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Now we come to mind. Mind sees everything on the surface. It cannot see below the surface. If someone wants to know you with his mind, he might say, ‘He is very tall.’ He may describe you by your caste, your profession, or your wealth. The mind knows the external world only by its external appearances. It has to rely on the senses to give it indirect information about the world in the form of sense impressions which it then tries to piece together into knowledge.

Mind is incapable of knowing the reality of anything in its totality. It knows only by a process of division and aggregation. It continuously divides reality into smaller parts and then combines the parts together to form larger wholes. Mind sees only the parts, it sees only the surface of those parts. The knowledge we gain through the faculty of mind is inherently limited. If we really want knowledge, we have to go beyond the surface mind. We have to go within.

Mind has another characteristic. It cannot reconcile opposites. Sri Aurobindo tells us in the first chapter that all of life consists of a confrontation of opposites and that the creation of opposites is the very method by which the Divine manifests in the world. This mind divides everything into opposites. The indivisible One manifests by dividing the force of its being into an infinite number of aspects. At the same time, the creation of each aspect gives rise to the creation of its opposite as well. The manifestation of good brings with it the manifestation of evil. Courage is accompanied by cowardice. Light and darkness manifest together. And yet God has given us a mind that is incapable of reconciling opposites in order to discover the greater reality of which these apparent opposites are expressions. Mind cannot reconcile reason and faith. If we say you can know something rationally, but something else has to be accepted on faith, the mind says I can only do one or the other. I can have faith in it, or I can try to know it. I cannot do both.

Mother’s life is a complete contradiction to the mind. Once someone came to Mother and asked a question, and She gave the answer. The next day someone else came to Her and asked the same question. She gave another answer to the same question. Her attendant asked Her why She had given a different answer to the same question. She replied, “Same question, different person.” The answer is to the person, not to the question. Our minds cannot handle that. In the year before Mother left Her body, She was seeing a hundred people a day. Even in the last year She was seeing 30 or 40 people a day. After Sri Aurobindo had his realization in 1926, Mother would not allow anybody to see Him. The sadhak who went to clean Sri Aurobindo’s room while He was lying on the bed was instructed not to look down at Sri Aurobindo while cleaning the fan over the bed. When His bathroom was being remodeled, for a few weeks He had to come downstairs and use another bathroom. This meant he had to come down the staircase and through a hall to the other bathroom. Mother told all the sadhaks to stay in their rooms during the time He was to come down. And more than that, She hung curtains along the staircase and through the hall all the way to the bathroom, so that no one would be able to see Him by chance. How can we reconcile that? Mother was seeing a hundred people a day, and yet She had said no one should look at Sri Aurobindo. These are not things that the mind can reconcile. We cannot accept that both could be true. We want simple things without contradictions. But the Divine has created the world through contradictions. That is the genius of the method of its creation.

If you try to create something, you will find the same principle is true. If you are a CEO of a company, you have a Vice-President of Finance. You tell him to cut costs and minimize expenditure. Then you talk to the Production Manager and tell him to double production, which requires higher expenditure. Then you call the VP Marketing and ask him to sell much more. You allow or even encourage your executives to fight with each other so that when the Production Manager and the VP Marketing ask for more funds for production and sales, the VP Finance tries to refuse them. Through that contradiction they work out something which hopefully is efficient. This is the way of life. The mental idea that things should be simple and rational is only an idea. 

book | by Dr. Radut