A Synthesis of the Disciplines and Aims of the Yoga of Knowledge

The mental consciousness creates “black and white” distinctions that seem to be mutually exclusive to one another; the seeker, following one or another of these distinctions thus will wind up validating one aspect while denying others. This is the history of the various formations developed under the rubric of a Yoga of knowledge. In affirming the Absolute, the seeker denies the reality of the universal or the individual, or at least subordinates their importance in the overall hierarchy. For an integral Yoga, this process of selective focus and denial is not an option: the seeker embraces and accepts the truths presented by each line of development within the traditional Yoga of knowledge, but not in an exclusive or limiting manner; rather, all these aspects must be harmonized and integrated so that each one occupies its rightful place in our view of the entire truth of our existence.

Sri Aurobindo emphasizes this point: “Therefore our integral Yoga will take up these various disciplines and concentrations, but harmonise and if possible fuse them by a synthesis which removes their mutual exclusions. Not realising the Lord and the All, only to reject them for silent Self or unknowable Absolute as would an exclusively transcendental, nor living for the Lord alone or in the All alone as wound an exclusively theistic or an exclusively pantheistic Yoga, the seeker of integral knowledge will limit himself neither in his thought nor in his practice nor in his realisation by any religious creed or philosophical dogma. He will seek the Truth of existence in its completeness. The ancient disciplines he will not reject, for they rest upon eternal truths, but he will give them an orientation in conformity with his aim.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 6, The Synthesis of the Disciplines of Knowledge, pg. 326

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