The apprehending principle of the Supermind permits the multiplicity but does not reject the underlying unity- it actually subserves a multiple unity.
However, as the apprehending Supermind supports both the unity and the multiplicity, it has to balance the ‘created individual form’ with the ‘uncreated, formless consciousness’. In the process, it generates the concept of a PERSONAL GOD, the status of the Divine that permits the unequal concentration of consciousness.
Sri Aurobindo adds ‘We must not indeed exclude the personal aspect of the deity, for the impersonal is only one face of existence; the Divine is All-existence, but it is also the one Existent,- it is the sole Conscious Being, but still a Being’. He also cautions that the true personal Divine must not be equated with the popular occidental conception of a magnified and supernatural Man-‘a too human Eidolon of a certain relation between the creative Supermind and the ego’,(ibid,pg143) – an anthropometrical God!
How and why does the concept of personal God develop?
As Sachchidananda is beyond creation, it is beyond the cognitive appraisal that distinguishes between the Knower, Knowledge and the Known. The comprehending Supermind holds it its bosom the essence of the creative idea and hence gives rise to concept of the Knower, Knowledge and the Known. Conceptually, these three are ‘distinct’ terms but they are initially inseparably linked in the comprehending Supermind. The apprehending Supermind initiates the projection of the creative idea so that it can be actually executed, but does not delink the creative idea from the unitary gestalt; nevertheless, a practical distinction between the Knower, the Knowledge and the Known is initiated:
The Knower - is the inseparable unitary consciousness that is present as a ‘soul-essence’ in each creation, in each created from, upholding and supporting creation.
The Knowledge - is the creative idea-essence that is a sort of heavenly archetype of each creation, of each created from. (The prefix ‘heavenly’ is used here to differentiate from Jung’s archetype which belong to a different plane)
The Known - is the ‘energy-essence’ or dynamic Force or Shakti that is coeval and commensurate with the creative idea so that the idea is actually executed.
The energy that executes the creative Idea can also be withdrawn to dissolve the idea just as an artist can create and also destroy his own creation.
The soul-essence of each created form can get replicated in endless other forms, producing the multiplicity of creation.
Sri Aurobindo explains two characteristics of the apprehending supermind:
First of all, the Knower holds himself concentrated in knowledge as subject and regards his Force of consciousness as if continually proceeding from him into the form of himself, continually working in it, continually drawing back into himself, continually issuing forth again. From this single act of self-modification proceed all the practical distinctions upon which the relative view and the relative action of the universe is based. A practical distinction has been created between the Knower, Knowledge and the Known, between the Lord, His force and the children and works of the Force, between the Enjoyer, the Enjoyment and the Enjoyed, between the Self, Maya and the becomings of the Self.
Secondly, this conscious Soul concentrated in knowledge, this Purusha observing and governing the Force that has gone forth from him, his Shakti or Prakriti, repeats himself in every form of himself. He accompanies, as it were, his Force of consciousness into its works and reproduces there the act of self-division from which this apprehending consciousness is born. In each form this Soul dwells with his Nature and observes himself in other forms from that artificial and practical centre of consciousness. In all it is the same Soul, the same divine Being; the multiplication of centres is only a practical act of consciousness intended to institute a play of difference, of mutuality, mutual knowledge, mutual shock of force, mutual enjoyment , a difference based upon essential unity, a unity realised on a practical basis of difference.(Ibid,pg151-152)
The creation or Multiplicity is not a monotonous affair. It is rich, variegated and complex. The richness and variety is maintained by an unequal distribution of Consciousness and Force. Yet even in that unequal distribution, the inseparable, equable, unitary consciousness is present as an Essence that supports, upholds, and maintains each created form. This is the metapsychological basis of the actual personal God- not the magnified Man of the occidental; traditions. One can have a ‘personal’ relation with this personal God- a relation in knowledge or a relation of devotion or a relation in service. Or else, it might be a relation of total, complete and holistic surrender of the devotee-consciousness.
Though the Knower, the Knowledge and the Known start to differentiate in the apprehending Supermind, the basis is still the ‘unity’. That sense of unity is lost at the level of the Mind. That is why it is said that Ignorance starts at the level of the Mind where reality is expressed as multiplicity. Still, some sort of harmony has to be maintained at the level of multiplicity. This semblance of harmony is provided by the false sense of unity imparted by the ego. To get back to the true unitary consciousness, one must begin by working on the ego. This is why all spiritual traditions insist on surpassing, transcending or replacing the ego. That is the journey back to Godhead.
The world of unreality ceased to be :
There was no more a universe built by mind,
Convicted as a structure or a sign;
A spirit, a being saw created things
And cast itself into unnumbered forms
All was what it saw and made; all now became
An evidence of one stupendous truth,
A Truth in which negation had no place,
A being and a living consciousness,
A stark and absolute Reality,
There the unreal could not find a place,
The sense of unreality was slain:
There all was conscious, made of the Infinite,
All had a substance of Eternity...
(Sri Aurobindo :Savitri,pg554-555)
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu