The Integral Nature and Result of the Yogic Path of Sacrifice

Sri Aurobindo has described a yogic path that starts from the Yoga of works, through action in the world, but eventually incorporates the deepest forms of devotion and the completest understanding brought about by the Yoga of knowledge. The central characteristic that brings this about is what is called the “Yoga of sacrifice”, with an understanding of the term in its widest and highest sense.

“Lastly, the practice of this Yoga of sacrifice compels us to renounce all the inner supports of egoism, casting them out of our mind and will and actions, and to eliminate its seed, its presence, its influence out of our nature. All must be done for the Divine; all must be directed towards the Divine. Nothing must be attempted for ourselves as a separate existence; nothing done for others, whether neighbors, friends, family, country or mankind or other creatures merely because they are connected with our personal life and thought and sentiment or because the ego takes a preferential interest in their welfare.”

While undertaking this practice, the standpoint inevitably shifts from that of the limited, fragmented individual ego-personality to that of the Divine, where we recognize the inherent Oneness of all existence, and understand that it is the Divine which manifests in us and through us, and all forms and creatures and actions. We begin by devotion and offering, but as the sense of difference is eliminated, we move to the deeper knowledge of the Divine undertaking all action. “Life becomes more and more the sacrifice of the eternal in the individual constantly self-offered to the eternal Transcendence.”

“It has all the power of a way of works integral and absolute, but because of its law of sacrifice and self-giving to the Divine Self and Master, it is accompanied on its one side by the whole power of the path of Love and on the other by the whole power of the path of Knowledge. At its end all these three divine Powers work together, fused, united, completed, perfected by each other.”

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, pp. 105-106