One Reality Of Brahman Encompasses Passive & Active Statuses

Sri Aurobindo continues his integration of the passive and active modes of Brahman. Rather than treating them as two separate and mutually exclusive states of consciousness, one “real” the other “illusory”; and rather than treating them as alternating in terms of Time, he points out that there is one Reality with two modes which interpenetrate one another, support one another, and coexist together.

“The Reality then is neither an eternal passivity of immobile Being nor an eternal activity of Being in movement, nor is It an alternation in Time between these two things. Neither in fact is the sole absolute truth of Brahman’s reality; their opposition is only true of It in relation to the activities of Its consciousness. When we perceive Its deployment of the conscious energy of Its being in the universal action, we speak of It as the mobile active Brahman; when we perceive Its simultaneous reservation of the conscious energy of Its being kept back from the action, we speak of It as the immobile passive Brahman,–Saguna and Nirguna, Kshara and Akshara: otherwise the terms would have no meaning; for there is one reality and not two independent realities, one immobile, the other mobile.” It is thus a matter of our observation and focus, rather than any real limitation of the Reality itself, that leads to these two opposites. When “with qualities” or “without qualities”, “manifest” or “unmanifest” all this is the Brahman, one and indivisible.

In the next post we shall take up the soul’s experience that both creates these artificial distinctions, and review how we can bridge this apparent gap to experience the integrated Wholeness of the Reality.

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

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