Let us work as we pray, for indeed work is the body’s best prayer to the Divine.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – II : CWM, Vol. 14, p. 299
Work done in the true spirit is meditation.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – II : CWM, Vol. 14, p. 298
In works, aspiration towards Perfection is true spirituality.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – II : CWM, Vol. 14, p. 306
…to take advantage of what is good in others, keeping one’s eye always on that, and to deal tactfully with their mistakes, faults and defects is the best way; it does not exclude firmness and maintenance of discipline, even severity when severity is due; but the latter should be rare and the others should not feel it as if it were a permanent attitude.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – II : CWSA, Vol. 29, pp. 279-280
To discourage anybody is wrong, but to give false encouragement or encouragement of anything wrong is not right. Severity has sometimes to be used (though not overused), when without it an obstinate persistence in what is wrong cannot be set right. Very often, if an inner communication has been established, a silent pressure is more effective than anything else. No absolute rule can be laid down; one has to judge and act for the best in each case.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – II : CWSA, Vol. 29, p. 281
…So long as one insists on success, one is doing the work partly at least for the ego; difficulties and outward failures come to warn one that it is so and to bring complete equality. This does not mean that the power of victory is not to be acquired; but it is not success in the immediate work that is all-important; it is the power to receive and transmit a greater and greater correct vision and inner Force that has to be developed and this must be done quite coolly and patiently without being elated or disturbed by immediate victory or failure.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – II : CWSA, Vol. 29, p. 241
…. Spiritually there is nothing big or small. Such ideas are like those of the literary people who think writing a poem is a high work and making shoes or cooking the dinner is a small and low one. But all is equal in the eyes of the Spirit—and it is only the spirit within with which it is done that matters. It is the same with a particular kind of work, there is nothing big or small.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – II : CWSA, Vol. 29, p. 247
Those who do work for the Mother in all sincerity, are prepared by the work itself for the right consciousness even if they do not sit down for meditation or follow any particular practice of Yoga. It is not necessary to tell you how to meditate; whatever is needful will come of itself if in your work and at all times you are sincere and keep yourself open to the Mother.
Sri Aurobindo – The Mother with Letters on The Mother : CWSA, Vol. 32, p. 247
…. The greater the difficulties that rise in the work the more one can profit by them in deepening the equality, if one takes it in the right spirit. You must also keep yourself open to receive the help towards that, for the help will always be coming from the Mother for the change of the nature.
Sri Aurobindo – The Mother with Letters on The Mother : CWSA, Vol. 32, p. 420
If you want to be a true doer of divine works, your first aim must be to be totally free from all desire and self-regarding ego. All your life must be an offering and a sacrifice to the Supreme; your only object in action shall be to serve, to receive, to fulfil, to become a manifesting instrument of the Divine Shakti in her works. You must grow in the divine consciousness till there is no difference between your will and hers, no motive except her impulsion in you, no action that is not her conscious action in you and through you.
Until you are capable of this complete dynamic identification, you have to regard yourself as a soul and body created for her service, one who does all for her sake. Even if the idea of the separate worker is strong in you and you feel that it is you who do the act, yet it must be done for her. All stress of egoistic choice, all hankering after personal profit, all stipulation of self regarding desire must be extirpated from the nature. There must be no demand for fruit and no seeking for reward; the only fruit for you is the pleasure of the Divine Mother and the fulfilment of her work, your only reward a constant progression in divine consciousness and calm and strength and bliss. The joy of service and the joy of inner growth through works is the sufficient recompense of the selfless worker.
But a time will come when you will feel more and more that you are the instrument and not the worker. For first by the force of your devotion your contact with the Divine Mother will become so intimate that at all times you will have only to concentrate and to put everything into her hands to have her present guidance, her direct command or impulse, the sure indication of the thing to be done and the way to do it and the result. And afterwards you will realise that the divine Shakti not only inspires and guides, but initiates and carries out your works; all your movements are originated by her, all your powers are hers, mind, life and body are conscious and joyful instruments of her action, means for her play, moulds for her manifestation in the physical universe. There can be no more happy condition than this union and dependence; for this step carries you back beyond the border-line from the life of stress and suffering in the ignorance into the truth of your spiritual being, into its deep peace and its intense Ananda.
While this transformation is being done it is more than ever necessary to keep yourself free from all taint of the perversions of the ego. Let no demand or insistence creep in to stain the purity of the self-giving and the sacrifice. There must be no attachment to the work or the result, no laying down of conditions, no claim to possess the Power that should possess you, no pride of the instrument, no vanity or arrogance. Nothing in the mind or in the vital or physical parts should be suffered to distort to its own use or seize for its own personal and separate satisfaction the greatness of the forces that are acting through you. Let your faith, your sincerity, your purity of aspiration be absolute and pervasive of all the planes and layers of the being; then every disturbing element and distorting influence will progressively fall away from your nature.
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 – The Mother with Letters on The Mother : CWSA, Vol. 32, pp. 12-13
The first step on this long path is to consecrate all our works as a sacrifice to the Divine in us and in the world; this is an attitude of the mind and heart, not too difficult to initiate, but very difficult to make absolutely sincere and all-pervasive. The second step is to renounce attachment to the fruit of our works; for the only true, inevitable and utterly desirable fruit of sacrifice—the one thing needful—is the Divine Presence and the Divine Consciousness and Power in us, and if that is gained, all else will be added. This is a transformation of the egoistic will in our vital being, our desire-soul and desire-nature, and it is far more difficult than the other. The third step is to get rid of the central egoism and even the ego-sense of the worker. That is the most difficult transformation of all and it cannot be perfectly done if the first two steps have not been taken; but these first steps too cannot be completed unless the third comes in to crown the movement and, by the extinction of egoism, eradicates the very origin of desire. Only when the small ego-sense is rooted out from the nature can the seeker know his true person that stands above as a portion and power of the Divine and renounce all motive-force other than the will of the Divine Shakti.
Sri Aurobindo – The Synthesis of Yoga – I : CWSA, Vol. 23, p. 247
…for each work given, the full strength and Grace are always given at the same time to do the work as it has to be done. If you do not feel the strength and the Grace, it proves that there is some mistake in your attitude. The faith is lacking or you have fallen back on old tracks and old creeds and thus you lose all receptivity.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – II : CWM, Vol. 14, p. 316
Your work can never be good if you go on thinking of the next thing. For work, it is the present that is most important. The past should not drag you behind, the future should not pull you forward. You must be fully concentrated on the present, on what you are doing. You must be so concentrated on what you are doing that it is as if the salvation of the whole world depended only upon your work.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – II : CWM, Vol. 14, p. 317
Do not worry about the work; the more you will do it quietly and calmly, the more it will become effective.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – II : CWM, Vol. 14, p. 315
If you don’t do anything, you cannot have any experience. The whole life is a field of experience. Each movement you make, each thought you have, each work you do, can be an experience, and must be an experience; and naturally work in particular is a field of experience where one must apply all the progress which one endeavours to make inwardly.
If you remain in meditation or contemplation without working, well, you don’t know if you have progressed or not. You may live in an illusion, the illusion of your progress; while if you begin to work, all the circumstances of your work, the contact with others, the material occupation, all this is a field of experience in order that you may become aware not only of the progress made but of all the progress that remains to be made….
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 7, p. 287
You take up some work which is quite material, like cleaning the floor or dusting a room; well, it seems to me that this work can lead to a very deep consciousness if it is done with a certain feeling for perfection and progress; while other work considered of a higher kind as, for example, studies or literary and artistic work, if done with the idea of seeking fame or for the satisfaction of one’s vanity or for some material gain, will not help you to progress. So this is already a kind of classification which depends more on the inner attitude than on the outer fact. But this classification can be applied to everything.
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 8, p. 160
It is quite possible for you to do sadhana at home and in the midst of your work—many do so. What is necessary at the beginning is to remember the Mother as much as possible, to concentrate on her in the heart for a time every day, if possible thinking of her as the Divine Mother, to aspire to feel her there within you, offer her your works and pray that from within she may guide and sustain you. This is a preliminary stage which often takes long, but if one goes through it with sincerity and steadfastness, the mentality begins little by little to change and a new consciousness opens in the sadhak which begins to be aware more and more of the Mother’s presence within, of her working in the nature and in the life or of some other spiritual experience which opens the gate towards realisation.
Sri Aurobindo – The Mother with Letters on The Mother : CWSA, Vol. 32, p. 186
All the difficulties you describe are quite natural things common to most people. It is easy for one, comparatively, to remember and be conscious when one sits quiet in meditation; it is difficult when one has to be busy with work. The remembrance and consciousness in work have to come by degrees, you must not expect to have it all at once; nobody can get it all at once. It comes in two ways,—first, if one practises remembering the Mother and offering the work to her each time one does something (not all the time one is doing, but at the beginning or whenever one can remember), then that slowly becomes easy and habitual to the nature. Secondly, by the meditation an inner consciousness begins to develop which, after a time, not at once or suddenly, becomes more and more automatically permanent. One feels this as a separate consciousness from that outer one which works. At first this separate consciousness is not felt when one is working, but as soon as the work stops one feels it was there all the time watching from behind; afterwards it begins to be felt during the work itself, as if there were two parts of oneself—one watching and supporting from behind and remembering the Mother and offering to her and the other doing the work. When this happens, then to work with the true consciousness becomes more and more easy.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – II : CWSA, Vol. 29, p. 259
Whatever the external circumstances, they are, without exception, the objective projection of what is inside yourself. When in your work you find something giving trouble outside, look within and you will find in yourself the corresponding difficulty.
Change yourself and the circumstances will change.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – I : CWM, Vol. 13, p. 160
Inner Guidance about Work:
A constant aspiration for that [to be constantly governed by the Divine] is the first thing—next a sort of stillness within and a drawing back from the outward action into the stillness and a sort of listening expectancy, not for a sound but for the spiritual feeling or direction of the consciousness that comes through the psychic.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – II : CWSA, Vol. 29, p. 261
If you want that [to become conscious of whether an action is right or not] very much and aspire for it, it may come in one of several ways—
(1) You may get the habit or faculty of watching your movements in such a way that you see the impulse to action coming and can see too its nature,
(2) a consciousness may come which feels uneasy at once if a wrong thought or impulse to action or feeling is there,
(3) something within you may warn and stop you when you are going to do the wrong action.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – II : CWSA, Vol. 29, pp. 260-261
….You can at every minute make the gift of your will in an aspiration—and an aspiration which formulates itself very simply, not just “Lord, Thy will be done”, but “Grant that I may do as well as I can the best thing to do.”
You may not know at every moment what is the best thing to do or how to do it, but you can place your will at the disposal of the Divine to do the best possible, the best thing possible. You will see it will have marvellous results. Do this with consciousness, sincerity and perseverance, and you will find yourself getting along with gigantic strides. It is like that, isn’t it? One must do things with all the ardour of one’s soul, with all the strength of one’s will; do at every moment the best possible, the best thing possible. What others do is not your concern—this is something I shall never be able to repeat to you often enough.
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 4, p. 117
Before undertaking any action one tries to know whether the impulse comes from the Mother or not, but generally one doesn’t have enough discernment to know it and yet one acts. Can one know from the result of the action whether it came from the Mother or not?
Here,…. quite simple (I don’t know why you do not use it, because it is quite elementary); you imagine I am in front of you and then ask yourself, “Would I do this before Mother, without difficulty, without any effort, without something holding me back?” That will never deceive you. If you are sincere you will know immediately. That would stop many people on the verge of folly.
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 4, pp. 385-387
When we are concentrated in mental movements or intellectual pursuits, why do we sometimes forget or lose touch with the Divine?
You lose it because your consciousness is still divided. The Divine has not settled into your mind; you are not wholly consecrated to the Divine Life. Otherwise you could concentrate to any extent upon such things and still you would have the sense of being helped and supported by the Divine.
In all pursuits, intellectual or active, your one motto should be, “Remember and Offer.” Let whatever you do be done as an offering to the Divine. And this too will be an excellent discipline for you; it will prevent you from doing many foolish and useless things.
Often in the beginning of the action this can be done; but as one gets engrossed in the work, one forgets. How is one to remember?
The condition to be aimed at, the real achievement of Yoga, the final perfection and attainment, for which all else is only a preparation, is a consciousness in which it is impossible to do anything without the Divine; for then, if you are without the Divine, the very source of your action disappears; knowledge, power, all are gone. But so long as you feel that the powers you use are your own, you will not miss the Divine support.
In the beginning of the Yoga you are apt to forget the Divine very often. But by constant aspiration you increase your remembrance and you diminish the forgetfulness. But this should not be done as a severe discipline or a duty; it must be a movement of love and joy. Then very soon a stage will come when, if you do not feel the presence of the Divine at every moment and whatever you are doing, you feel at once lonely and sad and miserable.
Whenever you find that you can do something without feeling the presence of the Divine and yet be perfectly comfortable, you must understand that you are not consecrated in that part of your being. That is the way of the ordinary humanity which does not feel any need of the Divine. But for a seeker of the Divine Life it is very different. And when you have entirely realised unity with the Divine, then, if the Divine were only for a second to withdraw from you, you would simply drop dead; for the Divine is now the Life of your life, your whole existence, your single and complete support. If the Divine is not there, nothing is left.
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 3, pp. 25-26
In work too there is an austerity. It consists in not having any preferences and in doing everything one does with interest. For one who wants to grow in self-perfection, there are no great or small tasks, none that are important or unimportant; all are equally useful for one who aspires for progress and self-mastery. It is said that one only does well what one is interested in doing. This is true, but it is truer still that one can learn to find interest in everything one does, even in what appear to be the most insignificant chores. The secret of this attainment lies in the urge towards self-perfection. Whatever occupation or task falls to your lot, you must do it with a will to progress; whatever one does, one must not only do it as best one can but strive to do it better and better in a constant effort for perfection. In this way everything without exception becomes interesting, from the most material chore to the most artistic and intellectual work. The scope for progress is infinite and can be applied to the smallest thing.
The Mother – On Education: CWM, Vol. 12, p. 53
…whatever you do, whatever the process you use, and even if you happen to have acquired in it a great skill and power, you must leave the result in the hands of the Divine. Always you may try, but it is for the Divine to give you the fruit of your effort or not to give it. There your personal power stops; if the result comes, it is the Divine Power and not yours that brings it….
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 3, p. 97
When you feel tired, don’t overstrain yourself but rest—doing only your ordinary work; restlessly doing something or other all the time is not the way to cure it. To be quiet without and within is what is needed when there is this sense of fatigue. There is always a strength near you which you can call in and it will remove these things, but you must learn to be quiet in order to receive it.
Sri Aurobindo – Letters on Yoga – II : CWSA, Vol. 29, p. 274
…. if you want to do it well, you must become what you are doing and not remain a small person looking at himself doing it; for if one looks at oneself acting, … one is still in complicity with the ego. If, in oneself, one succeeds in becoming what one does, it is a great progress. Take a very amusing instance: you want to fill a bottle from another bottle; you concentrate; well, as long as you are the bottle to be filled, the bottle from which one pours, and the movement of pouring, as long as you are only this, all goes well. But if unfortunately you think at a given moment: “Ah! It is getting on well, I am managing well”, the next minute it spills over! It is the same for everything, for everything. That is why work is a good means of discipline, for if you want to do the work properly, you must become the work instead of being someone who works, otherwise you will never do it well. If you remain “someone who works” and, besides, if your thoughts go vagabonding, then you may be sure that if you are handling fragile things they will break, if you are cooking, you will burn something, or if you are playing a game, you will miss all the balls! It is here, in this, that work is a great discipline. For if truly you want to do it well, this is the only way of doing it.
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 4, p. 362
Would it not be better to continue the work even if one feels lazy?
That depends on the work; there we enter another domain.
If it is a work that you are doing for the collectivity and not for yourself personally, then you must do it, whatever happens. It is an elementary discipline. You have undertaken to do this work or have been given the work and have taken it up, therefore you have accepted it, and in that case you must do it. At all times, unless you are absolutely ill, ill in the last degree and unable to move, you must do it. … An unselfish work always cures you of your petty personal maladies. Naturally, if you are really compelled to be in bed without being able to move, with a terrible fever or a very serious illness, then that’s quite different. But otherwise, if you are just a little indisposed: “I am not feeling quite well, I have a little headache or I have indigestion, or I have a bad cold, I am coughing”, things like that—then doing your work, not thinking of yourself, thinking of the work, doing it as well as you can, that puts you right immediately.
In reality illness is only disequilibrium; if then you are able to establish equilibrium, this disequilibrium disappears. An illness is simply, always, in every case, even when the doctors say that there are microbes—in every case, a disequilibrium in the being: a disequilibrium among the various functions, disequilibrium among the forces.
The Mother – Questions and Answers : CWM, Vol. 5, p. 120
The best way to work without getting tired is to offer the work you do (whatever work it is) to the Divine and to find in the Divine the support you need—for the Divine’s Force is inexhaustible and He answers always to whatever offer is made to Him sincerely.
Then, when you will feel that it is the Divine’s Force that has done the work in you and through you, in your sincerity you will know that the merit is His and not yours—so there is no more reason to be proud.
The Mother – Words of the Mother – II : CWM, Vol. 14, p. 315