Addressing the False Dichotomy Set Up By the Mind

Even when we accept, intellectually, the Oneness of the Absolute, and accept the ideas that there is “One without a second” and “All this is the Brahman”, the great formulae of the Upanishads, the mind still tends to set up a dichotomy for the spiritual seeker that accepts the Unmanifest as the Absolute, and the Manifest as something more or less unreal. It is this habit of mind which narrows the seeking and the approach to the Divine Reality.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “Ordinarily, the discriminating mind tells us that only what is beyond all manifestation is absolute, only the formless Spirit is infinite, only the timeless, spaceless, immutable, immobile Self in its repose is absolutely real; and if we follow and are governed in our endeavour by this conception, that is the subjective experience at which we shall arrive, all else seeming to us false or only relatively true.”

Sri Aurobindo suggests that a wider, embracing formulation, harking back to the significance of the Upanishadic declarations, leads to a more complete realization of the truth of existence: “But if we start from the larger conception, a completer truth and a wider experience open to us. We perceive that the immutability of the timeless, spaceless existence is an absolute and an infinite, but that also the conscious-force and the active delight of the divine Being in its all-blissful possession of the outpouring of its powers, qualities, self-creations is an absolute and an infinite,–and indeed the same absolute and infinite, so much the same that we can enjoy simultaneously, equally the divine timeless calm and peace and the divine time-possessing joy of activity, freely, infinitely, without bondage or the lapse into unrest and suffering. So too we can have the same experience of all the principles of this activity which in the Immutable are self-contained and in a sense drawn in and concealed, in the cosmic are expressed and realise their infinite quality and capacity.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 17, The Soul and Nature, pg. 409


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