Intellectual Knowing Is Not the Solution

In Sri Aurobindo’s view, intellectual knowledge, right beliefs, even ethical and moral precepts of action, are simply not sufficient to effect the type of all-embracing transformation of human life into divine life that he envisions for humanity. Such types of knowing are actions of the surface being and consciousness and while they may, of course, have some value in terms of orienting us in the right direction, they simply don’t have the power to totally recreate our consciousness in the divine image, and thereby become “the conscious sons of Infinity.”

He explains: “Ancient Indian thought meant by knowledge a consciousness which possesses the highest Truth in a direct perception and in self-experience; to become, to be the Highest that we know is the sign that we really have the knowledge. For the same reason, to shape our practical life, our actions as far as may be in consonance with our intellectual notions of truth and right or with a successful pragmatic knowledge,–an ethical or a vital fulfilment,–is not and cannot be the ultimate aim of our life; our aim must be to grow into our true being, our being of Spirit, the being of the supreme and universal Existence, Consciousness, Delight, Sachchidananda.”

Thus when Sri Aurobindo speaks about knowledge, he implies such a direct and complete experience in consciousness that we become what we know, we do what we become, we are one with the Spirit and possess in its fulness the knowledge, power, existence and delight of that ultimate Consciousness which constitutes the All.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 17, The Progress to Knowledge–God, Man and Nature”

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