The second in the series where I post an aphorism of Sri Aurobindo and my understanding of it.
Imagine this – what would every spiritual victory be without a Satan or a Mara, or the countless personifications of evil and ignorance across cultures and societies and religions. Would Christ be the same without Satan and his temptations? Without Mara would there be a Buddha?
In fact every major accomplishment becomes that way because of the impediments that come in the way. The greater the block the higher the effort and hence bigger the victory.
But it seems that we as a species, often, in spite of our best intentions, get it wrong as to the identity of the villain.
I was much plagued by Satan, until I found that it was God who was tempting me; then the anguish of him passed out of my soul for ever.
Here, Sri Aurobindo demolishes a old spiritual myth. That there is a highest evil personified, Satan, or whatever name a culture attributes to it, and it holds all responsibility of pushing back aspirants to the highest realm of existence. Of course Sri Aurobindo does not just demolish the myth out of malice or lack of understanding, he points to a higher truth, or should I say the highest truth?
Satan, evil or its ilk and their infinite manifestations are only a half-complete evolution of the possibilities of creation. It is the immanent Divine who is leaving behind each of the layers of ignorance. To not recognize this is to only possess one facet of the Divine, to place in him responsibility for virtue and none of the vices does not make him completely the Highest Divine.
It is perhaps a testament to the maturity of the eastern religions that this line of thought is even attempted. Even from the times of the Vedas and the Upanishad the notion of a transcendent, one who exceeds Space and Time, and hence all notions of morality, one who stands apart from the visible manifest Universe, the highest Self, the highest Purusha, the Purushottama of the Gita has existed. This Transcendent exceeds notions of morality, and in exceeding it contains both Good and Evil within himself.
All that exists is contained within Him. This is the “Uttama rahasya”, the highest secret, of the Gita. To not know this is to be taken by the masks that God wears upon Himself to lead an erring humanity.