The Supreme Yogin

The Gita defines “renunciation” as an inner act, not an outer form. Thus, the Gita does not call on the yogin to give up acting in the world; rather, he is to continue to act for the benefit of the entire creation, but from a standpoint that is free and above, not weighted down by attachment to the objects of the senses or the action of the 3 Gunas of Nature.

Sri Aurobindo provides an outstanding recap of the ideal attitude and standpoint of the supreme yogin, starting with a citation from the Gita itself: “He, O Arjuna, who sees with equality everything in the image of the Self, whether it be grief or it be happiness, him I hold to be the supreme Yogin.” Sri Aurobindo explains: “And by this it is not meant at all that he himself shall fall from the griefless spiritual bliss and feel again worldly unhappiness, even in the sorrow of others, but seeing in others the play of the dualities which he himself has left and surmounted, he shall still see all as himself, his self in all, God in all and, not disturbed or bewildered by the appearances of these things, moved only by them to help and heal, to occupy himself with the good of all beings, to lead men to the spiritual bliss, to work for the progress of the world Godwards, he shall live the divine life, so long as days upon earth are his portion. The God-lover who can do this, can thus embrace all things in God, can look calmly on the lower nature and the works of the Maya of the three Gunas and act in them and upon them without perturbation or fall or disturbance from the height and power of the spiritual oneness, free in the largeness of the God-vision, sweet and great and luminous in the strength of the God-nature, may well be declared to be the supreme Yogin.”

The yoga of works and the yoga of knowledge here take on an aspect of the yoga of devotion, as they all join together in the ideal attitude of the yogin: “Of all Yogins he who with all his inner self given up to Me, for Me has love and faith…him I hold to be the most united with Me in Yoga.” The “Me” referred to here is the Purushottama who holds united the impersonal and the personal, the unmanifest and the manifest, the unmoving, detached witness, and the soul partaking of the action of Nature.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 23, Nirvana and Works in the World, pp. 234-235

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