The Solution to the Problem of Human Action

The problem of human action has troubled humanity for thousands of years. On the one side, we have what we call our animal nature, with our desires, as well as instincts, that drive action toward the attainment of various fruits of our efforts. In addition, however, we have an internal sense that there must be a greater meaning to our lives, and that we are other and different than the grasping, desire-filled ego-personality trying to achieve satisfaction through acquisition of material or vital results for our lives. We then experience a sense that our aspirations and dreams reflect one reality, while in the outer world we remain limited, bound and filled with suffering and struggle. The disconnect between our outer sense of bondage to the limitations of the world and our desires and the inner sense of independence and freedom, even mastery over the life we are living, leads to the search for a deeper meaning and a seeking for Truth, for God, for the Soul, for freedom and mastery.

Sri Aurobindo points out that the yoga recommended by the Gita actually provides the radical solution to this problem: “This high consummation of the Yoga will at once solve or rather it will wholly remove and destroy at its roots the problem of action.”

“His imperfections can cease only when he knows himself, knows the real nature of the world in which he lives and, most of all, knows the Eternal from whom he comes and in whom and by whom he exists. When he has once achieved a true consciousness and knowledge, there is no longer any problem; for then he acts freely out of himself and lives spontaneously in accordance with the truth of his spirit and his highest nature. At its fullest, at the highest height of this knowledge it is not he who acts but the Divine, the One eternal and infinite who acts in him and through him in his liberated wisdom and power and perfection.”

The radical solution, then, is to move the standpoint of the consciousness away from the human mental being and the ego-personality, to the divine standpoint that participates in the world manifestation as the immanent Divine.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 24, The Message of the Gita, pg. 572

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