The Knowledge of the Spiritual Reality

Our normal human way of seeing and knowing involves interacting with the world from the standpoint of an ego-personality, forever separated, isolated and fragmented from the rest of the creation. This viewpoint sets up a conflict between “myself” and “others” as we try to survive and thrive in a world of competition where one party wins at the expense of someone or something else. We do not normally go much beyond this way of seeing and acting. Even when we recognise that the environment is shared between all the beings and creatures, we treat this as a fact for the purpose of developing some kind of compromise between the competing beings in order to “share” the resources, without going to the next step of recognising our inherent Oneness.

Sri Aurobindo contrasts this normal standpoint with the knowledge of Reality founded in spiritual Oneness: “It is the knowledge of the supreme Soul and Spirit in its oneness and its wholeness. It is the knowledge of One who is for ever, beyond Time and Space and name and form and world, high beyond his own personal and impersonal levels and yet from whom all this proceeds. One whom all manifests in manifold Nature and her multitude of figures. It is the knowledge of him as an impersonal eternal immutable Spirit, the calm and limitless thing we call Self, infinite, equal and always the same, unaffected and unmodified and unchanged amid all this constant changing and all this multitude of individual personalities and soul powers and Nature powers and the forms and forces and eventualities of this transitory and apparent existence. It is the knowledge of him at the same time as the Spirit and Power who seems ever mutable in Nature, the Inhabitant who shapes himself to every form and modifies himself to every grade and degree and activity of his power, the Spirit who, becoming all that is even while he is for every infinitely more than all that is, dwells in man and animal and thing, subject and object, soul and mind and life and matter, every existence and every force and every creature.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 24, The Message of the Gita, pg. 557