Situated in a busy city of more than 700,000 people, the Ashram is not a quiet place of retreat but a vibrant centre of life in a modern urban setting. The dynamic character of the community reflects the life-affirming aim of Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga: to manifest a higher consciousness here on earth by transforming human nature and all aspects of human activity. Work as an offering to the Divine is an essential aspect of the Yoga, and all ashramites work each day in one or another of the Ashram's numerous departments.
The Sri Aurobindo Ashram does not follow the tradition of a Guru succeeding the founders as the spiritual head of the ashram. Even after their lifetime, the Mother and Sri Aurobindo remain the Ashram's only gurus, the very reason for its existence. Their spiritual presence fills the atmosphere of the Ashram and sustains its ongoing work. Their written words, comprising more than fifty volumes, also act as guide and inspiration to the sadhaks.
In the sadhana or spiritual discipline at the Ashram, there are no obligatory practices, no rituals, no compulsory meditations or systematic instructions in Yoga. Sadhaks are left free to determine the course and pace of their sadhana according to the path that best suits their own natures. But the general principle of the sadhana is the same for all: there must be a surrender to the Divine and an opening to the Divine Force so that it may work to transform one's being.