Isha Upanishad - Super school - Auroville - Isha Upanishad 1002

So, you can see this is what is called many-sided ignorance, it is not one-sided: it is many sided ignorance such is the nature of her ignorance. Sri Aurobindo has spoken of the sevenfold ignorance. This is not in the Upanishad, but if you read Sri Aurobindo's exposition of ignorance; it's the most comprehensive exposition of ignorance. If you want to read anywhere, it is in The life Divine. There is no book in the world in which ignorance has been expounded as fully, as comprehensively and as sharply, as in this book. One of the reasons why I recommend to people to read The life Divine, is because of this reason. I'll explain this problem. The most difficult problem of human life is to attain to knowledge; every human being is striving to know, you cannot help it, it is the very being of our individuality, is to seek knowledge.

We cannot know, what is that drive of that knowledge in us, how to really attain to that knowledge, unless you know the real nature of ignorance and the real nature of knowledge. All the time human beings are groping everywhere. You will read many books on physics, chemistry, biology, on politics, on sociology, hundred and one subjects, are all supposed to be books of knowledge. But we don't have the real key because you don't know what is our ignorance and we don't know what is true knowledge. So unless we know this, all human life is in a sense a kind of a groping, which may not end in any kind of fruitfulness and that's why you’ll see that most of the human beings end their lives in a sense of vanity, and a sense of uselessness.

When Alexander was dying he is supposed to have said that I came with empty hands and am going back with empty hands. Napoleon was one of the greatest personalities, very potent personality and many were sent into prison in that island, you can see the misery of life. He had to remember that he was Emperor at one time and used to behave as if he's Emperor, without anybody obeying him. A person who won lot would lead armies marching, now and here he was with a few individuals working with him as servants and valets and even there he used to feel, what is it and who will bother about him. Why, why this condition in human life, why do we face this condition of life? Because we are ignorant of ignorance and we are ignorant of knowledge. This is the most important problem of human life that is why I said to everybody that if you have time please visit The life Divine. There is a secret given to you as nowhere else, of this I am certain. As nowhere else, you will get the exposition of what is ignorance and what is knowledge.

This is one very important chapter in this book which is called ‘Reality and Integral Knowledge’. And there he speaks of seven-fold ignorance and seven-fold knowledge. If you remove seven-fold ignorance, you'll have seven-fold knowledge. So let us see, what is this seven-fold ignorance, I've already spoken in a way but now I will systematically speak of this sevenfold ignorance.

First there is the original ignorance. Second we have got cosmic ignorance. Third we have egoistic ignorance. Fourth is the temporal ignorance, connected with time. Fifth is the psychological ignorance. Sixth is the constitutional ignorance. And seventh is practical ignorance. This is seven-fold ignorance, totality of all that can be said about ignorance. Sri Aurobindo summarised into these seven parts.

What is the original ignorance? It is ignorance of the origin of all that is here. So ignorance of the origin is original ignorance. We are aware only of origins at borders but not beyond borders. We are aware of partial facts; we are never going right up to the end of the partiality, going to the absolute from where everything emerges. A few beings and a few becomings that is all that we are aware of, this is original ignorance.

We are not aware of that which does not move. You remember, we had the description in the Isopanishad, ‘that moves and that moves not.. We are aware only of that which moves but that which does not move. But we are not aware of the silence, beyond silence. We are not aware of that reality, which is immobile. We are aware only of becoming, all that is moving about. So we are aware only of the cosmic movement but not of that which is immobile behind the movement. This is cosmic ignorance.

We are aware only of the cosmos. So much that all the rest is forgotten therefore, it is ignorance due to cosmic occupation. Even in the cosmos, you're not aware of the whole of the cosmos. We are not aware of everything that is happening. We are aware only of a small little being that we are round which we are moving round and round and round, he small little thing that we call ego only that we are aware of and even that partially. So because we occupied with our ego, we are not aware of the cosmos. So therefore, this is called egoistic ignorance. To be aware only of our ego and not of the cosmos, which ego is a part and our occupation with this ego makes us oblivious, we put off the whole cosmos behind us that is why it is egoistic ignorance.