Because of the basis of human awareness in the mental consciousness, we tend to focus on one side of things to the exclusion of other sides; thus, we tend to either fixate on the Absolute and thereby declare the manifested world to be an illusion or at best a “lesser reality”; or else we focus on that outer world and declare the spiritual life and experience to be illusory. In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo examines these positions at length under the headings of “The Materialist Denial” and “The Refusal of the Ascetic”. His answer to each of these one-sided presentations is found in his formula “Reality Omnipresent” and it is this concept that, brought to fruition in experience of consciousness, represents the integral knowledge.
Sri Aurobindo elaborates on this: “If we are to possess perfectly the world in our new divinised consciousness as the Divine himself possesses it, we have to know also each thing in its absoluteness, first by itself, secondly in its union with all that completes it; for so has the Divine imaged out and seen its being in the world. To see things as parts, as incomplete elements is a lower analytic knowledge. The Absolute is everywhere; it has to be seen and found everywhere. Every finite is an infinite and has to be known and sensed in its intrinsic infiniteness as well as in its surface finite appearance. But so to know the world, so to perceive and experience it, it is not enough to have an intellectual idea or imagination that so it is; a certain divine vision, divine sense, divine ecstasy is needed, an experience of union of ourselves with the objects of our consciousness. In that experience not only the Beyond but all here, not only the totality, the All in its mass, but each thing in the All becomes to us our self, God, the Absolute and Infinite, Sachchidananda. This is the secret of the complete delight in God’s world, complete satisfaction of the mind and heart and will, complete liberation of the consciousness.”
“To the rational mind and the ordinary sense-experience this may well seem only a poetic fancy or a mystic hallucination; but the absolute satisfaction and sense of illumination which it gives and alone can give is really a proof of its greater validity; we get by that a ray from the higher consciousness and the diviner sense into which our subjective being is intended eventually, if we will only allow it, to be transfigured.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 17, The Soul and Nature, pp. 408-409