The Universal Person

We tend to look at Nature and the world around us as some kind of dead, mechanical machinery that somehow spawned life and intelligence, and provides for our conscious awareness through some kind of chance combination of chemicals. We conceive of ourselves as persons and to some extent we “personalize” our conception of God although we don’t take this thought very far beyond praying and hoping to somehow get a response! In all of this, we believe that personality and the “person” are restricted to our human life and in fact, we carry this concept to such a degree that we believe we are going to join our families after we die, or we might be resurrected and re-experience our current person or personality. Some provide a little bit more thought to this mystery and point out that the same personality cannot be revived in birth after birth, although there is “something” that survives. We do not even dream about imputing personality to the universe.

What we are missing in all of this is a view of the bigger picture. The fact that there is a creation, and an existence and the awareness of consciousness implies that there must be an Existent, a Cosmic and a transcendent Person, if you will, to create, develop, and enjoy the creation.

If we for a moment transport ourselves to our big toe, and made that big toe “aware” of itself, it might feel like it was alive, it had a personality and relationships with the other toes nearby, maybe even be aware of a community of toes which we would call “feet”. It would identify “nature” as bringing it nourishment and taking out the trash, and changing the environment with coverings to protect it from feeling too cold or getting the experience of pain. But would it conceive of a “personality” at the human being level that transcended its limited experience?

This is exactly the position we find ourselves in as human beings in the universe. Sri Aurobindo describes the cosmic Person, the transcendent Person as the sole Existent in the universe, and our awareness is a portion of that larger awareness. This infuses Personality into all Existence.
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 2, Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara–Maya, Prakriti, Shakti, pp. 352-354

Ishwara, Supreme Lord of Being

Regardless of whether we see purusha or prakriti in front in any particular circumstance, one way or the other the consent or support of the Being must be active, and thus, we can recognize the concept of the Ishwara, or Lord of Existence. Sri Aurobindo describes this Supreme Being “the Divine Being who is the master and creator of the universe. Here the supreme Person, the Being in its transcendental and cosmic consciousness and force, comes to the front, omnipotent, omniscient, the controller of all energies, the Conscious in all that is conscient or inconscient, the Inhabitant of all souls and minds and hearts and bodies, the Ruler or Overruler of all works, the Enjoyer of all delight, the Creator who has built all things in his own being, the All-Person of whom all beings are personalities, the Power from whom all are powers, the Self, the Spirit in all, by his being the Father of all that is, in his Consciousness-Force the Divine Mother, the Friend of all creatures, the All-blissful and All-beautiful of whom beauty and joy are the revelation, the All-Beloved and All-Lover….He is that which exceeds and inhabits and supports all individuality; he is the supreme and universal Brahman, the Absolute, the supreme Self, the supreme Purusha.”

This however is not to be confused with the concept of God as developed in most religions, as this concept includes all Gods and transcends them, includes all their powers and manifestations and goes beyond them. This Divine Being incorporates both the Form and the Formless. “Ishwara is Brahman the Reality, Self, Spirit, revealed as possessor, enjoyer of his own self-existence, creator of the universe and one with it, Pantheos, and yet superior to it, the Eternal, the Infinite, the Ineffable, the Divine Transcendence.”
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 2, Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara–Maya, Prakriti, Shakti, pp. 351-352