Can the Divine and the Undivine Elements be Reconciled?

Sri Aurobindo reminds us: “When we say that all is a divine manifestation, even that which we call undivine, we mean that in its essentiality all is divine even if the form baffles or repels us.” and “in all things there is a presence, a primal Reality, –the Self, the Divine, Brahman, — which is for ever pure, perfect, blissful, infinite: its infinity is not affected by the limitations of relative things; its purity is not stained by our sin and evil; its bliss is not touched by our pain and suffering; its perfection is not impaired by our defects of consciousness, knowledge, will, unity.” Of course, this affirmation does not resolve the question of why, then, we experience pain, suffering, weakness, grief, ignorance, impurity, and imperfection.

In fact it is this apparent contradiction that has led to the trenchant conclusion that the world is an illusion, maya, and unreal, and that the only real solution is to identify with the transcendent Reality and give up the manifested world. Others have simply accepted the facts as an unalterable and inexplicable reality that we have to accept, not try to explain or alter. We can call one aspect of the manifestation “divine” and the other “undivine” and develop a strategy to “gain” one and “lose” the other but we still have not penetrated to the heart of the mystery of why such a formation should ever occur in the divine Reality.

The limitation here is that from the standpoint of the evolving mental being, we simply do not have the ability to hold both terms together in one consistent picture of our reality. Sri Aurobindo concludes “So long as the world is not divinely explained to us, the Divine remains imperfectly known; for the world too is That and, so long as it is not present to our consciousness and possessed by our powers of consciousness in the sense of the divine being, we are not in possession of the whole Divinity.”

The reconciliation of the divine and the undivine must come, therefore, through a widening of our awareness and understanding to embrace the totality of the manifestation without attempting any shortcuts of denial, abandonment or despair.

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 4, The Divine and the Undivine, pp. 391-393


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