Indian spirituality and philosophy has recognized two primary aspects to existence, the Supreme Consciousness that creates, informs, constitutes and contains all that exists, and the Creative Force that actually manifests the universal creation. The Gita describes the Supreme Consciousness as the Purushottama, the ultimate Purusha, and the Creative Force as the Para Prakriti, the Divine Shakti, the supreme executive Nature. The Gita, as with other Vedantic texts, focuses primarily on the realisation of the Purushottama, as Vedanta generally sets the goal as the liberation of the individual from the cosmic creation. With the development of the Tantric tradition, the emphasis shifted to liberation through achieving oneness with the Divine Shakti.

Sri Aurobindo accepts both aspects as real and has developed a unification that works to both achieve ultimate realisation of the Purushottama as well as with the Divine Shakti. The Divine Shakti is called the Divine Mother as it is the creative force that manifests and gives birth to the universes, galaxies, worlds, and all forms and forces that are experienced in this creation.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The Gita does not speak expressly of the Divine Mother; it speaks always of surrender to the Purushottama — it mentions her only as the Para Prakriti who becomes the Jiva, that is, who manifests the Divine in the multiplicity and through whom all these worlds are created by the Supreme and he himself descends as the Avatar. The Gita follows the Vedantic tradition which leans entirely on the Ishwara aspect of the Divine and speaks little of the Divine Mother because its object is to draw back from world-nature and arrive at the supreme realisation beyond it; the Tantric tradition leans on the Shakti or Ishwari aspect and makes all depend on the Divine Mother because its object is to possess and dominate world-nature and arrive at the supreme realisation through it. This yoga insists on both the aspects; the surrender to the Divine Mother is essential, for without it there is no fulfilment of the object of the yoga.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, The Integral Yoga and Other Systems of Yoga and Philosophy, pg.30

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and is author of a daily blog at focused on systematic review of this body of work focused on yoga and spirituality. He is also author of 16 books and editor in chief at Lotus Press, and President of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit dedicated to the integration of spirituality into daily life.