How can anyone describe or comprehend an experience of consciousness so foreign to our normal human individual experience? Sages and seers have used many illustrative images to try to provide the mind some vague notion of the significance of the shift in standpoint that is represented by the consciousness departing the limitations of the ego-personality and entering into the wideness of the cosmic consciousness. One image which comes up frequently is that of a stream or river which eventually joins the ocean and loses its individuality in the vastness of the sea. As humanity comes to grips with the tragic existential crisis caused by our limited egoistic view and actions, and recognises the need for a universal standpoint that encompasses the harmony and balance of the entire creation, it is clear that a subtle shift is already underway to move our vision away from the ego-gratification toward a wider embrace of the oneness of all creation. We cannot continue to live and act as if we can simply satisfy our desires and our greed at the expense of everything else in the world. This is the basis founded upon the ego. Once we begin to recognise the interconnected and interdependent reality of all existence, we see our value structure change and our actions begin to take on a new direction. We begin to understand, for instance, that we are symbiotically connected to the plant life of the planet, which requires the Carbon Dioxide we exhale to survive, while we require the Oxygen they exhale. Similarly, every step we take in human society is dependent on the framework of society, all those who prepared the way before us, all those interacting in the societal structure today and even those who are coming in the future to follow along behind us..

Sri Aurobindo observes: “When one has the cosmic consciousness, one can feel the cosmic Self as one’s own self, one can feel one with other beings in the cosmos, one can feel all the forces of Nature as moving in oneself, all selves as one’s own self.”

“There is no why except that it is so, since all is the One.”

“In the cosmic consciousness the personal ‘I’ disappears into the one Self of all. The ‘I’ which alone exists is not that of the person, the individualised ‘I’, but the universalised ‘I’ identical with all and with the cosmic Self (Atman).” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 7, Experiences and Realisations, The Cosmic Consciousness, pp. 184-187

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.