It is an error to place too much stress on unselfish activity as an element in the aspirant's qualifications. We did not incarnate primarily to serve each other. We incarnated to realize the Overself, to change the quality of individual consciousness. Altruism is therefore always subordinate to this higher activity. The sage's compassion is not primarily for other people's troubles, although he certainly feels that too, but he knows that these will continue without end in some form or other--such being the unalterable nature of mundane existence. His compassion is for the ignorance out of which many avoidable troubles spring or which when they are unavoidable prevents people from attaining inner peace. Hence he economizes time and energy by refraining from devoting them merely and solely to humanitarian work and uses them instead for the root-work of alleviating spiritual ignorance.
-- Notebooks Category 2: Overview of Practices Involved > Chapter 8: The Quest and Social Responsibility > # 75