Chapter IX – The Pure Existent – Synopsis



  • The indefinable Absolute is One without a second. The One is also the Many. The One is equally present as a whole in Many. The One, the Brahman is pure existence.
  • The movements of the world are stupendous and man is only an infinitesimal part of them. Man thinks himself the centre of the world- perceives the events around him either to help or harm him or to justify his egoistic desires and ideas.
  • Looking dispassionately, we see the world as a boundless energy of infinite existence, infinite movement and infinite activity. Before that existence, the grandest of our achievements of our past appear like momentary dusts; entire people of this earth appear like a petty swarm.
  • The world exists for itself and not for us. It has its own gigantic aims and delight it seeks to fulfil. Yet, is it ignorance to take the extreme view of man’s insignificance on earth. The universe and the individual are necessary to each other.
  • Before Nature all are equal, samam brahma. The intensity and force of movement is the same behind the formation and upholding of innumerable suns in the Universe and the organisation of life of an ant-hill. It is illusion of quantity to think one as great and the other as small.
  • Looking at the force of quality, ant is greater than the solar system and man is greater than all inanimate Nature. This is an illusion of quality. Brahman dwells equally behind all existences irrespective of quantity and quality.
  • Brahman is in all – not as a part of itself but as a whole. The whole of Brahman is equally present in ant- hill and in the solar system. The quality and quantity differ but the self is equal. To understand this, only our intuition can give us the knowledge by identity and not our intellect. There is energy behind everything. The force of strength behind a strong man and the force of weakness behind a weak man is the same. Energy behind repression and expression, negation and affirmation, silence and sound are the same.
  • Man has a false view of his relationship with the world. World represents infinite Movement, the All. To this All, we are important. But our ego caused by the original ignorance does not consider this All. We take note of things around us only in so far as they directly affect our survival. Even, philosophical conclusions take the view that the world exists in and by the egoistic consciousness of man. We take our own state of consciousness and mental standards as tests of reality and treat all else outside as false. This mental self-sufficiency prevents us to draw full value from life. True living starts when we surrender our ego to the totality and realise that we are part of this infinite movement.
  • Both pure reason and Vedanta are of the view that we are subordinate and an aspect of this infinite movement. And the movement in turn is subordinate and an aspect of something other than itself – a great timeless Stability, sthanu. It does not act but contains all action in itself. It is not energy but pure existence.
  • There is another point of view which looks at this world-energy only. It says that there is no such thing as immutable Stability; it is a fiction of our intellect starting from a false idea of stability. All is only movement.
  • Behind all movements if there is Existence it must be like the Energy, infinite. Brahman is absolute and infinite (Being); in manifestation (Becoming) It takes up finite forms. Infinity imposes itself on the finite by its inescapable self-existence.
  • We arrange our perception of phenomenon under two categories of our consciousness. Pure Reason categorises them as Time and Space. When we look at Existence, in itself, Time and Space disappear. Extension in space and elongation of duration seem to be psychological.
  • Movement means manifestation in space and time. All our existence, all our experiences have these two dimensions of time and space. These symbols convey an eternity- the same all-containing ever-new moment; convey an infinity – the same all-containing, all-pervading point without magnitude.
  • We observe conflict of terms (extension Vs infinity; duration Vs eternity) though they express accurately something we really perceive. This conflict arises because our mind and speech going beyond their natural limits, try to express a Reality in an ineffable identity.
  • Existence is real and not a fiction of intellect. There is something behind this phenomenon of Existence which is not only Infinite but indefinable. ‘Movement is real. Existence behind movement is also real.
  • Every movement carries within itself something not participating in the movement. There is energy in action and energy in abstaining from action. We have only two alternatives; either an indefinable pure existence or an indefinable energy in action. If latter is only true then movement alone remains that creates the energy without any stable base or cause – like a suspended stair case in air. This is not possible.
  • Pure Existence is Indifinable,Infinite,Timeless and Spaceless. It is an Absolute. It is formless, without quantity, quality. It exceeds all of these. All movements belong to the field of relative and contained in the Absolute. Like ether (Akasha) which forms, supports and absorbs all matter at the end, the Absolute forms, supports and absorbs all relatives. Passing of relatives into the Absolute and their emergence from It is an eternal process. Mind having accustomed to time sequence cannot understand it.
  • Our actual seeing in our existence does not agree with the above concept of pure reason. What we see only are movement in Space – objective, movement in Time – subjective. Extension of space and duration of time are real. We live in a movement of continuous progress. Our present contains gains of the past; successions of future begin from the present. Continuity creates movement of consciousness.
  • This conflict between the pure Reason and our actual seeing occurs because of the incomplete intuitive experience which focusses only on becoming, the surface. But, by a supreme experience & intuition we can go behind the surface and find that there is something stable and eternal within us not involved in the change. By living in it we can effect a change on the external. This stability within us is pure existence. Pure existence and world existence are two fundamental realities. Neither of them can be denied.
  • Stability and movement are psychological representations of the Absolute, as are oneness and multitude. The Absolute is beyond them. It takes Its balanced posture in the one and stable and whirls round Itself infinitely – like the numberless of bodies of Shiva dancing in endless movement while His white existence anchored in stability.
  • We cannot describe or think out the Absolute. We must know what is this measureless movement in Time and Space with regard to timeless and spaceless pure Existence. We must know what pure Reason, intuition and experience say about the force, the movement, the Shakti.
  • Sri Aurobindo raises the following questions as a prelude to the next chapter ‘Conscious Force’ (Chit-Shakti):
    Is the Force simply an unintelligent energy of movement?
    Or does it have the character of that from which it proceeds, the Consciousness, the Chit?
    In Vedantic terms, is Force simply Prakriti, a movement of action and process?
    Or Prakriti really power of Chit?