousness of phenomenal multiplicity.
The Multiplicity carried to its extreme limit returns upon
itself in the conscious individual who is the Lord inhabiting
the forms of the movement and enjoying first the play of the
Ignorance. Afterwards by development in the Ignorance the
soul returns to the capacity of Knowledge and enjoys by the
Knowledge Immortality.
This Immortality is gained by the dissolution of the limited
ego and its chain of births into the consciousness of the unborn
and undying, the Eternal, the Lord, the ever-free. But it is enjoyed
by a free and divine becoming in the universe and not outside the
universe; for there it is always possessed, but here in the material
body it is to be worked out and enjoyed by the divine Inhabitant
under circumstances that are in appearance the most opposite
to its terms, in the life of the individual and in the multiple life
of the universe.
Life has to be transcended in order that it may be freely
accepted; the works of the universe have to be overpassed in
order that they may be divinely fulfilled.
The soul even in apparent bondage is really free and only
plays at being bound; but it has to go back to the consciousness
of freedom and possess and enjoy universally not this or that
but the Divine and the All.

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1, #Isha Upanishad, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  object: - Birth and Non-Birth
  author class:Sri Aurobindo

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