Developing the Perfection of Power of Action in the Integral Yoga

Just as the development of a harsh, dominating and aggressive force represents an imperfection in the being, the opposite reaction of weakness of the vital being, pure passivity and incapacity also represents an imperfection that should be addressed. Sri Aurobindo encourages the type of balanced development that does not, like the ascetic, deny the power of action in life, nor, like the self-seeking and self-centred egoistic type of materialist, strive to develop power at the cost of other values; rather, the perfection of the integral Yoga seeks a powerful expression that is in harmony with the total spiritual development of the individual and in balance with the universal manifestation and its divine intention in existence.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “Laxity and weakness, self-indulgence, a certain flabbiness and limpness or inert passivity of the psychical being are the last result of an emotional and psychic life in which energy and power of assertion have been quelled, discouraged or killed. Nor is it a total perfection to have only the strength that endures or to cultivate only a heart of love, charity, tolerance, mildness, meekness and forbearance. The other side of perfection is a self-contained and calm and unegoistic Rudra-power armed with psychic force, the energy of the strong heart which is capable of supporting without shrinking an insistent, an outwardly austere or even, where need is, a violent action. An unlimited light of energy, force, puissance harmonised with sweetness of heart and clarity, capable of being one with it in action, the lightning of Indra starting from the orb of the nectarous moon-rays of Soma is the double perfection. And these two things…must base their presence and action on a firm equality of the temperament and of the psychical soul delivered from all crudity and all excess or defect of the heart’s light or the heart’s power.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 14, The Power of the Instruments, pg. 708

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