The Self-Expression of the Spirit

Sri Aurobindo makes it clear that it is a logical inconsistency to claim that there is “one without a second” and “all this is the Brahman” while at the same time positing a division and separation between the Absolute Oneness and the multiplicity of the manifested universe. His position is that the manifested universe is not “other” but rather, a manifestation of Spirit. “In fact, the Brahman is one not only in a featureless oneness beyond all relation, but in the very multiplicity of the cosmic existence. Aware of the works of the dividing mind but not itself limited by it, It finds its oneness as easily in the many, in relations, in becoming as in any withdrawal from the many, from relations, from becoming.”

The Brahman is equally capable of its Self-Expression in a silent unmoving Self, abstracted and absorbed away from the manifested world, and in all the multifarious actions, movements and developments of the cosmic existence. “The Divine Being is not incapable of taking innumerable forms because He is beyond all form in His essence, nor by assuming them does He lose His divinity, but pours out rather in them the delight of His being and the glories of His godhead; this gold does not cease to be gold because it shapes itself into all kinds of ornaments and coins itself into many currencies and values, nor does the Earth-Power, principle of all this figured material existence, lose her immutable divinity because she forms herself into habitable worlds, throws herself out in the hills and hollows and allows herself to be shaped into utensils of the hearth and household or as hard metal into the weapon and the engine. Matter,–substance itself, subtle or dense, mental or material,–is form and body of Spirit and would never have been created if it could not be made a basis for the self-expression of the Spirit. The apparent Inconscience of the material universe holds in itself darkly all that is eternally self-revealed in the luminous Superconscient; to reveal it in Time is the slow and deliberate delight of Nature and the aim of her cycles.”

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

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