The Works of the Liberated Individual

The central premise around which the Gita was framed was an understanding that the ego-self with which we normally identify is not the true doer of works, and thus, when this has been realised, the work to be done, no matter how abhorrent it appears, takes place without binding the individual. Sri Aurobindo explains: “The ego is the ostensible doer, but the ego and its will are creations and instruments of Nature with which the ignorant understanding wrongly identifies our self and they are not the only determinants even of human action, much less of its turn and consequence.”

The Gita systematically leads Arjuna to the status of liberation from bondage to the ego-consciousness. “When we are liberated from ego, our real self behind comes forward, impersonal and universal, and it sees in its self-vision of unity with the universal Spirit universal Nature as the doer of the work and the Divine Will behind as the master of universal Nature.”

“The liberated man does his appointed work as the living instrument one in spirit with the universal Spirit. And knowing that all this must be and looking beyond the outward appearance he acts not for self but for God and man and the human and cosmic order, not in fact himself acting, but conscious of the presence and power of the divine Force in his deeds and their issue. he knows that the supreme Shakti is doing in his mental, vital and physical body,…as the sole doer the thing appointed by a Fate which is truth not Fate, not a mechanical dispensation, but the wise and all-seeing Will that is at work behind human Karma.”

The example provided by the Gita, the cataclysm of a battle of the age in a great civil war, with massive death, suffering and destruction for beloved relatives, friends and respected elders and teachers, is intended to drive home the point in an extreme fashion. “Impersonally has it to be done by the divinely appointed man for the holding together of the world purpose…without personal aim or desire, because it is the appointed service.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 19, The Gunas, Mind and Works, pp. 481-482