Spiritual Experience and the Divine Personality

It would be a mistake to allow the logical intellect of the mind to act as the sole judge and jury of the truth of any particular view of existence. Despite its arrogant insistence on its scientific, fact-based, approach, this mental power is only able to perceive and act within a certain limited range or experience and has, as its fundamental method, a method that seeks out differences and points of separation rather than finds the underlying unity and the established Oneness. To the extent this intellect begins to recognize the inherent Unity of all existence, with concepts such as biosphere, ecosphere, noosphere, it begins also to recognize that there are aspects of existence far outside its own boundaries of action and thus, it needs to cede its judgment to other forms of knowing. Spiritual experience and spiritual intuition are a different type of knwoing, one that bases its knowledge on a sense of identify.

The mind, when confronted with the concept of a divine Personality, simply is unable to comprehend, and tends to treat this as Sri Aurobindo describes, as “…fictions of the imagination or to psychological symbols, in any case, the responses of our sensitive personality to something which is not this at all, but is purely impersonal. We may say that That is in reality the very opposite of our humanity and our personality and therefore in order to enter into relations with it we are impelled to set up these human fictions and these personal symbols so as to make it nearer to us.”

“But we have to judge by spiritual experience, and in a total spiritual experience we shall find that these things are not fictions and symbols, but truths of divine being in their essence, however imperfect may have been our representations of them….Greater self-knowledge shows us that we are not fundamentally the particular formulation of form, powers, properties, qualities with a conscious I identifying itself with them, which we at first appear to be. That is only a temporary fact, though still a fact, of our partial being on the surface of our active consciousness. We find within an infinite being with the potentiality of all qualities, of infinite quality, anantaguna, which can be combined in any number of possible ways, and each combination is a revelation of our being. For all this personality is the self-manifestation of a Person, that is to say, of a being who is conscious of his manifestation.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 5, The Divine Personality, pg. 559

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