Experience of Consciousness in Non-Being and Being

Sri Aurobindo wants us to recognize that the Truth of the universe is not some philosophical concept or principle, but an actual experience in consciousness. When he describes a particular status of being which has led to one philosophical position or another, he validates the reality of the experience, without necessarily having to accept the metaphysical conclusions that people having that experience have developed as a result of the experience. Thus, with respect to the doctrine of the unreality of the world, and the need to dissolve the self into the ineffable silence of the Absolute, Sri Aurobindo acknowledges both the experience that brings about this conclusion; as well as the reality and overwhelming nature of that experience, without accepting the ultimate conclusion. He can do this because he also looks at the experience that admits a Reality to the cosmic manifestation as a true expression of the supreme Brahman, without thereby denying the truth of the silent Brahman.

“On the one side, then, presented to us as the Reality, we have an absolute Self-Existence, an eternal sole self-being, and through the experience of the silent and inactive Self or the detached immobile Purusha we can move towards this featureless and relationless Absolute, negate the actions of the creative Power, whether that be an illusory Maya or a formative Prakriti, pass from all circling in cosmic error into the eternal peace and Silence, get rid of our personal existence and find or lose ourselves in that sole true Existence. On the other side, we have a Becoming which is a true movement of Being, and both the Being and the Becoming are truths of one absolute Reality.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 15, Reality and the Integral Knowledge, pp. 636-637

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