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At the Feet of The Mother

Hindu Rituals and the Integral Yoga

It has always been since the time of the Vedas that there are these two approaches to the Divine Reality that one seeks. One is outer and is based on rituals and ceremonies. It entails the use of symbols and occult processes and outer methods to invoke or come into contact with the hidden realities. The other approach is more direct, inner and spiritual wherein the worship and the invocation and contact with the Divine Reality takes place in and through our subjective being and the psychological apparatus.

It was always understood that the outer rituals and ceremonies were an inferior substitute to the inner. At best they were a preparation for the inner, at worst they were a bondage to outer methods and processes that often lost their value and power when done in a mechanical soulless manner. Yet since not many are ready for the true inner and psycho-spiritual approach, therefore rituals do serve a purpose and function in our present state of development. However the effort of spiritual progress should be to as far as possible dispense with the complicated outer machinery of ceremonies and come in contact with the inner Divine Reality through a sincere aspiration, psychic devotion, faith and surrender.

The same applies with the Mother’s devotees. Not all are ready to sincerely follow the Path given to us by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo or to give themselves completely to Them without the need of any intermediaries such as the gods and goddesses. Something in them is turned towards the Mother but there are many parts still under the influence of past forms and ways they have followed so far. They are unable to leave these old forms though that is no more required for following the Path shown by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. 

There is however one kind of ritual or rather a movement that may seem like a ritual but is actually a movement of the yoga itself. It is when the outer being and the body wants to participate in the inner movement for the fullness of self-giving and of adoration. It is this that gives value to certain outer acts such as doing Pranam, bowing or prostrating before Their Photographs and the Samadhi. When done as a spontaneous soul need these outer movements provide a great help to the sadhana by including the outer being and the body itself. But these are individual movements that are best when they spring up spontaneously from within and are not meant to be imposed upon others in the usual social and religious manner as we often find in typical ritualistic ceremonies. 

It is important to remember that what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have given us is a new spiritual Path and a method of Yoga to walk upon it. It is not a religion that is imposed upon people by certain dogmatic beliefs and narrow sectarian dogmas and fixed ritualistic practices. Those who wish to follow these things are of course free to do so but the fundamental requirements of the Path are sincere aspiration, growing faith and devotion, surrender and self-giving through constant Remembrance of the Divine Mother and dedicated service to the Her along with a persistent rejection of all that obstruct the way and keeps us tied to the lower nature. The usual worship of the gods and goddesses has no real place in it since all are included in our worship and adoration of the Divine Mother.

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It is not the personality, the character that is of the first importance in rebirth — it is the psychic being who stands behind the evolution of the nature and evolves with it.