Those who are realized beings, who have become enlightened, always must act responsibly. But, their only responsibility is to allow things to happen to them because they realize they are instruments of the Divine. As such, they are no longer creating any new karma. They do continue to be active and to serve others, but without being attached to their actions. There are no choices to be made by such an individual. They don’t choose to do or not to do something.

How can we understand this? Well, there is no other way except to analyze the situation well and to understand the aftereffects of any of your actions. You may understand on an intellectual level that you are not the doer. But then, at the time of doing something, you feel that you are the doer. So then you can question, Who is it that has the feeling? Am I the doer? And, who knows that I am not the doer?

The problem is that you can’t be going back and forth between the mind and your higher Self. Once, you really know that you are not the doer of anything, then there is no possibility of falling back into identifying yourself as the doer, the ego; you are rooted in your true identity, not the ego-identity. But, if you only know this theoretically, there is always the possibility of falling back into the egoistic way of looking at what you do or don’t do.

The ego is a part of mind and the reasoning is a part of the mind. So ask yourself, Who is it that is reasoning? As long as you reason, you use a part of mind—the reasoning mind. The reasoning mind analyzes every action. The reasoning mind should also know or understand why you want to get away from the egoistic feeling of responsibility. You must analyze and ask, In what way am I entangled; in what way am I slipping down into ego-identity? The pros and cons should be considered. Then your mind will understand that the moment you feel that you are the ego and you do something, you become responsible for what you do. In this case, you don’t experience yourself as an instrument but as the ego and the doer. The result will be that, immediately, your equilibrium can get disrupted. The moment you feel that you are the doer, then a karmic reaction automatically comes to you—whether you want it or not. You just do something and the reaction comes. So, then you have to face the reaction. If it is a pleasurable one, you are happy. If it is not so pleasurable, you are unhappy. This shows you what it means to have disturbed your peace, your equilibrium. Hopefully your reasoning mind will then ask, Hey, what is the point? Why do you want to disturb your peace?

Nothing can be gained by losing your peace. So, keep the mind peaceful, and then if anything happens, let it happen. Do whatever you need to do without the feeling of doership. Every time you notice that you feel you are the doer, you can use reasoning to change your way of looking at it. But, sometimes you cannot reason it out. So if you can have a devotional attitude and you believe in a higher power—in God or whatever you want to call it—then you can take a different approach. You can feel that there is a higher force who is responsible for everything. Then you won’t feel that you are the doer or that you are responsible. You are still using your reasoning power, but in a different way. This approach is called jnana, or wisdom. But devotion without wisdom is not enough. Devotion without the proper understanding may even bind us. So the bhakti approach, or devotional approach to God, should go hand in hand with jnana.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda