Home Page | Workings | Works of Sri Aurobindo | Essays in Philosophy and Yoga



SHORTER WORKS — 1910-1950

Chapter XXIV
Matter: Argument

Life and Mind are in the fact of evolution conditioned by the body and therefore by the principle of Matter. The body is the chief difficulty in the way of a spiritual transformation of life; it has therefore been regarded by spiritual aspiration as an enemy and the escape from the material existence has been made an indispensable condition of the final emancipation. – The quarrel begins with the struggle between Life and Matter with the apparent defeat of life in death as its constant circumstance; it continues with the struggle of the Mind against the life and the body and culminates with the struggle of the spirit against all its instruments; but the right end and solution of these discords is not an escape and a severance but the complete victory of the higher over the lower. – We have to examine the problem of the reality of Matter. Our present experience of Matter does not give us its truth; for Matter is only an appearance of the Reality, a form of its force-action presented to the principle of sense in the universal consciousness. As Mind is only a final dividing action of Supermind and Life of Conscious-Force working in the conditions of the Ignorance, so Matter as we know it is only the final form taken by conscious-being as the result of that same working. Mind precipitating itself into Life to create form gives to the universal principle of Being the appearance of material substance instead of pure substance, that is to say, of substance offering itself to the contact of mind as a stable thing or object. This contact of mind with its object is Sense. – In the divine Mind there is a movement which presents to the divine Knower the forms of Himself as objects to His knowledge and this would create a division between the Knower and the object of knowledge if there were not at the same time, inevitably, another movement by which He feels the object as Himself. This movement, in the divided state of existence created by dividing Mind, is represented to us as the contact of sense which becomes a basis for contact through the thought-mind by which we return towards unity. – Since the action of Mind is to divide infinitely the one infinite existence, Matter, the result of that action, becomes in its apparent nature an infinite atomic division and atomic aggregation of infinite substance. But its reality is one and indivisible, even as is the reality of Life and of Mind. Matter is Sachchidananda represented to His own mental experience as a formal basis of objective knowledge, action and delight.

Arya. 02.1916 / 04.1917