Liberation and Perfection Are the Dual Aims of the Integral Yoga

The process of the surrender and elimination of the ego-consciousness leads to a status of liberation from the lower nature, through identification of the consciousness with the Divine. This still leaves the lower nature of mind-life-body unreformed and imperfect in its action. Yogic disciplines have generally taken the approach that the goal is liberation alone, and thus, the transformation of the lower nature never entered into the equation. Sri Aurobindo makes it clear that the goal of the integral Yoga also requires the uplifting of the action in the world, and the perfection of the action of the lower instruments through opening to the Divine Shakti in Her complete power of knowledge, will, and effective implementation. “It is only when we open to the Divine Shakti in the truth of her force which transcends this lower Prakriti that we can be perfect instruments of her power and knowledge.”

“Not only liberation but perfection must be the aim of the Karmayoga. The Divine works through our nature and according to our nature; if our nature is imperfect, the work also will be imperfect, mixed, inadequate….If ours were not an integral Yoga, if we sought only the liberation of the self within us or the motionless existence of Purusha separated from Prakriti, this dynamic imperfection might not matter….But in an integral realisation this can only be a step on the way, not our last resting place. For we aim at the divine realisation not only in the immobility of the Spirit, but also in the movement of Nature. And this cannot be altogether until we can feel the presence and power of the Divine in every step, motion, figure of our activities, in every turn of our will, in every thought, feeling and impulse….Ours is a greater demand, that our nature shall be a power of the Divine in the Truth of the Divine, in the Light, in the force of the eternal self-conscient Will, in the wideness of the sempiternal Knowledge.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 11, The Master of the Work, pp. 239-240

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