Achieving a Status Beyond the Gunas

The problem with the concept that we are either involved and bound by the action of the Gunas in the world-action; or else, we achieve liberation by a renunciation of the world and its activities, is that it requires us to accept a duality with an unbridgeable gulf. While the limited mentality may feel at home with the idea of this opposition and duality, the spiritual vision that sees everywhere oneness cannot possibly accept this as a final credible solution.

Western philosophers, at least from the time of Hegel, have been abandoning the notion that there are such irreconcilable opposites. They posit a “thesis” and an “antithesis” as the two aspects that appear to be opposites, but then search for the larger “synthesis” that reconciles the two smaller terms into a unified field that incorporates both.

The Gita, long before Western philosophy sorted out this question, provided the larger “synthesis” that unifies the silent, unmoving, uninvolved Akshara Purusha with the involved, bound and active Kshara Purusha, and it named this higher term the Purushottama, or, generally translated “the highest or supreme Purusha.” It is this status that allows the soul to partake of both aspects without having to abandon either one entirely.

Sri Aurobindo cites the Gita: “…for the Gita says at the close, always returning to this one final note, ‘He also who loves and strives after Me with an undeviating love and adoration, passes beyond the three Gunas and he too is prepared for becoming the Brahman.’ This ‘I’ is the Purushottama who is the foundation of the silent Brahman and of immortality and imperishable spiritual existence and of the eternal Dharma and of an utter bliss of happiness. There is a status then which is greater than the peace of the Akshara as it watches unmoved the strife of the Gunas. There is a highest spiritual experience and foundation above the immutability of the Brahman, there is an eternal Dharma greater than the rajasic impulsion to works…, there is an absolute delight which is untouched by rajasic suffering and beyond the sattwic happiness, and these things are found and possessed by dwelling in the being an dpower of the Purushottama. But since it is acquired by Bhakti, its status must be that divine delight, Ananda, in which is experienced the union of utter love and possessing oneness, the crown of Bhakti. And to rise into that Ananda, into that inexpressible oneness must be the completion of spiritual perfection and the fulfilment of the eternal immortalising Dharma.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 14, Above the Gunas, pp. 419-420