The Freedom of Action of the Karma Yogin

The seeker who has succeeded in loosening the bonds of desire and ego, and who acts under the impulsion of the Divine cannot be recognised necessarily by the outer form of his life and action. There is no fixed rule that identifies the Karma Yogin externally. One may stay within the framework of the life to which he was born and raised, or alternatively may break with that life entirely and move in an entirely new direction. The work may be humble and practically invisible to others, or it may be framed on a large scale to open up new opportunities and vistas for humanity in a period of development and change. The choice is not that of the individual, but the impulsion of the Divine Spirit moving within him, as Sri Aurobindo describes:

“There is no narrow principle, no field of cabined action that can be imposed on the Karmayogin as his rule or his province. This much is true that every kind of works, whether small to imagination or great, petty in scope or wide, can be equally used in the progress towards liberation or for self-discipline. This much is also true that after liberation a man may dwell in any sphere of life and in any kind of action and fulfil there his existence in the Divine. According as he is moved by the Spirit, he may remain in the sphere assigned to him by birth and circumstances or break that framework and go forth to an untrammelled action which shall be the fitting body of his greatened consciousness and higher knowledge.”

“If such be the intention of the Supreme within him, the liberated soul may be content with a subtle and limited action within the old human surroundings which will in no way seek to change their outward appearance. But it may too be called to a work which will not only alter the forms and spheres of its own external life but, leaving nothing around it unchanged or unaffected, create a new world or a new order.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 12, The Divine Work, pp. 255-256