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The Earth as the Focal Point for Cosmic Transformation

In one of her talks, Mirra says:

 "The formation of the earth as we know it,  this infinitesimal point in the immense universe, was made precisely in order to  concentrate the effort of transformation upon one point; it make it possible, while working directly upon one point, to radiate it over the entire universe. ...the creation and the history of the a good symbol of universal history."
[The Mother, Collected Works, vol 4, p.242, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 1972]

And again on another occasion:

 "(Although it) is nothing from the astronomical standpoint;...a thing absolutely without interest and without importance,...from the occult and spiritual point of view, earth is the concentrated symbol of  the universe.  For it is much more easy to work on one point than in a diluted vastness....(F)or the convenience and necessity of work, the whole universe has been con centrated and condensed symbolically in a grain of  sand which is called the earth.  And there-fore it is the symbol of all; all that is to be changed, all that is to be transformed, all that is to be converted is there...."
[Collected Works, vol 5, pp.275-6]

The above passages are self-explanatory.  Physically, in the vastness of the universe, the Earth is nothing.  Occultly and Spiritually (according to the esoteric perspective), it is of the greatest significance, the microcosm of the whole, the theatre for the transformation of the Cosmos.

Here we see an extremely important concept which the earlier emanationist and Gnostic teachings do not have; and that is the place of the planet Earth itself in the overall scheme of cosmic redemption.

The earlier cosmologies had no astronomy as we have; no knowledge of the vastness of the physical cosmos.  Nowadays we do have such a knowledge.  Yet the Earth still retains its significance.  In a sense, it is the Earth itself which is the vessel of the Divine Light which has descended into this world in order to transform it.

There is a connection here with Jewish Kabbalah. according to whom, God (the Personal God that is, not the higher levels of Godhead or Absolute) has both a male and a female aspect.  The male aspect is referred to as Ze'er Anpin (the "lesser countenance", as opposed to the "greater  countenance" or Arik Anpin, which constitutes a  higher level of Divinity) or simply as "The God of Israel".  The female counterpart of this God, his "bride", is called the Shekhinah, the Divine Presence in the world, who is personified as the (Biblical) nation of Israel.  Thus, according to Lurianic Kabbalah, Israel, and the Jewish people, have gone through so many traumas and hardships because the Shekhinah has become lost or forsaken by God, and is in exile.  More esoterically, the Shekhinah is seen as being bound and trapped by the negative forces, the Klippot.  The eschatological culmination of history is the reuniting of the Shekhinah with God (Ze'er Anpin), which means the end of Its exile and the redemption of Israel, and the ushering in of the Messianic Era [Jacob Immanuel Schochet, Mystical Concepts in Chassidism,  Kehot Publicazion Society, New York, 1979].

Thus, beneath all the ethnocentric mythologising, Jewish Kabbalah, and especially Lurianic and post-Lurianic Kabbalah, is concerned in large measure with the fate of the "exiled" Divine Presence, and eventual reunion with the supernal  Divine (or "God").  And this idea of the exiled  feminine Divine Immanence can be related to both the Manichaean idea of the Soul or Primordial Person (Anthropos) which is swallowed up by the Darkness, and Theon's idea of the incarnation of the Supreme in matter in order to raise it up from within.

The Earth, one could then say, has a two-fold nature.  There is the "outer" or psycho-physical nature, which the totality of all bodies and psyches that constitute the planetary (and even interplanetary) gestalt, which has come to be known as Gaia.  Then there is the "inner" or spiritual nature, the indwelling Divine Presence, the Soul or Shekhinah.

Whereas the Kabbalists to speak of the Divine Immanence in a slightly passive way, Theon and the Manichaeans in contrast conceived of it as an active principle, in fact as the very principle that ultimately overcomes the Darkness.

Yet, according to the Manichaeans, Lurianic Kabbalists, and Theon, this Divine Presence is tied up with this very Earth.  So what does this mean in the light of the present global insanity of humanity?  If the Earth - Gaia - is destroyed, through, say, ecological destruction, how will this affect the Divine Immanence, the Shekhinah or Soul of the Earth?

Obviously, no physical attack can harm the Divinity itself.  But inasmuch as the situation has to be worked out physically, and has to manifest physically, the making of the Earth into an uninhabitable wasteland will spell the end of the Divine Work at least as far as the present cosmic cycle is concerned.  There will be other worlds and other universes certainly.  But as far as we on Earth are concerned it will over.  And this present evolution will have failed.

So according to this paradigm, the survival of the Earth is tied in with the very redemption of the Cosmos itself.  Ecological activism becomes Cosmic activism.  Seen in this light, the work of the humble Greenie and Peace activist acquires a significance beyond human comprehension.  Although the activist is aware only of his or her small field of immediate experience, they are actually the central players in a game, or a Struggle, of Cosmic proportions.

What this implies is a "greening" of Gnosticism; an application of Gnostic Concepts such as the Cosmic Fall and Restitution, and the interplay of forces of Good and Evil,  to this present living Earth on which we find ourselves, and of which we are a part.  The earth is no longer merely one tiny planet in the vastness of space.  That is only the physical condition of the  Earth; the Earth has a spiritual condition or significance as well; or maybe we should say an  esoteric or gnostic condition.  This is that it is an instrument of Cosmic redemption; that is the theatre upon which the outcome of the struggle between good and evil will be decided.

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page uploaded 21 June 1998, last modified 6 July 2004