Integral Knowledge

We find in the Upanishads a variety of statements about the nature of the Brahman, such as “One without a second,” “All this is the Brahman,” “Thou art That,” “I am He,” and descriptions that imply that the Brahman is implicit in each being in existence. Those who gravitate toward the concept “one without a second” generally overlook the importance of these other formulae. Each one of these points to a specific aspect of the Reality, and must be taken in their totality, as a unity, to provide a complete knowledge. Sri Aurobindo uses the term “reality omnipresent” to encompass all these aspects, and he insists on the need to realize the status of the Transcendent, the Universal and the Individual aspects in order to achieve the knowledge of the unity of all existence.

There is no doubt that for the individual seeker, the need to transcend the limits of the ego-personality is an essential step. This is not done, however, to exclude the rest of creation, but to adjust the viewpoint or standpoint from which the individual sees, understands and acts.

“We must recognise that our primary aim in knowledge must be to realise our own supreme Self more than that Self in others or as the Lord of Nature or as the All; for that is the pressing need of the individual, to arrive at the highest truth of his own being, to set right its disorders, confusions, false identifications, to arrive at its right concentration and purity and to know and mount to its source. But we do this not in order to disappear into its source, but so that our whole existence and all the members of this inner kingdom may find their right basis, may live in our highest self, live for our highest self only and obey no other law than that which proceeds from our highest self and is given to our purified being without any falsification in the transmitting mentality.”

The end result of this process can bring the seeker to the integral knowledge: “And if we do this rightly we shall discover that in finding this supreme Self we have found the one Self in all, the one Lord of our nature and of all Nature, the All of ourselves who is the All of the universe. For this that we see in ourselves we must necessarily see everywhere, since that is the truth of His unity. By discovering and using rightly the Truth of our being the barrier between our individuality and the universe will necessarily be forced open and cast away and the Truth that we realise in our own being cannot fail to realise itself to us in the universality which will then be our self.”

This brings about the unification of the various terms of the Vedantic knowledge as the realized soul recognizes that indeed, “All this is the Brahman” and that the Brahman is “One without a second”. This represents the integral knowledge of an omnipresent Reality.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 6, The Synthesis of the Disciplines of Knowledge, pp. 326-327


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