March 16, 2006

The need of a deeper knowledge

It is evident that however much we may analyse the physical and sensible, we cannot by that means arrive at the Knowledge of the Self or of ourselves or of that which we call God. The telescope, the microscope, the scalpel, the retort and alembic cannot go beyond the physical, although they may arrive at subtler and subtler truths about the physical. If then we confine ourselves to what the senses and their physical aids reveal to us and refuse from the beginning to admit any other reality or any other means of knowledge, we are obliged to conclude that nothing is real except the physical and that there is no Self in us or in the universe, no God within and without, no ourselves even except this aggregate of brain, nerves and body. But this we are only obliged to conclude because we have assumed it firmly from the beginning and therefore cannot but circle round to our original assumption.
(Sri Aurobindo —The Synthesis of Yoga —The Status of Knowledge, pg. 287)
For in his study of himself and the world he cannot but come face to face with the soul in himself and the soul in the world and find it to be an entity so profound, so complex, so full of hidden secrets and powers that his intellectual reason betrays itself as an insufficient light and a fumbling seeker: it is successfully analytical only of superficialities and of what lies just behind the superficies. The need of a deeper knowledge must then turn him to the discovery of new powers and means within himself. He finds that he can only know himself entirely by becoming actively self-conscious and not merely self-critical, by more and more living in his soul and acting out of it rather than floundering on surfaces, by putting himself into conscious harmony with that which lies behind his superficial mentality and psychology and by enlightening his reason and making dynamic his action through this deeper light and power to which he thus opens.
In this process the rationalistic ideal begins to subject itself to the ideal of intuitional knowledge and a deeper self-awareness; the utilitarian standard gives way to the aspiration towards self-consciousness and self-realisation; the rule of living according to the manifest laws of physical Nature is replaced by the effort towards living according to the veiled Law and Will and Power active in the life of the world and in the inner and outer life of humanity.
(Sri Aurobindo —The Human Cycle —The Coming of the Subjective Age, pg. 24)
Selected quotes from The Human Cycle, ISBN 81-7058-469-8 (One of the greatest affirmations of Existence, from the Indian Mind; possibly very lofty and grandiose to the western reader. His works can be found at many university libraries, or purchased at
[Don't you be running away from your soul, boy. And don't let them fool you into thinking you ain't got one, with they long twisty ideas and big words. 'Cause when a man be havin' to ask if he's got a soul, he's already in a world o' hurt —even if he don't know it. ] Other Voices

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