The Bhagavad Gita Provides a Suitable Initial Foundation for the Spiritual Development of the Integral Yoga

The Bhagavad Gita rightly occupies an important spot in the spiritual tradition of India. The teaching of the Gita is expansive and detailed, exploring the paths of Knowledge, Devotion and Works and providing insight into the attitude of the seeker, the relation to the teacher, and the nature of the divine consciousness, transcendent, universal and individual. Sri Aurobindo translated in various places the verses of the Gita, which were brought together by Anilbaran Roy in the book Bhagavad Gita and Its Message. This book also includes relevant passages from Sri Aurobindo’s more expansive and seminal review of the Gita, Essays on the Gita. The Gita remains an important text for spiritual seekers and provides a valuable foundation for the further developments envisioned by Sri Aurobindo in the evolutionary manifestation of the supramental consciousness and the transformation of life on earth.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “I may say that the way of the Gita is itself a part of the yoga here and those who have followed it, to begin with or as a first stage, have a stronger basis than others for this yoga.”

“Our yoga is not identical with the yoga of the Gita although it contains all that is essential in the Gita’s yoga. In our yoga we begin with the idea, the will, the aspiration of the complete surrender; but at the same time we have to reject the lower nature, deliver our consciousness from it, deliver the self involved in the lower nature by the self rising to freedom in the higher nature. If we do not do this double movement, we are in danger of making a tamasic and therefore unreal surrender, making no effort, no tapas and therefore no progress; or else we may make a rajasic surrender not to the Divine but to some self-made false idea or image of the Divine which masks our rajasic ego or something still worse.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, The Integral Yoga and Other Systems of Yoga and Philosophy, pp.28-29

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