Complementary Dualities Rather than Opposite Dualities

Sri Aurobindo is unwilling to accept the idea that the dualities we see, Form and Formless, Infinite and Finite, Knowledge and Ignorance are irreconcilable opposites destined to ever contradict one another, and thus, leading to a choice between them. In Sri Aurobindo’s viewpoint there is a “larger if more difficult issue of reconciliation.”

He explains: “For we see that these apparently opposite terms of One and Many, Form and the Formless, Finite and Infinite, are not so much opposites as complements of each other; not alternating values of the Brahman which in its creation perpetually loses oneself to find itself in multiplicity and, unable to discover itself in multiplicity, loses it again to recover oneness, but double and concurrent values which explain each other; not hopelessly incompatible alternatives, but two faces of the one Reality which can lead us to it by our realisation of both together and not only by testing each separately,–even though such separate testing may be a legitimate or even an inevitable step or part of the process of knowledge. Knowledge is no doubt the knowledge of the One, the realisation of the Being; Ignorance is a self-oblivion of Being, the experience of separateness in the multiplicity and a dwelling or circling in the ill-understood maze of becomings: but this is cured by the soul in the Becoming growing into knowledge, into awareness of the Being which becomes in the multiplicity all these existences and can so become because their truth is already there in its timeless existence. The integral knowledge of Brahman is a consciousness in possession of both together, and the exclusive pursuit of either closes the vision to one side of the truth of the omnipresent Reality. The possession of the Being who is beyond all becomings, brings to us freedom from the bonds of attachment and ignorance in the cosmic existence and brings by that freedom a free possession of the Becoming and of the cosmic existence. The knowledge of the Becoming is a part of knowledge; it acts as an Ignorance only because we dwell imprisoned in it…without possessing the Oneness of the Being, which is its base, its stuff, its spriit, its cause of manifestation and without which it could not be possible.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 15, Reality and the Integral Knowledge