Overpassing Moral Laws and Ethical Ideals As the Basis For Spiritual Action

As the spiritual evolution progresses, the individual abandons his fixation on fulfilment of desire and personal satisfaction, then similarly abandons attachment to the fulfilment of the desire and goals set by the social order. The next evolutionary phase is that in which the mental development has come to the fore and posited “absolute” laws of conduct that are independent of the individual as well as of the society. These represent high ideals of justice, truth, love, harmony. Due to the fact that they are framed by the mental capacities of humanity, they tend to be formulated in a narrow, limited and mutually opposed manner. They are thus pale imitations of the ultimate goal of the spiritual development and do not express the freedom and absence of limitation that is needed to reconcile them into one harmonious action that represents them all together.

It is thus incumbent that at some point the seeker must be prepared to leave behind even this high ideals and concepts in order to shift his standpoint and thus his center of understanding and action to the divine standpoint.

Sri Aurobindo takes up this theme: “The bondage to sin and evil passes away with the passing of nervous desire; for it belongs to the quality of vital passion, impulsion or drive of propensity in us (rajoguna) and is extinguished with the transformation of that mode of Nature. But neither must the aspirant remain subject to the gilded or golden chain of a conventional or a habitual or a mentally ordered or even a high or clear sattwic virtue. That will be replaced by something profounder and more essential than the minor inadequate thing that men call virtue.”

The ultimate state is one in which the individual spontaneously knows and acts from the “rightness” of the divine viewpoint. “The culmination of Karmayoga is a yet higher and deeper state that may perhaps be called “soulhood”–for the soul is greater than the man; a free soulhood spontaneously welling out in works of a supreme Truth and Love will replace human virtue.”

“This supreme Love will not necessarily be consistent, much less will it be synonymous, with the partial and feeble, ignorant and emotion-ridden movements of human attraction, sympathy and pity. The petty law cannot bind the vaster movement; the mind’s partial attainment cannot dictate its terms to the soul’s supreme fulfilment.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 8, The Supreme Will, pg. 201