Attaining Freedom Through the Sacrifice of Oneness

The Gita’s view of the sacrifice is based on the unity of all existence. This unity is the subject taken up and expounded by the Upanishads, in particular the Isha Upanishad and the Taittiriya Upanishad. In the Isha Upanishad, the seer states: “But he who sees everywhere the Self in all existences and all existences in the Self, shrinks not thereafter from aught. He in whom it is the Self-Being that has become all existences that are Becomings, for he has the perfect knowledge, how shall he be deluded, whence shall he have grief who sees everywhere oneness? It is He that has gone abroad–That which is bright, bodiless, without scar of imperfection, without sinews, pure, unpierced by evil. The Seer, the Thinker, the One who becomes everywhere, the Self-existent has ordered objects perfectly according to their nature from years sempiternal.” (Isha Upanishad, 6-8)

The Gita incorporates this knowledge into the formula that shows that it is the Brahman who is the doer of the sacrifice, the substance of what is offered in the sacrifice and the recipient of the sacrifice. Sri Aurobindo explains: “It is the knowledge of the entire unity; it is the One manifest as the doer and the deed and the object of works, knower and knowledge and the object of knowledge. The universal energy into which the action is poured is the Divine; the consecrated energy of the giving is the Divine; whatever is offered is only some form of the Divine; the giver of the offering is the Divine himself in man; the action, the work, the sacrifice is itself the Divine in movement, in activity; the goal to be reached by sacrifice is the Divine.”

The result: “For the man who has this knowledge and lives and acts in it, there can be no binding works, no personal and egoistically appropriated action; there is only the divine Purusha acting by the divine Prakriti in His own being, offering everything into the fire of His self-conscious cosmic energy, while the knowledge and the possession of His divine existence and consciousness by the soulunified with Him is the goal of all this God-directed movement and activity. To know that and to live and act in this unifying consciousness is to be free.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 12, The Significance of Sacrifice, pg. 113


Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Isha Upanishad, pg. 21