Forms of the Divine Personality

When the cells that comprise the foot reflect on their existence, it is likely that they wonder whether there is an divine Being or Personality of which they are a portion, or if they are all alone in the universe, having to interact with other cells in their neighborhood and somehow learning to get along with one another while carrying out their purpose of existence, in whatever way they conceive that purpose. They may come to conclude that there is a larger unified whole and some controlling force of their existence, although they may decide, particularly when the toe gets stubbed, or the foot steps on a sharp rock, that perhaps there is no higher conscious existence, or if there is, that the suffering is there for some purpose. Or they may determine that such suffering is some kind of karmic retribution for mistakes it made in the past.

Seriously, however, putting aside the question of the foot as a portion of a larger conscious being, we are faced with a quite similar situation when we try to interact with the forms of the divine Personality. There are frames of awareness where the conscious being seems to disappear and the universe takes on the appearance of some “timeless pure existence.” It can go even further, as Sri Aurobindo explains: “And again even this pure self of our being seems at a certain pitch to deny its own reality, or to be a projection from a selfless baseless unknowable, which we may conceive of either as a nameless somewhat, or as a Nihil.” For the seeker who fixates his attention on this aspect, the idea of divine Personality becomes impossible to conceive: “It is when we would fix upon this exclusively and forget all that it has withdrawn into itself that we speak of pure impersonality or the void Nihil as the highest truth.”

The seeker of the integral Yoga, however, focuses on the synthesis of the Impersonal and the Personal aspect and recognizes that even this impersonal standpoint is but an aspect of the divine conscious Being who creates and sustains the entire universal creation in all its forms, forces, and actions. “And if we carry up our heart as well as our reasoning mind to the Highest, we shall find that we can reach it through the absolute Person as well as through an absolute impersonality.”

“But all this self-knowledge is only the type within ourselves of the corresponding truth of the Divine in his universality. There too we meet him in various forms of divine personality; in formulations of quality which variously express him to us in his nature; in infinite quality, the Anantaguna; in the divine Person who expresses himself through infinite quality; in absolute impersonality, an absolute existence or an absolute non-existence, which is yet all the time the unexpressed Absolute of this divine Person, this conscious Being who manifests himself through us and through the universe.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 5, The Divine Personality, pp. 559-560

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