Question: How can self-offering be distinguished from other kinds of actions?1

Sri Chinmoy: Somebody may do something to fulfil his own purpose without a higher goal or a higher ideal. Each thing we do is not necessarily 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 you embody this attitude is your work an act of 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 you call it self-offering. Otherwise, here on earth people do thousands and millions of things just because they have to meet with earthly responsibilities and earthly obligations. There is no divine inspiration; there is no inner awakening. If there is no inner awakening, if there is no inner awareness of what you are doing, why you are doing it and how it should be done, then you cannot call it self-offering.

  1. MUN 365. 8 January 1976.