The Emergence of the True Life-Force Through the Elimination of Desire

The first of the three conditions required for the transformation of the Life-Force is the elimination of desire as the motive principle of action. Perhaps the greatest exposition which clarifies how this is to be done is the Bhagavad Gita. Sri Aurobindo describes the Gita’s method: “…a complete renouncement of desire for the fruits as the motive of action, a complete annulment of desire itself, the complete achievement of a spiritual equality are put forward as the normal status of a spiritual being. A perfect spiritual equality is the one true and infallible sign of the cessation of desire,–to be equal-souled to all things, unmoved by joy and sorrow, the pleasant and the unpleasant, success or failure, to look with an equal eye on high and low, friend and enemy, the virtuous and the sinner, to see in all beings the manifold manifestation of the One and in all things the multitudinous play or the slow masked evolution of the embodied Spirit.”

Sri Aurobindo distinguishes this status from those we may confuse with it: “It is not a mental quiet, aloofness, indifference, not an inert vital quiescence, not a passivity of the physical consciousness consenting to no movement or to any movement that is the condition aimed at…”

He then describes what it is: “…a wide comprehensive unmoved universality such as that of the Witness Spirit behind Nature….This presence behind is equal-souled to all things: the energy it holds in it can be unloosed for any action, but no action will be chosen by any desire in the Witness Spirit; a Truth acts which is beyond and greater than the action itself or its apparent forms and impulses, beyond and greater than mind or life-force or body, although it may take for the immediate purpose a mental, a vital or a physical appearance.”

The result is the emergence of the true vital being, which “reveals its own calm, intense and potent presence….it is a projection of the Divine Purusha into life,–tranquil, strong, luminous, many-energied, obedient to the Divine Will, egoless, yet or rather therefore capable of all action, achievement, highest or largest enterprise. The true Life-Force too reveals itself as no longer this troubled harassed divided striving surface energy, but a great and radiant Divine Power, full of peace and strength and bliss, a wide-wayed Angel of Life with its wings of Might enfolding the universe.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 6, The Ascent of the Sacrifice-2, The Works of Love–The Works of Life, pp. 166-168

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