“The Soul’s Freedom” – Nolini Kanta Gupta

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The pressure from above has been withdrawn and normalcy restored to the earth-consciousness. Pressure meant a separation: something foreign acting from elsewhere, an interference. As a process, as a passage needed for a time, for a special purpose and under special circumstances, it was necessary and welcome. But circumstances have changed.

The higher consciousness has not to remain always high but to become level with the normal. Either the higher must come down and mingle totally with the lower, or the lower has to rise and merge altogether into the higher, or both meet and unite midway somewhere.

Earth or material nature does not easily tolerate anything unknown and foreign to it. Even if it is for its own well-being, a foreign touch makes it shrink and turn in on itself. It is even painful for it to bear. In the end the earth is not to be goaded or driven along: it has to go on its own. It must depend entirely on itself, bring out what it carries within itself or has acquired and stored. It has to outgrow its childhood or apprenticeship, the period when an intelligent amount of pressure or even coercion might be needed or inevitable. But that stage passed, the higher realisation has to be the natural expression of ordinary earth-life: its normal state has to be the state of the higher consciousness, its life naturally moved by its self-nature expressing its own truth.

If there is to be a Divine destiny for earth, it must be because of its free choice. There must be no pressure or even solicitude from any agent outside itself to compel it or force it that way. It must be a glad and spontaneous impulse from within to follow the line of destiny it has itself chosen.

As the original birth of Ignorance was a free choice of Ignorance, even so the return of Ignorance to consciousness has to be a matter of spontaneous self-seeking. It may be true or it is true in a deeper way that a mortal is chosen whom the Divine has already chosen, but that is another matter. Here upon earth we mortal souls are free agents, we choose or we do not choose.

In any case if one is to possess something truly, one must acquire it by one’s exertion and in complete liberty. A free gift or an imposition even of a precious object is always something foreign and unnatural to it. One must learn to love a thing in order to have it wholly for oneself; it must be made part and parcel of one’s being. And true love can exist only in free choice.

Latterly the Mother was saying, whenever the question of the descent of supermind was raised, that there was no question of descent any longer, for the thing has descended and it is here; it is no more a question of descent, that is to say, of something arriving from elsewhere that was not here before. At present it is simply the question of the manifestation of the thing that is with us and among us.

At one time Mother was asking for, even pleading for collaboration from the material nature. It was accorded in principle, but in act it was found wanting. Now the tables are turned. The earth-consciousness has now to ask for, pray for collaboration from the Divine. The material consciousness has to come forward and take the lead and play the frontal role in the working out of the evolution. The collaboration of her physical body has been withdrawn in order to leave us free in our physical movements so that we may learn to labour, and to labour in full freedom for the service expected of us. We say she has withdrawn herself, that is to say, her physical body, but she is still here, and she being here, her very existence is force, a helping force, and that is collaboration enough and it is always at our disposal.

Now at present it all depends on how much the earth-consciousness has received, imbibed or assimilated of the Divine Presence. That will be the measure of the fulfilment human beings can achieve. As much as we earth-creatures feel and express of the higher reality, that much we shall become truly and divinely. If we continue to be the old stock with no or little change, well, we shall have to wait perhaps for another million years.

This would mean for us, naturally, a change of dress for a good many times perhaps. There seems to be no other way. But a change of dress is inevitable and should be welcome, for kept on too long it would stink. A dip in the Vaitarni or Acheron (if we happen to be in Greece) would be wholesome. There is however always the possibility of a miracle happening: to this Mother was referring very often. In that case we might learn to change, to renew ourselves in the inner way, even like the Vedic cows; as the Rishi says: Paliknīrid yuvatayo bhavanti — even those of them who were grey with age, became young again. (Rig Veda, V.2.4)

Naturally it does not matter at all to the Divine, the supreme consciousness — the whole of eternity is His playfield, a million years this side or that do not count for Him anything. And yet we are human beings and we can have other vistas equally divine. The Mother became a human being like us as totally as possible for that purpose, to shorten the million years.

 

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The Mother continues to do what is necessary under the circumstances and perhaps more; she has not stopped her work.

But the most crucial thing and the most critical — turning the corner — has been done. Sri Aurobindo has spoken of it in memorable words: we know the passage in The Mother. I quote the lines and conclude:

“The Mother not only governs all from above but she descends into this lesser triple universe. Impersonally, all things here, even the movements of the Ignorance, are herself in veiled power and her creations in diminished substance, her Nature-body and Nature-force, and they exist because, moved by the mysterious fiat of the Supreme to work out something that was there in the possibilities of the Infinite, she has consented to the great sacrifice and has put on like a mask the soul and forms of the Ignorance. But personally too she has stooped to descend here into the Darkness that she may lead it to the Light, into the Falsehood and Error that she may convert it to the Truth, into this Death that she may turn it to godlike Life, into this world-pain and its obstinate sorrow and suffering that she may end it in the transforming ecstasy of her sublime Ananda. In her deep and great love for her children she has consented to put on herself the cloak of this obscurity, condescended to bear the attacks and torturing influences of the powers of the Darkness and the Falsehood, borne to pass through the portals of the birth that is a death, taken upon herself the pangs and sorrows and sufferings of the creation, since it seemed that thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and eternal Life. This is the great sacrifice called sometimes the sacrifice of the Purusha, but much more deeply the holocaust of Prakriti, the sacrifice of the Divine Mother.”

Published February 1975

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