The Duality of the Spirit Created by the Mental Consciousness

Even in the spiritual quest, the fundamental nature of the mind enters into the realization. As the mind approaches the Spirit, it will tend to view consciousness through its lens of duality, treating the transcendent spiritual experience as a higher field of experience, and the life of the world, the action of body-life-mind as a lower field of experience. Whether it takes this to the extreme of denying ultimate reality to the lower field, by treating it as an illusion or dream to be abandoned and denied in order to station itself in the higher field of experience, or whether it simply acts to focus on the one to the exclusion of the other, it has nevertheless succeeded in interposing duality into the unitive experience of the Divine.

Sri Aurobindo elaborates: “It (the mentality) sees on one side the Infinite, the Formless, the One, the Peace and Bliss, the Calm and Silence, the Absolute, the Vast and Pure; on the other it sees the finite, the world of forms, the jarring multiplicity, the strife and suffering and imperfect, unreal good, the tormented activity and futile success, the relative, the limited and vain and vile. To those who make this division, this opposition, complete liberation is only attainable in the peace of the One, the featurelessness of the Infinite, the non-becoming of the Absolute which is to them the only real being; to be free all values must be destroyed, all limitations not only transcended but abolished. They have the liberations of the divine rest, but not the liberty of the divine action; they enjoy the peace of the Transcendent, but not the cosmic bliss of the Transcendent. Their liberty depends upon abstention from the cosmic movement, it cannot dominate and possess cosmic existence itself. But it is also possible for them to realise and participate in the immanent as well as the transcendent peace. Still the division is nut cured. The liberty they enjoy is that of the silent unacting Witness, not the liberty of the divine Master-consciousness which possesses all things, delights in all, casts itself into all forms of existence without fear of fall or loss or bondage or stain. All the rights of the spirit are not yet possessed; there is still a denial, a limitation, a holding back from the entire oneness of all existence. The workings of Mind, Life, Body are viewed from the calm and peace of the spiritual planes of the mental being and are filled with that calm and peace; they are not possessed by and subjected to the law of the all-mastering Spirit.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 15, The Cosmic Consciousness, pg. 397