Part 3. Anumanta: The indifferent sanctioner of her works
All creation is a play or a dance of Prakriti with Purusha as the sole witness, inspirer and enjoyer. But this relation between Soul and Nature can take different poises from the lowest possible relation of enslavement of the soul by Prakriti to the highest poise of Freedom and Mastery of Nature by the Soul within. As our being evolves, as we grow in soul-power and soul-consciousness, the relation too begins to change and evolve. Slowly the soul begins to discover itself and realizes itself to be the master and lord of nature, Isa.
The knot that holds al things together
This is the knot that ties together the stars:
The Two who are one are the secret of all power,
The Two who are one are the might and right in things.
All creation is the play of Soul and Nature. It is the difference of stress between the two that leads to different degrees in the evolutionary manifestation. The Soul is like the Light that shows the path for Prakriti must take, it is the Idea that Nature tries to replicate by her forces. Without the Soul Nature would have no aim, serve no purpose. Without Nature, the Soul would remain unexpressed, lost in its trance or dreams without being able to give them form and shape.
The silent support and the works of nature
His soul, silent, supports the world and her,
His acts are her commandment’s registers.
The soul is the true Self in us that silently supports the movements of Nature. It is Nature that executes the secret will of the Purusha, the Divine Self in us. The experiences through which Nature takes us are determined by a secret need in the soul.
Shiva and Shakti
Happy, inert, he lies beneath her feet:
His breast he offers for her cosmic dance
Of which our lives are the quivering theatre,
And none could bear but for his strength within,
Yet none would leave because of his delight.
In a significant image that reminds one of Shiva lying below the feet of Kali in her warrior-dancing mood, Sri Aurobindo reveals to us the true nature of this relationship. The dance of Nature that creates Time and change takes place on the stable and immutable Eternal. It is because of the Presence of the Eternal within us that we can bear the mighty dance that moves our lives driven by a Force whose purpose we cannot fathom. Also it is the Presence of the Eternal that makes this otherwise dangerous play so delightful. It is the Divine Peace and Strength and Delight in us that upholds and sustains the cosmic drama.
The passive mirror
His works, his thoughts have been devised by her,
His being is a mirror vast of hers:
Active, inspired by her he speaks and moves;
His deeds obey her heart’s unspoken demands:
Passive, he bears the impacts of the world
As if her touches shaping his soul and life:
His journey through the days is her sun-march;
He runs upon her roads; hers is his course.
Nature is the Worker and without her power the Soul remains passive and inert. Driven by her force, he reflects her moods and messages passively.
A witness and student
A witness and student of her joy and dole,
A partner in her evil and her good,
He has consented to her passionate ways,
He is driven by her sweet and dreadful force.
Even as a witness and student, the soul involved in the mind is still not free and is more like a master who passively and indifferently signs and sanctions all that nature asks him to do. There is only a partnership of two equals but no real mastery since still it is nature that moves him as her puppet.
The sanctioning name
His sanctioning name initials all her works;
His silence is his signature to her deeds;
In the execution of her drama’s scheme,
In her fancies of the moment and its mood,
In the march of this obvious ordinary world
Where all is deep and strange to the eyes that see
And Nature’s common forms are marvel-wefts,
She through his witness sight and motion of might
Unrolls the material of her cosmic Act,
Her happenings that exalt and smite the soul,
Her force that moves, her powers that save and slay,
Her Word that in the silence speaks to our hearts,
Her silence that transcends the summit Word,
Her heights and depths to which our spirit moves,
Her events that weave the texture of our lives
And all by which we find or lose ourselves,
Things sweet and bitter, magnificent and mean,
Things terrible and beautiful and divine.
The movements of Nature take place on a grand cosmic scale. They are the result of a complex interplay of forces. What we see on the surface as events and circumstances in merely the surface result. What she conceals in her depths, her heights, her abysses is much more than what appears to us. Yet through all this and the varied, many toned experiences she moves the soul towards her own greatness and heights that are also his. The soul involved in mind accepts and sanctions the leading giving the semblance of a free will but nevertheless this too is an illusion created by nature for evolutionary purposes.
Her subtle and mighty laws
Her empire in the cosmos she has built,
He is governed by her subtle and mighty laws.
Passing beyond the material domain, nature begins to reveal her deeper secrets hidden in subtler domains that now begin to move the soul giving it a greater power and vaster field for action.
A babe upon her knees
His consciousness is a babe upon her knees,
His being a field of her vast experiment,
Her endless space is the playground of his thoughts;
She binds to knowledge of the shapes of Time
And the creative error of limiting mind
And chance that wears the rigid face of fate
And her sport of death and pain and Nescience,
His changed and struggling immortality.
As a mother trains her child, Nature too thus trains the soul in the great cosmic field she has built with all its laws and processes of the material and other subtler world. The complex play of Fate, what we call as error and what we call as knowledge are both used as a means for our growth. All things, even death and pain and Nescience become her sport to spur the soul and compel the mind to think and strive against the most challenging circumstances.
A subtle atom in a mass
His soul is a subtle atom in a mass,
His substance a material for her works.
Thus does the mind of man conceives of the soul, as a part of nature, as something subtle, a kind of energy that flows into the fields of nature creating various shapes and personalities and names and forms.
His spirit survives amid the death of things
His spirit survives amid the death of things,
He climbs to eternity through being’s gaps,
He is carried by her from Night to deathless Light.
Though the appearances of Nature incessantly change and forms built by her are subject to mutation and death, the Spirit survives and is the immortal element in all things. Through this process of change, we grow out of Night towards deathless Light. It is of this that we begin to become conscious through the process of evolution.
This grand surrender
This grand surrender is his free-will’s gift,
His pure transcendent force submits to hers.
The soul is not compelled by anything to bind itself to Nature. It does so out of its own free will. The soul, in its origin, belongs to the transcendent regions. Yet it submits itself to Nature and her play.
The mystery of cosmic ignorance
In the mystery of her cosmic ignorance,
In the insoluble riddle of her play,
A creature made of perishable stuff,
In the pattern she has set for him he moves,
He thinks with her thoughts, with her trouble his bosom heaves;
He seems the thing that she would have him seem,
He is whatever her artist will can make.
But there is a deep wisdom working in her heart and this subjection of the soul to nature is not without a purpose. Wherever Nature pulls the soul, it follows; whatever scene she creates for him that he willingly accepts; whatever she choose to make him, whatever road she set him to move on there he follows.
To freedom and mastery
Although she drives him on her fancy’s roads,
At play with him as with her child or slave,
To freedom and the Eternal’s mastery
And immortality’s stand above the world,
She moves her seeming puppet of an hour.
Yet all her random play and all the scenes arranged by her, all the fancies of Nature’s mood and her dealings with the soul as with a babe or a slave are meant to prepare the soul for freedom and mastery and the immortality found on her vastest and most luminous peaks above the world-play.
This is the real purpose, the game of games going on behind the scenes. It is the journey of the soul through and in the coverings of nature towards self-discovery and mastery. It is a slow and deliberate process even though it seems random and beset with error and chance. Yet its real purpose is to bring out the full divine potential of the soul as a tree is brought out of the seed.