The Foundation of Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching

The long legacy of the Yogic tradition is founded on the recognition that there is a greater Reality that exists, that the human individual is a participant, in fact a part of that reality, and that it is possible through the practices of yoga, including various psychological and psycho-physical forms of discipline, to refocus the attention away from the day to day activities of the world and toward the greater reality. In essence, any yogic path has this as a primary aim, even if, as in Sri Aurobindo’s integral yoga, there are further realisations and actions that arise once such a shift in standpoint has been accomplished.

Albert Einstein stated: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” It is a basic premise of yoga that the seeker must move beyond the limitations of the physical, vital and mental personality and processes in order to achieve realisation. Every path and method of yoga latches onto one or another of the basic levers of human existence to concentrate and uplift the consciousness, eventually to transcend the human limitations. For Sri Aurobindo, this is not the end, but the beginning of a much more difficult and slow process of bringing the new standpoint into realisation in the active being and thereby transforming our relationship to each other, to society, and to our world-environment.

The Transcendent aspect, therefore, is a first foundation and pre-condition of anything further that will be accomplished in the evolutionary development of consciousness on earth.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The teaching of Sri Aurobindo starts from that of the ancient sages of India that behind the appearances of the universe there is the Reality of a Being and Consciousness, a Self of all things, one and eternal. All beings are united in that One Self and Spirit but divided by a certain separativity of consciousness, a ignorance of their true Self and Reality in the mind, life and body. It is possible by a certain psychological discipline to remove this veil of separative consciousness and become aware of the true Self, the Divinity within us and all.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Introduction, pg. 3

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