Man The Enigma

“A deep enigma is the soul of man
His conscious life obeys the Inconscient’s rule,
His need of joy is learned in sorrow’s school,
His heart is a chaos and an empyrean.*
His subtle Ignorance borrows Wisdom’s plan;
His mind is the Infinite’s sharp and narrow tool.
He wades through mud to reach the Wonderful,
And does what Matter must or Spirit
can.”

– Sri Aurobindo – Man The Enigma

Sri Aurobindo’s poem deftly illustrates the dichotomy inherent in man. On the one hand our human nature is bound by ignorance. We are unaware of our true self and by living in ignorance of our true nature we suffer. But as man as ignorance so man has within him the immortal and empryean. Not only that but Sri Aurobindo alludes to the necessity of man’s passing through ignorance to light. Only through sorrow do we learn of joy.

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‘Man’s abiding happiness is not in getting anything
but in giving himself up to what is greater than himself,
to ideas which are larger than his individual life,
the idea of his country,
of humanity,
of God.’

– Tagore

Tagore is more explicit in stating man needs to work through selfishness (which is ignorance) liberation for man comes when he extends his sense of self.

Man and God

‘Man forgets. God forgives.
Man forgets God’s Truth.
God forgives man’s ignorance.
 
Man soars. God grows.
Man soars in God.
God grows in man.’

From: Songs of the Soul
By: Sri Chinmoy

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MAN IN GOD, GOD IN MAN

Hate is the man in God;
Love is the God in man.
Self-gratification is the man in God;
Life-dedication is the God in man.
Desire-force is the man in God;
Aspiration-light is the God in man.

Sri Chinmoy shows this dichotomy of man through his relationship with God, which is nothing other than man’s higher self. Although to man there may seem a sharp division between himself and a higher reality. God shows infinite patience for man to bring to the fore his own inner qualities.

‘ Man and God are eternally one. Like God, man is infinite; like man, God is finite. There is no yawning gulf between man and God. Man is the God of tomorrow; God, the man of yesterday and today.’

– Sri Chinmoy

 Excerpt from Yoga And The Spiritual Life, Parts 1 And 2 by Sri Chinmoy.

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To finish a short quote from the Romantic poet Byron:

Man!   Thou pendulum betwixt a smile and a tear.”
BYRON

* empyrean em-py-REE-uhn; -PEER-ee-, noun:
1. The highest heaven, in ancient belief usually thought to be a realm of pure fire or light.
2. Heaven; paradise.
3. The heavens; the sky.