Beyond Ethical and Moral Ideals

Sri Aurobindo recognizes the long human history of striving to achieve an upliftment of life and nature as embodied in the religious, ethical and moral ideals and codes that humanity has, in one form or another, tried to impose upon our life and actions. He does not deny the value of this striving to help us evolve beyond the force of the ego, the promptings of desire and the motive of self-aggrandisement that the ego represents. At the same time, he recognizes that this is not the actual true and perfect solution and that at some point the being has to achieve a standpoint and realisation that goes beyond the rigid, mechanical and fixed ideas and ideals toward a free and fluid expression of the greater Good and greater Truth of the Spirit.

“The true call upon us is the call of the Infinite and the Supreme; the self-affirmation and self-abnegation imposed on us by Nature are both movements towards that, and it is the right way of self-affirmation and self-negation taken together in place of the wrong, because ignorant, way of the ego and in place of the conflict between the yes and the no of Nature that we have to discover. If we do not discover that, either the push of life will be too strong for our narrow ideal of perfection, its instrumentation will break and it will fail to consummate and perpetuate itself, or at best a half result will be all that we shall obtain, or else the push away from life will present itself as the only remedy, the one way out of the otherwise invincible grasp of the Ignorance.”

“In ancient Indian spiritual thought there was a clearer perception of the difficulty; the practice of truth, virtue, right will and right doing was regarded as a necessity of the approach to spiritual realisation, but in the realisation itself the being arises to the greater consciousness of the Infinite and Eternal and shakes away from itself the burden of sin and virtue, for that belongs to the relativity and the Ignorance.”

It is necessary to transcend the mental frameworks erected by religious, moral and ethical ideals, not with a laxity that says that everything is permitted, but with a greater free adherence to the Truth beyond the duality of truth and falsehood, and the Good beyond the duality of good and evil.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 14, The Origin and Remedy of Falsehood, Error, Wrong and Evil, pp. 626-627

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