The Value of Recognizing Preeminent Manifestations of the Divine in the World

Arjuna has begun to realize that he needs to go beyond an intellectual acceptance of the universality of the Divine Presence, and to this end, he asks the Divine Teacher how to recognize the Divine in the world. He asks Sri Krishna to tell him about the forms of his manifestation and how to recognize the Divine in the world. Sri Aurobindo explains Arjuna’s request: ” ‘How shall I know thee, O Yogin, by thinking of thee everywhere at all moments and in what pre-eminent becomings should I think of thee?’ This Yoga by which thou art one with all and one in all and all are becomings of they being, all are pervading or preeminent or disguised powers of they nature, tell me of it, he cries, in its detail and extent, and tell me ever more of it; it is nectar of immortality to me, and however much of it I hear, I am not satiated.”

Sri Krishna begins his response by reminding Arjuna that all forms and beings and forces are manifestations of the Divine. He then proceeds to enumerate the preeminent powers and manifestations, those most easily recognized for their extraordinary brilliance or force, those which are called “Vibhutis” of the Divine. Sri Aurobindo clarifies why it is important to be able to see these outstanding manifestations: “For while we must identify ourselves impartially with the universal divine Becoming in all its extension, its good and evil, perfection and imperfection, light and darkness, we must at the same time realise that there is an ascending evolutionary power in it, an increasing intensity of its revelation in things, a hierarchic secret something that carries us upward from the first concealing appearances through higher and higher forms towards the large ideal nature of the universal Godhead.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 8, God in Power of Becoming, pp. 345-347

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