Seeking For Knowledge of the Eternal

“Bhrigu, Varuna’s son, came unto his father Varuna and said, ‘Lord, teach me the Eternal.’ ” Varuna responded: ” Seek thou to know that from which these creatures are born, whereby being born they live and to which they go hence and enter again; for that is the Eternal.” Thus begins the Bhriguvalli of the Taittiriya Upanishads. (Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Taittiriya Upanishad, Bhriguvalli, Chapter 1, pg 275)

Most people fixate their minds and attention on the outer world of forms, forces and beings. They are concerned with social relationships, and the various actions necessary to survive and succeed in the world. They focus on using their minds to acquire facts, to apply logic and reason to the realm of society’s activities, and they place little, if any, of their attention on the seeking for the Eternal. There are however, always those who try to understand why it is we are alive, what the world is all about, and how and why it functions. There are seekers, scientists, dreamers, poets, mystics, sages and seers, yogis, those who gaze at the stars at night and wonder, and those who go on various forms of vision quest.

The Upanishads taken as a whole focus on this eternal quest, and this is the reason they are revered as books of deep wisdom. They look beyond the surface phenomena and move the mind to ultimate causes and purposes.

The Yoga of Knowledge is a path that seeks out this deeper wisdom of the essence of life and existence. Sri Aurobindo describes the seeking thus: “All spiritual seeking moves towards an object of Knowledge to which men ordinarily do not turn the eye of the mind, to someone or something Eternal, Infinite, Absolute that is not the temporal things or forces of which we are sensible although he or it may be in them or behind them or their source or creator. It aims at a state of knowledge by which we can touch, enter or know by identity this Eternal, Infinite and Absolute, a consciousness other than our ordinary consciousness of ideas and forms and things, a knowledge that is not what we call knowledge but something self-existent, everlasting, infinite.”

This knowledge, since it addresses things beyond the reach of the mind, things which are invisible to the outer eye, and addresses levels of consciousness outside the framework that the mind can encompass, must necessarily identify, locate, associate with, and develop powers of knowing that are beyond the limited mental faculties that we use for outer facts and events. The mind can at best reflect, as a mirror reflect. The reality can be truly grasped only by other and greater powers of knowledge.

It is the province of the Yoga of Knowledge to both identify the real object of knowledge, and to develop those faculties and powers of knowing that permit the arising of true understanding.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 1, The Object of Knowledge, pg. 273