The first two steps, the elimination of desire as the motive force of action, and the emergence of the psychic being as the leader of the human nature of mind-life-body, represent the human aspiration, the upward ascent of the evolving human consciousness reaching out toward something that is higher and purer which has the power to transform the outer life. The third step represents the response, the descent of the Divine Power into the being, and its consequent impact on the life of the seeker.
Particularly for those who have not experienced anything like this themselves, there is an inclination to treat this as some kind of metaphorical event; however, it must be stressed that this descent of the Divine Force from above, and its taking up and acting upon the limited human nature, is something that is palpable, and experienced as something real, verifiable and able to be repeated under the right conditions.
The Isha Upanishad describes a “golden lid” that separates the lower nature from the higher nature. This acts as a barrier or veil that separates our normal human consciousness from the Divine Force. Under the impulsion of a passionate devotion, or a strong force of meditation or concentration, or some other impulsion that is brought about through the intensity of the sadhana, there come moments when the veil is pierced, the lid is removed and the force rushes into the being from above.
Sri Aurobindo describes this action: “This may be a momentary revelation, a flash or a brief-lived gleam that soon withdraws and waits for the preparation of the nature, but also it may repeat itself, grow, endure. A long and large comprehensive working will then have begun, sometimes luminous or intense, sometimes slow and obscure. A Divine Power comes in front at times and leads and compels or instructs and enlightens; at others it withdraws into the background and seems to leave the being to its own resources. All that is ignorant, obscure, perverted or simply imperfect and inferior in the being is raised up, perhaps brought to its acme, dealt with, corrected, exhausted, shown its disastrous results, compelled to call for its own cessation or transformation or expelled as worthless or incorrigible from the nature.”
“But if the equality and the psychic light and will are also there, then this process, though it cannot be dispensed with, can still be much lightened and facilitated: it will be rid of its worst dangers; an inner calm, happiness, confidence will support the steps through all the difficulties and trials of the transformation and the growing Force profiting by the full assent of the nature will rapidly diminish and eliminate the power of the opposing forces.”
With the descent of the higher Force, the process takes on a sureness and continuity. This provides certainty and support to the seeker through all difficulties. “In either case the process is the same and unavoidable, a taking up of the whole nature, of the whole life, of the internal and of the external, to reveal and handle and transform its forces and their movements under the pressure of a diviner Life from above, until all here has been possessed by greater spiritual powers and made an instrumentation of a spiritual action and a divine purpose.”
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. 169-170