Beyond The Terrestrial and Cosmic Planes of Existence

Sri Aurobindo continues to explore the various views of the meaning of life and their possibilities for integration and synthesis into an harmonious whole, in which each one finds its proper relationship and balance to the others. The terrestrial and the cosmic have now been explored, but Sri Aurobindo quickly reminds us that there is a part of our nature which responds to a call from beyond these two, a call from the supracosmic Existence which, when it becomes active in an individual, convicts the individual and the collective life in the material world as being incomplete, vain, unreal and illusory. “This perception is easily associated by spiritual enthusiasm, by the height and ardour of the soul’s aspiration, by the philosophic aloofness or the strict logical intolerance of our intellect, by the eagerness of our will or by a sick disgust in our vital being discouraged by the difficulties or disappointed by the results of life,–by any or all of these motive forces,–with a sense of the entire vanity and unreality of all else than this remote Supreme, the vanity of human life, the unreality of cosmic existence, the bitter ugliness and cruelty of earth, the insufficiency of heaven, the aimlessness of the repetition of births in the body.” This can lead to a high and ascetic focus for the individuals who follow this call. While this may stir individuals, and even provide a goal for an entire society, it is not possible for any broader group of humanity to adopt this to the exclusion of all values of the terrestrial and cosmic existence. And this call is too austere, too one-sided in denying the “Divine Being’s larger joy in cosmic existence” and by “a failure of the great progressive human idealism by which we are spurred to a collective self-development and a noble embrace of the battle and the labour.”

This is a sign of a lack of integration between this ideal and the other two we have examined previously, and thus “there is a sign of some insufficiency in the statement of the supracosmic Reality, perhaps an overstatement or a mistaken opposition, a missing of the divine equation, of the total sense of creation and the entire will of the Creator.”

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