Knowledge Leads to Enhancement of the Power and Delight of Existence

Sri Aurobindo reminds us that knowledge is intended to enhance both the power and the delight of existence.  Those who equate knowledge either with a dry detachment from life, or who expect knowledge to be accompanied by suffering in various forms, have simply limited their view of the divine intention in life.  True knowledge comes through identity with the divine, a shift in standpoint that lets us see and experience life from that viewpoint rather than from the limitations of the ego-consciousness.  The divine, in addition to having the characteristic of all knowledge, also has infinity of existence, absolute power of manifestation and complete delight of existence.  These characteristics are co-incident with divine knowledge.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “Simply to know the eternal and to remain in the pain, struggle and inferiority of our present way of being, would be a poor and lame advantage.  A greater knowledge opens the possibility and, if really possessed, brings the actuality of a greater being.  To be is the first verb which contains all the others; knowledge, action, creation, enjoyment are only a fulfilment of being.  Since we are incomplete in being, to grow is our aim, and that knowledge, action, creation, enjoyment are the best which most help us to expand, grow, feel our existence.  Mere existence is not fullness of being.  Being knows itself as power, consciousness, delight; a greater being means a greater power, consciousness and delight.”

“If by greater being we incurred only a greater pain and suffering, this good would not be worth having.  Those who say that it is, mean simply that we get by it a greater sense of fulfillment which brings of itself a greater joy of the power of existence, and an extension of suffering or a loss of other enjoyment is worth having as a price for this greater sense of wideness, height and power.  But this could not be the perfection of being or the highest height of its fulfilment; suffering is the seal of a lower status.  The highest consciousness is integrally fulfilled in wideness and power of its existence, but also it is integrally fulfilled in delight.”

“The knower of Brahman has not only the joy of light, but gains something immense as the result of his knowledge, brahmavid apnoti.  What he gains is that highest, that which is supreme; he gains the highest being, the highest consciousness, the highest wideness and power of being, the highest delight; brahmavid apnoti param.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Readings in the Taittiriya Upanishad, pp. 245-250, M. P. Pandit, Upanishads: Gateways of Knowledge, pp. 109-182

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