The Gita... is a gate opening on the whole world of spiritual truth and experience and the view it gives us embraces all the provinces of that supreme region. It maps out, but it does not cut up or build walls or hedges to confine our vision. "
श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानं विशिष्यते।
śreyo hi jñānamabhyāsājjñānāddhyānaṁ viśiṣyate |
Better indeed is knowledge than practice; than knowledge, meditation is better; than meditation, renunciation of the fruit of action; on renunciation follows peace. 12.12
The supreme secret of the Gita, rahasyam uttamam, has presented itself diverse minds in diverse forms. All these however fall, roughly speaking, into two broad groups of which one may be termed the orthodox school and the other the modern school. The orthodox school as represented, for example, by Shankara or Sridhara, viewed the Gita in the light of the spiritual discipline more or less current in those ages, when the purpose of life was held out to be emancipation from life, whether through desireless work or knowledge or devotion or even a combination of the three. The Modern School, on the other hand, represented by Bankim in Bengal and more thoroughly developed and systematised in recent times by Tilak, is inspired by its own Time-Spirit and finds in the Gita a gospel of life-fulfilment. The older interpretation laid stress upon a spiritual and religious, which meant therefore in the end an other-worldly discipline; the newer interpretation seeks to dynamise the more or less quietistic spirituality which held the ground in India of later ages, to set a premium upon action, upon duty that is to be done in our workaday life, though with a spiritual intent and motive.Read More
This neo-spirituality which might claim its sanction and authority from the real old-world Indian discipline -say, of Janaka and Yajnavalkva - labours, however, in reality, under the influence of European activism and ethicism. It was this which served as the immediate incentive to our spiritual revival and revaluation and its impress has not been thoroughly obliterated even in the best of our modern exponents. The bias of the vital urge and of the moral imperative is apparent enough in the modernist conception of a dynamic spirituality. Fundamentally the dynamism is made to reside in the élan of the ethical man, -the spiritual element, as a consciousness of supreme unity in the Absolute (Brahman) or of love and delight in God, serving only as an atmosphere for the mortal activity.
Sri Aurobindo has raised action completely out of the mental and moral plane and has given it an absolute spiritual life. Action has been spiritualised by being carried back to its very source and origin, for it is the expression in life of God's own Consciousness-Energy (Chit-Shakti).
The Supreme Spirit, Purushottama, who holds in himself the dual reality of Brahman and the world, is the master of action who acts but in actionlessness, the Lord in whom and through whom the universes and their creatures live and move and have their being. Karmayoga is union in mind and soul and body with the Lord of action in the execution of his cosmic purpose. And this union is effected through a transformation of the human nature, through the revelation of the Divine Prakriti and its descent upon and possession of the inferior human vehicle.
Arrived so far, we now find, if we look back, a change in the whole perspective. Karma and even Karmayoga, which hitherto seemed to be the pivot of the Gita's teaching, retire somewhat into the background and present a diminished stature and value. The centre of gravitv has shifted to the conception of the Divine Nature, to the Lord's own status, to the consciousness above the three Gunas, to absolute consecration of each limb of man's humanity to the Supreme Purusha for his descent and incarnation and play in and upon this human world.
The higher secret of the Gita lies really in the later chapters, the earlier chapters being a preparation and passage to it or partial and practical application. This has to be pointed out, since there is a notion current which seeks to limit the Gita's effective teaching to the earlier part, neglecting or even discarding the later portion.
The style and manner of Sri Aurobindo's interpretation is also supremely characteristic: it does not carry the impress of a mere metaphysical dissertation-although in matter it clothes throughout a profound philosophy; it is throbbing with the luminous life of a prophet's message, it is instinct with something of the Gita's own mantrasakti.Read Less