Sri Aurobindo on the Mother’s Force in Work and Action

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Editor’s Note: We feature a few of Sri Aurobindo’s letters in which he answers the disciples’ questions about how to invoke the Mother’s Force during work. His answers enlighten us on how we can open ourselves to receiving the Mother’s force and become a perfect instrument for her work.


The Mother’s force helping at work

Disciple: Yesterday I worked with great vigour and after I saw Mother in the evening I felt that there was no physical tiredness at all and that I could work for twelve hours more.

Sri Aurobindo: It is the Mother’s energy that comes down into the vital and physical for those who are open.


Disciple: I told you that I could work peacefully at the Granary, but alas, I am unable to do so. As I sit quietly doing my work, X comes and starts talking about many things and creates a disturbance in me. I pray that you will help me.

Sri Aurobindo: You must be able to find the Mother in work and action as well as in concentration and silence. It is quite possible even if there is the silence within you and no restless movement, to move and act and do all that is needful.

It is in fact when all within is silent, free from desire and with no restless movement that the Mother’s force can act best and do things in the right way. You should aspire to the Mother for the right force to act and do work and find her in the work and action.


Disciple: When I do any work for myself or do any work as my own, I get tired. But my mind realises now that this tiredness comes because I have not offered the work to my Divine Parents.

Sri Aurobindo: If there is the full surrender in the work and you feel it is the Mother’s and that the Mother’s force is working in you, then fatigue does not come.


Disciple: During the work, is it good to go on thinking: “It is the Mother who does the work through us”?

Sri Aurobindo: If it is work, you can always do that, provided you realise that it depends on the instrument whether the Mother’s force works fully or not.

Disciple: But if we think it is the Mother who is working through us, wrong movements may hide in the disguise of the Mother?

Sri Aurobindo: If you think all your actions come from the Mother, then of course it will have that effect—the actions come from Prakriti. Work is a different matter, for it is the Mother’s work you are doing.


Disciple: Today I felt as if someone other than myself was carrying out my actions. Of course I was there, but in the background. Was it not the Mother’s Force trying to take me into itself integrally?

Sri Aurobindo: It is too much to say that. What you say amounts only to some glimpse of the cosmic Force behind all the actions.


Sri Aurobindo: Everybody is in the Mother, but one must become conscious of that, not of the work only.


To become a conscious and perfect instrument of the Mother’s force

Sri Aurobindo: The feeling that all one does is from the Divine, that all action is the Mother’s is a necessary step in experience, but one cannot remain in it—one has to go farther. Those can remain in it who do not want to change the nature, but only to have the experience of the Truth behind it.

Your action is according to universal Nature and in that again it is according to your individual nature, and all Nature is a force put out by the Divine Mother for the action of the universe. But as things are it is an action in the Ignorance and the ego; while what we want is an action of the divine Truth unveiled and undeformed by the Ignorance and the ego.

So when you feel that your actions are all done by the force of the Mother, that is a true experience. But the will of the Mother is that all you do should be done not by her force in Nature as now, but her own direct force in the Truth of her nature, the higher divine Nature.

So also it was correct, what you thought afterwards, that unless there is this change, the experience that all you do is done by her will cannot be altogether true. So it will not be permanent till then. For if it were permanent now, it might keep you in the lower action as it does many and prevent or retard the change.

What you need as a permanent experience now is that of the Mother’s Force working in you in all things to change this ignorant consciousness and nature into her divine consciousness and nature.

It is the same with the truth about the instrument.

It is true that each being is an instrument of the cosmic Shakti, therefore of the Mother. But the aim of the sadhana is to become a conscious and perfect instrument instead of one that is unconscious and therefore imperfect.

You can be a conscious and perfect instrument only when you are no longer acting in obedience to the ignorant push of the lower nature, but in surrender to the Mother and aware of her higher Force acting within you. So here too your intuition was perfectly true.

But all this cannot be done in a day. So you are once more right in not being anxious or uneasy.

One must be vigilant, but not anxious and uneasy. The Mother’s Force will act and bring the result in its own time—provided one offers all to her and aspires and is vigilant, calling and remembering her at all times, rejecting quietly all that stands in the way of the action of her transforming Force. [. . .]


Receptivity to the Force for Work: Words of Sri Aurobindo

Disciple: What is meant by being an instrument or being used by the Mother’s Force? When one acts on impulse, often it is a wrong movement—how can that be a case of being an instrument? When you wrote to X, “You are being used as an effective instrument”, did you write it as a temporary encouragement?

Sri Aurobindo: So long as one is not conscious of the Force working through one, one is moved by the Prakriti. The Prakriti may be used sometimes by the Divine for some work to be done, but that is not what is meant in the Yoga by being an “instrument”.

I do not know to what you refer as regards X,—his poetry was inspired by us and he felt it and it certainly helped several people; to that extent he was an effective instrument for the work so long as he was in the right attitude. Naturally, it is for the work that one can be an instrument, not for things like sex which have nothing to do with the Yoga or the work. But the real instrumentality begins when the consciousness of the Force working begins within.


How to open oneself to the Mother’s force

Disciple: In a letter about work Sri Aurobindo says: “As for the dedication make the sankalpa always of offering it, remember and pray when you can. . . . This is to fix a certain attitude.  Afterwards, the Force can take advantage of this key to open the deeper dedication within.” May I know in what terms this deeper dedication can be expressed?

Sri Aurobindo: One begins to feel a double consciousness, one an inner being within which is always dedicated, spontaneously and silently full of the devotion to the Mother or aware of her Force working or of her presence or all these together and another the outer through which the work is done.


Disciple: During work, the consciousness, however high it was before, falls at once into inertia. Is this condition never to change?

Sri Aurobindo: It is not necessary to fall into inertia, but one always comes into a less intensity of consciousness during work unless one has established in work the conscious contact with the Mother’s Force and is aware of that during the work or unless one has developed a double consciousness, the inner concentrated, the outer doing the work.


Disciple: You seem to have written to X that there is a special force for the work and, if it is brought down, its action need not remain a separate thing from meditation. What is this special force for work?

Sri Aurobindo: It is the Mother’s force, naturally.


Sri Aurobindo: It is only when work and action are done in that way, without insistence on one’s personal ideas and personal feelings but only for the Divine’s sake without thought of self that work becomes fully a sadhana and the internal and the external nature can arrive at a harmony.

It makes it more possible for the inner being to take up and enlighten the outer action and grow conscious of the Mother’s force behind it guiding it in its works.


Disciple: Should one try to put out the Mother’s Force during work, if one is conscious of it?

Sri Aurobindo: It is the Mother’s Force that has to work through the sadhak, not the sadhak who has to work through the Mother’s Force.

Disciple: If one is not yet conscious of her Force, should one put out one’s inner energy in work? How is the inner energy related to the outer energy?

Sri Aurobindo: The first stage is when one works with the outer energy, but there is an inner consciousness supporting it which relies wholly on the Mother.

The second is when there is an inner consciousness and force which uses the outer instruments—the outer energy being quiescent or else a part only of the inner—while this inner consciousness knows that the force is the Mother’s or feels the Mother’s presence in it: there are different experiences in this respect.

The third is when all is the Mother’s Force working.


Disciple: There are two ways of making an offering to the Mother: one is to offer an act at her feet as one might offer a flower; the other is to withdraw one’s personality and feel as though she were doing all the actions. Which of these ways is better for the sadhana?

Sri Aurobindo: There is no need to ask which is the better as they are not mutually exclusive. It is the mind that regards them as opposites. The psychic being can offer the act while the nature is passive to the Force (the ego being expunged or having withdrawn) and feels the Mother’s Force doing the act and her Presence in it.


Sri Aurobindo: Efface the stamp of ego from the heart and let the love of the Mother take its place. Cast from the mind all insistence on your personal ideas and judgments, then you will have the wisdom to understand her.

Let there be no obsession of self-will, ego-drive in the action, love of personal authority, attachment to personal preference, then the Mother’s force will be able to act clearly in you and you will get the inexhaustible energy for which you ask and your service will be perfect.

– Sri Aurobindo (CWSA, Vol. 32, pp. 241-246)

Also Read:
The Power of Concentration for Enhancing Productivity


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