The Universal Divine Conscious Being: The Purushottama

In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna declares: “Since I am beyond the mutable and am greater and higher even than the immutable, in the world and the Veda I am proclaimed as the Purushottama (the supreme Self). (Sri Aurobindo, Bhagavad Gita and Its Message, Chapter 15, v. 18)

Due to the natural tendency of the mind, we like to create abstractions and symbols to define for ourselves the nature of the divine reality. Thus, we attach to our conception of the Divine, various abstract principles. Sri Aurobindo observes: “We may think, feel and say that God is Truth, Justice, Righteousness, Power, Love, Delight, Beauty; we may see him as a universal force or as a universal consciousness.”

At the same time, we recognize within ourselves something other than a collection of abstract principles, something we identify as personality. “…so is the Divine a Person, a conscious Being who thus expresses his nature to us.”

With such a vision, we must be prepared to see both those qualities that we identify positively, and those that we identify negative. The Divine manifests in all his complexity, in ways that our limited human understanding cannot fully fathom. “He is Vishnu, Krishna, Kali; he reveals himself to us in humanity as the Christ personality or the Buddha personality. When we look beyond our first exclusively concentrated vision, we see behind Vishnu all the personality of Shiva and behind Shiva all the personality of Vishnu. He is the Ananta-guna, infinite quality and the infinite divine Personality which manifests itself through it. Again he seems to withdraw into a pure spiritual impersonality or beyond all idea even of impersonal Self and to justify a spiritualised atheism or agnosticism; he becomes to the mind of man an indefinable…. But out of this unknowable the conscious Being, the divine Person, who has manifested himself here, still speaks, ‘This too is I; even here beyond the view of mind, I am He, the Purushottama.’ ”

In conclusion: “For, beyond the divisions and contradictions of the intellect there is another light and there the vision of a truth reveals itself which we may thus try to express to ourselves intellectually. There all is one truth of all these truths; for there each is present and justified in all the rest. In that light our spiritual experience becomes united and integralised; no least hair’s breadth of real division is left, no shade of superiority and inferiority remains between the seeking of the Impersonal and the adoration of the divine Personality, between the way of knowledge and the way of devotion.”

The Upanishadic dicta remind us “One without a second”, while at the same time “All this is the Brahman.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 5, The Divine Personality, pp. 560-561