An Integral Realisation and an Integral Liberation

The Upanishads teach us that the Brahman is “One without a second”. This has justified the exclusive seeking after a realisation divorced from the life in the world, a focus and concentration that was all-consuming and led to the silence of the supreme states of awareness. But the Upanishads also teach us that “All this is the Brahman.” These two concepts, when put together, re-integrate the manifested universe with the abstract “beyond” of the silent Brahman.

Sri Aurobindo takes up this theme in the formulation of the Integral Yoga. The realisation is not an isolated or aloof knowledge divorced from life. “First, an integral realisation of Divine Being; not only a realisation of the One in its indistinguishable unity, but also in its multitude of aspects which are also necessary to the complete knowledge of it by the relative consciousness; not only realisation of unity in the Self, but of unity in the infinite diversity of activities, worlds and creatures.”

This integral realisation leads to a form of liberation vastly different from the one that takes the seeker away from the manifestation and life. Liberation is not viewed as an escape from life, but a transformation of the significance of life. “Not only the freedom born of unbroken contact of the individual being in all its parts with the Divine…, by which it becomes free even in its separation, even in the duality; … but also the acquisition of the divine nature by the transformation of this lower being into the human image of the divine…, and the complete and final release of all, the liberation of the consciousness from the transitory mould of the ego and its unification with the One Being, universal both in the world and the individual and transcendentally one both in the world and beyond all universe.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Introduction: The Conditions of the Synthesis, Chapter 5, Synthesis, pp. 42-43