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object:The Riddle of this World
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author class:Sri Aurobindo
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class:chapter

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First edition 1933
Sixth edition 1973
Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust 1936, 1981

Table of Contents
A Far Greater Truth
Supernals
The Graded Worlds
The Ascending and The Descending Movement
Western Metaphysics and Yoga
The Agnostic and The Vedantic Unknowable
Doubts and The Divine
The Valley of The False Glimmer
The Intermediate Zone
A Problem of Faith
The Triune Godhead
Some Spiritual Dilemmas
Rebirth and Personality
The Riddle of This World

Publisher's Note
The writings of Sri Aurobindo collected in this volume were originally
issued by him in answer to questions raised by disciples or others
interested in Yoga and spiritual life, or as in the "Valley of the False
Glimmer" were observations on letters from outside submitted for
comment. As they are of general interest and touch problems often
raised in relation to spiritual truth and experience, they have been
brought together here and published under a single connected title.

We have to have the faith that in spite of our ignorance and errors
and weaknesses and in spite of the attacks of hostile forces and in
spite of any immediate appearance of failure the Divine Will is
leading us, through every circumstance, towards the final Realisation.
This faith will give us equanimity; it is a faith that accepts what
happens, not definitively but as something that has to be gone
through on the way.
- Sri Aurobindo

A FAR GREATER TRUTH

I

MEANT by it the descent of the supramental consciousness upon

earth; all truths below the supramental (even that of the highest
spiritual on the mental plane, which is the highest that has yet
manifested) are either partial or relative or otherwise deficient and
unable to transform the earthly life; they can only at most modify and
influence it. The Supermind is the vast Truth-consciousness of which the
ancient seers spoke; there have been glimpses of it till now, sometimes
an indirect influence or pressure, but it has not been brought down into
the consciousness of the earth and fixed there. To so bring it down is the
aim of our Yoga.
But it is better not to enter into sterile intellectual discussions. The
intellectual mind cannot even realise what the supermind is; what use,
then, can there be in allowing it to discuss what it does not know? It is
not by reasoning but by constant experience, growth of consciousness
and widening into the Light that one can reach those higher levels of
consciousness above the intellect from which one can begin to look up
to the Divine Gnosis. Those levels are not yet the Supermind, but they
can receive something of its knowledge.
The Vedic Rishis never attained to the Supermind for the earth or
perhaps did not even make the attempt. They tried to rise individually
to the supramental plane, but they did not bring it down and make it a
permanent part of the earth-consciousness. Even there are verses of the
Upanishad in which it is hinted that it is impossible to pass through the
gates of the Sun (the symbol of the Supermind) and yet retain an earthly
body. It was because of this failure that the spiritual effort of India
culminated in Mayavada. Our Yoga is a double movement of ascent and
descent; one rises to higher and higher levels of consciousness, but at
the same time one brings down their power not only into mind and life,
but in the end even into the body. And the highest of these levels, the

one at which it aims is the Supermind. Only when that can be brought
down is a divine transformation possible in the earth-consciousness.
May 4, 1930

SUPERNALS

I

DO not think exact correlations can always be traced between one

system of spiritual and occult knowledge and another. All deal with the
same material, but there are differences of standpoint, differences of
view-range, a divergence in the mental idea of what is seen and
experienced, disparate pragmatic purposes and therefore a difference in
the paths surveyed, cut out or followed; the systems vary, each
constructs its own schema and technique.
In the ancient Indian system there is only one triune supernal,
Sachchidananda. Or if you speak of the upper hemisphere as the
supernal, there are three, Sat plane, Chit plane and Ananda plane. The
Supermind could be added as a fourth, as it draws upon the other three
and belongs to the upper hemisphere. The Indian systems did not
distinguish between two quite different powers and levels of
consciousness, one which we can call Overmind and the other the true
Supermind or Divine Gnosis. That is the reason why they got confused
about Maya (Overmind-Force or Vidya-Avidya), and took it for the
supreme creative power. In so stopping short at what was still a halflight they lost the secret of transformation - even though the
Vaishnava and Tantra Yogas groped to find it again and were
sometimes on the verge of success. For the rest, this, I think, has been
the stumbling-block of all attempts at the discovery of the dynamic
divine Truth; I know of none that has not imagined, as soon as it felt the
Overmind lustres descending, that this was the true illumination, the
Gnosis, with the result that they either stopped short there and could
get no farther, or else concluded that this too was only Maya or Lila and
that the one thing to do was to get beyond it into some immovable and
inactive silence of the Supreme.
Perhaps, what may be meant by supernals is rather the three
fundamentals of the present manifestation. In the Indian system, these

are Ishwara, Shakti and Jiva, or else Sachchidananda, Maya and Jiva. But
in our system which seeks to go beyond the present manifestation,
these could very well be taken for granted and, looked at from the point
of view of the planes of consciousness, the three highest - Ananda
(with Sat and Chit resting upon it), Supermind and Overmind might be
called the three Supernals. Overmind stands at the top of the lower
hemisphere, and you have to pass through and beyond Overmind, if
you would reach Supermind, while still above and beyond Supermind
are the worlds of Sachchidananda.
You speak of the gulf below the Overmind. But is there a gulf - or
any other gulf than human unconsciousness? In all the series of the
planes or grades of consciousness there is nowhere any real gulf, always
there are connecting gradations and one can ascend from step to step.
Between the Overmind and the human mind there are a number of
more and more luminous gradations; but, as these are super-conscient
to human mind (except one or two of the lowest of which it gets some
direct touches), it is apt to regard them as a superior Inconscience. So
one of the Upanishads speaks of the Ishwara consciousness as susupti,
deep Sleep, because it is only in Samadhi that man usually enters into it,
so long as he does not try to turn his waking consciousness into a higher
state.
There are, in fact, two systems simultaneously active in the
organisation of the being and its parts: one is concentric, a series of
rings or sheaths with the psychic at the centre; another is vertical, an
ascension and descent, like a flight of steps, a series of superimposed
planes with the Supermind-Overmind as the crucial nodus of the
transition beyond the human into the Divine. For this transition, if it is to
be at the same time a transformation, there is only one way, one path.
First, there must be a conversion inwards, a going within to find the
inmost psychic being and bring it out to the front, disclosing at the
same time the inner mind, inner vital, inner physical parts of the nature.
Next, there must be an ascension, a series of conversions upwards and a
turning down to convert the lower parts. When one has made the
inward conversion, one psychicises the whole lower nature so as to

make it ready for the divine change. Going upwards, one passes beyond
the human mind and at each stage of the ascent, there is a conversion
into a new consciousness and an infusion of this new consciousness into
the whole of the nature. Thus rising beyond intellect through
illuminated higher mind to the intuitive consciousness, we begin to look
at every thing not from the intellect range or through intellect as an
instrument, but from a greater intuitive height and through an
intuitivised will, feeling, emotion, sensation and physical contact. So,
proceeding from Intuition to a greater Overmind height, there is a new
conversion and we look at and experience everything from the
Overmind consciousness and through a mind, heart, vital and body
surcharged with the Overmind thought, sight, will, feeling, sensation,
play of force and contact. But the last conversion is the supramental, for
once there - once the nature is supramentalised, we are beyond the
Ignorance and conversion of consciousness is no longer needed,
though a farther divine progression, even an infinite development is still
possible.
April 16, 1931

THE GRADED WORLDS

I

F WE regard the gradation of worlds or planes as a whole, we see them

as a great connected complex movement; the higher precipitate their
influences on the lower, the lower react to the higher and develop or
manifest in themselves within their own formula something that
corresponds to the superior power and its action. The material world
has evolved life in obedience to a pressure from the vital plane, mind in
obedience to a pressure from the mental plane. It is now trying to
evolve supermind in obedience to a pressure from the supramental
plane. In more detail, particular forces, movements, powers, beings of a
higher world can throw themselves on the lower to establish
appropriate and corresponding forms which will connect them with the
material domain and, as it were, reproduce or project their action here.
And each thing created here has, supporting it, subtler envelopes or
forms of itself which make it subsist and connect it with forces acting
from above. Man, for instance, has, besides his gross physical body,
subtler sheaths or bodies by which he lives behind the veil in direct
connection with supra-physical planes of consciousness and can be
influenced by their powers, movements and beings. What takes place in
life has always behind it pre-existent movements and forms in the
occult vital planes; what takes place in mind presupposes pre-existent
movements and forms in the occult mental planes. That is an aspect of
things which becomes more and more evident, insistent and important,
the more we progress in a dynamic Yoga.
But all this must not be taken in too rigid and mechanical a sense. It
is an immense plastic movement full of the play of possibilities and
must be seized by a flexible and subtle tact or sense in the seeing
consciousness. It cannot be reduced to a too rigorous logical or
mathematical formula. Two or three points must be pressed in order
that this plasticity may not be lost to our view.

First, each plane, in spite of its connection with others above and
below it, is yet a world in itself, with its own movements, forces, beings,
types, forms existing as if for its and their own sake, under its own laws,
for its own manifestation without apparent regard for the other
members of the great series. Thus, if we regard the vital or the subtle
physical plane, we see great ranges of it, (most of it), existing in
themselves, without any relation with the material world and with no
movement to affect or influence it, still less to precipitate a
corresponding manifestation in the physical formula. At most we can
say that the existence of anything in the vital, subtle physical or any
other plane creates a possibility for a corresponding movement of
manifestation in the physical world. But something more is needed to
turn that static or latent possibility into a dynamic potentiality or an
actual urge towards a material creation. That something may be a call
from the material plane, e.g., some force or someone on the physical
existence entering into touch with a supra-physical power or world or
part of it and moved to bring it down into the earth-life. Or it may be an
impulse in the vital or other plane itself, e.g., a vital being moved to
extend his action towards the earth and establish there a kingdom for
himself or the play of the forces for which he stands in his own domain.
Or it may be a pressure from above; let us say, some supramental or
mental power precipitating its formation from above and developing
forms and movements on the vital level as a means of transit to its selfcreation in the material world. Or it may be all these things acting
together, in which case there is the greatest possibility of an effective
creation.
Next, as a consequence, it follows that only a limited part of the
action of the vital or other higher plane is concerned with the earthexistence. But even this creates a mass of possibilities which is far
greater than the earth can at one time manifest or contain in its own
less plastic formulas. All these possibilities do not realise themselves;
some fail altogether and leave at the most an idea that comes to
nothing; some try seriously and are repelled and defeated and, even if in
action for a time, come to nothing. Others effectuate a half

manifestation, and this is the most usual result, the more so as these
vital or other supraphysical forces come into conflict and have not only
to overcome the resistance of the physical consciousness and of matter
but their own internecine resistance to each other. A certain number
succeed in precipitating their results in a more complete and successful
creation, so that if you compare this creation with its original in the
higher plane, there is something like a close resemblance or even an
apparently exact reproduction or translation from the supraphysical to
the physical formula. And yet even there the exactness is only apparent;
the very fact of translation into another substance and another rhythm
of manifestation makes a difference. It is something new that has
manifested and it is that that makes the creation worthwhile. What, for
instance, would be the utility of a supramental creation on earth if it
were just the same thing as a supramental creation on the supramental
plane? It is that, in principle, but yet something else, a triumphant new
self-discovery of the Divine in conditions that are not elsewhere.
No doubt, the subtle physical is closest to the physical, and most like
it. But yet the conditions are different and the thing too different. For
instance, the subtle physical has a freedom, plasticity, intensity, power,
colour, wide and manifold play (there are thousands of things there that
are not here) of which, as yet, we have no possibility on earth. And yet
there is something here, a potentiality of the Divine which the other, in
spite of its greater liberties, has not, something which makes creation
more difficult, but in the last result justifies the labour.
September 1, 1930

THE ASCENDING AND THE DESCENDING
MOVEMENT

T

HE TWO movements whose apparent contradiction confuses your

mind, are the two ends of a single consciousness whose motions, now
separated from each other, must join if the life-power is to have its more
and more perfect action and fulfillment or the transformation for which
we hope.
The vital being with the life-force in it is one of these ends; the other
is a latent dynamic power of the higher consciousness through which
the Divine Truth can act, take hold of the vital and its life-force and use it
for a greater purpose here.
The Life-Force in the vital is the indispensable instrument for all
action of the Divine Power on the material world and the physical
nature. It is therefore only when this vital is transformed and made a
pure and strong instrument of the Divine Shakti, that there can be a
divine life. Then only can there be a successful transformation of the
physical nature or a free perfected divine action on the external world;
for with our present means any such action is impossible. That is why
you feel that the vital movement gives all the energy one can need, that
all things are possible by this energy and that you can get with it any
experience you like, whether good or bad, of the ordinary or of the
spiritual life, - and that also is why, when this energy comes, you feel
power pervading the body-consciousness and its matter. As for the
contact with the Mother in the vital and your sense of the fine, the
magnificent experience it was, - that too is natural and right; for the
vital, no less than the psychic and every other part of the being, has to
feel the Divine Mother and give itself entirely to her.
But this must always be remembered that the vital being and the
life-force in man are separated from the Divine Light and, so separated,

they are an instrument for any power that can take hold of them,
illumined or obscure, divine or undivine. Ordinarily, the vital energy
serves the common obscure or half-conscious movements of the
human mind and human life, its normal ideas, interests, passions and
desires. But it is possible for the vital energy to increase beyond the
ordinary limits and, if so increased, it can attain an impetus, an intensity,
an excitation or sublimation of its forces by which it can become, is
almost bound to become an instrument either of divine powers, the
powers of the gods, or of Asuric forces. Or, if there is no settled central
control in the nature, its action can be a confused mixture of these
opposites, or in an inconsequent oscillation serve now one and now the
other. It is not enough then to have a great vital energy acting in you; it
must be put in contact with the higher consciousness, it must be
surrendered to the true control, it must be placed under the
government of the Divine. That is why there is sometimes felt a
contempt for the action of the vital force or a condemnation of it,
because it has an insufficient light and control and is wedded to an
ignorant undivine movement. That also is why there is the necessity of
opening to inspiration and power from a higher source. The vital energy
by itself leads nowhere, runs in chequered, often painful and ruinous
circles, takes even to the precipice because it has no right guidance; it
must be connected with the dynamic power of the higher
consciousness and with the Divine Force acting through it for a great
and luminous purpose.
There are two movements necessary for this connection to be
established. One is upward; the vital rises to join with the higher
consciousness and steeps itself in the light and in the impulsion of a
higher force: the other is downward; the vital remains silent,
tranquillised, pure, empty of the ordinary movements, waiting, till the
dynamic power from above descends into it, changes it to its true self
and informs its movements with knowledge as well as power. That is
why the sadhaka feels sometimes that he is rising up into a happier and
nobler consciousness, entering into a brighter domain and purer
experience, but sometimes, on the contrary, feels the necessity of going

back into the vital, doing sadhana there and bringing down into it the
true consciousness. There is no real contradiction between these two
movements; they are complementary and necessary to each other, the
ascension enabling the divine descent, the descent fulfilling that for
which the ascension aspires and which it makes inevitable.
When you rise with the vital from its lower reaches and join it to the
psychic, then your vital being fills with the pure aspiration and devotion
natural to the psychic; at the same time it gives to the feelings its own
abundant energy, it makes them dynamic for the change of the whole
nature down to the most physical and for the bringing down of the
divine consciousness into earth matter. When it not only touches the
psychic but fuses with the higher mind, it is able to come into contact
with and obey a greater light and knowledge. Ordinarily, the vital is
either moved by the human mind and governed by its more or less
ignorant dictates, or takes violent hold of this mind and uses it for the
satisfaction of its own passions, impulses or desires. Or it makes a
mixture of these two movements; for the ordinary human mind is too
ignorant for a better action or a perfect guidance. But when the vital is
in contact with the higher mind, it is possible for it to be guided by a
greater light and knowledge, by a higher intuition and inspiration, a
truer discrimination and some revelations of the divine truth and the
divine will. This obedience of the vital to the psychic and the higher
mind is the beginning of the outgoing of the Yogic consciousness in its
dynamic action upon life.
But this too is not sufficient for the divine life. To come into contact
with the higher mind consciousness is not enough, it is only an
indispensable stage. There must be a descent of the Divine Force from
yet loftier and more powerful reaches. A transformation of the higher
consciousness into a supramental light and power, a transformation of
the vital and its life-force into a pure, wide, calm, intense and powerful
instrument of the Divine Energy, a transformation of the physical itself
into a form of divine light, divine action, strength, beauty and joy are
impossible without this descending Force from the now invisible
summits. That is why in this Yoga the ascent to the Divine which it has in

common with other paths of Yoga is not enough; there must be too a
descent of the Divine to transform all the energies of the mind, life and
body.
November 28, 1929

WESTERN METAPHYSICS AND YOGA

E

UROPEAN metaphysical thought - even in those thinkers who try to

prove or explain the existence and nature of God or of the Absolute -
does not in its method and result go beyond the intellect. But the
intellect is incapable of knowing the supreme Truth; it can only range
about seeking for Truth, and catching fragmentary representations of it,
not the thing itself and trying to piece them together. Mind cannot
arrive at Truth; it can only make some constructed figure that tries to
represent it or a combination of figures. At the end of European
thought, therefore, there must always be Agnosticism, declared or
implicit. Intellect, if it goes sincerely to its own end, has to return and
give this report: "I cannot know; there is, or at least it seems to me that
there may be or even must be Something beyond, some ultimate
Reality, but about its truth I can only speculate; it is either unknowable
or cannot be known by me." Or, if it has received some light on the way
from what is beyond it, it can say too: "There is perhaps a consciousness
beyond Mind, for I seem to catch glimpses of it and even to get
intimations from it. If that is in touch with the Beyond or if it is itself the
consciousness of the Beyond and you can find some way to reach it,
then this Something can be known but not otherwise."
Any seeking of the supreme Truth through intellect alone must end
either in Agnosticism of this kind or else in some intellectual system or
mind-constructed formula. There have been hundreds of these systems
and formulas and there can be hundreds more, but none can be
definitive. Each may have its value for the mind, and different systems
with their contrary conclusions can have an equal appeal to
intelligences of equal power and competence. All this labour of
speculation has its utility in training the human mind and helping to
keep before it the idea of Something beyond and Ultimate towards
which it must turn. But the intellectual Reason can only point vaguely or

feel gropingly towards it or try to indicate partial and even conflicting
aspects of its manifestation here; it cannot enter into and know it. As
long as we remain in the domain of the intellect only, an impartial
pondering over all that has been thought and sought after, a constant
throwing up of ideas, of all the possible ideas, and the formation of this
or that philosophical belief, opinion or conclusion is all that can be
done. This kind of disinterested search after Truth would be the only
possible attitude for any wide and plastic intelligence. But any
conclusion so arrived at would be only speculative; it could have no
spiritual value; it would not give the decisive experience or the spiritual
certitude for which the soul is seeking. If the intellect is our highest
possible instrument and there is no other means of arriving at supraphysical Truth, then a wise and large Agnosticism must be our ultimate
attitude. Things in the manifestation may be known to some degree,
but the Supreme and all that is beyond the Mind must remain forever
unknowable.
It is only if there is a greater consciousness beyond Mind and that
consciousness is accessible to us that we can know and enter into the
ultimate Reality. Intellectual speculation, logical reasoning as to
whether there is or is not such a greater consciousness cannot carry us
very far. What we need is a way to get the experience of it, to reach it,
enter into it, live in it. If we can get that, intellectual speculation and
reasoning must fall necessarily into a very secondary place and even
lose their reason for existence. Philosophy, intellectual expression of the
Truth may remain, but mainly as a means of expressing this greater
discovery and as much of its contents as can at all be expressed in
mental terms to those who still live in the mental intelligence.
This, you will see, answers your point about the Western thinkers,
Bradley and others, who have arrived through intellectual thinking at
the idea of an "Other beyond Thought" or have even, like Bradley, tried
to express their conclusions about it in terms that recall some of the
expressions in the Arya. The idea in itself is not new; it is as old as the
Vedas. It was repeated in other forms in Buddhism, Christian Gnosticism,
Sufism. Originally, it was not discovered by intellectual speculation, but

by the mystics following an inner spiritual discipline. When, somewhere
between the seventh and fifth centuries B.C., men began both in the
East and West to intellectualise knowledge, this Truth survived in the
East; in the West where the intellect began to be accepted as the sole or
highest instrument for the discovery of Truth, it began to fade. But still it
has there too tried constantly to return; the Neo-Platonists brought it
back, and now, it appears, the Neo-Hegelians and others (e.g., the
Russian Ouspensky and one or two German thinkers, I believe) seem to
be reaching after it. But still there is a difference.
In the East, especially in India, the metaphysical thinkers have tried,
as in the West, to determine the nature of the highest Truth by the
intellect. But, in the first place, they have not given mental thinking the
supreme rank as an instrument in the discovery of Truth, but only a
secondary status. The first rank has always been given to spiritual
intuition and illumination and spiritual experience; an intellectual
conclusion that contradicts this Supreme authority is held invalid.
Secondly, each philosophy has armed itself with a practical way of
reaching to the supreme state of consciousness, so that even when one
begins with Thought, the aim is to arrive at a consciousness beyond
mental thinking. Each philosophical founder (as also those who
continued his work or school) has been a metaphysical thinker doubled
with a Yogi. Those who were only philosophic intellectuals were
respected for their learning, but never took rank as truth-discoverers.
And the philosophies that lacked a sufficiently powerful means of
spiritual experience died out and became things of the past, because
they were not dynamic for spiritual discovery and realisation.
In the West it was just the opposite that came to pass. Thought,
intellect, the logical reason came to be regarded more and more as the
highest means and even the highest end; in philosophy, Thought is the
be-all and the end-all. It is by intellectual thinking and speculation that
the truth is to be discovered; even spiritual experience has been
summoned to pass the tests of the intellect, if it is to be held valid -
just the reverse of the Indian position. Even those who see that the
mental Thought must be overpassed and admit a supramental "Other",

do not seem to escape from the feeling that it must be through mental
Thought, sublimating and transmuting itself, that this other Truth must
be reached and made to take the place of the mental limitation and
ignorance. And, again, Western thought has ceased to be dynamic; it
has sought after a theory of things, not after realisation. It was still
dynamic amongst the ancient Greeks, but for moral and aesthetic rather
than spiritual ends. Later on, it became yet more purely intellectual and
academic; it became intellectual speculation only without any practical
ways and means for the attainment of the Truth by spiritual experiment,
spiritual discovery, a spiritual transformation. If there were not this
difference, there would be no reason for seekers like yourself to turn to
the East for guidance; for in the purely intellectual field, the Western
thinkers are as competent as any Eastern sage. It is the spiritual way, the
road that leads beyond the intellectual levels, the passage from the
outer being to the inmost Self, which has been lost by the overintellectuality of the mind of Europe.
In the extracts you have sent me from Bradley and Joachim, it is still
the intellect thinking about what is beyond itself and coming to an
intellectual, a reasoned speculative conclusion about it. It is not dynamic
for the change which it attempts to describe. If these writers were
expressing in mental terms some realisation, even mental, some
intuitive experience of this "Other than Thought", then one ready for it
might feel it through the veil of the language they use and himself draw
near to the same experience. Or if, having reached the intellectual
conclusion, they had passed on to the spiritual realisation, finding the
way or following one already found, then in pursuing their thought, one
might be preparing oneself for the same transition. But there is nothing
of the kind in all this strenuous thinking. It remains in the domain of the
intellect and in that domain it is no doubt admirable; but it does not
become dynamic for spiritual experience.
It is not by "thinking out" the entire reality, but by a change of
consciousness that one can pass from the ignorance to the Knowledge
- the Knowledge by which we become what we know. To pass from
the external to a direct and intimate inner consciousness; to widen

consciousness out of the limits of the ego and the body; to heighten it
by an inner will and aspiration and opening to the Light till it passes in
its ascent beyond Mind; to bring down a descent of the supramental
Divine through self-giving and surrender with a consequent
transformation of mind, life and body - this is the integral way to the
Truth.1 It is this that we call the Truth here and aim at in our Yoga.
June 15, 1930

[1] I have said that the idea of the Supermind was already in existence from ancient times.
There was in India and elsewhere the attempt to reach it by rising to it; but what was
missed was the way to make it integral for the life and to bring it down for transformation
of the whole nature, even of the physical nature.

THE AGNOSTIC AND THE VEDANTIC UNKNOWABLE

I

DO NOT think anything can be said that would convince one who

starts from exactly the opposite viewpoint to the spiritual, the way of
looking at things of a Victorian agnostic. His points of doubt about the
value - other than subjective and purely individual - of Yoga
experience are that it does not aim at scientific truth and cannot be said
to achieve ultimate truth because the experiences are coloured by the
individuality of the seer. One might ask whether Science itself has
arrived at any ultimate truth; on the contrary, ultimate truth, even on
the physical plane, seems to recede as Science advances. Science
started on the assumption that the ultimate truth must be physical and
objective - and the objective Ultimate (or even less than that) would
explain all subjective phenomena. Yoga proceeds on the opposite view
that the ultimate Truth is spiritual and subjective and it is in that
ultimate Light that we must view objective phenomena. It is the two
opposite poles and the gulf is as wide as it can be.
Yoga, however, is scientific to this extent that it proceeds by
subjective experiment and bases all its findings on experience; mental
intuitions are admitted only as a first step and are not considered as
realisation - they must be confirmed by being translated into and
justified by experience. As to the value of the experience itself, it is
doubted by the physical mind because it is subjective, not objective. But
has the distinction much value? Is not all knowledge and experience
subjective at bottom? Objective external physical things are seen very
much in the same way by human beings because of the construction of
the mind and senses; with another construction of mind and sense quite
another account of the physical world would be given - Science itself
has made that very clear. But your friend's point is that the Yoga
experience is individual, coloured by the individuality of the seer. It may
be true to a certain extent of the precise form or transcription given to

the experience in certain domains; but even here the difference is
superficial. It is a fact that Yogic experience runs everywhere on the
same lines. Certainly, there are, not one line, but many; for, admittedly,
we are dealing with a many-sided Infinite to which there are and must
be many ways of approach; but yet the broad lines are the same
everywhere and the intuitions, experiences, phenomena are the same in
ages and countries far apart from each other and systems practised
quite independently from each other. The experiences of the mediaeval
European bhakta or mystic are precisely the same in substance,
however differing in names, forms, religious colouring, etc., as those of
the mediaeval Indian bhakta or mystic - yet these people were not
corresponding with one another or aware of each other's experiences
and results as are modern scientists from New York to Yokohama. That
would seem to show that there is something there identical, universal
and presumably true - however the colour of the translation may differ
because of the difference of mental language.
As for ultimate Truth, I suppose both the Victorian agnostic and, let
us say, the Indian Vedantin may agree that it is veiled but there. Both
speak of it as the Unknowable; the only difference is that the Vedantin
says it is unknowable by the mind and inexpressible by speech, but still
attainable by something deeper or higher than the mental perception,
while even mind can reflect and speech express the thousand aspects it
presents to the mind's outward and inward experience. The Victorian
agnostic would, I suppose, cancel this qualification; he would
pronounce for the doubtful existence and, if existent, for the absolute
unknowableness of this Unknowable.
October 10, 1932

DOUBTS AND THE DIVINE

T

HE WHOLE world knows, spiritual thinker and materialist alike, that

the world for the created or naturally evolved being in the ignorance or
the inconscience of Nature is neither a bed of roses nor a path of joyous
Light. It is a difficult journey, a battle and struggle, an often painful and
chequered growth, a life besieged by obscurity, falsehood and suffering.
It has its mental, vital, physical joys and pleasures, but these bring only a
transient taste - which yet the vital self is unwilling to forego - and
they end in distaste, fatigue or disillusionment. What then? To say the
Divine does not exist is easy, but it leads nowhere - it leaves you where
you are with no prospect or issue - neither Russell nor any materialist
can tell you where you are going or even where you ought to go. The
Divine does not manifest himself so as to be recognised in the external
world-circumstances - admittedly so. These are not the works of an
irresponsible autocrat somewhere - they are the circumstances of a
working out of Forces according to a certain nature of being, one might
say a certain proposition or problem of being into which we have all
really consented to enter and cooperate. The work is painful, dubious,
its vicissitudes impossible to forecast? There are either of two
possibilities then, to get out of it into Nirvana by the Buddhist or the
illusionist way or to get inside oneself and find the Divine there since he
is not discoverable on the surface. For those who have made the
attempt, and there were not a few but hundreds and thousands, have
testified through the ages that he is there and that is why there exists
the Yoga. It takes long? The Divine is concealed behind a thick veil of his
Maya and does not answer at once or at any early stage to our call? Or
he gives only a glimpse uncertain and passing and then withdraws and
waits for us to be ready? But if the Divine has any value, is it not worth
some trouble and time and labour to follow after him and must we insist
on having him without any training or sacrifice or suffering or trouble? It

is surely irrational to make a demand of such a nature. It is positive that
we have to get inside, behind the veil to find him; it is only then that we
can see him outside and the intellect be not so much convinced as
forced to admit his presence by experience - just as when a man sees
what he has denied and can no longer deny it. But for that the means
must be accepted and the persistence in the will and patience in the
labour.
September 10, 1933

THE VALLEY OF THE FALSE GLIMMER

O

NE feels here a stream from the direct sources of Truth that one

does not meet so often as one could desire. Here is a mind that can not
only think but see - and not merely see the surfaces of things with
which most intellectual thought goes on wrestling without end or
definite issue and as if there were nothing else, but look into the core.
The Tantriks have a phrase payant vk to describe one level of the VakShakti, the seeing Word; here is payant buddhi, a seeing intelligence. It
might be because the seer within has passed beyond thought into
experience, but there are many who have a considerable wealth of
experience without its clarifying their eye of thought to this extent; the
soul feels, but the mind goes on with mixed and imperfect
transcriptions, blurs and confusions in the idea. There must have been
the gift of right vision lying ready in this nature.
It is an achievement to have got rid so rapidly and decisively of the
shimmering mists and fogs which modern intellectualism takes for Light
of Truth. The modern mind has so long and persistently wandered -
and we with it - in the Valley of the False Glimmer that it is not easy for
anyone to disperse its mists with the sunlight of clear vision so soon and
entirely as has here been done. All that is said here about modern
humanism and humanitarianism, the vain efforts of the sentimental
idealist and the ineffective intellectual, about synthetic eclecticism and
other kindred things is admirably clear-minded, it hits the target. It is
not by these means that humanity can get that radical change of its
ways of life which is yet becoming imperative, but only by reaching the
bed-rock of Reality behind, - not through mere ideas and mental
formations, but by a change of the consciousness, an inner and spiritual
conversion. But that is a truth for which it would be difficult to get a
hearing in the present noise of all kinds of many-voiced clamour and
confusion and catastrophe.

A distinction, the distinction very keenly made here, between the
plane of phenomenal process, of externalised Prakriti, and the plane of
Divine Reality ranks among the first words of the inner wisdom. The turn
given to it in these pages is not merely an ingenious explanation; it
expresses very soundly one of the clear certainties you meet when you
step across the border and look at the outer world from the standingground of the inner spiritual experience. The more you go inward or
upward, the more the view of things changes and the outer knowledge
Science organises takes its real and very limited place. Science, like most
mental and external knowledge, gives you only truth of process. I would
add that it cannot give you even the whole truth of process; for you
seize some of the ponderables, but miss the all-important
imponderables; you get, hardly even the how, but the conditions under
which things happen in Nature. After all the triumphs and marvels of
Science the explaining principle, the rationale, the significance of the
whole is left as dark, as mysterious and even more mysterious than ever.
The scheme it has built up of the evolution not only of this rich and vast
and variegated material world, but of life and consciousness and mind
and their workings out of a brute mass of electrons, identical and varied
only in arrangement and number, is an irrational magic more baffling
than any the most mystic imagination could conceive. Science in the
end lands us in a paradox effectuated, an organised and rigidly
determined accident, an impossibility that has somehow happened, -
it has shown us a new, a material Maya, aghatana-ghatana-patyas, very
clever at bringing about the impossible, a miracle that cannot logically
be and yet somehow is there actual, irresistibly organised, but still
irrational and inexplicable. And this is evidently because Science has
missed something essential; it has seen and scrutinised what has
happened and in a way how it has happened, but it has shut its eyes to
something that made this impossible possible, something it is there to
express. There is no fundamental significance in things if you miss the
Divine Reality; for you remain embedded in a huge surface crust of
manageable and utilisable appearance. It is the magic of the Magician
you are trying to analyse, but only when you enter into the
consciousness of the Magician himself can you begin to experience the

true origination, significance and circles of the Lila. I say "begin" because
the Divine Reality is not so simple that at the first touch you can know all
of it or put it into a single formula; it is the Infinite and opens before you
an infinite knowledge to which all Science put together is a bagatelle.
But still you do touch the essential, the eternal behind things and in the
light of That all begins to be profoundly luminous, intimately
intelligible.
I have once before told you what I think of the ineffective peckings
of certain well-intentioned scientific minds on the surface or apparent
surface of the spiritual Reality behind things and I need not elaborate it.
More important is the prognostic of a greater danger coming in the new
attack by the adversary, the sceptics, against the validity of spiritual and
supraphysical experience, their new strategy of destruction by
admitting and explaining it in their own sense. There may well be a
strong ground for the apprehension; but I doubt whether, if these
things are once admitted to scrutiny, the mind of humanity will long
remain satisfied with explanations so ineptly superficial and external,
explanations that explain nothing. If the defenders of religion take up an
unsound position, easily capturable, when they affirm only the
subjective validity of spiritual experience, the opponents also seem to
me to be giving away, without knowing it, the gates of the materialistic
stronghold by their consent at all to admit and examine spiritual and
supraphysical experience. Their entrenchment in the physical field, their
refusal to admit or even examine supraphysical things was their tower
of strong safety; once it is abandoned, the human mind pressing
towards something less negative, more helpfully positive will pass to it
over the dead bodies of their theories and the broken debris of their
annulling explanations and ingenious psychological labels. Another
danger may then arise, - not of a final denial of the Truth, but the
repetition in old or new forms of a past mistake, on one side some
revival of blind fanatical obscurantist sectarian religionism, on the other
a stumbling into the pits and quagmires of the vitalistic occult and the
pseudo-spiritual - mistakes that made the whole real strength of the
materialistic attack on the past and its credos. But these are phantasms

that meet us always on the borderline or in the intervening country
between the material darkness and the perfect Splendour. In spite of all,
the victory of the supreme Light even in the darkened earthconsciousness stands as the one ultimate certitude.
Art, poetry, music are not Yoga, not in themselves things spiritual
any more than philosophy is a thing spiritual or Science. There lurks
here another curious incapacity of the modern intellect - its inability to
distinguish between mind and spirit, its readiness to mistake mental,
moral and aesthetic idealisms for spirituality and their inferior degrees
for spiritual values. It is mere truth that the mental intuitions of the
metaphysician or the poet for the most part fall far short of a concrete
spiritual experience; they are distant flashes, shadowy reflections, not
rays from the centre of Light. It is not less true that, looked at from the
peaks, there is not much difference between the high mental
eminences and the lower climbings of this external existence. All the
energies of the Lila are equal in the sight from above, all are disguises of
the Divine. But one has to add that all can be turned into a first means
towards the realisation of the Divine. A philosophic statement about the
Atman is a mental formula, not knowledge, not experience; yet
sometimes the divine takes it as a channel of touch; strangely, a barrier
in the mind breaks down, something is seen, a profound change
operated in some inner part, there enters into the ground of the nature
something calm, equal, ineffable. One stands upon a mountain ridge
and glimpses or mentally feels a wideness, a pervasiveness, a nameless
Vast in Nature; then suddenly there comes the touch, a revelation, a
flooding, the mental loses itself in the spiritual, one bears the first
invasion of the Infinite. Or you stand before a temple of Kali beside a
sacred river and see what? - a sculpture, a gracious piece of
architecture, but in a moment mysteriously, unexpectedly there is
instead a Presence, a Power, a Face that looks into yours, an inner sight
in you has regarded the World-Mother. Similar touches can come
through art, music, poetry to their creator or to one who feels the shock
of the word, the hidden significance of a form, a message in the sound
that carries more perhaps than was consciously meant by the composer.

All things in the Lila can turn into windows that open on the hidden
Reality. Still, so long as one is satisfied with looking through windows,
the gain is only initial; one day one will have to take up the pilgrim's
staff and start out to journey there where the Reality is for ever manifest
and present. Still less can it be spiritually satisfying to remain with
shadowy reflections, a search imposes itself for the Light which they
strive to figure. But since this Reality and this Light are in ourselves no
less than in some high region above the mortal plane, we can in the
seeking for it use many of the figures and activities of life; as one offers a
flower, a prayer, an act to the Divine, one can offer too a created form of
beauty, a song, a poem, an image, a strain of music, and gain through it
a contact, a response or an experience. And when that divine
consciousness has been entered or when it grows within, then too its
expression in life through these things is not excluded from Yoga; these
creative activities can still have their place, though not intrinsically a
greater place than any other that can be put to divine use and service.
Art, poetry, music, as they are in their ordinary functioning, create
mental and vital, not spiritual values; but they can be turned to a higher
end, and then, like all things that are capable of linking our
consciousness to the Divine, they are transmuted and become spiritual
and can be admitted as part of a life of Yoga. All takes new values not
from itself, but from the consciousness that uses it; for there is only one
thing essential, needful, indispensable, to grow conscious of the Divine
Reality and live in it and live it always.
March 23, 1932

THE INTERMEDIATE ZONE

A

LL THESE experiences are of the same nature and what applies to

one applies to another. Apart from some experiences of a personal
character, the rest are either idea-truths, such as pour down into the
consciousness from above when one gets into touch with certain planes
of being, or strong formations from the larger mental and vital worlds
which, when one is directly open to these worlds, rush in and want to
use the sadhak for their fulfilment. These things, when they pour down
or come in, present themselves with a great force, a vivid sense of
inspiration or illumination, much sensation of light and joy, an
impression of widening and power. The sadhak feels himself freed from
the normal limits, projected into a wonderful new world of experience,
filled and enlarged and exalted; what comes associates itself, besides,
with his aspirations, ambitions, notions of spiritual fulfilment and yogic
siddhi; it is represented even as itself that realisation and fulfilment. Very
easily he is carried away by the splendour and the rush, and thinks that
he has realised more than he has truly done, something final or at least
something sovereignly true. At this stage the necessary knowledge and
experience are usually lacking which would tell him that this is only a
very uncertain and mixed beginning; he may not realise at once that he
is still in the cosmic Ignorance, not in the cosmic Truth, much less in the
Transcendental Truth, and that whatever formative or dynamic ideatruths may have come down into him are partial only and yet further
diminished by their presentation to him by a still mixed consciousness.
He may fail to realise also that if he rushes to apply what he is realising
or receiving as if it were something definitive, he may either fall into
confusion and error or else get shut up in some partial formation in
which there may be an element of spiritual Truth, but it is likely to be
outweighted by more dubious mental and vital accretions that deform
it altogether. It is only when he is able to draw back (whether at once or

after a time) from his experiences, stand above them with the
dispassionate witness consciousness, observe their real nature,
limitations, composition, mixture that he can proceed on his way
towards a real freedom and a higher, larger and truer siddhi. At each
step this has to be done. For whatever comes in this way to the sadhak
of this yoga, whether it be from Overmind or Intuition or Illumined Mind
or some exalted Life Plane or from all these together, it is not definitive
and final; it is not the supreme Truth in which he can rest, but only a
stage. And yet these stages have to be passed through, for the
Supramental or the Supreme Truth cannot be reached in one bound or
even in many bounds; one has to pursue a calm patient steady progress
through many intervening stages without getting bound or attached to
their lesser Truth or Light or Power or Ananda.
This is in fact an intermediary state, a zone of transition between the
ordinary consciousness in mind and the true Yoga knowledge. One may
cross without hurt through it, perceiving at once or at an early stage its
real nature and refusing to be detained by its half-lights and tempting
but imperfect and often mixed and misleading experiences; one may go
astray in it, follow false voices and a mendacious guidance, and that
ends in a spiritual disaster; or one may take up one's abode in this
intermediate zone, care to go no farther and build there some half-truth
which one takes for the whole truth or become the instrument of the
powers of these transitional planes, - that is what happens to many
sadhaks and Yogis. Overwhelmed by the first rush and sense of power of
a supernormal condition, they get dazzled with a little light which
seems to them a tremendous illumination or a touch of force which they
mistake for the full Divine Force or at least a very great Yoga Shakti; or
they accept some intermediate Power (not always a Power of the
Divine) as the Supreme and an intermediate consciousness as the
supreme realisation. Very readily they come to think that they are in the
full cosmic consciousness when it is only some front or small part of it or
some larger Mind, Life-Power or subtle physical ranges with which they
have entered into dynamic connection. Or they feel themselves to be in
an entirely illumined consciousness, while in reality they are receiving

imperfectly things from above through a partial illumination of some
mental or vital plane; for what comes is diminished and often deformed
in the course of transmission through these planes; the receiving mind
and vital of the sadhak also often understands or transcribes ill what has
been received or throws up to mix with it its own ideas, feelings, desires,
which it yet takes to be not its own but part of the Truth it is receiving
because they are mixed with it, imitate its form, are lit up by its
illumination and get from this association and borrowed light an
exaggerated value.
There are worse dangers in this intermediate zone of experience. For
the planes to which the sadhak has now opened his consciousness, -
not as before getting glimpses of them and some influences, but
directly, receiving their full impact, - send a host of ideas, impulses,
suggestions, formations of all kinds, often the most opposite to each
other, inconsistent or incompatible, but presented in such a way as to
slur over their insufficiencies and differences, with great force,
plausibility and a wealth of argument or a convincing sense of certitude.
Overpowered by this sense of certitude, vividness, appearance of
profusion and richness, the mind of the sadhak enters into a great
confusion which it takes for some larger organisation and order; or else,
it whirls about in incessant shiftings and changes which it takes for a
rapid progress, but which lead nowhere. Or there is the opposite danger
that he may become the instrument of some apparently brilliant but
ignorant formation; for these intermediate planes are full of little Gods
or strong Daityas or smaller beings who want to create, to materialise
something or to enforce a mental and vital formation in the earth life
and are eager to use or influence or even possess the thought and will
of the sadhak and make him their instrument for the purpose. This is
quite apart from the well-known danger of actually hostile beings
whose sole purpose is to create confusion, falsehood, corruption of the
sadhana and disastrous unspiritual error. Anyone allowing himself to be
taken hold of by one of these beings, who often take a divine Name, will
lose his way in the Yoga. On the other hand, it is quite possible that the
sadhak may be met at his entrance into this zone by a Power of the

Divine which helps and leads him till he is ready for greater things; but
still that itself is no surety against the errors and stumblings of this zone;
for nothing is easier than for the powers of these zones or hostile
powers to imitate the guiding Voice or Image and deceive and mislead
the sadhak or for himself to attribute the creations and formations of his
own mind, vital or ego to the Divine.
For this intermediate zone is a region of half-truths - and that by
itself would not matter, for there is no complete truth below the
Supermind; but the half-truth here is often so partial or else ambiguous
in its application that it leaves a wide field for confusion, delusion and
error. The sadhak thinks that he is no longer in the old small
consciousness at all, because he feels in contact with something larger
or more powerful, and yet the old consciousness is still there, not really
abolished. He feels the control or influence of some Power, Being or
Force greater than himself, aspires to be its instrument and thinks he
has got rid of ego: but this delusion of egolessness often covers an
exaggerated ego. Ideas seize upon him and drive his mind which are
only partially true and by overconfident misapplication are turned into
falsehoods; this vitiates the movements of the consciousness and opens
the door to delusion. Suggestions are made, sometimes of a romantic
character, which flatter the importance of the sadhak or are agreeable
to his wishes and he accepts them without examination or
discriminating control. Even what is true, is so exalted or extended
beyond its true pitch and limit and measure that it becomes the parent
of error. This is a zone which many sadhaks have to cross, in which many
wander for a long time and out of which a great many never emerge.
Especially if their sadhana is mainly in the mental and vital, they have to
meet here many difficulties and much danger; only those who follow
scrupulously a strict guidance or have the psychic being prominent in
their nature pass easily as if on a sure and clearly marked road across
this intermediate region. A central sincerity, a fundamental humility also
save from much danger and trouble. One can then pass quickly beyond
into a clearer Light where if there is still much mixture, incertitude and
struggle, yet the orientation is towards the cosmic Truth and not to a

half-illumined prolongation of Maya and ignorance.
I have described in general terms with its main features and
possibilities this state of consciousness just across the border of the
normal consciousness, because it is here that these experiences seem to
move. But different sadhaks comport themselves differently in it and
respond sometimes to one class of possibilities, sometimes to another.
In this case it seems to have been entered through an attempt to call
down or force a way into the cosmic consciousness - it does not
matter which way it is put or whether one is quite aware of what one is
doing or aware of it in these terms, it comes to that in substance. It is not
the Overmind which was entered, for to go straight into the Overmind is
impossible. The Overmind is indeed above and behind the whole action
of the cosmic consciousness, but one can at first have only an indirect
connection with it; things come down from it through intermediate
ranges into a larger mind-plane, life-plane, subtle physical plane and
come very much changed and diminished in the transmission, without
anything like the full power and truth they have in the Overmind itself
on its native levels. Most of the movements come not from the
Overmind, but down from higher mind ranges. The ideas with which
these experiences are penetrated and on which they seem to rest their
claim to truth are not of the Overmind, but of the higher Mind or
sometimes of the illumined Mind; but they are mixed with suggestions
from the lower mind and vital regions and badly diminished in their
application or misapplied in many places. All this would not matter; it is
usual and normal, and one has to pass through it and come into a
clearer atmosphere where things are better organised and placed on a
surer basis. But the movement was made in a spirit of excessive hurry
and eagerness, of exaggerated self-esteem and self-confidence, of a
premature certitude, relying on no other guidance than that of one's
own mind or of the "Divine" as conceived or experienced in a stage of
very limited knowledge. But the sadhak's conception and experience of
the Divine, even if it is fundamentally genuine, is never in such a stage
complete and pure; it is mixed with all sorts of mental and vital
ascriptions and all sorts of things are associated with this Divine

guidance and believed to be part of it which come from quite other
sources. Even supposing there is any direct guidance, - most often in
these conditions the Divine acts mostly from behind the veil, - it is only
occasional and the rest is done through a play of forces; error and
stumbling and mixture of Ignorance take place freely and these things
are allowed because the sadhak has to be tested by the world-forces, to
learn by experience, to grow through imperfection towards perfection
- if he is capable of it, if he is willing to learn, to open his eyes to his
own mistakes and errors, to learn and profit by them so as to grow
towards a purer Truth, Light and Knowledge.
The result of this state of mind is that one begins to affirm
everything that comes in this mixed and dubious region as if it were all
the Truth and the sheer Divine Will; the ideas or the suggestions that
constantly repeat themselves are expressed with a self-assertive
absoluteness as if they were Truth entire and undeniable. There is an
impression that one has become impersonal and free from ego, while
the whole tone of the mind, its utterance and spirit are full of vehement
self-assertiveness justified by the affirmation that one is thinking and
acting as an instrument and under the inspiration of the Divine. Ideas
are put forward very aggressively that can be valid to the mind, but are
not spiritually valid; yet they are stated as if they were spiritual
absolutes. For instance, equality, which in that sense - for Yogic
Samata is a quite different thing - is a mere mental principle, the claim
to a sacred independence, the refusal to accept anyone as Guru or the
opposition made between the Divine and the human Divine etc., etc. All
these ideas are positions that can be taken by the mind and the vital
and turned into principles which they try to enforce on the religious or
even the spiritual life, but they are not and cannot be spiritual in their
nature. There also begin to come in suggestions from the vital planes, a
pullulation of imaginations romantic, fanciful or ingenious, hidden
interpretations, pseudo-intuitions, would-be initiations into things
beyond, which excite or bemuse the mind and are often so turned as to
flatter and magnify ego and self-importance, but are not founded on
any well-ascertained spiritual or occult realities of a true order. This

region is full of elements of this kind and, if allowed, they begin to
crowd on the sadhak; but if he seriously means to reach the Highest, he
must simply observe them and pass on. It is not that there is never any
truth in such things, but for one that is true there are nine imitative
falsehoods presented and only a trained occultist with the infallible tact
born of long experience can guide himself without stumbling or being
caught through the maze. It is possible for the whole attitude and action
and utterance to be so surcharged with the errors of this intermediate
zone that to go further on this route would be to travel far away from
the Divine and from the Yoga.
Here the choice is still open whether to follow the very mixed
guidance one gets in the midst of these experiences or to accept the
true guidance. Each man who enters the realms of Yogic experience is
free to follow his own way; but this Yoga is not a path for anyone to
follow, but only for those who accept to seek the aim, pursue the way
pointed out upon which a sure guidance is indispensable. It is idle for
anyone to expect that he can follow this road far, - much less go to the
end by his own inner strength and knowledge without the true aid or
influence. Even the ordinary long-practised Yogas are hard to follow
without the aid of the Guru; in this which as it advances goes through
untrodden countries and unknown entangled regions, it is quite
impossible. As for the work to be done it also is not a work for any
sadhak of any path ; it is not, either, the work of the "Impersonal" Divine
- who, for that matter, is not an active Power but supports impartially
all work in the universe. It is a training ground for those who have to
pass through the difficult and complex way of this Yoga and none other.
All work here must be done in a spirit of acceptance, discipline and
surrender, not with personal demands and conditions, but with a
vigilant conscious submission to control and guidance. Work done in
any other spirit results in an unspiritual disorder, confusion and
disturbance of the atmosphere. In it too difficulties, errors, stumblings
are frequent, because in this Yoga people have to be led patiently and
with some field for their own effort, by experience, out of the ignorance
natural to Mind and Life to a wider spirit and a luminous knowledge. But

the danger of an unguided wandering in the regions across the border
is that the very basis of the Yoga may be contradicted and the
conditions under which alone the work can be done may be lost
altogether. The transition through this intermediate zone - not
obligatory, for many pass by a narrower but surer way - is a crucial
passage; what comes out of it is likely to be a very wide or rich creation;
but when one founders there, recovery is difficult, painful, assured only
after a long struggle and endeavour.
November 6, 1932

Cosmic Truth and Cosmic Ignorance
THERE is no ignorance that is not part of the Cosmic Ignorance, only in
the individual it becomes a limited formation and movement, while the
Cosmic Ignorance is the whole movement of world Consciousness
separated from - the supreme Truth and acting in an inferior motion in
which the Truth is perverted, diminished, mixed and clouded with
falsehood and error. The Cosmic Truth is the view on things of a cosmic
consciousness in which things are seen in their true essence and their
true relation to the Divine and to each other.

Samata and Equality
YOGIC Samata is equality of soul, equanimity founded on the sense of
the one Self, the one Divine everywhere - seeing the One in spite of all
differences, degrees, disparities in the manifestation. The mental
principle of equality tries to ignore or else to destroy the differences,
degrees and disparities, to act as if all were equal there or to try and
make all equal. It is like Hridaya, the nephew of Ramakrishna, who when
he got the touch from Ramakrishna began to shout, "Ramakrishna, you
are the Brahman and I too am the Brahman; there is no difference
between us", till Ramakrishna, as he refused to be quiet, had to

withdraw the power. Or like the disciple who refused to listen to the
Mahout and stood before the elephant, saying, "I am Brahman", until
the elephant took him up in his trunk and put him aside. When he
complained to his Guru, the Guru said, "Yes, but why didn't you listen to
the Mahout Brahman? That was why the elephant Brahman had to lift
you up and put you out of harm's way." In the manifestation there are
two sides to the Truth and you cannot ignore either.

The Fundamental Difference
THE fundamental difference is in the teaching that there is a dynamic
divine Truth (the Supermind) and that into the present world of
Ignorance that Truth can descend, create a new Truth-consciousness
and divinise Life. The old Yogas go straight from mind to the absolute
Divine, regard all dynamic existence as Ignorance, Illusion or Lila; when
you enter the static and immutable Divine Truth, they say, you pass out
of cosmic existence.

The Higher and the Lower Truth
"If everything else is falsehood except the Supramental Truth, how
can the lower Overmind be a passage to the possibility of the
Supermind?"
I HAVE not said that everything is falsehood except the Supramental
Truth. I said that there was no complete Truth below the Supramental.
In the Overmind the Truth of Supermind which is whole and
harmonious enters into a separation into parts, many truths fronting
each other and moved each to fulfil itself, to make a world of its own or
else to prevail or take its share in worlds made of a combination of
various separated Truths and Truth-forces. Lower down in the scale, the
fragmentation becomes more and more pronounced, so as to admit of

positive error, falsehood, ignorance, finally inconscience like that of
Matter. This world here has come out of the Inconscience and
developed the Mind which is an instrument of Ignorance trying to reach
out to the Truth through much limitation, conflict, confusion and error.
To get back to Overmind, if one can do it completely, which is not easy
for physical beings, is to stand on the borders of the Supramental Truth
with the hope of entry there.
November 7, 1932

A PROBLEM OF FAITH
How to conciliate these two notions:
(1) that the Divine's will is behind all movements and happenings,
(2) that the Divine will is distorted in the manifestation.
There are two kinds of faith:
The faith that calls down the equanimity and the faith that calls
down the realisation.
These two faiths correspond to two different aspects of the Divine.
There is the Transcendent Divine and there is the Cosmic Divine.
The Will of realisation is that of the Transcendent Divine.
The Cosmic Divine is what is concerned with the actual working out
of things under the present circumstances. It is the Will of that Cosmic
Divine which is manifested in each circumstance, each movement of
this world.
The Cosmic Will is not, to our ordinary consciousness, something
that acts as an independent power doing whatever it chooses; it works
through all these beings, through the forces at play in the world and the
law of these forces and their results - it is only when we open ourselves
and get out of the ordinary consciousness that we can feel it intervening
as an independent power and overriding the ordinary play of the forces.
Then too we can see that even in the play of the forces and in spite
of their distortions the Cosmic Will is working towards the eventual
realisation of the Will of the Transcendent Divine.
The Supramental Realisation is the Will of the Transcendent Divine
which we have to work out. The circumstances under which we have to
work it out are those of an inferior consciousness in which things can be
distorted by our own ignorance, weaknesses and mistakes, and by the

clash of conflicting forces. That is why faith and equanimity are
indispensable.
We have to have the faith that in spite of our ignorance and errors
and weaknesses and in spite of the attacks of hostile forces and in spite
of any immediate appearance of failure the Divine Will is leading us,
through every circumstance, towards the final Realisation. This faith will
give us equanimity; it is a faith that accepts what happens, not
definitively but as something that has to be gone through on the way.
Once equanimity is established there can be established too another
kind of faith, supported by it, which can be made dynamic with
something from the supramental consciousness and can overcome the
present circumstances and determine what will happen and help to
bring down the Realisation of the Will of the Transcendent Divine.
The faith that goes to the Cosmic Divine is limited in the power of its
action by the necessities of the play.
To get entirely free from these limitations one must reach the
Transcendent Divine.
June 24, 1931

THE TRIUNE GODHEAD

T

HE DISTINCTION between the Transcendental, the Cosmic, the

Individual Divine is not my invention, nor is it native to India or to Asia
- it is, on the contrary, a recognised European teaching current in the
esoteric tradition of the Catholic Church where it is the authorised
explanation of the Trinity, - Father, Son and Holy Ghost,- and it is very
well known to European mystic experience. In essence it exists in all
spiritual disciplines that recognise the omnipresence of the Divine - in
Indian Vedantic experience and in Mahomedan Yoga (not only the Sufi,
but other schools also) - the Mahomedans even speak of not two or
three but many levels of the Divine until one reaches the Supreme. As
for the idea in itself, surely there is a difference between the individual,
the cosmos in space and time, and something that exceeds this cosmic
formula or any cosmic formula. There is a cosmic consciousness
experienced by many which is quite different in its scope and action
from the individual consciousness, and if there is a consciousness
beyond the cosmic, infinite and essentially eternal, not merely extended
in Time, that also must be different from these two. And if the Divine is
or manifests Himself in these three, is it not conceivable that in aspect,
in His working, He may differentiate Himself so much that we are driven
if we are not to confound all truth of experience, if we are not to limit
ourselves to a mere static experience of something indefinable, to speak
of a triple aspect of the Divine?
In the practice of Yoga there is a great dynamic difference in one's
way of dealing with these three possible realisations. If I realise only the
Divine as that, not my personal self, which yet moves secretly all my
personal being and which I can bring forward out of the veil, or if I build
up the image of that Godhead in my members, it is a realisation but a
limited one. If it is the Cosmic Godhead that I realise, losing in it all
personal self, that is a very wide realisation, but I become a mere

channel of the universal Power and there is no personal or divinely
individual consummation for me. If I shoot up to the transcendental
realisation only, I lose both myself and the world in the transcendental
Absolute. If, on the other hand, my aim is none of these things by itself,
but to realise and also to manifest the Divine in the world, bringing
down for the purpose a yet unmanifested Power, - such as the
Supermind, - a harmonisation of all three becomes imperative. I have
to bring it down, and from where shall I bring it down - since it is not
yet manifested in the cosmic formula - if not from the unmanifest
Transcendence, which I must reach and realise? I have to bring it into
the cosmic formula and, if so, I must realise the cosmic Divine and
become conscious of the cosmic self and the cosmic forces. But I have to
embody it here, - otherwise it is left as an influence only and not a
thing fixed in the physical world, and it is through the Divine in the
individual alone that this can be done.
These are elements in the dynamics of spiritual experience and I am
obliged to admit them if a divine work has to be done.
June 12, 1932

SOME SPIRITUAL DILEMMAS

T

HE QUESTION as put in your letter seems to me to be too rigidly

phrased and not to take into sufficient account the plasticity of the facts
and forces of existence. It sounds like the problem which one might
raise on the strength of the most recent scientific theories - if all is
made up of protons and electrons, all exactly similar to each other
(except for the group numbers, and why should a difference of quantity
make such an extraordinary difference or any difference of quality?) how
does their action result in such stupendous differences of degree, kind,
power, everything? But why should we assume that the psychic seeds or
sparks all started in a race at the same time, equal in conditions, equal in
power and nature? Granted that the One Divine is the source of all and
the Self is the same in all; but in manifestation why should not the
Infinite throw itself out in infinite variety, why must it be in an
innumerable sameness? How many of these psychic seeds started long
before others and have a great past of development behind them and
how many are young and raw and half-grown only? And even among
those who started together, why should not there be some who ran at a
great speed and others who loitered and grew with difficulty or went
about in circles? And then there is an evolution, and it is only at a certain
stage in the evolution that the animal belt is past and there is a human
beginning; what constitutes the human beginning, which represents a
very considerable revolution or turnover? Up to the animal line it is the
vital and physical that have been developing - for the human to begin,
is it not necessary that there should be the descent of a mental being to
take up the vital and physical evolution? And may it not well be that the
mental beings who descend are not all of the same power and stature
and, besides, do not take up equally developed vital and physical
consciousness-material? There is also the occult tradition of a hierarchy
of beings who stand above the present manifestation and put

themselves into it with results which will obviously be just such a
stupendous difference of degrees, and even intervene by descending
into the play through the gates of birth in human Nature. There are
many complexities and the problem cannot be put with the rigidity of a
mathematical formula.
A great part of the difficulty of these problems, I mean especially the
appearance of inexplicable contradiction, arises from the problem itself
being badly put. Take the popular account of reincarnation and Karma
- it is based on the mere mental assumption that the workings of
Nature ought to be moral and proceed according to an exact morality of
equal justice - a scrupulous, even mathematical law of reward and
punishment or, at any rate, of results according to a human idea of right
correspondences. But Nature is non-moral - she uses forces and
processes moral, immoral and amoral pell-mell for working out her
business. Nature in her outward aspect seems to care for nothing except
to get things done - or else to make conditions for an ingenious
variety of the play of life. Nature in her deeper aspect as a conscious
spiritual Power is concerned with the growth, by experience, the
spiritual development of the souls she has in her charge - and these
souls themselves have a say in the matter. All these good people lament
and wonder that unaccountably they and other good people are visited
with such meaningless sufferings and misfortunes. But are they really
visited with them by an outside Power or by a mechanical Law of
Karma? Is it not possible that the soul itself - not the outward mind,
but the spirit within - has accepted and chosen these things as part of
its development in order to get through the necessary experience at a
rapid rate, to hew through, durchhauen, even at the risk or the cost of
much damage to the outward life and the body? To the growing soul, to
the spirit within us, may not difficulties, obstacles, attacks be a means of
growth, added strength, enlarged experience, training for spiritual
victory? The arrangement of things may be that and not a mere
question of the pounds, shillings and pence of a distribution of rewards
and retributory misfortunes!
It is the same with the problem of the taking of animal life under the

circumstances put forward by your friend in the letter. It is put on the
basis of an invariable ethical right and wrong to be applied to all cases
- is it right to take animal life at all, under any circumstances, is it right
to allow an animal to suffer under your eyes when you can relieve it by
an euthanasia? There can be no indubitable answer to a question put
like that, because the answer depends on data which the mind has not
before it. In fact there are many other factors which make people incline
to this short and merciful way out of the difficulty - the nervous
inability to bear the sight and hearing of so much suffering, the
unavailing trouble, the disgust and inconvenience - all tend to give
force to the idea that the animal itself would want to be out of it. But
what does the animal really feel about it - may it not be clinging to life
in spite of the pain? Or may not the soul have accepted these things for
a quicker evolution into a higher state of life? If so, the mercy dealt out
may conceivably interfere with the animal's Karma. In fact the right
decision might vary in each case and depend on a knowledge which the
human mind has not - and it might very well be said that until it has it,
it has not the right to take life. It was some dim perception of this truth
that made religion and ethics develop the law of Ahimsa - and yet that
too becomes a mental rule which it is found impossible to apply in
practice. And perhaps the moral of it all is that we must act for the best
according to our lights in each case, as things are, but that the solution
of these problems can only come by pressing forward towards a greater
light, a greater consciousness in which the problems themselves, as
now stated by the human mind, will not arise because we shall have a
vision which will see the world in a different way and a guidance which
at present is not ours. The mental or moral rule is a stopgap which men
are obliged to use, very uncertainly and stumblingly, until they can see
things whole in the light of the spirit.
June 29, 1932

REBIRTH AND PERSONALITY

Y

OU MUST avoid a common popular blunder about reincarnation.

The popular idea is that Titus Balbus is reborn again as John Smith, a
man with the same personality, character, attainments as he had in his
former life with the sole difference that he wears coat and trousers
instead of a toga and speaks in cockney English instead of popular Latin.
That is not the case. What would be the earthly use of repeating the
same personality or character a million times from the beginning of
time till its end? The soul comes into birth for experience, for growth, for
evolution till it can bring the Divine into Matter. It is the central being
that incarnates, not the outer personality - the personality is simply a
mould that it creates for its figures of experience in that one life. In
another birth it will create for itself a different personality, different
capacities, a different life and career. Supposing Virgil is born again, he
may take up poetry in one or two other lives, but he will certainly not
write an epic but rather perhaps slight but elegant and beautiful lyrics
such as he wanted to write, but did not succeed, in Rome. In another
birth he is likely to be no poet at all, but a philosopher and a Yogin
seeking to attain and to express the highest truth - for that too was an
unrealised trend of his consciousness in that life. Perhaps before he had
been a warrior or ruler doing deeds like Aeneas or Augustus before he
sang them. And so on - on this side or that the central being develops
a new character, a new personality, grows, develops, passes through all
kinds of terrestrial experience.
As the evolving being develops still more and becomes more rich
and complex, it accumulates its personalities, as it were. Sometimes
they stand behind the active elements, throwing in some colour, some
trait, some capacity here and there, - or they stand in front and there is
a multiple personality, a many-sided character or a many-sided,
sometimes what looks like a universal capacity. But if a former

personality, a former capacity is brought fully forward, it will not be to
repeat what was already done, but to cast the same capacity into new
forms and new shapes and fuse it into a new harmony of the being
which will not be a reproduction of what was before. Thus you must not
expect to be what the warrior and the poet were. Something of the
outer characteristics may reappear, but very much changed and newcast in a new combination. It is in a new direction that the energies will
be guided to do what was not done before.
Another thing. It is not the personality, the character that is of the
first importance in rebirth - it is the psychic being who stands behind
the evolution of the nature and evolves with it. The psychic when it
departs from the body, shedding even the mental and vital on its way to
its resting place, carries with it the heart of its experiences, - not the
physical events, not the vital movements, not the mental buildings, not
the capacities or characters, but something essential that it gathered
from them, what might be called the divine element for the sake of
which the rest existed. That is the permanent addition, it is that that
helps in the growth towards the Divine. That is why there is usually no
memory of the outward events and circumstances of past lives - for
this memory there must be a strong development towards unbroken
continuance of the mind, the vital, even the subtle physical; for though
it all remains in a kind of seed memory, it does not ordinarily emerge.
What was the divine element in the magnanimity of the warrior, that
which expressed itself in his loyalty, nobility, high courage, what was the
divine element behind the harmonious mentality and generous vitality
of the poet and expressed itself in them, that remains and in a new
harmony of character may find a new expression or, if the life is turned
towards the Divine, be taken up as powers for the realisation or for the
work that has to be done for the Divine.
June 17, 1933

THE RIDDLE OF THIS WORLD

I

T IS NOT to be denied, no spiritual experience will deny that this is an

unideal and unsatisfactory world, strongly marked with the stamp of
inadequacy, suffering, evil. Indeed this perception is in a way the
starting-point of the spiritual urge - except for the few to whom the
greater experience comes spontaneously without being forced to it by
the strong or overwhelming, the afflicting and detaching sense of the
Shadow overhanging the whole range of this manifested existence. But
still the question remains whether this is indeed, as is contended, the
essential character of all manifestation or so long at least as there is a
physical world it must be of this nature, so that the desire of birth, the
will to manifest or create has to be regarded as the original sin and
withdrawal from birth or manifestation as the sole possible way of
salvation. For those who perceive it so or with some kindred look - and
these have been the majority - there are well-known ways of issue, a
straight-cut to spiritual deliverance. But equally it may not be so but
only seem so to our ignorance or to a partial knowledge - the
imperfection, the evil, the suffering may be a besetting circumstance or
a dolorous passage, but not the very condition of manifestation, not the
very essence of birth in Nature. And if so, the highest wisdom will lie not
in escape, but in the urge towards a victory here, in a consenting
association with the Will behind the world, in a discovery of the spiritual
gate to perfection which will be at the same time an opening for the
entire descent of the Divine Light, Knowledge, Power, Beatitude.
All spiritual experience affirms that there is a Permanent above the
transience of this manifested world we live in and this limited
consciousness in whose narrow borders we grope and struggle and that
its characters are infinity, self-existence, freedom, absolute Light,
absolute Beatitude. Is there then an unbridgeable gulf between that
which is beyond and that which is here or are they two perpetual

opposites and only by leaving this adventure in Time behind by
overleaping the gulf can men reach the Eternal? That is what seems to
be at the end of one line of experience which has been followed to its
rigorous conclusion by Buddhism and a little less rigorously by a certain
type of Monistic spirituality which admits some connection of the world
with the Divine, but still opposes them in the last resort to each other as
truth and illusion. But there is also this other and indubitable experience
that the Divine is here in everything as well as above and behind
everything, that all is in That and is That when we go back from its
appearance to its Reality. It is a significant and illumining fact that the
Knower of Brahman even moving and acting in this world, even bearing
all its shocks, can live in some absolute peace, light and beatitude of the
Divine. There is then here something other than that mere trenchant
opposition - there is a mystery, a problem which one would think must
admit of some less desperate solution. This spiritual possibility points
beyond itself and brings a ray of hope into the darkness of our fallen
existence.
And at once a first question arises - is this world an unchanging
succession of the same phenomena always or is there in it an
evolutionary urge, an evolutionary fact, a ladder of ascension
somewhere from an original apparent Inconscience to a more and more
developed consciousness, from each development still ascending,
emerging on highest heights not yet within our normal reach. If so,
what is the sense, the fundamental principle, the logical issue of that
progression? Everything seems to point to such a progression as a fact
- to a spiritual and not merely a physical evolution. Here, too, there is a
justifying line of spiritual experience in which we discover that the
Inconscient from which all starts is apparent only, for in it there is an
involved Consciousness with endless possibilities, a consciousness not
limited but cosmic and infinite, a concealed and self-imprisoned Divine,
imprisoned in Matter but with every potentiality held in its secret
depths. Out of this apparent Inconscience each potentiality is revealed
in its turn, first organised Matter concealing the indwelling Spirit, then
Life emerging in the plant and associated in the animal with a growing

Mind, then Mind itself evolved and organised in Man. This evolution,
this spiritual progression - does it stop short here in the imperfect
mental being called Man? Or is the secret of it simply a succession of
rebirths whose only purpose or issue is to labour towards the point at
which it can learn its own futility, renounce itself and take its leap into
some original unborn Existence or Non-Existence? There is at least the
possibility, there comes at a certain point the certitude that there is a far
greater consciousness than what we call Mind, and that by ascending
the ladder still farther we can find a point at which the hold of the
material Inconscience, the vital and mental Ignorance ceases; a principle
of consciousness becomes capable of manifestation which liberates not
partially, not imperfectly but radically and wholly this imprisoned
Divine. In this vision each stage of evolution appears as due to the
descent of a higher and higher Power of consciousness, raising the
terrestrial level, creating a new stratum, but the highest yet remain to
descend and it is by their descent that the riddle of terrestrial existence
will receive its solution and not only the soul but Nature herself find her
deliverance. This is the Truth which has been seen in flashes, in more
and more entirety of its terms by the line of seers whom the Tantra
would call the hero-seekers and the divine-seekers and which may now
be nearing the point of readiness for its full revelation and experience.
Then whatever be the heavy weight of strife and suffering and darkness
in the world yet if there is this as its high result awaiting us, all that has
gone before may not be counted too great a price by the strong and
adventurous for the glory that is to come. At any rate the shadow lifts;
there is a Divine Light that leans over the world and is not only a far-off
incommunicable Lustre.
It is true that the problem still remains why all this that yet is should
have been necessary - these crude beginnings, this long and stormy
passage - why should the heavy and tedious price be demanded, why
should evil and suffering ever have been there. For to the how of the fall
into the Ignorance as opposed to the why, the effective cause, there is a
substantial agreement in all spiritual experience. It is the division, the
separation, the principle of isolation from the Permanent and One that

brought it about; it is because the ego set up for itself in the world
emphasising its own desire and self-affirmation in preference to its unity
with the Divine and its oneness with all; it is because instead of the one
supreme Force, Wisdom, Light determining the harmony of all forces
each Idea, Force, Form of things was allowed to work itself out as far as
it could in the mass of infinite possibilities by its separate will and
inevitably in the end by conflict with others. Division, ego, the imperfect
consciousness and groping and struggle of a separate self-affirmation
are the efficient cause of the suffering and ignorance of this world. Once
consciousnesses separated from the one consciousness, they fell
inevitably into Ignorance and the last result of Ignorance was
Inconscience; from a dark immense Inconscient this material world
arises and out of it a soul that by evolution is struggling into
consciousness, attracted towards the hidden Light, ascending but still
blindly towards the lost Divinity from which it came.
But why should this have happened at all? One common way of
putting the question and answering it ought to be eliminated from the
first, - the human way and its ethical revolt and reprobation, its
emotional outcry. For it is not, as some religions suppose, a
supracosmic, arbitrary, personal Deity himself altogether uninvolved in
the fall who has imposed evil and suffering on creatures made
capriciously by his fiat. The Divine we know is an Infinite Being in whose
infinite manifestation these things have come - it is the Divine itself
that is here, behind us, pervading the manifestation, supporting the
world with its oneness; it is the Divine that is in us upholding itself the
burden of the fall and its dark consequence. If above It stands for ever in
its perfect Light, Bliss and Peace, it is also here; its Light, Bliss and Peace
are secretly here supporting all; in ourselves there is a spirit, a central
presence greater than the series of surface personalities which, like the
supreme Divine itself, is not overborne by the fate they endure. If we
find out this Divine within us, if we know ourselves as this spirit which is
of one essence and being with the Divine, that is our gate of deliverance
and in it we can remain ourselves even in the midst of this world's
disharmonies, luminous, blissful and free. That much is the age-old

testimony of spiritual experience.
But still what is the purpose and origin of the disharmony - why
came this division and ego, this world of a painful evolution? Why must
evil and sorrow enter into the divine Good, Bliss and Peace? It is hard to
answer to the human intelligence on its own level, for the consciousness
to which the origin of this phenomenon belongs and to which it stands
as it were automatically justified in a supra-intellectual knowledge, is a
cosmic and not an individualised human intelligence; it sees in larger
spaces, it has another vision and cognition, other terms of
consciousness than human reason and feeling. To the human mind one
might answer that while in itself the Infinite might be free from those
perturbations, yet once manifestation began infinite possibility also
began and among the infinite possibilities which it is the function of the
universal manifestation to work out, the negation, the apparent
effective negation - with all its consequences - of the Power, Light,
Peace, Bliss was very evidently one. If it is asked why even if possible it
should have been accepted, the answer nearest to the Cosmic Truth
which the human intelligence can make is that in the relations or in the
transition of the Divine in the Oneness to the Divine in the Many, this
ominous possible became at a certain point an inevitable. For once it
appears it acquires for the Soul descending into evolutionary
manifestation an irresistible attraction which creates the inevitability -
an attraction which in human terms on the terrestrial level might be
interpreted as the call of the unknown, the joy of danger and difficulty
and adventure, the will to attempt the impossible, to work out the
incalculable, the will to create the new and the uncreated with one's
own self and life as the material, the fascination of contradictories and
their difficult harmonisation - these things translated into another
supraphysical, superhuman consciousness, higher and wider than the
mental, were the temptation that led to the fall. For to the original being
of light on the verge of the descent the one thing unknown was the
depths of the abyss, the possibilities of the Divine in the Ignorance and
Inconscience. On the other side from the Divine Oneness a vast
acquiescence, compassionate, consenting, helpful, a supreme

knowledge that this thing must be, that having appeared it must be
worked out, that its appearance is in a certain sense part of an
incalculable infinite wisdom, that if the plunge into Night was inevitable
the emergence into a new unprecedented Day was also a certitude, and
that only so could a certain manifestation of the Supreme Truth be
effected - by a working out with its phenomenal opposites as the
starting-point of the evolution, as the condition laid down for a
transforming emergence. In this acquiescence was embraced too the
will of the great Sacrifice, the descent of the Divine itself into the
Inconscience to take up the burden of the Ignorance and its
consequences, to intervene as the Avatar and the Vibhuti walking
between the double sign of the Cross and the Victory towards the
fulfilment and deliverance. A too imaged rendering of the inexpressible
Truth? But without images how to present to the intellect a mystery far
beyond it? It is only when one has crossed the barrier of the limited
intelligence and shared in the cosmic experience and the knowledge
which sees things from identity that the supreme realities which lie
behind these images - images corresponding to the terrestrial fact -
assume their divine forms and are felt as simple, natural, implied in the
essence of things. It is by entering into that greater consciousness alone
that one can grasp the inevitability of its self-creation and its purpose.
This is indeed only the Truth of the manifestation as it presents itself
to the consciousness when it stands on the border line between Eternity
and the descent into Time where the relation between the One and the
Many in the evolution is self-determined, a zone where all that is to be is
implied but not yet in action. But the liberated consciousness can rise
higher where the problem exists no longer and from there see it in the
light of a supreme identity where all is predetermined in the automatic
self-existent truth of things and self-justified to an absolute
consciousness and wisdom and absolute Delight which is behind all
creation and non-creation and the affirmation and negation are both
seen with the eyes of the ineffable Reality that delivers and reconciles
them. But that knowledge is not expressible to the human mind; its
language of light is too undecipherable, the light itself too bright for a

consciousness accustomed to the stress and obscurity of the cosmic
riddle and entangled in it to follow the clue or to grasp its secret. In any
case, it is only when we rise in the spirit beyond the zone of the
darkness and the struggle that we enter into the full significance of it
and there is a deliverance of the soul from its enigma. To rise to that
height of liberation is the true way out and the only means of the
indubitable knowledge.
But the liberation and transcendence need not necessarily impose a
disappearance, a sheer dissolving out from the manifestation; it can
prepare a liberation into action of the highest Knowledge and an
intensity of Power that can transform the world and fulfill the
evolutionary urge. It is an ascent from which there is no longer a fall but
a winged or self-sustained descent of light, force and Ananda.
It is what is inherent in force of being that manifests as becoming;
but what the manifestation shall be, its terms, its balance of energies, its
arrangement of principles depends on the consciousness which acts in
the creative force, on the power of consciousness which Being delivers
from itself for manifestation. It is in the nature of Being to be able to
grade and vary its powers of consciousness and determine according to
the grade and variation its world or its degree and scope of selfrevelation. The manifested creation is limited by the power to which it
belongs and sees and lives according to it and can only see more, live
more powerfully, change its world by opening or moving towards or
making descend a greater power of consciousness that was above it.
This is what is happening in the evolution of consciousness in our world,
a world of inanimate matter producing under the stress of this necessity
a power of life, a power of mind which bring into it new forms of
creation and still labouring to produce, to make descend into it some
supramental power. It is further an operation of creative force which
moves between two poles of consciousness. On one side there is a
secret consciousness within and above which contains in it all
potentialities - there eternally manifest, here awaiting delivery - of
light, peace, power and bliss. On the other side there is another,
outward on the surface and below, that starts from the apparent

opposite of unconsciousness, inertia, blind stress, possibility of suffering
and grows by receiving into itself higher and higher powers which make
it always recreate its manifestation in larger terms, each new-creation of
this kind bringing out something of the inner potentiality, making it
more and more possible to bring down the Perfection that waits above.
As long as the outward personality we call ourselves is centred in the
lower powers of consciousness, the riddle of its own existence, its
purpose, its necessity is to it an insoluble enigma; if something of the
truth is at all conveyed to this outward mental man, he but imperfectly
grasps it and perhaps misinterprets and misuses and mislives it. His true
staff of walking is made more of a fire of faith than any ascertained and
indubitable light of knowledge. It is only by rising toward a higher
consciousness beyond the mental line and therefore superconscient
now to him that he can emerge from his inability and his ignorance. His
full liberation and enlightenment will come when he crosses the line
into the light of a new superconscient existence. That is the
transcendence which was the object of aspiration of the mystics and the
spiritual seekers.
But in itself this would change nothing in the creation here, the
evasion of a liberated soul from the world makes to that world no
difference. But this crossing of the line, if turned not only to an
ascending but to a descending purpose, would mean the
transformation of the line from what it now is, a lid, a barrier, into a
passage for the higher powers of consciousness of the Being now above
it. It would mean a new creation on earth, a bringing in of the ultimate
powers which would reverse the conditions here, in as much as that
would produce a creation raised into the full flood of spiritual and
supramental light in place of one emerging into a half-light of mind out
of a darkness of material inconscience. It is only in such a full flood of the
realised spirit that the embodied being could know, in the sense of all
that was involved in it, the meaning and temporary necessity of his
descent into the darkness and its conditions and at the same time
dissolve them by a luminous transmutation into a manifestation here of
the revealed and no longer of the veiled and disguised or apparently

deformed Divine.
June, 1933




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3







3.1.01_-_The_Problem_of_Suffering_and_Evil, #Letters On Yoga I, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  The Problem of Suffering and Evil
  The Riddle of this World
  It is not to be denied, no spiritual experience will deny that this is an unideal and unsatisfactory world, strongly marked with the stamp of inadequacy, suffering, evil. Indeed this perception is in a way almost the starting-point of the spiritual urge - except for the few to whom the greater experience comes spontaneously without being forced to seek it by the strong or overwhelming, the afflicting and detaching sense of the Shadow overhanging the whole range of this manifested existence. But still the question remains whether this is indeed, as is contended, the essential character of all manifestation or so long at least as there is a physical world it must be of this nature, so that the desire of birth, the will to manifest or create has to be regarded as the original sin and withdrawal from birth or manifestation as the sole possible way of salvation. For those who perceive it so or with some kindred look - and these have been the majority - there are well-known ways of issue, a straight-cut to spiritual deliverance. But equally it may not be so but only seem so to our ignorance or to a partial knowledge - the imperfection, the evil, the suffering may be a besetting circumstance or a dolorous passage, but not the very condition of manifestation, not the very essence of birth in Nature. And if so, the highest wisdom will lie not in escape, but in the urge towards a victory here, in a consenting association with the Will behind the world, in a discovery of the spiritual gate to perfection which will be at the same time an opening for the entire descent of the Divine Light,
  --
  If you want a solution which will be agreeable to the human mind and feelings, I am afraid there is none. No doubt if human beings had made the universe, they would have done much better; but they were not there to be consulted when they were made. Only your central being was there and that was much nearer in its temerarious foolhardiness to Vivekananda's or X's than to the repining prudence of your murmuring and trembling human mentality of the present moment - otherwise it would never have come down into the adventure. Or perhaps it did not realise what it was in for? It is the same with the wallowers
  1 The preceding letter was published under the heading "The Riddle of this World" in a book of the same name in 1933. - Ed.
  

Agenda_Vol_10, #The Mothers Agenda, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  Ah, what text?
  It was a very "Ordinary" text (I've brought it with me), in "The Riddle of this World."
  Ah!
  --
  
  139"The Riddle of this World" (July 1933) in Letters on Yoga, 22.31.
  

The_Riddle_of_this_World, #unknown, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  object:The Riddle of this World
  author class:Sri Aurobindo
  --
  Rebirth and Personality
  The Riddle of this World
  
  --
  
  The Riddle of this World
  

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