The Spiritual Experience of the Immortal Self

The path of renunciation of the world and external experience is undertaken by seekers who are captured by the lure of the Absolute, the Immortal Self of all existence.  The transformation of the powers of mind, life and body addresses the powers of creation, but it is the transfiguration of the experience of the Self that represents the fulfillment for the human individual.  The lure of the Absolute Brahman comes about through the overwhelming spiritual experience that can come to the individual and take him entirely out of his sense of ego or individuality.  Even a taste of this experience, a glimpse or a slight touch is sufficient to focus the attention of the seeker on achieving this alone.  It is understandable that the renunciation of the world can follow as the seeker takes up the path of Self-realization.  The Oneness of creation and the immanence of the Absolute Brahman upholding and containing all existence means that abandoning the creation is not a necessary step, for many individuals, the one-pointed focus and concentration on the Self is, for them, a practical concentration on the spiritual goal they have before them.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “For we have seen that there are two fundamental entities, the gods and the self, and the self in us is greater than the cosmic Powers, its Godward destination more vital to our perfection and self-fulfilment than any transfiguration of these lesser deities.  Therefore not only must the gods find their one Godhead and resolve themselves into it; that is to say, not only must the cosmic principles working in us resolve themselves into the working of the One, the Principle of all principles, so that they shall become only a unified existence and single action of That in spite of all play of differentiation, but also and with a more fundamental necessity the self in us which supports the action of the gods must find and enter into the one Self of all individual existences, the indivisible Spirit to whom all souls are no more than dark or luminous centres of its consciousness.”

“This the self of man, since it is the essentiality of a mental being, will do through the mind.  In the gods the transfiguration is effected by the Superconscient itself visiting their substance and opening their vision with its flashes until it has transformed them; but the mind is capable of another action which is only apparently movement of mind, but really the movement of the self towards its own reality.  The mind seems to go to That, to attain to it; it is lifted out of itself into something beyond and, although it falls back, still by the mind the will of knowledge in the mental thought continually and at last continuously remembers that into which it has entered.  On this the Self through the mind seizes and repeatedly dwells and so doing it is finally caught up into it and at last able to dwell securely in that transcendence.  It transcends the mind, it transcends its own mental individualisation of the being, that which it now knows as itself; it ascends and takes foundation in the Self of all and in the status of self-joyous infinity which is the supreme manifestation of the Self.  This is the transcendent immortality, this is the spiritual existence which the Upanishads declare to be the goal of man and by which we pass out of the mortal state into the heaven of the Spirit.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Kena Upanishad and analysis, pg. 107, 177-183

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