(a project of Mirravision Trust, Financed by Auroshakti Foundation)

Chapter I
Chapter II - Part 1
Chapter II - Part 2
Chapter II - Part 3
Chapter II - Part 4
Chapter III - Part 1
Chapter III - Part 2
Chapter III - Part 3
Chapter III - Part 4
Chapter III - Part 5
Chapter III - Part 6
Chapter IV - Part 1
Chapter IV - Part 2
Chapter IV - Part 3
Chapter IV - Part 4
Chapter V-Part 1
Chapter V - Part 2
Chapter V - Part 3
Chapter V - Part 4
Chapter V - Part 5
Chapter VI - Part 1
Chapter VI - Part 2
Chapter VI - Part 3
Chapter VI - Part 4
Chapter VI - Part 5
Chapter VII - Part 1
Chapter VII - Part 2
Chapter VII - Part 3
Chapter VII - Part 4
Chapter VII - Part 5
Chapter VIII - Part 1
Chapter VIII - Part 2
Chapter VIII - Part 3
Chapter VIII - Part 4
Chapter IX - Part 1
Chapter IX - Part 2
Chapter X - Part 1
Chapter X - Part 2
Chapter X - Part 3
Chapter X - Part 4
Chapter X - Part 5
Chapter X - Part 6
Chapter XI - Part 1
Chapter XI - Part 2
Chapter XI - Part 3
Chapter XI - Part 4
Chapter XII - Part 1
Chapter XII - Part 2
Chapter XII - Part 3
Chapter XII - Part 4
Chapter XII - Part 5
Chapter XIII - Part 1
Chapter XIII - Part 2
Chapter XIV - Part 1
Chapter XIV - Part 2
Chapter XIV - Part 3
Chapter XIV - Part 4
Chapter XIV - Part 5
Chapter XV - Part 1
Chapter XV - Part 2
Chapter XV - Part 3
Chapter XV - Part 4
Chapter XV - Part 5
Chapter XV - Part 6
Chapter XV - Part 7
Chapter XV - Part 8
Chapter XV - Part 9
Chapter XVI - Part 1
Chapter XVI - Part 2
Chapter XVI - Part 3
Chapter XVI - Part 4
Chapter XVI - Part 5
Chapter XVI - Part 6
Chapter XVI - Part 7
Chapter XVI - Part 8
Chapter XVI - Part 9
Chapter XVI - Part 10
Chapter XVI - Part 11
Chapter XVI - Part 12
Chapter XVI - Part 13
Chapter XVII - Part 1
Chapter XVII - Part 2
Chapter XVII - Part 3
Chapter XVII - Part 4
Chapter XVIII - Part 1
Chapter XVIII - Part 2
Chapter XVIII - Part 3
Chapter XVIII - Part 4
Chapter XVIII - Part 5
Chapter XVIII - Part 6
Chapter XVIII - Part 7
Chapter XVIII - Part 8
Chapter XVIII - Part 9
Chapter XVIII - Part 10
Chapter XIX - Part 1
Chapter XIX - Part 2
Chapter XIX - Part 3
Chapter XIX - Part 4
Chapter XIX - Part 5
Chapter XIX - Part 6
Chapter XIX - Part 7
Chapter XX - Part 1
Chapter XX - Part 2
Chapter XX - Part 3
Chapter XX - Part 4
Chapter XX - Part 4
Chapter XXI - Part 1
Chapter XXI - Part 2
Chapter XXI - Part 3
Chapter XXI - Part 4
Chapter XXII - Part 1
Chapter XXII - Part 2
Chapter XXII - Part 3
Chapter XXII - Part 4
Chapter XXII - Part 5
Chapter XXII - Part 6
Chapter XXIII Part 1
Chapter XXIII Part 2
Chapter XXIII Part 3
Chapter XXIII Part 4
Chapter XXIII Part 5
Chapter XXIII Part 6
Chapter XXIII Part 7
Chapter XXIV Part 1
Chapter XXIV Part 2
Chapter XXIV Part 3
Chapter XXIV Part 4
Chapter XXIV Part 5
Chapter XXV Part 1
Chapter XXV Part 2
Chapter XXV Part 3
Chapter XXVI Part 1
Chapter XXVI Part 2
Chapter XXVI Part 3
Chapter XXVII Part 1
Chapter XXVII Part 2
Chapter XXVII Part 3
Chapter XXVIII Part 1
Chapter XXVIII Part 2
Chapter XXVIII Part 3
Chapter XXVIII Part 4
Chapter XXVIII Part 5
Chapter XXVIII Part 6
Chapter XXVIII Part 7
Chapter XXVIII Part 8
Book II, Chapter 1, Part I
Book II, Chapter 1, Part II
Book II, Chapter 1, Part III
Book II, Chapter 1, Part IV
Book II, Chapter 1, Part V
Book II, Chapter 2, Part I
Book II, Chapter 2, Part II
Book II, Chapter 2, Part III
Book II, Chapter 2, Part IV
Book II, Chapter 2, Part V
Book II, Chapter 2, Part VI
Book II, Chapter 2, Part VII
Book II, Chapter 2, Part VIII
Book II, Chapter 3, Part I
Book II, Chapter 3, Part II
Book II, Chapter 3, Part III
Book II, Chapter 3, Part IV
Book II, Chapter 3, Part V
Book II, Chapter 4, Part I
Book II, Chapter 4, Part II
Book II, Chapter 4, Part III
Book II, Chapter 5, Part I
Book II, Chapter 5, Part II
Book II, Chapter 5, Part III
Book II, Chapter 6, Part I
Book II, Chapter 6, Part II
Book II, Chapter 6, Part III
Book II, Chapter 7, Part I
Book II, Chapter 7, Part II
Book II, Chapter 8, Part I
Book II, Chapter 8, Part II
Book II, Chapter 9, Part I
Book II, Chapter 9, Part II
Book II, Chapter 10, Part I
Book II, Chapter 10, Part II

A Psychological Approach to Sri Aurobindo's

The Life Divine

Book II, Chapter 7, Part I

Book II

The Knowledge and the Ignorance-The Spiritual Evolution

Chapter 7

The Knowledge and the Ignorance

Part I

The seven principles of Existence

The seven principles of existence are "nothing but Sprit itself modified in apparent substance and in dynamism of action, not modified in real essence". (The Life Divine, pg.482) Of the seven principles, the Higher principles in the domain of Knowledge that is based on an integral oneness are represented by their subordinate principles in the domain of Ignorance where the link with oneness is lost in the play of the multiplicity and variation.


(a) The Sat or Existential aspect of Sachchidananda becomes Matter in the creation.

(b) The Chit or Chit-Shakti or Consciousness-Force aspect of Sachchidananda becomes Life-Energy or vitality.

(c) The Supermind or creative consciousness or the Real-Idea becomes the Mind.

(d) The Ananda or Bliss aspect of Sachchidananda becomes the Psyche or true psychic entity (soul-entity) at the nodus of mind, life and body and is veiled by the desire-soul in front. The nature of the psychic entity is pure Bliss, it is not tainted by the Inconscience. (vide supra)

These comprise the seven colours of the light of the divine consciousness which the Spirit has filled on the space and time bound canvas of life. "These are the seven Words of the ancient sages...The Light, the Sound is one; their action is sevenfold". (ibid, pg.483)

The Lower and the Higher Worlds

We live in a world that starts from an original Inconscience. Consciousness is apparently present in the figure of an Ignorance evolving into knowledge. The Inconscience was formed by the intrusion of Ignorance, of discord into a harmony, of darkness into the light and division into the unity of divine creation. But there must be somewhere a universal harmony where these contrary elements are absent. The Vedic seers knew this world of harmony as a greater world representing the Truth, the Right, the Vast -the world of the Divine Being. In contrast, the world in which we live is "a mingled weft in which truth is disfigured by an abundant falsehood".(Ibid) Immortality and godhead have to be constructed in a world which is under the grasp of "death, ignorance, weakness, suffering and limitation". (Ibid, pg.484) The Vedic seers considered that man has to build in this lower world of limitations the higher world of harmony. The lower provides the initial condition of the higher and unity and truth have to be conquered to justify the human's actual existence and Godward effort.

The key word of the ideal creation is a perfect oneness while the key word for the world we live is the inconscience. The inconscience results in a divided self-consciousness operating in the matrix of a blind self-existent mechanical Force, struggling to establish there the triumph of "an enlightened Will and Knowledge". (Ibid) The struggle is precarious and risky. The inconscience seems to dominate all life and the self-conscious soul appears to be a "temporary accident" or a "stumble downwards of the superconscient Light". (Ibid, pg.485)

The One Reality and the Essential Dualism

If this view of existence is taken for granted then only the "absolute idealist" (Ibid) can stick to hope for a full success of the human endeavour. The majority of people would reject it. The materialist would seek as much power, knowledge and happiness as the inconscient would allow. The religionist seeks the kingdom of God in the other world. The philosophic mystic considers all as illusion and would opt for self-extinction in Nirvana or the Absolute. "But still, since there are these two sides of existence, the ignorance of Nature and the light of the Spirit, and since there is behind them the One Reality, the reconciliation or at any rate the bridging of the gulf forecast in the mystic parables of the Veda ought to be possible". (Ibid) It is this possibility that led to the dream of a new heaven on earth though that dream remains swinging between the hope for a bright future and a "grey present certitude". (Ibid, pg.486) This conflict arises from an essential dualism and rather irreconcilable opposition between the dual principles, "between the Conscient and the Inconscient, between Heaven and Earth....between Knowledge and Ignorance". (Ibid)But we can also conclude that this may be the error of the senses and a logic based on partial experience. A divine life may not be impossible for the lower terms of existence contain the corresponding higher terms which would facilitate the transformation into a greater existence.

Co-existence of Knowledge and Ignorance

The co-existence of Knowledge and Ignorance is a remarkable phenomenon. By knowledge we know the reality of Oneness, of Unity. By Ignorance we know the reality of multiplicity which arises with division of consciousness that results in egoism, disharmony and suffering. This Ignorance has its roots in the Mind whose work is to divide and particularise. "But Mind also is a universal principle, is One, is Brahman, and therefore it has a tendency to a unifying and universalizing knowledge as well as to that which marks off and particularises." (Ibid, pg.486-487) This particularizing faculty of Mind becomes Ignorance which isolates itself leaving out unity as a vague concept. "This exclusiveness is the very soul of Ignorance". (Ibid, pg.487)

The existence of Ignorance is a fact but has been described as an original mystery incapable of any explanation or that Maya simply exists with the fundamental principle of Ignorance. Our only task seems to escape from Ignorance through the Knowledge into what is beyond both Knowledge and Ignorance-"by the renunciation of life, by recognition of the universal impermanency of things and the vanity of cosmic existence". (Ibid) This is what certain thinkers like Buddha surmised without considering the metaphysical perspective.

Thus the enquiry about "the phenomenal character and operation of the Ignorance" (Ibid, pg.488) is avoided and this evasion raises doubts about the "far-reaching assertions" (Ibid) that usual philosophies make. For avoiding this root-question gives us no chance of judging the assertions made. It is always "the business of man the thinker to know"(Ibid) the details if not by intellect then by "vision and experience of the truth" (Ibid) till spiritual knowledge illumines with the Light in which Ignorance is absent.

The Ignorance or knowledge of the multiplicity broke off from the knowledge of Unity at a high level and the result was the formation of the individual mind. (Ibid) The mind therefore falls short of that plane signifying the first origin of Ignorance. The human being has to work in Ignorance but has to meet the Truth at the borders by developing supra-rational faculties or else he has to rest satisfied with an agnostic attitude.

Date of Update: 17-Oct-23

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu


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