All Existences in the Self, and the Self in All Existences

The seeker of the integral Yoga has as an initial aim the attainment of Oneness with the Transcendent, Eternal, Infinite Brahman. Yet this aim is not disassociated from the life in the world; rather there must be a recognition that the world is real, and that all of the beings, forms and forces in the world are also that One. With the tendency to see things as “either/or”, the human mind wants to reject the world in order to achieve the Eternal. Sri Aurobindo points out that this “cutting of the knot” is not actually a complete understanding of the truth of our existence.

“When we have once got rid of our confinement to this lower status, we are apt to seize on the other side of the same erroneous relation between self and world; we tend to regard this eternity which we increasingly are in which we live as the sole reality and begin to look down from it upon the world and man as a remote illusion and unreality, because that is a status quite opposite to our new foundation in which we no longer place our roots of consciousness, from which we have been lifted up and transfigured and with which we seem to have no longer any binding link.”

“But the self and the world are in an eternal close relation and there is a connection between them, not a gulf that has to be overleaped. Spirit and material existence are highest and lowest rung of an orderly and progressive series. Therefore between the two there must be a real relation and principle of connection by which the eternal Brahman is able to be at once pure Spirit and Self and yet hold in himself the universe of himself; and it must be possible for the soul that is one with or in union with the Eternal to adopt the same poise of divine relation in place of our present ignorant immersion in the world.”

“For integral self-possession we must be one not only with the Self, with God, but with all existences.”

“This is the realization which the ancient Vedantins spoke of as seeing all existences in the self and the self in all existences; and in addition they speak of the crowning realization of the man in whom the original miracle of existence has been repeated, self-being has become all these existences that belong to the worlds of the becoming. (Isha Upanishad.) In these three terms is expressed, fundamentally, the whole of that real relation between the self and the world which we have to substitute for the false relation created by the limiting ego.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 10, The Realisation of the Cosmic Self, pp. 352-354