Thematic Index of the Collected Works of the Mother
© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

change and transformation

  4.1    the urge for progress (7)
05, p. 104-06 About the benefits of having the urge for learning. When one wants to learn and concentrates all the energies on learning then one understands and is interested. Any rule whatsoever is simply a mental formula of something that exists in itself and one can discover it. Concentration is the key. And even something boring (e.g. rules of grammar) can become interesting because you concentrate and concentrate to find the real knowledge that is behind the words. Understand instead of learning. It requires great concentration to push through the mental shell but when you concentrate enough you are on the other side and you understand—even a tiny thing—and it gives you a great joy. (also under: 4.5.c)
05, p. 237-44 The role of divine love as the impetus sent forth to bridge the ladder of the manifestation to return all to its source, and how it presently works in humans, animals, plants, flowers and trees, and crystals.
06, p. 431 “The progress you will make because you feel within yourself the need to make it, because it is an impulsion that pushes you forward spontaneously, and not because it is imposed on you like a rule—this progress, from a spiritual point of view, is infinitely greater.”
08, p. 020-21 “Youth is constant growth and perpetual progress—and the growth of capacities, possibilities, of the field of action and range of consciousness, and progress in working out the details.” Mother describes the successive periods/stages of progress in human life.
11, p. 208-09 If in order to progress you were to wait for others to progress, you would have to wait indefinitely. Never put the blame on others or on circumstances because even in circumstances that appear the worst it is possible to continue the inner progress. “Indeed, this seems to be the first lesson to learn.” It will be a big step forward when “man will naturally turn to perfect himself instead of waiting to find perfection in others.”
12, p. 072-76 This is a talk “to the students young and old” which deals with the why and how of this subject. “When one does not progress one is bored.” Everything becomes interesting when you take life as a field for progress. Many examples are given such as how one can convert even boring classes into a means of interest and progress. (also under: 4.1.2.a)
15, p. 082-84 Many very short statements about progress including the following 2 definitions: “Progress is the sign of the divine influence in creation.” and “Progress: the reason why we are on earth.”
  4.1.1    the aim of life (13)
05, p. 012-20 To serve humanity you must know better than the Divine what must be done for it. Wanting to help humanity is an ambition. Before being capable of helping one must discover that one does not exist, that one was only a bundle of habits. The only way to help is to offer yourself completely so that the material reality you represent can grow a little more like the Divine. (also under: 5.5, 7.2)
05, p. 041 Why is there a universe? What is that to you? Why is it as it is? What does it matter to you? I do not find it satisfactory. Ah, very good, we begin to touch the practical. There is only one thing to do—start working for its change. You cannot say, “That is beyond me or too big for me.” Go within your little person and you will find the key that opens all the doors.
05, p. 303-04 To know oneself (this totality of substance constituting your inner and outer body) is the field of work given to each one; “it is as though one had gathered together carefully…a certain number of vibrations and put them at your disposal for you to work upon them fully.” Nobody can take it away from you, it is there day and night, a mass to be transformed. The most important thing to do is to learn to work upon it. Besides, you can never help or advise or change others until you have done so first with yourself. (also under: 1.3.4.b, 5.5)
05, p. 392-93 “Your aim should be high and wide, generous and disinterested.” Explanation given.
06, p. 271-72 Mother tells what is there in you that has made you come to the Ashram. To find the answer you are obliged to look within yourself. If you go deep enough within into a sufficiently complete silence from all outer things you can find the flame and your destiny—the aspiration of centuries. You will see that all your incapacities and weaknesses which you discovered when you began to look within are not yourself but a garment which has been put on for the time being. Then you must begin to gradually bring the light, the consciousness, the truth into all these obscure elements of the external garment so that you can understand integrally why you are here.
07, p. 033 “One does not progress outside terrestrial life. The earthly material life is essentially the life of progress.” “True progress is sadhana; that is the most conscious and swiftest progress. Otherwise one makes progress with the rhythm of Nature.” “In yoga one can do in a very short time what takes otherwise an interminable time. …All the years you pass without making any progress are wasted years which you are sure to regret afterwards.”
07, p. 076 “You cannot change the outer world unless you begin by changing yourself.” That is the first condition and it is the same condition for everyone whether young or old or great or small. That is why life upon earth for the psychic being is the opportunity to progress. The work of every psychic being is to transform the states of being of its present formation. It is the part of the universe given to him for his work of transformation (more about this last sentence is on p. 78).
07, p. 177-79 Mother talks about life using the image of a path. On the path towards spiritual realisation there is a bit of the way which is under control of reason and that reason, if you follow it, helps you go forward without making mistakes too often. One learns to become reasonable by making mistakes and undergoing their consequences. Stages of development: 1— the majority of people who don’t know that there is a path and an aim. 2— a small number who try to know why they are on earth and why the things that happen to them happen. These are reasonable beings. 3— a big handful of people are born with the feeling that there is a higher purpose in life, an aim, and they strive to find it. For these the path goes beyond reason. 4— a few whose rational period may begin very early and last for a short time and then are ready to set out on unexplored paths towards higher realities. (also under: 3.4)
12, p. 003 “…on the quality of your aim will depend the quality of your life.” Mother elaborates.
12, p. 018 “In the world as it is now the goal of life is not to secure personal happiness, but to awaken the individual progressively to the Truth-consciousness.”
15, p. 128 “Consecrate your life to the realisation of something higher and broader than yourself and you will never feel the weight of the passing years.” “From birth to death, life is a dangerous thing. The brave pass through it without care for the risks. The prudent take precautions. The cowardly are afraid of everything. But ultimately, what happens to each one is only what the Supreme Will has decided.”
15, p. 238a “Let your highest aspiration organize your life.”
16, p. 284a A sadhak asks whether everyone has a mission and what beggars and people like that are doing. Mother replies “The whole creation is a single whole advancing as a totality towards its single goal—the Divine—through a collective evolution which is continuous and endless.”
  4.1.2    what is perfection (10)
04, p. 015-16 “Perfection is not a static state, it is an equilibrium. But a progressive, dynamic equilibrium. One may go from perfection to perfection.” At the moment the march of nature is such that she has to destroy in order to reach higher— man is a transitional being.... “We may say that perfection will be attained in the individual, the collectivity, on earth and in the universe, when, at every moment, the receptivity will be equal in quality and quantity to the Force which wants to manifest. That is supreme equilibrium. Hence, there must be a perfect equilibrium between what comes from above and what answers from below, and when the two meet, that is perfect equilibrium, which is realisation—a realisation in constant progress.”
06, p. 418 “One must get accustomed to living in a perpetual movement. There is something [in man] which likes very much—perhaps it is necessary for facilitating the action—to fix a goal and say, “This indeed is the end…This is perfection.”—there is no absolute perfection. All things are always relative and constantly they are changing.”
06, p. 446-47 “A perfect purity, a perfect perfection seem impossible so long as the world has not reached at least a certain degree of perfection.” Because of one’s solidarity with the rest of the world. “So long as the world remains what it is and one participates in the world, one necessarily participates in its difficulties.”
08, p. 113-14 When one has both the perception of the Impersonal Divine (Master of Existence) and the perception of the Personal Shakti (World-Mother) in an equal vision one is perfect. Till today the emphasis has been a leaning towards the impersonal. These pages begin with a passage of Sri Aurobindo from Synthesis of Yoga (p. 117) followed by Mother’s commentary.
08, p. 233-34 “Once we admit this principle that the universe is progressive inevitably, the future perfection must be felt as something higher than what was there before … This opens the door to all possibilitie ... And what now seems to us beautiful, marvelous, divine and perfect, will be an obscurity after some time.” “If you want to realise a static perfection … you will inevitably be thrown out of the universe [Buddha and Shankara understood this], for you will no longer belong to its principle. It is a choice.” (also under: 4.4.1)
09, p. 089-94 Mother comments on a passage from The Supramental Manifestation. She discusses two kinds of perfection—the lower and the higher and how when neither one is neglected and both are developed, there can be a divine life in the material world.
09, p. 409-10 Mother describes what is meant by the ideal of moral perfection and says further that there is a time in the inner evolution when it is necessary to try to realise it even for a brief time before one is able to pass to the true spiritual life.
10, p. 104-05 An excellent description of what is really meant by perfection and how people limit the concept of perfection to their own limited notions. “From the true point of view, perfection is the whole… each thing in its place and the relations between things are exactly as they should be.” “Perfection is a global way of approaching the Divine.”
10, p. 157-59 Virtue claims to seek perfection and its method is to eliminate, reduce, fix limits; but perfection is a totality that accepts everything, rejects nothing and puts everything in its place. Mother tells that the only way to make life perfect is to look at it from high enough to see it as a whole. She comments on aphorism 82, “If men took life less seriously, they could very soon make it more perfect. God never takes his work seriously…”
15, p. 085-86 Several short statements by Mother including these definitions: “Perfection is not a maximum or an extreme. It is an equilibrium and a harmonization.” “Perfection is not a summit, it is not an extreme. There is no extreme: whatsoever you do, there is always the possibility of something better and exactly this possibility of something better is the very meaning of progress.”
  4.1.2.a    alignment with the divine will / the psychic being (13)
03, p. 154-55 “If, in the presence of circumstances you can take the highest attitude possible—that is, if you put your consciousness in contact with the highest consciousness within reach, you can be absolutely sure that in that case it is the best that can happen to you. But as soon as you fall from this consciousness into a lower state, then it is evidently not the best that can happen, for the simple reason that you are not in your very best consciousness.” (also under: 2.3.d)
04, p. 002-3 How can we know what the divine Will is? “...a preference, a desire, an attraction, a liking, all these veil the Truth from you....What is necessary is an aspiration which burns in the being like a constant fire, and every time you have a desire, a preference, an attraction it must be thrown into this fire. If you do this persistently, you will see that a little gleam of true consciousness begins to dawn in your ordinary consciousness.” ... Preferences will also be stopped when the mind falls silent and one refrains from judging. “The great disorder in the world would to a large extrent be neutralised if the mind could admit that it does not know.” (also under: 4.3.2.f)
06, p. 130-33 About the importance of self-observation. Until one has clearly had the experience of the psychic and can unfailingly distinguish (and obey) influences coming from the Divine from those that come from outside or from other parts of the being, it is essential, if one wants to progress, to observe, inquire and become conscious of the source of influences that move one. Some examples are given of mental influences. “To judge that a thing comes from the Divine because you find it good may lead you into terrible mistakes.” Until one has the perfect psychic guidance the attitude of surrender—May Thy Will be done—can make one do the right thing even before experience. (also under: 4.3.2.c)
06, p. 153-55 Mother tells how a student can use studies as a sadhana by having a strong will for progress and by wanting to develop himself to become a good instrument for the Divine. A description is given of what that would mean in terms of attitude to classes and study. This attitude (of always wanting to learn, progress, discover something new, rectify an error) acts like a magnet and attracts opportunities to make this progress and it useful not only for you but for those around you. (also under: 4.5.c)
06, p. 330-32 “It is not for a personal reason that you must want perfection, it is not for a personal reason that you must want union with the Divine, it is not for a personal reason that you must want the supramental transformation. If it is for your own good and for a personal reason…you will get there—after a certain number of lives.” “If you need personal reasons for doing things, you have only to wait till you grow out of it and understand that it is not for a personal reason that you must do things.” The Divine will wait for you to be ready!
06, p. 340-41 “The right spirit is the will to perfect oneself, or the will to be calm… in each circumstance there is the…attitude you must inwardly take. It depends on the case.” For example if you feel a wave of physical disequilibrium or ill health coming the right attitude is to concentrate in an inner calm full of trust in the Grace with a will to remain in good health. Another time you may feel a wave of anger or a fit of temper coming from outside and you withdraw into an inner calm with a will to express only what comes from above and be submissive to the divine Will. That is the right spirit. Whether it is force or calm or health or something else the right spirit is always to remember the Divine and will what He wills. And when you have to make a choice among several possibilities you present the problem to the psychic and ask for the true light and inspiration, the one most in accordance with the divine Will. (also under: 2.3)
06, p. 343-44 This is about the feeling of “being pushed into making mistakes”, a condition when the instincts of the lower nature, the subconscient are governing you. And so it is a choice between your will and accepting submission. In the case of giving way to an impulse there is always time to choose. And if the will is clear, based on truth, it always has the power to refuse the wrong movement. It is an excuse you give yourself when you say, “I could not”. That is not true. It is that truly you have not wanted it in the right way. ”You are not these impulses, you are a conscious soul and an intelligent will, and your duty is to see that this is what governs you and not the impulses from below.” (also under: 4.3.2.e)
06, p. 346-48 “If you are not divided in your will…nobody in the world can make you change your will.” If you sometimes do a thing you willed not to do, the difficulty is because of having a divided will, a lack of sincerity in all the parts. To learn how to will is very important but to succeed you must unify your being. One begins to become a being when he begins to have a will. And until you have a will it is impossible to will what the Divine wills, for you have nothing yet to put at His service. (also under: 4.3.2.e)
06, p. 438-40 “One is truly perfectly pure only when the whole being, in all its elements and all its movements, adheres fully, exclusively to the divine Will. It does not depend on any moral or social law, any mental convention of any kind.” Then Mother talks about the stages and degrees of purity because insincerity, which is one of the greatest impurities, is present in everyone in some or all parts of their being. There is a good discussion about morality not having anything to do with purity and also the danger of using that concept as a cloak for indulging all one’s vital impulses, for then there is a double impurity: a spiritual impurity in addition to social impurity.
06, p. 447-48 One can cooperate with the psychic being. “If one can become fully conscious of his psychic being, at the same time one understands, necessarily the reason of his present existence and the experience his psychic being wants to have; and instead of having it …more than half unconsciously, one can shorten this experience and so help his psychic being to cover in a limited number of years the experiences it would perhaps take several lifetimes to go through. …The help is reciprocal, for the psychic, when it has an influence on the outer life, brings to it light, order and quietude and the joy of the divine contact.” (also under: 3.3.4.b)
08, p. 252-53 In Synthesis of Yoga Sri Aurobindo writes: “A psychic fire within must be lit into which all is thrown with the Divine Name upon it.” How to light the psychic fire? By aspiration, by the urge towards perfection and above all by the will for progress and self-purification. And if one throws into the fire each defect and each progress one wishes to make, it burns with new intensity.
12, p. 072-76 This is a talk “to the students young and old” which deals with the why and how of this subject. “When one does not progress one is bored.” Everything becomes interesting when you take life as a field for progress. Many examples are given such as how one can convert even boring classes into a means of interest and progress. (also under: 4.1)
15, p. 323b “One becomes aware of the movements of one’s being by referring more and more to the psychic being.” “Finding one’s psychic being implies a kind of conviction, a faith in the existence of this psychic being. One must become aware of it and then allow it to take up the direction of life and action; one must refer to it and make it one’s guide.” (also under: 4.3, 4.3.1)
  4.1.2.b    perfecting the instrument (7)
03, p. 143 “Say to yourself, ‘my difficulty shows me clearly what I have ultimately to represent. To reach the absolute negation of it, the quality at the other pole—this is my mission.’...And remember: the Grace of the Divine is generally proportioned to your difficulties.” (also under: 4.3.2)
05, p. 358-59 All human qualities or defects are deformations of a truth which is behind them and is neither of the two but something else. Example is given of generosity and avarice which represent the spreading forces and accumulating forces in relation to the force of money. The same applies to spiritual forces. One must have both in a balanced, rhythmic movement. It is only when the things become egoistic that they are deformed so one must learn to eliminate the elements of ego from one’s defects and qualities.
06, p. 396-97 How can we make the mind and the vital a clear field? You must first understand what it means to be clear and you must aspire with persistence and you must reject, push aside, not accept the things that come to obstruct you. To be clear, the mind and vital must be quiet and peaceful and not rush at the force which is trying to manifest and make it a tool for their personal use. To be clear, the mind must be silent to a certain extent and to be clear, the vital must give up its desires, impulses, passions. Neither of them should have any preferences, attachments, any particular way of being or particular set of ideas. (also under: 4.5.c)
07, p. 140-42 This is an excellent discussion about receiving and utilizing universal vital forces for progressing. The forces themselves are of different qualities and people have different capacities of receiving them. By using the ones one receives for unselfish means i.e. to make progress, then one is in a position to both receive more and to receive a higher quality. Each person has to find his own rhythms of reception and expenditure and reception and assimilation. See preceding pages 137-40 for more about drawing on universal vital force. (also under: 4.5.b)
09, p. 084-88 Mother comments on a passage from The Supramental Manifestation where Sri Aurobindo says “Perfection is the aim of all culture, the spiritual and psychic, the mental, the vital and it must be the aim of our physical culture also.” Mother describes our animal nature and about transformation of the body and how one must first fight against the false antagonism between material and spiritual life. (also under: 1.2.3, 4.5.a)
15, p. 186a-87 1962 New Year Message: “We thirst for perfection. Not this human perfection which is a perfection of the ego and bars the way to the divine perfection. But that one perfection which has the power to manifest upon earth the Eternal Truth.”
15, p. 186b-87 1968 New Year Message: “Remain young, never stop striving towards perfection.”