Not for the sake of the wife is the wife dear, but for the sake of the Self the wife is dear; not for the sake of the husband is the husband dear, but for the sake of the Self the husband is dear; not for the sake of the son is the son dear, but for the sake of the Self the son is dear.
But the wife and the husband and the son are rightly dear, because there is dwelling in them the glory of the Self, and that remains for ever, with all that has made it beautiful to you on earth; for God is Love, and love can never die; and all the loving and beloved Jīvāṭmās, that have been embodied in many forms, remain as your companions through the everlasting ages of the Future.
Now when a man has learnt Vairāgya, then comes the great period of Service. No longer does he work for anything for himself, but to carry out the Divine Will in Evolution. Has not Shrī Kṛṣhṇa said that He acts perpetually? Because, “if I do not act,” He says, “all these worlds would perish.” “I have nothing to gain,” are His words. But they would perish, save for Him, and He goes on to say: “Let the wise man, acting with me, render all action attractive.” Action is only a clog, is only a fetter, after man has gained all its fruit in experience, when it is not done for the sake of sacrifice. But when the action is consecrated to the Service of God and Man, that action becomes wings that uplift, and not fetters that clog, the advancing Spirit. And so, in the arrangement of castes that we have in India, there is one great lesson that comes out. The Shūḍra, the lowest caste, is the man who serves all. But the highest, above all castes, the Sannyāsī, what is he but the Servant of humanity, reproducing on a loftier plane the Service in which a Shūḍra is taking his first lesson down here? The Shūḍra learns service to others, and accumulates what he learns; the Vaishya learns to sacrifice material wealth in charity to others; the Kṣhaṭṭriya learns to renounce life itself in defence of others; the Brāhmaṇa learns to renounce all for knowledge, that he may teach others. Then caste has taught its lessons, and the highest of all services are the services done for the sake of sacrifice by the liberated Spirit, the Paramahamsa, the man who has gone beyond the illusion of the Separated Self. So wisely was planned the ancient order, full of true significance.
The only other point that you have to remember is that all this is done under inviolable Law. “As you sow, so shall you reap.” There is a great verse in a Christian Scripture too often forgotten by Christians: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” No use for substitution; no putting on of an imputed righteousness; no safety by a Saviour; you must reap your own harvest, you must work out, earn, your own salvation for yourself. But this remember: that your only limitation in taking up the strength of God lies in you, and not in Him. That is where the doctrine of so-called Divine Grace comes in. As the Sun shines all around you, as the Sun shines upon your house, you may close all the shutters, and say: “I don’t want light; I shut my windows and my doors against the incoming rays of the Sun.” So may you say to the Supreme Sun, the Light and the Life of the Universe: “I shut against you the doors of my heart; I don’t want you to penetrate within me. I close my doors; I close my windows; your light shall not illuminate my Soul.” And the answer of the Divine is: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man open, I will come in.” There lies what men call Divine Grace. The grace is ever there, shining upon your closed shutters. You may shut your door; there is no change in the effulgence of the Sun. And so there is the Divine Light ever around you. You turn your backs upon it, and you say that it is dark; you have refused to see the Light, and you dwell in the shadow that you yourselves have made. Well, stay there, as long as you will. Play with the toys, as long as it pleases you. But know, that the day will come when the breaking of the toys will leave you desolate, and then you will open your hearts to the Supreme Love, and say: “Light, come in, and fill my heart with Thyself, for Thou and I are one, we were never separate; and I, the child of Man, recognise my birthright, and I claim, in the Self-realisation of my Divinity, the fruition of my life as Man.”