The Integration of the Goals of Vedanta and Veda

The Yoga of works, as envisioned by Sri Aurobindo in the integral Yoga, is not some kind of ritual sacrifice, nor done without knowledge or devotion. In his view, works, knowledge and devotion all complement and support one another; the process of starting from any one of them will inevitably entail growing into all three over time.

Sri Aurobindo introduces this point as follows: “For even when we speak of the sacrifice of works by itself, we do not mean the offering only of our outward acts, but of all that is active and dynamic in us; our internal movements no less than our external doings are to be consecrated on the one altar. The inner heart of all work that is made into a sacrifice is a labour of self-discipline and self-perfection by which we can hope to become conscious and luminous with a Light from above poured into all our movements of mind, heart, will, sense, life and body.”

This brings about a unification between the goals of the ancient sages of the Vedanta, who focused on the knowledge aspect, and the still more ancient mystical sense of the Vedas, which involved an inner transformation that made the practitioner into a vessel of the deeper spiritual Force in all his life and acts.

“An increasing light of divine consciousness will make us close in soul and one by identity in our inmost being and spiritual substance with the Master of the world-sacrifice–the supreme object of existence proposed by the ancient Vedanta; but also it will tend to make us one in our becoming by resemblance to the Divine in our nature, the mystic sense of the symbol of sacrifice in the sealed speech of the seers of the Veda.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 5, The Ascent of the Sacrifice-1, The Works of Knowledge–The Psychic Being, pg. 125