Essays on the Gita -Aurobindo 105

Essays on the Gita -Sri Aurobindo
First Series : Chapter 11
Works and Sacrifice

Such a man has bewildered himself with false notions of self-discipline; he has not understood its object or its truth, nor the first principles of his subjective existence; therefore all hismethods of self-discipline are false and null.[1] The body’s actions, even the mind’s actions are nothing in themselves, neither a bondage, nor the first cause of bondage. What is vital is the mighty energy of Nature which will have her way and her play in her great field of mind and life and body; what is dangerous in her, is the power of her three gun. as, modes or qualities to confuse and bewilder the intelligence and so obscure the soul. That, as we shall see later, is the whole crux of action and liberation for the Gita. Be free from obscuration and bewilderment by the three gun. as and action can continue, as it must continue, and even the largest, richest or most enormous and violent action; it does not matter, for nothing then touches the Purusha, the soul has nais.karmya. But at present the Gita does not proceed to that larger point. Since the mind is the instrumental cause, since inaction is impossible, what is rational, necessary, the right way is a controlled action of the subjective and objective organism. The mind must bring the senses under its control as an instrument of the intelligent will and then the organs of action must be used for their proper office, for action, but for action done as Yoga. But what is the essence of this self-control, what is meant by action done as Yoga, Karmayoga? It is non-attachment, it is to do works without clinging with the mind to the objects of sense and the fruit of the works. Not complete inaction, which is an error, a confusion, a self-delusion, an impossibility, but action full and

free done without subjection to sense and passion, desireless and unattached works, are the first secret of perfection. Do action thus self-controlled, says Krishna, niyatam˙ kuru karma tvam: I have said that knowledge, the intelligence, is greater than works, jyayası karman. o buddhih. , but I did not mean that inaction is greater than action; the contrary is the truth, karma jyayo akarman. ah. . For knowledge does not mean renunciation of works, it means equality and non-attachment to desire and the objects of sense; and it means the poise of the intelligent will in the Soul free and high-uplifted above the lower instrumentation of Prakriti and controlling the works of the mind and the senses and body in the power of self-knowledge and the pure objectless self-delight of spiritual realisation, niyatam˙karma.[2]


References and Context

  1. cannot think that mithyacara means a hypocrite. How is a man a hypocrite who inflicts on himself so severe and complete a privation? He is mistaken and deluded, vimudhatma, and his acara, his formally regulated method of self-discipline, is a false and vain method,—this surely is all that the Gita means.
  2. Again, I cannot accept the current interpretation of niyatam˙ karma as if it meant fixed and formal works and were equivalent to the Vedic nityakarma, the regular works of sacrifice, ceremonial and the daily rule of Vedic living. Surely, niyata simply takes up the niyamya of the last verse. Krishna makes a statement, “he who controlling the senses by the mind engages with the organs of action in Yoga of action, he excels,” manas¯a niyamya ¯arabhate karmayogam, and he immediately goes on to draw from the statement an injunction, to sum it up and convert it into a rule. “Do thou do controlled action,” niyatam˙ kuru karma tvam: niyatam takes up the niyamya, kuru karma takes up the ¯arabhate karmayogam. Not formal works fixed by an external rule, but desireless works controlled by the liberated buddhi, is the Gita’s teaching.