Wednesday, 20 July 2016

potential divinity ..

It is this apprehension of Divine Immanence in all beings that made the Swami lay down the dictum that every soul is potentially divine. The concept of potentiality alone gives an adequate interpretation of the idea that entities experienced now as tangible and concrete can remain unmanifested and imperceptible in their terminal condition, as if they were not there at all.

A tiny banian seed gives no clue to an unfamiliar onlooker regarding the mighty tree that is to come out of it in future. Unseen and unsuspected, its gigantic structure is involved in the almost imperceptible dimensions of that tiny seed. The same is the case with the personality of man. Unknown and unsuspected powers await development in his frail frame, and in his nature, akin to that of a mere animal, lies a Buddha hidden. Involved  Evolution is the impulsion of these potential effects to manifest and gain expression.

At the lower levels of evolution, this process  is accomplished by the slow and unguided processes of Nature. The evolutionary impulse brings out more and more complexity of structures in the organic matter until the living cell is produced. Out of the living cell the same impulse evolves higher and higher forms with structures that are increasingly complex but unified in function. These organized cells, forming into living bodies become the field for the emergence of mind, and in mind the self-conscious Ego, the Jiva, appears. With the appearance of the ego possessed of the powers of self-conscious reason, a new Impetus is given to evolutionary impulses.

Hitherto higher forms have been evolved by the natural forces working from within and without, and the organism living in harmony with them; but with the advent of the self-conscious reason, a new factor, the self-conscious effort of the ego as also of the community to which that ego belongs, becomes an equally important factor, giving greater direction and speed to the processes of Nature. In place of living in harmony with Nature, the organism begins to struggle against it. The evolutionary impulse manifests as the struggle of the self-conscious ego, to gain mastery over the forces of Nature which seems to stand opposed to it and thwart its urge for freedom and the expression of its higher divine potentialities. Thus, according to Swami Vivekananda, the goal of life at the human level is the manifestation of the soul's inherent Divinity by controlling Nature within and without.

This  description of the purpose of life from the Vedantic point of view is perhaps the most comprehensive account of it ever given. It includes all the accomplishments of human endeavour both the Apara vidya and the Para vidya. The Nature outside is constituted of the whole of the external environment of man, both physical and social. Physical Nature is controlled through the insight one gains into the working of its laws and applying that knowledge to develop technology, by means of which life is made more secure, leisurely and comfortable, and man is enabled to increase his power by using forces of Nature to secure his ends. His social environment is constituted of his fellow beings and it is by establishing right relationships with them through the development of a healthy society and polity that this part of his environment is controlled. Thus through science and technology, control over external environment as physical Nature is established, while the development of a well-knit society and a well-ordered State contributes to the control of Nature as social environment.