The Aim of the Integral Yoga

There are many different viewpoints in the world about the meaning of our lives and what the aim of life should be. Traditionally, there have been two major “camps”. The first of these looks to the world and seeks for outer satisfaction of desire, progress, advancement, fame, fortune, success in various outer forms. The second one focuses on achievement away from the world and its outer focus, whether by positing a heavenly reward, or spiritual realization achieved through abandonment of the world and its goals. The integral Yoga has an entirely different standpoint since it bases its view of life’s meaning on the Oneness of all existence. Sri Aurobindo observes: “It neither accepts our earthly existence as it is, nor can be satisfied with some kind of moral perfection or religious ecstasy, with a heaven beyond or with some dissolution of our being by which we get satisfactorily done with the trouble of existence. Our aim becomes quite other; it is to live in the Divine, the Infinite, in God and not in any mere egoism and temporality, but at the same time not apart from Nature, from our fellow-beings, from earth and the mundane existence, any more than the Divine lives aloof from us and the world. He exists also in relation to the world and Nature and all these beings, but with an absolute and inalienable power, freedom and self-knowledge.”

The integral Yoga focuses on shifting from the human to the divine standpoint and from there to see, know and act, unified with the Divine and at one in the energy put forward for the divine intention in the manifestation. “Our liberation and perfection is to transcend ignorance, bondage and weakness and live in Him in relation to the world and Nature with the divine power, freedom and self-knowledge. For the highest relation of the Soul to existence is the Purusha’s possession of Prakriti, when he is no longer ignorant and subject to his nature, but knows, transcends, enjoys and controls his manifested being and determines largely and freely what shall be his self-expression.”

This is not a license to simply carry out the ego-personality’s desires under the guise of “participating” in the manifestation. Without the true shifting of the consciousness to the divine standpoint, the seeker remains bound to the ignorance, weakness and limitations of the ego-personality and the desire-soul.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 18, The Soul and Its Liberation, pg. 417

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