The Eternal Principle of the Multiplicity

The method of cutting the knot of desire and entering into a silent, immobile awareness to escape the bondage of the manifestation does not represent the complete picture. If it had done so, then the approach recommended by the renunciates who abandon all action in the world would be the preferred and direct method of liberation. The Gita, however, while admitting the validity of this line of approach, does not accept it as the sole, or even the most preferable method. The reason is that it does not take into account the reality and purpose of the manifested creation; treating it rather as something of an illusion or a lesser reality.

The Gita recognizes that there is a Truth, and not a lesser Truth, in the manifested universe, the world of the multiplicity. Sri Aurobindo explains the Gita’s view: “And what then is this soul in Nature? This spirit, too, this Kshara, this enjoyer of our mutable existence is the Purushottama; it is he in his eternal multiplicity, that is the Gita’s answer.” “It is an eternal portion of Me that becomes the Jiva in a world of Jivas.”

“…it means that each soul, each being in its spiritual reality is the very Divine, however partial its actual manifestation of him in Nature. And it means too, if words have any sense, that each manifesting spirit, each of the many, is an eternal individual, an eternal unborn undying power of the one Existence. We call this manifesting spirit the Jiva, because it appears here as if a living creature in a world of living creatures, and we speak of this spirit in man as the human soul and think of it in the terms of humanity only. But in truth it is something greater than its present appearance and not bound to its humanity: it was a lesser manifestation than the human in its past, it can become something much greater than mental man in its future.”

“The individual spirit exists and ever existed beyond in the Eternal, for it is itself everlasting….”

“…this much is clear that there is an eternal, a real and not only an illusive principle of multiplicity in the spiritual being of the one divine Existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 15, The Three Purushas, pp. 430-431

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