The Transformation and Affirmation of the Life-Force in the Integral Yoga

The Life-Force seeks to grow, survive, enjoy and exercise dominion. In the ordinary human nature, limited by the ego-consciousness and the fragmentation that arises in the planes of Mind-Life-Body, these principles of the Life-Force are exercised for the benefit of the ego, through the action of what Sri Aurobindo terms “the desire-soul”. “This soul of desire is a separative soul of ego and all its instincts are for a separative self-affirmation; it pushes always, openly or under more or less shining masks, for its own growth, for possession, for enjoyment, for conquest and empire.”

The past solutions to the problem of the life-energy have focused on the basic principles or activities of the Life-Force, rather than on the nexus built up by the ego and the desire-soul. Thus, an attempt was made to deny to Life the very native objects for which it exists, and this led to a lot of confusion and failure.

Sri Aurobindo asks the seeker, rather, to recognize the inherent powers and aims of the Life-Force and to accept them through a process of transformation from a basis in the ego to a basis in the Divine consciousness. This occurs through bringing forward of the true soul, the psychic being to guide the process, and through an affirmation of the Life-Force with a new redirected purpose toward achieving its aims, but in fulfillment, not of the ego, but of the Divine action in the world.

“The Divine Life-Power too will be a will for growth, a force of self-affirmation, but affirmation of the Divine within us, not of the little temporary personality on the surface,–growth into the true divine Individual, the central being, the secret imperishable Person who can emerge only by the subordination and disappearance of the ego. This is life’s true object: growth, but a growth of the spirit in Nature, affirming and developing itself in mind, life and body; possession, but a possession by the Divine of the Divine in all things, and not of things for their own sake by the desire of the ego; enjoyment, but an enjoyment of the divine Ananda in the universe; battle and conquest and empire in the shape of a victorious conflict with the Powers of Darkness, an entire spiritual self-rule and mastery over inward and outward Nature, a conquest by Knowledge, Love and Divine Will over the domains of the Ignorance.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 6, The Ascent of the Sacrifice-2, The Works of Love–The Works of Life, pp. 164-165