Combining a Divine Detachment With a Divine Involvement In Nature

The Gita thus far has focused primarily on the steps required to gain some distance and perspective on the works of Nature, as the entire spiritual teaching depends on the ability to attain a new standpoint of uninvolved detachment from the Gunas, the dualities and the egoistic preoccupations. At the same time, the Gita has continually worked to remind the seeker that abandonment of Nature is not the eventual goal. The detachment is not what is normally understood by this term. Sri Aurobindo describes it thus: “This is a larger, more living, more perfect spiritual detachment which comes by a vision of the Supreme who is more than Nature and greater than mind and reason. But even this detachment is only the initial secret of freedom and of the clear vision of knowledge, it is not the whole clue to the divine mystery,–for by itself it would leave Nature unexplained and the natural active part of being isolated from the spiritual and quietistic self-existence. The divine detachment must be the foundation for a divine participation in Nature which will replace the old egoistic participation, the divine quietism must support a divine activism and kinetism.”

The focus on the detachment first and foremost is understandable, since the seeker must be able to find a standpoint outside the normal life of mind-life-body if it is going to be able to restructure the basis of its action. Until one moves outside the habitual framework, there is no possibility of this occurring. Where the Gita’s true genius is seen, however, is its ability to adopt what appears to be initially a straightforward yoga of knowledge with its emphasis on detachment and abandonment of desire for the things of the world, while not falling into the eventual trap of treating the interim abandonment as the ultimate realization. The Gita therefore integrates the yoga of knowledge, which has been broadly developed thus far in the teaching, with a new insight as to the divine action in and through Nature and the need to bring in the active and devotional aspects in order to achieve the supreme realization.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 4, The Secret of Secrets, pp. 290-291