The Bhagavad Gita, Karma Yoga and the Supramental Change

Sri Aurobindo introduces the Gita to his review of the yoga of works: “The greatest gospel of spiritual works ever yet given to the race, the most perfect system of Karmayoga known to man in the past, is to be found in the Bhagavad Gita. In that famous episode of the Mahabharata the great basic lines of Karmayoga are laid down for all time with an incomparable mastery and the infallible eye of an assured experience.”

Any explanation of a yogic path is limited by the obstacle of human language, linear, fragmented and partial in its ability to express deeper truths, and the framework of language based in the mental consciousness, which cannot comprehend and express the experience of states of consciousness outside the mental realm. Thus, the Gita can describe the path, but not communicate the actual experience.

Ancient seers recognised this limitation and thus, the teachings generally can only be fully appreciated and understood by those who have the experience; thus, they are not so much descriptions of the state of enlightenment as markers along the way for those are actually gaining the knowledge through experience and identity.

“As the Vedic Rishis insisted in the beginning, the words of the supreme wisdom are expressive only to those who are already of the wise.”

“It is true that the path alone, as the ancient saw it, is worked out fully; the perfect fulfilment, the highest secret is hinted rather than developed; it is kept back as an unexpressed part of a supreme mystery.”

“The Gita at its cryptic close may seem by its silence to stop short of that solution for which we are seeking; it pauses at the borders of the highest spiritual mind and does not cross them into the splendours of the supramental Light. And yet is secret of dynamic, and not only static, identity with the inner Presence, its highest mystery of absolute surrender to the Divine Guide, Lord and Inhabitant of our nature, is the central secret. This surrender is the indispensable means of the supramental change and, again, it is through the supramental change that the dynamic identity becomes possible.”

The Gita then, sets forth for the human, mental consciousness, a way and direction that, with experience, can lead to the highest reaches of the mind, and then points beyond them to still higher states of awareness in a truly spiritualised conscious existence, which Sri Aurobindo identifies with the term “supramental consciousness”, to signify its status beyond the limitations of the mental realm.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 3, Self-Surrender in Works–The Way of the Gita, pg. 87

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