Tusar Nath Mohapatra

Archive for July 2014

Sri Aurobindo Studies

The Gita consistently holds that the true source and reality of our existence is the supreme divine spirit, the Purushottama and that all of manifested Nature is the action of the Purushottama. The ego and the outer Nature are not our true selves but an outer shell. The true Self, a “portion of the Purushottama” is the Jiva. Sri Aurobindo describes the Jiva: “He represents in Nature the power of the supreme Spirit, he is in his personality that Power; he brings out in an individual existence the potentialities of the Soul of the universe. This Jiva itself is spirit and not the natural ego; the spirit and not the form of ego is our reality and inner soul principle.”

This brings us to the meaning of Swabhava: “The spiritual Nature which has become this multiple personality in the universe, …, is the basic stuff of our existence: all the…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

Sri Aurobindo reminds us that our struggles to understand our existence and raise up our human nature seem impossibly confusing and difficult primarily because we are rooted in the standpoint of the ego-consciousness. In reality the Gita’s teaching is based on the spiritual reality of the divine truth of existence, not the illusory consciousness of the fragmented and separated individual. From this deeper standpoint, we see that the question of our own inner intrinsic nature, Swabhava, and our own right action in the world, Swadharma, is resolved by the recognition that it is the Divine Master of all existence that resides in all, that is manifesting according to His determination, and who is actually using the apparent “machinery” of Nature as a tool to shape, sculpt and develop the entire manifested universe.

“The Gita’s philosophy of life and works is that all proceeds from the Divine Existence, the transcendent and…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

The Gita consistently takes up concepts that were current in its day and integrates them into an inclusive standpoint. The integrating principle is based on the inner spiritual life and knowledge, not the outer form. The same approach can be seen in the way the Gita addresses the four orders of life, which was turned into a fixed outer social and economic order over time in India. The Gita is not attempting to support or justify this outer system, but rather, trying to express an inner truth that guides the seeker to the Swabhava, the true inner being that the individual is born to express and fulfill, and from there to the Swadharma, the “work to be done” according to the inner law of one’s being.

Sri Aurobindo takes up this point: “And from this emphasis on the inner truth and not on the outer form arises the spiritual significance…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

The four orders of society and the functions they carry out are easily recognisable necessities for any functioning society. The development of an hereditary basis for assigning these roles and functions came about because there was no easily identifiable and certain way to ascertain inner capacity and temperament, and thus, external factors became primary in creating this system. Sri Aurobindo points out that this may not have been the initial phase: “A man’s social function and position were no doubt determined originally, as they are still in freer, less closely ordered communities by environment, occasion, birth and capacity; but as there set in a more fixed stratification, his rank came practically to be regulated by birth mainly or alone and in the later system of caste birth came to be the sole rule of status. The son of a Brahmin is always a Brahmin in status, though he may have…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

To understand the point that the Gita is making regarding an individual’s own inner law of being and action, it is important to first understand the general classes of the four orders of society, which relate to the predominant Guna that then leads to characteristic ways of understanding and acting, and thus, distinguishes the different roles and types that develop with this underlying basis.

Sri Aurobindo therefore describes the “ancient system of the four orders”, as he points out that this understanding developed, not just in India, but widely throughout the ancient world: “The ancient system of the four orders had a triple aspect; it took a social and economic, a cultural and a spiritual appearance. On the economic side it recognised four functions of the social man in the community, the religious and intellectual, the political, the economic and the servile functions. These are thus four kinds of works…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

The Gita adopts the basic psychological framework of the Sankhya, which includes a higher intelligence, buddhi that becomes active in the human being and which provides the power of reasoning. Sri Aurobindo describes this power of buddhi: “It is the understanding power of his nature, buddhi, that chooses the work for him or, more often, approves and sets its sanction on one or other among the many suggestions of his complex instincts, impulsions, ideas and desires. It is that which determines for him what is right or wrong, to be done or not to be done, Dharma or Adharma. And the persistence of the will is that continuous force of mental Nature which sustains the work and gives it consistence and persistence.”

When we ordinarily speak about the higher intelligence or the power of Reason, we tend to look upon it as some kind of “unified” power that works…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

The central premise around which the Gita was framed was an understanding that the ego-self with which we normally identify is not the true doer of works, and thus, when this has been realised, the work to be done, no matter how abhorrent it appears, takes place without binding the individual. Sri Aurobindo explains: “The ego is the ostensible doer, but the ego and its will are creations and instruments of Nature with which the ignorant understanding wrongly identifies our self and they are not the only determinants even of human action, much less of its turn and consequence.”

The Gita systematically leads Arjuna to the status of liberation from bondage to the ego-consciousness. “When we are liberated from ego, our real self behind comes forward, impersonal and universal, and it sees in its self-vision of unity with the universal Spirit universal Nature as the doer of the work and…

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Tusar N. Mohapatra

Director, Savitri Era Learning Forum
SRA-102-C, Shipra Riviera, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad - 201014 (UP) India + 91 96500-65636
Aadhaar No. 3628 2075 7337
SELF posits a model of counselling and communicative action as an instrument in order to stimulate the public sphere. The model aims at supplementing the individual’s struggle for a successful social adjustment with more aspirational inputs so as to help one take an informed and balanced attitude towards life as well as society.
Savitri Era of those who adore,
Om Sri Aurobindo & The Mother.

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