The Shakti

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(Sri Aurobindo:) “the Shakti, the universal Mother[1]


(Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga:) “The Shakti, the power of the Infinite and the Eternal descends within us, works, breaks up our present psychological formations, shatters every wall, widens, liberates, presents us with always newer and greater powers of vision, ideation, perception and newer and greater life-motives, enlarges and new-models increasingly the soul and its instruments, confronts us with every imperfection in order to convict and destroy it, opens to a greater perfection, does in a brief period the work of many lives or ages so that new births and new vistas open constantly within us.”[2]


(Satprem:) “What is this consciousness we feel like a force inside us? For instance, sometimes in meditation it rises, then descends; it's not fixed anywhere. What is this consciousness?

(Mother:) The Shakti!
         Some receive it from above; for others, it rises from below (gesture to the base of the spine). As I once told you, the old system always proceeds from below upwards, while Sri Aurobindo pulls from above downwards. This becomes very clear in meditation (well, in yoga, in yogic experience): for those who follow the old system, it's invariably the kundalini at the base [of the spine] rising from center to center, center to center, until the lotus (in an ironic tone) bursts open here (gesture at the crown of the head). With Sri Aurobindo, it comes like this (gesture of descending Force) and then settles here (above the head); it enters, and from there it comes down, down, down, everywhere, to the very bottom, and even below the feet – the subconscient – and lower still, the inconscient.
         It's the Shakti. He said, you know (I am still translating it), that the shakti drawn up from below (this is what happens in the individual process) is already what could be called a ‘veiled’ shakti (it has power, but it is veiled). While the Shakti drawn down from above is a PURE Shakti; and if it can be brought down carefully and slowly enough so that it isn't (how shall I put it?) polluted or, in any case, obscured as it enters matter, then the result is immediately much better. As he has explained, if you start out with this feeling of a great power in yourself (because it's always a great power no matter where it awakens), there's inevitably a danger of the ego meddling in. But if it comes pure and you are very careful to keep it pure, not to rush the movement but let it purify as it descends, then half the work is done.”[3]


(Sri Aurobindo, Savitri:)
“On every plane the hieratic Power,
Initiate of unspoken verities,
Dreams to transcribe and make a part of life
In its own native style and living tongue
Some trait of the perfection of the Unborn,
Some vision seen in the omniscient Light,
Some far tone of the immortal rhapsodist Voice,
Some rapture of the all-creating Bliss,
Some form and plan of the Beauty unutterable.
Worlds are there nearer to those absolute realms,
Where the response to Truth is swift and sure
And spirit is not hampered by its frame
And hearts by sharp division seized and rent
And delight and beauty are inhabitants
And love and sweetness are the law of life.
A finer substance in a subtler mould
Embodies the divinity earth but dreams;
Its strength can overtake joy’s running feet;
Overleaping the fixed hurdles set by Time,
The rapid net of an intuitive clasp
Captures the fugitive happiness we desire.
A Nature lifted by a larger breath,
Plastic and passive to the all-shaping Fire,
Answers the flaming Godhead’s casual touch:
Immune from our inertia of response
It hears the word to which our hearts are deaf,
Adopts the seeing of immortal eyes
And, traveller on the roads of line and hue,
Pursues the spirit of beauty to its home.
Thus we draw near to the All-Wonderful
Following his rapture in things as sign and guide;
Beauty is his footprint showing us where he has passed,
Love is his heart-beats’ rhythm in mortal breasts,
Happiness the smile on his adorable face.”[4]


(Sri Aurobindo:) “Action itself forces us into contact with the divine Power which works through, uses, overrules our actions. The intellect begins to perceive and understand, the emotions to feel and desire and revere, the will to turn itself to the service of the Divine without whom Nature and man cannot exist or move and by conscious knowledge of whom alone we can arrive at our highest possibilities.”[5]


(Sri Aurobindo:) “All depends on the psychic awakening in us, the completeness of our response to her and our growing surrender.”[6]




  1. The Synthesis of Yoga, p.217, “The Supreme Will”
  2. Ibid., p.183, “The Ascent of the Sacrifice – 2: The Works of Love – The Works of Life”
  3. Mother's Agenda 1962, 25 July 1962
  4. Savitri, p.111, “The Kingdom of Subtle Matter”
  5. Ibid., p.514, “The Higher and the Lower Knowledge”
  6. Ibid., p.184


See also