The Motive of Action of the Divinised Man

The Gita is setting forth a doctrine that was more or less a new line of thought for those seeking enlightenment or liberation. Until that time, liberation was set as the goal, and once achieved, the dissolution and dropping of the body and the ego personality was assumed. The Gita does not accept liberation as the “goal” but as a step along the way. Once attained, there is still “work to be done” and we therefore are forced to confront the question, which Arjuna himself asks of Krishna, as to what the motive of action will be for a realised soul.

Sri Aurobindo describes the issue: “…when the man is in the Brahmic status and sees no longer with the false egoistic vision himself and the world, but sees all beings in the Self, in God, and the Self in all beings, God in all beings, what shall be the action,–since action there still is,–which results from that seeing, and what shall be the cosmic or individual motive of all his works?”

“The motive cannot be personal desire on the intellectual, moral, emotional level, for that has been abandoned,–even the moral motive has been abandoned, since the liberated man has passed beyond the lower distinction of sin and virtue, lives in a glorified purity beyond good and evil. It cannot be the spiritual call to his perfect self-development by means of disinterested works, for the call has been answered, the development is perfect and fulfilled.”

The Gita characteristically answers this question from the universal, not the individual standpoint. There is a meaning and purpose to the manifestation and therefore, from the Divine standpoint, that manifestation should and must be supported and continued. It is up to those who understand this to act, not for personal benefit, but as part of that universal manifestation and for the purpose of keeping it moving forward in its intended lines.

“His motive of action can only be the holding together of the peoples…. This great march of the peoples towards a far-off divine ideal has to be held together, prevented from falling into the bewilderment, confusion and utter discord of the understanding which would lead to dissolution and destruction and to which the world moving forward in the night or dark twilight of ignorance would be too easily prone if it were not held together, conducted, kept to the great lines of its discipline by the illumination, by the strength, by the rule and example, by the visible standard and the invisible influence of its Best.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 14, The Principle of Divine Works, pp. 129-130

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