Attaining the Joy That Surpasses All Understanding

The stages of equality of soul are a transitional phase as the consciousness moves from the individual, human standpoint to the divine standpoint. The experience of the seeker along the way is so powerful that many will consider one of the other of these stages to be the ultimate perfection being sought, and essentially stop at that point. Sri Aurobindo reminds us of a supreme status of consciousness which goes far beyond either the equality that suffers and bears, or the equality that proceeds from a philosophic abstract view of things, events and forces. “If we can pass through these two stages of the inner change without being arrested or fixed in either, we are admitted to a greater divine equality which is capable of a spiritual ardour and tranquil passion of delight, a rapturous, all-understanding and all-possessing equality of the perfected soul, an intense and even wideness and fullness of is being embracing all things.”

This next stage comes about through a complete self-giving where the ego-personality surrenders to the Divine Being, Knowledge, and Force, where there is no longer any struggle of the individual ego to achieve anything, but rather, a recognition that it is the Divine who is the doer of all works and the creator of all forms and forces in the universal manifestation.

The entire quality of the experience changes as the seeker moves beyond struggle, effort and an self-exceeding: “For strength is then crowned by a happy mastery, peace deepens into bliss, the possession of the divine Calm is uplifted and made the ground for the possession of the divine movement.”

The psychological status must change in order to reach this phase as well. This is where the principle of surrender comes in. The equality that bears and suffers all gets transformed: “This submission will be no longer a resigned acquiescence but a glad acceptance: for there will be no sense of suffering or of the bearing of a burden or cross; love and delight and the joy of self-giving will be its brilliant texture.” The equality of philosophical indifference also takes on a different character: “A lonely power, peace and stillness is the last word of the philosophic equality of the sage; but the soul in its integral experience liberates itself from this self-created status and enters into the sea of a supreme and all-embracing ecstasy of the beginningless and endless beatitude of the Eternal. Then we are at last capable of receiving all contacts with a blissful equality, because we feel in them the touch of the imperishable Love and Delight, the happiness absolute that hides ever in the heart of things. The gain of this culmination in universal and equal rapture is the soul’s delight and the opening gates of the Bliss that is infinite, the Joy that surpasses all understanding.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 9, Equality and Annihilation of Ego, pp.215-216


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