The Eternal is Not Limited by Its Own Freedom from Limits

The limitations of the logical reason when confronted with the Eternal, the Transcendent, means that we tend to set up a contradiction between that Eternal, free of all relativities, and the world of relativities that we experience in our lives. This contradiction has been the basis of the dualistic viewpoint that separates God from the world, and creates an insuperable gulf between them. We formulate it that the Eternal is free of all the limits, definitions, relative relationsihps, and the actions that stem from them. By this we then mean that the Eternal is formless, timeless and without movement. We then extrapolate further to say that because the Eternal has these unlimited qualities, it must be separate from and different from the manifested world which exists because of the limitations of form, time, space and circumstance.

Sri Aurobindo explores this issue further: “We mean by the Absolute something greater than ourselves, greater than the cosmos which we live in, the supreme reality of that transcendent Being which we call God, something without which all that we see or are conscious of as existing, could not have been, could not for a moment remain in existence.”

And the relationship of the Absolute to the relative: “For all relatives can only exist by something which is the truth of them all and the source and continent of their powers and properties and yet exceeds them all; it is something of which not only each relativity itself, but also any sum we can make of all relatives that we know, can only be…a partial, inferior or practical expression.”

The mind however seizes on contradictions and thus we “speak of it as not only not bound by the limitations of the relative, but as if it were bound by its freedom from limitations, inexorably empty of all power for relations and in its nature incapable of them, something hostile in its whole being to relativity and its eternal contrary.” This forces us to deny the reality of the world we live in and treat it as an illusion. This of course is another example of the logic of the finite being unable to grasp the logic of the Infinite. The Eternal can be (and is) both transcendent and unlimited, while at the same time it is the substance and reality of the relative forms of manifestation. The contradiction is not a real opposition, but simply a reflection of the limits of our intellect when confronted with the larger truth of the manifested universe and the transcendent Being which contains, manifests and is the material of that universe.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 3, The Eternal and the Individual, pp. 375-377

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