Aspiration: the Desire of the Soul for the Divine

Some people interpret the need to eliminate desire as becoming essentially cold and unmoved by anything. They even treat desire for the Divine realisation as something to eventually be eliminated. The subtlety and narrowness of the path makes it easy to stray in one direction or the other, and dealing with the impulses of desire is no different. Sri Aurobindo places the desire for the Divine in a totally different light as he defines it as aspiration of the soul, and not a ‘desire’ in the normal vital sense. Of course, this aspiration must be pure and untainted by demand, or any form of vital posturing. The aspiration of the soul for the Divine is the essential lever to shift the focus and attention away from the ego-personality and help thereby achieve the shift from the ego-standpoint to the divine-standpoint.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The desire for the Divine or for bhakti for the Divine is the one desire which can free one from all the others — at the core it is not a desire but an aspiration, a soul need, the breath of existence of the inmost being, and as such it cannot be counted among desires.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 10, Difficulties in Transforming the Nature, Desire, pp. 291-296