Sattwic Sacrifice

The sattwic form of sacrifice begins the process of liberating the individual from the bondage of action based on desire which is the hallmark of the rajasic sacrifice, as well as from the action based in ignorance and mechanical ritual which represents the tamasic sacrifice.

Sri Aurobindo describes the characteristic principles upon which sattwic sacrifice is based: “The true sattwic sacrifice, on the other hand, is distinguished by three signs that are the quiet seal of its character. First, it is dictated by the effective truth, executed according to the vidhi, the right principle, the exact method and rule, the just rhythm and law of our works, their true functioning, their Dharma; that means that the reason and enlightened will are the guides and determinants of their steps and their purpose. Secondly, it is executed with a mind concentrated and fixed on the idea of the thing to be done as a true sacrifice imposed on us by the divine law that governs our life and therefore performed out of a high inner obligation or imperative truth and without desire for the personal fruit,–the more impersonal the motive of the action and the temperament of the force put out in it, the more sattwic is its nature. And finally it is offered to the gods without any reservation; it is acceptable to the divine powers by whom–for they are his masks and personalities– the Master of existence governs the universe.”

Since sattwa is still one of the three Gunas, and is subject to the normal play of the Gunas, even this high sattwic form of sacrifice cannot be the ultimate goal or process, and the Gita makes it clear that the seeker must transcend the action of the three Gunas in order to attain liberation and conscious oneness with the Divine Master of existence, the Purushottama. The highest form of sacrifice exceeds this sattwic form and lies beyond the action of the Gunas. Sattwic sacrifice is a step that helps the seeker curb the impulsions of the lower nature, but eventually its limitations must be overpassed.

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 18, The Gunas, Faith and Works, pp. 470-471