The powers of the mentality can be harnessed, focused and upgraded to support the development of the consciousness in preparation for the spiritual transformation of the consciousness. They can also aid in the active integration of the higher spiritual consciousness when it takes on the transformation of mind, life and body. For the integral Yoga, these powers are not to be abandoned, as was the general case for those who adopted the ascetic view of the Yoga of knowledge, but refined, upgraded, and infused with a higher transformative light of awareness.
The differences between the yogic forms of knowledge and those of the normal human mentality are of degree and intensity. Sri Aurobindo observes: “It separates itself from them by the intensity, largeness and height of its objective and the specialization of its methods to suit its aim; but it not only starts from them, but for a certain part of the way carries them with it and uses them as auxiliaries. Thus it is evident how largely ethical thought and practice,–not so much external as internal conduct,–enter into the preparatory method of Yoga, into its aim at purity.”
Each aspect of mental development, whether it be ethical, philosophical, aesthetic, scientific, addresses some basic principle of the being, and provides support for the later spiritual unfoldment. “Again the whole method of Yoga is psychological; it might almost be termed the consummate practice of a perfect psychological knowledge. The data of philosophy are the supports from which it begins in the realization of God through the principles of his being….” “The aesthetic and emotional mind and aesthetic forms are used by Yoga as a support for concentration even in the Yoga of Knowledge and are, sublimated, the whole means of the Yoga of love and delight, as life and action, sublimated, are the whole means of the Yoga of works. Contemplation of God in Nature, contemplation and service of God in man and in the life of man and of the world in its past, present and future, are equally elements of which the Yoga of Knowledge can make use to complete the realization of God in all things.”
The difference is the aim. In the normal life, the aims are set by various forms of external activities, and we seek comfort, enjoyment, fame, wealth, family, etc. as the goals of our effort. In Yoga, the aim is the complete realization of the Oneness in what we may call “God-consciousness” and the recognition of God, not just in some abstract and distant formless-form, but in the entire manifested universe, and in all names, forms and actions. “The Yogin continues to know and see God in the finite and be a channel of God-consciousness and God-action in the world; therefore the knowledge of the world and the enlarging and uplifting of all that appertains to life comes within his scope. Only, in all he sees God, sees the supreme reality, and his motive of work is to help mankind towards the knowledge of God and the possession of the supreme reality. He sees God through the data of science, God through the conclusions of philosophy, God through the forms of Beauty and the forms of Good, God in all the activities of life, God in the past of the world and its effects, in the present and its tendencies, in the future and its great progression.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 25, The Higher and the Lower Knowledge, pp. 495-497