Essays on the Gita -Aurobindo 442

Essays on the Gita -Sri Aurobindo
Second Series : PART-2 : Chapter 18
The Gunas, Faith and Works[1]

THE GITA has made a distinction between action accord- ing to the licence of personal desire and action done according to the Shastra. We must understand by the latter the recognised science and art of life which is the outcome of mankind’s collective living, its culture, religion, science, its progressive discovery of the best rule of life,—but mankind still walking in the ignorance and proceeding in a half light towards knowledge. The action of personal desire belongs to the unregenerated state of our nature and is dictated by ignorance or false knowledge and an unregulated or ill-regulated kinetic or rajasic egoism.

The action controlled by Shastra is an outcome of intellectual, ethical, aesthetic, social and religious culture; it embodies an attempt at a certain right living, harmony and right order and is evidently an effort, more or less advanced accord- ing to circumstances, of the sattwic element in man to over top, regulate and control or guide, where it must be admitted, his rajasic and tamasic egoism. It is the means to a step in advance, and therefore mankind must first proceed through it and make this Shastra its law of action rather than obey the impulsion of its personal desires. This is a general rule which humanity has always recognised wherever it has arrived at any kind of established and developed society; it has an idea of an order, a law, a standard of its perfection, something other than the guidance of its desires or the crude direction of its raw impulses. This greater rule the individual finds usually outside himself in some more or less fixed outcome of the experience and wisdom of the race, which he accepts, to which his mind and the leading parts of his being give their assent or sanction and which he tries to make his own by living it in his mind, will and action.

And this assent of the being, its conscious acceptance and will to believe and realise, may be called by the name which the Gita gives to it, his faith, s ́raddha ̄. The religion, the philosophy, the ethical law, the social idea, the cultural idea in which I put my faith, gives me a law for my nature and its works, an idea of relative right or an idea of relative or absolute perfection and in proportion as I have a sincerity and completeness of faith in it and an intensity of will to live according to that faith, I can become what it proposes to me, I can shape myself into an image of that right or an exemplar of that perfection.


References and Context

  1. Gita, XVII.

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Essays on the Gita -Aurobindo
Serial No Chapter Name Page No
First Series
1. Our Demand and Need from the Gita 1
2. The Divine Teacher 9
3. The Human Disciple 17
4. The Core of the Teaching 26
5. Kurukshetra 37
6. Man and the Battle of Life 44
7. The Creed of the Aryan Fighter 56
8. Sankhya and Yoga 67
9. Sankhya, Yoga and Vedanta 80-81
10. The Yoga of the Intelligent Will 92
11. Works and Sacrifice 102
12. The Significance of Sacrifice 110
13. The Lord of the Sacrifice 119
14. The Principle of Divine Works 128
15. The Possibility and Purpose of Avatarhood 139
16. The Process of Avatarhood 151
17. The Divine Birth and Divine Works 161
18. The Divine Worker 169
19. Equality 180
20. Equality and Knowledge 192
21. The Determinism of Nature 203
22. Beyond the Modes of Nature 215
23. Nirvana and Works in the World 225
24. The Gist of the Karmayoga 238
Second Series
1. The Two Natures 250
2. The Synthesis of Devotion and Knowledge Gita 262
3. The Supreme Divine 271
4. The Secret of Secrets 282
5. The Divine Truth and Way 291
6. Works, Devotion and Knowledge 301
7. The Supreme Word of the Gita 314
8. God in Power of Becoming 330
9. The Theory of the Vibhuti 340
10. The Vision of the World-Spirit Time the Destroyer 350
11. The Vision of the World-Spirit The Double Aspect 360
12. The Way and the Bhakta 367
13. The Field and its Knower 377
14. Above the Gunas 388
15. The Three Purushas 402
16. The Fullness of Spiritual Action 416
17. Deva and Asura 429
18. The Gunas, Faith and Works 442
19. The Gunas, Mind and Works 458
20. Swabhava and Swadharma 471
21. Towards the Supreme Secret 490
22. The Supreme Secret 503
23. The Core of the Gita’s Meaning 525
24. The Message of the Gita 534