The spark in Sri Aurobindo’s yoga comes from within in the form of a ‘Call for the Yoga’, when the person receives an inner conviction that this is what he is meant to do. Another sign is the recognition of the Mother’s divinity. The Mother of whom Sri Aurobindo constantly speaks of in this yoga is Her present embodiment who is generally referred to as the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram to avoid confusion with other embodiments of the Mother or with the Divine Mother in Her Transcendent and Universal aspects alone. Each creature belongs to Her and the World Mother takes care of them in countless ways. Even what we call as effort, including effort to surrender or concentrate or do tapasya comes from Her because there is but One Power that animates and governs all. As the Transcendent Mother it is by Her Grace that one can leap beyond the cosmic fence into the infinity of the Divine. These things are not a child’s play that one can do it without help from the Grace and the doors to the direct workings of Her Grace opens through surrender.
To believe that only after one has conquered the ego can one surrender to the Mother is an adverse suggestion that wants the empire of the ego to continue indefinitely. It is by our surrender to Her that the ego abdicates. Otherwise, the game of ego continues under countless garbs. Besides, the path of yoga is besieged by challenges from seen and unseen realms and forces before which human intelligence is like a candle in front of the stars. Better not to overestimate oneself and stay humble and seek Her Help at every step. In fact, the Divine Mother prefers this rather than supplying the effort indirectly hiding behind veils of the ego that make us believe that we are doing the sadhana. If surrender to the Divine Mother is difficult then conquering the ego is not only difficult but impossible. Such has been the experience and wisdom of countless seers and sages right from the days of the Upanishads to our modern times in the colossal spiritual genius of Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Aurobindo. Surely, they knew much better than us.
But in Sri Aurobindo’s yoga something more is needed. It is to the present embodiment of the Divine Mother that one surrenders because She is empowered to transform humanity and raise this earthly life into the Life Divine. If one seeks liberation alone then it is a different matter but if one seeks the transformation of earthly life then one simply follows what the Supramental Avatar reveals to us. For the rest there are countless approaches but as far as this yoga is concerned, Sri Aurobindo has not left the central secret of the integral yoga ambiguous. In His own words, ‘Self-surrender to the divine and infinite Mother, however difficult, remains our only effective means and our sole abiding refuge. Self-surrender to her means that our nature must be an instrument in her hands, the soul a child in the arms of the Mother’.
And in the Mother’s words, ‘The supramental change is a thing decreed and inevitable in the evolution of the earth-consciousness; for its upward ascent is not ended and mind is not its last summit. But that the change may arrive, take form and endure, there is needed the call from below with a will to recognise and not deny the Light when it comes, and there is needed the sanction of the Supreme from above. The power that mediates between the sanction and the call is the presence and power of the Divine Mother. The Mother’s power and not any human endeavour and tapasya can alone rend the lid and tear the covering and shape the vessel and bring down into this world of obscurity and falsehood and death and suffering Truth and Light and Life divine and the immortal’s Ananda.’