From Dharmas to a Status Beyond All Dharmas

One of the unique things about the Bhagavad Gita is that it not only sets forth specific lines of action that can be followed to achieve liberation from the bondage to the desire-soul and the action of the Gunas of Nature, but in the end, it makes it clear that these steps are provisional and pragmatic, but not final, and that they too, eventually, can be overpassed to bring the seeker to a space of ultimate freedom in the Spirit.

Sri Aurobindo amplifies this point: “An ordinary religious teaching or philosophical doctrine is well enough satisfied to seize on certain great and vital aspects of truth and turn them into utilisable dogma and instruction, method and practice for the guidance of man in his inner life and the law and form of his action; it does not go farther, it does not open doors out of the circle of its own system, does not lead us out into some widest freedom and unimprisoned largeness.”

For most individuals, the framework erected by these religions or philosophies is beneficial as it acts as a strong support and guide along a straight and narrow path, reducing the risks and obstacles of a less directed approach. “It is only the strong and few who can move through freedom to freedom.”

The Gita does both. “To exceed our ladder of ascent, not to stop short even on the topmost stair but move untrammelled and at large in the wideness of the spirit is a release important for our perfection; the spirit’s absolute liberty is our perfect status. And this is how the Gita leads us: it lays down a firm and sure but very large way of ascent, a great Dharma, and then it takes us out beyond all that is laid down, beyond all Dharmas, into infinitely open spaces, divulges to us the hope, lets us into the secret of an absolute perfection founded in an absolute spiritual liberty, and that secret…is the substance of what it calls its supreme word, that the hidden thing, the inmost knowledge.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 21, Towards the Supreme Secret, pp. 508-509