In his epic poem Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol, Sri Aurobindo wrote: “A moment sees, the ages toil to express.” Sri Aurobindo and The Mother’s vision needs to be implemented in detail, over time, within the framework of the existing structures and habitual patterns of the people, the society and the world-environment. In Indian philosophy, there is a practical distinction between the conscious observer/witness and the force of action. Sir John Woodroffe, a scholar of the Indian Tantras, defined these as Shakta, the observer/controller of the force, and Shakti, the force of effectuation. Sri Aurobindo expounded the vision and the direction and turned over to his collaborator, The Mother, the actual day to day implementation for the model being created at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
Robert McDermott notes: “… the Mother’s responsibility of the spiritual and material welfare of the Ashram is cast in a new light. It helps to explain, for example, why the disciples follow the Mother’s directives with such remarkable confidence and enthusiasm. The Ashramites accept Sri Aurobindo’s mandate: ‘The arrangement I have made for all the disciples without exception that they should receive the light and force from her and not directly from me and be guided by her in their spiritual progress.’ The guidance that the Mother has provided during the past four and a half decades (n.b. pre 1973) has extended from the individual sadhana (Yoga practice) of each disciple to the governance of a community of several thousand people and their varied activities. The physical education program (concerning which Sri Aurobindo wrote The Mind of Light) is typical of the activities organised by the burgeoning Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. Other activities of the Ashram include housing and food services, workshops, scientific farming, and agriculture, a publication department and printing press, and many other creative endeavours connected with life in this spiritual-industrial, East-West community.”
The Mother provided the dynamic force, the wide scope of activities, and the day to day guidance and direction to begin to address the way forward towards a spiritual community that can act as a model for a more harmonious and balanced future for humanity. She followed up with a next phase in the initiation and development of the “city of the future, Auroville.”
Any such process must necessarily involve considerable experimentation, close supervision and revision as all the issues that face humanity, both inwardly and outwardly, raise their head and call to be addressed. The complexity and the embedded nature of long-standing patterns of action make this necessarily a somewhat slow and cumbersome process of preparation, very much still reliant on physical, vital and mental powers of action, guided by the new spiritual vision and force, which eventually must be permitted to take the lead to effectuate real and long-lasting change.
Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, Introduction by Robert McDermott, pg. 17