The Individual as a Nexus of Action in the Universal Action

The Isha Upanishad begins with a verse with a very significant and interesting turn of phrase:  “All this is for habitation by the Lord, whatsoever is individual universe of movement in the universal motion.”  We continually experience our own awareness as if we are separate and distinct from the rest of the creation, yet we are not separate.  The illusion of separateness, the ego-consciousness, serves its purpose in creating an individual nexus for observation and action within the complex creation; but it goes beyond its bounds when it tries to enforce itself as a reality upon the unified field which is the manifested creation.  

If we take a jar to the ocean, and fill it with sea water while holding it in the ocean, we can recognise that the sea water is “one” and it is the same whether inside the jar or outside the jar.  It may be possible to do things within the jar that cannot be done to the entirety of the ocean, such as heating it, condensing salts out of it, analyzing it etc.  This is the power of the individual formation, but in the end, it gains all of its power from the action and nature of the greater whole of which it is a part.

In the evolutionary sequence of the manifestation, it is the pressure from that universal energy that drives the actions and reactions of the individual units. As the individual unit becomes self aware of this, it may consciously choose to align with that larger energy and become a vessel of that manifestation without the resistance of the individual ego-shell cutting off the direct action of that higher power.

In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo observes:  “Thus the individuality would become more and more powerful and effective in proportion as it realised itself as a centre and formation of the universal and transcendent Being and Nature.  For as the progression of the change proceeded, the energy of the liberated individual would be no longer the limited energy of mind, life and body, with which it started; the being would emerge into and put on, — even as there would emerge in him and descend into him, assuming him into it, — a greater light of Consciousness and a greater action of Force: his natural existence would be the instrumentation of a superior Power, an overmental and supramental Consciousness-Force, the power of the original Divine Shakti.  All the processes of the evolution would be felt as the action of a supreme and universal Consciousness, a supreme and universal Force working in whatever way it chose, on whatever level, within whatever self-determined limits, a conscious working of the transcendent and cosmic Being, the action of the omnipotent and omniscient World-Mother raising the being into herself, into her super-nature.  In place of the Nature of Ignorance with the individual as its closed field and unconscious or half-conscious instrument, there would be a Supernature of the divine Gnosis and the individual soul would be its conscious, open and free field and instrument, a participant in its action, aware of its purpose and process, aware too of its own greater Self, the universal, the transcendent Reality, and of its own Person as illimitably one with that and yet an individual being of Its being, an instrument and a spiritual centre.”


Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Seven, The Ascent Towards Supermind, pg. 81

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