Sri Aurobindo, commenting on this verse explains that the state of Immortality has to be gained not by rejecting the Many for the One but by the “reunited knowledge of the One and the Many” (Ibid, pg.89). In spite our individual differentiation in a world of variable multiplicity, an unitary knowledge remains in the soul-space of the human consciousness. The plenary light and power of that unitary essence is hidden by the dynamism of multiplicity and this is what constitutes the Ignorance. The human being therefore represents “the dual phenomenon of Knowledge-Ignorance which makes our consciousness a blend of light and darkness, a half-light between the full day of the supramental Truth and the night of the material Inconscience”. (The Life Divine, pg.286)
The main puzzle now is to discover how Indivisible Unity of the Supreme Reality gets translated into the multiplicity. This translation is itself a phenomenon of division and this division of consciousness is the basis of Ignorance.
In fact, all aspects of consciousness are divisions of the Indivisible and started as being subordinate to the original principles that constitute the Supreme Reality. Thus,
Mind is division “from the supramental Truth of which it should be a subordinate action” (Ibid,pg.285); “Life is a division “from the original Force of which it is one energism” (Ibid); Matter is a division “from the original Existence of which it is one form of substance” (Ibid, pg.285-286) and the individual consciousness per se is a division “from the cosmic and the transcendent of which yet it is an intimate part, in essence inseparable” . (Ibid,pg.285)
Sri Aurobindo explains that the divisibility must be effectuated by an exclusive concentration of the original consciousness in different poises, each poise being dealt exclusively by veiling the others through a “peculiar self-diminishing or self-effacing action of Consciousness-Force in the Being”.(Ibid,pg.286) “All that is necessary to note that at present is that it must be in its essential character an exclusive concentration on one movement and status of Conscious Being, which puts all the rest of consciousness and being behind and veils it from that one movement’s now partial knowledge”. (Ibid)
Thus the multiplicity, in spite of its rich variability is yoked to an original Oneness from where it was commissioned by the workings of Consciousness-Force (Chit-Shakti), a phenomenon beautifully portrayed in the Rig Veda verse quoted at the beginning of this chapter:
“There is a Permanent, a Truth hidden by a Truth where the Sun unyokes his horses. The ten hundreds (of his rays) came together –That One. I saw the most glorious of the Forms of the Gods.” (The truth of unity is hidden by another truth-the truth of multiplicity that is a resultant of the unyoking of the horses by the Sun—the Force of Consciousness or Chit-Shakti).
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu