The “Divine Madness” of the Gnostic Being Participating in the World

The seeker, starting from the mental consciousness, sees everything as pairs of opposites, one of which has to be accepted and the other rejected. Even in the matter of divine realisation, it has been commonly held that the seeker must abandon the manifested world in order to attain the life of the Spirit. The two states of consciousness appear to be irreconcilably opposite to one another and incompatible. Yet Sri Aurobindo observes that when the standpoint is shifted to the gnostic consciousness, this apparent division dissolves. The gnostic state of consciousness has no need to abandon the world–it accepts the world as the play of manifestation of the Divine and accepts its role within that play. It is not bound by the logical limits and oppositions of the mind. It expresses the characteristics of the divine Sat-Chit-Ananda. It unifies the transcendent, the universal and the individual aspects of the world-play. And yet, its action is unable to be judged by the mental consciousness, as it falls outside the parameters and limits of the mental framework.

“This biune being of Purusha-Prakriti is as if a flaming Sun and body of divine Light self-carried in its orbit by its own inner consciousness and power at one with the universal, at one with a supreme Transcendence. Its madness is a wise madness of Ananda, the incalculable ecstasy of a supreme consciousness and power vibrating with an infinite sense of freedom and intensity in its divine life-movements. Its action is supra-rational and therefore to the rational mind which has not the key it seems a colossal madness. And yet this that seems madness is a wisdom in action that only baffles the mind by the liberty and richness of its contents and the infinite complexity in fundamental simplicity of its motions, it is the very method of the Lord of the worlds, a thing no intellectual interpretation can fathom,–a dance this also, a whirl of mighty energies, but the Master of the dance holds the hands of His energies and keeps them to the rhythmic order, the self-traced harmonic circles of his Rasa-Lila. The gnostic soul is not bound any more than the divine demoniac by the petty conventions and proprieties of the normal human life or the narrow rules through which it makes some shift to accommodate itself with the perplexing dualities of the lower nature and tries to guide its steps among the seeming contradictions of the world, to avoid its numberless stumbling-blocks and to foot with gingerly care around its dangers and pitfalls.The gnostic supramental life is abnormal to us because it is free to all the hardihoods and audacious delights of a soul dealing fearlessly and even violently with Nature, but yet it is the very normality of the infinite and all governed by the law of the Truth in its exact unerring process. It obeys the law of a self-possessed Knowledge, Love, Delight in an innumerable Oneness. It seems abnormal only because its rhythm is not measurable by the faltering beats of the mind, but yet it steps in a wonderful and transcendent measure.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 24, Gnosis and Ananda, pp. 481-483