As human beings, we are enamored of dynamic power. We want “action” and the powers of the body, the life energy and the mind are prized when they can accomplish visible results. We have proverbs such as “might makes right” which make it seem like strength in action is the most positive attribute. We carry this viewpoint into everyday interactions. If we feel challenged, we tend to respond with an aggressive, active response. The Old Testament of the Bible sets forth the idea of “an eye for an eye” as a way to respond to actions of others. In the modern world, we take affront at some action of others, whether an insult or a driving action with an immediate come-back. We demonstrate our national strength through parades of armies and weapons of destruction, the blare of trumpets, the beating of drums. We take this kind of aggressive stance as an indicator of strength. Those who do not act this way are berated as weak, and looked upon as failures.

There is, however, another kind of strength, a foundational strength, a strength that is quiet, solid and secure within itself, which needs not show off or demonstrate its prowess through the beating of a drum. This is a power of peace, not simply the “negative peace” we define as the absence of conflict, but a “positive peace” which is a palpable force within oneself and surrounding one, which provides the individual a solid basis so that the pressures and attacks do not affect one’s poise. This is not a matter of suppression of reaction, which still implies the inner reaction occurs, but a true, deep and immovable power of peace that does not trouble over the attacks at all, but moves forward, secure in its own truth and its own direction.

There are legends of Rishis who maintained Ashrams wherein wild beasts would tamely lie down next to animals upon which they would ordinarily prey. Many individuals have experienced the deep sense of peace and calm when they visit various locations, and they report that this peace permeates and remains active within them when they go outside, at least for some period of time, during which they simply are not responsive to provocations.

The Mother writes: “Well, there is a static power. How to explain it to you? Look, there is the same difference between static power and dynamic power as between a game of defence and a game of attack; you understand? It is the same thing. Static power is something which can withstand everything, nothing can act upon it, nothing can touch it, nothing can shake it — it is immobile, but it is invincible. Dynamic power is something in action, which at times goes forth and may at times receive blows. That is to say, if you want your dynamic power to be always victorious, it must be supported by a considerable static power, an unshakable base.”

“I know what you want to say… that a human being becomes aware of power only when it is dynamic; a human being doesn’t consider it a power except when it acts; if it doesn’t act he does not even notice it, he does not realise the tremendous force which is behind this inaction — at times, even frequently, a force more formidable than the power which acts. But you may try it out in yourself, you will see, it is much more difficult to remain calm, immobile, unshakable before something very unpleasant — whether it be words or acts levelled against you — infinitely more difficult than to answer with the same violence. Suppose someone insults you; if in the face of these insults you can remain immobile (not only outwardly, I mean integrally), without being shaken or touched in any way: you are there like a force against which one can do nothing and you do not reply, you do not make a gesture, you do not say a word, all the insults thrown at you leave you absolutely untouched, within and without; you can keep your heart-beats absolutely quiet, you can keep the thoughts in your head quite immobile and calm without their being in the least disturbed, that is, your head does not answer immediately by similar vibrations and your nerves don’t feel clenched with the need to return a few blows to relieve themselves; if you can be like that, you have a static power, and it is infinitely more powerful than if you had that kind of force which makes you answer insult by insult, blow by blow and agitation by agitation.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Exercising Static Power pp. 138-139

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 16 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.