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SHORTER WORKS — 1910-1950

Chapter XXXIII.
The Progress to Knowledge: Argument1

To rise out of the sevenfold Ignorance into the integral Knowledge is the progress of man's being; it is to grow in all his complex existence and consciousness into the full possession and enjoyment of his whole and his true being. – He starts with three categories, himself, Nature or cosmos and God, and though he tries to deny any two of these in order to affirm the third only, he cannot really succeed; for he is neither separate nor sufficient to himself, cosmos also is not sufficient to itself, but points always to an infinite, one and absolute behind it, and to affirm the Absolute to the exclusion of these two others leaves man unsatisfied and cosmos unexplained. – In affirming himself man has first to put himself in front and act and feel as if God and the world existed for him and were less important to him than himself; this is his egoistic phase necessary to disengage his individuality out of Nature and as if against her and to bring it out into force and capacity. He has to affirm himself in the Ignorance before he can perfect himself in the Knowledge. Afterwards he has to seek for himself in Nature and God and others, but it is still himself that he seeks to know and possess and his own perfection or salvation which is his motive. – In the progressive enlargement of his knowledge he gets rid of his sevenfold ignorance; of the temporal by growing into his eternal being with its pre-existence and subsequent existence in Time; of the psychological by enlarging his self-knowing beyond the waking self into the subconscient and superconscient; of the constitutional by realising his spiritual being and its categories; of the cosmic by discovering his timeless self; of the egoistic by realising the cosmic consciousness; of the original by opening to the Absolute of whom Self, individual and Nature are so many faces. – At the same time he realises the unity of himself and Nature in the first three steps of knowledge, of himself and God in the others; of himself with all beings relatively in Nature and absolutely in God; of God and Nature because it is the Self who has become all these beings and the nature of the Lord which is apparent in cosmos. – The knowledge of Nature leads him to the same results as soon as he goes beyond Matter and Life to Mind; for he discovers a subconscient and superconscient, a soul in Matter, and perceives a supernature in which he realises the Self, the Spirit, the Absolute. – In the quest of God he begins by seeing him through Nature and himself, crudely and obscurely at first, till he finds more luminously the one Truth behind all religions; for all seize on the Divine in many aspects and their variety is necessary in order that man should come to know God entirely. – When he arrives at the unity of his knowledge of God, man and Nature, he has the complete knowledge, the sense and goal of humanity's progress and labour and the sure foundation of all perfections and all harmonies.

Arya. 02.1916 / 04.1917


1 Chapter XXXIII of The Life Divine as published in the Arya was extensively revised in 1939-40, becoming the present Book Two, Part II, Chapter XVII, “The Progress to Knowledge – God, Man and Nature”.