Our identification with the Mind, Life and Body, through the device of the ego-personality, ensures that we experience the limitations caused by the law of Karma. This is to some degree a protective device while consciousness systematically unfolds and manifests to ever greater extents in the world. Just as we stake a young tree to protect it from the wind, the law of Karma acts as a guiding factor while we act predominantly from the basis of Ignorance due to the deeply involved nature of Consciousness in the material world. Until we are ready for freedom, we are aided by the cause-effect nature of action in the world, and we thereby are able to test our understanding and fine tune our line of action, as we systematically learn and grow into a greater consciousness, and with it, a greater freedom.
Sri Aurobindo reviews the reason for this: “I appear to be bound by the law of an outward and imposed energy only because there is separation between my outward nature and my inmost spiritual self and I do not live in that outwardness with my whole being, but with a shape, turn and mental formation of myself which I call my ego or my personality.”
Since Mind also partakes of the nature of Ignorance, it cannot also act with untrammeled freedom: “An Ignorance cannot be permitted to have, even if in its nature it could have, free mastery. It would never do for an ignorant mind and will to be given a wide and real freedom; for it would upset the right order of the energy which the Spirit has set at work and produce a most unholy confusion. It must be forced to obey or, if it resists, to bear the reaction of the Law; its partial freedom of a clouded and stumbling knowledge must be constantly overruled both in its action and its result by the law of universal Nature and the will of the seeing universal Spirit who governs the dispositions and consequences of Karma. This constrained overruled action is in patent fact the character of our mental being and action.”
Sri Aurobindo,Rebirth and Karma, Section I, Chapter 9, Karma and Freedom, pp. 83-84,