In an amazing passage that combines the intuitions of spiritual consciousness and the discoveries of modern Science, Sri Aurobindo reveals to us the process of creation, the weaving of five elements and the soul’s purpose of birth into this enigmatic world.
A Mystery is this universe
A Mystery’s process is the universe.
Even with all the discoveries, the universe continues to remain a mystery as long as the original impulsion, the secret forces that weave its dance and its purpose remains unclear. It is this that Sri Aurobindo reveals to us now.
Strange anomalous base
At first was laid a strange anomalous base,
A void, a cipher of some secret Whole,
Where zero held infinity in its sum
And All and Nothing were a single term,
An eternal negative, a matrix Nought:
Into its forms the Child is ever born
Who lives for ever in the vasts of God.
The first movement of creation is to create a field for the manifestation of the Spirit. This field is the vast boundless etheric Space which though a seeming void was yet teeming with hidden possibilities. Indeed it is Brahman that became Space containing all within Itself as potentially infinite possibilities. It is in this cradle of God that the soul will enter for its great and grand adventure.
A slow reversal
A slow reversal’s movement then took place:
A gas belched out from some invisible Fire,
Of its dense rings were formed these million stars;
Upon earth’s new-born soil God’s tread was heard.
Then the great game began, the game of games that is ever new and ever the same. What was hidden began to emerge, step by step. This is the secret cause of evolution. At first the Divine plunges into the dark Inconscient through involution; then the emergence begins degree by degree. A Fire with its warmth and light, that is to say, the power and knowledge of the Divine hidden in blank and empty Space gave birth to the wind element. With this came the possibility of motion and movement, of expansion and contraction, a pulsating rhythm of Time. This stir and rhythm creating a clash and clasp of vibrations began to crystallise, a fluid movement at first, a state of water (to use an ancient language) which carried the life force within it. Next it crystallised still further and gave birth to what we call as the material element, the earth that holds all things and gives them a concrete form and shape. In these forms prepared by the five elements (space, fire, wind, water, earth) the immortal soul entered giving it the touch and stamp of God.
The zero carrier of the All
Across the thick smoke of earth’s ignorance
A Mind began to see and look at forms
And groped for knowledge in the nescient Night:
Caught in a blind stone-grip Force worked its plan
And made in sleep this huge mechanical world,
That Matter might grow conscious of its soul
And like a busy midwife the life-power
Deliver the zero carrier of the All.
But the soul is hidden behind the form. At first life and mind emerge to prepare matter for the emergence of the secret soul and invade matter with its light and force. Until the soul takes charge, the mind in man remains a mind of ignorance groping in darkness for some light.
A shadow of the Unknowable
Because eternal eyes turned on earth’s gulfs
The lucent clarity of a pure regard
And saw a shadow of the Unknowable
Mirrored in the Inconscient’s boundless sleep,
Creation’s search for self began its stir.
It is a beautiful image of the Divine eyes watching over the Earth even as she is still plunged in the swoon and sleep of the Inconscient. But by this very divine regard, this gaze of the Divine creation began to search for the Self hidden within it.
A spirit dreamed
A spirit dreamed in the crude cosmic whirl,
Mind flowed unknowing in the sap of life
And Matter’s breasts suckled the divine Idea.
The sleep of earth began to be stirred with divine memories of a happier state, mind began to think and conceive of an ideal state and search for God and Freedom and Immortality.
Miracle of the Absolute
A miracle of the Absolute was born;
Infinity put on a finite soul,
All ocean lived within a wandering drop,
A time-made body housed the Illimitable.
With the emergence of the mind and its seeking, the stage was set for the soul to emerge. Though finite it holds within itself all the infinite potential and possibilities of the Divine. Thus bodies and forms built by perishable matter made room for the immortal Soul to dwell within it.
The great mystery of creation
To live this Mystery out our souls came here.
This is the great mystery of creation, the mystery of building immortally with mortal things, the mystery of making the finite one with the Infinite that gave birth to it, the mystery of the drop releasing and realising within itself the energy and power of the entire ocean.
This is the great secret of creation. It is a field of divine manifestation with matter as its basis and the soul as the mediating power between creation and God.