The Divine Example Supports the Continuation of Works

Sri Krishna, the Divine Teacher, wants Arjuna to reorient his standpoint in order to escape the bondage of the ego and the impulsions of desire. Rather than focusing solely on the traditional concept of liberation, which involves escape from the actions of life, he indicates that Arjuna should continue to do works, on the basis of non-attachment to the results, and for the purpose of holding together and guiding the peoples in their progression of life in the universal manifestation.

To illustrate this concept, he provides his own example. He does not “need” to do works, but he does them as part of the Divine Manifestation. “I am above the necessity of works, for I have nothing to gain by them; I am the Divine who possess all things and all beings in the world and I myself beyond the world as well as in it and I do not depend upon anything or anyone in all the three worlds for any object; yet I act.”

Sri Aurobindo describes the position that Arjuna, as the representative of the evolved man moving toward a new diviner standpoint, is asked to take by Sri Krishna: ” ‘The whole range of human action has been decreed by Me with a view to the progress of man from the lower to the higher nature, from the apparent undivine to the conscious Divine. The whole range of human works must be that in which the God-knower shall move. All individual, all social action, all the works of the intellect, the heart and the body are still his, not any longer for his own separate sake, but for the sake of God in the world, of God in all beings and that all those beings may move forward, as he has moved, by the path of works towards the discovery of the Divine in themselves. Outwardly has actions may not seem to differ essentially from theirs; battle and rule as well as teaching and thought, all the various commerce of man with man may fall in his range; but the spirit in which he does them must be very different, and it is that spirit which by its influence shall be the great attraction drawing men upwards to his own level, the great lever lifting the mass of men higher in their ascent.’ ”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 14, The Principle of Divine Works, pp. 130-131