Spiritual Experiences of the Unity of the Self and the Divine Self

A number of spiritual experiences can occur which provide the seeker with somewhat varying ideas about the nature of the relationship between the individual self as the starting point for the experience, and the larger Self of the universal consciousness. To those who experience these things, there is a significance and reality to them which makes the experience incontrovertible. When the seeker tries to transcribe the experience into normal mental terms using our limited language capabilities, there is the possibility of apparent contradiction or opposition between one experience and the next. Sri Aurobindo makes it clear that there is in fact no inherent contradiction and that they are all partial insights to the larger Reality, that when taken together can be seen to provide a more comprehensive understanding.

Sri Aurobindo has described several of these experiences: “We have the experience of the Spirit, the Divine Being immutable and ever containing in his vision the mutabilities of the universe; we have too the separate, the simultaneous or the coincident experience of the Divine immanent in ourselves and in all creatures.”

“But, on the other hand, we get another revealing spiritual experience in which we are forced to see as the very Divine all things, not only that Spirit which dwells immutable in the universe and in its countless creatures, but all this inward and outward becoming. All is then to us a divine Reality manifesting himself in us and in the cosmos.”

This experience however can itself be transcended with an even more encompassing one: “This extended universe is not all that the Spirit is, there is an Eternal greater than it by which alone its existence is possible. Cosmos is not the Divine in his utter reality, but a single self-expression, a true but minor motion of his being.”

The unity of all these experiences comes about through the recognition that “…the divine Reality is something greater than the universal existence, but yet that all universal and particular things are that Divine and nothing else,–significative of him, we might say, and not entirely That in any part or sum of their appearance, but still they could not be significative of him if they were something else and not term and stuff of the divine existence. That is the Real; but they are its expressive realities.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 5, The Divine Truth and Way, pp. 300-301

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