Indian spirituality attempted to relate the One Infinite and the multiplicity in the fourth dimension through an exceptional experiential realization marked by two unique revelations:
Firstly, the essence of the Oneness is preserved in every divisible form as the Self or Purusha. In other words, the One Self replicates itself through multiplicity of soul-forms. Sri Aurobindo describes that this is why the Sankhyas speak of the multiple Purushas (The Life Divine, pg 178).
Secondly, all divisible forms exist in the same matrix of Nature or Prakriti. In other words, the ‘multiple Purushas do not each inhabit a separate world of its own, do not each possess a separate Prakriti building a separate universe, but rather all enjoy the same Prakriti, -- as they must do, being only soul-forms of the One presiding over the multiple creations of His power’ (Ibid).
The concept of multiple Purushas as soul-forms of the One inhabiting the same matrix of Nature or Prakriti has enormous implications for constructing the paradigm of Oneness in the bosom of the multiplicity. By positing the individual Purushas as replications of the One or Supreme Self inhabiting the same Prakriti, it is possible for each soul-form to FREELY relate with other soul-forms. In fact the concept of multiple soul-forms inhabiting the same Prakriti defines the relation between unique soul-forms in two distinct denouements:
Firstly, the concept of the single matrix of Nature or Prakriti allows the relation between the different soul-forms to occur. This is how each soul-form can identify with other soul-forms. As a corollary, this leads to the identification of the individual soul-form with the Universal soul-poise of the Absolute. If every soul-form inhabited a separate island of Nature, there could not have been possible any relation between the different soul-forms. The very phenomenon of relationship requires a matrix where the relationship can occur for this cannot occur in a vacuum. ‘The Purusha in each form actively identifies himself with each; he delimits in himself that and sets off his other forms against it in his consciousness as containing his other selves which are identical with him in being but different in relation, different in the various extent , various range of movement and various view of the one substance, force, consciousness, delight which each is actually deploying at any given moment of Time or in any given field of Space’ (Ibid, pg 178).
Secondly, the matrix of Nature or Prakriti allows a ‘free’ identification of soul-forms. This is possible because Nature or Prakriti itself has two dimensions. There is the usual dimension of Prakriti which maintains the multiplicity as multiplicity with all integers de-linked from each other to maintain the multiplicity in a consistent way. This is effectuated through the ego which a distortion of the Self and yet important for it imparts an individuality cut off from the rest. The ego is not free as it has to carry the individuality; neither can it interact with other egos freely because that it would lose it separate identity. Freedom is anathema to the ego. This is why it is so difficult to establish unity of humanity. There is also a higher dimension of Prakriti which allows the Soul-forms to relate with each other free of the limitations of the ego. This is why spiritual pursuit provides the opportunity of experiencing true unity. Thus the relation between multiple soul-forms in the same matrix of Prakriti ‘is not a binding limitation, not an identification to which the soul becomes enslaved and which it cannot exceed as we are enslaved to our self-identification with the body and unable to exceed the limitations of our conscious ego , unable to escape from a particular movement of consciousness in Time determining our particular field in Space; granted all this, still there is a free identification from moment to moment which only the inalienable self-knowledge of the divine soul prevents from fixing itself in an apparently rigid chain of separation and Time succession such as that in which our consciousness seems to be fixed and chained’ (Ibid, pg 178,179)
The Absolute, the Perfect, the Alone
Has entered with his silence into space:
He has fashioned these countless persons of one self..
Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, pg 67
Date of Update:
- By Dr. Soumitra Basu