Reconciling Self-Knowledge and Life in the World

The experience of the silent, remote, immutable Brahman is so overwhelming to the seeker, that it makes the world and its activities seem either to be illusory or “less real”. If the seeker does not stop at this point, but continues on to discover the true significance of the manifested universe, it becomes possible to reconcile the two statuses. This occurs, not by validating the viewpoint of the ego-consciousness, but by viewing and participating in the manifestation from the standpoint of the Divine consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “But if either in the course of our Yoga or as a result of a free return of our realised Self upon the world and a free repossession of its Prakriti by the Purusha in us, we become conscious not only of the bodies and outward self-expression of others, but intimately of their inner being, their minds, their souls and that in them of which their own surface minds are not aware, then we see the real Being in them also and we see them as selves of our Self and not as mere names and forms. They become to us realities of the Eternal.”

The result is that rather than engaging with the world in a struggle of the ego-personality immersed in the outer events and values of the world, we take on the standpoint of the Divine and can support and enjoy the rolling out of the manifested divine Will through Time and Space. “We see that our material being, life, nature are only one poise of the Purusha in relation to its Prakriti and that their true purpose and importance can only be appreciated when they are seen not as a thing in itself, but as dependent on higher poises by which they are supported; from those superior relations they derive their meaning and, therefore, by conscious union with them they can fulfil all their valid tendencies and aims. Life then becomes justified to us and no longer stultified by the possession of liberated self-knowledge.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 18, The Soul and Its Liberation, pp. 423-424