The Human Viewpoint and the Divine Viewpoint

When the Gita recommends that the spiritual seeker free himself from the ego-self and the force of desire, this obviously is not truly possible while we remain enmeshed in the operations of the Gunas of Nature and act from the mental/vital/physical standpoint. While we may systematically cultivate a sattwic poise of “non-attachment”, as long as we remain fixed in the human viewpoint we remain subject to the action of the modes of Nature and thus, the poise is both subject to change as well as subject to forms of illusion, such as self-deception. In order to achieve the liberation that the Gita speaks of, one must actually access and live in the standpoint of the divine consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo discusses the issue of standpoint in the following passage: “In fact, these higher truths can only be helpful, because there only they are true to experience and can be lived, on a higher and vaster plane of consciousness and being. To view these truths from below is to mis-see, misunderstand and probably to misuse them.”

The divine viewpoint is asked to rise above the dualities of good and evil, but this is not intended to justify anything that the mental or vital consciousness desires, but to establish a standpoint where the validity of the concept for the mental framework can be recognized, but the reconciliation of them both in the wider divine manifestation can also be seen and accepted.

Sri Aurobindo also cites the example of the debate between determinism of Nature and free will. From the mental standpoint, the concept of determinism implies that everything is “fixed” and thus, man has no way to overcome propensities so he might as well give in to them. A larger truth recognises that there is a truth of determinism, just as there is a truth of free will, and the law of Karma implies that there will be an inevitable response or reaction to what one does in the world; and that if one exercises the will toward the fulfillment of the ego and achievement of desire, one will gain that fruit, but also, through systematic effort one can change or overcome the force of the nature to which one is born.

The divine viewpoint reconciles these apparently conflicting concepts that seem so opposite and impossible to keep in balance from the human viewpoint.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 21, The Determinism of Nature, pp. 206-207