Moving From Human to Divine Action

For the awareness to shift from that of the ego-individual as the “doer” to that of the Divine Consciousness, Sri Aurobindo has outlined several steps along the way. The seeker must be able to separate himself from the actions of Nature through adoption of the witness consciousness, the status of the Purusha observing, and eventually, influencing Prakriti. Here the knowledge of the three Gunas and their effective action becomes essential. As the witness of the nature, the seeker must begin to see and understand the movement of the three qualities, Gunas, tamas, rajas and sattwa. “Nature works in us, says the Gita, through the triple quality of Prakriti, the quality of light and good, the quality of passion and desire and the quality of obscurity and inertia. The seeker must learn to distinguish, as an impartial and discerning witness of all that proceeds within this kingdom of his nature, the separate and the combined action of these qualities; he must pursue the workings of the cosmic forces in him through all the labyrinth of their subtle unseen processes and disguises and know every intricacy of their maze.”

The next step is for the Purusha to take up the power of sanction and choose which movements to permit and which to deny. “At first he must induce the Nature-Force in its action on his instruments to subdue the working of its two lower qualities and bring them into subjection to the quality of light and good and, afterwards, he must persuade that again to offer itself so that all three may be transformed by a higher Power into their divine equivalents, supreme repose and calm, divine illumination and bliss, the eternal divine dynamis, Tapas.”

Sri Aurobindo makes the point that the earlier phase, the reduction of the influence of tamas and rajas in favor of a sattwic poise to the being, can proceed quite a distance using the mental framework of the human instrument; eventually, however, this cannot lead either to a complete, total and irreversible success, nor can it carry out the additional phase of transcending sattwa. It is here that the process of the self-surrender to the Divine takes up the process and brings about the ultimate transformations: “By degrees his mind of an imperfect human intelligence will be replaced by a spiritual supramental Truth-Light; he will then no longer act from his nature of the Ignorance with its three modes of confused and imperfect activity, but from a diviner nature of spiritual calm, light, power and bliss.”

At the end of this process, the seeker no longer acts based on his individual will or promptings of desire in the lower nature. “Thus can he utterly renounce to the supramental Shakti his works as well as the fruits of his works and act only as the conscious instrument of the eternal Worker. No longer giving the sanction, he will rather receive in his instruments and follow in her hands a divine mandate….No longer willing the fulfilment of his own mental constructions and the satisfaction of his own desires, he will obey and participate in an omnipotent Will that is also an omniscient Knowledge and a mysterious, magical and unfathomable Love and a vast bottomless sea of the eternal Bliss of Existence.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 9, Equality and Annihilation of Ego, pp.217-219

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