When most people think of ‘power’ , it is within the context of some overt ability to accomplish something in the setting of the external world within which we live and act. This may be political power, economic power, physical power, moral power, the power to persuade, the power of an idea, the power of motivation, whether through speech, writing, or through some other medium. It may be the power to uplift and inspire, such as the power of art or music that touches something in the being.

Because the psychic being works from behind the scenes and through influence and guidance of the body-life-mind complex, it is hard to define exactly what ‘power’ the psychic has, and this is the thrust of a question posed to the Mother by a disciple.

The power of the psychic being, though subtle, and unable to be defined by our external definitions of power, is a “causative” power. Its role is not the direct implementation of any particular line of action in the world, but to create the soul’s circumstances and guide the responses for the soul’s development and use of its external capacities, in the service of the divine manifestation to which the psychic being, through its direct relation to the Divine, is connected.

The Taittiriya Upanishad makes the point that the gross external being is the result of the more subtle planes and powers that create them, the subtlest of which is the element of Ananda, part of the truine ultimate reality of Sat-Chit-Ananda. The power that sets everything in motion and orders the framework and development of the universal creation is the ultimate, if often unrecognised, power. This is not just true in a universal sense, but even in the life and development of the individual when the soul has an opportunity to direct, guide, or impel the individual along a certain line of development.

A disciple asks: “Has the psychic any power?”

The Mother answers: “Power? It is usually the psychic which guides the being. One knows nothing about it because one is not conscious of it but usually it is that which guides the being. If one is very attentive, one becomes aware of it. But the majority of men haven’t the least idea of it. For instance, when they have decided, in their outer ignorance, to do something, and instead of their being able to do it, all the circumstances are so organised that they do something else, they start shouting, storming, flying into a rage against fate, saying (that depends on what they believe, their beliefs) that Nature is wicked or their destiny baleful or God unjust, or… no matter what (it depends on what they believe). Whilst most of the time it is just the very circumstance which was most favourable for their inner development. And naturally, if you ask the psychic to help you to fashion a pleasant life for yourself, to earn money, have children who will be the pride of the family, etc., well, the psychic will not help you. But it will create for you all the circumstances necessary to awaken something in you so that the need of union with the Divine may be born in your consciousness. At times you have made fine plans, and if they had succeeded, you would have been more and more encrusted in your outer ignorance, your stupid little ambition and your aimless activity. Whilst if you receive a good shock, and the post you coveted is denied to you, the plan you made is shattered, and you find yourself completely thwarted, then, sometimes this opposition opens to you a door on something truer and deeper. And when you are a little awake and look back, if you are in the least sincere, you say: ‘Ah! it wasn’t I who was right — it was Nature or the divine Grace or my psychic being who did it.’ It is the psychic being which organised that.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 2 Hidden Forces Within, pp. 51-52

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 20 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.
YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/@santoshkrinsky871
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at http://www.aurobindo.net
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at http://www.lotuspress.com