The Method of the Integral Yoga

Since the integral Yoga does not have a fixed and invariable routine or set of specific steps to be universally applied, such as are found in various other forms of Yoga, there is a considerable difficulty for the seeker in terms of what needs to be done, and how one knows that the practice is correct and aiming towards the intended conclusion. Sri Aurobindo sets forth several “rules” that can aid the seeker in this Yoga: “One must reject all that comes from the ego, from vital desire, from the mere mind and its presumptuous reasoning incompetence, all that ministers to these agents of the Ignorance. One must learn to hear and follow the voice of the inmost soul, the direction of the Guru, the command of the Master, the working of the Divine Mother.”

These of course are inner poises and responses, not a defined set of outer actions or poses. “Whoever clings to the desires and weaknesses of the flesh, the cravings and passions of the vital in its turbulent ignorance, the dictates of his personal mind unsilenced and unillumined by a greater knowledge, cannot find the true inner law and is heaping obstacles in the way of the divine fulfilment. Whoever is able to detect and renounce those obscuring agencies and to discern and follow the true Guide within and without will discover the spiritual law and reach the goal of the Yoga.”

Elsewhere Sri Aurobindo describes the “test” for putting away of desire and craving, to be determined by a serene and peaceful equality of soul to all, as well as to every event or situation. The focus of the ego on its own fulfillment, its own ideas, its own wants, needs, desires or satisfactions may lead to outer success, but will not provide the inner basis for the yogic action to progress quickly and effectively. The intention here is not to impose a set of moral principles, rules, requirements or strictures on the outer being, but to effectuate a true inner change of standpoint and basis of response:

“A radical and total change of consciousness is not only the whole meaning but, in an increasing force and by progressive stages, the whole method of the integral Yoga.”

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, pg. 176