Work

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Words of Long Ago
May 14, 1912:
“What is my place in the universal work?”
Words of Long Ago - Meetings - 14 May 1912.jpg
PDF (4 pages)
Letters on the Mother
"Sadhana through Work for the Mother"
The Mother with Letters on the Mother - Sadhana through Work for the Mother.jpg
PDF (21 pages)




(Mother:) “All work must be play, but a divine play, played for the Divine, with the Divine.”[1]


(Mother to Ambu, 1933:) “I do not want the work of slaves; I want the work of free people who work because they feel benefited by it and for whom work is a source of joy and strength.
         Whatever you cannot do in that spirit, it is better not to do.”[2]


(Mother:) “Work for the Divine and you will feel an ineffable joy filling your being.”[3]


(Sri Aurobindo:) “If you take the right attitude in your work, that itself will bring the help. The right attitude is to work for the sake of the Divine, as an offering, without demand for any reward, without selfish claims and desires, without self-assertion and arrogance, not quarrelling with your fellow workers, thinking it to be the Mother’s work and not your own, and trying to feel her power behind the work. If you can do that, your nature will progress and change.”[4]


(Mother to Shobha Mitra:) “Whenever I give someone a responsibility, I also keep giving the necessary strength to fulfil it. But when I see that the person is incapable of taking on the responsibility, I look for another instrument. (Mother places Her hand on my head and continues) Have faith in me and keep walking. Everything will surely come.”[5]


(Sri Aurobindo, 1936:) “What you received and kept in the work is indeed the true basic consciousness of Karmayoga — the calm consciousness from above supporting and the strength from above doing the work, with that the Bhakti which feels it to be the Mother’s consciousness present and working. You know now by experience what is the secret of Karmayoga.”[6]


(Disciple, 1935:) “Since yesterday I have always been in touch with the Mother during work. Not only do I remember her but the connection with her remains during work. Her Force constantly flows into the Adhar and the work is done automatically, but swiftly, perfectly, unhesitatingly — without personal anxieties and responsibilities; instead, there is confidence, sureness, strength, calmness. I feel that if I can do work in this attitude, it will be perfect, flawless, the work of the Mother’s child, not of an egoistic man. Kindly let me know if I am correct.

(Sri Aurobindo:) Yes, it is a very good progress and the first step towards the right use of the Power for action.”[7]


(Shyam Sundar, 1970:) “Yesternoon I was feeling an aspiration which got formulated later as follows:
         An inner rhythm in harmony with the Divine Will.

(Mother:) Here is a very good thing.
         It is in fact the source of true activity.”[8]


(Chitra Sen:) “Right from my childhood, from my first visit [to the Ashram] in 1940 – I was a 12-year-old girl then – I immediately noticed everybody works here. Everything is done to perfection. And the elders, they always said, “The Mother has given me the work.” There was no high or low work. At that age, one doesn't understand, but one absorbs. Now I see how much of that attitude I had absorbed from the early sadhaks of that time. Work, we know, the Mother has said, is the body's best prayer to the Divine. And in Sri Aurobindo's Yoga, all of us know the importance the Mother has laid on work and often on physical work. Because work is the only place where we come into interaction with others, where all the different parts of our being may surface up. When a part surfaces then only one is aware of it. One may otherwise not be aware of the different parts of one's being. And that is the time to work on these parts.”[9]


(Chitra Sen:) “Let me mention another small incident which brings out the importance of attitude in work. We were once told to work in our Press on a Sunday morning. Paid workers would not be there, but this work being urgent had to be completed. We were about six or eight young people working around a table. While working someone was softly humming a tune. Some little talking was also going on. We completed the work. Next morning when I went to Her, She said, “I heard you were talking when you were working.” I was a little surprised, it was quite an innocent chit-chat! So I replied, “It was only folding papers Mother, and the work is done.” You know what She said? She said, “If I had to fold a paper, I would put all my consciousness into it, so that nothing better could have been done.” Now imagine, it was told so sweetly but all those who have met the Mother know very well that She would look all sweet and smiling – but the person concerned might get an inner shake up, a slap so to say. And I got that slap. She showed me my mistake. I have never forgotten the lesson I learnt that day.”[10]


Interviewer: “What is your spiritual work (each of you), and how was Mother guiding you?”

(Pause. Mona and Gauri look at each other, smile and laugh.)

Udar Pinto: “Well, let me answer. There is no such thing as 'spiritual work'. It is work. Mother gave the work; you do the work. It is your attitude which is spiritual – the work is not spiritual. You give the work as an offering to the Divine and you do it with great joy. That is the way of doing the work. But the work itself is not spiritual, it is ordinary work. So whatever work you're doing, you do it with an attitude of an offering.”[11]


(Sri Aurobindo:) “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.”[12]




  1. Words of the Mother - II, p.326
  2. New Correspondences of the Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2020, p.243
  3. Ibid., p.302
  4. Letters on Yoga - IV, p.109
  5. Shobha Mitra, Living in the Presence, p.153
  6. Letters on the Mother, p.254
  7. Letters on the Mother, p.259
  8. En Route (On the Path): The Mother's Correspondence with Shyam Sundar, p.132
  9. Remembering the Mother with Gratitude, p.9, “The Eternal Flame”
  10. Ibid., p.11
  11. Interview of Mona, Udar and Gauri Pinto, 1999 (YouTube)
  12. Letters on the Mother, p.247


See also