The Successive Stages of the Liberation Process

The Gita recognizes that the change of standpoint it calls for is something that occurs over time and through a series of steps. Therefore, we must be prepared to follow the Gita’s line of development to the end before trying to judge any specific step as the ultimate intention. In the early chapters, the Gita does not fully work out the concept of the Purushottama; rather it focuses primarily on what might be considered “next steps” to address the current need of Arjuna, and then systematically moves on to further developments.

Sri Aurobindo discusses the concepts: “He speaks as yet not at all in set terms of the Purushottama, but of himself,–‘I’, Krishna, Narayana, the Avatar, the God in man who is also the Lord in the universe incarnated in the figure of the divine charioteer of Kurukshetra. ‘In the Self, then in Me,’ is the formula he gives, implying that the transcendence of the individual personality by seeing it as a ‘becoming’ in the impersonal self-existent Being is simply a means of arriving at that great secret impersonal Personality, which is thus silent, calm and uplifted above Nature in the impersonal Being, but also present and active in Nature in all these million becomings.”

The next stage after achieving the impersonal consciousness, and thereby moving away from the standpoint of the egoistic individual, is to move beyond the silent, unmoving impersonality. “…we arrive finally at union with that supreme Personality which is not separate and individual, but yet assumes all individualities.”

This then moves the consciousness to the next standpoint: “Transcending the lower nature of the three Gunas and seating the soul in the immobile Purusha beyond the three Gunas, we can ascend finally into the higher nature of the infinite Godhead which is not bound by the three Gunas even when it acts through Nature. Reaching the inner actionlessness of the silent Purusha, naiskarmya, and leaving Prakriti to do her works, we can attain supremely beyond to the status of the divine Mastery which is able to do all works and yet be bound by none.”

The traditional goal of withdrawal into the silent, infinite, unmoving Brahman takes the seeker away from path path of action. Recognising the concept of the Purushottama, we can reintegrate action and inaction from the standpoint of one Being with the two mutually supportive aspects. “See the silent Brahman as the goal and the world with all its activities has to be forsaken; see God, the Divine, the Purushottama as the goal, superior to action yet its inner spiritual cause and object and original will, and the world with all its activities is conquered and possessed in a divine transcendence of the world.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 14, The Principle of Divine Works, pp. 126-127