Two Movements In the Yoga of Knowledge For the Liberated Soul

Practitioners of the traditional Yoga of knowledge focus primarily on the first, essential movement–the discovery of the Self, which is One with the Eternal. Sri Aurobindo elaborates: “When, then, by the withdrawal of the centre of consciousness from identification with the mind, life and body, one has discovered one’s true self, discovered the oneness of that self with the pure, silent, immutable Brahman, discovered in the immutable, in the Akshara Brahaman, that by which the individual being escapes from his own personality into the impersonal, the first movement of the Path of Knowledge has been completed. It is the sole that is absolutely necessary for the traditional aim of the Yoga of Knowledge, for immergence, for escape from cosmic existence, for release into the absolute and ineffable Parabrahman who is being all cosmic being.”

During the process of the change of consciousness, other experiences and statuses may arise for the seeker. For instance, “The seeker … may realise the Lord of the universe, the Purusha who manifests Himself in all creatures, may arrive at the cosmic consciousness, may know and feel his unity with all beings…” The traditional Yoga of knowledge, however, will not fixate attention on these other experiences; rather, they too must be put aside to achieve the goal of escape from the round of existence or the illusion of the outer world.

It is, however, the second movement of the Yoga of knowledge which can bring about an integral realization: “When on the other hand, having attained to the freedom and the silence and the peace, we resume possession by the cosmic consciousness of the active as well as the silent Brahman and can securely live in the divine freedom as well as rest in it, we have completed the second movement of the Path by which the integrality of self-knowledge becomes the station of the liberated soul.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 16, Oneness, pg. 401