The Comprehensive Truth of Our Existence: The Self As the All

The signature realisation of the traditional Yoga of knowledge is the experience of the One Self, immutable, silent and unchanging that exists behind all the frantic activity of names, forms and forces to which we are normally attached. There is a difficulty faced by the seeker who attempts to take up action based on this realisation, and that is the tendency to fall into the habitual thought and action patterns that go along with the outer life. Sri Aurobindo observes: “To prevent this relapse or to cure it when it arrives, he has to hold fast to the truth of Sachchidananda and extend his realisation of the infinite One into the movement of the infinite multiplicity.”

No longer can a gulf between the Absolute and the world be accepted; rather, the seeker needs to add to the realisation of the vast silent unchanging Brahman the equal realisation of the active Brahman who creates and is the entire manifested universe. “He has to concentrate on and realise the one Brahman in all things as conscious force of being as well as pure awareness of conscious being. The Self as the All, not only in the unique essence of things, but in the manifold form of things, not only as containing all in a transcendent consciousness, but as becoming all by a constituting consciousness, this is the next step towards his true possession of existence. In proportion as this realisation is accomplished, the status of consciousness as well as the mental view proper to it will change. Instead of an immutable Self containing name and form, containing without sharing in them the mutations of Nature, there will be the consciousness of the Self immutable in essence, unalterable in its fundamental poise but constituting and becoming in its experience all these existences which the mind distinguishes as name and form.”

“And yet in all its mutations it will be realised as one, free and above them. The realisation of a sole Reality suffering the imposition of names and forms will give place to that of eternal Being throwing itself out into infinite becoming. All existences will be to the consciousness of the Yogin soul-forms and not merely idea-forms of the Self, of himself, one with him, contained in his universal existence. All the soul-life, mental, vital, bodily existence of all that exists will be to him one indivisible movement and activity of the Being who is the same forever. The Self will be realised as the all in its double aspect of immutable status and mutable activity and it is this that will be seen as the comprehensive truth of our existence.’

“That alone is the fire and That the sun and That the wind and That too the moon; That is the Luminous, That the Brahman, That the waters, That the Father and Lord of creatures. Thou art the woman and Thou the man; Thou art a boy and again a young virgin; Thou art yonder worn and aged man that walkest bent with thy staff. Lo, Thou becomes born and the world is full of thy faces. Thou art the blue bird and the green and the scarlet-eyed, the womb of lightning and the seasons and the oceans. Thou art that which is without beginning and Thou movest with Thy pervasive extension whence all the worlds are born.” (Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Shwetashwatara Upanishad, Chapter 4, v. 2-4, pg. 369)

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 14, The Passive and the Active Brahman, pp. 390-391