Aurobindonian Ontology: Salient Peculiarities
ABSTRACT: Aurobindo envisages a cosmic salvation via an endlessly open-ended, eternally optimistic, and forward-looking ontology. The purpose of humankind is to go beyond its present form of ordinary (mental) consciousness until it attains the Supermind. Aurobindo says this can be done by a technique he calls Integral Yoga that enables humankind to purposefully cooperate with the cosmic evolutionary urge and thereby rise from the present mental stage to the supramental stage. Another peculiarity of Aurobindo’s ontology is his concept of Brahman. It negates illusionism and gives his metaphysical scheme a religious dimension. There is no room in his system for any adversary, anti-Divine or Satan as an independent entity. Thus, evil and suffering also stand accounted for. Peculiarities of this order make him the very first and, so far, the only ontologist claiming a preordained divination of the universe.
Aurobindo Ghose (1872 - 1950) was extraordinary as a man of learning . His knowledge of the world was encyclopaedic. The Wisdom he derived from it was astonishing in being synthesising, comprehensive and interpretative. Hence his familiarity with the scientific - materialistic nature of the West as also with the spirituality of the East. From 1901 onwards, especially from 1908 , he turned to the study and practice of yoga after unravelling the secret of the Veda, the Upanisads, the Bhagavadgita and other sacred writings of India. Factors like this account for the distinctive nature of the Integral philosophy and Yoga and ontology he has propounded. The most outstanding peculiarity of Aurobindonian ontology is its synthesising integrality leading to holism. It harmonises the western theories of evolution and life sciences with the mystical – spiritual theories of the Absolute as revealed in the Veda. On account of this , "spiritual evolution" or the evolution of consciousness becomes the sheet anchor of Aurobindo’s ontological argument.
"Consciousness" for Aurobindo, is a rich and complex term. He believes that consciousness is inherent as much in seemingly inert matter as in plant, animal, human and suprahuman life. It participates in the various levels of being in various ways. The Spirit or Sachchidananda which means the highest level of "being, consciousness, and bliss" is nothing but the Absolute. Therefore , Aurobindonian ontological argument emerges from his ‘hierarchical view of consciousness or Spirit’. Accordingly Sachchidananda or the Divine is at the transcendent summit.
The Supermind mediates Sachchidananda to the multiplicity of the world.