Relinquishing Responsibility For Works To the Divine

The idea of surrendering responsibility and control of one’s works from the ego-personality to the Divine is one that can only be truly implemented once a certain separation of the consciousness from the ego-personality and the play of the Gunas has actually occurred. That is why the Gita sets forth a series of steps rather than simply prescribing this initially. Abandonment of the fruits helps the seeker to prepare himself for abandoning the sense of being the “doer”. The action of the three Gunas is still primary as long as one remains even slightly attached to the ego-consciousness, and thus, there can be a form of tamasic surrender which simply gives up any attempt whatsoever to manage or discipline the actions of the being, and thus, the excuse of the divine being responsible for all works, in such a case, is a cover for tamasic ego-fulfilment. Similarly, there can be a rajasic surrender whereby the being takes on any form of fulfillment of desires and ambitions with the excuse that it is the divine working through the instrument. And a sattwic form whereby one can arrogate from a form of sattwic pride, the actions, the successes and the developments to the divine as a way of enhancing one’s personal feeling of achievement!

Sri Aurobindo points out the importance of achieving the foundational basis: “And when you are once able to do that sincerely, that will be the moment to renounce the initiation of your acts without exception into the hands of the supreme Godhead within you.”

The nature of this eventual change is to shift all initiation, all action, all responsibility and all results to the divine, working through the individual instrument as a nexus or opportunity of action. At this point, the entire issue of “sin and virtue” becomes essentially irrelevant. “The Divine Power and Presence within you will free you from sin and evil and lift you far above human standards of virtue. For you will live and act in the absolute and spontaneous right and purity of the spiritual being and the divine nature. The Divine and not you will enact his own will and works through you, not for your lower personal pleasure and desire, but for the world-purpose and for your divine good and the manifest or secret good of all.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 24, The Message of the Gita, pg. 574

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Swabhava and Swadharma As the True Basis of Action

When we understand the mechanism of the outer Nature and the impact of the Gunas on the action that we are steered or driven to undertake, it becomes quite clear that we have not yet discovered the true basis of action. Sri Aurobindo points out that it is necessary to identify with the inner being: “The real truth of all this action of Prakriti is, however, less outwardly mental and more inwardly subjective. It is this that man is an embodied soul involved in material and mental nature and he follows in it a progressive law of his development determined by an inner law of his being; his cast of spirit makes out his cast of mind and life, his Swabhava. Each man has a Swadharma, a law of his inner being which he must observe, find out and follow. The action determined by his inner nature, that is his real Dharma. To follow it is the true law of his development; to deviate from it is to bring in confusion, retardation and error.”

We see here, then, that we can discover our true nature of being and acting by focusing on and identifying our Swabhava and Swadharma, and then acting in accordance with them, regardless of what our mind and vital reaction to the outer forms, forces and actions may be.

There is a period of time when we have come to identify in consciousness with our true inner self, that the outer nature still acts based on its habitual patterns and remains thus linked to the action of the three Gunas; however, this is something that we observe and treat it as the sacrifice to the Master as Sri Aurobindo has described: “It is true that even when you have found yourself and live in your self, your nature will still continue on its old lines and act for a time according to its inferior modes. But now you can follow that actino with a perfect self-knowledge and can make of it a sacrifice to the Master of your existence.”

The difference that arises is we no longer identify with these things from the point of view of the ego-personality. “Reject all motive of egoism, all initiation by self-will, all rule of desire, until you can make the complete surrender of all the ways of your being to the Supreme.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 24, The Message of the Gita, pp. 573-574