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By .... Nolini Kanta Gupta


The Nature of Perfect

Perfection is often understood to mean the highest or the utmost impossible development, ever if it be in one particular line or direction. That, however, can better be called success or achievement. True perfection is not an extreme growth, however great or commendable it may be; it is the harmony of an all-round growth, the expression of the unified total being. And yet this does not involve a stultification of any limb or a forced diminution of any capacity. Perfection does not consist either in the harmonization of the utmost possible development of each and every capacity, attribute or power of being. First of all, it is not a possible ideal, given the conditions of existence and manifestation. Secondly, it is not neccessary : perfection can be realised even otherwise.
How is the harmony to be brought about in the human system composed of so many different and discordant factors, forms and forces of consciousness? It is not possible if one tries to make them accommodate each other, tone down the individual acuities and angularities, blunt or cut out the extreme expressions, and effect some sort of a compromise or a pact of goodwill. It is not the Greek ideal of the golden mean nor is it akin to the modern democratic ideal which lays down that each element if free – to grow and possess – to the extent that it allows the same freedom to every other element. No, for true harmony one has to go behind and beyond the apparent divergences to a secret being or status of consciousness, the bed-rock of existence where all divergences are resolved and find their inherent and inalienable unity, their single origin and basis. If one gets there and takes one’s stand upon that absolute oneness, then and then only the perfect harmony of all the diversities that naturally rise out of it, as its self-expression becomes possible, not only possible but inevitable.
That bed-rock is one’s most inmost spiritual being, the divine consciousness which is at once an individual centre, a cosmic or universal field of existence and a transcendent truth and reality. With that as the nucleus and around it the whole system has to be arranged and organised : according to the demand of the will and vision composing that consciousness, life has to manifest itself and play out its appointed role. Its configuration or disposition will be wholly determined by the Divine Purpose working in and through it; its fullness will be the fullness of the Divine Presence and intention. The mind will be wholly illumined, the vital with it, will become the pure energy of Consciousness and the physical body will be made out of the substance of the divine being : our humanity will be the home and sanctuary of the Divine.

Nolini Kanto Gupta

Sweet Adversity

“So long we lived in anxiety, now at last we are going to live in hope.” So said the delicious French playwright Tristan Bernard when the Germans came in, occupied Paris, arrested and imprisoned him (in World War 1 ). A noble truth nobly said by a noble soul thrown into the very midst of danger and calamity. Indeed, a danger is a danger so long as it is away and has not reached us. It is the menace, the imminence that causes more fright and upsetting than the thing itself. For it is imagination that enlarges and intensifies the object and makes of us craven cowards. The uncertainty hangs like a pall and casts a disabling influence upon the mind and nerves : one does not know what exactly to do, since the full situation is not presented or grasped and a fearful speculation becomes the only occupation.
But once the danger is right upon us and we are inside the jaws of death, there is an end to all speculation and anxiety; there are then two issues possible. One is that of absolute helplessness and hopelessness, of and unquestioning resignation, a quiet bowing down to the inevitable and implacable destiny. Many a victim on the gallows felt like that : an incredible quietness seized them in their last moments. Very often it is the quietness of the shadow of Death – a supreme inertness, tamas, coming over and possessing. But there is yet another issue, a more luminous egress. When all uncertainty is set at rest as to the inevitability of the calamity, when circumstances have really besieged us in their unshakable steel-frame and we are doomed obviously, it is then that comes the chance for the hero-soul to stand out and declare its freedom and immortality – deny and strive to reverse the obvious.
Man has something in him which is irrepressible in the worst of circumstances, which can and does live outside and beyond their attacks and menaces. Adverse circumstances – the more adverse the better – are God-sent in that sense, because they tend to throw us back upon ourselves, upon our inner truth and reality, which otherwise we would not have known or recognized. And it is the nature of that truth and reality to be free and happy and hopeful absolutely. And the consciousness which possesses that temper and vibration is master of an energy, a force of execution – a will and power to do the miracle.
To live in hope, to work in hope is not merely to live in illusion and to work for a chimera. On one consideration, to live otherwise, in hopelessness, cannot cure matters, even if the matter is truly and really as dark as it looks. To view a matter of fact solely and wholly in the matter of fact way, does not give the right perspective of things, a proper appreciation of appearance and reality. It is well known that often we project our imagination and apprehension upon the external world and bring about or help to bring about results that were only a possibility. Our fear calls for the object feared and makes it a reality. Apart from that, however, and on a deeper consideration, to live in hope is to react against the danger apprehended, to call in a help and power that is or can be always at our disposal, that can not only console but save. Even if death be the end and there is no escape, yet we would be freed from the wounds and scars that it inflicts upon our being with its ignorance and unconsciousness, we would then learn to pass over luminously and in the full freedom of the spirit.
Hope is the image of the soul’s prophetic vision. It is not just a way of escape from present sorrows, but a bridge-head leading to victory and fulfillment.

Nolini Kanto Gupta

God Projects

The protection that man naturally needs and asks for is that of life and property. It is, in the ordinary course of things, the duty of the State and society to give this protection. But sometimes the State or society is unable to do its duty as it should. In revolutionary epochs, when storm and turmoil are almost a natural occurrence, the individual has to turn upon himself, and it is then that many turn to God – they have been called – `artabhakta’, those who become devotees through affliction. Now the first question that comes up is why on earth should God care for the life and property of any individual. Life and death, loss and gain are dualities that form the warp and woof of human existence : God is not partial to one limb of the pair than to the other. From God’s standpoint, so also from the standpoint of a God-lover, the soul is immortal, as indeed the Gita says, and even if the body dies, the soul remains for ever, the body can be destroyed but not the soul - `na hanyate hanyamane sarire’. And as regards property, it is the ignorant who are attached to it; the man of God has no need of it, not only so, it is an obstacle in his way to meet God. Did not the Christ declare that, a camel could pass through the eye of a needle, but never a rich man enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And Nachiketa too, a heroic boy that he was, flung back into the face of Yama himself all the riches offered to him by the Lord of Death.
Have life and property then no value in the eye of God? To the divine consciousness are these thing mere `maya’ transient objects of ignorance, ties that bind the soul to earth and have to be cut away and thrown behind? We at least do not hold that opinion. We hold that life and property are valuable, they are significant : they become so in reference to the individual who has them. The life that is dedicated to the Divine, the life that is in some way connected with the higher consciousness, through which something of the world of light and delight come down into our mortality acquires a special worth and naturally calls for divine protection. Likewise the property placed at the service of the Divine, which is used as an instrument for the Divine’s own work upon earth, the Divine will surely protect, for it is then part of His grandeur and glory, `aiswarya’. Life and property become indeed sacred and inviolable when they are put at the disposal of the Divine for his use in the fulfilment of the cosmic design. As we know, life and property under present conditions upon earth are possessions of the un-divine forces, they are weapons through which God’s enemies hold sway over earth. Therefore life and property that seek to be on God’s side run a great risk, they are in the domain of the hostile and therefore need special protection. The Divine extends that protection, but under conditions- for his rule in the material field is not yet absolute. The Asura too extends his protection to his agents, and his protection appears sometimes, if not often, more effective; for the present world is under his domination and all forces and beings obey him; God and the godly have to admit his terms and work out their design on that basis.
The conditions under which the Divine’s protection can come are simple enough, but difficult to fulfill completely and thoroughly. The ideal conditions that ensure absolute safety are an absolute trust and reliance on the Divine Force, a tranquility and fearlessness that nothing shakes, whatever the appearances at the moment, the spirit and attitude of an unreserved self-giving that whatever one is and one has is God’s. Between that perfect state at the peak of consciousness and the doubting and hesitant and timid mind at the lower end – that of St. Peter, for example, at his weakest moment – there are various gradations of the conditions fulfilled and the protection given is variable accordingly. Not that the Divine Grace acts or has to act according to any such hard and fast rule of mechanics, there is no such mathematical Law of Protection in the scheme of Providence. Divine Intervention, acts more or less successfully according to the degree of the soul’s wakefulness on the plane that needs and possesses the protection.
And yet there is another aspect of the thing that is to be taken into consideration. For in the supreme and ultimate view the world or creation is not divided between God and Asura : the Asura cannot be outside God’s infinity, he is there because permitted by Him, indeed forms part of Him and serves the divine purpose. Asura represents the hard dark passage through which the ignorant human soul cuts out its forward march : it is the crucible in which the growing consciousness is purified of its dross, in order to regain the fullness of its divine quality and nature.
Finally, it must also be understood that because the divine protection is there upon whosoever belongs to the Divine, this protection should not be taken to mean exclusively the preservation of the individual’s physical life and its accessories. Divine protection, in its true and real sense means the soul’s welfare, so that nothing can bring harm to it or be an obstacle to its happy growth and divine fulfilment. Protection gives the maximum of its welfare, the soul’s self-increase and passage into perfect union with the Divine. And if death and privation – the giving up of a particular body and deprivation of life’s possession are necessary, sometimes for growth and well-being – the contingency is not ruled out. Well, that destiny too has to be accepted as part of the divine purpose, as protection itself. For after all, life and life’s powers have no intrinsic or absolute value of their own, their value depends upon the soul’s need of them for its divine well-being.

Nolini Kanto Gupta

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