The Gita’s Synthesis of Spiritual Liberation and Divine Action

Before proceeding to the next phase of the Gita’s teaching, Sri Aurobindo takes the opportunity to summarize how far we have come. The Gita recognizes the basic truth behind each of the philosophical and yogic systems of its time, and has set about to integrate them into an harmonious whole which acknowledges the unique contribution of each one, while overcoming the limitations due to their focus which tend to overlook the aspects brought out by other systems or practices.

The dualism of Sankhya is accepted by the Gita to the extent it has a practical application for the spiritual practice, with primary importance being the separation of the witness consciousness from the active nature, Purusha and Prakriti, and the ability thereby to transcend the binding action of the three Gunas that operate the mechanism of Nature. The Gita, however, does not accept a pure duality, and thus introduces a widening of this view to incorporate the supreme Soul and supreme Nature which transcends and integrates the action of the lower Nature with the witnessing and sanctioning aspect of the Purusha.

Vedanta is accepted with respect to the impersonal Existence which removes the limitation of the ego-personality and which acknowledges the Oneness of the entire creation. The concept of the Supreme Brahman which transcends, while also permeating the creation, both the active and the inactive and mutable and the immutable. The tendency to focus on the immutable, eternal Brahman and turn away from life and action in the world is modified by the Gita’s insistence on the Lord of Creation embodying and permeating the entire world of forms and all actions.

Yoga is accepted by the Gita with respect to the self-surrender it calls for to the Lord of existence. The limitation of its focus on action in the world has been modified by the integration of all as the Oneness of the Lord and the transcendent viewpoint providing perspective that avoids getting caught up in works and phenomenal results without recognizing the true source and purpose.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 8, God in Power of Becoming, pp. 341-342