That, By Knowing Which, All Is Known

The Divine Teacher promises Arjuna that he will learn that which will clear all his doubts, provide him the comprehensive knowledge he needs to fully resolve his remaining concerns. Philosophers throughout the ages have tried to develop the comprehensive knowledge which would accomplish this, so it is no small task that Sri Krishna has set for himself, in terms of human seeking for knowledge in general. Past endeavors have failed primarily because they were based on the foundation of the mental capacities of Reason and thus were limited by the very restrictions of the mental consciousness. Sri Aurobindo describes the issue: “It is only because our view here is not thus integral, because it rests on the dividing mind and reason and the separative idea of the ego, that our mental perception of things is an ignorance.”

The solution that provides the basis for integrating all knowledge into a unified whole is explained: “We have to get away from this mental and egoistic view to the true unifying knowledge, and that has two aspects, the essential, jnana, and the comprehensive, vijnana, the direct spiritual awareness of the supreme Being and the right intimate knowledge of the principles of his existence, Prakriti, Purusha and the rest, by which all that is can be known in its divine origin and in the supreme truth of its nature.”

When we shift our standpoint from the mental consciousness to the divine consciousness, we see everything in the proper relationship and context and thus, can unify what is otherwise divided and fragmented in our normal human view. The Gita’s viewpoint is that all this that exists is one divine Being, and that the entire manifested universe is nothing other than that Existence. By shifting the center of consciousness there, “…then all is known, not only the pure Self, but the world and action and Nature. There is then nothing else here left to be known, because all is that Divine Existence.”

Achieving this knowledge is not easy. “That integral knowledge, says the Gita, is a rare and difficult thing; ‘among thousands of men one here and there strives after perfection, and of those who strive and attain to perfection one here and there knows Me in all the principles of my existence….”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 1, The Two Natures, pp. 253-254

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