(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

A Psychological Approach to Sri Aurobindo's

The Life Divine

Chapter II - Part 4:

Both the materialist and the ascetic seek for knowledge in their own ways. The materialist analyses facts and interprets them to construct hypotheses. However the interpretations are not infallible and go on changing as the materialist world-view goes on expanding. Naturally Science has to go on modifying its constructs, hypotheses, laws, theorems, formulas.

The ascetic, the mystic, the spiritual seer seeks to realize the essence of existence, the raison d’être of creation, the epitome of Consciousness. In the process, he either exhausts or transcends his cognitive repertoire to discover that the Absolute is beyond what we can ever know and also beyond what we can not forever know. However Sri Aurobindo points out that both the unreality of the appearance (as acknowledged by the Illusionist) and the unknowableness of the Unknowable can be exaggerated. What is unknowable may be beyond the grasp of our thought and speech but never the less can be attainable by a supreme effort of consciousness.


Actually, the spiritual paradigm has been continuously developing and perfecting a ‘technology’ of consciousness to know the Unknowable. This pursuit led to the development of ways and means of acquiring knowledge that transcends sensory perception and logical thinking without belittling them. These “suprarational ways” of acquiring knowledge are elaborated in details in subsequent chapters of The Life Divine.

Sri Aurobindo speaks about a ‘kind of Knowledge which is one with Identity’. This is not a fiction if we consider that even in our ordinary lives, we can ‘know’ movements like ‘anger’ or ‘love’ by identifying with these states. Of course one has to cultivate a poise of detachment in one part of the mind so that one can stand back and identify with one’s own external movements. The yogi develops this technology of ‘identity’ with the deeper and higher levels of Consciousness. In the process of developing and probing the inner ranges of consciousness, the individual can ‘identify’ with the Universal and Transcendental Consciousness. Why? This is because of the Indian spiritual realization that the microcosm is represented in the macrocosm and the macrocosm is represented in the microcosm. In other words it is the same Consciousness that is represented in different poises—individual, universal (cosmic), and transcendent. Therefore if one comes into contact with the essence of one’s own individual consciousness, one can, with the correctly cultivated technique, come into contact with the essence of the universal as well as the transcendental consciousness.

The discovery by the Indian spiritual tradition that the microcosm is represented in the macrocosm and vice versa has enormous consequences in the field of Knowledge:

a) It gives credibility to the process of acquiring knowledge by ‘identity’.

b) It justifies the ascending movement from the ‘finite’ to the ‘infinite’. This makes it worthwhile for the human being to aspire and yearn for the Godhead.

c) It justifies the descending movement of The Godhead to the human aspirant. This is the genesis of ‘Grace’.

d) It generates the ‘Consciousness’ paradigm that links the microcosm and macrocosm.

e) It justifies Sri Aurobindo’s concept of ‘transformation’ of ‘consciousness’. As the Higher Reality (the macrocosm) is represented in the lower earthly Reality (the microcosm), it is possible to transmute the lower Reality in terms of the Higher Reality. In other words, ‘Spirituality’ can manifest in ‘material’ life and “Matter” can reveal the “Spirit’s” face. That is the aim of The Life Divine.

The Consciousness Approach

What is the utility of a Consciousness approach to knowledge? The materialistic knowledge deals with the outer life. It might seem spectacular at one moment and obsolete the next (remember the economists who made losses in the share market the year after they received the Noble prize—so much for their wisdom!). The ascetic who rejects the world can not transform the suffering, ignorance and falsehood in creation—he has his own isolated salvation! Sri Aurobindo is interested in a Consciousness paradigm which will result ‘in revolution of our internal being and through the internal, of our external life’ (The Life Divine, pg17). He adds that there is also a very high process of knowledge through which the Unknowable “does reveal itself” (Ibid) in terms of phenomenal existence. He is speaking of the Supreme Creative Consciousness that can be understood through a different type of cognitive experience. In subsequent chapters of The Life Divine, He will elaborate this new cognitive phenomenon as Integral cognition or Supramental cognition. It is surprising that He still describes such a process of knowledge as “higher but not highest” (Ibid). There are two reasons for this comment:

a) Once the Integral cognitive field (Supramental cognition) manifests and gets stabilized, newer processes of Knowledge will be triggered off.

b) The Integral or Supramental cognition can not have any value unless it moves out from the mere status of Knowledge and dynamises itself at the levels of ordinary Mental cognitive field and also radically transmutes the infra-cognitive matrices of Life and Matter.

In God concealed the world began to be,

Tardily it travels towards manifest God:

Our imperfection towards perfection toils,

The body is a chrysalis of a soul:

The infinite holds the finite in its arms,

Time travels towards revealed eternity.

A miracle structure of the eternal Mage,

Matter its mystery hides from its own eyes,

A scripture written out in cryptic signs,

An occult document of the All-Wonderful’s art.

All here bears witness to his secret might,

In all we feel his presence and his power.

A blaze of his sovereign glory is the sun,

A glory is the gold and glimmering moon,

A glory is his dream of purple sky.

A march of his greatness are the wheeling stars.

His laughter of beauty breaks out in green trees,

His moments of beauty triumph in a flower;

The blue sea’s chant, the rivulet’s wandering voice

Are murmurs falling from the Eternal’s harp.

This world is God fulfilled in outwardness.

(Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, pg 623-624)


Date of Update: 18-Nov-11 

- By Dr. Soumitra Basu

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