The First Aim of the Yoga of Knowledge

The Yoga of knowledge has as its goal, the attainment of a state of consciousness that is at one with God, by whatever name or in whatever way we try to define it to our human intellect. The traditional practice of this Yoga has involved the abandonment of the life of the world as either a lesser reality or an illusion, or at least a distraction from the concentration needed to achieve this lofty goal. Sri Aurobindo accepts this definition, but broadens it to encompass not just the Divine in an abstract state, disassociated from the world, but also in the manifested world as well. He accepts the Upanishadic dictum of “One without a second”, while at the same time adopting that other dictum “All this is the Brahman” with no conflict or compromise involved on either side.

Sri Aurobindo elaborates: “…the end of the Yoga of Knowledge is God-possession, it is to possess God and be possessed by him through consciousness, through identification, through reflection of the divine Reality. But not merely in some abstraction away from our present existence, but here also; therefore to possess the Divine in himself, the Divine in the world, the Divine within, the Divine in all things and all beings. It is to possess oneness with God and through that to possess also oneness with the universal, with the cosmos and all existences; therefore to possess the infinite diversity also inthe oneness, but on the basis of oneness and not on the basis of division. It is to possess God in his personality and his impersonality; in his purity free from qualities and in his infinite qualities; in time and beyond time; in his action and in his silence; in the finite and in the infinite. It is to possess him not only in pure self, but in all self; not only in self, but in Nature; not only in spirit, but in supermind, mind, life and body; to possess him with the spirit, with the mind, with the vital and the physical consciousness; and it is again for all these to be possessed by him, so that our whole being is one with him, full of him, governed and driven by him. It is, since God is oneness, for our physical consciousness to be one with the soul and the nature of the material universe; for our life, to be one with all life; for our mind, to be one with the universal mind; for our spirit, to be identified with the universal spirit. It is to merge in him in the absolute and find him in all relations.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 25, The Higher and the Lower Knowledge, pg. 490