The Aim of the Integral Yoga

In order to appreciate the relation of the traditional practices of the Yoga of knowledge to the focus of the seeker of the integral Yoga, we must first appreciate the differences in aim between the two paths. The traditional Yoga of knowledge fixates all its attention on the transcendent, the Eternal, the Absolute. All effort spent dealing with the other world of manifestation is considered essentially to be that much effort wasted or at least not applied most effectively. Concentration for the Yoga of knowledge then implies a removal of the attention from the outer world and its forms, forces and objects. For the seeker of the integral Yoga, however, a new understanding about the role of concentration arises when we recognize that the integral Yoga does not seek to abandon the outer world, but to transform it into a true and clear expression of the Spirit.

Sri Aurobindo describes the aim of the integral Yoga: “We must aim indeed at the Highest, the Source of all, the Transcendent but not to the exclusion of that which it transcends, rather as the source of an established experience and supreme state of the soul which shall transform all other states and remould our consciousness of the world into the form of its secret Truth. We do not seek to excise from our being all consciousness of the universe, but to realise God, Truth and Self in the universe as well as transcendent of it. We shall seek therefore not only the Ineffable, but also His manifestation as infinite being, consciousness and bliss embracing the universe and at play in it.”

Through an increasing identity, we shall take up all fields of action in life, including knowledge, power, love, beauty, not just in an ideal status beyond all manifestation, but also in the universal creation and in each individual form and being within that universal existence. “This not only as a means of approach and passage to His supreme transcendence, but as the condition even when we possess and are possessed by the Transcendent, of a divine life in the manifestation of the cosmos.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 4, Concentration, pp. 305-306

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