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Renunciation to gain an end is barter; in it there is no giving up, but only exchange. Self-sacrifice is an extension of the self. The sacrifice of the self is a refinement of the self, and however subtle the self may make itself, it is still enclosed, petty, limited. Renunciation for a cause, however great, however extensive and significant, is substitution of the cause for the self; the cause or the idea becomes the self, the "me" and the "mine." Conscious sacrifice is the expansion of the self, giving up in order to gather again; conscious sacrifice is negative assertion of the self. To give up is another form of acquisition. You renounce this in order to gain that. This is put at a lower level, that at a higher level; and to gain the higher, you "give up" the lower. In this process, there is no giving up, but only a gaining of greater satisfaction; and the search for greater satisfaction has no element of sacrifice. Why use a righteous-sounding word for a gratifying activity in which all indulge?
Commentaries on Living Series I | Chapter 63 'Self-Sacrifice' Read full text