The True Way of Liberation

The Gita proposes that it is by virtue of the turning of the Buddhi, the intelligent will “upward and inward” that the human being can achieve salvation. Reorienting the direction of the concentration and focus brings us to a realisation of the Oneness and brings about a state of peace and calm.

Sri Aurobindo describes the process of making this adjustment in direction of focus: “The first movement must be obviously to get rid of desire which is the whole root of the evil and suffering; and in order to get rid of desire, we must put an end to the cause of desire, the rushing out of the senses to seize and enjoy their objects. We must draw them back when they are inclined thus to rush out, draw them away from their objects,–as the tortoise draws in his limbs into the shell, so these into their source, quiescent in the mind, the mind quiescent in intelligence, the intelligence quiescent in the soul and its self-knowledge, observing the action of Nature, but not subject to it, not desiring anything that the objective life can give.”

For most people, a statement of this sort would lead immediately to the idea of an outer renunciation and asceticism, and this clearly has been the path most have taken throughout history. The abandonment of life in the world, the escape to the seclusion of the forest, the mountains or the desert.

Sri Aurobindo relates the Gita’s alternative definition of renunciation when he states: “Not the renunciation of the Sankhyas or the austerities of the rigid ascetic with his fasts, his maceration of the body, his attempt to abstain even from food; that is not the self-discipline or the abstinence which i mean, for I speak of an inner withdrawal, a renunciation of desire.”

In fact, the very act of suppressing or fighting the desires through ascetic disciplines generally means that while the outer renunciation is occurring, the inner desire, the subjective attachment remains. “…the soul must, on the contrary, be capable of enduring the physical contact without suffering inwardly this sensuous reaction.”

This inner state of desireless contact with the objects of the senses is possible “…by the vision of the supreme,…the Soul, the Purusha,–and by living in the Yoga, in union or oneness of the whole subjective being with that, through the Yoga of the intelligence…”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 10, The Yoga of the Intelligent Will, pp. 92-93,