Integral Brahman

A number of spiritual philosophies either overtly or tacitly imply that there is a duality in the Omnipresent Reality, such that when someone enters into the consciousness of the passive Brahman, the active status is dissolved or eliminated; and on the other side, anyone involved in the active status has no relationship to the passive, silent Brahman.

Sri Aurobindo makes it clear that the consciousness of Brahman is not like a light switch with one status being “on” and the other being “off”. Rather, the Brahman is one Integral Consciousness which includes, concurrently and simultaneously, both the active and the passive modes. He explains further the implications if such an “on/off” status would obtain: “If that were really true of the integral Reality, then, while the universe continued, there would be no passive Brahman in existence, all would be action, and, if our universe were dissolved, there would be no active Brahman, all would become cessation and immobile stillness. But this is not so, for we can become aware of an eternal passivity and self-concentrated calm penetrating and upholding all the cosmic activity and all its multiple concentrated movement,–and this could not be if, so long as any activity continued, the concentrated passivity did not exist supporting it and within it. Integral Brahman possesses both the passivity and the activity simultaneously and does not pass alternately from one to the other as from a sleep to a waking: it is only some partial activity in us which seems to do that, and we by identifying ourselves with that partial activity have the appearance of this alternation from one nescience to another nescience; but our true, our integral being is not subject to these opposites and it does not need to become unaware of its dynamic self in order to possess its self of silence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 12, The Origin of the Ignorance, pg. 576


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