Embracing, Not Abandoning, All the Planes of Existence

In his lectures on Raja Yoga, Swami Vivekananda discusses various phenomenal powers that can arise through the practice of the Yoga, and he makes it clear to the reader that these powers are distracting, and can lead the seeker away from the goal of attaining Samadhi, and abandoning the life in the world. Sri Aurobindo acknowledges this, and points out that for someone whose goal is to unite with the Absolute and disregard the world, such a position is both understandable and reasonable. At the same time, in the integral Yoga, where the world is embraced as the intended manifestation of the Divine, such a solution, which is, in effect, “cutting the knot” of the problem of life, is not acceptable.

“But since we accept world-existence, and for us all world-existence is Brahman and full of the presence of God, these things can have no terrors for us; whatever dangers of distraction there may be, we have to face and overcome them. If the world and our own existence are so complex, we must know and embrace their complexities in order that our self-knowledge and our knowledge of the dealings of Purusha with its Prakriti may be complete. If there are many planes, we have to possess them all for the Divine, even as we seek to possess spiritually and transform our ordinary poise of mind, life and body.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 19, The Planes of Our Existence, pp. 427-428

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