The Role of Samadhi in the Integral Yoga

It is the stated goal of the Integral Yoga to shift the standpoint of consciousness to the divine standpoint, and to have the knowledge, power and bliss of this higher consciousness permeate and transform the outer life in the world. Whereas in the traditional Yoga of knowledge, there is considerable focus on achieving the higher consciousness, it is frequently tied to an abandonment of the outer life. Samadhi is the mechanism by which the direct experience of these higher states of awareness can most easily be accessed, and thus, for both the integral Yoga and the Yoga of knowledge, Samadhi, the yogic trance, is an important tool of leverage.

For the integral Yoga, Sri Aurobindo’s suggestion that once established, the consciousness achieved in Samadhi can, through training and repetitive practice, become accessible to the waking consciousness, is an important point, as it maintains the significant role of Samadhi, yet does not require abandonment of the outer life as the goal or end-point of the process.

Sri Aurobindo observes in this regard: “But still there are certain heights of spiritual and psychic experience of which the direct as opposed to a reflecting experience can only be acquired deeply and in its fullness by means of the Yogic trance. And even for that which can be otherwise acquired, it offers a ready means, a facility which becomes more helpful, if not indispensable, the higher and more difficult of access become the planes on which the heightened spiritual experience is sought.”

He turns then to the integration process: “Once attained there, it has to be brought as much as possible into the waking consciousness. For in a Yoga which embraces all life completely and without reserve, the full use of Samadhi comes only when its gains can be made the normal possession and experience for an integral waking of the embodied soul in the human being.”

The evolutionary progression shows that consciousness systematically rises to new levels, and the instruments of perception, response and action take on a new character as the new level begins to express itself. This same progression leads to the planes beyond our current limitations at the mental level and show that Sri Aurobindo’s viewpoint is aligned with the progression of the evolution of consciousness in the universal manifestation.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 26, Samadhi, pg. 505

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