by Eric Weiss

I was studying a chapter in Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine in which he is asserting the existence of The Pure Being.  This Pure Being is supposed to be the one, Absolute, Infinite, Free and Divine source of all the universes. And Sri Aurobindo gives us several pages of dense reasoning in which he is trying to show that the existence of this Pure Being is the most rational of explanations for how things are in this world.

But then it gets especially interesting, as he goes on to say that these dazzling intellectual ideas of his are not, and can not be, entirely convincing.  He says that any idea, no matter how rational, clever or inclusive it is, can be doubted.  We simply cannot get certainty in the realm of thought.  No philosophy or theology can fully convince us that God is, and that God is important in our lives.  What is important, Sri Aurobindo suggests, is the intuition that God exists, and the experiences that we can have which will confirm that intuition.

The intuition (as Sri Aurobindo defines it) is a faculty of knowledge that is beyond the intellect, and can only be steadily and reliable accessed when the emotions and the mind are “purified.”  The tyranny of the senses, the distortions of mind that are induced by dark emotions, the distortions of the emotions brought about by ego, and all prejudice and all clinging to opinions must first be overcome.  When that happens, and when the mind can be still, this deep intuition comes to the fore, makes itself known, and discloses the Divine Presence.  But this same intuition is always operating in the background.  Once we realize that ideas carry no guarantee of their own truth, we realize that our evaluation of the truth of an idea is always an activity of something in us that transcends intellect, and knows in another, and deeper, way.