has asked me, why are the powers allied?
I suppose that we are so used to seeing all the elements in man
quarrelling among themselves that the idea of their being "allied"
causes astonishment. But these quarrels are only apparent. All the
powers which come from the higher regions are in fact necessarily
alliedthey are united, they have agreed to fight the Ignorance.
And Sri Aurobindo says clearly enoughfor those who understandthat
one of these powers belongs to the mind and that the other belongs
to the Spirit. This is precisely the profound truth that Sri Aurobindo
wants to reveal in his aphorism: if the mind tries to obtain the
second power, it is unable to do so, since it is a power that belongs
to the Spirit and arises in the human being together with the spiritual
is something that the mind can obtain through much effort, although
this is not the true knowledge, but only a mental aspect of knowledge;
whereas Wisdom does not at all belong to the mind, which is altogether
incapable of obtaining it, because, in fact, it doesn't even know
what it is. I repeat, Wisdom is essentially a power of the Spirit
and it can arise only with the spiritual consciousness.
would have been interesting to ask what Sri Aurobindo means when
he speaks of "the truth seen in a distorted medium". First
of all, what is this "distorted medium", and what does
the truth become in a "distorted medium"?
always, what Sri Aurobindo says can have several levels of meaningone
is more specific, the other more general. In the most specific sense,
the distorted medium is the mental medium which works in ignorance
and which is therefore unable to express truth in its purity. But
since life as a whole is lived in ignorance, the distorted medium
is also the earth-atmosphere which, in its entirety, distorts the
truth seeking to express itself through it.
here lies the most subtle point of this aphorism. What can the mind
arrive at by groping? We know that it is always groping, seeking
to know, erring, returning upon its previous attempts and trying
again.... Its progress is very, very halting. But what can it grasp
of the truth? Is it a fragment, a piece, something which is still
the truth, but only partially, incompletely, or is it something
which is no longer the truth? That is the interesting point.
are used to being toldperhaps we have also repeated many timesthat
one can only have partial, incomplete, fragmentary knowledge which
therefore cannot be true knowledge. This point of view is rather
trite: one need only to have studied a little in life to be aware
of it. However, what Sri Aurobindo means by "the truth seen
in a distorted medium" is far more interesting than that.
itself takes on another aspect; in this medium it is no longer the
truth, but a distortion of the truth. Consequently, what can be
seized of it is not a fragment which would be true, but an aspect,
the false appearance of a truth which has itself melted away.
am going to give you an image to try to make myself understood;
it is nothing more than an image, do not take it literally.
we compare the essential truth to a sphere of immaculate, dazzling
white light, we can say that in the mental medium, in the mental
atmosphere, this integral white light is transformed into thousands
and thousands of shades, each of which has its own distinct colour,
because they are all separated from one another. The medium distorts
the white light and makes it appear as innumerable different colours:
red, green, yellow, blue, etc., which are sometimes very discordant.
And the mind seizes, not a little fragment of the white light of
the white sphere, but a larger or smaller number of little lights
of various colours, with which it cannot even reconstitute the white
light. Therefore it cannot reach the truth. It does not possess
fragments of truth, but a truth that is broken up. It is a state
truth is a whole and everything is necessary. The distorted medium
through which you see, the mental atmosphere, is unsuited for the
manifestation or the expression or even the perception of all the
elementsand one can say that the better part is lost. So it
can no longer be called the truth, but rather something which in
essence is true, and yet no longer so at all in the mental atmosphereit
is an ignorance.
to summarise, I shall say that knowledge, as it can be grasped by
the human mind, is necessarily knowledge in ignorance, one could
almost say an ignorant knowledge.
Wisdom is the vision of truth in its essence and of its application
in the manifestation.
- The Mother