The Necessity of Overcoming the Sense of the Individual As the Doer of Works

Overcoming the force of desire and achieving equality of soul is intimately tied to the knot of the ego-consciousness at the center of the individual’s awareness. Thus, in order to fully achieve the results the central ego-complex must also be removed and replaced by the new standpoint that is aware of the Divine as the doer of all works, and the individual simply as a “nexus” of that divine action for the purposes of the play of the manifestation.

The first step as enunciated by the Bhagavad Gita is to give up the desire for the fruits of work, but the second step is the critical one that Sri Aurobindo focuses on here as the knot to be unravelled: “But for the worker the renunciation of the egoism of action is the most important element in this change. For even when by giving up the fruits and the desire of the fruits to the Master of the Sacrifice we have parted with the egoism of rajasic desire, we may still have kept the egoism of the worker. Still we are subject to the sense that we are ourselves the doer of the act, ourselves its source and ourselves the giver of the sanction. It is still the “I” that chooses and determines, it is still the “I” that undertakes the responsibility and feels the demerit or the merit. An entire removal of this separative ego-sense is an essential aim of our Yoga.”

The shift of the consciousness that must take place: “That true centre is a luminous formulation of the one Consciousness and a pure channel and instrument of the one Existence. A support for the individual manifestation and action of the universal Force, it gradually reveals behind it the true Person in us, the central eternal being, an everlasting being of the Supreme, a power and portion of the transcendent Shakti.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 9, Equality and Annihilation of Ego, pp.216-217

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