Integral Yoga Addresses the Motives of Renunciation

The seeker practicing the integral Yoga does not seek existence in a silent Beyond, nor does he seek to avoid the issues and difficulties of life in the manifested world.  The object of the integral Yoga, being the transformation of life itself, the seeker cannot take refuge in some form of individual salvation to be achieved through renunciation of life and action.

Sri Aurobindo observes that this Yoga is not founded on weakness or avoidance of suffering:  “With weakness and selfishness, however spiritual in their guise or trend, he can have no dealings; a divine strength and courage and a divine compassion and helpfulness are the very stuff of that which he would be, they are that very nature of the Divine which he would take upon himself as a robe of spiritual light and beauty.”

The seeker is here to take up the challenge of the transformation:  “The difficulty of harmonizing the divine life with human living, of being in God and yet living in man is the very difficulty that he is set here to solve and not to shun.”

“If there is an opposition between the spiritual life and that of the world, it is that gulf which he is here to bridge, that opposition which he is here to change into a harmony.  If the world is ruled by the flesh and the devil, all the more reason that the children of Immortality should be here to conquer it for God and the Spirit.  If life is an insanity, then there are so many million souls to whom there must be brought the light of divine reason; if a dream, it is it real within itself to so many dreamers who must be brought either to dream nobler dreams or to awaken; or if a lie, then the truth has to be given to the deluded.”

The challenge is here in the world and the example to be set is to take up all the powers, forms and actions of life and transform them into a true and undistorted manifestation of the Divine.  The seeker must be prepared to take up his role and play his part in this “Divine play”.

“…for us renunciation of life cannot be the goal of life nor rejection of the world the object for which the world was created.  We seek to realise our unity with God, but for us that realisation involves a complete and absolute recognition of our unity with man and we cannot cut the two asunder.  To use Christian language, the Son of God is also the Son of Man and both elements are necessary to the complete Christhood; or to use an Indian form of thought, the divine Narayana of whom the universe is only one ray is revealed and fulfilled in man; the complete man is Nara-Narayana and in that completeness he symbolises the supreme mystery of existence.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 5, Renunciation, pp. 312-314

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