The Dharma of the Vital Life Nature

With the advent of the vital life force into the world we see what some have called “the law of the jungle” and others “survival of the fittest” as the basic principle of the life energy. Even for human beings, we start from this basis and only add ethical and moral considerations later as mind-nature begins to develop and make itself felt in transcending the basic instincts of the vital force.

Sri Aurobindo comments on the nature of the vital power in its action in the world: “At first he is compelled to obey its instincts and has to act even as the animal, but in the enlarged terms of a mentalised impulsion and an increasingly clear consciousness and responsible will in what he does. He too has first to strive to exist, to make a place for himself and his kind, to grow and possess and enjoy, to prolong, to enlarge and assure the first vital lines of his life movement. He to does it even as the others, by battle and slaughter, by devouring, by encroachment, by laying his yoke on earth and her products and on her brute children and on his fellowmen. His virtue, his dharma of the vital nature, virtus, arete, is first an obligation to strength and swiftness and courage and all things that make for survival, mastery and success.”

The rule of return on energy is operative here by providing results based on the ability to harness and master the powers of the vital force. There may be an element of self-control, discipline or focus of energy, but these are implementations of the law of vital force and their goal, and their result, is to enhance the success of the vital life nature.

Sri Aurobindo, Rebirth and Karma, Section II, Chapter 14, The Terrestrial Law, pp. 124-125,