The Individual Relation With the Divine

For many, if not most, seekers, the relation with the Guide or Teacher represents the touch of the Divine Presence in their lives. This personal relationship may actually take many forms, but it acts as an immediate entry-way for the Divine to aid the seeker in his evolutionary path. The relationship is intense and focused on the personal development. Sri Aurobindo describes this further: “At first this Godhead close to our being or immanent within us can be felt fully only in the scope of our personal nature and experience, a Leader and Master, a Guide and Teacher, a Friend and Lover, or else a Spirit, Power or Presence, constituting and uplifting our upward and enlarging movement by the force of his intimate reality inhabiting the heart or presiding over our nature from above even our highest intelligence. it is our personal evolution that is his preoccupation, a personal relation that is our joy and fulfilment, the building of our nature into his divine image that is our self-finding and perfection.”

In some cases this relationship is not recognised explicitly by the seeker from the outset as representing the Divine Presence. In the Bhagavad Gita there is a moving passage in the 11th Chapter, when Arjuna is granted the vision of the Divine by Sri Krishna, wherein Arjuna is overwhelmed by the vision and recognises that his friend and relative, advisor and guide, Sri Krishna is at one and the same time both the person with whom he has had friendly and informal relations and the immanent Divine in all his power and majesty. Arjuna begs forgiveness for his failure to recognize this previously and for his informality in the past. This illustrates the manner in which the Divine Presence can inter-relate closely with the seeker along the way as the personal growth is taking place and being gently guided and formed. The result and goal here, for most, is the personal spiritual evolution and development and flowering of that personal relationship.

Sri Aurobindo observes that this is however not the goal of the integral Yoga for the seeker: “…however intense and beautiful, a personal isolated achievement cannot be his whole aim or his entire existence. A time must come when the personal opens out to the universal; our very individuality, spiritual, mental, vital, physical even, becomes universalised; it is seen as a power of his universal force and cosmic spirit, or else it contains the universe in that ineffable wideness which comes to the individual consciousness when it breaks its bonds and flows upward towards the Transcendent and on every side into the Infinite.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 11, The Master of the Work, pp. 245-246