This post contains my personal notes and reflections of the chapter called The Two Negations: The Refusal of the Ascetic from The Life Divine written by Sri Aurobindo.
The materialist considers only that can be perceived by the five senses as the real. The sannyasin on the other hand considers the world beyond as the only reality and considers this material world an illusion. One has to understand that both are true in their own right. There are supraphysical senses and perception by which people who have developed them can perceive realities that cannot be perceived by the material senses. They are as true as the physical world. Subtle senses, the subtle body and subtle perception are all real.
The world is a frame. Senses are only instruments. Consciousness is the only true fact. It can be said that the universe only exists in or for the consciousness that observes and has no intrinsic reality. Or you can say that the universe is eternal and will exist even after mind and life disappears. The view that you accept will decide the philosophy with which man will live his life.
If you only accept the physical realities then you will live and enjoy for the moment, saying that the time is short and let us enjoy the life we have. People who are unselfish may say that they will live for the world and serve them as the individual does not matter in the long run, as he is going to die soon.
If you only accept the spiritual reality, then you want to get away from this world and merge into the formless One or the One with form. You say that this world cannot be Divine and therefore want to get away from it.
Both of these are not the complete Truth.
The complete Truth accepts the consciousness that exists beyond the world as true and wants to bring down the same consciousness to matter. It wants to assert as the Vedas say – All this is Brahman. As we go upwards to meet the Divine, we need to bring the Divine down into the physical world and make it also Divine.
For doing this one has to expand his consciousness to become the Divine consciousness and once one has done that he will realize that the universe is both eternal and the universe exists in and for his consciousness. This is because his consciousness is now the Divine and the Divine is everything.