Starting from the standpoint of the individual, based in Matter, experiencing Life and conscious in the Mind, we feel ourselves to be small, separate and fragmented from the universe. This sense of individuality and isolation sets up in us a tension or conflict between our individual needs and the needs of the whole. We think, act and live on the basis of this fragmented and separated consciousness. We struggle and suffer, oppose our limited force and will to the universal action within which we try to move and make our way. This division, fragmentation and separation is based in the consciousness of the Ignorance as Sri Aurobindo describes it.
Sri Aurobindo points out that “to be fully is to be universally. To be in the limitations of a small restricted ego is to exit, but it is an imperfect existence: in its very nature it is to live in an incomplete consciousness, an incomplete force and delight of existence. It is to be less than oneself and it brings an inevitable subjection to ignorance, weakness and suffering: or even if by some divine composition of the nature it could exclude these things, it would be to live in a limited scope of existence, a limited consciousness and power and joy of existence.”
Sri Aurobindo contrasts this limited consciousness with a true universal consciousness: “All being is one and to be fully is to be all that is. To be in the being of all and to include all in one’s being, to be conscious of the consciousness of all, to be integrated in force with the universal force, to carry all action and experience in oneself and feel it as one’s own action and experience, to feel all selves as one’s own self, to feel all delight of being as one’s own delight of being is a necessary condition of the integral divine living.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 28, “The Divine Life”