The fifth in the series on Sri Aurobindo’s aphorisms and my understanding of it.
Sacrifice plays a central role in the spiritual ecology of India. The Gods are said to be fostered within us by sacrifice, they enter into communion with us by sacrifice, man rises to the stature of the Gods by sacrifice…even the act of creation is said to be a sacrifice on the part of the Supreme Divine, since he consents to be bound by the illusion of ignorance and rise through the infinite cycles of existence to the primal state.
But this lofty idea has been through quite some contortions, to put it mildly, in current times. Tonsuring ones head is a very popular ‘sacrifice’ down in southern India, giving up non-vegetarian food or certain days, fasting on certain days etc. All of them have one thing in common, whatever is convenient to give up is given up. Even when this is not the case, say giving up non-vegetarian food, it often benefits the doer, rather than “fostering the gods within”.
And now the Guru clears the cobwebs and defines how sacrifice aught to be.
Limit not sacrifice to the giving up of earthly goods or the denial of some desires and yearnings, but let every thought and every work and every enjoyment be an offering to God within thee. Let thy steps walk in thy Lord, let thy sleep and waking be a sacrifice to Krishna.
The scope of sacrifice is very clearly defined and needs no further explanation. But the interesting point to note is to whom the sacrifice should be offered, “..to God within thee”. Very Advaitic in its formulation and even impersonal. But the very next line clears up the lofty impersonality with the call to found all our acts, waking and sleeping within Krishna, the Beloved of the aspiring soul.