Inasmuch as the reality of the universal Being, the Supreme is outside the scope of our mental conceptual nature, it is essential for us to recognize that any true knowledge of that reality must occur through other capabilities or modes of experience. The statements we make about the nature of the Divine are therefore at best transcriptions or approximations of an experience that takes place. The symbolic terms used are not the experience themselves, and cannot capture the complete experience; they point to it and indicate its presence at best. Depending on the experience granted to each individual, the description may take various forms. It is something like the story of the blind men trying to describe an elephant based on touch. Each one felt a different part of the elephant and thus, the descriptions were widely varied and apparently inconsistent with one another, although they each described a part of the same being.
Sri Aurobindo describes the interaction between spiritual experience and mental transcription: “When we attempt to put ourselves into conscious relations with whatever supreme or universal Being there exists concealed or manifest in the world, we arrive at a very various experience and one or other variant term of this experience is turned by different intellectual conceptions into their fundamental idea of existence.”
The experience is “…first of a Divine who is something quite different from and greater than ourselves, quite different from and greater than the universe in which we live; and so it is and no more so long as we live only in our phenomenal selves and see around us only the phenomenal face of the world. For the highest truth of the Supreme is supracosmic and all that is phenomenal seems a thing other than the infinity of the self-conscious spirit, seems an image of a lesser truth if not an illusion. When we dwell in this difference only, we regard the Divine as if extracosmic. That he is only in this sense that he is not, being supracosmic, contained in the cosmos and its creations, but not in the sense that they are outside his being: for there is nothing outside the one Eternal and Real. We realize this first truth of the Godhead spiritually when we get the experience that we live and move and have our being in him alone, that, however different from him we may be, we depend on him for our existence and the universe itself is only a phenomenon and movement in the Spirit.”
Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 5, The Divine Truth and Way, pg. 299