Wednesday, September 1, 2010

III: 33

Chapter 3, Verse 33

"Even the wise act
In accordance with their inner nature.
All beings follow their tendencies.
What use is any external restraint?"

Sri Aurobindo:

"This seems, if we take it at face value, to be a hopelessly absolute assertion of the omnipotence of nature over the soul. It does not mean that we are to follow any impulse, even though evil, which what we call our nature dictates to us. There is a discernment to be made between that which is essential in one's nature, its native, spontaneous out-pourings (Swadharma), which it avails not at all to repress, and that which is detrimental to spiritual growth, the wanderings, confusions and perversions over which we are to gain mastery. Thus there is a distinction between coercion and right guidance. The former is a violence done to one's nature by the will, which in the end depresses one's natural powers. The latter involves the turning over of the lower mind to the higher mind, which successfully bestows upon one's natural powers skillful action and maximum efficiency.

Nature (Prakriti) is the effective force of consciousness which operates to work out each of her manifestations according to its own law (Swadharma), in its own proper quality and particular force of working (Guna-Karma). Those who are unaware of the divine lodged within are ignorant of it because they are grossly subject to the mechanisms of nature, helplessly subject to its mental limitations and acquiescent in them. They are deluded with unskillful desires which bewilder with egoism the will and the intelligence.

The Lord within does not readily manifest himself to any and every being. He lies concealed within a thick cloud, utterly enveloping and wrapping himself with his creative, magical power. In other words, there is the inherent consciousness of the divine in all, for in all the divine dwells; but he dwells there covered by his Maya. The essential Self-knowledge of beings is turned into the error of egoism by the action of Maya, the action of the mechanisms of nature. By watching these mechanisms from a deeper standpoint than the thinking mind, through self-observation, the student becomes conscious of the indwelling divinity."

Mahatma Gandhi:

"Those who justify themselves, saying, 'I cannot do this [some spiritual practice], because it is not in my nature,' are misreading this verse. Progress and not decline, ascent and not descent, these are inherent in the soul's evolution, and therefore back-sliding is to be recognized for what it is and nipped in the bud."

[When I heard the Dalai Lama speak in person some years ago, he talked about the experimental nature of the spiritual path. "Make of it an experiment," he said of some such practice. "Try it out. See if it works for you." When we bear witness to confrontations, within and without, and exercise the option to indulge in some old rut or not, by making an experiment out of the process, our state of awareness can be heightened.]

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