Knowledge and Devotion Each Lead to Unity With the Supreme

The mental framework from which the human individual starts the spiritual question has inherent limitations because of the natural tendency of the mind to erect separations, divisions and distinctions and then treat them as if they are real and essential differences. Thus, the seekers on the path of Knowledge frequently focus on the impersonal and absolute Brahman as the sole or at least the highest Truth, and they treat the manifested universe as some form of distraction, dream or illusion of Maya. They seek the Impersonal by abandoning the Personal.

Sri Aurobindo reminds us that this represents an artificial distinction and that the Supreme manifests both in the Impersonal and the Personal, and in the Unmanifest as also in the Manifest.

“But the Divine is beyond our oppositions of ideas, beyond the logical contradictions we make between his aspects. He is not, as we have seen, bound and restricted by exclusive unity; his oneness realizes itself in infinite variation and to the joy of that love has the completest key, without therefore missing the joy of the unity. The highest knowledge and highest spiritual experience by knowledge find his oneness as perfect in his various relations with the Many as in his self-absorbed delight. If to thought the Impersonal seems the wider and higher truth, the Personal a narrower experience, the spirit finds both of them to be aspects of a Reality which figures itself in both, and if there is a knowledge of that Reality to which thought arrives by insistence on the infinite Impersonality, there is also a knowledge of it to which love arrives by insistence on the infinite Personality. The spiritual experience of each leads, if followed to the end, to the same ultimate Truth. By Bhakti as by knowledge, as the Gita tells us, we arrive at unity with the Purushottama, the Supreme who contains in himself the impersonal and numberless personalities, the qualityless and infinite qualities, pure being, consciousness and delight and the endless play of their relations.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 1, Love and the Triple Path, pp. 525-526