PARAGRAPH 2 Contd..,
We must have a clear, pure, subtle and flexible mind in order that we may fall as little as possible into that ordinary mental habit of our kind which turns truth itself into a purveyor of errors. That clarification the habit of clear logical reasoning culminating in the method of metaphysical dialectics does help to accomplish and its part in the preparation of knowledge is therefore very great. But by itself it cannot arrive either at the knowledge of the world or the knowledge of God, much less reconcile the lower and the higher realisation.
In order that our mind does not turn truth itself into a provider of errors we must have a clear, pure, subtle and flexible mind. The habit of clear logical reasoning expressed by way of metaphysical arguments really helps to accomplish that clarification sought by the mind. The role of logical reasoning in the preparation of knowledge is therefore very great.
But metaphysical dialectics (philosophical argument- Yuktivada) by itself cannot arrive at the knowledge of the world or of God. It can do little to reconcile the lower and higher realisation.
It is much more efficiently a guardian against error than a discoverer of truth,—although by deduction from knowledge already acquired it may happen upon new truths and indicate them for experience or for the higher and larger truth-seeing faculties to confirm. In the more subtle field of synthetical or unifying knowledge the logical habit of mind may even become a stumbling-block by the very faculty which gives it its peculiar use; for it is so accustomed to making distinctions and dwelling upon distinctions and working by distinctions that it is always a little at sea when distinctions have to be overridden and overpassed.
Logical reasoning is more a guardian against error than a discoverer of truth although it may arrive upon new truths based on the knowledge already acquired. However, such truths are only indicative and need to be confirmed by experience or by higher and larger truth seeing faculties like intuition.
The logical habit of mind becomes the stumbling block by the very faculty which gives it its peculiar use, in the more subtle field of synthetical and unifying knowledge.
It is so accustomed to making distinctions and dwelling upon distinctions and working by the distinctions. Therefore, it becomes perplexed when distinctions are to be overridden and overpassed.
Our object, then, in considering the difficulties of the normal mind when face to face with the experience of cosmic and transcendental unity by the individual, must be solely to make more clear to ourselves, first, the origin of the difficulties and the escape from them and by that, what is more important, the real nature of the unity at which we arrive and of the culmination of the individual when he becomes one with all creatures and dwells in the oneness of the Eternal.
With our normal mind we find difficulties when faced with the experience of the cosmic unity and transcendental unity by the individual. Therefore, our object must be to make clear to ourselves the origin of the difficulties. Then we must find out the escape from such difficulties.
More importantly we must know the real nature of the unity at which we arrive by avoiding such difficulties. Also we must know the real nature of the culmination of the individual when he becomes one with all creatures (cosmic unity) and dwells in the oneness of the Eternal (Transcendental unity). That is, we must know, what will happen to his individuality once he attains cosmic and transcendental unity.
The first difficulty for the reason is that it has always been accustomed to identify the individual self with the ego and to think of it as existing only by the limitations and exclusions of the ego. If that were so, then by the transcendence of the ego the individual would abolish his own existence; our end would be to disappear and dissolve into some universality of matter, life, mind or spirit or else some indeterminate from which our egoistic determinations of individuality have started.
The first difficulty for the reason is that it always identifies the individual self with ego. Our reason makes us believe that the individual self exists only by the limitations and exclusions of the ego. An individual identifies himself with his separate ego-self quite different from all others; his ego sense excludes everything that is not his own self.
If an individual were to transcend his ego it would mean abolishing his own existence. An individual identifies himself with ‘his’ body, ‘his’ mind and ‘his’ life. Everything is centered around his ego sense. That is why,for an individual, abolishing his ego means abolishing his very existence.
When he has nothing to call his own, he disappears into some universality of matter, life, mind or spirit. Or he disappears into some indeterminate, from which his egoistic determination started.
But what is this strongly separative self-experience that we call ego? It is nothing fundamentally real in itself but only a practical construction of our consciousness devised to centralise the activities of Nature in us. We perceive a formation of mental, physical, vital experience which distinguishes itself from the rest of being, and that is what we think of as ourselves in nature—this individualisation of being in becoming.
But what really is ego? It is nothing fundamentally real in itself. It is a practical construction of consciousness around which all the activities of our Nature are centered. Each individual has a mental experience, vital experience and physical experience of his own which he perceives as different from the rest. We call that as ourselves in Nature. There is an individualisation of being in becoming.
We then proceed to conceive of ourselves as something which has thus individualised itself and only exists so long as it is individualised,—a temporary or at least a temporal becoming; or else we conceive of ourselves as someone who supports or causes the individualisation, an immortal being perhaps but limited by its individuality. This perception and this conception constitute our ego-sense. Normally, we go no farther in our knowledge of our individual existence.
We conceive of ourselves as something that has thus individualised itself. We acknowledge its existence only so long as it is individualised. It is a temporary or at least a temporal (subject to time) becoming.
Or we think of ourselves as someone who supports or causes the individualisation. We make statements such as my work, my feelings, my thoughts etc. There is an immortal being in us which is limited by its individuality.
The perception of our individualised self (as different from others) and the conception of ourselves causing the individualisation constitute our ego-sense. Normally we do not go beyond in our knowledge of our individual existence. All that we know is our egoistic individual experience.
(It is difficult for mental reason to conceive of the individual as eternal, because it identifies the individual self with the ego and when it sees the ego crumbling with the death of the body, naturally it concludes that the individual is not eternal. Now, the ego, as we know, is only a point of centralisation, slowly and laboriously developed by Nature in order to acquire a fixity in this world of flux of life. This world is a field where currents and cross-currents of life, a number of possibilities, clash against each other. In this sea of uncertainty Nature slowly develops a point around which it can organise experience for growth. All movements learn to flow around this centre and this central point of organisation on the surface is what is called ego. Ego has been a necessity to develop the individual formation. But once the individual is formed, the ego has to be set aside, because it becomes an obstruction to further development. That is why Sri Aurobindo says, ego was the helper, ego is the bar – Shri M.P.Pandit: Talks on the Life Divine, p. 34)