All Life Is Yoga: Prayer and Mantra - Sri Aurobindo - ebook

All Life Is Yoga: Prayer and Mantra ebook

Sri Aurobindo



To tell the truth, if you live only a moment, just a tiny moment, of this absolutely sincere aspiration or this sufficiently intense prayer, you will know more things than by meditating for hours. (The Mother) –– Prayer: There is a general tendency among certain intellectuals to undermine prayer as something religious and inferior. However a look at the spiritual history of man kind reveals that prayers have always been an integral part of spiritual living. There is a rationale and a process behind prayers, a mystic truth of profound implications that the mind does not always recognise but the heart readily discovers. In this book we take up the different aspects of Prayers as part of our spiritual evolution and growth in the light of Integral Yoga. –– Mantra: Sri Aurobindo reveals that ‘The Mantra, poetic expression of the deepest spiritual reality, is only possible when three highest intensities of poetic speech meet and become indissolubly one, a highest intensity of rhythmic movement, a highest intensity of interwoven verbal form and thought-substance, of style, and a highest intensity of the soul’ s vision of truth.’ It is a cry of the soul that leaps in ecstasy and adoration at the vision of Truth. The higher firmament is the secret birthplace of the mantra of which the soul becomes a witness as it ascends out of the limited scope of the mortal mind into the limitless seeing of the infinite. The mantra, therefore, is much more than merely some Sanskrit words replete with profound meaning. The mantra can be in any language for it is born out of the Silence that weaves the stars. Its depth goes beyond the mere meaning or the idea to the sound-vibrations that climb on wings of aspiration and love and carry the hearer towards the Home of Truth or reveal to him something of the Glory that hides behind the many masks of creation. In this Book we seek to bring out the truths about the mantra as revealed to us through the mantric speech and writings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

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“All life is Yoga.” – Sri Aurobindo

Prayer and Mantra

Sri Aurobindo | The Mother


Copyright 2019

AURO MEDIAVerlag und FachbuchhandelWilfried Schuh

eBook Design


ALL LIFE IS YOGAPrayer and MantraSelections from the Works ofSri Aurobindo and The MotherFirst edition 2019ISBN 978-3-96387-031-6

© Photos and selections of the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother:Sri Aurobindo Ashram TrustPuducherry, India

Flower on the cover:Zephyranthes. WhiteSpiritual significance and explanation given by the Mother:Integral prayerThe whole being is concentrated in a single prayer to the Divine.

Publisher’s Note

This is one in a series of some e-books created by SRI AUROBINDO DIGITAL EDITION and published by AURO MEDIA under the title All Life Is Yoga. Our effort is to bring together, from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, simple passages with a practical orientation on specific subjects, so that everyone may feel free to choose a book according to his inner need. The topics cover the whole field of human activity, because true spirituality is not the rejection of life but the art of perfecting life.

While the passages from Sri Aurobindo are in the original English, most of the passages from the Mother (selections from her talks and writings) are translations from the original French. We must also bear in mind that the excerpts have been taken out of their original context and that a compilation, in its very nature, is likely to have a personal and subjective approach. A sincere attempt, however, has been made to be faithful to the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

The excerpts from the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother carry titles and captions chosen by the editor, highlighting the theme of the excerpts and, whenever possible, borrowing a phrase from the text itself. The sources of the excerpts are given at the end of each issue.

We hope these e-books will inspire the readers to go to the complete works and will help them to mould their lives and their environments towards an ever greater perfection.

“True spirituality is not to renounce life, but to make life perfect with a Divine Perfection.” – The Mother

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Title PageCopyrightPublisher’s NoteQuotations from Sri Aurobindo and The MotherI. PRAYER1. The Meaning of Prayer2. The Power of Prayer3. How to Pray4. Asking from the Divine5. Prayer and Aspiration6. The True Prayer7. Collective Prayer8. I am With YouII. MANTRA1. Theory of the Mantra2. Practice of the Mantra3. Japa4. Power of the Divine Name5. Mantra and the Integral YogaIII. PRAYERS AND MANTRAS1. The One Essential Thing2. Power of Mantras3. In the Night as in the Day4. Make Me Thine5. Always to Remember Thee6. The Supreme Protection7. Receive Our OfferingAPPENDIXReferences


CoverTable of ContentsStart Reading

The Mother – Sri Aurobindo

Prayers should be full of confidence and without sorrow or lamenting. – Sri Aurobindo

To tell the truth, if you live only a moment, just a tiny moment, of this absolutely sincere aspiration or this sufficiently intense prayer, you will know more things than by meditating for hours. – The Mother

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Part 1


The whole of our life should be a prayer offered to the Divine. – The Mother

Chapter I

The Meaning of Prayer

Words of Sri Aurobindo

The life of man is a life of wants and needs and therefore of desires, not only in his physical and vital, but in his mental and spiritual being. When he becomes conscious of a greater Power governing the world, he approaches it through prayer for the fulfilment of his needs, for help in his rough journey, for protection and aid in his struggle. Whatever crudities there may be in the ordinary religious approach to God by prayer, and there are many, especially that attitude which imagines the Divine as if capable of being propitiated, bribed, flattered into acquiescence or indulgence by praise, entreaty and gifts and has often little regard to the spirit in which he is approached, still this way of turning to the Divine is an essential movement of our religious being and reposes on a universal truth.

The efficacy of prayer is often doubted and prayer itself supposed to be a thing irrational and necessarily superfluous and ineffective. It is true that the universal will executes always its aim and cannot be deflected by egoistic propitiation and entreaty, it is true of the Transcendent who expresses himself in the universal order that being omniscient his larger knowledge must foresee the thing to be done and it does not need direction or stimulation by human thought and that the individual’s desires are not and cannot be in any world-order the true determining factor. But neither is that order or the execution of the universal will altogether effected by mechanical Law, but by powers and forces of which for human life at least human will, aspiration and faith are not among the least important. Prayer is only a particular form given to that will, aspiration and faith. Its forms are very often crude and not only childlike, which is in itself no defect, but childish; but still it has a real power and significance. Its power and sense is to put the will, aspiration and faith of man into touch with the divine Will as that of a conscious Being with whom we can enter into conscious and living relations. For our will and aspiration can act either by our own strength and endeavour, which can no doubt be made a thing great and effective whether for lower or higher purposes, – and there are plenty of disciplines which put it forward as the one force to be used, – or it can act in dependence upon and with subordination to the divine or the universal Will. And this latter way again may either look upon that Will as responsive indeed to our aspiration, but almost mechanically, by a sort of law of energy, or at any rate quite impersonally, or else it may look upon it as responding consciously to the divine aspiration and faith of the human soul and consciously bringing to it the help, the guidance, the protection and fruition demanded, yogaksemam vahamyaham.

Prayer helps to prepare this relation for us at first on the lower plane even while it is there consistent with much that is mere egoism and self-delusion; but afterwards we can draw towards the spiritual truth which is behind it. It is not then the giving of the thing asked for that matters, but the relation itself, the contact of man’s life with God, the conscious interchange. In spiritual matters and in the seeking of spiritual gains, this conscious relation is a great power; it is a much greater power than our own entirely self-reliant struggle and effort and it brings a fuller spiritual growth and experience. Necessarily in the end prayer either ceases in the greater thing for which it prepared us, – in fact the form we call prayer is not itself essential so long as the faith, the will, the aspiration are there, – or remains only for the joy of the relation. Also its objects, the artha or interest it seeks to realise, become higher and higher until we reach the highest motiveless devotion, which is that of divine love pure and simple without any other demand or longing.


Words of Sri Aurobindo

To the Divine the human soul comes for help, for protection, for guidance, for fruition, – or if knowledge be the aim, to the Guide, Teacher, Giver of light, for the Divine is the Sun of knowledge, – or it comes in pain and suffering for relief and solace and deliverance, it may be deliverance either from the suffering itself or from the world-existence which is the habitat of the suffering or from all its inner and real causes1. In these things we find there is a certain gradation. For the relation of fatherhood is always less close, intense, passionate, intimate, and therefore it is less resorted to in the Yoga which seeks for the closest union. That of the divine Friend is a thing sweeter and more intimate, admits of an equality and intimacy even in inequality and the beginning of mutual self-giving; at its closest when all idea of other giving and taking disappears, when this relation becomes motiveless except for the one sole all-sufficing motive of love, it turns into the free and happy relation of the playmate in the Lila of existence. But closer and more intimate still is the relation of the Mother and the child, and that therefore plays a very large part wherever the religious impulse is most richly fervent and springs most warmly from the heart of man. The soul goes to the Mother-Soul in all its desires and troubles and the divine Mother wishes that it should be so, so that she may pour out her heart of love. It turns to her too because of the self-existent nature of this love and because that points us to the home towards which we turn from our wanderings in the world and to the bosom in which we find our rest.


Words of Sri Aurobindo

As for the prayers, the fact of praying and the attitude it brings, especially unselfish prayer for others, itself opens you to the higher Power, even if there is no corresponding result in the person prayed for. Nothing can be positively said about that, for the result must necessarily depend on the persons, whether they are open or receptive or something in them can respond to any Force the prayer brings down.


Words of the Mother

Of course, people with a very strict logic tell you, “Why pray? Why aspire? Why ask? The Lord does what He wants and He will do what He wants.” It is quite obvious, there is no need to say it, but this impulse: “O Lord, manifest!” gives a more intense vibration to His manifestation.

Otherwise, He would never have made the world as it is. There is a special power, a special delight, a special vibration in the intensity of the world’s aspiration to become once more what it is.

And that is why – partly, fragmentarily – there is an evolution.

An eternally perfect universe, eternally manifesting the eternal perfection, would lack the joy of progress.


Words of Sri Aurobindo

No one is initiated in this Yoga in any formal way. Those are accepted by the Mother who are found to be called or chosen from within for this path or for Sri Aurobindo’s work. That acceptance is sufficient. Those are considered as called or chosen who can open and be receptive to the Power that goes from her here and can feel its working. If by doing what he is doing now, he can in time thus open and receive and feel the Power that will be a sign that he is meant for this way of Yoga. Nothing else is needed; prayer and aspiration are sufficient, if there is sincerity and a true call within.

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1 These are three of the four classes of devotee which are recognised by the Gita, arta, artharthi, jijnasu,