The die-hard spiritual skeptic may still prefer an "exclusive unity" to experience a "perfect union" or "peace and rest" or for the "mere joy of getting rid of all differentiation". (Ibid, pg.370-371) Sri Aurobindo explains that even if "a pure exclusive unity or departure into a supracosmic transcendence" is preferable, one has to acknowledge that "differentiation has its divine purpose: it is a means of greater unity, not as in the egoistic life a means of divisions; for we enjoy by it our unity with our other selves and with God in all, which we exclude by our rejection of his multiple being...there is in the spiritual truth of the Divine Existence no compelling reason why we should not participate in this large possession and bliss of His universal being which is the fulfilment of our individuality". (Ibid, pg.371)
The Transcendence and the paradigm of unity
An extension of spiritual experience reveals that the individual being not only enters the cosmic being but also gets united with a Transcendent Being that surpasses and unifies both. Actually the world-being signified that "the individual always included the cosmos, and it is only the surface consciousness which by ignorance failed to possess that inclusion because of its self-limitation in the ego."(Ibid)
It is not only the ego that limits our experiential understanding of Reality, Reason also plays spoilsport. This is evident when the mutual inclusion of the cosmic and the individual results in a liberated self-experience that is expressed as "the world in me, I in the world, all in me, I in all" (Ibid) for such realization falls beyond the ambit of normal reason. The problem arises as we cannot analyze experiences in consciousness based on senses and reason but have to develop supra-sensorial and supra-rational faculties. If we do so we discover that "the plane of consciousness to which the liberated human being arises is not dependent upon the physical world, and the cosmos which we thus include and are included in is not the physical cosmos, but the harmonically manifest being of God in certain great rhythms of His conscious-force and self-delight". (Ibid, pg.372)
Seen from this higher vision, the mutual inclusion of the individual and universal beings in one another has psychological and spiritual connotations signifying the eternal unity of the One and the Many. The Transcendent Reality is present in the individual and the cosmos not in a divisible way but as an indivisible integer justifying the experience of "all is in each and each is in all and all is in God and God in all". (Ibid) The liberated soul experiences its unity with the Transcendence and the cosmos and this union is a divine union "which is at once a oneness and a fusion and an embrace". (Ibid)
What is the true Individual?
Our ego-based separative outlook can view the individual only in the paradigm of Ignorance. And our means of expression to translate the Illimitable and Infinite has limitations as it can only use the language reason uses for the limited and finite and that too in a relative sense. The individual is not a stand-alone phenomenon separate from everything else as in reality there is no discontinuity in Consciousness. The phenomenon of an unique individual who is totally independent of others is a partial and practical connivance of Nature and is intrinsically false. "Thus when we speak of an individual we mean ordinarily an individualisation of mental, vital, physical being separate from all other beings, incapable of unity with them by its very individuality. If we go beyond these three terms of mind, life and body, and speak of the soul or individual self , we still think of an individualized being separate from all others, incapable of unity and inclusive mutuality, capable at most of a spiritual contact and soul-sympathy. It is therefore necessary to insist that by the true individual we mean nothing of the kind, but a conscious power of being of the Eternal, always existing by unity, always capable of mutuality. It is that being which by self-knowledge enjoys liberation and immortality." (ibid, pg.373)
And yet Sri Aurobindo considers that the concept of the true individual "as a conscious power of being of the Eternal" (Ibid) has some intellectual connotation. A better option from a higher cognitive perspective would be to view the true individual as "a conscious being who is for our valuations of existence a being of the Eternal in his power of individualizing self-experience; for it must be a concrete being, -- and not an abstract power, --who enjoys immortality". (Ibid)
In the same vein the realization that not only am I in the world and the world is in me but also God is in me and I am in God does not mean that God depends upon the human being. Rather it indicates that God "manifests himself in that which He manifests within Himself; the individual exists in the Transcendent, but all the Transcendent is there concealed in the individual". (Ibid, pg.374) Actually the Transcendent, the Individual and the cosmic being are three poises of the same unitary Reality - a phenomenon which we cannot ordinarily grasp due to shortcomings of our everyday language.
The Law of contradictions
Intellectual reason has its shortcomings for its triple error
(a) It makes an unbridgeable gulf between the Absolute and the relative;
(b) It accommodates the law of contradictions which holds that two opposite and conflicting affirmations cannot be simultaneously true.
(c) It makes the error of conceptualizing in terms of Time but the genesis of things originate at first in the Eternal or Timeless. (Ibid, pg.375)
Therefore the Absolute and the relative would always remain irreconcilable opposites to the intellect. If at all it the intellect is confronted with the idea of recognizing some semblance of unity it could bring up diverse arguments:
(a) Intellectuality could accept the origin and culmination of everything in an undifferentiated unitary matrix but not as long as the manifestation is there;
(b) Or a sort of transcendental unity could only be conceived if the cosmic being ceased to be cosmic and the individual de-linked itself from all individualisation;
(c) Or if unity is the only abiding reality, the cosmos and the individual are non-existent and our conceptions of them are illusory. (Ibid, pg.374-375)
Actually the intellectual reason has no compulsions to reconcile contradictions. It is only when we reach a higher Reason at a supra-cognitive level of consciousness that we can realize:
"all relatives can only exist by something which is the truth of them all; it is something of which not only each relativity itself, but also any sum we can make of all relatives that we know, can only be, --in all that we know of them, --a partial, inferior or practical application". (Ibid, pg.376)
The Absolute remains for us the Ineffable but is something that surpasses everything, the individual as well as the cosmos and without it, we would not have been able to remain for a moment in existence.
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu