The Experience of the Divine in the Life of the Seeker in the Integral Yoga

Under normal circumstances, a human individual experiences life within the frame of the physical body. He feels pangs of hunger, drives of physical desire, nervous irritations, emotional impacts, both positive and negative and for those who have developed a true mental life, a feeling of concentrated force in the brain. Those given to devotional practices may feel an opening in the heart. Occasionally, an individual gets into a space that has been termed “the zone” and loses the specific sense of their individual body and nervous center as they get caught up in a concentrated space of automatic responsiveness to a situation. The practitioner of Yoga may also experience a force rising from the base of the spine up through the center of the being, described as the rising of the kundalini.

For the practitioner of the integral Yoga as described by Sri Aurobindo, another experience opens up, with what is known as the descent of the divine Shakti. Practitioners report that the force is felt to enter from above and fill the being from that direction. It is sometimes experienced as a drizzle, sometimes as an electrical energy, sometimes as a powerful, almost crushing force, sometimes as a steady, gentle permeating light and power. The practitioner of the Yoga finds this force is opening and widening his mind and heart, providing a connection to the universe, not limited to the physical body, calming desires, and stilling the normal discomforts of the body. For some, this experience is rare initially, bringing with it new insights and developments of awareness, but over time it tends to repeat and eventually may either come on a consistent basis, or actually remain constantly active in the being. One can then find that cherished ideas, viewpoints, habits and reactions of the human nature are modified or even in some cases abandoned. The force is one that brings about change within the consciousness. It is not a mental formation or idea, not an emotion per se, not a religious belief, but a palpable, and powerful, sensation that is experienced.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The nature of the Divine is Light and Power and Bliss; he can feel the divine Light and Power and Bliss above him and descending into him, filling every strand of his nature, every cell and atom of his being, flooding his soul and mind and life and body, surrounding him like an illimitable sea and filling the world, suffusing all his feeling and sense and experience, making all his life truly and utterly divine. This and all else that the spiritual consciousness can bring to him the divine life will give him when it reaches its utmost completeness and perfection and the supramental truth-consciousness is fulfilled in all himself; but even before that he can attain to something of it all, grow in it, live in it, once the Supermind has descended upon him and has the direction of his existence. All relations with the Divine will be his: the trinity of God-knowledge, divine works and devotion to God will open within him and move towards an utter self-giving and surrender of his whole being and nature. He will live in God and with God, possess God, as it is said, even plunge in him forgetting all separate personality, but not losing it in self-extinction. The love of God and all the sweetness of love will remain his, the bliss of contact as well as the bliss of oneness and the bliss of difference in oneness. All the infinite ranges of experience of the Infinite will be his and all the joy of the finite in the embrace of the Infinite.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Mind of Light, Supermind and the Life Divine, pg. 68

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