Sri Aurobindo describes yet another riddle posed by the Gita: “But what again is meant by saying that the Divine is not in the becomings, the forms and affections of the lower nature, even the sattwic, though they all are in his being?”
The Gita has spent much of the first six chapters underlining the unity of all creation, the omnipresence of the Divine, and the Oneness. This statement, however, appears to carry with it some sense of a separation or duality. This is another instance of the difficulty of translating a unified consciousness of Oneness into the language and structure of the mental, linear forms.
Sri Aurobindo explains: “But what is meant is that the true and supreme spiritual nature of the Divine is not imprisoned there; they are only phenomena in his being created out of it by the action of the ego and the ignorance.” We basically see here the distinction between the higher nature and the lower nature, wherein the higher nature is primary and contains all of the creations manifested in the universe, and the lower nature is derivative and represents in each form only a small portion of the consciousness, power and energy of the Whole.
Sri Aurobindo reminds us that our standpoint in the mental consciousness is actually a reversal of the truth. Just as we perceive the sun to move around the earth, with the earth in the center, so we see the universal creation as revolving around the individual limited ego consciousness! “We imagine that the soul is in the body, almost a result and derivation from the body; even we so feel it: but it is the body that is in the soul and a result and derivation from the soul. We think of the spirit as a small part of us–the Purusha who is no bigger than the thumb–in this great mass of material and mental phenomena: in reality, the latter for all its imposing appearance is a very small thing in the infinity of the being of the Spirit.”
This then provides the explanation for the Gita’s statement: “This lower nature of the three Gunas which creates so false a view of things and imparts to them an inferior character is a Maya, a power of illusion, by which it is not meant that it is all non-existent or deals with unrealities, but that it bewilders our knowledge, creates false values, envelops us in ego, mentality, sense, physicality, limited intelligence and there conceals from us the supreme truth of our existence.”
In conclusion: “If we could see that that Divine is the real truth of our existence, all else also would change to our vision, assume its true character and our life and action acquire the divine values and move in the law of the divine nature.”
Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 1, The Two Natures, pp. 263-264