We pray to the Divine to accept the ardent flame of our gratitude and of our joyous and fully confident adherence.
The Mother – Words of the Mother: CWM, Vol. 15, p208
As for prayer, no hard and fast rule can be laid down. Some prayers are answered, all are not. …It is not a machinery–put a prayer in the slot and get your asking. Besides, considering all the contradictory things mankind is praying for at the same moment, God would be in a rather awkward hole, if he had to grant all of them–it wouldn’t do.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Himself and the Ashram: CWSA, Vol. 35, p14
Integral prayer: the whole being is concentrated in a single prayer to the Divine.
The Mother – Words of the Mother: CWM, Vol. 15, p207
Let us pray with all our heart that the divine work may be accomplished.
All sincere prayers are granted, but it may take some time to realise materially.
The Mother – Words of the Mother: CWM, Vol. 15, p207
It is never in vain that an ardent and sincere prayer is addressed to the Divine’s Grace.
When, in our despair, we cry to the Divine, always He answers to our call.
We pray that the Divine should teach us ever more, enlighten us more and more, dispel our ignorance, illumine our minds.
The Mother – Words of the Mother: CWM, Vol. 14, p208
Sri Aurobindo says in one letter:
“All prayer rightly offered brings us closer to the Divine and establishes right relation with him.”
What is meant by “rightly offered” in this letter? Will You please elucidate?
With humility and sincerity.
It goes without saying that all bargaining spirit is an insincerity that takes away all value from the prayer.
Nothing is difficult for those who call sincerely the Divine.
The Mother – Words of the Mother: CWM, Vol. 15, p209
“The mind is an instrument of action and formation and not an instrument of knowledge; at each moment it is creating forms. Thoughts are forms and have an individual life, independent of their author: sent out from him into the world, they move in it towards the realisation of their own purpose of existence. When you think of anyone, your thought takes a form and goes out to find him; and, if your thinking is associated with some will that is behind it, the thought-form that has gone out from you makes an attempt to realise itself.”
Questions and Answers 1929-1931 (19 May 1929)
Do prayers and aspirations also take a form like thoughts?
Yes. At times they take even the form of the person who has the aspiration or makes the prayer—often. That depends. Aspirations sometimes take the form of that to which one aspires, but most often, and specially prayers, clearly take the form of the one who prays.
What is the difference between prayer and aspiration?
…. There are several kinds of prayers.
There is the purely mechanical, material prayer, with words which have been learnt and are mechanically repeated. That does not signify anything much. And that has usually only one single result, that of quietening the person who prays, for if a prayer is repeated several times, the words end up by making you calm.
There is a point where aspiration and prayer meet, for there are prayers which are the spontaneous formulation of a lived experience: these spring up all ready from within the being, like something that’s the expression of a profound experience, and which offers thanksgiving for that experience or asks its continuation or asks for its explanation also; and that indeed is quite close to aspiration. But aspiration is not necessarily formulated in words; or if it is formulated in words, it is almost a movement of invocation. You aspire for a certain state; for instance, you have found something in yourself that is not in keeping with your ideal, a movement of darkness and ignorance, perhaps even of ill-will, something that’s not in harmony with what you want to realise; then that is not going to be formulated in words; that will be like a springing flame and like an offering made of a living experience, asking to grow larger, be magnified and ever more and more clear and precise. All that may be put into words later, if one tries to remember and note down one’s experience. But aspiration always springs up like a flame that rises high and carries in itself the thing one desires to be or what one desires to do or desires to have. I use the word “desire”, but truly it is here that the word “aspire” should be used, for that does not have either the quality or the form of a desire.
It is truly like a great purifying flame of will, and it carries in its core the thing that asks to be realised.
For instance, if you have done something you regret having done, if that has unhappy consequences which disturb things, and several people are implicated, you do not know the reactions of the others, but you yourself wish that what has been done may take a turn for the best, and that if there is a mistake, it may be understood, and that no matter what the mistake, this may be for you an opportunity for a greater progress, a greater discipline, a new ascent towards the Divine, a door open on a future that you want to be more clear and true and intense; so all this is gathered here (pointing to the heart) like a force, and then it surges up and rises in a great movement of ascent, and at times without the shadow of a formulation, without words, without expression, but like a springing flame.
That indeed is true aspiration. That may happen a hundred, a thousand times daily if one is in that state in which one constantly wants to progress and be more true and more fully in harmony with what the Divine Will wants of us.
Prayer is a much more external thing, generally about a precise fact, and always formulated for it is the formula that makes the prayer. One may have an aspiration and transcribe it as a prayer, but aspiration goes beyond prayer in every way. It is much closer and much more as it were self-forgetful, living only in the thing one wants to be or do, and the offering of all that one wants to do to the Divine. You may pray in order to ask for something, you may also pray to thank the Divine for what He has given you, and that prayer is much greater: it may be called an act of thanksgiving. You may pray in gratitude for the aspect of kindness the Divine has shown to you, for what He has done for you, for what you see in Him, and the praise you want to offer Him. And all this may take the form of a prayer. It is decidedly the highest prayer, for it is not exclusively preoccupied with oneself, it is not an egoistic prayer.
Certainly, one may have an aspiration in all the domains, but the very centre of aspiration is in the psychic being, whilst one may pray in all the domains, and the prayer belongs to the domain in which one prays. One may make purely material, physical prayers, vital prayers, mental prayers, psychic prayers, spiritual prayers, and each one has its special character, its special value.
There is a kind of prayer at once spontaneous and unselfish which is like a great call, usually not for one’s own self personally, but like something that may be called an intercession with the Divine. It is extremely powerful. I have had countless instances of things which have been realised almost instantaneously due to prayers of this kind. It implies a great faith, a great ardour, a great sincerity, and a great simplicity of heart also, something that does not calculate, does not plan, does not bargain, does not give with the idea of receiving in exchange. For, the majority of men give with one hand and hold out the other to get something in exchange; the largest number of prayers are of that sort. But there are others of the kind I have described, acts of thanksgiving, a kind of canticle, and these are very good.
The Mother – Questions and Answers: CWM, Vol. 5, pp 139-42
Prayer and aspiration are a part of the spiritual life and do not conflict with surrender, provided one is not disturbed in either way by the fulfilment or unfulfilment of the prayer and keeps one’s faith and quietude all the same….
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga: CWSA, Vol. 29, p365
If one lives in the world one can offer such prayers [for help in resolving worldly problems]; but one must not expect that the Divine shall fulfil all those prayers or think that he is bound to do so. When one is a sadhak the prayer should be for the inner things belonging to the sadhana and for outer things only so far as they are necessary for that and for the divine work.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga: CWSA, Vol. 29, p366
As for the prayers, the fact of praying and the attitude it brings, especially unselfish prayer for others, itself opens you to the higher Power, even if there is no corresponding result in the person prayed for. Nothing can be positively said about that, for the result must necessarily depend on the persons, whether they are open or receptive or something in them can respond to any Force the prayer brings down.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga: CWSA, Vol. 29, p367