What is the nature of the Divine Force? What are the conditions for its working? Can the divine force help develop new powers, bring in new knowledge, change the character?
The author reminds us that it is the errors of an egoistic and self-divided creation that are the central practical concern of every human being striving to fulfil the purpose of his life on earth. The errors are inevitable; indeed, they are the means of fulfilment, the fertiliser by which the seed of the spirit is made to grow and fructify on the plane of human life.
The author writes that sacrifice is commonly thought of as leaving the participant worse off than he was – except for the anticipation of any calculated reward or quid pro quo. Or it may be associated with atonement or punishment for wrongs done. Nothing, of course, could be farther from the intention or effect of the sacrifice which is to be performed by the Spirit of Man if he is to achieve his true destiny.
The Festival of Devi is celebrated in India to mark the victory of the great Goddess Durga over the demon King Mahishāsura and his demon cohorts. Though outwardly it seems to be symbolic of the victory of Truth over falsehood which of course it is, there is much in it to help us understand the process of individual and cosmic evolution. A 3-part essay explores the deeper, inner significance of this festival.
The symbolism of the birth of Mahishasurmardini is presented here. The author also briefly outlines how the nine forms of the goddess form an ascending hierarchy of shakti or energy rising from the root chakra at the base of the spine, mulādhara, traveling upwards gaining strength and force and momentum with each upward gust and impulsion until it reaches the crown and passing beyond unites with its Lord.
The author, in this part, cites some significant descriptions given by the Mother of her realisations. These passages speak of how Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga takes a giant leap over tradition wherein he is not content with the slaying of a demon or many demons but by their conversion or dissolution for good. But for this not only man but even the gods must collaborate.
Sri Aurobindo summarises the essence of verses 9-14 of Isha Upanishad in ‘The Life Divine’: “Through Avidya, the Multiplicity, lies our path out of the transitional egoistic self-expression in which death and suffering predominate; through Vidya consenting with Avidya by the perfect sense of oneness even in that multiplicity, we enjoy integrally the immortality and the beatitude. By attaining to the Unborn beyond all becoming we are liberated from this lower birth and death; by accepting the Becoming freely as the Divine, we invade mortality with the immortal beatitude and become luminous centres of its conscious self-expression in humanity.”
In this part 3 of our ongoing series, the focus is on verses 6-8 of Isha Upanishad. We are reminded that it is the Brahman that is the origin, the end and the container of the things; creating, he indwells the forms of his manifestation, enjoys variously his thousand abodes. He is the One, the same everywhere. And if each individual formation behaves and acts as if it is a separate entity, different from others, it is because it is clouded in its outer consciousness, it has temporarily lost touch with the unifying knowledge and consciousness at its back—that which sustains it as well as it does all the rest in a common extension.
In this part, the author focuses on the first 4 verses of Isha Upanishad. He reminds that this Upanishad addresses itself to the question of world-existence, the problem of harmonising human life and activity with the Reality of Immutable Brahman. The solution it finds is one of the most remarkable found by the ancient Indian mind.
In this six-part series, we present an essay by M.P. Pandit which summarises some of Sri Aurobindo’s commentaries on the Isha Upanishad. The first introductory part highlights Sri Aurobindo’s comments on translating the Upanishads, and the errors made by Max Muller and other Indologists who fail to capture the spirit of the scripture because they lack the inner vision of the Truth expressed in scripture.
Editor’s note: For our Book of the Month, we bring for our readers a few excerpts from Nithin Sridhar’s latest book ‘Īśopaniṣad: …