Though the Reality is One it is also and at once many tiered, just as the one parent white light fragments or rather arranges itself into a rainbow patterned colours. This rainbow patterned arrangement of layers and levels of the One Infinite Consciousness helps build an evolutionary ladder through which the being that has plunged into creation through an involution of the Original Power can climb back and in the process lead to the emergence of several possibilities that may have otherwise remained hidden in the One. In the passage that follows we have a description of the upper pole of the ladder, the stair where the great Gods reside, the Overmind world that borders on the Supermind. Sri Aurobindo describes the relation these great and luminous beings have with our world, the mysterious and ill-understood way of their working, their effect and influence upon our humanity.
The two ends of the mysterious plan
Two are the ends of the mysterious plan.
Though there is but One Reality, it manifests Itself in a multi-layered, multi-dimensional way. Thus there comes into existence a hierarchy of different levels within the One Infinite Consciousness. Thus there also comes into existence the two poles of the one Reality, – a bright extreme full of luminous Force and a dark state of Ignorance, obscurity and unconsciousness.
The Spirit’s bare and absolute potencies
In the wide signless ether of the Self,
In the unchanging Silence white and nude,
Aloof, resplendent like gold dazzling suns
Veiled by the ray no mortal eye can bear,
The Spirit’s bare and absolute potencies
Burn in the solitude of the thoughts of God.
These are the original Gods, each an Absolute in His/Her own right, who are privy to the ‘Real Idea’ that has gone into creation. Each of them represents and is an extension of one or the other aspect hidden in the Supreme. Each can lead us to the Supreme, each guides creation in his own way in the upward journey of creation. Far beyond the thinking mind, these Gods, which are powers of the One Spirit, dwell in the original Silence. They dwell on the borders of the Supermind and the Overmind where the Golden Supramental Light burns in all its Splendour. They are surrounded by the dazzle of the Supramenal Light as it enters the Overmind, a dazzle that can easily be mistaken for the One Supreme Light.
A rapture and a radiance and a hush
A rapture and a radiance and a hush,
Delivered from the approach of wounded hearts,
Denied to the Idea that looks at grief,
Remote from the Force that cries out in its pain,
In his inalienable bliss they live.
Great and mighty and blissful, they dwell in their own Splendour far beyond the struggle of earthly life and the grief and wounds that man endures in our journey. Therefore they cannot be moved by pity or tears of humanity since they know it not. Theirs is a domain beyond sorrow and grief. They live in the Bliss of the Divine.
Repose on the eternal Will
Immaculate in self-knowledge and self-power,
Calm they repose on the eternal Will.
A purity of knowledge and a purity of Force is their being; their action is a flawless expression of the Divine Will in whose calm they dwell. They are moved to act only by the Divine Impulsion and nothing else.
Only his law they count and him obey
Only his law they count and him obey;
They have no goal to reach, no aim to serve.
That is to say, they are typal and not evolutionary beings. They are stationed in their high realm from where they act and influence the earthly life in accordance with the Divine Law. They are the guardians to the doors of the Sun and act in perfect obedience to the Divine Law of which they are the keepers and knowers.
Keepers of the immutable decree
Implacable in their timeless purity,
All barter or bribe of worship they refuse;
Unmoved by cry of revolt and ignorant prayer
They reckon not our virtue and our sin;
They bend not to the voices that implore,
They hold no traffic with error and its reign;
They are guardians of the silence of the Truth,
They are keepers of the immutable decree.
The law of Truth is the only thing that counts for these great Gods. They do not bend to human caprices for if they were to do so they would defeat their very purpose. Their action does not depend upon our human ideas of virtue and vice. Neither our wishful thinking nor cry of revolt can move them. They are not moved by appeasement and the worship that is done only to seek favours. What counts for them is only the fiat of the Divine.
A deep surrender
A deep surrender is their source of might,
A still identity their way to know,
Motionless is their action like a sleep.
These Gods are powers and aspects of the One Divine and always act in a state of conscious union with the Lord. That is why their action takes place in perfect stillness that comes from the Lord. The source of their knowledge and strength is the state of surrender to the One Absolute in which they live.
Deathless and Immobile
At peace, regarding the trouble beneath the stars,
Deathless, watching the works of Death and Chance,
Immobile, seeing the millenniums pass,
Untouched while the long map of Fate unrolls,
They look on our struggle with impartial eyes,
And yet without them cosmos could not be.
The Gods are immortal beings who watch over the lower hemisphere where Death and Fate weighs upon the struggling soul of man. Calm and tranquil, impartial and wise they regard the evolutionary march of mankind without being affected in the least. Yet their knowledge and power is woven into the very fabric of creation. Without their support and intervention as universal Powers the creation itself would enter into chaos.
Station of inviolable might
Impervious to desire and doom and hope, (p 58 begins)
Their station of inviolable might
Moveless upholds the world’s enormous task,
Its ignorance is by their knowledge lit,
Its yearning lasts by their indifference.
Stationed in the safety of the Supramental Rays, they remain untouched by the sting of desire or the hopes and despairs of our death afflicted humanity. Even as a Sun, unmoving, lights up the universe from its heights so too these Deities and Powers help the world grow towards the Light and yearn for Truth. Their very presence draws creation towards the heights by a secret pull.
Their aloofness drives man
As the height draws the low ever to climb,
As the breadths draw the small to adventure vast,
Their aloofness drives man to surpass himself.
That is to say they act without acting, they move without moving. Aloof in their glory they draw creation upwards even as a sun draws the tree and the flower towards its Light and brings all things to life by its touch or even reabsorbs them into cycles of creation by its blaze.
A shrine for the Omniscient and the Omnipotent
Our passion heaves to wed the Eternal’s calm,
Our dwarf-search mind to meet the Omniscient’s light,
Our helpless hearts to enshrine the Omnipotent’s force.
In a series of beautiful images Sri Aurobindo reveals to us the action of these Great Gods who act without actually assuming the human form. Our heart and mind and life secretly searches for that high god-like state from where we have fallen and towards which we are moving by a secret affinity and pull. Through this process of a constant upwards endeavor inspired by the secret workings and presence of the Gods, man will one day enshrine the Omniscient and the Omnipotent in this house of flesh.
The Wisdom and Strength that knows the steps of Time
Acquiescing in the wisdom that made hell
And the harsh utility of death and tears,
Acquiescing in the gradual steps of Time,
Careless they seem of the grief that stings the world’s heart,
Careless of the pain that rends its body and life;
Above joy and sorrow is that grandeur’s walk:
They have no portion in the good that dies,
Mute, pure, they share not in the evil done;
Else might their strength be marred and could not save.
Though they share the Omnipotent’s Force they are not moved by human pity and grief. Their power is one with the Omniscient Wisdom that has gone forth into creation and has allowed these paradoxical aspects of life and permitted the presence of suffering and pain, joy and sorrow, good and evil. Beyond earthly joys and sorrows, beyond earthly hopes and despairs, beyond our ideas of good and evil these Masters and Overlords of creation stand. Thus alone they could Guide and Help, otherwise their action loaded by Ignorance will only lead to more and more confusion in the world.
The truth in God’s extremes
Alive to the truth that dwells in God’s extremes,
Awake to a motion of all-seeing Force,
The slow outcome of the long ambiguous years
And the unexpected good from woeful deeds,
The immortal sees not as we vainly see.
These high Gods are conscious of the ways of workings of the Supreme Lord, who uses all things, including evil and pain, to help us grow towards the heights and carve us into the figure of divinity we are destined to become. We share not that vast and all-encompassing vision, hence we do not understand their action.
But the All-seeing Divine Force uses everything for our good, even those things that give us momentary suffering and pain.
The law and natural line of things
He looks on hidden aspects and screened powers,
He knows the law and natural line of things.
The Gods are not automatons repeating the same action in the same way with everyone. They do not act according to human notions since they know the occult forces that operate behind life and are aware of the true Law and the natural line of evolution of each being.
No haste to untie the cosmic knot
Undriven by a brief life’s will to act,
Unharassed by the spur of pity and fear,
He makes no haste to untie the cosmic knot
Or the world’s torn jarring heart to reconcile.
We as human beings lead a harassed life. We feel there is so much to do and the life span given to us is so less. Therefore we live in fear and haste but the Gods live in large spaces of Time and act without impatience and with perfect knowledge of the eventual outcome. They act in keeping with the Law of our evolution and the need of the moment for our growth.
The Eternal’s hour
In Time he waits for the Eternal’s hour.
They are aware that there is a time and a right season for everything. They wait for God’s Will to move them and fulfill His divine Intention in creation.
This is the action of the Gods whose sole purpose is to oversee and help our evolution towards a godlike state from where we fell. Man in his ignorance thinks that these divine powers are there to satisfy the ignorant demands of his egoistic life but in reality the gods do not act according to these human notions. Theirs is a Wisdom that passes beyond our ideas of good and evil, our notions of virtue and vice. The Divine Law of Truth is their concern and not the human understanding of these subtle and profound truths.