Ignorance and Knowledge pp 55-57

Opening Remarks
What follows now is a brief but concise description of the state of Ignorance which is a state of division. Presently, our consciousness operates through this Ignorance which arises due to the Mind which is our highest peak. But it is possible to change this Ignorance into Knowledge which is a state of integrality and unity and oneness.

An interregnum
A Consciousness that knows not its own truth,
A vagrant hunter of misleading dawns,
Between the being’s dark and luminous ends
Moves here in a half-light that seems the whole:
An interregnum in Reality
Cuts off the integral Thought, the total Power;
It circles or stands in a vague interspace,
Doubtful of its beginning and its close,
Or runs upon a road that has no end;
Far from the original Dusk, the final Flame
In some huge void Inconscience it lives,
Like a thought persisting in a wide emptiness.

It is a perfect description of the human mind that cannot know the Integral Truth. Mind is a limited consciousness forgetful of its origin. Moving between the Inconscience and the Superconscient states it sees all things in a partial and limited light. Leaning on one side it misses the other, thereby always dividing the One Reality into two separate and distinct halves such as God and World, Spirit and Matter. Mind lives in a partial light that knows not either its Origin or its Goal. Far from its supramental Home of Truth, it has emerged from the Inconscient that holds earth-nature in its grip. It is thus caught mid-way between the heights from which it fell into the swoon of Inconscience and the abyss from which it seems to emerge through a slow and difficult process of evolution.

An unintelligible phrase
As if an unintelligible phrase   (p 56 begins)
Suggested a million renderings to the Mind,
It lends a purport to a random world.

Therefore the world and creation appears to it as an absurd and random phrase to which one can attach any meaning towards which the Mind leans.

A message misunderstood
A conjecture leaning upon doubtful proofs,
A message misunderstood, a thought confused
Missing its aim is all that it can speak
Or a fragment of the universal word.

Our Mind is a partial light that leaves out much more than it illumines. It either tries to fill the gaps in its knowledge by conjectures or else by doubtful proofs. It sees only a fragment and not the whole Truth. Therefore it misses the true aim of life and misunderstands the very purpose of creation.

The middle sign
It leaves two giant letters void of sense
While without sanction turns the middle sign
Carrying an enigmatic universe,

The two giant letters remind one of the great mystic syllable AUM. The first and the last are the origin and the end. The mind is ignorant of these and knows only the connecting intermediary letter, that is the creation as it appears to it, – a sudden and inexplicable movement surrounded by a vast “Nothingness” on all sides.

A present without future or past
As if a present without future or past
Repeating the same revolution’s whirl
Turned on its axis in its own Inane.

Seen on the surface, all movements of life appear as habitual and mechanical without any real meaning in it. They move as if driven by a senseless machine. We know not the Original impulsion that set all things into motion nor the far off distant end towards which these gyrations and movements are carrying us.

A portion of a parable sublime
Thus is the meaning of creation veiled;
For without context reads the cosmic page:
Its signs stare at us like an unknown script,
As if appeared screened by a foreign tongue
Or code of splendour signs without a key
A portion of a parable sublime.

Sri Aurobindo compares this state of Ignorance to which we are subjected as someone reading a small portion of a profound text written in a foreign tongue with an unknown script. Knowing neither the language nor the background or the context we miss the meaning of what we are trying to read. He assures that creation holds within itself a sublime sense but the Mind has lost the key to understanding this profound parable.

A fire in the Night
It wears to the perishable creature’s eyes
The grandeur of a useless miracle;
Wasting itself that it may last awhile,
A river that can never find its sea,
It runs through life and death on an edge of Time;
A fire in the Night is its mighty action’s blaze.

Though this creation, even in its outward appearance appears a grand miracle, yet without the true key it appears as meaningless and useless. It is a grand waste of energy so to say. Or else the flow of Time appears as a river that is moving forever but unable to find its end point or destination in the sea. Its two shores are life and death. In our present state of Ignorance, the action of the Mind is like a fire that burns dimly in the Night surrounded by vast areas of darkness.

Our deepest need
This is our deepest need to join once more
What now is parted, opposite and twain,
Remote in sovereign spheres that never meet
Or fronting like far poles of Night and Day.

Our Mind hangs between the dark Inconscient pole and the self-luminous Superconscient Truth. Mind is an intermediary consciousness that is meant to become a bridge between what is or has been and what yet can be. The Mind must find that meeting point between the two hemispheres of existence, and transform the state of dualities and opposites into a harmonious synthesis. It is given to man to become the junction, the bridge to unite these two seemingly opposite and opposed poles of existence.

Renew the secret bond in things
We must fill the immense lacuna we have made,
Re-wed the closed finite’s lonely consonant
With the open vowels of Infinity,
A hyphen must connect Matter and Mind,
The narrow isthmus of the ascending soul:
We must renew the secret bond in things,
Our hearts recall the lost divine Idea,
Reconstitute the perfect word, unite    (p 57 begins)
The Alpha and the Omega in one sound;
Then shall the Spirit and Nature be at one.

But this sense of separation is itself an illusion. There is no real separation. Behind the differences and differentiations of Nature there is always the hidden Unity waiting to be discovered. In our dividing Ignorance we see the Spirit and Nature or God and World as opposites, forever separate and distinct. But to a deeper vision they are not two but One Reality that has arranged Itself hierarchically in creation as the many colours of a spectrum that emerge from and fuse together in the parent white. The key to their synthesis lies in our inmost heart where the reconciling Truth dwells as the Divine Presence immanent in whole creation. By discovering the Divine Presence in the heart man can rediscover the unity with creation that his dividing mind has lost. Then shall he discover the perfect word, the Idea-Force of the Divine that dwell within and moves all things.

Closing Remarks
Essentially the Mind is a dividing consciousness that by its very nature cannot arrive at an Integral Truth. It is only by removing the dense veil of Ignorance and discovering the Divine Truth hidden in our hearts that we can rediscover the lost Unity.

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