The Supreme Transcendent Spirit

The Upanishads repeatedly remind us that the Supreme is unable to be grasped or fully comprehended by the mind. All of our symbolic language, all the definitions, all the descriptions, fall short of the totality of what they term the “Brahman”. When we try to distinguish the Brahman, the Eternal Spirit from the universal existence or our individual lives we set up a dichotomy that in fact cannot and does not exist. When we try to define the spirit as the universe, we lose sight, by that very action, of the transcendent nature of the Spirit. Sri Aurobindo’s terminology of “omnipresent reality” comes closest to resolving the language conflicts that frame our understanding and limit our ability to experience the totality of what IS.

“In relation to the universe the Supreme is Brahman, the one Reality which is not only the spiritual, material and conscious substance of all the ideas and forces and forms of the universe, but their origin, support and possessor, the cosmic and supracosmic Spirit. All the last terms to which we can reduce the universe, Force and Matter, Name and Form, Purusha and Prakriti, are still not entirely that which the universe really is either in itself or its nature.”

The individual is a manifested form of that Spirit. The universe also is a manifested form of that Spirit. Beyond those manifested forms there is still the Transcendent. “Our supreme Self and the supreme Existence which has become the universe are one spirit, one self and one existence. The individual is in nature one expression of the universal Being, in spirit an emanation of the Transcendence.”

The Taittiriya Upanishad provides a summary of the principle when it states: “The Spirit who is here in man and the Spirit who is there in the Sun, lo, it is One Spirit and there is no other.” (Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Taittiriya Upanishad, Bhriguvalli, Chapter 10, pg. 281)

and further: The Spirit created the universe and …Now when He had brought it forth, He entered into that He had created, He entering in became the Is here and the May Be there; He became that which is defined and that which hath no feature; He became this housed thing and that houseless; He became Knowledge and He became Ignorance; He became Truth and He became Falsehood. Yea, He became all truth, even whatsoever here existeth. Therefore they say of Him that He is Truth.” (Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmanandavalli, Chapter 6, pg. 270)

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 1, The Object of Knowledge, pg. 282