Comparing Reason and Gnostic Consciousness in Action

Sri Aurobindo recaps the mechanism of the reasoning intellect: “The reason has as its first instrument observation general, analytical, and synthetic; it aids itself by comparison, contrast and analogy,–proceeds from experience to indirect knowledge by logical processes of deduction, induction, all kinds of inference,–rests upon memory, reaches out beyond itself by imagination, secures itself by judgment: all is a process of groping and seeking.”

We can see here the basis in fragmentation and division and the reliance on external instrumentalities of the sense-organs and sense-mind. As has been amply illustrated previously, this process is error-prone and extremely limited in its ability to both determine and understand the universal working.

The gnostic consciousness, based in oneness, must obviously have a totally different mechanism: “The gnosis does not seek, it possesses….it reveals, it illumines. In a consciousness transmuted from intelligence to gnosis, imagination would be replaced by truth-inspiration, mental judgment would give place to a self-luminous discerning. The slow and stumbling logical process from reasoning to conclusion would be pushed out by a sift intuitive proceeding; the conclusion or fact would be seen at once in its own right, by its own self-sufficient witness, and all the evidence by which we arrive at it would be seen too at once, along with it, in the same comprehensive figure, not as its evidence, but as its intimate conditions, connections and relations, its constituent parts or its wings of circumstance. Mental and sense observation would be changed into an inner vision using the instruments as channels, but not dependent on them as the mind in us is blind and deaf without the physical senses, and this vision would see not merely the thing, but all its truth, its forces, powers, the eternities within it. Our uncertain memory would fall away and there would come in its place a luminous possession of knowledge, the divine memory that is not a store of acquisition, but holds all things always contained in the consciousness, a memory at once of past, present and future.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 22, Vijnana or Gnosis, pp. 463-464