Practical and Logical Contradictions To Oneness

In all aspects of our daily life we are met with apparent contradictions. When we wake in the morning and see the sunrise, or watch a sunset in the evening, we are faced with one of the most obvious examples of a contradiction that opposes our visual experience to what our logical intellect, tutored by scientific observation, tells us is taking place. Similarly, for countless centuries human beings have considered the world to be flat, based on what they could observe, and until it was proven otherwise, they felt that we would simply fall off the edge if we went too far. It is a contradiction that bodies heavier than water can float, or that they can fly in the air, but somehow science tells us that our own logical inference and normal observation notwithstanding, these things are possible, and today we take them for granted as the basis of our ability to travel the world.

So it is no surprise that when we come to the question of the relation of the two aspects of the Purusha, the Akshara and the Kshara, we are faced with similar contradictions that treat them as if they are irreconcilable opposites, and the only solution to their relation is to accept either one, or the other, as real, and treat the opposite one as unreal, an illusion, a dream, or some kind of imaginary experience. Sri Aurobindo addresses this: “The Eternal is other than this mobile subjective and objective experience, there is a greater consciousness…:and yet at the same time all this is the Eternal, all this is the perennial self-seeing of the Self…. The Eternal has become all existences…; as the Swetaswatara puts it, ‘Thou art this boy and yonder girl and that old man walking supported on his staff,’–even as in the Gita the Divine says that he is Krishna and Arjuna and Vyasa and Ushanas, and the lion and the Ashwattha tree, and consciousness and intelligence and all qualities and the self of all creatures. But how are these two the same, when they seem not only so opposite in nature, but so difficult to unify in experience? For when we live in the mobility of the becoming, we may be aware of but hardly live in the immortality of timeless self-existence. And when we fix ourselves in timeless being, Time and Space and circumstance fall away from us and begin to appear as a troubled dream in the Infinite.”

The limited mental solution, which wants “either/or” answers, has most often decided that the world is an illusion, essentially unreal and transitory, and needs to be abandoned to attain the Eternal. This is not the solution that the Gita is willing to accept.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 15, The Three Purushas, pp. 424-425