There we see that all meets and all principles, all persistent realities of existence,—for the finite as a principle of being is as persistent as the infinite,—stand in a primary relation to each other in a free, not an exclusive unity of the Absolute, and that the way they present themselves to us in a material or a mental world is only a working out of them in secondary, tertiary or yet lower relativities.
We have seen that the first source and the primary relations (between the Infinite and the finite, the Divine and its manifestations) lie beyond our mental divisions of Time in the divine Timelessness. In that source we see that all assemblings and all principles, all persistent realities of existence stand in a primary relation to each other. The finite as a principle of being is as persistent as the Infinite. They are found to be in a free unity. It is not an exclusive unity of the Absolute.
We come across such finites, realities in the material world or in the mental world. What we meet here are only the secondary, tertiary or yet lower relativities.
The Absolute has not become the contrary of itself and assumed at a certain date real or unreal relativities of which it was originally incapable, nor has the One become by a miracle the Many, nor the unconditioned deviated into the conditioned, nor the unqualitied sprouted out into qualities.
We are dealing with relativities in this material world. In this world it is not the Absolute that has become the contrary of itself. It is not that the Absolute has assumed at a certain date real or unreal relativities of which it was originally incapable. The One has become the Many not by a miracle. The unconditioned has not deviated into the conditioned, nor has the featureless Absolute developed out of Itself the qualities.
These oppositions are only the conveniences of our mental consciousness, our divisions of the indivisible. The things they represent are not fictions, they are realities, but they are not rightly known if they are set in irreconcilable opposition to or separation from each other; for there is no such irreconcilable opposition or separation of them in the all-view of the Absolute.
Why do we deal with the relatives in this world as if they are oppositions to the Absolute? Such oppositions are only the conveniences of our mental consciousness, our divisions of the indivisible. Therefore, it is our mind that creates such oppositions. The things the relativities represent are not fictions but are realities. But we cannot understand the realities rightly if they are set in irreconcilable opposition to or separation from each other.
Because there is no such irreconcilable opposition or separation of them in the all-view of the Absolute.
This is the weakness not only of our scientific divisions and metaphysical distinctions, but of our exclusive spiritual realisations which are only exclusive because to arrive at them we have to start from our limiting and dividing mental consciousness. We have to make the metaphysical distinctions in order to help our intelligence towards a truth which exceeds it, because it is only so that it can escape from the confusions of our first undistinguishing mental view of things; but if we bind ourselves by them to the end, we make chains of what should only have been first helps.
This opposition, this separation is the weakness not only found in our scientific divisions and metaphysical (philosophical) distinctions but also in our exclusive spiritual realisations. They are exclusive because in order to arrive at them we start from our limiting and dividing mental consciousness.
We have to make metaphysical distinctions (One and Many, Absolute and the relative etc.,) in order to help our intelligence towards a truth which exceeds it. This is necessary to escape from the confusions of our first undistinguishing mental view of things. But we should not bind ourselves by our narrow mental view to the end. If we do so, we make chains of what should have been our first helps.
We have to make use too of distinct spiritual realisations which may at first seem contrary to each other, because as mental beings it is difficult or impossible for us to seize at once largely and completely what is beyond our mentality; but we err if we intellectualise them into sole truths,—as when we assert that the Impersonal must be the one ultimate realisation and the rest creation of Maya or declare the Saguna, the Divine in its qualities, to be that and thrust away the impersonality from our spiritual experience.
Such distinct spiritual realisations are necessary though at first they seem contrary to each other. Because as mental beings we have limitations; it is impossible for us to grasp at once largely and completely what is beyond our mentality.
But we make a mistake if we intellectualise them into sole truths. For example we may assert that the Impersonal divine is the only realisation and all else is Maya; or we may declare that the Saguna, the Divine in its qualities is the only realisation and exclude the impersonal aspect of the Divine.
(17 November 1954: CWM: Vol 6 : p. 401
This talk is based upon SriAurobindo’s Bases of Yoga,Chapter 2, “Faith – Aspiration – Surrender”.
Sweet Mother, here it is written: “The Truth for you is to feel the Divine in you, open to the Mother and work for the Divine till you are aware of her in all your activities.” Why has he said “the Divine” once and another time “the Mother”?
Probably he considers these the two aspects of the problem. The truth is that there are people who can more easily get into contact with an impersonal Divine than with a personal Divine. For them, for certain minds, certain types of intelligence, it is easier; they understand better or think they understand better. You see, there are certain… what we could call certain attributes of the Divine which it seems to them impossible to give to a personal being, and so they prefer to have a relation with an impersonal conception of the Divine. So, for them, he says this. There are others who are able to have both at the same time, one completing the other; but for others still it is an antinomy, a contradiction. So, they prefer to choose one or the other. I think this is why he has put it like that, so that each one may choose the approach that’s easiest for him and the most expressive also. Essentially it is the same thing; in the human mind it becomes different. And then, man’s mind fashions man’s consciousness; and as for the human consciousness, well, it depends on one’s inner attitude and one’s tastes. The mind always needs to make divisions, otherwise it thinks that it does not understand. Probably it is to help him in his work, so that there may not be someone who says, “Ah, no, I don’t want the personal Divine!” —so he says, “It is all right, turn to an impersonal God.”)
We have to see that both these realisations of the great spiritual seekers are equally valid in themselves, equally invalid against each other; they are one and the same Reality experienced on two sides which are both necessary for the full knowledge and experience of each other and of that which they both are. So is it with the One and the Many, the finite and the infinite, the transcendent and the cosmic, the individual and the universal; each is the other as well as itself and neither can be entirely known without the other and without exceeding their appearance of contrary oppositions.
The great spiritual seekers had both these realisations. They are equally valid in themselves. They are equally invalid against each other; that is, we cannot say one is valid and the other is invalid. They are one and the same Reality experienced on two sides. Both are necessary for the full knowledge and experience of each other. Both sides are of the same Reality.
This is the truth with One and the Many, the finite and the Infinite, the transcendent and the cosmic, the individual and the universal. Each is the other as well as itself. For example the universal includes the individual and the individual includes the universal. Neither can be entirely known without the other. The universal cannot be known without knowing the individual; the individual cannot be known without knowing the universal. To know each we have to go beyond the apparent oppositions between the two.