Man’s special stature in the universe is based on his ability to think, to reason, to question the surface appearances of life. This particular quality, a form of inner mental debate with himself, is a means, by which he intensifies his evolution and at the same time it becomes a stumbling block in his progress, because the answers he seeks are so profound they lie beyond the boundaries of the ordinary mind.
The author takes up some of the questions that have besieged mankind’s intellect for ages: what happens at the moment of death, what is death’s real nature, how to conquer the fear of death, and how fate, karma and rebirth act in and on the life of the ordinary man and the man who has become a spiritual aspirant. He explores these subjects in the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, who have written and spoken from their own knowledge and experience of these domains, and offers the reader a new understanding of the mysteries of death, fate, karma, and rebirth.
Nachiketa says: “This doubt there is about a man who has passed: some say, ‘He is’; some others, ‘He is no more.’
(Katha Upanishad, I.1.20)
We are happy to bring to the reading public a seventh research work from the pen of Jugal Kishore Mukherjee who happens to be a senior faculty member of the Higher Course of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry. We have already published six of his previous English works which are:
1. The Destiny of the Body (The Vision and Realisation in Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga).
2. From Man Human to Man Divine (Sri Aurobindo’s Vision of the Evolutionary Destiny of Man).
3. Sri Aurobindo Ashram: Its Role, Responsibility and Future Destiny.
4. Sri Aurobindo: The Smiting Master (Humour in Sri Aurobindo’s Writings).
5. Sri Aurobindo’s Poetry and Sanskrit Rhetoric.
6. The Practice of the Integral Yoga (with copious hints for the Pilgrims of the Path).
His readers are aware that Jugal Kishore selects a new non- conventional field of research for each one of his books and gives painstaking attention to its composition. All his books have found favour with his perceptive readers. The present book is no exception to his general principle. Its very title is significant: Mysteries p1’ Death, Fate, Karma and Rebirth. In this book the author seeks to explore a field which is of universal interest but about which little is known with certainty. “By Way of Explanation” following this “Note” clarifies the rationale of this new book.
We hope the Mysteries will not fail to interest all discerning readers.
Death! Oh that ominous word and still more ominous fact of universal existence! And Fate and Karma! those two chilling ideas that fill the weak human heart with anxious thoughts? And finally Rebirth? and (he trepidant query: Will I come back upon earth again in a new human body? Or, is all an eternal zero and silence after the dissolution of my present physical body? There is not a human being who never asks himself some such questions even for once in his lifetime.
Death is a constant phenomenon facing man with its grim ruthlessness. Who is there amongst us who has not encountered death in his family or amongst his friends and relatives or in the pages of daily newspapers? And accidents and sudden misfortunes throwing a pall of gloom on the smooth and happy flow of life? Do we not scream out then: Why, why? Why is this mishap? Am I bedeviled by a mysterious agency called Fate? Or, who knows, it is perhaps the inevitable consequence of my past misdeeds?
Past misdeeds? But I have no conscious recollection of having done any serious misdeed in my present life? Then have Ito believe in the queer idea of past lives? And if past lives, why not accept the possibility of future lives? But many do not subscribe to that belief. The materialist thinkers and scientists will simply scoff at that “absurd” idea. Some religionists, while admitting the endlessness of the individual soul, will not believe in its successive returns to earth through the phenomenon of rebirth. Then? Where do we stand? Who can answer our questions and remove our confusions to our hearts and mind’s satisfaction? Surely not the physical scientists, for they have not the necessary data in their possession. And surely not the thinkers and philosophers, for they can only speculate and never arrive at the indubitable knowledge. Yet, the questions are insistent. We cannot shut our eyes to them like the sub-human brood without forfeiting at the same time our special dignified privilege of being questing rational creatures. Then, what is the solution, who can clear our doubts and confusions? Only a spiritual person, a Yogi, can do that. But any and every spiritual person cannot do that. We have to approach someone who is not only highly advanced in the acquisition of suprahuman spiritual piety and love but is at the same time possessed of supramental spiritual knowledge. This Yogi should come to us not with his personal opinions or dogmatic assertions but with the assured evidence of his direct personal experiences.
Luckily for us, there are in this age two persons who fulfil these conditions in ample measure. We are, of course, referring to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
With their perfected method of “knowledge by identity” they, have delved deeply into the mysteries of Death, Fate, Karma and Rebirth and brought to us their inestimable treasures. These treasures are scattered throughout their voluminous writings consisting of more than sixty bulky volumes. The present author has humbly tried to glean the essence of their revelations on these obscure subjects for the benefit of the general readers who have neither the time nor the patience to refer to the extensive original sources.
We fervently hope that some clarity will dawn on our readers’ minds after they become acquainted with the occult-spiritual answers provided by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
We shall not mind if some hypercritical negatively disposed readers find nothing worthwhile in this book. The author himself has derived a lot of inner benefit from his reflective meditation on the teachings of the two Masters of spirituality. And that is more than enough to compensate him for his labour of love.
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