Conflict and the Higher Harmony of Oneness

Mental limitations of the human thought process consistently force us into an “either/or” situation, setting up an inherent conflict. We cannot easily conceive of or accept an idea that represents a “both/and” scenario, particularly when we look at the world around us, see all the apparent conflict and opposition and have to reconcile that with the harmony of the Oneness of the Divine Being in manifestation. When we look closely at the interactions of Nature in the world, however, we can begin to see that there is a larger harmony that utilizes the apparent conflict as part of its action. We see everywhere symbiotic relationships between different plants and animals, and we even see a balance that occurs between predator and prey that not only seems to be part of the larger harmony, but appears essential for maintaining the health of each of the two populations.

Sri Aurobindo describes the interaction: “But in the universe in which we live, there is a separating principle of selection and differentiation. There we see each energy, each quality which comes out for expression labouring as if for its own hand, trying to get as much self-expression as it can in whatever way it can, and accommodating somehow as best or as worst it may that effort with the concomitant or rival effort of other energies and qualities for their separate self-expression. The Spirit, the Divine dwells in this struggling world-nature and imposes on it a certain harmony by the inalienable law of the inner secret oneness on which the action of all these powers is based. But it is a relative harmony which seems to result from an original division and not from an original oneness. Or at least the oneness seems to be suppressed and latent, not to find itself, never to put off its baffling disguises.”

While each of these forms and powers is a divine quality and energy at work, they each have to work out their own unique characteristics. The deeper harmony blends all these disparate forces into one combined biosphere, acting individually but supporting the greater harmony. This allows each form, each being to work toward achieving its own absolute potential, and thus, allows the divine to manifest infinite diversity with each element being the “best it can be”, and still keeping them all within a system that retains its ultimate unity. “For each energy is being and power of the Godhead and the expansion and self-expression of energy is always the expansion and expression of the Godhead.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 9, The Theory of the Vibhuti, pp. 356-357