The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo: The Divine Maya

This post has my personal notes and reflections of the chapter called The Divine Maya from the  The Life Divine written  by Sri Aurobindo. 

Consider this example:

I write a poem. This poem that I have written seems external to me. But is it really? I have brought out something deep within myself, through myself( my mind, brain, hands) and created the poem into the form in which you can see it. This poem, therefore is not something external to me. This is “myself”.

In a similar way:

Everything that exists is the Divine. The Divine creates himself through himself. Then it becomes easier to understand the saying: Tat Twam Asi. You are That,


We, as individuals think of ourselves as different from our mind or body and what we create. We create separation. We also do not think of ourselves as the Divine. Not Divine in the sense of superiority, but in the sense of who we really are.

This is because:

Our consciousness has become identified with the limited body, mind and emotions and not with Sat-Chit-Ananda( Existence, Conscious Force and Bliss). Why it gets identified in this limited way? I do not know, unless you call it what some call as Lila( the Divine Play). The Divine Lila may well be:

  1. The Divine getting absorbed into various matter.
  2. This matter then evolving into living and thinking beings.
  3. These beings then realising themselves as the One and the Many in the World and building a conscious perfect world of existence, consciousness and bliss.

So, in reality, it is all the Divine: The Divine in the matter evolving to animal and man and has to evolve into something more closer to the Divine because He is actually the Divine.

But how does this really happen? How does the Divine change into matter and then evolve? It does not happen magically, as far as we can see. How does the Divine change into the various forms?

The answer is by Maya. What is this Maya? This is the power of the Divine which shapes finite appearances out of the infinite Reality. It shapes the Divine into a limited form and shape. It conceals the unity between the limited form of the Divine and the Divine, so that the forms do not realise themselves as the Divine. But it is not as if this Maya should be rejected. The Maya that conceals the unity should be overcome but the Maya which shows the One in the Many should be embraced. Then Maya becomes Lila-the Divine Play. This is consummation, otherwise what would be the purpose of the Divine throwing Itself into these forms. The reason is to consummate the potentialities of Existence, Consciousness and Delight.

Once we see the truth of this view then we do not need to view the world as a illusion or a negative place. Nor do we need to reject the body, mind or emotions. What we need to understand is that the body, mind or emotions are an inferior consciousness and a partial expression. The goal of evolution is to realise the Divine behind these partial expressions and living in the Divine, transform these into the Divine Himself, thereby changing Maya to Lila.

But this cannot be effected by our current mind and body. We have to go beyond our limited mind to an omniscient, omnipotent Mind. To do that we have to at least initially still the body and the mind and go beyond to what creates the body and the mind. From that point, we can view the true nature of the world and ourselves and start to transform ourselves into who we really are- the Divine.

As Sri Aurobindo says-

Knowledge waits seated beyond mind and intellectual reasoning, throned in the luminous vast of illimitable self-vision.


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