Harmonizing Oneness With Differentiation With Equality of Soul

One of the propensities of the human mind is to see things as “either-or”, “black and white”. Thus, when we are called upon to recognize the Oneness of all creation, we immediately tend to jump to a standpoint where we fail to recognize and appreciate the differences. There is, however, an underlying rationale and truth to the differentiation we see in the manifested universe and it is thus necessary to find a way to establish our equality of soul, which is based on Oneness, while at the same time recognizing, appreciating and rejoicing in the diversity and differentiation we see in all the forms and beings around us in the world.

Sri Aurobindo explains: “Equality does not mean a fresh ignorance or blindness; it does not call for and need not initiate a greyness of vision and a blotting out of all hues. Difference is there, variation of expression is there and this variation we shall appreciate,–far more justly than we could when the eye was clouded by a partial and erring love and hate, admiration and scorn, sympathy and antipathy, attraction and repulsion.”

All outer forms and beings, however, partake of the Oneness and thus, we must achieve the emotional and mental balance to both see and appreciate the differences while understanding and responding to the Oneness. We then begin to reorient our thoughts and reactions as we learn to appreciate that even things which we consider with our minds or emotions or vital reactions to be ugly, deformed, or hostile represent some potentiality and stage of the manifestation and they have their own purpose in the larger scheme of things.

“And so too we shall have the same equality of mind and soul towards all happenings, painful or pleasurable, defeat and success, honour and disgrace, good repute and ill-repute, good fortune and evil fortune.”

The larger view makes it clear: “All things move towards a divine event; each experience, suffering and want no less than joy and satisfaction is a necessary link in the carrying out of a universal movement which it is our business to understand and second.”

Sri Aurobindo then gives us the qualities of the mature soul that has struck this balance: “The ripened soul does not condemn but seeks to understand and master, does not cry out but accepts or toils to improve and perfect, does not revolt inwardly but labours to obey and fulfil and transfigure. Therefore we shall receive all things with an equal soul from the hands of the Master. Failure we shall admit as a passage as calmly as success until the hour of the divine victory arrives. Our souls and minds and bodies will remain unshaken by acutest sorrow and suffering and pain if in the divine dispensation they come to us, unoverpowered by intensest joy and pleasure. Thus supremely balanced we shall continue steadily on our way meeting all things with an equal calm until we are ready for a more exalted status and can enter into the supreme and universal Ananda.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 9, Equality and Annihilation of Ego, pp.212-213

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