Reconciling the Impersonal Silence of the Nirvanic Status With Action In the World

 The Gita envisions a conscious experience that holds both the impersonal silence and the vast universal action together without division or contradiction. This realisation is similar to the Taoist way as well as the goals and methodology of the Mahayana Tantric Buddhism of Tibet.   The teaching found in chapter 9 of Santideva’s fundamental work “A Guide To the Bodhisattva Way of Life” on the concept of “emptiness” is a practical methodology used to overcome the force of the egoistic consciousness by recognising the fact of the unreality of the objects sought after or avoided through the ego’s attractions and repulsions.   At the end of this practice, which begins with cultivation of the sattwic principle as enunciated by the Gita, there is not, as commonly thought, a dissolution into nothingness, but rather a freedom from the ego personality which allow the vast, universal purpose to manifest through the individual.   The end result is a dedication of the individual to the work of compassion and love that is not self-oriented but rather done for the universal welfare.

Sri Aurobindo describes this status:.”The man who has this harmony may be motionless within and absorbed in silence, but his Self will appear free from disguises, the divine Influence will be at work in him and while he abides in tranquility and an inward inaction, naiskarmya, yet he will act with an irresistible power and myriads of things and beings will move and gather under his influence. The impersonal force of the Self takes up his works, movements no longer deformed by ego, and sovereignly acts through him for the keeping together and control of the world and its peoples….”

>/p><p>Sri Aurobindo, &amp;lt;a href=”http://www.lotuspress.com/item.php?item=990205&#8243; title=”Essays on the Gita”&amp;gt;Essays on the Gita&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 22, The Supreme Secret, pp. 527-528 &lt;/p&gt;</p>

Seeking the Way To Transcend the Action Of the Three Gunas

The Gita repeatedly exhorts the seeker to transcend and pass beyond the action of the three Gunas and further advises us to ciltivate and increase the action of sattwa as a stepping stone toward realisation of this aim.   At the same time we are warned that a sattwic disposition has its own limitations and is also not stable due to the ever-changing play of the Gunas.   The question naturally arises as to how best to go beyond the action of the Gunas. It is from this general question that the prescription to renounce the life of action and immerse oneself in the experience of the silent, ineffable, immutable and impersonal Brahman arises.  

Sri Aurobindo describes the issues involved in this attempt:.”The difficulty is that while we can feel a positive release into this impersonality in moments of the quiet and silence of our being, an impersonal activity is by no means so easy to realise.”. 

The further difficulty is related to the sattwic ego taking hold of any action decided on and using it as a cloak for the aggrandisement of the egoistic personality and its aims.  

Sri Aurobindo shows the way out of this riddle:.”This impersonal silence however is not the last word of wisdom in this matter, because it is not the only way and crown or not all the way and the last crown of self-realisation open to our endeavour. There is a mightier fuller more positive spiritual experience in which the circle of our egoistic personality and the round of the mind’s limitations vanish in the unwalled infinity of a greatest self and spirit and yet life and its works not only remain still acceptable and possible but reach up and out to their widest spiritual completeness and assume a grand ascending significance.”

 

>/p><p>Sri Aurobindo, &amp;lt;a href=”http://www.lotuspress.com/item.php?item=990205&#8243; title=”Essays on the Gita”&amp;gt;Essays on the Gita&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 22, The Supreme Secret, pp. 526-527 &lt;/p&gt;</p>