A False Knowledge and a Blind Hope

When we consider the radically different standpoint and basis for understanding and living in the world represented by the Divine Consciousness from our everyday human, mental view based in the ego, it is clear there is a serious hurdle to overcome to finally fix ourselves in that other consciousness fully and integrally. Sri Aurobindo has recounted the limitations and obstacles we face based on the egoistic view from which we begin this effort: “Mortal mind is bewildered by its ignorant reliance upon veils and appearances; it sees only the outward human body, human mind, human way of living and catches no liberating glimpse of the Divinity who is lodged in the creature. It ignores the divinity within itself and cannot see it in other men, and even though the Divine manifest himself in humanity as Avatar and Vibhuti, it is still blind and ignores or despises the veiled Godhead….”

In addition, seeing God everywhere, in all forms and forces in the world, is even more difficult. The very fact of the “objective reality” within which we live and act brings about for most of us a relationship that runs after the fulfillment of desire for the things of the world as objects of our enjoyment, and very few can see the Reality behind and permeating through these forms, and respond to that spiritual Truth rather than the limited outer forms. The seeking after enjoyment may take more or less passionate and aggressive forms, but however it occurs, it fixates the individual solely on self-aggrandisement, enjoyment of desire, and a view that is separated, fragmented and isolated from the rest of the creation.

This is a severe limitation that must be faced: “But to live persistently in this separative ego-consciousness and make that the centre of all our activities is to miss altogether the true self-awareness….All its hope, action, knowledge are vain things when judged by the divine and eternal standard, for it shuts out the great hope, excludes the liberating action, banishes the illuminating knowledge. it is a false knowledge that sees the phenomenon but misses the truth of the phenomenon, a blind hope that chases after the transient but misses the eternal, a sterile action whose every profit is annulled by loss and amounts to a perennial labour of Sisyphus.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 6, Works, Devotion and Knowledge, pp. 311-312