Chapter VII – The Ego and the Dualities – Synopsis



  • If all is Sachchidananda why there should be death, suffering, evil in this world? This is because of a distorting consciousness of man. There is fall in consciousness of man from total and unity to partial and division. His ego separates him from others.
  • What is the redemption? It comes by individual rising to Universal consciousness and physical transforming to spiritual consciousness. Recovery from lower to higher. Higher knowledge reconciles the opposites. Then division becomes unity.
  • How are the opposites like death,suffering,evil etc are viewed in relation to Sachchidananda? They are viewed as shadow-forms of their luminous opposites- as shadow to light. Obverse and reverse of the coin. However, they are felt by us as notes of a discord. There is error in our perception.
  • All totality ensures harmony and reconciles opposites. However, Sachchidananda which transcends duality changes the very opposites into something where no longer do they appear as opposites (transmutes).
  • As a first step individual must harmonise with totality (cosmos). This is necessary to get rid of the wrong values assigned by our egoistic consciousness to the universe. These values (good & evil, pain & pleasure) though have practical utility, are not the ultimate and correct ones.
  • There are certain phenomena and objects of the physical world better perceived by the subtle senses than our normal sense organs. Similarly, the universe also can be perceived by a mental capacity higher than our own – supramental. Then death can be felt as continuation of life and pain as delight. It is a true experience and not an abstract theory.
  • Man, in his attempt to reach a higher level of consciousness should never side-step his sense mind. Its practical importance should be preserved until a larger harmony is established with the higher level of consciousness. Old sense-values should be rightly interpreted. Lack of this knowledge will lead to serious disorders and make one unfit to lead practical life.
  • Man may enlarge his consciousness beyond dualistic mind to unite with a total consciousness. But if this unity is not properly regulated it will lead to confusion & incapacity in worldly life. Gita cautions men of wisdom not to impart their knowledge to the ignorant without preparing them. It would lead to disorder & confusion.
  • Many great souls had accepted such an incapacity as a necessary price for widening their consciousness. However, Sri Aurobindo says the goal of human progress to evolve a new order of truths based on an effective and synthetic reinterpretation that strengthens the faculties of men in day to day life. Not otherwise. Man cannot be cut off from earthly life.
  • Our senses wrongly perceive that the sun revolves around earth. Similarly, we relate ourselves to God keeping our ego as centre. We judge the Divine as kind or cruel based on our ego. Truth is that the Divine is the centre of our existence. The individual will realise the truth only when he rises beyond to the universal and transcendent consciousness.
  • The true goal lies in transformation and correction of all values of egoistic life instead of substituting it with false and arbitrary ideas (new philosophies, religions & revolutions). It can be done only by a reasoned and effective knowledge. This new order of truths will make it possible to substitute a Divine life for our present existence.
  • To achieve a new life, ego must be cured of its defect, individual life should be in harmony with the collective life and also with the transcendent from which it came. It should open itself to a truth and law that are superior to the existing standards. Then death, ignorance, suffering, evil will become no more necessary.
  • If our life is based on wrong values founded on ego – we are separate individuals not a part of collective life, the dualities we face are the basic nature of our life not our mere response to those contacts; limitation is the fundamental nature of body and mind – then we proceed to think that the solution is not to be found on earth but elsewhere in Heaven or Nirvana.
  • Man conditioned by his past and present is unable to conceive a higher life than his present status. In his present evolutionary status, he is much like Ape which could never foresee the coming of man that too itself evolving into a Man.
  • But Man, by his capacity for imagination and intuition can conceive a higher life. He always aspires to achieve the absolutes of all that is good. Hence, he conceives of a God. But his reason puts away his aspirations as superstitions. Thus, he has no choice than to live with his limitations.
  • Yet reason has strong inclination towards transcendence (going beyond) in pursuit of truth. But the certainty it has in pursuit of knowledge is lacking in respect of other positive human aspirations. Though reason admits them as natural aspirations it treats them as something impossible.
  • This difficulty is caused by error of the reason. Reason is too much influenced by what is apparent. It lacks courage to bring out what is deeper. What is reality now was once thought of as potential. Similarly, what is potential now will be a future possibility. Knowledge makes the potentiality into future reality. In the same way if man can acquire the knowledge of causes for pain, sorrow and death, he can eliminate them.
  • Man, as an ideal, always pursues elimination of negative phenomena in life. But we look at only external & secondary causes of suffering and death. We lack the knowledge of the root cause. Hence, we are not able to remove them completely.
  • Ancient Vedantic truth says all is Brahman. The nature of Brahman is Sachchidananda i.e. Existence, Consciousness & Bliss. We being Brahman, have the dominant instinct to aspire for the absolutes of positives – Bliss, Good, Knowledge etc.
  • Going by the above Vedantic truth we find that the essence of all life is a movement of a universal and immortal existence, essence of all our sensations and emotions become play of universal & self-existent delight, essence of all our thought & perceptions become the radiation of universal and all-pervading truth, essence of all activity become a universal and self-effecting good.
  • The universal play takes place through multiplicity of forms. Multiplicity gives birth to individual egos. Ego deforms the play though temporarily. Ego excludes, limits itself to one form and field of action giving wrong values to movements of error,sorrow,pain,evil,death etc. The solution lies in participation of individual ego in totality of consciousness.
  • The later Vedanta (Mayavadic philosophy) held that because ego exists the universe exists. Get rid of egoistic ignorance to eliminate dualities. In this process we also eliminate our existence from the Universe. We escape from life. Sri Aurobindo says our object is fulfilment of life. The solution lies in interpretation ego. Ego is only an intermediary phenomenon of consciousness. Because, it is the Lord, Ishwara manifesting himself in the individual & universe. By transformation from egoistic division to harmony with the Universe, the individual becomes a centre of Divine consciousness. He embraces all other divine centres.
  • The result would be manifestation of the Divine Conscious Being in the totality of the physical nature. The egoistic intermediary allows the One to emerge as conscious Many from the subconscient mass. Limited ego is transformed to conscious centre of divine unity. There is an outflowing of the infinite and absolute Existence, Truth, Good and Delight of being on the Many in the world. This crowning result, Sri Aurobindo calls it as the supreme birth, the maternal Nature holds in herself and strives to deliver out of herself.