From Limited Ego-Self to the Soul’s Own Eternal Divinity

The suffering we experience in our human lives is due to the identification with the fictitious ego-consciousness rather than the true identity with the Eternal Spirit. If we can borrow a description from one of the major religions, this self-identification with the ego-being can be called the “original sin” that needs to be cured in order to achieve the unalloyed existence, knowledge, power and bliss of the divine status. Along the way, the ego-consciousness is limited through its identification with the divided and separative mentality, and thus, continually tries to build up a comprehensive understanding from individual parts without a true grasp of the whole. Similarly, the ego-consciousness struggles with its natural weakness and lack of power as it tries to build up its power out of limited forces divided from their universal unlimited source; and, the soul tries to obtain joy through limited experience while unable to receive and sustain the true divine Ananda.

Sri Aurobindo describes this state of affairs: “The struggle to return to a true knowing is imposed upon it, but the ego in the separative mind is satisfied with shows and fragments of knowledge which it pieces together into some false or some imperfect total or governing notion, and this knowledge fails it and has to be abandoned for a fresh pursuit of the one thing to be known. That one thing is the Divine, the Self, the Spirit in whom universal and individual being find at last their right foundation and their right harmonies. Again, because it is limited in force, the ego-prisoned soul is full of many incapacities; wrong knowledge is accompanied by wrong will, wrong tendencies and impulses of the being, and the acute sense of this wrongness is the root of the human consciousness of sin. This deficiency of its nature it tries to set right by standards of conduct which will help it to remove the egoistic consciousness and satisfactions of sin by the egoistic consciousness and self-satisfaction of virtue, the rajasic by the sattwic egoism. But the original sin has to be cured, the separation of its being and will from the divine Being and the divine Will; when it returns to unity with the divine Will and Being, it rises beyond sin and virtue to the infinite self-existent purity and the security of its own divine nature.”

“Again, because it is limited in the delight of being, it is unable to lay hold on the secure, self-existent perfect bliss of the spirit or the delight, the Ananda of the universe which keeps the world in motion, but is only able to move in a mixed and shifting succession of pleasures and pains, joys and sorrows, or must take refuge in some conscient inconscience or neutral indifference. The ego mind cannot do otherwise, and the soul which has externalised itself in ego, is subjected to this unsatisfactory, secondary, imperfect, often perverse, troubled or annulled enjoyment of existence; yet all the time the spiritual and universal Ananda is within, in the self, in the spirit, in its secret unity with God and existence. To cast away the chain of ego and go back to free self, immortal spiritual being is the soul’s return to its own eternal divinity.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 8, The Liberation of the Spirit, pp. 653-654

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