Identity With the Divine Is the Ultimate Status of Knowledge

The limited human consciousness, starting from the standpoint of separation, fragmentation and differentiation, seeks to unify itself with the divine consciousness in the Yoga of knowledge. The first step is to have glimpses of divine vision. This prepares the mind and encourages the seeker to continue the process, as he recognizes that there is a reality to this other status of consciousness. The next step is to undergo the experience of the divine consciousness, wherein all the various parts of the being experience their divine counterpart to the human levels of body, life and mind. In each stage there are glimpses or momentary realisations, and over time, as these grow in frequency, length and intensity they prepare for the ultimate stage, which is the total unity of consciousness whereby the seeker is completely identified with the divine consciousness in all ways and at all times.

The Taittiriya Upanishad 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) Achieving this realization and abiding in it, the Yogin sees everywhere Oneness, and fully knows, through a knowledge by identity, the Divine Spirit transcendent, universal and manifest in individual forms and beings.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “We must not only see God and embrace Him, but become that Reality. We must become one with the Self in its transcendence of all form and manifestation by the resolution, the sublimation, the escape from itself of ego and all its belongings into That from which they proceed, as well as become the Self in all its manifested existences and becomings, one with it in the infinite existence, consciousness, peace, delight by which it reveals itself in us and one with it in the action, formation, play of self-conception with which it garbs itself in the world.”

He points out, however: “It is difficult for the modern mind to understand how we can do more than conceive intellectually of the Self or of God; but it may borrow some shadow of this vision, experience and becoming from that inner awakening to Nature which a great English poet (n.b. Wordsworth) has made a reality to the European imagination.”

While describing Wordsworth’s experience of identity with Nature and his realization of there being a greater Self embodied in Nature, Sri Aurobindo goes on to conclude: “Exalt this realization to a profounder Self than physical Nature and we have the elements of the Yogic knowledge. But all this experience is only the vestibule to that suprasensuous, supramental realization of the Transcendent who is beyond all His aspects, and the final summit of knowledge can only be attained by entering into the superconscient and there merging all other experience into a supernal unity with the Ineffable. That is the culmination of all divine knowing; that also is the source of all divine delight and divine living.”

In the end, whether sought through intellectual concentration and focus, the heart’s seeking through loe and devotion, or the application of the will in works and action in the world, through the seeking out of beauty, or the attainment of a supreme peace, the intermediate stages of realization must be left behind for the ultimate status of knowledge which unifies the seeker with God in all aspects and ways of the being.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 2, The Status of Knowledge, pp. 292-293

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