The Means and Ultimate Aim of an Integral Karmayoga

The transformative action in the world called for by Sri Aurobindo is not to be accomplished solely by individual separation from the life of the world and salvation of a single individual. This implies that a new standpoint of consciousness must be brought forward, active not only in the higher mind of reason and intellectual endeavors, or the purest emotions of the heart, but also in life and the material world. Since the vital-physical life is very much bound to the force of desire and the limitations of the ego-consciousness, there must be a change that eliminates the ego as the center of the action, and transfers the Will and the Power of action to the Divine Lord of creation, who stands behind all forms and their activities.

When we live in the ego-standpoint and try to understand and evaluate both our own efforts in the world and their interaction with the forces at work in the world at large, we can recognize that it is impossible to truly understand significance. The Divine works through what we call good fortune and bad fortune, happiness and suffering, positive and negative events. What the secret intention behind those results may be, and what the impact is for ourselves and the world at large, remains a mystery to the ego-personality.

When we shift our viewpoint to that of the Divine, we see that the individual is purely a nexus of action and what is intended to occur, and what results from the individual’s contribution can be evaluated with a wider sense of meaning and purpose.

Sri Aurobindo takes up this consideration: “There must be effected a complete transformation of our limited and distorted egoistic life and works into the large and direct outpouring of a greater divine Life, Will and Energy that now secretly supports us. This greater Will and Energy must be made conscious in us and master; no longer must it remain, as now, only a superconscious, upholding and permitting Force. There must be achieved an undistorted transmission through us of the all-wise purpose and process of a now hidden omniscient Power and omnipotent Knowledge which will turn into its pure, unobstructed, happily consenting and participating channel all our transmuted nature. This total consecration and surrender and this resultant entire transformation and free transmission make up the whole fundamental means and the ultimate aim of an integral Karmayoga.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 3, Self-Surrender in Works–The Way of the Gita, pg. 85