Work, Action and Growth

Man embodied in the natural world cannot cease from action, not for a moment, not for a second; his very existence here is an action; the whole universe is an act of God, mere living even is His movement.

– Sri Aurobindo

One has to understand about action and also about wrong action and inaction.

– Srimad Bhagavat Gita

One can progress through meditation, but through work, provided it is done in the right spirit, one can progress ten times more.

– The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram.

What is the purpose of Work and Action? Our material mind closer to the body, may say, “Work is a means to earn our living” and the more dynamic part of our mind may say, “action is a means for self-expression.” Both these answers are valid at the corresponding level of our being.

But is there also a higher purpose to work and action? “Yes there is,” declares the divine Teacher in the Indian scripture Bhagavat Gita. According to Gita, work and action can be a means of inner growth and enlightenment. This is the path of karma yoga of Gita, which Sri Aurobindo describes as, “The greatest gospel of spiritual works ever yet given to the race” and the “most perfect system of karma yoga known to man in the past.”

The karmayoga of Gita is based on a spiritual intuition which perceives the origin of all human energies in an eternal and universal energy of the Divine, which is also the source of all our human work and action. Our individual work and action is only a conditioned and diminished movement of the universal Work and Action of the divine Energy. There is an eternal movement in the universal energies of Nature which offers all the outgoing energies of action to its divine source. This is the cosmic sacrifice of Nature. The discipline of karma yoga of the Gita, aims at making the individual worker fully conscious of the cosmic sacrifice within her and attune all her work and action to this great Law of Nature. This is the rationale behind the main discipline of karma yoga, which is to consciously offer all our inner and outer activities to the Divine, without seeking for any reward.

For the corporate worker, the path of karma yoga provides the key for achieving a practical synthesis of the secular and spiritual life within her and in her work-life; it gives the inner discipline for achieving inner growth and spiritual development in the midst of work and action and express this inner growth in her outer life. In other words, karmayoga shows the way to the spiritualisation of the secular life of human beings.

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