Harmonising the Individual, the Cosmic and the Transcendent

The mind always tries to divide and create opposition, so that it places the individual in conflict with the universal, and both of them opposed to the transcendent. Thus, we tend to either act so that we focus on one or another of these to the exclusion of the other two principles. Sri Aurobindo, however, does not see it this way. He points out that all three are aspects of One Reality and thus, they may represent a different focus, but not an opposed principle. In his view, the individual is part and parcel of the universal; and in all cases, they also have a transcendent aspect which contains and exceeds the individual and universal forms.

“In the consciousness of the Infinite individuality does not brak up nor circumscribe cosmicity, cosmicity does not contradict transcendence. The gnostic being living in the consciousness of the Infinite will create his own self-manifestation as an individual, but he will do so as a centre of a larger universality and yet at the same time a centre of the transcendence. A universal individual, all his action would be in harmony with the cosmic action, but, owing to his transcendence, it would not be limited by a temporary inferior formulation or at the mercy of any or every cosmic force.”

This standpoint naturally results in the individual highest self being at one with the being of the Ishwara (the Lord of Creation), and his self-expression would take on the character of being a manifestation of the Will of the self-expression of that universal and transcendent Being who is the evolving universe. “The individual nature would be nothing separate, it would be a current of the Supernature. All antinomy of the Purusha and the Prakriti, that curious division and unbalance of the Soul and Nature which afflicts the Ignorance, would be entirely removed; for the nature would be the outflowing of the self-force of the Person and the Person would be the outflowing of the supreme Nature, the supramental power of being of the Ishwara. It is this supreme truth of his being, an infinitely harmonic principle, that would create the order of his spiritual freedom, an authentic, automatic and plastic order.”

We shall take up the form and action of this harmonising principle in manifestation in the next post.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 27, “The Gnostic Being”