Understanding God Beyond Limitations of Mind and Speech

We are limited through the use of mind and speech to statements that are sequential and themselves quite limited. As a result, we tend to see and think about things in a rather simplistic manner, which does not do justice to the expression of complex concepts or visions. We then proceed to compound this limitation by our tendency to fragmenting and separating things into “either/or” categories, when a “both/and” consideration would be clearly more appropriate. These considerations become even more of a concern when we are trying to describe the nature of the ultimate Reality. Clearly human mind and speech are not capable of embracing the Reality and we are left either with non-verbal experience, or, if we can overcome our tendency to making black and white distinctions, an approach that layers the concepts to try to provide at least a sense of the immensity, complexity and harmonious interactions that bring about the manifestation and the Being of the Supreme.

Sri Aurobindo has taken the approach of systematic layering of concepts when addressing this issue, and it is best to recognize that each individual statement must be understood in the light of its relationship to all the others and, beyond all concepts, to the Reality beyond that defies complete expression through the limited powers of speech and thought available to us.

“It is the truth of a supreme Soul of whose supreme nature the world is a derivation and an inferior figure of that Infinite; of the Ancient of Days who for ever presides over the long evolutions of Time; of the original Godhead of whom Gods and men and all living creatures are the children, the powers, the souls, spiritually justified in their being by his truth of existence; of the Knower who develops in man the knowledge of himself and world and God; of the one Object of all knowing who reveals himself to man’s heart and mind and soul, so that every new opening form of our knowledge is a partial unfolding of him up to the highest by which he is intimately, profoundly and integrally seen and discovered. This is the high supreme Stability who originates and supports and receives to himself all that are in the universe. By him in his own existence the world is extended, by his omnipotent power, by his miraculous self-conception and energy and Ananda of never-ending creation. All is an infinity of his material and spiritual forms. He is all the many gods from the least to the greatest, he is the father of creatures and all are his children and his people. He is the origin of Brahma, the father to the first father of the divine creators of these different races of living things…. he is the All, he is each and every one…. He is the infinite Universal and he is each individual and everything that is, the one Force and Being in every one of us, the infinite Energy that throws itself out in these multitudes, the immeasurable Will and mighty Power of motion and action that forms out of itself all the courses of Time and all the happenings of the spirit in Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 11, The Vision of the World-Spirit–The Double Aspect, pp. 376-377