The Ignorance Of Reality – Sri Aurobindo
The ignorance in which we live is a sevenfold self-ignorance; an ignorance of the Absolute and knowledge only of the relations of being and becoming; an ignorance of our timeless and immutable self-existence and knowledge only of the cosmic becoming; an ignorance of our cosmic self and knowledge only of our egoistic existence; an ignorance of our eternal becoming in Time and knowledge only of the one life present to our memory; an ignorance of our larger and complex being in the world and knowledge only of our surface waking existence; an ignorance of the higher principles of our existence and knowledge only of the life, mind and body; an ignorance therefore of the right law and enjoyment of living and a knowledge only of the confused strife of the dualities.
Our conception of the Ignorance determines our conception of the knowledge and by that of the aim of our existence, which coincides with the ideal of the earlier Vedic thought.
We confirm by it our rejection of the extreme views which hold the absolute Non-existence or absolute Existence to be alone true and relative world of being and becoming an ignorance to be renounced. There is the unmanifest Absolute and there is its manifestation; to fulfil the manifestation and live in the sense of it as the Absolute manifesting himself is the Knowledge.
We reject the view that regards the One, Infinite, Formless, Spirit, Superconscient as the sole truth and the opposite terms as unreal or eventually false and vain values to be abandoned. We accept it and them also not as alternates, but as simultaneous values of the manifestation and their union in our consciousness and right use of their relations as the knowledge.
We reject equally the views that affirm a pluralistic Becoming without Being or see Mind, Life or Matter as the original principle, and we reject the limitation to our apparent Nature which is their practical conclusion. Becoming as the working out of the energies of Being, Mind, Life and Matter as inferior terms of the higher divine Nature to be illumined, uplifted, transformed by the higher terms is our view of the knowledge.
We reject also intermediate theories like that which makes God and cosmos one, — perceiving as we do that cosmos exists in God who exceeds it and not God by the cosmos, — or like that which seeks to abandon the earth and find fulfillment only in heavens where the Many enjoy the presence of the One, — perceiving, as we do, that there is a higher knowledge which leads to complete identity and that divine life based upon it need not to be confined to heavens beyond, but may embrace the earth also.
Ignorance is an initial state of knowledge the essence of which is to create a sense of limitation and division; it is this which we have to overcome and transcend without creating an opposite self-limitation. The integral aim of our existence can only be the possession and power and joy of our integral self-knowledge.
Words By Sri Aurobindo