The Gnostic Consciousness and the Divine Ananda

The gnostic consciousness relates to the “upper hemisphere” of consciousness called Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence–Consciousness-Force–Bliss) and helps to mediate and translate it into the terms and conditions of the lower hemisphere of Mind-Life-Body. It also acts as the next evolutionary level as the involved powers in mind-life-body are developed and evolve back toward the unifying consciousness based on the divine standpoint. In this regard, then it lives in and recognizes the inherent oneness of all existence, it bases its knowledge and action on a unified and complete understanding based on that oneness, and it expresses the inherent bliss of existence.

This bliss of existence is deformed in the lower hemisphere into expressions of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain and the division of things into good and evil. All of these expressions are the result of the action of the force of desire and the limitation and apparent separation and fragmentation of consciousness within which the mind-life-body operates.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “For if knowledge and force are the twin sides or powers of the action of consciousness, delight, Ananda–which is something higher than what we call pleasure–is the very stuff of consciousness and the natural result of the interaction of knowledge and will, force and self-awareness. Both pleasure and pain, both joy and grief are deformations caused by the disturbance of harmony between our consciousness and the force it applies, between our knowledge and will, a breaking up of their oneness by a descent to a lower plane in which they are limited, divided in themselves, restrained from their full and proper action, at odds with other-force, other-consciousness, other-knowledge, other-will. The Vijnana sets this to rights by the power of its truth and a wholesale restoration to oneness and harmony, to the Right and the highest Law. It takes up all our emotions and turns them into various forms of love and delight, even our hatreds, repulsions, causes of suffering. It finds out or reveals the meaning they missed and by missing it became the perversions they are; it restores our whole nature to the eternal Good. It deals similarly with our perceptions and sensations and reveals all the delight that they seek, but in its truth, not in any perversion and wrong seeking and wrong reception; it reaches even our lower impulses to lay hold on the Divine and Infinite in the appearances after which they run. All this is done not in the values of the lower being, but by a lifting up of the mental, vital, material into the inalienable purity, the natural intensity, the continual ecstasy, one yet manifold, of the divine Ananda.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 23, The Conditions of Attainment to the Gnosis, pg. 475

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