To write this blog, I first needed to hand over the reins of my mental chariot to Sri Bhagavan. Who am I to be so arrogant as to imagine I am writing all this?
From earliest childhood we are conditioned with the feeling of doership. I do this, don't do this, I must do this, I ought to do this ... ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Everybody, our own feelings and society, reinforces the idea that I am the doer of my actions.
A good logician can easily discredit this false concept of "I conceit". Determinist philosophy demonstrates that all my actions are the net result of a great conglomeration of gross and subtle causes, visible and invisible, which inevitably make me act in a certain way. As J.Krishnamurti said "No intelligent man can possibly believe in free will."
Does not the Gita say (Book Ill, Arnold translation):
Yeah! let each play his part.
The fool, cheated by self, thinks “This I did"
and “that I wrought"; but -ah, thou strong-armed Prince! -
A better-Iessoned mind, knowing the play.
Of visible things within the world of sense,
And how the qualities must qualify,
Standeth aloof even from his acts. Th'untaught
Live mixed with them, knowing not Nature's way,
Of highest aims unwitting, slow and dull.
Those make thou not to stumble, having the light.
And in Book V: “Nought of my self I do ... letting self-hood go.”
And in Book VIII:
Hear from me, Long-armed Lord! the makings five
Which go to every Act, in Sankhya taught
As necessary. First the force; and then
The Agent; next the various instruments;
Fourth, the especial effort; fifth, the God.
What work soever any mortal doth
Of body, mind or speech, evil or good,
By these five does he that. Which being thus,
Who so, for lack of knowledge, seeth himself
As the sole actor, knoweth nought at all
And seeth nought.
In his commentary on the Gita, Shankaracharya says: “On account of ignorance (lack of self knowledge) the individual soul identifies itself with its adjuncts, i.e.the body and senses, which are only superimposed on it. This identification makes the soul think that it is the doer, enjoyer, the body, and therefore comes under the survey of birth and death, and becomes bound down to this world of illusion.
The common sense fallacy that I am the Doer of Action (karma) is based on an absurd faith in a materialistic empirical world without realizing that everything happens in the only way it can. If one thing was different, then everything would be different. The universe is one Whole brought into being by a Supreme Prime Cause. Everything which happens inevitably follows on as a consequence of His Will. The imaginary notion of "free will" is only part of the structure which the Inner Ruler, or Shakti power, uses to get things done.
As Bhagavan has said, not one atom moves except by God's permission. That "I am the doer" is a cardinal sin usurping the role of the deity in one's personal life. It is attributing one's actions to a rampant egotism which believes it is the doer of the actions which God ordains for our spiritual development.
To avoid the danger of rajasic or tamastic gunas taking over our functioning, we should act as far as possible from sattvic gunas, or from a stance of equilibrium. In addition, as the Gita says, and Bhagavan's Thirty Verses, we should act devoting all our actions to God, so purifying the mind. This brings happiness, and such action is a matter of Grace; it is not something which can be just "turned on".
The next step is to surrender all our actions to him, to give up our sense of doership by saying constantly Not I but Thou, Oh Lord. This cuts like a knife through the egotistic sense of doership. Then we can hand over the sense of doership to Him as Arjuna did to Lord Krishna, to drive his chariot of action.
In one sense as Consciousness we are already awakened, (but the mind does not accept it) – being present in the here and now to what is. Any effort of the mind to destroy the mind will only strengthen it. However, there is a simple exercise that helps to unseat our sense of doership. This is to recollect at the end of each day a few outstanding events that have occurred during it, which we seem to have 'done'. We can then find out to what extent personal will entered and how much was merely a reaction to a local stimulus within an overall happening, i.e. God's will.
Ramesh S.Balsekar writes very effectively on the false notion of doership in Duet For One, his commentary on the Ashravakra Gita, a scripture recommended by Bhagavan.