Perfecting and Divinising the Physical Body as the Fourth Element in the Development of Spiritual Self-Perfection

With the introduction of the consciousness and force of the gnosis and the divine Ananda, the way opens up for the perfection and divinising of the physical body for action in the world. The physical body as we normally conceive of it is weak and subject to all manner of limitations of power, of existence, of awareness and of bliss. It is therefore an imperfect and weak instrument and fails under the pressure of higher impulsions over time. Yet our view of the physical body is also circumscribed by our focus only on the gross outer layer, and we therefore fail to take into account the subtle physical sheath that surrounds the physical body, nor its links to and ability to interface with the higher planes of existence, and in particular to receive and evolve with the direct action of the gnosis on the physical plane.

Sri Aurobindo explores these subjects: “The change will be effected by bringing in the law of the gnostic Purusha, vijnanamaya purusa, and of that into which it opens, the Anandamaya, into the physical consciousness and its members. Pushed to its highest conclusion this movement brings in a spiritualising and illumination of the whole physical consciousness and a divinising of the law of the body. For behind the gross physical sheath of this materially visible and sensible frame there is a subliminally supporting it and discoverable by a finer subtle consciousness a subtle body of the mental being and a spiritual or causal body of the gnostic and bliss soul in which all the perfection of a spiritual embodiment is to be found, a yet unmanifested divine law of the body.

“Most of the physical siddhis acquired by certain Yogins are brought about by some opening up of the law of the subtle or a calling down of something of the law of the spiritual body. The ordinary method is the opening up of the Chakras by the physical processes of Hathayoga (of which something is also included in the Rajayoga) or by the methods of the Tantric discipline. But while these may be optionally used a certain stages by the integral Yoga, they are not indispensable; for here the reliance is on the power of the higher being to change the lower existence, a working is chosen mainly from above downward and not the opposite way, and therefore the development of the superior power of the gnosis will be awaited as the instrumentative change in this part of the Yoga.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 10, The Elements of Perfection, pp. 667-668