‘Love the Mother’, these three words, simple and direct yet forceful and profound, summarise in a way the key to Integral Yoga. It is the base of all our efforts towards self-perfection, the sustaining force through all the trials and tribulations of sadhana, as also, the grand culmination and the crowning movement. It is good to remember that yoga is done for the Divine and not for any personal satisfaction or glorification. It‘s secret impulsion is always the soul’s love for the Divine as naturally as a child loves its mother. It is a bond of trust between the two, a bond that is instinct in the relationship and which grows with time; so too with the child soul’s love for the Divine Mother. It may even be said that if one feels love for the Divine then the inmost soul is not only awakened enough but also powerful enough to influence the outer mind and heart so that they too feel this love. From the moment a soul opens its eyes it recognises the Divine Mother even though its relation, the depth and intensity, increase with time. But the recognition is at once and spontaneous. It needs no mental debate or discussion nor convincing and coercion to feel this and have faith in Her. Once this has happened, once the soul has recognised the Divine Mother and fallen in love with Her, then the main hurdle is over. The seal and signature of the Divine is put and the eventual fulfilment of yoga assured and secured.
But not all souls are thus awakened. The cosmic drowse has put them to sleep. In their deep slumber, lying in the womb of darkness they dream of the Mother but know Her not, recognise Her not. Even though it is She who feeds and nourishes, cares and carries us through the difficult journey of many lives the soul is still in the womb stage. It is not yet delivered, so to say; its eyes are not yet opened; it s not yet initiated by the Light of Truth. It is still wandering and choosing to wander in its dream-world of Ignorance mistaking it for Reality. But a time comes when it is born to the Light and opening its eyes from the stupor of our ordinary material existence it becomes aware of the Hands that hold and feed and caress and care soothing our wounds and seeing to our inner and outer needs. Yet this is but the first touch of love, a brief glimpse of much more that is to come.
Next comes the stage when we begin to walk the path. The Mother then allows us freedom to explore, even the freedom to fall and rise again. How else would we grow in strength and wisdom that comes through experience. Yet She is ever watchful lest we hurt and injure ourselves. If this happens, She does not judge or condemn us but simply applies the soothing balm of Her Peace, fills us with Her Love for renewed effort and the strength to walk again. We begin to look towards Her for approval of our steps and when we err we turn towards Her for Help. She holds our hands, choses for us our paths and teaches us to walk the mighty and difficult way. She protects us but not maim our strength nor puperises our thought since She has taken upon Herself the most challenging task of building us into the divine image, to make of us hero-warriors of the future, to turn our Ignorance into wisdom and our weakness into unfaltering strength. This cannot be unless She allows us to face the challenges of inner and outer life. It is the stage of Schooling in yoga. We go from step to step, stage to stage, facing numerous tests and challenges. She allows us to go through them all but always watching over us, always ready to Help and Succour, rectifying our errors, helping us clear the exam by adding Her Grace to our puny efforts. Thus we grow through every trial and tribulation, through tests and exams arranged by the world-forces. Though She has allowed these world-forces to test the soul for its steel and thus bring out our hidden strength, yet She Herself never tests us. She knows us and all our faults and weaknesses are laid bare before Her eyes. She knows us just as we are, much more than we can ever know ourselves. In fact in all these evolutionary examinations, She stands by our side. Thus we are shaped towards perfection; thus we climb towards the Sun of Truth helped by Her Light and Love.
But then a third stage arrives while we are thus ascending. This love begins to grow into an intimacy. We begin to think and feel, in a far off way, even as Her. Then our love for Her also assumes a new and different character. In the beginning we love Her the human way, the way of our ignorant and demanding vital, in the way of our ego that seeks only self-satisfaction, self-endorsement and self-aggrandisement from the object of one’s love. But true love, the love that reflects something of the Divine Love is not for any of these lesser motives. In fact it becomes motiveless except for the simple joy of loving. Later even this joy of loving gives place to love for the sake of loving. We love Her because She is so lovable, we love Her because we cannot help it. As a piece of iron is drawn towards the magnet irresistibly, as a river flows towards the sea and the earth revolves around the sun, our life begins to flow and move and drawn towards Her naturally and spontaneously. We no more question what we will get through love; we simply love because we love. All other goals of yoga, the various experiences and stages and steps of the yoga are as if compressed and integrated or else themselves transformed in this single ecstasy without a break.
Our life becomes like a wave upon the mighty sea, now seemingly separate, now one with the ocean, but always conscious of being a part and parcel of the ocean. Now it plays with one wave now with another as it rises to the surface but always it knows that all these countless waves are simply different ways of becoming of the one Ocean that alone supports and is the secret origin and culmination of all. We do not then love another wave but simply another way of being of the Ocean. In and through Her creatures too it is She who expresses, even if a small degree, of Herself. Our love of the Divine Mother then universalises itself and becomes also love for all the creatures. We love creation not because we are one bit attached to it, to something so transient and ephemeral; we love it because it is ultimately Her creation and all creatures that inhabit the vastness of Space and Time are Her creatures whom She loves and feeds and draws back to Herself. The individual Mother is then also revealed to us as the World-Mother. At the same time we are fully aware that at any time we can withdraw into Her, gladly if She calls us back to Her bosom and stay there permanently and gladly until eternity. For She is also the Transcendent Mother who is the secret Womb of all creation and also its ultimate Destiny. Fulfilled by Her and fulfilled in Her our life finds its aim sublime.
But our love would be incomplete if it does not translate into a ceaseless prayer and service. Indeed service itself becomes the best possible prayer since it engages not only the heart and speech but also limbs and body and mind. How is it that those who claim to love Her are content with their own experiences and care not for creation where She is pouring Her Love ceaselessly so that it may be transformed into a diviner image. We too then begin to pour this Love of Hers into all things by way of service and labour as She labours, if needed in the darkest dungeon of hell if so be Her Wish and the appointed work. The lover is also the slave of Beloved. And indeed it is a greatest of felicity to be Her slave for the slave is the constant companion of his Master and Lord, ever indebted and ever grateful, ever happy to serve Her and ever obedient and faithful in his service.
As we grow in Her service in the universal chapel of divinity, as we grow in our intimacy of love, we also begin to grow in an integral knowledge. The knowledge that comes through such a bhakti is not merely Self-Knowledge but also World-Knowledge. A complete and integral knowledge is the natural result of Her Service. We become aware not only of the secret Self behind all things but also of the Self in manifestation. Not only in manifestation but also beyond it, we become aware of the undisclosed and yet to manifest dreams of our Beloved. Going beyond the Manifest and the Unmanifest, we become aware of Her who regards both these aspects as Her left and the right eye and for whom all aspects of the Infinite Divine are as if sweetly summarised in Her body of Glory. And yet She remains beyond all this, eternal and infinite.
Such is the felicity possible for the one who walks the way of Integral Yoga.
Words of Sri Aurobindo
The last stage of this perfection will come when you are completely identified with the Divine Mother and feel yourself to be no longer another and separate being, instrument, servant or worker but truly a child and eternal portion of her consciousness and force. Always she will be in you and you in her; it will be your constant, simple and natural experience that all your thought and seeing and action, your very breathing and moving come from her and are hers. You will know and see and feel that you are a person and power formed by her out of herself, put out from her for the play and yet always safe in her, being of her being, consciousness of her consciousness, force of her force, ananda of her Ananda. When this condition is entire and her supramental energies can freely move you, then you will be perfect in divine works; knowledge, will, action will become sure, simple, luminous, spontaneous, flawless, an outflow from the Supreme, a divine movement of the Eternal.
[Sri Aurobindo, CWSA 32:13]
Such is the Glory of the Divine Mother sung and revealed in Savitri:
But thought nor word can seize eternal Truth:
The whole world lives in a lonely ray of her sun.
In our thinking’s close and narrow lamp-lit house
The vanity of our shut mortal mind
Dreams that the chains of thought have made her ours;
But only we play with our own brilliant bonds;
Tying her down, it is ourselves we tie.
In our hypnosis by one luminous point
We see not what small figure of her we hold;
We feel not her inspiring boundlessness,
We share not her immortal liberty.
Thus is it even with the seer and sage;
For still the human limits the divine:
Out of our thoughts we must leap up to sight,
Breathe her divine illimitable air,
Her simple vast supremacy confess,
Dare to surrender to her absolute.
Then the Unmanifest reflects his form
In the still mind as in a living glass;
The timeless Ray descends into our hearts
And we are rapt into eternity.
For Truth is wider, greater than her forms.
A thousand icons they have made of her
And find her in the idols they adore;
But she remains herself and infinite…..
For one was there supreme behind the God.
A Mother Might brooded upon the world;
A Consciousness revealed its marvellous front
Transcending all that is, denying none:
Imperishable above our fallen heads
He felt a rapturous and unstumbling Force.
The undying Truth appeared, the enduring Power
Of all that here is made and then destroyed,
The Mother of all godheads and all strengths
Who, mediatrix, binds earth to the Supreme…..
Now other claims had hushed in him their cry:
Only he longed to draw her presence and power
Into his heart and mind and breathing frame;
Only he yearned to call for ever down
Her healing touch of love and truth and joy
Into the darkness of the suffering world.
His soul was freed and given to her alone.
[Savitri 275 – 276; 313; 316]