Aurobindo on Divine Realty

The fundamental basis of Aurobindo’s Integral philosophy is the assertion that matter and spirit both are real. His philosophy is integration of Idealism and Materialism.
Absolute Idealism views phenomenonal world as merely illusion, mirage or at best a representation of the Ultimate reality (Spirit or Archetypal Idea) seeming ‘real’ due to ignorance. On the other hand, Materialism views material world as the only reality and mental/spiritual experiences as mere epiphenomena. It proposes true reality is only a mechanical, unitelligible substance or energy (Nature).
Aurobindo asserted that both viewpoints are parts of the truth needing neither contradiction nor compromise. True reconciliation is to ”admit both the claim of the pure Spirit to manifest in us its absolute freedom and the claim of universal Matter to be the mould ans condition of our manifestation”,
He affirms that the absolute One is the Omnipresent Reality; One without a second; All this (both Spirit and Matter) is Brahman. It has three aspects transcendent, cosmic and individual; all have reality but primacy remains with transcendent. He then posits that Divine Reality has two aspects
1. It is stable and motionless, Being, supreme omnipresent real principle Sacchidananda (Sat=Existence, Chit=Consciousness, Ananda=Bliss/Delight) 2. It is dynamic and moving, Becoming (Mind, Life, Matter).
Reality is an integration of Being and Becoming. Another principle that he calles Supermind (Truth-Consciousness), the directive principle of knowledge, links these two by acting as the creative agency in forming the phenomenal world. Supermind though unity itself, potentially contains all the multiplicity. It is both knowledge and will and the the our world is its self-manifestation.
Aurobindo sees the essence of reality in a supreme Being that transcends the manifested universe and our world, yet it is involved in all the multiplicity and the universe. Thus, the world is real as it has manifestation of Divine Unity in it. This manifestation is ‘involution’ of higher planes in the Inconscient and these planes subsequently ‘evolve’ out of it. the Inconscient unfolds in ‘evolution’ its potentialities. Grades/planes emerge successively and simultaneously corresponding powers of the uninvolved free planes above descend, helping the lower ones to rise upward. The first descending or emerging plane is nearest to the Inconscient and so on. Aurobindo distinguishes the planes in this manifestation of Divine Unity in ascending order of Matter, Life, Mind, Supermind, 8liss/Delight, Consciousness and Existence.
This process is postulated to be going on in nature unconsciously since the begining of this manifested cycle. However, appearance of human beings is most significant in it because with this has emerged a conscious choice and will. The process has become self-aware and our conscious cooperation with nature is now possible to fulfill the Divine purpose in the evolution.
Refer: Dr. joan Price (II ed. 1982, IV Impression 2001): An Introduction to Aurobindo’s Philosophy. Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press. Pradeep Garg


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