Achieving Action Without Egoism

Sri Aurobindo indicates: “Our nature must house the cosmic Force but not in its lower aspect or in its rajasic or sattwic movement; it must serve the universal Will, but in the light of a greater liberating knowledge. There must be no egoism of any kind in the attitude of the instrument, even when we are fully conscious of the greatness of the Force within us.”

All universal action is done by the Divine Shakti, and the individual is the occasion, not the cause of that action. Despite our normal egoistic attachment either to the sense of being the doer, or the sense of being the instrument of the Divine, the reality is that the Divine Force is at work in all beings and forms, either with their conscious understanding or without it.

The focus in Karmayoga is to develop the standpoint that removes the egoism from the awareness. “The attitude of our mind must not be ‘This is my strength’ or ‘Behold God’s power in me’, but rather ‘A Divine Power works in this mind and body and it is the same that works in all men and in the animal, in the plant and in the metal, in conscious and living things and in things appearing to be inconscient and inanimate.’ This large view of the One working in all and of the whole world as the equal instrument of a divine action and gradual self-expression, if it becomes our entire experience, will help to eliminate all rajasic egoism out of us and even the sattwic ego-sense will begin to pass away from our nature.”

Once we no longer hold any special sense in our minds, hearts or vital being that we are separate, different, unique and divinely inspired or guided in a way that attempts to set us apart and acts as a source of pride or arrogance, we can become express the divine Force in a way that does not distort it. “If this ego disappears, then we can truly become, not only pure instruments consciously consenting to every turn of the divine Hand that moves us, but aware of our true nature, conscious portions of the one Eternal and Infinite put out in herself for her works by the supreme Shakti.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 11, The Master of the Work, pp. 237-239

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