Overcoming the Temperament of the Asura To Develop the Higher Nature

The concept of “evil-doer”, within the context of the Gita and its focus on the evolutionary development of the spiritual, higher consciousness in life, is based on the clear distinction between those who are slaves to desire and the fruits of desire, who are wedded to the results brought about by predominance of Tamas and Rajas, and those who aspire to a higher life, a higher law and a higher nature, free from this attachment to desire and taking on the characteristics of a spiritual being with purified senses, mind and aspiration.

The Gita’s statement makes it also quite clear that attainment does not come through the enslavement of the desire-mind to the forces, actions and results of the tamasic and rajasic-driven impulses. Sri Aurobindo describes the situation: “The evil-doer cannot attain to the Supreme because he is for ever trying to satisfy the idol ego on the lowest scale of human nature; his real God is this ego. His mind and will, hurried away in the activities of the Maya of the three Gunas, are not instruments of the spirit, but willing slaves or self-deceived tools of his desires. He sees this lower nature only and not his supreme self and highest being or the Godhead within himself and in the world: he explains all existence to his will in the terms of ego and desire and serves only ego and desire.”

The first step out of this predicament then, is to create the aspiration and begin to focus the being on the higher nature and to live according to a higher law of life, by invoking sattwic tendencies. While the final achievement cannot be obtained purely through adoption of a sattwic temperament, because one remains subject to the action of the Gunas in an unstable state, and due to the limits beyond which Sattwa cannot attain, nevertheless, the question of spiritual realisation is essentially out of the question for those wallowing in the depths of desire and depravity! “For the crude rajasic or the dull tamasic ego is difficult to shake off and put below us; the sattwic ego is less difficult and at last, when it sufficiently subtilises and enlightens itself, becomes even easy to transcend, transmute or annihilate.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 2, The Synthesis of Devotion and Knowledge, pp. 267-268