The Action of the Karmayogin

The individual immersed in the normal human state of consciousness believes he is the “actor” and has some control over his responses, but in reality he is reacting through the operation of the 3 gunas of Nature which, in their interplay, create the complex interactions we see in the world. This leads to an endless round of impulsions, first of desire, then of the rebound from the effects of the action done with desire, and then of some kind of moderation or mitigation until the next round starts up. For the most part, the natural individual does not “see” the workings of the gunas and attributes what happens to “free will” or “bad luck” or some other term for an operation he cannot see or understand.

The individual who has achieved Oneness with the Divine Consciousness recognizes the mechanical play of the gunas, can see them working in his own natural being, but he is able to separate from the impulsions of Nature; rather, he acts from the basis of the higher consciousness and sees himself, not as the actor, but as a conduit or channel for that action to play out in the world through his natural being.

Sri Aurobindo describes this state: “The Divine motives, inspires, determines the entire action; the human soul impersonal in the Brahman is the pure and silent channel of his power; that power in the Nature executes the divine movement. Such only are the works of the liberated soul, …for in nothing does he act from a personal inception; such are the actions of the accomplished Karmayogin. They rise from a free spirit and disappear without modifying it, like waves that rise and disappear on the surface of conscious immutable depths.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 18, The Divine Worker, pp. 177-178