Three Steps To Move From Human to Divine Action

As a progressive dialogue which systematically moves the disciple from the human standpoint to a new framework of consciousness, the Gita undertakes to teach in a series of stages. These stages happen to provide the basis of the three great paths of vedantic yoga, karma yoga, the yoga of works; jnana yoga, the yoga of knowledge, and bhakti yoga, the yoga of love and devotion.

Sri Aurobindo defines the three steps of the Gita’s progression: “First, by the renunciation of desire and a perfect equality works have to be done as a sacrifice by man as the doer…” This is not, as some hold, the final word of the Gita, but the initial stage of the development that needs to occur.

“Secondly, not only the desire of the fruit, but the claim to be the doer of works has to be renounced in the realisation of the Self as the equal, the inactive, the immutable principle and of all works as simply the operation of universal Force, of the Nature-Soul, Prakriti, the unequal, active, mutable power.”

“Lastly the supreme Self has to be seen as the supreme Purusha governing this Prakriti, of whom the soul in Nature is a partial manifestation, by whom all works are directed, in a perfect transcendence, through Nature.”

Through these 3 stages, the seeker moves from a sense of complete bondage to action and karma to a sense of a complete spiritual liberation and freedom in Oneness with the Supreme. The Gita provides this solution in stages so that we can grow and develop into this new awareness and new poise of action, starting from our limited human motives and desires, first by eliminating the desire, second by eliminating the sense of being the doer, and third, by acting from a transcendent standpoint that has true equality of soul toward both the action and the fruits of action.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 4, The Core of the Teaching, pp. 34-35,