The Ego Standpoint and the Universal Standpoint

The recognition and the realisation that it is the Divine Force that acts within the frame of a unified field of existence that is constituted as a manifestation of the Eternal is something that we may be able to adopt intellectually at some point, but this still leaves the nexus of the ego-personality in its actions and reactions in the world. The long habit and embedded force of desire make a true transition to this new standpoint the big remaining difficulty. Sri Aurobindo explains: “…it is difficult for us in our outward parts and active nature to square accounts between this universal standpoint and the claims of our personal opinion, our personal will, our personal emotion and desire. We are forced still to go on dealing with this indivisible movement as if it were a mass of impersonal material out of which we, the ego, the person, have to carve something according to our own will and mental fantasy by a personal struggle and effort. This is man’s normal attitude towards his environment, actually false because our ego and its will are creations and puppets of the cosmic forces and it is only when we withdraw from ego into the consciousness of the divine Knowledge-Will of the Eternal who acts in them that we can be by a sort of deputation from above their master.”

The ego-personality and its development serve an important purpose in the evolutionary movement of Nature, as it helps to differentiate and raise up new powers of consciousness: “…for without this viewpoint and motive-force he cannot grow in his ego, cannot sufficiently develop and differentiate himself out of the subconscious or half-conscious universal mass-existence.”

Thus, we recognize that even the ego-personality has its time and place and value in the evolutionary progression. For the seeker of the integral Yoga, however, it becomes incumbent to release this ego-personality and transition the standpoint to the universal standpoint, and to allow the Divine Force to act from that position.

Sri Aurobindo distills the point in one of his aphorisms: “…the ego is the helper, the ego is the bar.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 7, Standards of Conduct and Spiritual Freedom, pg. 178

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