Essays on the Gita -Sri Aurobindo
Second Series : Chapter 2
The Synthesis of Devotion and KnowledgeGita,
He constructs for the Godhead the name and form of Indra or Agni, of Vishnu or Shiva, of a divinised Christ or Buddha, or else some composite of natural qualities, an indulgent God of love and mercy, or a severe God of righteousness and justice, or an awe-inspiring God of wrath and terror and flaming punishments, or some amalgam of any of these, and to that he raises his altars without and in his heart and mind and falls down before it to demand from it worldly good and joy or healing of his wounds or a sectarian sanction for an erring, dogmatic, intellectual, intolerent knowledge. All this up to a certain point is true enough.
Very rare is the great soul who knows that Vasudeva the omnipresent Being is all that is, vasudevah. sarvam iti sa maha ̄tma ̄ sudurlabhah.. Men are led away by various outer desires which take from them the working of the inner knowledge, kamais tais tair hrtajnanah. Ignorant, they resort to other godheads, imperfect forms of the deity which correspond to their desire, prapadyante ’nyadevatah. Limited, they set up this or that rule and cult, tam tam niyamam astha ya, which satisfies the need of their nature. And in all this it is a compelling personal determination, it is this narrow need of their own nature that they follow and take for the highest truth, — incapable yet of the infinite and its largeness. The Godhead in these forms gives them their desires if their faith is whole; but these fruits and gratifications are temporary and it is a petty intelligence and unformed reason which makes the pursuit of them its principle of religion and life. And so far as there is a spiritual attainment by this way, it is only to the gods; it is only the Divine in formations of mutable nature and as the giver of her results that they realise. But those who adore the transcen- dent and integral Godhead embrace all this and transform it all, exalt the gods to their highest, Nature to her summits, and go beyond them to the very Godhead, realise and attain to the Transcendent. Devan deva-yajo yanti mad-bhakta yanti mam api.
References and Context
- VII. 15-28.