The Foundations of a Moral Order in Life

The idea that moral good is linked to achievement of success in the vital world of the life energy is one that has limited applicability, and that primarily through an indirect influence based on one type of energy interacting with another. Sri Aurobindo explains: “…because good and evil are moral and not vital values and have a clear right only to a moral and not a vital return, because reward and punishment put forward as the conditions of good doing and evil doing do not constitute and cannot create a really moral order, the principle itself, whatever temporary end it serves, being fundamentally immoral from the highest point of view of a true and pure ethics, and because there are other forces that count and have their right,–knowledge, power and many others. The correspondence of moral and vital good is a demand of the human ego and like many others of its demands answers to certain tendencies in the world mind, but is not its whole law or highest purpose.”

This is not to say that there is no basis at all for morality or ethics. It is simply to help us avoid confusion between two different orders of consciousness and energy that it is important to keep a clear-sighted view of the differences between the action of energy on the vital life plane versus the energies of planes of mental energy where morality is one of the (but not the sole) principles that govern action at that level and which get their return in their own native sphere primarily.

To bring the moral order into our life and action, it is necessary to first understand this distinction, and then to exercise the influence that the moral principle can have as we enter into the field of vital expression. “A moral order there can be, but it is in ourselves and for its own sake that we have to create it and, only when we have so created it and found its right relation to other powers of life, can we hope to make it count at its full value in the right ordering of man’s vital existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, Rebirth and Karma, Section II, Chapter 15, Mind Nature and Law of Karma, pp. 139-140,