Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Tao,Nirvana,And Non Being


PURANI: J asks: Is there a universal plane called the universal psychic, like the universal vital or the universal mental? He thinks of the psychic as being only individual.
SRI AUROBINDO: It is a mistake to suppose that the psychic is only individual or consists only of individuality. There is a universal psychic like the rest.
PURANI: Is it there that the soul retires after leaving the body and gathers material for a new birth?
PURANI: He also asks how the distinction is made in The Life Divine between Being and Non-being. Does the Non-Being come after Overmind - or before it?
SRI AUROBINDO: Why is he particular about the Non-Being? You arrive at the Non-Being by following the negative path. That is to say, when you start from mind, I mean spiritual mind, you come or open yourself to the experience of Nirvana. This Nirvana is the negation of all that the mind can affirm as the Being but it is only a gate of entry into the Absolute. From this Nirvana you can either take up the negative or the affirmative path. By the negative you reach the Non-Being or what the Gita calls anirdeshyam (the intermediate). This Non-Being is the Buddhists Nirvana or Chinese Tao. The Buddhists consider it as Shunya, the Void, while to the Taoists this void, contains everything. Again, this Nirvana is not the same as the Brahmanirvana of the Gita.
By following the affirmative path you arrive at the Supermind and pass through it to the Sachchidananda . In my own case, I passed to the supermind from a Nirvana which was not of the Buddhist type but a state of mere being with the most indispensable positive element. The Goraknath people also follow this affirmative way.
From the point of view of realisation, there are three aspects of Brahmana - Atman or self, Purusha or Soul, Ishwara or God. The Adwaitins negate both Purusha and Ishwara and arrive at the unity of the Atman and Brahman. The Buddhists negate all the three aspects and arrive at Non-Being.

When the others had gone, Purani brought up again the subject of Non-Being.

PURANI: Did you say the other day that by following the affirmative way one also arrives at Non-Being? I was not very clear about it.
SRI AUROBINDO: (with a surprised look): No. Only by the negative path you arrive at Non-Being, or what the Gita calls the Indeterminate. As I said, it is the same as in Taoism and Buddhism. But it is not really Nothing. What we can say is that no attribute of Being can be posited of it. Taoism says that Non-Being is Everything rather than Nothing. By the affirmative path you come through Supermind to Sachchidananda which is both static and dynamic, while through the negative path you come to Non-Being.
PURANI: Then the the negative path doesn't lead to Sachchidananda.
NIRODBARAN: Is Non-Being the final stage of the negative path or does one pass through it to something else?
SRI AUROBINDO: Non-Being is only a term of the mind to express the Supreme Existence. It is the Buddhists' way of expressing the Supreme they contact. In reality it is nothing but an aspect of the Supreme. What is called the Indeterminate is not really indeterminate. It can be called so because it is not limited or confined to any one determination, not because it is incapable of
any determination. That is what I have tried to show in The Life
PURANI: In fact, it is the source of infinite determination. How is Non-Being related to the Supermind, etc., of the affirmative way?
SRI AUROBINDO: Both are gates to the Absolute. Non-Being is an aspect of the Absolute. When you enter the Absolute you can't describe it.

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