The Nature of the Gnostic Person

When we define our lives and our personality to one another, or to ourselves, we generally are describing our thoughts and aspirations, our feelings, and our family,and job circumstances.  This is what Sri Aurobindo calls our “surface personality”, a construct built up around the ego that we identify as ourselves.

The true gnostic Person however is not bound by the ego-personality.  The gnostic Person is aligned with the universal and transcendent aspects of the omnipresent reality, and thus, cannot be limited or defined by a particular ego-identification.

Sri Aurobindo writes in The Life Divine:  “The ordinary restricted personality can be grasped by the description of the characters stamped on its life and thought and action, its very definite surface building and expression of self…. But such a description would be pitifully inadequate to express the Person when its Power of Self within manifests more amply and puts forward its hidden daemonic force int he surface composition and the life.  We feel ourselves in presence of a light of consciousness, a potency, a sea of energy, can distinguish and describe its free waves of action and quality, but not fix itself; and yet there is an impression of personality, the presence of a powerful being, a strong, high or beautiful recognisable Someone, a Person, not a limited creature of Nature but a Self or Soul, a Purusha.  The gnostic Individual would be such an inner Person unveiled, occupying both the depths, — no longer self-hidden, — and the surface in a unified self-awareness; he would not be a surface personality partly expressive of a larger secret being, he would be not the wave but the ocean: he would be the Purusha, the inner conscious Existence self-revealed, and would have no need of a carved expressive mask or persona.”

“This, then, would be the nature of the gnostic Person, an infinite and universal being revealing, — or, to our mental ignorance, suggesting, — its eternal self through the significant form and expressive power of an individual and temporal self-manifestation.  But the individual nature-manifestation, whether strong and distinct in outline or multitudinous and protean but still harmonic, would be there as an index of the being, not as the whole being: that would be felt behind, recognisable but indefinable, infinite.  The consciousness also of the gnostic Person would be an infinite consciousness throwing up forms of self-expression, but aware always of its unbound infinity and universality and conveying the power and sense of its infinity and universality even in the finiteness of the expression, — by which, moreover, it would not be bound in the next movement of farther self-revelation.  But this would still not be an unregulated un-recognisable flux but a process of self-revelation making visible the inherent truth of its powers of existence according to the harmonic law natural to all manifestation of the Infinite.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Eight, The Gnostic Being, pp. 114-115

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