Archive for September 2013
The Gita does not rest satisfied with a turn away from the world and its activities that results from a tamasic form of equality. The Gita goes further to recommend mastery rather than simple avoidance. Rajasic equality can arise from the first steps towards the soul’s conquest over desire in this world. Sri Aurobindo describes this possibility: “It is here that the possibility of a kind of rajasic equality comes in, which is at its lowest the strong nature’s pride in self-mastery, self-control, superiority to passion and weakness; but the Stoic ideal seizes upon this point of departure and makes it the key to an entire liberation of the soul from subjection to all weakness of its lower nature.”
“Instead of a struggle for scattered outward aims and transient successes, it proposes nothing less than the conquest of Nature and the world itself by a spiritual struggle and an inner…
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While Sri Krishna acknowledges the opportunity to achieve spiritual realisation starting from a tamasic form of equality, he recognises that he is speaking with Arjuna, a warrior and leader, who has a natural rajasic temperament. His brief fall into tamas and his recoil from the work assigned to him as a result, is countered firmly by the divine teacher. He wants to direct Arjuna to a path that embraces and overcomes the oppositions and difficulties of life rather than gives in and renounces the life action.
The Gita therefore expounds the characteristics of what may be called rajasic equality. Sri Aurobindo describes them: “All desires have to enter into the soul, as waters into the sea, and yet it has to remain immovable, filled but not disturbed: so in the end all desires can be abandoned. To be freed from wrath and passion and fear and attraction is repeatedly stressed…
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The transition from the normal life of desire to a life based on the spiritual consciousness and not subject thereby to the gunas, is not one that occurs generally instantaneously, but is a process of transition as each of the strands of the body, life energy, emotions, and mind are taken up and modified.
During this process, there are, for different individuals, different starting points based on their particular manifested nature, as well as the ongoing play of the gunas as long as the individual is still involved in Nature. The development of equality, therefore, is also subject to the play of the gunas until such time as the liberation of the consciousness brings about the true and complete spiritual equality.
Sri Aurobindo describes the situation, starting with what he calls “tamasic equality”: “The beginning of equality may be sattwic, rajasic or tamasic; for there is a possibility in the…
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A reaction to the vicissitudes of life through the action of any one of the gunas can become a starting point for a spiritual seeking and realisation. Tamasic equality results in many cases as a reaction to the difficulty and suffering entailed in the life of action, for instance, as a recoil from a rebuffed rajasic action. Generally a tamasic equality will lead to some form of renunciation of the effort and the striving of life, including sannyasa, monastic, hermit or anchorite paths. The Bhagavad Gita, in its broad acceptance of any gateway to the spiritual life, accepts this form of opening, although it clearly does not address the wider and more embracing direction that the Gita eventually espouses.
When the tamasic recoil is tempered by a sattwic tendency, it can bring a perception of a higher truth to which the soul can aspire, and thus, be a means of…
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Posted September 21, 2013on:
The normal human soul, immersed in the manifested world, its forms and actions, actually enjoys the play of the dualities. Even when confronted with suffering, defeat or difficulties, the soul embraces the life of desire, striving and the play of darkness and light, love and hate, achievement and loss. We frequently hear the refrain that this is what makes up the enjoyment of life and that there would not be any joy without sorrow, good times without bad, etc. etc.
This is actually an obstacle for the seeker to face and overcome, as he partakes of this same predilection for embracing the play of the Gunas of Nature (for that is what it is) and fears, in some vital part of his being, that giving up desire would mean giving up something essential and necessary to experiencing the reality of human existence.
Sri Aurobindo reminds us that this remains the…
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Equality is a fundamental characteristic of the Oneness of the divine consciousness. Inequality is a fundamental characteristic of the manifestation of names and forms in the world by the operation of the 3 gunas of Nature. The constant motion and interchange that occurs in Nature ensures that everything is in a constant state of flux or inequality. The unchanging, immutable nature of the Divine Consciousness ensures that everything is kept in balance and equality. The two states are not in opposition to one another but rather, the immutable calm of the equal consciousness permeates everything such that it is possible to experience outwardly the variances of the gunas, while maintaining an equal status of Oneness inwardly.
Sri Aurobindo discusses the issues further: “Since knowledge, desirelessness, impersonality, equality, the inner self-existent peace and bliss, freedom from or at least superiority to the tangled interlocking of the three modes of Nature are…
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Equality is not only a sign of the divine worker, but also represents, as Sri Aurobindo points out, a “test” for the spiritual seeker to be able to recognise the extent of work that still needs to be done. Spiritual aspirants throughout the world have used equality in one form or another as one of the key practices of their progress. Different forms of equality are based, as everything else in the manifested world, on the interplay of the Gunas of Nature. There can be an equality of resignation, through devotion or despair, founded in the principle of Tamas; there can be an equality of striving to control the response, a form of stoicism, founded in Rajas; and there can be an equality based on a philosophical acceptance or cultivated indifference, with its basis in Sattwa.
Equality is important because its absence indicates the action of desire and personal attachment…
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