The Normal Human Soul’s Delight in the Dualities of the Play of Nature

The normal human soul, immersed in the manifested world, its forms and actions, actually enjoys the play of the dualities. Even when confronted with suffering, defeat or difficulties, the soul embraces the life of desire, striving and the play of darkness and light, love and hate, achievement and loss. We frequently hear the refrain that this is what makes up the enjoyment of life and that there would not be any joy without sorrow, good times without bad, etc. etc.

This is actually an obstacle for the seeker to face and overcome, as he partakes of this same predilection for embracing the play of the Gunas of Nature (for that is what it is) and fears, in some vital part of his being, that giving up desire would mean giving up something essential and necessary to experiencing the reality of human existence.

Sri Aurobindo reminds us that this remains the soul’s choice: “The ordinary human soul takes a pleasure in the customary disturbances of its nature-life; it is because it has this pleasure and because, having it, it gives a sanction to the troubled play of the lower nature that the play continues perpetually; for the Prakriti does nothing except for the pleasure and with the sanction of its lover and enjoyer, the Purusha.”

This sanction by the Purusha is the key to finding a new stance and standpoint that can go beyond enslavement to the play of the Gunas and the world of duality that this play manifests. By withdrawing the sanction, and revising the basis for the permitted action, the soul can move to the calm, tranquil and peaceful space of the divine consciousness, and act from there without being troubled by joy or suffering, gain or loss, darkness or light.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 19, Equality, pp. 181-183