Friday, January 2, 2009

The Descent That Happened 1400 Years Ago

Sri Aurobindo:When you follow the course of history you may find that there is a certain destiny which represents the sum of physical forces; that is one destiny. And you find that when that tends to go round and round in an infinite circuit then there is a tendency which seems inevitable in movement.

But the question is : are physical forces the only determinants of destiny ? Or, is there anything else ? Is there something more than the physical that can intervene and influence the course of the movement ?

We find that there have been such inrushes of forces in history and the action of such an inrush has been to change the destiny indicated by the physical forces; it has even changed the course of human history. As an example, take the rise of the Arabs; a small uncivilized race, living in an arid desert, suddenly rises up and in fifty years spreads from Spain to Asia and completely changes the course of history. That is an inrush of forces.

Disciple : One day you spoke of the inrush of forces during periods of human history for example, the Greek and the Arab period. Can we similarly speak not of an inrush of forces that influences the outward life and events but of a descent of some higher Force in case of men like Christ and Buddha ?

Sri Aurobindo : Yes, it is a descent of a higher Force which at first works in one man, then in a group of men and then extends its influence to mankind. In the case of Mahomed,—and that is another dictator!—the descent corresponded with the extension in outer life. But the descent may be only an inner descent in the beginning and may only gradually spread to other men.

There also what happens is that forces in life, at first, resist any such movement of descent. When they find that they can't resist then they accept the new element and, in accepting, turn it into something else than what it was intended to be! For example, you find that Christianity was at first opposed, and when it was afterwards accepted it became an oppressive religion. Why ? Because, it was the lower forces of nature that came in with the acceptance. It means there must have been something in the very beginning, that gave an opening. I believe many of the Christian martyrs did not suffer in the genuine Christian spirit. Most of them were full of the spirit of revenge. So, in the beginning there was passive resistance but when Christianity came to power it turned oppressive. Thus, by accepting Christianity the lower forces occupied the place of genuine spiritual force of Christ

Disciple : Many people in the past have tried to do the same thing, have not they ?

Sri Aurobindo ; Yes, they have. But, as I said, it has always got mixed with the powers of falsehood. That is why I want to try, if possible, to embody a power, which I call the Truth-Consciousness that will not admit of any mixture or compromise with the powers of falsehood. By the Truth-Consciousness I mean the dynamic Divine Consciousness. That power must be brought to govern the minutest detail of life and action. The question is to bring it down and establish it in men and the second question is to keep it pure. For, we have seen all along the past there is the gravitational pull of the lower forces. It must be a power that can not only resist but overcome that downward pull. If such a power can be established in a group, then, though it may not change the entire humanity at once, still it will act as a potent force for turning human nature towards it.

It was because of the difficulty of changing human nature, which Vivekananda calls the "dog's tail", that the ascetic path advocated flying away from Nature as the only remedy. Those people could not think it possible to change human nature, so they said, "Drop it."

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