Consciousness - Psychology

All that exists or can exist in this or any other universe can be rendered into terms of consciousness; there is nothing that cannot be known. This knowing need not be always a mental knowledge. For the greater part of existence is either above or below mind, and mind can know only indirectly what is above or what is below it. But the one true and complete way of knowing is by direct knowledge.

All can be rendered into terms of consciousness because all is either a creation of consciousness or else one of its forms. All exists in an infinite conscious existence and is a part or a form of it. In proportion as one can share directly or indirectly, completely or incompletely in the eternal awareness of this Infinite, or momentarily contact or enter into, or formulate some superior or inferior power of its consciousness or knowledge, one can know what it knows in part or whole, by a direct knowing or an indirect coming to knowledge. A conscious, half-conscious or subconscious participation in the awareness of the Infinite is the basis of all knowledge.

All things are inhabited by this consciousness, even the things that seem to us inconscient, and the consciousness in one form can communicate or contact with the consciousness in another or else penetrate or contain or identify with it. This in one form or another is the true process of all knowledge; the rest is ignorant appearance.

All things are one self; it is the one Knower who knows himself everywhere, from one centre or another in the multiplicity of his pay. Otherwise no knowledge would be possible.

The sense of a greater or even of an ultimate Self need not be limited to a negative and empty wideness whose one character is to be without limitations or features. The first extreme push of our recoil from what we now are or think ourselves to be may and does often at first carry us over into this annihilating experience. A negation of our present error, a release from our petty irksome aching bonds may seem to be the only thing worth having, the only thing true. The rest is infinity, freedom, peace. We feel an Infinite that needs nothing but its own infinite to fill it. We rejoice in a freedom of which any form, name or description, any creative activity, any movement, any impulse would be a disturbing denial and the beginning of a relapse into the error of will and desire, the ignorance of the illusory finite. To accept nothing but the bare bliss of infinity is the condition of this peace. The mind escaping from itself denies all thought, all form-making, all motion or play of any kind; for that would be a grievous return to itself, a miserable imprisonment and renewed hard-labour. The life released from the toil of labouring and striving and living demands only immobility and no more to be, a sleep of force, the surety and rest of an immutable status. The body accepts denial and dissolution, for to be dissolved is to cease to breathe and suffer. A bodiless, lifeless, mindless infinite breadth and supreme silence shows to us that we are in contact with the Absolute...

All existence, - as the mind and sense know existence, - is manifestation of an Eternal and Infinite which is to the mind and sense unknowable but not unknowable to its own self-awareness.

Whatever the manifestation may be, spiritual or material or other, it has behind it something that is beyond itself, and even if we reached the highest possible heights of the manifested existence there would be still beyond that even an Unmanifested from which it came.

The Unmanifest Supreme is beyond all definition and description by mind or speech; no definition the mind can make, affirmative or negative, which can be at all expressive of it or adequate.

To the mind this Unmanifest can present itself as a Self, a supreme Nihil (Tao or Sunyam), a featureless Absolute, an Indeterminate, a blissful Nirvana of manifested existence, a Non-Being out of which Being came or a Being of silence out of which a world-illusion came. But all these are mental formulas expressing the mind's approach to it, not That but impressions which fall from That upon the receiving consciousness, not the true essence of nature (Swarupa) of the Eternal and Infinite. Even the words Eternal and Infinite are only symbolic expressions through which the mind feels without grasping some vague impression of this Supreme.

If we say of it neti neti, this can mean nothing except that nothing in the world or beyond it of which the mind can take cognisance is the Supreme in its entirety or its essence. If we say of it iti iti, this can mean at the most that what we see of it in the world or beyond is some indication of something that is there beyond and by travelling through all these indications to their absolutes we may get a step or two nearer to the Absolute of all absolutes, this Supreme. Both formulas have a truth in them, but neither touches the secret truth of the Supreme.

- Sri Aurobindo


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