Transforming Personal Action Into Divine Action

In our normal human state of consciousness, in our daily lives, we see the force of desire as the motive spring of action. We find it virtually impossible from that standpoint to imagine acting without this impulsion. Desire acts both in the form of attraction and repulsion to the objects of senses and the fruits that come as a result of action. So the question inevitably comes up, when one is asked to give up desire as the motive force behind action, as to whether any action in the world remains possible or has any meaning. It is a key precept of those who practice the various disciplines of renunciation that interaction with and work in the world is to be minimized until the body falls away, with the total focus on the spiritual practice being undertaken. The Gita points out that action, in one form or another, still remains, and that the idea of renouncing action is neither a necessary or an appropriate response. Rather, the Gita holds that we can achieve a new standpoint, unified with the Divine consciousness, that acts out of the inherent and natural force of the divine in manifestation. Just as the sun gives forth its light and energy without desire, supporting the manifestation, so when one is unified with the Divine consciousness, action flows effortlessly as a natural consequence without reference to the ego-sense or the force of desire.

Sri Aurobindo describes the status: “…when the ego is lost and the Yogin becomes Brahman, when he lives in and is, even, a transcendent and universal consciousness, action comes spontaneously out of that, luminous knowledge higher than the mental thought comes out of that, a power other and mightier than the personal will comes out of that to do for him his works and bring its fruits: personal action has ceased, all has been taken up into the Brahman and assumed by the Divine….”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, First Series, Chapter 23, Nirvana and Works in the World, pp. 231-232