Matter, Mind, Spirit & Consciousness

Sri Aurobindo’s viewpoint of an integration between mind and matter, between matter and spirit is a reconciling force that shows the limitations of exclusive or one-sided concentration when it comes to understanding the aim and significance of life. “Our theory of the integral knowledge admits Mind as a creative principle, a power of the Being, and assigns it its place in the manifestation; it similarly accepts Life and Matter as powers of the Spirit and in them also is a creative Energy.”

This of course does not make Mind the complete or only creative principle. It remains a derivative power not a prime mover. And similarly Life and Matter cannot also be seen as prime movers. Sri Aurobindo points out that Matter itself is actually a form of Energy. And that “this Energy cannot be something self-existent and acting in the Void, but can turn out and, when deeply scrutinised, seems likely to turn out to be the action of a secret Consciousness and Being: when the spiritual knowledge and experience emerge, this becomes a certitude,–it is seen that the creative Energy in Matter is a movement of the power of the Spirit. Matter itself cannot be the original and ultimate reality. At the same time the view that divorces Matter and Spirit and puts them as opposites is unacceptable; Matter is a form of Spirit, a habitation of Spirit, and here in Matter itself there can be a realisation of Spirit.”

It is interesting to note that modern Western physicists, following the path of examining Matter and Energy, have also come to conclude that Consciousness creates and constitutes Energy, just as Energy creates and constitutes Matter. Quantum physics therefore is catching up to the insight provided by the spiritual scientists of the ages, and the formulation of these facts as provided by Sri Aurobindo.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 16, The Integral Knowledge and the Aim of Life; Four Theories of Existence

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