I am speaking of the fundamental truth, the truth of things and not merely the fact about particulars or of particulars only as their knowledge forms a basis or a help to the discovery of fundamental truth. The fact that a particular sort of contact makes me uncomfortable is nothing in itself except in so far as it throws light upon the general causes of pain; the nature, origin and purpose of pain is the fundamental truth that I seek about the sensational reaction to contact. This law of pain, moreover, is not so fundamental as the truth about the nature, origin and purpose of sensation and contact themselves, of which pain is a particularity, an example or a modification.
This more fundamental truth becomes again itself particular when compared with the truth about the nature, origin and purpose of existence of which sensation and contact are only particular circumstances.
In this we arrive at the one fundamental truth of all, and a little consideration will show that if we really and rightly know that, the rest ought and probably will reveal themselves at once and fall into their places.
Tasmin vijnate sarvam vijnatam, That being known, all is known. Our ancestors perceived this truth of the fundamental unity of knowledge and sought to know Sat first, confident that Sat being known, the different tattwas, laws, details and particulars of Sat would more readily yield up their secret. The moderns follow another thought, which, also, has a truth of its own. They think that since being is one the knowledge of the particulars must lead to the knowledge of the fundamental unity and they begin therefore at the bottom and climb upwards - a slow but, one might imagine, a safe method of procession.
“Little flower in the crannies” cries Tennyson addressing a pretty blossom in the wall in lines which make good thought, but execrable poetry, “if I could but know what you are, I should know what God and man is.” Undoubtedly; the question is whether, without knowing God, we can really know the flower - know it, and not merely its name and form or all the details of its name and form. Rupa we can know and analyse by the aid of science, nama by the aid of philosophy; but swarupa? It would seem that some third instrument is needed for that consummation of knowledge. The senses and reason, even though aided by microscope and telescope, cannot show it to us. Na sandrishe tisthati rupam asya. The form of That stands not in the ken of sight. Mind and speech are not permitted to lead us to it, na vag gacchati na mano. Even the metaphysical logic of a Shankara stops short of that final victory. Naisha tarkena matir apaneya. This realisation in thought is not to be obtained by logic. All these various disabilities are due to one compelling cause; they are, because Sat, the truth of existence, Brahman, the reality of things which fills and supports their idea and form, is beyond the recognisable and analysable elements of idea and form. Anor aniyan atarkyam anupramanat. It is subtler even than elemental subtlety and therefore not to be deduced, induced, inferred or discovered by a reasoning which proceeds from a consideration of the elements of name and form and makes that its standard. This is a truth which even the greatest philosophers, Vedantic or unVedantic, are apt to forget; but the Sruti insists on it always.
The article has been taken from ‘Essays Divine and Human’ by Sri Aurobindo