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object:5.1.02 - The Gods
book class:Letters On Yoga I
author class:Sri Aurobindo

Chapter Two

The Gods
The Gods or Divine Powers
The Gods are Personalities or Powers put forth by the Divine - they are therefore in front limited Emanations, although the full
Divine is behind each of them.

Of course, the gods exist - that is to say, there are Powers that stand above the world and transmit the divine workings. It is the physical mind which believes only in what is physical that denies them. There are also beings of other worlds - gods and
Asuras etc.

There are Gods everywhere on all the planes.

The Gods are in the universal Self - if identified with the universal Self one can feel their presence there.

While the Gods cannot be transformed, for they are typal and not evolutionary beings, they can come for conversion - that is to say, to give up their own ideas and outlook on things and conform themselves to the higher Will and supramental Truth of the Divine.

The higher beings are not likely to be in disharmony with each other as they are not subject to the lower ignorance.


The Gods


The Gods have their own enjoyments, though they may not be of a material character.

There are no planes of manifestation without forms - for without form creation or manifestation cannot be complete. But the supraphysical planes are not bound to the forms like the physical. The forms there are expressive, not determinative. What is important on the vital plane is the force or feeling and the form expresses it. A vital being has a characteristic form but he can vary it or mask his true form under others. What is primary on the mental plane is the perception, the idea, the mental significance and the form expresses that and these mental forms too can vary - there can be many forms expressing an idea in different ways or on different sides of the idea. Form exists but it is more plastic and variable than in physical nature.

As to the Gods, man can build forms which they will accept; but these forms too are inspired into man's mind from the planes to which the God belongs. All creation has the two sides, the formed and the formless; the Gods too are formless and yet have forms, but a Godhead can take many forms, here
Maheshwari, there Pallas Athene. Maheshwari herself has many forms in her lesser manifestations, Durga, Uma, Parvati, Chandi etc. The Gods are not limited to human forms - man also has not always seen them in human forms only.

The Gods and the Overmind
The natives of the Overmind are Gods. Naturally the Gods rule the cosmos.

The Overmind is the world of the Gods and the Gods are not merely Powers, but have Forms also.



Letters on Yoga - I

In the Overmind the Gods are still separated existences.

Beyond the Overmind (in the supramental nearest the Overmind for instance) the Gods are eternal in their principle, but not in their forms and separate activities; they are there simply aspects of the One. If you meet a Godhead there, it is not as a separate
Person; you feel only the Divine having a particular face, as it were, and relation with you for a certain purpose.

The Formateurs of the Overmind have shaped nothing evil - it is the lower forces that receive from the Overmind and distort its forces.

Vedic Gods of the Indian Tradition
There are many forms of Agni, - the solar fire, the vaidyuta fire and the nether fire are one Trinity - the fivefold fire is part of the Vedic symbolism of sacrifice.

Vayu and Indra are cosmic godheads presiding over the action of cosmic principles - they are not the manomaya purusha or pranamaya purusha in each man. You have a mental being or purusha in you and a vital being or purusha, but you cannot say that you are in your mind Indra or in your vital Vayu. The
Purusha is an essential being supporting the play of Prakriti - the Godhead (Indra, Vayu) is a dynamic being manifested in
Prakriti for the works of the plane to which he belongs. There is an immense difference.

Yes, Mitra is rather a combination of the two powers [Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati].


The Gods


I indicate the psychological powers which they [six Vedic Gods] bring with them:
Mitra - Harmony.

Varuna - Wideness.

Aryaman - Power, Tapasya.

Brihaspati - Wisdom (Word and Knowledge).

Vishnu - Cosmic Consciousness.

Vayu - Life.

Post-Vedic Gods of the Indian Tradition
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva are only three Powers and Personalities of the One Cosmic Godhead.

Brahma is the Power of the Divine that stands behind formation and creation.

As for Vishnu being the creator, all the three Gods are often spoken of as creating the universe - even Shiva who is by tradition the Destroyer.

There is no particular connection between Shiva and the Overmind - the Overmind is the higher station of all the Gods.

Mahashiva means a greater manifestation than that ordinarily worshipped as Shiva - the creative dance of a greater Divine manifesting Power.

At X's conscientious hesitations between Krishna and Shakti and
Shiva I could not help indulging in a smile. If a man is attracted by one form or two forms only of the Divine, it is all right, - but if he is drawn to several at a time he need not torment himself


Letters on Yoga - I
over it. A man of some development has necessarily several sides in his nature and it is quite natural that different aspects should draw or govern different personalities in him - he can very well accept them all and harmonise them in the One Divine and the
One Adya Shakti of whom all are the manifestations.

Shiva is the Lord of Tapas. The power is the power of Tapas.

Krishna as a godhead is the Lord of Ananda, Love and
Bhakti; as an incarnation, he manifests the union of wisdom
(Jnana) and works and leads the earth-evolution through this towards union with the Divine by Ananda, Love and Bhakti.

The Devi is the Divine Shakti - the Consciousness and
Power of the Divine, the Mother and Energy of the worlds. All powers are hers. Sometimes Devi-power may mean the power of the universal World-Force; but this is only one side of the

Mahakali and Kali are not the same, Kali is a lesser form.

Mahakali in the higher planes appears usually with the golden colour.

Ganesh is the Power that removes obstacles by the force of
Knowledge - Kartikeya represents victory over the hostile Powers. Of course the names given are human, but the Gods exist.

Ganesh (among other things) is the devata of spiritual Knowledge - so as you are getting this knowledge, you saw yourself in this form, identified with Ganesh.

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