The Nature of the Spiritual Life and the Spiritual Existence

From the human standpoint, we conceive our options as being either subjection to the actions of Nature or liberation through rejection of Nature. Sri Aurobindo observes that the divine standpoint provides additional stances and options, including taking on the divine nature, identifying with the divine universal intention and purpose, and thereby attaining complete liberation from subjection to Nature and mastery over Nature.

It is one of the weaknesses of the human standpoint that it wants to aggrandize itself, thus treating the concept of mastery in some kind of egoistic sense; however, this mastery only arises when the seeker is totally immersed in and unified with the divine standpoint and thus, there is no sense of individual power or accomplishment that accompanies this mastery.

Sri Aurobindo elucidates: “But the Spirit, the Divine is not only above Nature; it is master of Nature and cosmos; the soul rising into its spiritual poise must at least be capable of the same mastery by its unity with the Divine. It must be capable of controlling its own nature not only in calm or by forcing it to repose, but with a sovereign control of its play and activity. … But the Spirit is in possession of knowledge and will, of which it is the source and cause and not a subject; therefore in proportion as the soul assumes its divine or spiritual being, it assumes also control of the movements of its nature. It becomes, in the ancient language, svarat, free and a self-ruler over the kingdom of its own life and being. But also it increases in control over its environment, its world. This it can only do by universalising itself; for it is the divine and universal will that it must express in its action upon the world. It must first extend its consciousness and see the universe in itself instead of being like the mind limited by the physical, vital, sensational, emotional, intellectual outlook of the little divided personality; it must accept the world-truths, the world-energies, the world-tendencies, the world-purposes as its own instead of clinging to its own intellectual ideas, desires and endeavours, preferences, objects, intentions, impulses; these, so far as they remain, must be harmonised with the universal. It must then submit its knowledge and will at their very source to the divine Knowledge and the divine Will and so arrive through submission at immergence, losing its personal light in the divine Light and its personal initiative in the divine initiative. To be first in tune with the Infinite, in harmony with the Divine, and then to be unified with the Infinite, taken into the Divine is its condition of perfect strength and mastery, and this is precisely the very nature of the spiritual life and the spiritual existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 17, The Soul and Nature, pp. 412-413


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