Essays on the Gita -Sri Aurobindo
First Series : Chapter 22
Beyond the Modes of Nature
That is the traigun.yamayı maya , the Maya hard for man to get beyond, duratyaya , — yet can one get beyond it by transcending the three gunas. For while all this is done by the Ishwara through his Nature-Power in the Kshara, in the Akshara he is untouched, indifferent, regarding all equally, extended within all, yet above all. In all three he is the Lord, the supreme Ishwara in the highest, the presiding and all-pervading Impersonality, prabhu and vibhu, in the Akshara, and the immanent Will and present active Lord in the Kshara. He is free in his impersonality even while working out the play of his personality; he is not either merely impersonal or personal, but one and the same being in two aspects; he is the impersonal- personal, nirguno gunı , of the Upanishad. By him all has been willed even before it is worked out, — as he says of the still living Dhartarashtrians, “already have they been slain by Me,” maya nihatah purvam eva, — and the working out by Nature is only the result of his Will; yet by virtue of his impersonality behind he is not bound by his works, karta ̄ram akarta ̄ram.
But man as the individual self, owing to his ignorant self- identification with the work and the becoming, as if that were all his soul and not a power of his soul, a power proceeding from it, is bewildered by the ego-sense. He thinks that it is he and others who are doing all; he does not see that Nature is doing all and that he is misrepresenting and disfiguring her works to himself by ignorance and attachment. He is enslaved by the gunas, now hampered in the dull case of tamas, now blown by the strong winds of rajas, now limited by the partial lights of sattwa, not distinguishing himself at all from the nature-mind which alone is thus modified by the gunas. He is therefore mastered by pain and pleasure, happiness and grief, desire and passion, attachment and disgust: he has no freedom.