Living in the Unity and Harmony of the Creation Beyond the Application of Fixed Mental Rules

In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna discloses the ultimate secret of spiritual living to Arjuna when he advises him to “Devoting all thyself to Me, giving up in thy conscious mind all thy actions into Me, resorting to Yoga of the will and intelligence be always one in heart and consciousness with Me.  If thou art one in heart and consciousness with Me at all times, then by My grace thou shalt pass safe through all difficult and perilous passages…:  and “Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in Me (n.b. the supreme Purusha, the divine Presence manifesting the entire world) alone.”

When the supramental being manifests, based in the consciousness of Oneness with the Divine and the entire creation, then the actions that flow from that status are aligned with the divine purpose and represent an inherent expression of the Truth of the divine reality.

Many are those who believe that this is a life of austerity, a life of strict adherence to an external rule or teaching,  or alternatively, abandonment of the outer world;  the truth is subtler and more nuanced than the mind’s normal “either/or” stance.  The divine expression includes beauty, love, divine sweetness, as well as knowledge, will and power of expression.  The creation manifests with incredible diversity and at the same time, a deep-rooted interconnection and harmony of all existence based in their oneness.  This implies that there is not one fixed and immutable rule for all to follow.  Rather, there must be a flexible and harmonious interaction that guides the action of the gnostic being in his actions in the world.

Sri Aurobindo notes in The Life Divine:  “The one rule of the gnostic life would be the self-expression of the Spirit, the will of the Divine Being; that will, that self-expression could manifest through extreme simplicity or through extreme complexity and opulence or in their natural balance, — for beauty and plenitude, a hidden sweetness and laughter in things, a sunshine and gladness of life are also powers and expressions of the Spirit.  In all directions the Spirit within determining the law of the nature would determine the frame of the life and its detail and circumstance.  In all there would be the same plastic principle; a rigid standardisation, however necessary for the mind’s arrangement of things, could not be the law of the spiritual life.  A great diversity and liberty of self-expression based on an underlying unity might well become manifest; but everywhere there would be harmony and truth of order.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Future Evolution of Man, Chapter Nine, The Divine Life Upon Earth, pg. 131

The Brahman Can Be Known

The ultimate question we must ask ourselves is what is the significance of our lives.  We become self-aware and world-aware, but we have no reference point to determine why this may be.  For most people, it is simply a matter of accepting the conditions of life and striving to survive and thrive in whatever situation we may find ourselves.  For some, this is insufficient, and they seek to determine some purpose, and during that seeking, they try to understand how it is we came to be alive, to be conscious, and why and how we are born, survive and then eventually die.  Life for us is a puzzle and a mystery.

Some conclude that in order to know the truth behind our existence, we must abandon active participation in the world within which we exist.  Sri Aurobindo notes:  “In effect we should have to suppose that there is an eternal and irreconcilable opposition between Brahman and what we now are, between the supreme cause and all its effects or between the supreme source and all its derivations.  And it would then seem that all that the Eternal originates, all he supports, all he takes back to himself is a denial or contradiction of his being which, though in itself a negative of that which alone is, has yet in some way become a positive.  The two could not coexist in consciousness; if he allowed the world to know him, it would disappear from being.”

“But the Eternal is knowable.  He defines himself so that we may seize him, and man can become, even while he exists as man and in this world and in this body, a knower of the Brahman.”

The knower of Brahman does not, thereby, lose his footing in this world.  This knowledge “… is a knowledge that is a power and a divine compulsion to change; by it his existence gains something that now he does not possess in consciousness.  What is this gain?  It is this that he is conscious now in a lower state only of his being, but by knowledge gains his highest being.”

“The highest state of our being is not a denial, contradiction and annihilation of all that we now are; it is a supreme accomplishment of all things that our present existence means and aims at, but in their highest sense and in the eternal values.”

To know Brahman, then, is to affirm not only the negative aspects of “not this, not that” which reminds us that we cannot circumscribe the reality of existence within our logical mental forms and formulas, but also the positive aspects that “He is”.  All that we see and experience, and all that goes beyond our experience is also the Brahman.  This knowledge liberates us from the bondage of renunciation just as it liberates us from the bondage of attachment.

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