A summary from the talks of The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
First published in 1893
This short book is based upon conversations with a spiritual leader, known as “The Mother”. The book is a centenary reprint of its first publication in 1893.
The core of the book deals with the act of surrender to the Divine. This fundamental attitude being indispensable for beginning yoga. What is of great note is that if you have not decided to make a total surrender, then you are not ready to begin. Also, that everything in yoga is done for the joy of doing it, and is in no way with the result as the ideal.
The Mother writes,
“When you come to the yoga, you must be ready to have all your mental buildings and all your vital scaffolding shattered to pieces. You must be prepared to be suspended in the air with nothing to support you except your faith. You will have to forget your past self and its clingings altogether, to pluck it out of your consciousness and be born anew, free from every kind of bondage. Think not of what you were, but of what you aspire to be; be altogether in what you want to realise. Turn from your dead past and look straight into the future. Your religion, country, family lie there; it is the DIVINE.”
If total surrender to the Divine is the pivotal message of this short book, (47 intense pages, which each needed to be re-read three times – this is due to the quantity of good advice present, and also the archaic Victorian English) then it’s the support of this vital thought that creates the rich and vibrant landscape of intense spirituality.
The book/manual/ guidelines for living can be broken down into four sections:
1. Importance of Right Attitude
2. The Right Attitude
3. Right Attitude in Work
4. Practical Guidance
Each section is subdivided into even more concise headings including:
1. Meaning, importance, transformation and ‘Right attitude’
2. Faith, sincerity, aspiration, perseverance, surrender and gratitude and the ‘Right Attitude. ‘
3. The importance of classification, abolition of ego and quest for perfection in work.
Throughout all of her writing, this core thought of complete surrender is also reinforced with an innate gratitude that the Divine does indeed exist.
She offers us her hand, and assurance that there is more. But that we must commit and surrender completely, and work cheerfully and in a perfectionist manner towards that goal. Remembering always that life is not just the monstrosity that it can at times appear to be. That there’s nothing really that gives you such joy or gratitude as sharply observing a flower, looking into the eyes of a child, or at the sun rising in the morning. All these simply beautiful feelings illustrate that there is something beyond the world which is Divine
The Mother concludes her conversation with this clear and well rounded piece of knowledge,
“If we wish transformation, we must become conscious of the Divine within ourselves; to devote ourselves daily and constantly to a methodical effort of adaption and transformation – so that nothing within us may ever obscure the radiance again.”