Every action in the world receives a response, due to the nature of the inter-connectedness and interchange within the manifested universe. Therefore, every act of sacrifice, self-giving, evokes a response. People question whether prayer, offering, self-giving are “effective”. There is no doubt that each such act has an effect and causes something to occur in the universe. What is usually meant by this question is whether the individual ego-personality can demand, cajole, convince or manipulate the Divine to act under the desires and impulsions sought by the ego-personality. This of course, is not the case! The response comes in its own form based on a number of factors, and does not necessarily correspond to the desires of the seeker making the offering.
Sri Aurobindo describes these factors and the corresponding fruit: “And the fruit also of the sacrifice of works varies according to the work, according to the intention in the work and according to the spirit that is behind the intention.”
“But all other sacrifices are partial, egoistic, mixed, temporal, incomplete,–even those offered to the highest Powers and Principles keep this character: the result too is partial, limited, temporal, mixed in its reactions, effective only for a minor or intermediate purpose.”
In order to effect the ultimate result of identification with the Divine, a complete and total self-giving is required. “…it is that surrender made face to face, with devotion and knowledge, freely and without any reserve to One who is at once our immanent Self, the environing constituent All, the Supreme Reality beyond this or any manifestation and, secretly, all these together, concealed everywhere, the immanent Transcendence. For to the soul that wholly gives itself to him, God also gives himself altogether. Only the one who offers his whole nature, finds the Self. Only the one who can give everything, enjoys the Divine All everywhere. Only a supreme self-abandonment attains to the Supreme. Only the sublimation by sacrifice of all that we are, can enable us to embody the Highest and live here in the immanent consciousness of the transcendent Spirit.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 4, The Sacrifice, The Triune Path and the Lord of the Sacrifice, pg. 102