The Fulfillment of the Emotional Being Without the Deformation Caused By Desire

For most people, the idea that there can be a fulfilling action of the emotional being without the involvement of desire is simply an illusion. They believe that if desire is removed, the emotional life will be curtailed or eliminated. This actually may occur if the method used to extirpate desire is one that artificially suppresses the emotional being’s reactions. Such a line of approach seems to resolve, particularly for those seekers who want to achieve a one-pointed silent focus on the Absolute, to be an acceptable trade-off. The ascetic reasons that since his goal is the silent, immutable Absolute, he has no use for nor need for either desire or emotion. On the other hand, for those who want to live and participate in the life of the world, the very idea of suppressing desire seems abhorrent and appears to lead to a life of dullness or a blank gray existence.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “It will certainly be so (n.b. death of the emotional being), if the deformation is eliminated but not replaced by the right action of the emotional mind; the mind will then pass into a neutral condition of blank indifference or into a luminous state of peaceful impartiality with no stir or wave of emotion. The former state is in no way desirable; the latter may be the perfection of a quietistic discipline, but in the integral perfection which does not reject love or shun various movement of delight, it can be no more than a stage which has to be overpassed, a preliminary passivity admitted as a first basis for a right activity.”

The question then arises as to the proper role of the emotional being for the seeker of the integral Yoga. “Attraction and repulsion, liking and disliking are a necessary mechanism for the normal man, they form a first principle of natural instinctive selection among the thousand flattering and formidable, helpful and dangerous impacts of the world around him. The Buddhi starts with this material to work on and tries to correct the natural and instinctive by a wiser reasoned and willed selection; for obviously the pleasant is not always the right thing, the object to be preferred and selected, nor the unpleasant the wrong thing, the object to be shunned and rejected; the pleasant and the good… have to be distinguished, and right reason has to choose and not the caprice of emotion. But this it can do much better when the emotional suggestion is withdrawn and the heart rests in a luminous passivity. Then too the right activity of the heart can be brought to the surface; for we find then that behind this emotion-ridden soul of desire there was waiting all the while a soul of love and lucid joy and delight, a pure psyche, which was clouded over by the deformations of anger, fear, hatred, repulsion and could not embrace the world with an impartial love and joy. But the purified heart is rid of anger, rid of fear, rid of hatred, rid of every shrinking and repulsion: it has a universal love, it can receive with an untroubled sweetness and clarity the various delight which God gives it in the world. But it is not the lax slave of love and delight, it does not desire, does not attempt to impose itself as the master of the actions. The selective process necessary to action is left principally to the Buddhi and, when the Buddhi has been overpassed, to the spirit in the supramental will, knowledge and Ananda.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 6, Purification–the Lower Mentality, pp. 633-634