Passive Equality and Active Equality

When we reflect on the poise of equality, most people will acknowledge it as a passive status that accepts all that comes to the individual without reacting according to the play of the dualities. We have seen, throughout the world and through time, that many spiritual disciplines have adopted a program that is intended to bring about a status of calm that can be seen as an approach toward equality. Some call it cultivating peace, others stoic acceptance, some a cultivated indifference or ascetic abnegation, and yet others surrender to the will of God. The development of the passive form of equality is essential, but for the integral Yoga not complete. What is required is also a form of “active” equality, as described by Sri Aurobindo, who describes two successive stages in the development of complete equality:

“One will liberate us from the action of the lower nature and admit us to the calm peace of the divine being; the other will liberate us into the full being and power of the higher nature and admit us to the equal poise and universality of a divine and infinite knowledge, will of action, Ananda. The first may be described as a passive or negative equality, an equality of reception which fronts impassively the impacts and phenomena of existence and negates the dualities of the appearances and reactions which they impose on us. The second is an active, a positive equality which accepts the phenomena of existence, but only as the manifestation of the one divine being and with an equal response to them which comes from the divine nature in us and transforms them into its hidden values. The first lives in the peace of the one Brahman and puts away from it the nature of the active Ignorance. The second lives in that peace, but also in the Ananda of the Divine and imposes on the life of the soul in nature the signs of the divine knowledge, power and bliss of being. It is this double orientation united by the common principle which will determine the movement of equality in the integral Yoga.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 12, The Way of Equality, pg. 681

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