The Gita’s Affirmation Of the Role Of the Individual Soul

The spiritual experience of the vast impersonal and transcendent existence is clearly one of the highest and most overwhelming experiences to be had by the spiritual seeker; and it is therefore understandable that traditions throughout the world have described this experience and made of it a centerpiece of their world view. Some of these traditions go on to postulate that this is in fact the ultimate truth and the experience of the individual is something ultimately unreal and illusory. It is understandable that they would attempt to solve the riddle of the individual in this manner on the basis of the experience.

The Gita shares this experience and the steps leading to its realisation with these other traditions, and certainly acknowledges the reality and power of the impersonal Existence.

At this point, however, the Gita takes a different approach. Rather than consigning the experience of the individual soul to a minor and illusory role, the Gita acknowledges both its reality and its ultimate significance.

Sri Aurobindo describes the Gita’s view: “The demand is to see all things in the self and then in ‘Me’ the Ishwara, to renounce all action into the Self, Spirit, Brahman and thence into the supreme Person, the Purushottama. There is here a still greater and profounder complex of spiritual experience, a larger transmutation of the significance of human life, a more mystic and heart-felt sweep of the return of the stream to the ocean, the restoration of personal works and the cosmic action to the Eternal Worker. The stress on pure impersonality has this difficulty and incompleteness for us that it reduces the inner person, the spiritual individual, that persistent miracle of our inmost being, to a temporary, illusive and mutable formation in the Infinite. The Infinite alone exists and except in a passing play has no true regard on the soul of the living creature. There can be no real and permanent relation between the soul in man and the Eternal, if that soul is even as the always renewable body no more than a transient phenomenon in the Infinite.”

href=”http://www.lotuspress.com/item.php?item=990205&#8243; title=”Essays on the Gita”&amp;amp;gt;Essays on the Gita&amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;gt;, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 22, The Supreme Secret, pp. 528-529 &amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;&lt;/p&gt;</p>