Question: How can self-offering be distinguished from other kinds of actions?

Sri Chinmoy: Somebody may do something to fulfil his own purpose without a higher goal or even without a higher ideal. Each thing we do is not necessarily a self-offering. You may be working in an office — your physical is working, your vital is working, your mind is working — but your attitude need not be spiritual. Self-offering has to be done with a consecrated attitude inside the entire being. If the attitude is spiritual, only then is it self-offering. While working, you have to feel that this is what the divine within you, the Supreme within you is asking you to do. And then you have to go one step ahead. You have to feel that God Himself is acting in and through you for His own satisfaction. This is the divine attitude. Only when we embody this attitude is our work a self-giving and a self-offering.

It is the attitude inside the action that determines whether the action is selfless self-giving or whether it is something done in a subtle way for self-glory. If an action is motivated and inspired by a higher cause, then only can we say it is self-offering. Otherwise, here on earth we do thousands and millions of things just because we have to meet with earthly responsibilities and earthly obligations. Here there need not be any divine inspiration; there need not be any divine inner awakening. If there is no inner awakening, if there is no inner awareness of what we are doing, why we are doing it and how it should be done, then we cannot call it self-offering.