The Individual Soul and the Spontaneous Action of Nature Through Oneness

From our human standpoint, knowledge is something that needs to be built up, acquired with effort and involves the accumulation of sense impressions (facts), the organization of those sense impressions and then the application of logical tools of the mind to make sense out of them, eventually creating therefrom a symbolic set (language, symbols or imagery) that stores the sense that we have derived and which then allows us to communicate and share that information with others. All of this represents what Sri Aurobindo terms “separative knowledge”. Because of the limitations of this way of knowing, we always have a fragmentary and derived knowledge rather than a complete and unified knowledge.

Similarly, our will to action is based on the fragmented and separated knowledge base we have acquired and we thus have limited and weak ability to put our knowledge into action.

There is, however, another kind of knowing, which Sri Aurobindo terms “knowledge by identity”. This type of knowing does not rely on logic-sets or symbols, nor does it need to build up its base of knowledge; rather it is a self-evident, self-contained, complete form of knowledge. Starting from the human basis, it is essentially impossible for us to even remotely understand or imagine this type of knowledge, or the effective Will that puts this level of knowledge into action in the universe.

Intuition or inspiration represent flashes of brilliance that move us beyond the strict limits of the logical building of knowledge-sets within which we normally operate. While they do not reach the fullness of the illumination that is represented by knowledge by identity, they at least indicate to us that greater and more potent forms of knowledge are available when we even slightly exceed the normal mental limitations, with the corresponding impact on action.

Sri Aurobindo describes the knowledge-will of the Infinite, to the extent possible: “The Lord sees in his omniscience the thing that has to be done. This seeing is his Will, it is a form of creative Power, and that which he sees the all-conscious Mother, one with him, takes into her dynamic self and embodies, and executive Nature-Force carries it out as the mechanism of their omnipotent omniscience. But this vision of what is to be and therefore of what is to be done arises out of the very being, pours directly out of the consciousness and delight of existence of the Lord, spontaneously, like light from the sun. It is not our mortal attempt to see, our difficult arrival at truth of action and motive or just demand of Nature.”

The spiritual Oneness unifies the individual soul with the universal and transcendent: “When the individual soul is entirely at one in its being and knowledge with the Lord and directly in touch with the original Shakti, the transcendent Mother, the supreme Will can then arise in us too in the high divine manner as a thing that must be and is achieved by the spontaneous action of Nature. There is then no desire, no responsibility, no reaction; all takes place in the peace, calm, light, power of the supporting and enveloping and inhabiting Divine.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 8, The Supreme Will, pp.206-207