The Universal Sacrifice Integrates the Way of Works With the Way of Knowledge

The Yoga of knowledge focuses on the seeker distinguishing the true nature of existence and the universal manifestation from the illusions and misconceptions that we harbor based on the limitations of the mental consciousness. Traditionally this has involved the practices of meditation, contemplation or various methods for gaining control of the flow of the thoughts or concentrating them along a specific theme or focus; or else, through a process of training the mind to be able to distinguish the illusions under which we tend to operate. Usually this process has been tied to a quietistic or secluded lifestyle that abandoned the active life in the world as inimical to the knowledge-process. It would seem, then, to be diametrically opposite to the path of the Yoga of works. The human mind, skilled at creating opposition and division, has in the past erected a wide gulf between the two paths.

Sri Aurobindo makes it clear, however, that not only are these paths not opposed to one another, but that they complement one another and even, the practice of the Yoga of works can lead to the acquisition of the results of the Yoga of knowledge. “Next, the practice of this Yoga demands a constant inward remembrance of the one central liberating knowledge, and a constant active externalising of it in works comes in too to intensify the remembrance. In all is the one Self, the one Divine is all; all are in the Divine, all are the Divine and there is nothing else in the universe,–this thought or this faith is the whole background until it becomes the whole substance of the consciousness of the worker. A memory, a self-dynamising meditation of this kind, must and does in its end turn into a profound and uninterrupted vision and a vivid and all-embracing consciousness of that which we so powerfully remember or on which we so constantly meditate.”

“Whatever we see and hear, whatever we touch and sense, all of which we are conscious, has to be known and felt by us as that which we worship and serve; all has to be turned into an image of the Divinity, perceived as a dwelling-place of his Godhead, enveloped with the eternal Omni-presence. In its close, if not long before it, this way of works turns by communion with the Divine Presence, Will and Force into a way of Knowledge more complete and integral than any the mere creature intelligence can construct or the search of the intellect can discover.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 4, The Sacrifice, The Triune Path and the Lord of the Sacrifice, pp. 104-105


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