The material world, which seems so “real” and which impinges so deeply on our mind and senses, does not, in and of itself, explain the potential existence of the Soul or of any Divine Existence. We see and experience the machinery, but not that which created or set this machinery in motion. At a certain point in the growth of consciousness, as we move from purely material reaction, to vital response, and then to mental awareness, we also experience a growing sense, what many call an “intuition”, that there is something more, something other, something not defined by the material existence. This leads to the search or seeking for the soul, or in more general terms, for God. In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo calls this “the human aspiration” and it has preoccupied an awakened humanity as the capacity of independent reflection has grown.
At a certain point, the seeker begins to experience another state of awareness, a state which is distinct and totally different than the fixation on the outer world that occupies us virtually all the time. The “intuition” begins to strengthen as it is confirmed through an experience of consciousness.
Sri Aurobindo discusses the issue: “There is, however, something in man’s consciousness which does not fall in with the rigidity of this formula; he has a faith, which grows greater as his soul develops, in another and an inner reality of existence. In this inner reality the truth of existence is no longer Nature but Soul and Spirit, Purusha rather than Prakriti. Nature herself is only a power of Spirit, Prakriti the force of the Purusha. A Spirit, a Self, a being one in all is the master of this world which is only his partial manifestation. That Spirit is the upholder of Nature and her action and the giver of the sanction by which alone her law becomes imperative and her force and its ways operative. That Spirit within her is the Knower who illuminates her and makes her conscient in us; his is the immanent and superconscient Will that inspires and motives her workings. The soul in man, a portio of this Divinity, shares his nature. Our nature is our soul’s manifestation, operates by its sanction and embodies its secret self-knowledge and self-consciousness and its will of being in her motions and forms and changes.”
This experience is the opposite of our fragmented and isolated ego-standpoint; when it comes it is so overwhelming that it expresses its validity without question. It also provides a solution to the “first cause” and “meaning” questions that the viewpoint based in the mechanical Nature cannot answer. We then recognize that with greater conscious awareness we have a higher capacity to perceive and experience the real truth of our existence, and that the first formulation of a soul-less machinery is clearly not the total sense of the manifestation.
Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 24, The Message of the Gita, pg. 555