From Ego-Self to True Self

We can understand intellectually that the true self of Sat-Chit-Ananda is eternally existent, conscious and blissful. But the everyday experience of the human individual is rarely “blissful” and if so, only for short periods of time and under specific limited circumstances. Even this experience of “bliss” is but one “human bliss” and not the true, complete and unifed experience of bliss. Many, if not most, would deny the reality of universal bliss based on the all-too-human experience.

Just as the ultimate reality is that the earth revolves around the sun, rather than that the sun rises and sets by rotating around the earth, the difference between human perception and the ultimate reality is based on identification with the ego as the center and determining principle for any judgment to be made. The ego, however, is an artificial construct. In order to experience true unity of existence-consciousness-bliss, the individual must shift his standpoint from the ego-standpoint to the divine standpoint.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The individual soul does not possess this true nature of itself or realise this true nature of its experience, because it separates itself both from the essential and the universal and identifies itself with the separate accidents, with the unessential form and mode and with the separate aspect and vehicle. Thus it takes its mind, body, life-stream for its essential self. It tries to assert these for their own sake against the universal, against that of which the universal is the manifestation.”

There is a role for the individual soul; yet, it is not intended to be in opposition to the rest of the creation. The individual mistakenly serves the ego, around which it has formed its body, life and mind, rather than the larger universal and transcendent Being of which it is a part. “This is the living in the false and not the true self; this is living for the sake of and in obedience to the ego and not for the sake of and in obedience to the Divine.”

“Non-possession of unity is the root cause; to recover unity is the sovereign means, unity with the universal and with that which the universal is here to express. We have to realise the true self of ourselves and of all; and to realise the true self is to realise Sachchidananda.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 12, The Realisation of Sachchidananda, pp. 373-374