The Aim of the Integral Yoga

The actual relationship of Nature to Soul has been characterized by Sri Aurobindo as “…the self-fulfilment of the Purusha through his Energy.” In this view, Nature is the expression of the Divine. “All things are in Nature and all things are in God.”

At the same time, we can recognise that there is a practical distinction that arises when we are seeing Nature through the eyes of a divided, limited individual consciousness or through the eyes of the Divine, omnipresent, and all-containing. This is characterised by Sri Aurobindo as well: “But the movement of Nature is twofold, higher and lower, or, as we may choose to term it, divine and undivine. The distinction exists indeed for practical purposes only; for there is nothing that is not divine, and in a larger view it is as meaningless, verbally, as the distinction between natural and supernatural, for all things that are are natural.”

The character of the lower Nature is that it “…acts through limitation and division, is of the nature of Ignorance and culminates in the life of the ego.”

The character of the higher Nature is that it “…acts by unification and transcendence of limitation, is of the nature of Knowledge and culminates in the life divine.”

Yoga, in general, is a process of “practical psychology”, which aims to shift our standpoint from that of the lower Nature to that of the higher Nature. “…this passage may effect itself by the rejection of the lower and escape into the higher,–the ordinary viewpoint,–or by the transformation of the lower and its elevation to the higher Nature. it is this, rather, that must be the aim of an integral Yoga.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Introduction: The Conditions of the Synthesis, Chapter 5, Synthesis, pp. 39-40