SRI AUROBINDO'S WRITINGS
In 1997, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram began to publish the Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo in a uniform library edition. Twenty-eight volumes have been issued thus far; the remaining ones will come out over the next few years. Upon completion, there will be 37 volumes (originally 35 volumes were planned). The Complete Works will contain all the writings published earlier in the 30-volume Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, as well as around 4000 pages of new texts.
Each published volume can be viewed and downloaded in PDF format. At the end of the list below is a zipped file containing all the PDFs available for download.
As volumes continue to be published, they will be made available here.
All texts are copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and are only for personal use only. Unauthorised reproduction or distribution in any form, including material and electronic, is prohibited.
The contents of the volumes are:
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Early Cultural Writings
Early essays and other prose writings on literature, education, art and other cultural subjects.
The volume includes The Harmony of Virtue, Bankim Chandra Chatterji, essays on Kalidasa and the Mahabharata, The National Value of Art, Conversations of the Dead, the "Chandernagore Manuscript", book reviews, "Epistles from Abroad", Bankim – Tilak – Dayananda, and Baroda speeches and reports. Most of these pieces were written between 1890 and 1910, a few between 1910 and 1920. (Much of this material was formerly published under the title The Harmony of Virtue.)
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Collected Poems
All short poems and narrative poems in English.
This volume consists of sonnets, lyrical poems, narrative poems, and metrical experiments in various forms. All such poems published by Sri Aurobindo during his lifetime are included here, as well as poems found among his manuscripts after his passing. Sri Aurobindo worked on these poems over the course of seven decades. The first one was published in 1883 when he was ten; a number of poems were written or revised more than sixty years later, in the late 1940s.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Collected Plays and Stories — I–II
All original dramatic works and works of prose fiction.
Volume 1: The Viziers of Bassora, Rodogune, and Perseus the Deliverer. Volume II: Eric and Vasavadutta; seven incomplete or fragmentary plays; and six stories, two of them complete.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Translations
All translations from Sanskrit, Bengali, Tamil, Greek and Latin into English, with the exception of translations of Vedic and Upanishadic literature.
The volume includes translations from Sanskrit of parts of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and works of Kalidasa and Bhartrihari; translations from Bengali of Vaishnava devotional poetry and works of Bankim Chandra Chatterji, Chittaranjan Das and others; translations from Tamil of poems of Andal, Nammalwar, Kulesekhara Alwar and Tiruvalluvar; and translations from Greek and Latin. Sri Aurobindo made most of these translations while living in Baroda and Bengal; some were done later in Pondicherry.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Bande Mataram — I–II
All surviving political writings and speeches from 1890 to 1908.
The two volumes consist primarily of 353 articles originally published in the nationalist newspaper Bande Mataram between August 1906 and May 1908. Also included are political articles written by Sri Aurobindo before the start of Bande Mataram, speeches delivered by him between 1907 and 1908, articles from his manuscripts of that period that were not published in his lifetime, and an interview of 1908.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Karmayogin
All surviving political writings and speeches of 1909 and 1910.
This volume consists primarily of articles originally published in the nationalist newspaper Karmayogin between June 1909 and February 1910. It also includes speeches delivered by Sri Aurobindo in 1909.
PDF last updated: 21 Jul 17Writings in Bengali and Sanskrit
All writings in Bengali and Sanskrit.
Most of the pieces in Bengali were written by Sri Aurobindo in 1909 and 1910 for Dharma, a Calcutta weekly he edited at that time; the material consists chiefly of brief political, social and cultural works. His reminiscences of detention in Alipore Jail for one year ("Tales of Prison Life") are also included. There is also some correspondence with Bengali disciples living in his ashram. The Sanskrit works deal largely with philosophical and cultural themes. (This volume will be available both in the original languages and in a separate volume of English translations.)
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09The Record of Yoga — I–II
Sri Aurobindo's diary of his yogic practice between 1909 and 1927.
This two-volume record of sadhana contains fairly regular entries between 1912 and 1920 and a few entries in 1909, 1911 and 1927. It also contains related materials Sri Aurobindo wrote about his practice of yoga during this period, including descriptions of the seven "chatusthayas" (groups of four elements), which are the basis of the yoga of the Record.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Essays Divine and Human
Short prose pieces written between 1910 and 1950, but not published during Sri Aurobindo's lifetime.
The material is arranged in four parts: (1) "Essays Divine and Human", complete essays on yoga and related subjects, (2) "From Man to Superman: Notes and Fragments on Philosophy, Psychology and Yoga"; (3) "Notes and Fragments on Various Subjects", and (4) Thoughts and Aphorisms. (Some of this material was formally published under the title The Hour of God and Other Writings)
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Essays in Philosophy and Yoga
Short works in prose written between 1909 and 1950 and published during Sri Aurobindo's lifetime.
Most of these short works are concerned with aspects of spiritual philosopy, yoga, and related subjects. The material includes: (1) essays from the Karmayogin, (2) The Yoga and Its Objects, (3) writings from the Arya, such as On Ideals and Progress, The Superman, Evolution, Thoughts and Glimpses, The Problem of Rebirth, and (4) The Supramental Manifestation upon Earth. (Most of these works were formerly published together under the title The Supramental Manifestation upon Earth and Other Writings.)
PDF last updated: 21 Jul 17Vedic and Philological Studies
Writings on the Veda and philology, and translations of Vedic hymns to gods other than Agni not published during Sri Aurobindo's lifetime.
The material includes (1) drafts for The Secret of the Veda, (2) translations (simple translations and analytical and discursive ones) of hymns to gods other than Agni, (3) notes on the Veda, (4) essays and notes on philology, and (5) some texts that Sri Aurobindo called "Writings in Different Languages". Most of this material was written between 1912 and 1914 and is published here for the first time in a book.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09The Secret of the Veda
Essays on the Rig Veda and its mystic symbolism, with translations of selected hymns.
These writings on and translations of the Rig Veda were published in the monthly review Arya between 1914 and 1920. Most of them appeared there under three headings: The Secret of the Veda, "Selected Hymns" and "Hymns of the Atris". Other translations that did not appear under any of these headings make up the final part of the volume.
PDF last updated: 21 Jan 14Hymns to the Mystic Fire
All translations of Vedic hymns to Agni; and related writings.
The material includes all the contents of Hymns to the Mystic Fire (translations of hymns to Agni from the Rig Veda, with a Foreword by Sri Aurobindo) as well as translations of many other hymns to Agni, some of which are published here for the first time.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Upanishads-I : Isha Upanishad
Translations of and commentaries on the Isha Upanishad.
The volume is divided into two parts: (1) Sri Aurobindo's final translation and analysis of the Isha Upanishad. This small work contains his definitive interpretation of the Upanishad. It is the only writing in this volume published during his lifetime; (2) ten incomplete commentaries on the Isha. Ranging from a few pages to more than a hundred, these commentaries show the development of his interpretation of this Upanishad from around 1900 to the middle of 1914.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Upanishads-II : Kena and Other Upanishads
Translations of and commentaries on Upanishads other than the Isha Upanishad.
The volume is divided into two parts: (1) translations of and commentaries on the Kena, Katha and Mundaka Upanishads and some "Readings in the Taittiriya Upanishad"; (2) early translations of the Prashna, Mandukya, Aitareya and Taittariya Upanishads; incomplete translations of and commentaries on other Upanishads and Vedantic texts; and incomplete and fragmentary writings on the Upanishads and Vedanta in general. The writings in the first part were published by Sir Aurobindo during his lifetime; those in the second part were transcribed from his manuscripts after his passing.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Essays on the Gita
Essays on the philosophy and method of self-discipline presented in the Bhagavad Gita.
These essays were first published in the monthly review Arya between 1916 and 1920 and revised in the 1920s by Sri Aurobindo for publication as a book.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09The Renaissance in India with A Defence of Indian Culture
Essays on the value of Indian civilisation and culture.
This volume consists of three series of essays and one single essay: (1) "The Renaissance in India", (2) "Indian Culture and External Influence", (3) "Is India Civilised?" and (4) "Defence of Indian Culture". They were first published in the monthly review Arya between 1918 and 1921. In 1953, they first appeared in a book under the title The Foundations of Indian Culture.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09The Life Divine — I–II
Sri Aurobindo's principal work of philosophy.
In this book, Sri Aurobindo presents a theory of spiritual evolution and suggests that the present crisis of humanity will lead to a spiritual transformation of the human being and the advent of a divine life upon earth. The material first appeared as a series of essays published in the monthly review Arya between 1914 and 1919. They were revised by Sri Aurobindo in 1939 and 1940 for publication as a book.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09The Synthesis of Yoga — I–II
Sri Aurobindo's principal work on yoga.
In this book Sri Aurobindo examines the traditional systems of yoga and provides an explanation of certain components of his own system of integral yoga. There is an Introduction, "The Conditions of the Synthesis", and four parts: "The Yoga of Divine Works", "The Yoga of Integral Knowledge", "The Yoga of Divine Love" and "The Yoga of Self-Perfection". The material was first published serially in the monthly review Arya between 1914 and 1921; the introduction and first two parts were later revised by Sri Aurobindo for publication.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09The Human Cycle — The Ideal of Human Unity — War and Self-Determination
Three works of social and political philosophy.
In The Human Cycle, Sri Aurobindo traces the evolution of human society and suggests where it is headed. In The Ideal of Human Unity, he examines the possibility of the unification of the human race. In War and Self-Determination, he discusses the sovereignty of nations in the aftermath of the First World War. These works were first serialised in the monthly review Arya between 1915 and 1920; later Sri Aurobindo revised them for publication.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09The Future Poetry with On Quantitative Metre
Sri Aurobindo's principal work of literary criticism.
In this work, Sri Aurobindo outlines the history of English poetry and explores the possibility of a spiritual poetry in the future. It was first published in a series of essays between 1917 and 1920; parts were later revised for publication as a book.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Letters on Poetry and Art
Letters on poetry and other forms of literature, on painting and the other arts, on beauty and aesthetics, and on their relation to the practice of yoga.
Most of these letters were written by Sri Aurobindo in the 1930 and 1940s to members of his ashram. Around one sixth of them were published during his lifetime; the rest were transcribed from his manuscripts after his passing. Many are being published for the first time in this volume.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 12Letters on Yoga — I
Four volumes of letters on the integral yoga, other spiritual paths, the problems of spiritual life, and related subjects.
In these letters, Sri Aurobindo explains the foundations of his integral yoga, its fundamentals, its characteristic experiences and realisations, and its method of practice. He also discusses other spiritual paths and the difficulties of spiritual life. Related subjects include the place of human relationships in yoga; sadhana through meditation, work and devotion; reason, science, religion, morality, idealism and yoga; spiritual and occult knowledge; occult forces, beings and powers; destiny, karma, rebirth and survival. Sri Aurobindo wrote most of these letters in the 1930s to disciples living in his ashram. A considerable number of them are being published for the first time.
PDF last updated: 21 Jan 14Letters on Yoga — II
PDF last updated: 04 Jan 15Letters on Yoga — III
PDF last updated: 04 Jan 15Letters on Yoga — IV
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 12The Mother with Letters on the Mother
This volume opens with Sri Aurobindo's small book The Mother, in which he describes the nature, character and role of the Divine Mother. The rest of the volume consists primarily of letters on the Mother — on the Divine Mother and on Sri Aurobindo's collaborator, the Mother, who was the head of his ashram. He wrote most of these letters in the 1930s to disciples living in the ashram.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Savitri — A Legend and a Symbol
Sri Aurobindo's major poetic work, an epic in blank verse.
In Savitri, a legend from the Mahabharata becomes the symbol of the human soul's spiritual destiny. In poetic language, Sri Aurobindo describes his vision of existence and explores the reason for ignorance, darkness, suffering and pain, the purpose of life on earth and the prospect of a glorious future for humanity. The writing of the epic extended over much of the later part of his life.
PDF last updated: 17 May 11Letters on Himself and the Ashram
Sri Aurobindo's letters between 1927 and 1950 on his life, his path of yoga and the practice of yoga in his ashram.
In these letters, Sri Aurobindo writes about his life as a student in England, a teacher in Baroda, a political leader in Bengal, and a writer and yogi in Pondicherry. He also comments on his formative spiritual experiences and the development of his yoga. In the latter part of the volume, he discusses the life and discipline followed in his ashram and offers advice to the disciples living and working in it. Sri Aurobindo wrote these letters between 1927 and 1950 — most of them in the 1930s.
PDF last updated: 15 Aug 09Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest
Sri Aurobindo's writings on himself (excluding the letters in volume 35, Letters on Himself and the Ashram) and other material of historical importance.
The volume is divided into four parts: (1) brief life sketches, autobiographical notes, and corrections of statements made by others in biographies and other publications; (2) letters of historical interest to family, friends, political and professional associates, public figures, etc; also letters on yoga and spiritual life to disciples and others; (3) public statements and other communications on Indian and world events; (4) public statements and notices concerning Sri Aurobindo's ashram and yoga. Much of the material is being published here for the first time in a book.
|Volume 37||Reference Volume (TO BE PUBLISHED)|
Index, glossary, editorial notes, supplementary texts.
This volume will include a complete index to the Complete Works, a glossary of Sanskrit and other Indian terms, a chronology of Sri Aurobindo's life, a bibliography of his works, a note on editorial method, a list of emendations and errata, and supplementary texts not included in the main works.
|Glossary to the Record of Yoga (TO BE PUBLISHED)|
A glossary to and structural outline of the Record of Yoga (volumes 10 and 11).
This unnumbered volume — an appendix to Record of Yoga — will contain an alphabetical index of Sanskrit words and a structural outline of the seven-limbed yoga that Sri Aurobindo practised between 1912 and 1927. (A temporary glossary is available on this website under the heading "Research".)
|All PDFs||Collected PDFs|
Zipped file of all the above PDFs.
Essay in "The Mother"
(The four Powers of the Mother)
by Sri Aurobindo
[Summary - each link leads to a part of the essay:
- 3 ways to be aware of the Mother: Transcendent Shakti - Universal Mahashakti - Mahashakti of the world of Ignorance
- The 4 aspects: Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati
- Other great Personalities (Ananda)
- Advice for personal transformation
- The supramental change and the Mother's power ]
The four Powers of the Mother are four of her outstanding Personalities, portions and embodiments of her divinity through whom she acts on her creatures, orders and harmonises her creations in the worlds and directs working out of her thousand forces.
For the Mother is one but she comes before us with differing aspects; many are her power and personalities, many her emanations and Vibhutis that do her work in the universe.
The One whom we adore as the Mother is the divine Conscious Force that dominates all existence, one and yet many-sided that to follow her movement is impossible even for the quickest mind and for the freest and most vast intelligence.
The Mother is the consciousness and force of the Supreme and far above all she creates. But something of her ways can be seen and felt through her embodiments and the more seizable because more defined and limited temperament and action of the goddess forms in whom she consents to be manifest to her creatures.
There are three ways of being the Mother of which you can become aware when you enter into touch of oneness with the Conscious Force that upholds us and the universe.
- Transcendent, the original supreme Shakti, she stands above the worlds and links the creation to the ever unmanifest mystery of the Supreme.
- Universal, the cosmic Mahashakti, she creates all these beings and contains and enters, supports and conducts all these million processes and forces.
- Individual, she embodies the power of these two vaster ways of her existence, makes them living and near to us and mediates between human personality and the divine Nature.
The one original transcendent Shakti, the Mother stands above all the worlds and bears in her eternal consciousness the Supreme Divine.
Alone, she harbours the absolute Power and the ineffable Presence; containing or calling the Truths that have to be manifested, she brings them down from the Mystery in which they were hidden into the light of her infinite consciousness and gives them a form of force in her omnipotent power and her boundless life and a body in the universe.
The Supreme is manifest in her for ever as the everlasting Sachchidananda, manifested through her in the worlds, as the one dual consciousness of Ishwara-Shakti and the dual principle of Purusha-Prakriti, embodied by her in the Worlds and the Planes and the Gods and their Energies and figured because of her as all that is in the known worlds and in unknown others.
All is her play with the Supreme; all is her manifestation of the mysteries of the Eternal, the miracles of the Infinite. All is she, for all are parcel and portion of the divine Conscious-Force.
Nothing can be here or elsewhere but what she decides and the Supreme sanctions; nothing can take shape except what she moved by the Supreme perceives and forms after casting into seed in her creating Ananda.
The Mahashakti, the universal Mother works out whatever is transmitted by the Supreme and enters into the worlds that she has made; her presence fills and supports then with the divine spirit and the divine all-sustaining force and delight without which they could not exist.
That which we call Nature or Prakriti is only her most outward executive aspect; she marshals and arranges the harmony of her forces and processes, impels the operations of Nature and moves among them secret or manifest in all that can be seen or experienced or put into motion of life.
Each of the worlds is nothing but one play of the Mahashakti of that system of worlds or universe, who is there as the cosmic Soul and Personality of the transcendent Mother.
Each is something that she has in her vision, gathered into her heart of beauty and power and created in her Ananda.
But there are many planes of her creation, many steps of the Divine Shakti. At the summit of this manifestation of which we are a part there are worlds of infinite existence, consciousness, force and bliss over which the Mother stands unveiled eternal Power.
All beings there live and move in an ineffable completeness and unalterable oneness, because she carries them safe in her arms for ever. Nearer to us are the worlds of the supramental creation in which the Mother is the supramental Mahashakti, a Power of divine omniscient Will and omnipotent Knowledge always apparent in its unfailing works and spontaneously perfect in every process.
There all movements are the steps of the Truth; there all beings are souls and powers and bodies of the divine Light; there all experiences are seas and floods and waves of an intense and absolute Ananda.
But here where we dwell are the worlds of the Ignorance, worlds of mind and life and body separated in consciousness from her source, of which the earth is a significant centre and its evolution a crucial process.
This too with all its obscurity and struggle and imperfection is upheld by the Universal Mother; this too is impelled and guided to its secret aim by the Mahashakti.
The Mother as the Mahashakti of this triple world of the Ignorance stands in an intermediate plane between the supramental Light, the Truth life, the Truth creation which has to be brought down here and this mounting and descending hierarchy of planes of consciousness that like a double ladder lapse into the nescience of Matter and climb back again through the flowering of life and soul and mind into the infinity of the Spirit.
Determining all that shall be done in the universe and in the terrestrial evolution by what she sees and feels and pours from her, she stands there above the Gods and all her Powers and Personalities are put in front of her for the action and she sends down emanations of them into these lower worlds to intervene, to govern, to battle and conquer, to lead and turn their cycles, to direct the total and individual lines of their forces.
These Emanations are the various divine forms and personalities through which men have worshipped her under different names throughout the ages.
But also she prepares and shapes through these Powers and their emanations the minds and bodies of her Vibhuthis, even as she prepares and shapes minds and bodies for the Vibhuthis of the Ishwara, that she may manifest in the physical world and in the disguise of the human consciousness some ray of her power and quality and presence.
All the scenes of the earth play have been like a drama arranged and planned and staged by her with the cosmic Gods for her assistants and herself as a veiled actor.
The Mother not only governs all from above but she descends into this lesser triple universe. Impersonally, all things here, even the movements of Ignorance, are herself on veiled power and her creations in diminished substance, her Nature-body and Nature-force, and they exist because, moved by the mysterious fiat of the Supreme to work out something that was there in the possibilities of the Infinite, she has consented to the great sacrifice and has put on like a mask the soul and forms of the Ignorance.
But personally too she has stooped to descend here into the darkness that she may lead it to the Light, into the Falsehood and Error that she may convert it to the Truth, into this Death that she may turn it to godlike Life, into this world-pain and its obstinate sorrow and suffering that she may end it in the transforming ecstasy of her sublime Ananda.
In her deep and greater love for her children she has consented to put on herself the cloak of this obscurity, condescended to bear the attacks and torturing influences of the powers of Darkness and the Falsehood, borne to pass through the portals of the birth that is a death, taken upon herself the pangs and sorrows and sufferings of creation, since it seemed that thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and eternal Life.
This is the great sacrifice of the Purusha, but much more deeply the holocaust of Prakriti, the sacrifice of the Divine Mother.
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, 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 her 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 the several attributes and it is these powers that they bring with them to the world, manifest in a human disguise in their Vibhuthis and shall found in the divine degree of their ascension in those who can open their earthly nature to the direct and living influence of the Mother.
To the four we give the four great names, Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati.
Imperial Maheshwari is seated in the wideness above the thinking mind and will and sublimates and greatens them into wisdom and largeness or floods with a splendour beyond them.
For she is the mighty and wise One who opens us to supramental infinities and the cosmic vastness, to the grandeur of the supreme Light, to a treasure-house of miraculous knowledge, to the measureless movement of the Mother's eternal forces.
Tranquil is she and wonderful, great and calm for ever.
Nothing can move her because all wisdom is in her; nothing is hidden from her that she chooses to know; she comprehends all things and all beings and their nature and what moves them and the law of the world and its times and how all was and is and must be.
A strength is in her that meets everything and masters and none can prevail in the end against her vast intangible wisdom and high tranquil power.
Equal, patient, unalterable in her will she deals with men according to their nature and with things and happenings according to their Force and truth that is in them.
Partiality she has none, but she follows the decrees of the Supreme and some she raises up and some she casts down or puts away into the darkness.
To the wise she gives a greater and more luminous wisdom; those that have vision she admits to her counsels; on the hostile she imposes the consequence of their hostility; the ignorant and foolish she leads them according to their blindness.
In each man she answers and handles the different elements of his nature according to their need and their urge and the return they call for, puts on them the required pressure or leaves them to their cherished liberty to prosper in the ways of the Ignorance and perish.
For she is above all, bound by nothing, attached to nothing in the universe.
Yet she has more than any other the heart of the universal Mother.
For her compassion is endless and inexhaustible; all are to her eyes her children and portions of the One, even the Asura and Rakshasa and Pisacha and those that are revolted and hostile. Even her rejections are only a postponement, even her punishments are a grace.
But her compassion does not blind her wisdom or turn her action from the course decreed; for the Truth of things is her one concern, knowledge her centre of power and to build our soul and our nature into the divine Truth her mission and her labour.
Mahakali is of another nature.
Not of wideness but of height, not wisdom but force and strength are her peculiar power.
There is in her a overwhelming intensity, a mighty passion of force to achieve, a divine violence rushing to shatter every limit and obstacle.
All her divinity leaps out in a splendour of tempestuous action; she is therefore swiftness, for the immediately effective process, the rapid and direct stroke, the frontal assault that carries everything, before it.
Terrible is her face to the Asura, dangerous and ruthless her mood against the haters of the Divine; for she is the Warrior of the Worlds who never shrinks from the battle.
Intolerant of imperfection, she deals roughly with all in man that is unwilling and she is severe to all that is obstinately ignorant and obscure; her wrath is immediate and dire against treachery and falsehood and malignity, ill-will is smitten at once by her scourage.
Indifference, negligence and sloth in the divine work she cannot bear and she smites awake at once with sharp pain, if need be, the untimely slumberer and the loiterer.
The impulses that are swift and straight and frank, the movements that are unreserved and absolute, the aspiration that mounts in flame are the motion of Mahakali.
Her spirit is tameless, her vision and will are high and far-reaching like the flight of an eagle, her feet are rapid on the upward way and her hands are outstretched to strike and to succour.
For she too is the Mother and her love is as intense as her wrath and she has a deep and passionate kindness.
When she is allowed to intervene in her strength , then in one moment are broken like things without consistence the obstacles that immobilise or the enemies that assail the seeker.
If her anger is dreadful to the hostile and the vehemence of her pressure painful to the weak and timid, she is loved and worshipped by the great, the strong and the noble; for they feel that her blows beat what is rebellious in their material into strength and perfect truth, hammer straight what is wry and perverse and expel what is impure or defective.
But for her what is done in a day might have taken centuries; without her Ananda might be wide and grave or soft and sweet and beautiful but would lose the flaming joy of its most absolute intensities.
To knowledge she gives a conquering might, brings to beauty and harmony a high and mounting movement and imparts to the slow and difficult labour after perfection an impetus that multiplies the power and shortens the long way.
Nothing can satisfy her that falls short of the supreme ecstasies, the highest heights, the noblest aims, the largest vistas.
Therefore with her is the victorious force of the Divine and it is by grace of her fire and passion and speed if he great achievement can be done now than hereafter.
Wisdom and Force are not the only manifestations of the supreme Mother; there is a subtler mystery of her nature and without it Wisdom and Force would be incompetable things and without it perfection would not be perfect.
Above them is the miracle of eternal beauty, an unseizable secret of divine harmonies, the compelling magic of an irresistible universal charm and attraction that draws and holds things and forces and beings together and obliges them to meet and unite that a hidden Ananda may play from behind the veil and make of them its rhythms and its figures.
This is the power of Mahalakshmi and there is no aspect of the Divine Shakti more attractive to the heart of the embodied beings.
Maheshwari can appear too calm and great and distant for the littleness of earthly nature to approach or contain her, Mahakali too swift and formidable for its weakness to bear; but all turn with joy and longing to Mahalakshmi.
For she throws the spell of the intoxicating sweetness of the Divine: to be close to her is a profound happiness and to feel her within the heart is to make the existence a rapture and a marvel; grace and charm and tenderness flow from her like the light from the sun and wherever she fixes her wonderful gaze or lets fall of the loveliness of her smile, the soul is seized and made captive and plunged into the depths of an unfathomable bliss.
Magnetic is the touch of her hands and their occult and delicate influence refines the mind and life and body and where she presses her feet course miraculous streams of an entrancing Ananda.
And yet it is not easy to meet the demand of this enchanting Power or to keep her presence.
Harmony and beauty of the mind and soul, harmony and beauty of the thoughts and feelings, harmony and beauty in every outward act and movement, harmony and beauty of the life and surroundings, this is the demand of Mahalakshmi.
Where there is affinity to the rhythms of the secret world-bliss and response to the call of the All-Beautiful and concord and unity and the glad flow of many lives turned towards the Divine, in that atmosphere she consents to abide.
But all that is ugly and mean and base, all that is poor and sordid and squalid, all that is brutal and coarse repels her advent.
Where love and beauty are not or are reluctant to be born, she does not come; where they are mixed and disfigured with baser things, she turns soon to depart or cares little to pour her riches.
If she finds herself in men's hearts surrounded with selfishness and hatred and jealousy and malignance and envy and strife, if treachery and greed and ingratitude are mixed in the sacred chalice, if grossness of passion and unrefined desire degrade devotion, in such hearts the gracious and beautiful Goddess will not linger.
A divine disgust seizes upon her and she withdraws, for she is not one who insists or strives; or, veiling her face, she waits for this bitter and poisonous devil's stuff to be rejected and disappear before she will found anew her happy influence.
Ascetic bareness and harshness are nor to her not the suppression of the heart's deeper emotions and the rigid repression of the soul's and the life's parts of beauty.
For it is through love and beauty that she lays on men the yoke of the Divine.
Life is turned in her supreme creations into a rich work of celestial art and all existence into a poem of sacred delight; the world's riches are brought together and concerted for a supreme order and even the simplest and commonest things are made wonderful by her intuition of unity and the breath of her spirit.
Admitted to the heart she lifts wisdom to pinnacles of wonder and reveals to it the mystic secrets of the ecstasy that surpassed all knowledge, meets devotion with the passionate attraction of the Divine, teaches to strength and force the rhythm that keeps the might of their acts harmonious and in measure and casts on perfection the charm that makes it endure for ever.
Mahasaraswati is the Mother's Power of Work and her spirit of perfection and order.
The youngest of the Four, she is the most skillful in executive faculty and the nearest to physical Nature.
Maheswari lays down the large lines of the world-forces, Mahakali drives their energy and impetus, Mahalakshmi discovers their rhythms and measures, but Mahasaraswati presides over their detail of organization and execution, relation of parts and effective combination of forces and unfailing exactitude of result and fulfilment.
The science and craft and technique of things are Mahasaraswati's province. Always she holds in her nature and can give to those whom she has chosen the intimate and precise knowledge, the subtlety and patience, the accuracy of intuitive mind and conscious hand and discerning eye of the perfect worker.
This Power is the strong, the tireless, the careful and efficient builder, organiser, administrator, technician, artisan and classifier of the worlds.
When she takes up the transformation and new building of the nature, her action is laborious and minute and often seems to our impatience slow and interminable, but it is persistent, integral and flawless.
For the will in her works is scrupulous, unsleeping, indefatigable; leaning over us she notes and touches every little detail, finds out every minute defect, gap, twist or incompleteness, considers and weighs accurately all that has been done and all that remains still to be done and all that remains still to be done hereafter.
Nothing is too small or apparently trivial for her attention; nothing however impalpable or disguised or latent can escape her.
Moulding and remoulding she labours each part till it has attained its true form, is put in its exact place in the whole and fulfils its precise purpose.
In her constant and diligent arrangement and rearrangement of things her eye is on all needs at once and the way to meet them and her intuition knows what is to be chosen and what rejected and successfully determines the right instrument, the right time, the right conditions and the right process.
Carelessness and negligence and indolence she abhors; all scamped and hasty and shuffling work, all clumsiness and 'à peu près' and misfire, all false adaptation and misuse of instruments and faculties and leaving of things undone or half done is offensive and foreign to her temper.
When her work is finished, nothing has been forgotten, no part has been misplaced or omitted or left in a faulty condition; all is solid, accurate, complete, admirable.
Nothing short of a perfect perfection satisfies her and she is ready to face an eternity of toil if that is needed for the fullness of her creation.
Therefore of all the Mother's powers she is the most long-suffering with man and his thousand imperfections.
Kind, smiling, close and helpful, not easily turned away or discouraged, insistent even after repeated failure, her hand sustains our every step on condition that we are single in our will and straightforward and sincere; for a double mind she will not tolerate and her revealing irony is merciless to drama and histrionics and self-deceit and pretence.
A mother to our wants, a friend in our difficulties, a persistent and tranquil counsellor and mentor, chasing away with her radiant smile the clouds of gloom and fretfulness and depression, reminding always of the ever-present help, pointing to the eternal sunshine, she is firm, quiet and persevering in the deep and continuous urge that drives is towards the integrality of the higher nature.
All the work of the other Powers leans on her for its completeness; for she assures the material foundation, elaborates the stuff of detail and erects and rivets the armour of the structure.
There are other great Personalities of the Divine Mother, but they were more difficult to bring down and have not stood out in front with so much prominence in the evolution of the earth-spirit.
There are among them Presences indispensable for the supramental realisation,
- most of all one who is her Personality of that mysterious and powerful ecstasy and Ananda which flows from a supreme divine Love, the Ananda that alone can heal the gulf between the highest heights of the supramental spirit and lowest abysses of Matter, the Ananda that holds the key of a wonderful divine Life and even now supports from its secrecies the work of all the other Powers of the universe.
But human nature bounded, egoistic and obscure is inapt to receive these great Presences or to support their mighty action.
Only when the Four have founded their harmony and freedom of movement in the transformed mind and life and body, can those other rarer Powers manifest in the earth movement and the supramental action becomes possible.
For when her Personalities are all gathered in her and manifested and their separate working has been turned into a harmonious unity and they rise in her to the supramental godheads, then is the Mother revealed as the supramental Mahashakti and brings pouring down her luminous transcendences from their ineffable ether.
Then can human nature change because all the elemental lines of the supramental Truth-consciousness and Truth-force are strung together and the harp of life is fitted for the rhythms of the Eternal.
If you desire this transformation, put yourself in the hands of the Mother and her Powers without cavil or resistance and let her do unhindered her work within you.
Three things you must have,
- plasticity and
- unreserved surrender.
For you must be conscious in your mind and soul and heart and life and the very cells of your body, aware of the Mother and her Powers and their working; for although she can and does work in you even in your obscurity and your unconscious parts and moments, it is not the same thing as when you are in an awakened and living communion with her.
All your nature must be plastic to her touch, - not questioning as the self-sufficient ignorant mind questions and doubts and disputes and is the enemy of its enlightenment and change; not insisting on its own movements as the vital in the man insists and persistently opposes its refractory desires and ill-will to every divine influence; not obstructing and entrenched in incapacity, inertia and tamas as man's physical consciousness obstructs and clinging to the pleasure in smallness and darkness cries out against each touch that disturbs it soulless routine or it dull sloth or its torpid slumber.
The unreserved surrender of your inner and outer being will bring this plasticity into all the parts of your nature; consciousness will awaken everywhere in you by constant openness to the Wisdom and Light, the Force, the Harmony and Beauty, the Perfection that come flowing down from above.
Even the body will awake and unite at last its consciousness subliminal no longer to the supramental superconscious Force, feel all her powers permeating from above and below and around it and thrill to a supreme Love and Ananda.
But be on your guard and do not try to understand and judge the Divine Mother by your little earthly mind that loves to subject even the things that are beyond it to its own norms and standards, its narrow reasonings and erring impressions, its bottomless aggressive ignorance and its petty self-confident knowledge.
The human mind shut in the prison of its half-lit obscurity cannot follow the many-sided freedom of the steps of the Divine Shakti.
The rapidity and complexity of her vision and action outrun its stumbling comprehension; the measures of her movement are not its measures.
Bewildered by the swift alteration of her many different personalities, her making of rhythms and her breaking of rhythms, her accelerations of speed and her retardations, her varied ways of dealing with the problem, of one and anther, her taking up and dropping now of this line and now of that one and her gathering of them together, it will not recognise the way of the Supreme Power when it is circling and sweeping upwards through the maze of the Ignorance to a supernal Light.
Open rather your soul to her and be content to feel her with the psychic nature and see her with the psychic vision that alone make a straight response to the Truth.
Then the Mother herself will enlighten by their psychic elements your mind and heart and life and physical consciousness and reveal to them too her ways and her nature.
Avoid also the error of the ignorant mind's demand on the Divine Power to act always according to our crude surface notions of omniscience and omnipotence.
For our mind clamours to be impressed at every turn by miraculous power and easy success and dazzling splendour; otherwise it cannot believe that there is the Divine.
The Mother is dealing with the Ignorance in the fields of the Ignorance; she has descended there and is not all above.
Partly she unveils her knowledge and her power, often holds them back from her instruments and personalities and follows that she may transform them the way of the seeking mind, the way of the aspiring psychic, the way of the battling vital, the way of the imprisoned and suffering physical nature.
There are conditions that have been laid down by a Supreme Will, there are many tangled knots that have to be loosened and cannot be cut abruptly asunder.
The Asura and Rakshasa hold this evolving earthly nature and have to be met and conquered on their own terms in their own long-conquered fief and province; the human in us has to be led and prepared to transcend its limits and is too weak and obscure to be lifted up suddenly to a form far beyond it.
The Divine Consciousness and Force are there and do at each moment the thing that is needed in the conditions of the labour, take always the step that is decreed and shape in the midst of imperfection the perfection that is to come.
But only when the supermind has descended in you she can deal directly as the supramental Shakti with supramental natures.
If you follow your mind, it will not recognise the Mother even when she is manifest before you.
Follow your soul and not your mind, your soul that answers to the Truth, not your mind that leaps at appearances; trust the Divine Power and she will free the godlike elements in you and shape all into an expression of Divine Nature.
The supramental change is the 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 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.
In SABCL, volume 25, "The Mother and Letters on the Mother" (pages 19-41)
The Mother has commented that text in 3 talks:
on August 11, 1954
in CMW, vol. 6, "Questions and Answers - 1954", pages 273-281
on August 18, 1954
in CMW, vol. 6, "Questions and Answers - 1954", pages 282-290
on August 25, 1954
in CMW, vol. 6, "Questions and Answers - 1954", pages 291-304
published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry
diffusion by SABDA