Achieving a Poise of Consciousness Beyond the Workings of Nature

The teaching of the Gita successively moves from the starting point of the egoistic human individual acting under the impulsions of desire and his vital nature within the framework of the society within which he lives, to one in which he acts without regard to the fruits of his effort, but carries out the “work to be done”. This is, however, still a transitional stage in the evolution of the individual’s awareness. A further stage is arrived at by the recognition that it is Nature, Prakriti, through its three interactive modes (sattwa, rajas and tamas, as they are called), that actually is carrying out all action. Even this however, is not the ultimate status to be achieved eventually.

Sri Aurobindo explains: “It is the Purushottama beyond the Self that acts not, beyond the Prakriti that acts, foundation of the one, master of the other, the Lord of whom all is the manifestation, who even in or present subjection to Maya sits in the heart of His creatures governing the works of Prakriti, He by whom the armies on the field of Kurukshetra have already been slain while yet they live and who uses Arjuna only as an instrument or immediate occasion of this great slaughter. Prakriti is only His executive force.”

“Reposing his mind and understanding, heart and will in Him, with self-knowledge, with God-knowledge, with world-knowledge, with a perfect equality, a perfect devotion, an absolute self-giving, he has to do works as an offering to the Master of all self-energisings and all sacrifice. Identified in will, conscious with that consciousness, That shall decide and initiate the action. This is the solution which the Divine Teacher offers to the disciple.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 4, The Core of the Teaching, pp. 33-34,

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