Guiding Light of The Month

THERE is a great difference between being in the midst of active work, of external action, while keeping one’s thought constantly fixed on Thee, and entering into that perfect union with Thee which leads to what I have called “absolute Consciousness, true Omniscience, Knowledge”. - The Mother


The theme for this month’s issue revolves around “works”. Work could be taken to mean a meaningful action an organism undertakes towards an end. Our day to day activities are filled with work that we can divide accordingly based on the seat of its origin or the plane of its action, namely physical, mental or vital. Similarly, in the spiritual context, especially in the philosophy of Integral Yoga, work may also originate from other two planes, namely the psychic or spiritual. What may be the need of identifying the types of work, one may ask. Knowing the origin of our works may throw some light into the consciousness with which we approach work and complete a task. For those interested in an inner, luminous life ruling over the outer, an introspection upon this phenomena, “work” may throw some light onto one’s existing state of consciousness and the subsequent motivations and pave the way for some changes, small or phenomenal, or paradigmatic, in the way we conceive of and carry out works for the fulfillment of higher ideals that confront us, first as an individual and next as a race set upon the tracks of evolution.

In the works of Sri Aurobindo, he makes two distinctions of works. First, there is work that is done for the fulfillment of personal aims and goals and for the satisfaction of desires. Desires themselves can be controlled by some moral principle we adhere to, or mental control. At this level, at a higher level, some mental ideal may drive our works. But this type of work appears trivial in the shadow of another kind of work that is suggested, and that is work done for the Divine. In this context, the ego, which is a prime maker of desires retires or is apparently extinguished. The motive force of work becomes the Divine and Sri Aurobindo points out that the ultimate aim of this kind of work is to bring down the “Supramental Light and Force.” A natural result of this follows and that is the “transformation of the nature.”

It is this state of transformation that motivates the works of those who choose the spiritual path. It is to be an instrument of the Divine in the truest sense. However, this state does not come, usually, easily or swiftly. It calls for a turn of one’s consciousness away from the usual wants of life such as the seeking after power and position, fulfillment of desires, needs, a push to activity or a pleasure of manifesting one’s capacities. The replacing motivation comes from, rather, a simultaneous distaste in and shying away from anything pursued for oneself, be it one’s ambitions, or desires and mental goals. In a life given to Yoga, these elements lose their “full and free play”, and are replaced by the last two of the five we mentioned above, the psychic and the spiritual which assume the role of prime movers of work in a Sadhak’s advanced state.

There is a promise that for him who chooses the Divine, the Divine Himself shows the path of works and Himself accomplishes it for him, using his mental or vital forces to His own end. Now, this can be said to be the result of a life consecrated to the Divine. However, currently, for many of us, between our normal selves and this consecrated state may exist a gulf, big or small, according to where we are in this endeavour, and we ourselves, with our communion with the Highest Being residing in us can reckon and seek remediation through His help.

What are the ways of works for one set on this path? This issue takes up the discourse.

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