Nirvana in the Brahman As Defined By the Gita

Since the Gita has chosen to redefine the concept of Nirvana, it is important to understand exactly what it means and what significance this has for the individual seeking to practice the yoga of the Gita. Sri Aurobindo summarizes this with reference to 9 verses that describe it in detail: “When the soul is no longer attached to the touches of outward things…then one finds the happiness that exists in the Self….”

“He who has the inner happiness and the inner ease and repose and the inner light, that Yogin becomes the Brahman and reaches self-extinction in the Brahman…” “Here, very clearly, Nirvana means the extinction of the ego in the higher spiritual, inner Self, that which is for ever timeless, spaceless, not bound by the chain of cause and effect and the changes of the world-mutation, self-blissful, self-illumined and for ever at peace. The Yogin ceases to be the ego, the little person limited by the mind and the body; he becomes the Brahman; he is unified in consciousness with the immutable divinity of the eternal Self which is immanent in his natural being.”

The status of consciousness is not obtained by abandoning life in the world, but by changing one’s relationship to it and one’s standpoint of consciousness. “That happiness and that equality are to be gained entirely by man in the body: he is not to suffer any least remnant of the subjection to the troubled lower nature to remain in the idea that the perfect release will come by a putting off of the body; a perfect spiritual freedom is to be won here upon earth and possessed and enjoyed in the human life….”

We are reminded of that famous passage in the Taittiriya Upanishad, called by some the “calculus of bliss”, wherein the secret is given: “…and this is the bliss of the Vedawise, whose soul the blight of desire touches not.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 23, Nirvana and Works in the World, pp. 224-225