In May 1973, a devotee from the West was visiting Auroville in South India. At that time, it was primarily an eroded, dusty plateau, not the lush forested scene that one can see today if one visits. May is an extremely hot month, and the visitor had just arrived a couple of weeks earlier from the United States. As he was walking around in the mid-day sun, he was struck by the intensity of the sun’s heat and force and at one point, he curled up on a hillside, overwhelmed with heat stroke and a pounding headache that accompanied it. After lying there for a while, he was prompted to get up or he would die on that hillside, so he found a way to get up, walk back to shelter and get some water. He lived to tell about it, but the trauma was deep. This is an example of not being able to open, receive and hold the universal force that was flowing.

The Mother tells another story, where some individuals found a way to open themselves and appreciate the power of the sun’s heat and force rather than succumbing to it.

There is a famous tale in the Puranas about a wife of Surya, the sun-god, who closed her eyes, trembled and could not bear the intensity of her husband’s force. Because of her closing of her eyes and trembling, Surya imprecated her to give birth to Yama, the God of Death, and Yami, the River Yamuna. She struggled for a long time to find a way to deal with the effulgence of the sun and her story has many twists and turns in it. Surya at one point asked his wife’s father, once he understood the issue, to reduce the intensity of his radiance sufficiently to allow the wife to bear the force. We see here an eventual accommodation whereby the universal force can be received and assimilated through achievement of an understanding between the universal force, in this case the sun, and the recipient of that force in the form of his wife.

As we see in these texts the universal force has both an impersonal and a personal aspect and a relationship can be developed if one appreciates the personality of that force and takes step to befriend rather than fear its power.

The Mother observes: “I knew young people who had always lived in cities — in a city and in those little rooms one has in the big cities in which everyone is huddled. Now, they had come to spend their holidays in the countryside, in the south of France, and there the sun is hot, naturally not as here but all the same it is very hot (when we compare the sun of the Mediterranean coasts with that of Paris, for example, it truly makes a difference), and so, when they walked around the countryside the first few days they really began to get a terrible headache and to feel absolutely uneasy because of the sun; but they suddenly thought: ‘Why, if we make friends with the sun it won’t harm us any more!’ And they began to make a kind of inner effort of friendship and trust in the sun, and when they were out in the sun, instead of trying to bend double and tell themselves, ‘Oh! how hot it is, how it burns!’, they said, ”Oh, how full of force and joy and love the sun is!’ etc., they opened themselves like this (gesture), and not only did they not suffer any longer but they felt so strong afterwards that they went round telling everyone who said, ‘It is hot’ — telling them ‘Do as we do, you will see how good it is.’ And they could remain for hours in the full sun, bare-headed and without feeling any discomfort. It is the same principle.”

“It is the same principle. They linked themselves to the universal vital force which is in the sun and received this force which took away all that was unpleasant to them.”

“When one is in the countryside, when one walks under the trees and feels so close to Nature, to the trees, the sky, all the leaves, all the branches, all the herbs, when one feels a great friendship with these things and breathes that air which is so good, perfumed with all the plants, then one opens oneself, and by opening oneself communes with the universal forces. And for all things it is like that.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, The Hidden Forces of Life, Ch. 4 Cosmic and Universal Forces, pp. 91-92

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast located at
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.
Video presentations, interviews and podcast episodes are all available on the YouTube Channel
More information about Sri Aurobindo can be found at
The US editions and links to e-book editions of Sri Aurobindo’s writings can be found at Lotus Press