Equality Is the Essence of the Relation of the Divine to the Manifested World

Sri Aurobindo has successively recounted the primary signs or statuses by which the divine worker can be identified. These signs are not outward signs but inner psychological states of consciousness. It is equality however that is required for the interface between spirit and manifested creation. Equality is the lynch-pin that creates the relationship of a simultaneous status or poise of the divine, infinite, free consciousness and the carrying out of action in whatever manner one is called upon to do in the world.

“Self-knowledge, desirelessness, impersonality, bliss, freedom from the modes of Nature, when withdrawn into themselves, self-absorbed, inactive, have no need of equality; for they take no cognisance of the things in which the opposition of equality and inequality arises. But the moment the spirit takes cognisance of and deals with the multiplicities, personalities, differences, inequalities of the action of Nature, it has to effectuate these other signs of its free status by this one manifesting sign of equality.”

We commonly fall into the error of the extremes that tries to do away with the validity of the opposite term. The Vedantic maxim of “One Without a Second”, which would justify a complete abandonment of all the manifested world for the divine truth, is incomplete without the other dictum “All This Is the Brahman.” These two together ensure the unity of the unmanifest and the manifest. We then must be able to see and relate to all the various and unequal forms and manifestations in the world by both recognising their inherent Oneness, while concurrently acting upon them with due recognition of their differences. Equality is the status that allows us to hold both of these conditions concurrently in balance in our awareness.

Traigunatitya, transcendence of the Gunas, is the unperturbed spirit’s superiority to that flux of action of the modes of Nature which is in its constant character perturbed and unequal; if it has to enter into relations with the conflicting and unequal activities of Nature, if the free soul is to allow its nature any action at all, it must show its superiority by an impartial equality towards all activities, results or happenings.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 19, Equality, pp. 179-180