Three Categories in the Search for Knowledge, Part 2

Having defined the 3 categories by which we focus our search for knowledge, Sri Aurobindo takes up the need we have to find a reconciliation between them; either through subordination or suppression of one or two of these terms, or through outright denial of one or more of them. In the prior post we reviewed the 3 terms. The third one we call “God” which is defined variously depending on the time and the circumstance: “by the word he means somewhat or someone who is the Supreme, the Divine, the Cause, the All, one of these things or all of them at once, the perfection or the totality of all that here is partial or imperfect, the absolute of all these myriad relativities, the Unknown by learning of whom the real secret of the known can become to him more and more intelligible.”

The apparent conflict between man, nature and God as ultimate objects of knowledge has from time to time been addressed by denial of one or more of these: “Man has tried to deny all these categories,–he has tried to deny his own real existence, he has tried to deny the real existence of the cosmos, he has tried to deny the real existence of God.” The real issue is his attempt to find some principle that allows everything to be known and to achieve a unity between the differing viewpoints that arise depending on which one gets our current focus. “None of these denials can wholly satisfy, none solves the entire problem or can be indisputable and definitive,–least of all the one to which his sense-governed intellect is most prone, but in which it can never persist for long; the denial of God is a denial of his true quest and his own supreme Ultimate. The ages of naturalistic atheism have always been short-lived because they can never satisfy the secret knowledge in man: that cannot be the final Veda because it does not correspond with the Veda within which all mental knowledge is labouring to bring out…” The denail of God “cannot be the last word of Knowledge.”

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