Freedom From Desire

In his seminal small book The Mother, Sri Aurobindo devotes several pages to the issue of how to be a doer of divine works. “If you want to be a true doer of divine works, your first aim must be to be totally free from all desire and self-regarding ego.” Sri Aurobindo is taking up here and amplifying the Gita’s exposition of the true meaning of Karmayoga. By ridding oneself of the egoism of the “doer”, one is thereby liberated from the impulsion of desire, and Sri Aurobindo describes this as the second sign of the liberated man acting in the world.

“Outwardly the liberated man seems to undertake works of all kinds like other men, on a larger scale perhaps with a more powerful will and driving-force, for the might of the divine will works in his active nature; but from all his inceptions and undertakings the inferior concept and nether will of desire is entirely banished….”

For most of us, the idea of acting without desire, of undertaking any effort without achieving some result or fruit to which we are attached, is essentially incomprehensible. One must recognize that with a change in standpoint, and an increasing identification with the Divine, and the widening of consciousness that accompanies that, there is actually no need to rely on the impulsions of desire to undertake work in the world. “He has abandoned all attachment to the fruits of his works, and where one does not work for the fruit, but solely as an impersonal instrument of the Master of works, desire can find no place….”

“The human mind and soul of the liberated man does nothing…; even though through his nature he engages in action, it is the Nature, the executive Shakti, it is the conscious Goddess governed by the divine Inhabitant who does the work.”

The ultimate state of consciousness is described in The Mother: “…then you will be perfect in divine works; knowledge, will, action will become sure, simple, luminous, spontaneous, flawless, an outflow from the Supreme, a divine movement of the Eternal.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 18, The Divine Worker, pg. 170

and Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, Chapter 5, pp. 21-26