The Process of Liberation From the Gunas

Before taking up the next subject of the Gita, Sri Aurobindo provides a summary conclusion of the spiritual process that has been recommended. With a clear understanding of the qualities and characteristics of each of the three Gunas, it is now possible for us to examine our own lives and actions and begin systematically to encourage and develop a predominant balance emphasizing Sattwa. This step helps free us from the bondage of the instinctive and desire-bound drives of the animal nature which are clearly active in all human beings, particularly in the physical and vital parts, and thereby prepare the human instrument for the succeeding step of transcending even Sattwa by moving into the divine standpoint and becoming purely an occasion or nexus of the divine action in the world.

“It is then by a liberating development of the soul out of this lower nature of the triple Gunas into the supreme divine nature beyond the three Gunas that we can best arrive at spiritual perfection and freedom. And this again can best be brought about by an anterior development of the predominance of the highest sattwic quality to a point at which Sattwa also is overpassed, mounts beyond its own limitations and breaks up into a supreme freedom, absolute light, serene power of the conscious spirit in which there is no determination by conflicting Gunas.”

The result: “The sattwic mind and will change into that spiritual knowledge and dynamic power of identical existence in which the whole nature puts off its disguise and becomes a free self-expression of the godhead within it. The sattwic doer becomes the Jiva in contact with his source, united with the Purushottama; he is no longer the personal doer of the act, but a spiritual channel of the works of the transcendent and universal Spirit….What was sattwic action becomes the free activity of the perfected nature in which there is no longer any personal limitation, any tethering to this or that quality, any bondage of sin and virtue, self and others or any but a supreme spiritual self-determination. That is the culmination of works uplifted to the sole Divine Worker by a God-seeking and spiritual knowledge.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 20, Swabhava and Swadharma, pp. 490-491