Direct Experience of God

The truth of the Spirit cannot be attained through action of the mind. It is not a matter of philosophy, intellectual belief, emotional adherence, vital enthusiasm or religious precepts. The basic principle of the mind is to divide, segregate and fragment, while the truth of the Spirit is based on an experience that unifies through wholistic knowledge by identity. It is an experience which reconciles all opposites, while the mind exacerbates differences.

Sri Aurobindo describes the difference between intellectual and spiritual knowledge: “The spiritual seeing of God and world is not ideative only, not even mainly or primarily ideative. it is direct experience and as real, vivid, near, constant, effective, intimate as to the mind its sensuous seeing and feeling of images, objects and persons. It is only the physical mind that thinks of God and spirit as an abstract conception which it cannot visualise or represent to itself except by words and names and symbolic images and fictions. Spirit sees spirit, the divinised consciousness sees God as directly and more directly, as intimately and more intimately than bodily consciousness sees matter. it sees, feels, thinks, senses the Divine. For to the spiritual consciousness all manifest existence appears as a world of spirit and not a world of matter, not a world of life, not a world even of mind; these other things are to its view only God-thought, God-force, God-form. That is what the Gita means by living and acting in Vasudeva….The spiritual consciousness is aware of the Godhead with that close knowledge by identity which is so much more tremendously real than any mental perception of the thinkable or any sensuous experience of the sensible. It is so aware even of the Absolute who is behind and beyond all world-existence and who originates and surpasses it and is for ever outside its vicissitudes.”

“It is intimately conscious of God absolute, God as self, God as spirit, soul and nature. Even this external Nature it knows by identity and self-experience, but an identity freely admitting variation, admitting relations, admitting greater and lesser degrees of the action of the one power of existence. For Nature is God’s power of various self-becoming….”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 9, The Theory of the Vibhuti, pp. 354-355