Four Aspects of The Mother

A sadhak once asked Sri Aurobindo why the Mother had such a different appearance at different times, even on the same day. Even physical changes could be observed. Sri Aurobindo answered that it depended on the personality which she was manifesting at that time, “she has many personalities and the body is plastic enough to express something of each when it comes forward.”[1] In a short writing, entitled The Mother, Sri Aurobindo has described the personalities of the Mother and their respective functions. The centre-piece of this classical writing is the description of her four main aspects:

“Four great Aspects of the Mother, four of her leading Powers and Personalities have stood in front in her guidance of this Universe and in her dealings with the terrestrial play. One is her personality of calm wideness and comprehending wisdom and tranquil benignity and inexhaustible compassion and sovereign and surpassing majesty and all-ruling greatness. Another embodies her power of splendid strength and irresistible passion, her warrior mood, her overwhelming will, her impetuous swiftness and world-shaking force. A third is vivid and sweet and wonderful with her deep secret of beauty and harmony and fine rhythm, her intricate and subtle opulence, her compelling attraction and captivating grace. The fourth is equipped with her close and profound capacity of intimate knowledge and careful flawless work and quiet and exact perfection in all things. Wisdom, Strength, Harmony, Perfection are their several attributes and it is these powers that they bring with them into the world… To the four we give the four great names, Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati…”[2]

One of these Forces, Mahakali, we came across already in an early stage of the Mother’s life, when she protected a schoolmate from the insults of a bully and threw him vehemently to the ground, obviously with a supernatural force. Among all personalities of the Mother Mahakali is the one which is most difficult to bear for the seeker. On the other hand, it is also the most effective. Like a sword-stroke it hits at the falsehood in the being of the seeker and tries to expel the wrong element through a swift, but at first painful operation. This may happen in the form of a sudden shock, some unbearable rebuke, or a strict rejection. Even while the ego is hit in the process and is ‘losing’, the soul is given an opportunity to come forward, since a little of the surrounding crust has been sheared off. But this presupposes that the seeker does not identify himself too strongly with his ego, thereby preventing the working of the Grace or reducing its effectivity.

Mahalakshmi is the one personality which is most accessible to human beings; “there is no aspect of the Divine Shakti more attractive to the heart of embodied beings,”[3] writes Sri Aurobindo. Animals too turn towards her in love and even the most ferocious ones become gentle in her presence, said the Mother in a commentary.

Maheshwari is the Force which lays down and works out the large lines of creation. She has the vision of the whole and determines how the universe shall be. She is less interested in details, which are worked out by Mahasaraswati. The latter is the goddess of Perfection and insists that all work is to be executed most carefully.

There are other personalities of the Mother which however stand more in the background and are more difficult to receive. Among them, we may specially name her personality of Ananda, divine joy. This power alone “can heal the gulf between the highest heights of the supramental spirit and the lowest abysses of Matter”.[4] This Ananda personality came down in 1946, but no sadhak was ready to receive it.

“… If she is to stay here and carry on her action,” the Mother explained to her disciples, “she must find at least one human being who has the required qualities in the vital and physical, a kind of super-Parsifal gifted with a spontaneous and integral purity but at the same time possessing a body solid and balanced enough to sustain unbendingly the intensity of the Ananda which she brings.”[5]

 


[1] Nilima – Glimpses of the Mother’s Life 2:24
[2] Nilima – Glimpses of the Mother’s Life 2:27-28
[3] Nilima – Glimpses of the Mother’s Life 2:28
[4] Nilima – Glimpses of the Mother’s Life 2:30
[5] Nilima – Glimpses of the Mother’s Life 2:31-32

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