The natural propensity of the mind is to divide and set up oppositions of “either/or”. This creates a difficulty when trying to express the experience of Oneness that can encompass multiple seemingly contradictory concepts within a single scope. In the first verse, the Upanishad set forth the proposition that the entire manifestation is the Brahman. In verse 5 this concept is explored and deepened by taking up the apparent contradictions:
“That moves and That moves not; That is far and the same is near; That is within all this and That also is outside all this.”
Sri Aurobindo explains: “We have to perceive all things in Space and Time, the far and the near, the immemorial Past, the immediate Present, the infinite Future with all their contents and happenings as the One Brahman. We have to perceive Brahman as that which exceeds, contains and supports all individual things as well as all universe, transcendentally of Time and Space and Causality. We have to perceive It also as that which lives in and possesses the universe and all it contains.”
There is a spiritual experience which can overwhelm the mind to make it seem that the unmoving, infinite, immutable Brahman is the sole reality, and when confronted with this experience, the entire phantasmagoria of forms and forces seems to be an illusion. This is the foundation of the Mayavada. Yet this is not the sole and complete spiritual truth. There is also the experience that can show us that every being, every action, every form, every energy is the Brahman in self-manifestation, self-expression. The Upanishad, in verse 5, ensures that we do not settle for one or the other, but recognise the Brahman as the standpoints of both the Akshara and the Kshara, the Impersonal and the Personal, the blank Vast and the intimately detailed minutest manifestation.
“Even in Its universal being Brahman exceeds the Movement, Exceeding Time, It contains in Itself past, present and future simultaneously and has not to run to the end of conceivable Time. Exceeding Space, It contains all formations in Itself coincidently and has not to run to the end of conceivable Space. Exceeding Causality, It contains freely in Itself all eventualities as well as all potentialities without being bound by the apparent chain of causality by which they are linked in the universe. Everything is already realised by It as the Lord before it can be accomplished by the separate Personalities in the movement.”
“Brahman is always the continent of this play or this working. Brahman self-extended in Space and Time is the universe.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Isha Upanishad and analysis, pg. 20, 28 & 34-50