The Foundation of the Life Divine

Sri Aurobindo points out that the ancient inspired Vedantic seers were not absolutist in their viewpoint. They did not, as many modern schools of thought have chosen to do, exclude either the Absolute transcendent consciousness, nor the cosmic or individual manifestation from their purview; rather, they set forth the reality of each of these experiences and validated each one. In particular, the seminal Isha Upanishad systematically accepts the cosmic manifestation and the individual manifestation as real and contrasts this to the knowledge of the Absolute, pointing out that going to either extreme is missing something, and that an integrating Knowledge is a more complete solution to the problem of Existence and Knowledge.

“To live in the cosmic Ignorance is a blindness, but to confine oneself in an exclusive absolutism of Knowledge is also a blindness: to know Brahman as at once and together the Knowledge and the Ignorance, to attain to the supreme status at once by the Becoming and the Non-Becoming, to relate together realisation of the transcendent and the cosmic self, to achieve foundation in the supramundane and a self-aware manifestation in the mundane, is the integral knowledge; that is the possession of Immortality. It is this whole consciousness with its complete knowledge that builds the foundation of the Life Divine and makes its attainment possible. it follows that the absolute reality of the Absolute must be, not a rigid indeterminable oneness, not an infinity vacant of all that is not a pure self-existence attainable only by the exclusion of the many and the finite, but something which is beyond these definitions, beyond indeed any description either positive or negative. All affirmations and negations are expressive of its aspects, and it is through both a supreme affirmation and a supreme negation that we can arrive at the Absolute.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 15, Reality and the Integral Knowledge, pg. 636

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