The Individual and the Universal

Sri Aurobindo’s view of rebirth takes issue with the near-exclusive concentration laid upon the concept in the traditional viewpoint. This traditional viewpoint looks upon life on the earth as some kind of short-term interlude, with the goal being to return to the original source and therein to dissolve ourselves. The entire focus then revolves around individual salvation. It is, however, impossible to understand the larger significance of the manifestation and evolution of the world and all the other beings in the world from a viewpoint that starts with this level of fragmentation. This has led many to consider the world to be an illusion. Sri Aurobindo integrates the evolutionary development of the individual with the universal manifestation.

“Certain it is that while we are here, our rebirth or karma, even while it runs on its own lines, is intimately one with the same lines in the universal existence. But my self-knowledge and self-finding too do not abolish my oneness with other life and other beings. An intimate universality is part of the glory of spiritual perfection. This idea of universality, of oneness not only with God or the eternal Self in me, but with all humanity and other beings, is growing to be the most prominent strain in our minds and it has to be taken more largely into account in any future idea or computation of the significance of rebirth and karma. It was admitted in old time; the Buddhist law of compassion was a recognition of its importance; but it has to be given a still more pervading power in the general significance.”

Sri Aurobindo,Rebirth and Karma, Section I, Chapter 11, Rebirth and Karma, pp. 99-100,