The Basis and Foundation of a Yoga of Integral Self-Perfection

For the most part, the discussion of self-perfection is fixated on the individual human being and his own limited capacities of mind, life and body. The integral Yoga, however, shifts the standpoint and focus of the being to the Divine and thus, the entire question is transformed into one that is not founded on the individual as a more or less “separate” individual, but on the ability to unify with the Divine and thereby have the higher and larger powers of the Divine optimize themselves through both an upgrading of the native powers and an accession of higher powers of action that can only come from the Divine, not the human effort. The human being and human life are seen as elements of the divine manifestation and the reframing of the question is therefore how to most clearly and powerfully express the divine intention through the human individual in the world.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “A Yoga of integral perfection regards man as a divine spiritual being involved in mind, life and body; it aims therefore at a liberation and a perfection of his divine nature. It seeks to make an inner living in the perfectly developed spiritual being his constant intrinsic living and the spiritualised action of mind, life and body only its outward human expression.”

This must necessarily be accomplished by accessing planes and powers of being, consciousness and will beyond the limits of the mind, life and body and bringing them to bear on the evolving human activity. “…it seeks to go beyond mind to the supramental knowledge, will, sense, feeling, intuition, dynamic initiation of vital and physical action, all that makes the native working of the spiritual being. It accepts human life, but takes account of the large supraterrestrial action behind the earthly material living, and it joins itself to the divine Being from whom the supreme origination of all these partial and lower states proceeds so that the whole of life may become aware of its divine source and feel in each action of knowledge, of will, of feeling, sense and body the divine originating impulse. it rejects nothing that is essential in the mundane aim, but enlarges it, finds and lives in its greater and its truer meaning now hidden from it, transfigures it from a limited, earthly and mortal thing to a figure of intimate, divine and immortal values.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 2, The Integral Perfection, pg. 594

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