The One Existence Which Is Both Soul and Nature

A number of the tenets and theories underlying the traditional Yoga of knowledge assume that there is One Eternal and Absolute Spirit and an illusory outer world of manifestation; that the human being is caught in this illusion and liberation comes about by recognizing the illusory nature of the things of the world and abandoning them in favor of an exclusive concentration on that One Spirit.

Because the seeker starts from the human standpoint and is rooted in that view, very little thought is given to whether there is some larger meaning or purpose to that existence that would both justify its continuance and command the adherence or participation of the human soul after achieving some form of liberation. This brings the question of individual salvation or liberation down to the individual level and the world, and its development into ever-varying and expanding forms, must continue on its own way, absent the individual. Nothing essential has changed. Some of course will then, as the Bodhisattva, renounce the ultimate liberation in order to work for the liberation of all sentient beings, acknowledging thereby a kinship and debt to the rest of the creation. Yet either way, very little consideration is given to why this universe exists at all, where it came from, how and why it remains in existence and what the goal of the manifestation may be. These are all questions that arise when one assumes the divine standpoint.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “Must we not then know also what it is that thus persists superior to our acceptance and rejection and too great, too eternal to be affected by it?: Here too there must be some invincible reality at work and the integrality of Knowledge demands that we shall see and realise it; otherwise it may prove that our own knowledge and not the Lord in the universe was the cheat and the illusion. Therefore we must concentrate again and see and realise also this which persists so sovereignly and must know the Self as no other than the Supreme Soul which is the Lord of Nature, the upholder of cosmic existence by whose sanction it proceeds, whose will compels its multitudinous actions and determines its perpetual cycles. And we must yet concentrate once again and see and realise and must know the Self as the one Existence who is both the Soul of all and the Nature of all, at once Purusha and Prakriti and so able both to express himself in all these forms of things and to be all these formations. Otherwise we have excluded what the Self does not exclude and made a willful choice in our knowledge.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 6, The Synthesis of the Disciplines of Knowledge, pg. 325