Beyond Expression and Beyond Understanding

Sri Aurobindo reviews the possibilities for understanding the Supreme beyond our human limited understanding: “The Unknowable, if it is at all, may be a supreme state of Sachchidananda beyond our highest conceptions of existence, consciousness and bliss; that is what was evidently meant by the Asat, the Non-Existent of the Taittiriya Upanishad, which alone was in the beginning and out of which the existent was born, and possibly too it may be the inmost sense of the Nirvana of the Buddha: for the dissolution of our present state by Nirvana may be a reaching to some highest state beyond all notion or experience of self even, an ineffable release from our sense of existence. Or it may be the Upanishad’s absolute and unconditional bliss which is beyond expression and beyond understanding, because it surpasses all that we can conceive of or describe as consciousness and existence. This is the sense in which we hae already accepted it; for the acceptation commits us only to a refusal to put a limit to the ascension of the Infinite. Or, if it is not this, if it is something quite different from existence, even from an unconditioned existence, it must be the absolute Non-Being of the nihilistic thinker.”

What is there from which existence has sprung? What was there before Time and Space? What will be there when Time and Space have come to an end…Will we have any ability to conceive of, or experience, a consciousness that is so totally beyond our normal experience and abilities? When we pass beyond the framework and limits of our mentality into other statuses of awareness and consciousness, do we come to a point at which everything just registers as a blank because we lack the perceptive or conceptive ability to experience?

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 12, The Origin of the Ignorance