The Need For Freedom To Develop New Approaches In the Integral Yoga

The Integral Yoga represents a re-envisioning of the goal of the yogic endeavor when viewed from the light of the traditional paths of Yoga. Traditionally, the seeker practiced a particular sadhana and focused on achieving a specific goal, usually one that took the individual away from the active life and endeavor in the world. Those paths were suited, therefore, to a fixed and defined methodology. The Integral Yoga, inasmuch as it attempts to not only achieve liberation for the individual, but also to bring about a complete transformation of consciousness in the world, must necessarily attempt new things and thus, requires the freedom to experiment, to formulate in a new way, and to take up lines of action and issues normally eschewed by the more traditional paths.

Sri Aurobindo speaks to this point: “An absolute liberty of experience and of the restatement of knowledge in new terms and new combinations is the condition of its self-formation. Seeking to embrace all life in itself, it is in the position not of a pilgrim following the highroad to his destination, but, to that extent at least, of a path-finder hewing his way through a virgin forest.”

“By this Yoga we not only seek the Infinite, but we call upon the Infinite to unfold himself in human life. Therefore the Shastra of our Yoga must provide for an infinite liberty in the receptive human soul. A free adaptability in the manner and type of the individual’s acceptance of the Universal and Transcendent into himself is the riht condition for the full spiritual life in man.”

“…one may say that the perfection of the integral Yoga will come when each man is able to follow his own path of Yoga, pursuing the development of his own nature in its upsurging towards that which transcends the nature. For freedom is the final law and the last consummation.”

Clearly, the idea of taking up every aspect, every movement, every energy and every power within one’s life, re-directing them, and transforming their action, is a daunting concept. If applied without proper focus and inner sincerity, it can easily lead to a loose and undisciplined view that, rather than following a narrower but more sure path, simply gets confused and misguided, with hidden springs of desire telling the mind what it wants to hear to justify a lack of effort and the untransformed life of desire-filled action. Freedom is not a recipe for “license”, but for a more intense effort and sincerity.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 1, The Four Aids, pp. 50-51