The Call To the Yoga

The practice of Yoga requires a commitment and dedication that involves a deep inner need and drive for the person taking it up. This implies that it is not something that can be successfully achieved as a secondary pursuit or some kind of hobby. Sri Aurobindo describes the nature of yoga: “All Yoga is in its nature a new birth; it is a birth out of the ordinary, the mentalised material life of man into a higher spiritual consciousness and a greater and diviner being.”

This means that the normal drives for material success, prosperity, comfort, and fulfillment of the ordinary aims of life cannot be the primary impetus in the life of the seeker. “No Yoga can be successfully undertaken and followed unless there is a strong awakening to the necessity of that larger spiritual existence.”

The individuals who feel the call to follow this spiritual path may experience it in a number of different ways. Some come to it as a more or less natural growth and recognition of the deeper aims of life; while others are shocked into it through some kind of traumatic event or experience. We see this same type of process taking place in the various religious and spiritual traditions of the world. The Lord Buddha came to a recognition that life entailed suffering and he determined to try to find a way to remove that suffering. Milarepa, the great Tibetan Yogi, experienced deep remorse after having caused numerous deaths through the practice of black magic to revenge injustice practiced on himself and his family. This caused him such an intense inward pressure that he gave up all other motives of life and sought out his spiritual salvation. For some the drive is awakened through the pressure of a near death experience or some other kind of inward realisation. Sri Aurobindo extrapolates: “It may come to it by its own natural development which has been leading it unconsciously towards the awakening; it may reach it through the influence of a religion or the attraction of a philosophy; it may approach it by a slow illumination or leap to it by a sudden touch or shock; it may be pushed or led to it by the pressure of outward circumstances or by an inward necessity, by a single word that breaks the seals of the mind or by long reflection, by the distant example of one who has trod the path or by contact and daily influence. According to the nature and the circumstances the call will come.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 2, Self Consecration, pg. 63