CHENNAI: Chance, some say, does all; the phenomena of consciousness for there is no such thing as consciousness in itself, only reactive phenomena of sense and mind provoked by outward impacts are, like everything else, the products of chance.
But what is chance, after all? It is only a word, a notion formed by our consciousness to account for things of which we have no true knowledge and it does not account for them. When we do not know how or why a thing came to pass, we escape by saying, it was chance. We do not truly know how or why the universe happened or things in the universe, so we say, “Chance made it; Chance did it.” An intellectual escape, nothing more. If we said, “A selection, mysterious to us, out of infinite possibility,” then there would be some truth and some profundity in our thinking.
But the emergence of consciousness out of the inconscient was more probably a necessity in the very being of being, in the innate movement of being, than merely a possibility. Necessity, then? An inevitable determination in nature? Or a self-determination in the conscious spirit? Consciousness and immortality our existence is not a freak of some inconscient mechanical force stumbling into consciousness nor an inexplicable activity on the surface of a blank nothingness or an impassive inactive infinite. There is a significant in our life, it moves towards a spiritual end, it fulfills the drive of an eternal reality.
Immortality is the nature of our being, birth and death are a movement and incident of our immortality. Birth is an assumption of a body by the spirit, death is the casting off [of] the body; there is nothing original in this birth, nothing final in this death. Before birth we were; after death we shall be. Nor are our birth and death a single episode without continuous meaning or sequel; it is one episode out of many, scenes of our drama of existence with its denouement far away in time.
All depends upon consciousness. For all world-existence is a form created by consciousness, upheld by consciousness, determined by consciousness. All that is a consciousness veiled or unveiled, manifesting or concealing its own substance. All is energy of consciousness masked by movement of mind and life and matter and taking forms which are merely motions of the energy stabilised to appearance, yet always in movement; for the consciousness that constitutes these forms is always in dynamic movement; the visible rhythm and self-result of this self-repeating or self-continuing vibration and never resting motion and dynamics is what we call form. Disperse the energy that constitutes it and the form dissolves. Withdraw the consciousness that expresses itself in the energy and the energy can keep up no longer its sustaining rhythm; therefore it disperses, therefore the form dissolves. If we could so intensify the power of the consciousness put out in us that we could keep the energy always repeating, continuing, enlarging, progressing in its rhythm, then, the form might change but need not dissolve and even physically we should be immortal.
Vedantic Psychology Body, brain, nervous system are instruments of consciousness, they are not its causes. Consciousness is its own cause, a producer of objects and images and not their product. We are blinded to this truth because when we think of consciousness, it is of the individual we think.
We look at the world in the way and speak of it in the terms of individual consciousness; but it is of the universal consciousness that the world is a creation.
The individual participates subconsciently and superconsciently in the universal consciousness. But the embodied individual in his physical or waking mind does not so much participate as arrive at participation. He is not directly part of it, but reproduces it by a partial indirect action, and in reproducing selects and varies, combines, discombines, new combines and develops his selections.
In the body his waking mind receives its impressions from the outside world and reacts upon them. Body and nerves are his instrument for the impressions and the reaction; therefore all their apparent instrumentation is nervous, physical, atomically combined, a physiological apparatus for a battery of nervous energy.
Physical, nervous and sensory impressions are the means by which this individual is induced to put himself into waking relations with the physical universe. Physical, nervous and sensory reactions are his means for entering into that relation. He — but who is he? The mental being in his mentality.
Who is it that feels himself to be separate from the world or things in the universe to be outside his being? Not the Spirit, for the spirit contains the universe, creates and combines all relations. All personalities act in the one spirit, as our own multiple personalities act in one being.
Spiritual being is their continent, they are not its constituents, but its outer results and the diverse representative selves of its consciousness and action.
Not, either, the supra-mental being. For the supra-mental being is one with the spirit in its original or basic consciousness, in its idea-consciousness it is ideally comprehensive of cosmic things or, if we must speak in terms of space, commensurate with the universe.
The supra-mental being with one action of his Idea-self can regard universal being as his object of will and knowledge. That attitude is the seed of mind. It can regard it as contained in itself and itself contained in it, and in that way know and govern it. But it can too, like spirit in its real action know all things by identity and govern all things by identity.
Externality of being does not enter into supra-mental experience. Super mind can see mind externalising objects; it can itself take a particular viewpoint fronting objects but it is in itself that it fronts them, as we front our subjective operations in mind. It does not regard them as something outside its own being, as we regard physically objects.
— Excerpt from the book ‘Essays Divine and Human’ by Sri Aurobindo