The Inner Work

The outer activity of the Mother, her role as head and organiser of the Ashram, as a guru of the sadhaks, was only one aspect of her life, the visible side of her work. She had another wider existence in the inner planes too. The inner experiences which according to her own statement took place uninterruptedly, could certainly fill a whole library if they had been registered second by second. But only a fraction of it has been recorded, partly in her talks, partly in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri.

This main work of Sri Aurobindo in poetry, which takes its motive from a story in the Mahabharata, an ancient Indian epic, is a spiritual epic in nearly 24.000 blank verses. Sri Aurobindo was expressing here his own experiences, his spiritual odyssey, in mantric lines and sought all throughout to receive inspiration from the highest planes that are accessible to a poet. Savitri reflects, in coded language, not only his own yoga path, but also experiences of the Mother. She has said that at almost the beginning of the century she had occult experiences which she had never told Sri Aurobindo about, but when at one period of the Ashram he used to read out to her in the morning what he had written at night in Savitri, she found the passages reflecting these early experiences of hers.

In the following we give a short sample of Sri Aurobindo’s mantric poetry. It is a profound portrait of Savitri or, we may say, the Mother herself:

Near to earth’s wideness, intimate with heaven,
Exalted and swift her young large-visioned spirit
Voyaging through worlds of splendour and of calm
Overflew the ways of Thought to unborn things.
Ardent was her self-poised unstumbling will;
Her mind, a sea of white sincerity,
Passionate in flow, had not one turbid wave…

Her look, her smile, awoke celestial sense
Even in earth-stuff, and their intense delight
Poured a supernal beauty on men’s lives.[1]

It happened quite naturally now that an ever growing number of sadhaks and devotees were concentrating on the Mother and requiring her attention. Unending cascades of prayers were directed towards her, requests for help in sadhana, help in life, support in illness and calamity. And as once she said, it was part of her mission (and may even be so today, since the inner work is being continued) that she had to consider every sincere prayer, as part of her cosmic work. Disciples, who requested her help and wrote to her or Sri Aurobindo, often received the answer inwardly, after completing the letter or dispatching it, or as soon as it reached the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. In the following letter to a disciple Sri Aurobindo gives us an idea of the volume of the inner work to which the Mother had to attend:

“Certainly X’s call for help did reach the Mother, even though all the details she relates in her letter might not have been present to the Mother’s physical mind. Always calls of this kind are coming to the Mother, sometimes a hundred close upon each other, and always the answer is given. The occasions are of all kinds, but whatever the need that occasions the call, the Force is there to answer it. That is the principle of this action on the occult plane. It is not of the same kind as an ordinary human action and does not need a written or oral communication of the one who calls; an interchange of psychic communication is quite sufficient to set the Force at work.”[2]

Even at night this work was being continued by the Mother, as Sri Aurobindo pointed out in another letter:

“The Mother’s sleep is not sleep but an inner consciousness in which she is in connection with people or working everywhere. At the time she is aware, but she does not carry all that always into her waking consciousness or in her memory. A call would come in the occupied waking mind as the thought of the person coming – in a more free or in a concentrated state as a communication from the person in question; in a deeper concentration or in sleep or trance she would see the person coming and speaking to her or she herself going there. Besides that, wherever the Force is working, the Presence is there.”[3]

Yet another important aspect of her inner working was her Yoga of physical transformation which was also basically an invisible process. We shall discuss this in Chapter XV.


[1] Savitri (Cent. Ed.), pp. 14-15
[2] Nilima – Glimpses of the Mother’s Life 2:86-87
[3] Nilima – Glimpses of the Mother’s Life 2:87

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