Universal and Individual Are Two Poles of One Unified Existence

Just as the fragmentation of creation through the ego consciousness is artificial and unreal in the overarching unity of existence, so too the other extreme position of unity with no separateness of forms and purposes is artificial and denies a truth of the creation. Sri Aurobindo’s viewpoint is one that embraces unity and diversity without them being in contradiction to one another; rather, they are both aspects and important elements of the creation. The unity provides the foundation and the harmony of the larger whole, while the diversification of forms allows a unique creation to manifest and develop into innumerable relations.

Without this dynamic relationship of the One with the Many, we would be hard-pressed to find a rationale for the individual and the systematic evolutionary development of the individual and thus, the process of rebirth and the role of karma.

Sri Aurobindo expounds on this point: “Individuality is as important a thing to the ways of the Spirit of existence as universality. The individual is that potent secret of its being upon which the universal stresses and leans and makes the knot of power of all its workings: as the individual grows in consciousness and sight and knowledge and all divine power and quality, increasingly he becomes aware of the universal in himself, but aware of himself too in the universality, of his own past not begun and ended in the single transient body, but opening to future consummations. If the aim of the universal in our birth is to become self-conscient and possess and enjoy its being, still it is done through the individual’s flowering and perfection; if to escape from its own workings be the last end, still it is the individual that escapes while the universal seems content to continue its multitudinous births to all eternity. Therefore the individual would appear to be a real power of the Spirit and not a simple illusion or device, except in so far as the universal too may be, as some would have it, an immense illusion or a grand imposed device. On this line of thinking we arrive at the idea of some great spiritual existence of which universal and individual are two companion powers, pole and pole of its manifestation, indefinite circumference and multiple centre of the activised realities of its being.”

Sri Aurobindo,

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