Escaping From Bondage to Rajasic and Tamasic Domination

For those individuals who seek to understand the meaning of their lives and find a positive solution, it is relatively easy to observe the results of various types of life strategies and focus for the powers of mind, life and body that have been given to us. The Asuric temperament represents an extreme formulation of the principle of action of the quality of Rajas, and if we study the results of Rajas taken to the extreme, we can understand where such a line of approach takes the individual who chooses to follow that path. Sri Aurobindo describes this very clearly: “The Asuric Prakriti is the rajasic at its height; it leads to the slavery of the soul in Nature, to desire, wrath and greed, the three powers of the rajasic ego, and these are the threefold doors of Hell, the Hell into which the natural being falls when it indulges the impurity and evil and error of its lower or perverted instincts. These three are again the doors of a great darkness, they fold back into Tamas, the characteristic power of the original Ignorance; for the unbridled force of the rajasic nature, when exhausted, falls back into the weakness, collapse, darkness, incapacity of the worst tamasic soul-status.”

The escape from this pattern requires the application of the principle of Sattwa. “To follow the law of desire is not the true rule of our nature; there is a higher and juster standard of its works.”

Development of Sattwa in the nature moves the spring of action from personal desire or pleasure to an independent standard of conduct, sometimes called a code of ethics, sometimes a religious doctrine, sometimes a “dharma”, embodied in a “shastra”, essentially a codified set of principles that embody truth, right relation and right action. “Shastra is the knowledge and teaching laid down by intuition, experience and wisdom, the science and art and ethic of life, the best standards available to the race.”

Once the individual has made this sattwic approach the foundation for his life and action, he readies himself for the eventual step of moving beyond all specific shastras or dharmas, as these are means to the end, not the end itself. “The supreme end is the freedom of the spirit when abandoning all Dharmas the soul turns to God for its sole law of action, acts straight from the divine will and lives in the freedom of the divine nature, not in the Law but in the Spirit.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 17, Deva and Asura, pp. 459-460