Reconciling Supracosmic Existence with Life in the World

Having begun an exploration of the supracosmic view of existence, with its emphasis on a salvation that is essentially a dissolution into the Absolute, undifferentiated Brahman, with the corresponding unreality of the world and the life we live in it, Sri Aurobindo next reviews ways in which some who support the supracosmic view nevertheless try to define a reconciliation between the two.

“But this idea of the total vanity of life is not altogether an inevitable consequence of the supracosmic theory of existence. In the Vedanta of the Upanishads, the Becoming of Brahman is accepted as a reality; there is room therefore for a truth of the Becoming: there is in that truth a right law of life, a permissible satisfaction of the hedonistic element in our being, its delight of temporal existence, an effective utilisation of its practical energy, of the executive force of consciousness in it; but the truth and law of its temporal becoming once fulfilled, the soul has to turn back to its final self-realisation, for its natural highest fulfilment is a release, a liberation into its original being, its eternal self, its timeless reality.”

In this modification of the supracosmic view, then, there is a place for life in the world, as an interlude devised by the will of the Supreme, that eventually gives way to liberation into the Eternal.

Sri Aurobindo continues: “there is a temporary play, a game of becoming and living in the universe. Here, evidently, there is no other significance of life than the will of the Being to become, the will of consciousness and the urge of its force towards becoming, its delight of becoming; for the individual, when that is withdrawn from him or fulfilled in him and no longer active, the becoming ceases: but otherwise the universe persists or always comes back into manifestation, because the will to become is eternal and must be so since it is the inherent will of an eternal Existence.”

This does not address any more lasting role for the individual. We shall take up this question in the next post.

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