The True Relation Between Human and Divine Knowledge

For the most part, the science of consciousness, as incorporated in the spiritual traditions of the world, have made a distinction between the “sacred” and the “profane” focus of attention and therefore the accumulation of knowledge that results therefrom. Seeking of the Infinite, the Absolute was considered to be the higher and ultimate knowledge, as distinct from the knowledge that provides insight and power regarding the manifestation, the life in the world. Sri Aurobindo takes some exception to this distinction, however: “This then is the true relation between divine and human knowledge; it is not a separation into disparate fields, sacred and profane, that is the heart of the difference, but the character of the consciousness behind the working. All is human knowledge that proceeds from the ordinary mental consciousness interested in the outside or upper layers of things, in process, in phenomena for their own sake or for the sake of some surface utility or mental or vital satisfaction of Desire or of the Intelligence. But the same activity of knowledge can become part of the Yoga if it proceeds from the spiritual or spiritualising consciousness which seeks and finds in all that it surveys or penetrates the presence of the timeless Eternal and the ways of manifestation of Eternal in Time.”

When we recognise the divine standpoint as one that sees and experiences Oneness everywhere, the Infinite and the Finite, the One and the Many all take on the color of the Divine!

The question then arises as to how we can make the transition from the limited, fragmented and separative human mental consciousness to the divine consciousness that unifies and holds everything together as one “omnipresent Reality.” This may involve periods of concentration during which the focus must be directed solely to the attempt to exceed or surpass the human consciousness, and during these periods, there may be an advantage to the elimination of distractions in the form of the forces and activities of the outer world. “These activities then may have to be intermitted or put aside until secure in a higher consciousness he is able to turn its powers on all the mental fields; then, subjected to that light or taken up into it, they are turned, by the transformation of his consciousness, into a province of the spiritual and divine.”

Once this new consciousness has assumed direction of the focus and understanding, virtually any activity of the life can be adopted, if that is the call that the Spirit provides to the seeker. It is no longer a mental determination or judgment, nor is it based on some external code of rules, moral, ethical, or some other kind of mental framework. “There can be no fixed mental test or principle for these things; he will therefore follow no unalterable rule, but accept or repel an activity of the mind according to his feeling, insight or experience until the greater Power and Light are there to turn their unerring scrutiny on all that is below and choose or reject their material out of what the human evolution has prepared for the divine labour.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 5, The Ascent of the Sacrifice-1, The Works of Knowledge–The Psychic Being, pp. 135-136