Three Interdependent Steps For Spiritual Growth

Sri Aurobindo summarizes the general methodology for spiritual liberation and growth into three steps. First, one must be able to overcome the driving force of passion and desire which binds one to the objects of the senses and the illusion of the play of the dualities. “That is the ignorance, the egosim which fails to see and lay hold on the Divine everywhere, because it sees only the dualities of Nature and is constantly occupied with its own separate personality and its seekings and shrinkings. For escape fro this circle the first necessity in our works is to get clear of the sin of the vigal ego, the fire of passion, the tumult of desire of the rajasic nature, and this has to be done by the steadying sattwic impulse of the ethical being.”

The second step, from the foundation achieved by development of the first release from the control of the desire-soul, is to expand the quiet, detached consciousness. “…it is necessary to rise above the dualities and to become impersonal, equal, one self with the Immutable, one self with all existences. This process of growing into the spirit completes our purification.”

The third step is to associate with the first two phases, a spirit of devotion is to be cultivated: “…a supreme Bhakti, an all-embracing devotion to the Divine, becomes the whole and the sole law of the being. All other law of conduct merges into that surrender…. The soul then becomes firm in this Bhakti and in the vow of self-consecration of all its being, knowledge, works; for it has now for its sure base, its absolute foundation of existence and action the perfect, the interal, the unifying knowledge of the all-originating Godhead….”

We see here the subtle interweaving of the yoga of works, the yoga of knowledge and the yoga of devotion.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 2, The Synthesis of Devotion and Knowledge, pp. 269-270