The most notable feature of Paramhansa Yogananda’s life of renunciation was what he gave — to God and to others — rather than what he gave up. His life was intensely active in that giving. By giving one’s self to God, in service and meditation, the ego becomes purified and eventually freed.

From The Essence of Self-Realization,
by Paramhansa Yogananda

To a struggling disciple: “Your job, for now, is to get to God. Don’t worry about all the karma you will still have to complete. Let God worry about that!

“First, destroy in yourself the source of karmic involvement. That source is your attachment to the ego. Once the ego is merged in Him, then any actions you perform will no longer revert to yourself. Your actions will be like writing on water: They will leave no trace in the mind. In severing yourself from egoic involvement in any action that you perform, you will have cut the Gordian knot of delusion.

“This is the state of the jivan mukta, one who is free inside even while living in this world. Being inwardly free, nothing he does can ever affect him again.”

A man burdened with worldly responsibilities asked, “What place does duty hold on the path to inner joy?”

Sri Yogananda replied: “To live irresponsibly is to live for the ego, not for God. The greater a person’s emphasis on ego-fulfillment, the less his awareness of true joy.

“To fulfill one’s duties in life may not be easy, and it may not always be immediately enjoyable. Attaining divine joy is a long-term proposition. Man must discharge his duties in life, and not avoid them, if he would attain freedom in eternity.”