The Real Illumination and the Only Wisdom

Sri Aurobindo reminds us that, while we delve into the details of the field of action, that the knowledge gained and applied here is limited and does not represent the entirety of knowledge. The sages of the Upanishads sought “that by knowing which all is known”, the unifying and comprehensive knowledge which reconciled Spirit and Nature. They repeatedly indicated to us “not this, not that” so that we would not become fixated on the limited focus on the world to the exclusion of the true wisdom that transcended the world. Sri Aurobindo describes it thus: “There is something beyond to be known…, and it is when the knower of the field turns from the field itself to learn of himself within it and of all that is behind its appearances that real knowledge begins, jnanam,–the true knowledge of the field no less than of the knower. That turning inward alone delivers from ignorance. For the farther we go inward, the more we seize on greater and fuller realities of things and grasp the complete truth both of God and the soul and of the world and its movements. Therefore, says the divine Teacher, it is the knowledge at once of the field and its knower…which is the real illumination and the only wisdom.”

The knowledge of the field, of the world of action is incomplete without the knowledge of the consciousness that is the “knower of the field”. “For both soul and nature are the Brahman, but the true truth of the world of Nature can only be discovered by the liberated sage who possesses also the truth of the spirit. One Brahman, one reality in Self and Nature is the object of all knowledge.”

Recognition of the various Upanishadic truths, held, not as opposites or conflicting principles, but as complementary concepts that help us to unify in our minds what is unified in reality: “One without a second” stands concurrently with “Not this, not that” and “All this is the Brahman.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 13, The Field and Its Knower, pp. 399-400

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