What Is the Work To Be Done By the Realized Soul?

Throughout humanity’s seeking for spiritual realisation, under whatever form, the question has been posed as to what, if any, work need be done by the realised soul? For those paths that see the world as something of an illusion, the goal is to drop outer work and merge with the Eternal. For those who see the world as some kind of preparation or testing ground for a higher spiritual reality, once the higher has been achieved, nothing remains here to be done. There are also those who believe that we live in a transitional world to higher spheres or planes, and realisation inevitably means that we have completed our task here and can move on. There remain yet others who take the approach that there is no “other” world or state, and thus, the work in the material world must continue, without any altered state of realisation intervening. Some believe that without the motivation of desire and ego, there can be no impetus to any form of outer action or work. And then there are those, such as the Mahayana Buddhists, who have the concept of the Bodhisattva, the enlightened soul who turns back to aid the process of the world and remains behind until every last sentient being has achieved enlightenment. The Bhagavad Gita asks the leading souls to continue to support the creation and the Divine Purpose.

Sri Aurobindo also takes up this question as a prelude to a wider discussion on the topic: “Equality has been seated in the nature or governs the whole nature; there has been achieved a radical deliverance from the ego-idea, from the pervading ego-sense, from all feelings and impulsions of the ego and its self-will and desires. The entire self-consecration has been made not only in thought and heart but in all the complexities of the being. A complete purity or transcendence of the three gunas has been harmoniously established. The soul has seen the Master of its works and lives in his presence or is consciously contained in his being or is unified with him or feels him in the heart or abaove and obeys his dictates. It has known its true being and cast away the veil of the Ignorance. What work then remains for the worker in man and with what motive, to what end, in what spirit will it be done?”

This question is the final major unresolved issue facing the seeker following the Yoga of works.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 12, The Divine Work, pg. 252

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