On Karma (20 December 1999) Auroville - Karma 102

Mother said that everyone's role is indispensable in this world; everyone has a place, which is indispensable. So even there one need not be worried. Your place in the world is indispensable; you have a work to do which is indispensable, which only you can do and nobody else. So you need not worry to compete with others, or be worried that before you can do it someone else will have already done it. Your own karma that is to say your own manifestation of the role that you are to play, which manifests itself dynamically through you that karma will make you different from others anyway, and will lead you to fulfill the role that you have to play.

This is my first answer to this question, what is karma? To repeat very precisely: The manifestation of the work and the role that each individual has to play in the totality, in the building up of the temple of the divine on the earth, is karma.

This karma is  however not like what we call a sporadic action. It is not an action that can begin or end immediately or after some time, which most of our actions are in our present condition. It's a chain. What we have to do, the role that each one has to play is such a work! Normally we don't even imagine what is the work we have to do is, and you have to spend years and years even to find out some kind of a  linkage. Since this chain is a very long chain, we cannot expect it to be finished soon. There is a long procedure and a long voyage, a long journey. If this journey was simply to manifest your swabhava, your own becoming, it would be a very joyous movement, like an architect dreaming and casting his dreams into form, such would be the joyous movement of every one of us. But it is complicated by the fact that we have forgotten, – somehow we have allowed ourselves to forget the mandate that we have given to ourselves, the mandate that we have promised the Divine that we shall carry out.

Because of this forgetfulness, because of this oblivion, the process becomes somewhat very complicated. Otherwise it would be very easy canter, a galloping actually, towards the goal that we have. It can even be fast.

This forgetting itself – you may ask how it has come about: Why did you forget? How did you forget? These questions are very difficult. It appears as if, it was an accident. In a certain context of thought, we may say that it was an accident that we forget. At least, it appears like an accident. If you are already in a state of luminosity, which we were in the beginning when we made the contract with the Divine, we knew very well, ourselves,we knew the Divine very well, the goal to be achieved, – there was complete luminosity. Sri Aurobindo has written a beautiful chapter in The Life Divine called ‘The Triple Status of the Supermind’. The Supermind has three statuses which obtain simultaneously, and we were all in the beginning in the Supermind, where knowledge is automatic, spontaneous. Now in that status it is impossible to forget, because it is full of luminosity. When you are fully awake, how can you forget? So in a certain sense, when we look at our present status of ignorance, it might seem that by chance we fell from it, there was a fall from it. That is why we forgot ourselves. But if you look at it more deliberately, you can say that in the luminous state, if anything happens to you, it must be deliberate. It cannot be simply an accident, just like that; there must be some deliberate decision. You might say that there was a decision on the part of each one of us, as a collectivity – let us say that we were all together in the assembly of God, and then we decided that each one will have a role to play in building up the temple of the Divine on the earth – after having all decided together, as a collectivity we decided that we shall make our movement, this voyage, more enjoyable. Very often, when you want to play with children, you blindfold the child, and then you hide yourself and you say, ‘Find me out.’ It becomes a very joyful game. Similarly, we decided to have a more joyful game. There was a deliberate decision we took. ‘Having known all this, now let us forget it.’ And the moment we decided it, a process followed, and we forgot it. It is from that forgetfulness that gradually – we are now blindfolded as it were, or partially blindfolded, if not fully; at one stage we were more blindfolded than what we are now, and then we are just moving about in search of our friends, our colleagues, our masters, our superiors, our experts, our own friends – all kinds of things we have to recover, as it were. And then we have to find our tools of work, capacities of work, the design of work, the architectural perception, the dream – all that we have to recover, as it were. A very big work has to be done.

Therefore, when we speak of karma, there is a double movement in it. One is a movement which automatically issues from us, as it would issue because we were already in the state of luminosity. So there is a push in us which does not forget really the goal because it knows already. So there is something in us which knows the goal, and pushes us constantly in that direction. But there is also this forgetfulness, so there is a complication. You are pushed in the right direction, as it were, and yet you are not sure. Because of this forgetfulness you are asking, ‘Is it right?’ This push is coming – ‘Is it right? Is it wrong? Am I really going in the direction in which I should?’ And then you have to gradually recover it.