From the Darkness to the Light

The yogic process starts from the normal human consciousness, which is fragmented, limited and enmeshed in the illusion of a separate ego-personality as against the rest of the forms and beings and forces in the world. We see the world and our existence in a state of general darkness and confusion because we don’t see the connections nor understand where and how the manifestation takes place and what the secret thread of consciousness is that runs through all existence. There is a famous mantra in Sanskrit which epitomizes the yogic path “from the darkness to the light, from the light to greater light”.

The first steps in the process necessarily involve the seeker gaining perspective and separation from attachment to and immersion in the daily life of humanity and its desires, needs, fears, and expectations. Sri Aurobindo describes this initial process: “The Yoga of perfection necessary to this change has, so far as we have been considering it, consisted in a preparatory purification of the mental, vital and physical nature, a liberation from the knots of the lower Prakriti, a consequent replacement of the egoistic state always subject to the ignorant and troubled action of the desire-soul by a large and luminous static equality which quiets the reason, the emotional mind, the life mind and the physical nature and brings into us the peace and freedom of the spirit, and a dynamical substitution of the action of the supreme and universal divine Shakti under the control of the Ishwara for that of the lower Prakriti,–an action whose complete operation must be preceded by the perfection of the natural instruments. And all these things together, though not as yet the whole Yoga, constitute already a much greater than the present normal consciousness, spiritual in its basis and moved by a greater light, power and bliss, and it might be easy to rest satisfied with so much accomplished and think that all has been done that was needed for the divine conversion.”

The transition from the human standpoint to the divine standpoint, however, is not so easily achieved. This is a solid first step or platform, but greater heights and more intense lights of awareness await the seeker who proceeds “from light to greater light.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 19, The Nature of the Supermind, pg. 755