Surpassing All Standards of Conduct

The ultimate, and the hardest, step for any individual to take is to move beyond the fixed limitations and protections of the human standards of conduct and respond entirely freely as a nexus of the divine action. On the one side, there are all the fixed habits of the physical body, the vital being and the mind which lock us into responses that are grounded in the standards of life. On the other side, even at the highest edge of development of the human mentality, there is an inherent trepidation to move beyond the protection of the “tried and true” rules of conduct that prevail in the society.

Sri Aurobindo describes the issue: “All standards and rules are temporary constructions founded upon the needs of the ego in its transition from Matter to Spirit. These make-shifts have a relative imperativeness so long as we rest satisfied in the stages of transition, content with the physical and vital life, attached to the mental movement, or even fixed in the ranges of the mental plane that are touched by the spiritual lustres. But beyond is the unwalled wideness of a supramental infinite consciousness and there all temporary structures cease.”

The Bhagavad Gita advised Arjuna: “Abandoning all Dharmas, all principles and laws and rules of conduct, take refuge in me alone.” This was the difficult task assigned to Arjuna as the representative man of his Age, and he raised many doubts and questions due to his concerns about his duty, the sin or the virtue of his actions, and all manner of human considerations. In the end, the aspirant must be prepared to leave all these things behind and take that leap into the unknown: “At one moment we must plunge without hesitation, reserve or fear or scruple into the ocean of the free, the infinite, the Absolute. After the Law, Liberty; after the personal, after the general, after the universal standards there is something greater, the impersonal plasticity, the divine freedom, the transcendent force and the supernal impulse. After the strait path of the ascent, the wide plateaus on the summit.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 8, The Supreme Will, pg. 197