The Inner Guide and Master Of the Integral Yoga

Sri Aurobindo clarifies for us the living Guidance that leads the seeker through the transitions and transformations that take place in the course of the yogic practice. “As the supreme Shastra of the integral Yoga is the eternal Veda secret in the heart of every man, so its supreme Guide and Teacher is the inner Guide, the World-Teacher, jagad-guru, secret within us. It is he who destroys our darkness by the resplendent light of his knowledge; that light becomes within us the increasing glory of his own self-revelation. he discloses progressively in us his own nature of freedom, bliss, love, power, immortal being. He sets above us his divine example as our ideal and transforms the lower existence into a reflection of that which it contemplates. By the inpouring of his own influence and presence into us he enables the individual being to attain to identity with the universal and transcendent.”

From this description it becomes clear that the inner Guide is not the voice of reason, of desire, of conscience, or of the social and moral training that has been inculcated in us through the society’s norms and institutions. It is important to reflect on this, to avoid the pitfalls that can arise from accepting the justifications that surround the ego’s appropriation of the various drives and desires that arise within the being on an unceasing basis.

The issue of finding and following the true Guidance is one that all paths of Yoga try to address, whether through requiring adherence to certain rules of conduct, avoidance of various temptations and situations, or through coming under the control of an institutional programme or a recognised outer teacher or guru. In Raja Yoga, for instance, the preliminary practices of yama and niyama are set forth as essential in order to bring calm to the outer being and bring a sense of control and distance from the rising up of the forces of desire. There is a concern that without these practices as the foundation, the rising up of forces within the being through the practice of Yoga would lead to potential disaster, the inability of the vessel to hold the divine Energy.

The voice of the divine Guidance must be found within. For most, to begin with, it is like a gentle prompting, or a feeling of knowing what one is called upon to do. For many, it is a very quiet voice that does not have the insistence of the vital impulsions of desire, and does not argue as the mind of reason or intellect may be prone to do.

When we reflect deeply on Sri Aurobindo’s description, we are struck by the self-evident nature of the guidance. The predominant characteristics are light, overwhelming clarity and an ever-widening and heightening sense of increasing knowledge, and the impact this has on our entire being and action. A result will be the transition away from the bondage to the ego and the outer life of desire, and an increasing sense of Oneness with the entire existence, as well as a transcendence that takes us beyond these forms and forces.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 1, The Four Aids, pg. 55

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