Awakening to the Cosmic Consciousness

The division which separates pure Being, silent, immutable Existence from the forms, forces, beings and actions of the cosmic manifestation is an artificial one. It arises as a result of the mind’s tendency for finding and holding onto black and white distinctions and its general tendency toward exclusive concentration, which tends to miss the Oneness while fastening onto apparent differences.

After attaining to the realisation of the pure Existent, the seeker in the integral Yoga is then asked to recognise the Oneness, not only in its pure and abstract sense, but in all the beings of the universe. There are various stages to this next step in the development of cosmic consciousness, as Sri Aurobindo describes:

“Next we have to realise this silent Self as the Lord of all the action of universal Nature, the same Self-existent displayed in the creative force of its eternal consciousness. All this action is only His power and knowledge and self-delight going abroad in His infinite being to do the works of His eternal wisdom and will. We realise the Divine, the eternal Self of all, first, as the source of all action and inaction, of all knowledge and ignorance, of all delight and suffering, of all good and evil, perfection and imperfection, of all force and form, of all the outgoing of Nature from the eternal divine Principle and of all the return of Nature towards the Divine.”

The next phase is to recognise that it is the Divine that manifests as both the source and creator of all existences, but also those existences themselves. Each being is the Divine. “…for the many souls of the universal manifestation are only faces of the one Divine, the many minds, lives, bodies are only His masks and disguises.” This is the realisation of Arjuna in the 11th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita when he sees the universal form of the Divine.

All of the others we see around us are actually forms of the one Divine existence. “Thus viewing things and beings we may see them first as if they were parts and parcels of His divided being, but the realisation and the knowledge are not complete unless we go beyond this idea of quality and space and division and see the Infinite everywhere, the universe and each thing in the universe as in its existence and secret consciousness and power and delight, the indivisible Divine in its entirety, however much the figure it makes to our minds may appear only as a partial manifestation.”

This is the foundation of the awareness called ‘cosmic consciousness’. “When we possess thus the Divine as the silent and surpassing Witness and the active Lord and all-constituting Being without making any division between these aspects, we possess the whole cosmic Divine, embrace all of the universal Self and Reality, are awake to the cosmic consciousness.”

As the Isha Upanishad puts it: “But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self, shrinks not thereafter from aught. He in whom it is the Self-Being that has become all existences that are Becomings, for he has the perfect knowledge, how shall he be deluded, whence shall he have grief who sees everywhere oneness?” (Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Isha Upanishad, v. 6-7, pg. 21)

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 15, The Cosmic Consciousness, pp. 393-394