The Spiritual Experience of the Cosmic Illusion

In the final analysis, the nature of Reality, and the reality of Maya, the cosmic Illusion, is not a matter for intellectual argument or logical analysis, for the mind, being an instrument based in the Inconscience and limited in its powers and scope, cannot be the final arbiter of Truth.

Sri Aurobindo reminds us that “the final test of truths of this order is not reason but spiritual illumination verified by abiding fact of spirit; a single decisive spiritual experience may undo a whole edifice of reasonings and conclusions erected by the logical intelligence.”

While the theory of Illusion has, as we have seen, some serious logical deficiencies, there can be no doubt that the overwhelming spiritual experience that gives rise to this viewpoint is something that overwhelms the logical reason and imposes itself with a clarity and certainty that cannot be doubted. Sri Aurobindo describes this experience: “It comes upon us with a great force of awakening to reality when the thought is stilled, when the mind withdraws from its constructions, when we pass into a spure selfhood void of all sense of individuality, empty of all cosmic contents: if the spiritualised mind then loos at individual and cosmos, they may well seem to it to be an illusion, a scheme of names and figures and movements falsely imposed on the sole reality of the Self-Existent. Or even the sense of self becomes inadequate; both knowledge and ignorance disappear into sheer Consciousness and consciousness is plunged into a trance of pure superconscient existence. Or even existence ends by becoming too limiting a name for that which abides solely for ever; there is only a timeless Eternal, a spaceless Infinite, the utterness of the Absolute, a nameless peace, an overwhelming single objectless Ecstasy. There can certainly be no doubt of the validity,–complete within itself,–of this experience; there can be no denial of the overwhelming decisive convincingness…with which this realisation seizes the consciousness of the spiritual seeker.”

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 6, Reality and the Cosmic Illusion, pg. 469


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