The Conduct of a Disciple
The Sense of The Bhagavad Gītā
“The conduct of a disciple is often a reflection or a stable expression of the profundities of his inner alchemy; the imprint of the Divine in the heart of His disciple is indelible by the dark and impure insignia of the typal Asura and his almost immaculate masquerade.”
The dominant impulse of mankind moves towards finding the secret truth of existence, for it always aspires for a higher life, though the forms through which it seeks are mostly ignorant and on the surface; it is sowing the seeds of its aspiration on an infertile ground of negation and stark resistance, and when it finds out that nothing grows out of the discords of life, it turns towards controlling the external circumstances and conditions by the help of a giant Machine, the tall edifice of an outward mind in all its scientific glory. Thus, the outward nature of man becomes a slave to the material mind, while his inner nature suffers the rejection of its higher possibilities by the material nature.
Human nature, by itself or by its own self-aid, cannot ascend into the nature of the Spirit or bring down into the human mould the highest transforming force of the Divine. It may seem simple at the outset or even logical that to aspire for something higher is only to take into account a sharp and sure intelligence of a self-centred mind, aided by an external apparatus which functions as an expressive medium of the mind in its externalities of scientific knowledge. The outward machinery of man is not only a well-constructed mental aberration, but it is also and, more properly, a sign of an inherent sickness of man’s being, submerged in the creation of its own machinery, which more often tramples his being to slavery and crude external dependence than it helps him towards higher and more meaningful pursuits in life. The immanent Guide in the individual has become only a defunct and forgotten symbol, useful only in a mental obeisance, whenever there is a religious frenzy and drum-beating of one’s hidden ego.
The conduct of a disciple is often a reflection or a stable expression of the profundities of his inner alchemy; the imprint of the Divine in the heart of His disciple is indelible by the dark and impure insignia of the typal Asura and his almost immaculate masquerade. But we must make sure that the quiet, unpompous influence of the Guide does not suffer human resistance in the external nature or the ignominy of vital rejection on the pretext of an insuperable stumbling block to the realisation of divine action on the ground. In the mind of an imperfect instrument, though not entirely unillumined or completely ignorant, all sense of action derives from a confident but defective reasoning, aided by an equally strong preference in the lower vital, which seeks to measure the higher principle and motivation of the Spirit by a subjective experience in the lower ignorance. The result is a distortion of the original impulse into a partly effective action on the ground but the true purpose within defeated already and rendered impotent,- it is an awful mixture of a lower light of reason cast perpetually on things higher and divine. The lower, analytical reason alone is not the spoiler of action; there is also the emotional heart of the individual which revels in the acts of its self-denial of a profound, higher ideal and denies the Spirit its unquestionable allegiance and support.
The reason of man and his heart are merely instruments for the purpose of God’s world-play, and therefore it is not in them that the sense of reconciliation we are seeking can be found, nor do we find it in the assumption that a singular pursuit after some perfection in life can give us the key to a perfect mastery of self-conduct in the Divine. Nor, in the spiritual self-saturation of our स्वभाव (Swabhava) and in the widening of our essential temperament can the secret passage to a higher divine Nature and higher spiritual conduct be wholly found or founded. The higher Swabhava of man is not mental but spiritual and an expression of a transcendent Godhead above the human trinity or the three Gunas, three lower amalgamations of Nature, each tending either towards a godward energy or towards a downward spiral of self-negation and self-contradiction. The Sattwic nature, the luminous bride of the three, is more god-prone than the two, but it has not yet abolished its subtle ego-impulse and still responds to the noble impulsions of the gentleman of our compound nature, the half-human, half-divine mentality which hides behind the plausibility of a seemingly higher motive a stark impulse and nature of a self-confident ignorance, which views the world through a moral telescope and derives the sense of it by an ethical turpitude, masquerading as an impulsion of the Spirit, and this masquerade is not utterly evil or dangerous as the rajasic nature and is less prone to perversion and devious machinations by the forces, but still it ought to be transformed of its essential character into the nature and instrumentation of a higher भाव (Bhava) of the transcendent Divine. It is out of this intricate process of self-transformation of the Gunas arises– though not wholly or completely, for transformation is integral, not one-sided — a certain nature of a higher divine conduct in the individual in the terrestrial field of action.
For the spiritual transformation to be complete and an integral expression of the Spirit here as elsewhere, the individual has to consent to the secret workings of the divine Godhead and surrender his entire nature in all its parts to the touch of a higher Light. Out of this self-surrender to the transcendent Lord comes a self-transcendent attitude in action, in which the higher individual acting out of his heightened consciousness stationed in the dynamic Divine above seeks not the pleasure or its fulfilment in action or the cheap thrills of the lower, degenerate ego in it, but rather seeks the Divine and His fulfilment here in the terrestrial action and beyond. And, to build upon the hard-earned victory, the conscient expression of the highest Divine as the governing principle of the lower nature and its entangled and confused attributes, and so aspire for the growth of a self-conscious being out of the new-found fertility in the terrestrial fibre.
A conduct such as the one depicted and extolled in the Gita is that of a disciple in his rajasic ego may serve as an example of the need to transcend the Gunas into a higher mental principle of knowledge and so act out of its inherent light upon the world and its innumerable vibrations which often influence and shape up the events, conditions and circumstances for the play of forces, but the lower being of man is Nature’s cherished playfield in which numerous forces throw themselves for realisation, and more often for a turbid, vital satisfaction, a process partially aided by the confused mind and will of the individual, and therefore, it is not easy to ascend into a higher nature of a self-exceeding harmony without surmounting the opposition on the ground. The nature of self-ascent into the Spirit is a movement of a spiritual self-disposition within, an essential सिद्धि (Siddhi) of the Spirit established in the heart, in which the lower difficulties and contradictions of the individual existence are met with a spiritual courage in the heart and mind, and in a farther development, in the body. Such an individual conquest of the nature described here can only lead to a transformation of the collective consciousness, not only of the mental humans but even of the stone and the carapace. To insist on a change of the instrumental being alone or to be satisfied with a one-sided perfection of nature is to discard the profound and integral self-transformation of the whole being from top to bottom. It is only out of this higher spiritual transformation that a direct भाव (Bhava) of the divine Godhead could be manifested freely in the lower human nature and made part of it as its intrinsic and inherent nature.
If the Gita were merely speaking of a mental conduct or of a certain poise of the mind to the higher Godhead or even of a silent self-giving in the heart to the inner Divine, then a conduct of the individual arising out of that surrender and self-giving alone could be sufficient to his growth in the Spirit, but in a world of nescience where the growth of the progressive spirit is more often chequered and is measured by the limitations of the ground realities controlled by the chaos and whim of the imperial Asura, a direct, dynamic Power of the Spirit must take birth in the individual Swabhava and lead the battle against the enemies of the Divine in this dangerous and difficult battlefield. The perfection of the Gunas by a higher divine Consciousness is the need of the present hour and the ascent of the individual into a supracosmic Reality is the inevitable movement of the soul-nature present here in the terrestrial consciousness.
Gita envisages the idea of self-surrender to the immanent Divine within as paramount to self-conquest of ignorance of nature; it does not speak of the ascent or descent of a higher divine Force and Consciousness but amplifies enough in its glorious synthesis the seed of the future, which only an able eye of the seeker can see and thereby follow in its footprints towards a higher development of the already involved possibilities here, and so envisage in the present hour a still higher word of Sri Krishna as the supreme gospel of a still higher Truth.
End of part 7