The Choice Before the Practitioner of the Integral Yoga

The pressure of both the habitual patterns established by the physical body, the vital life energy and the mental development, together with the pressure of society and the impact of past education, creates an enormous impediment to the radical change in standpoint necessitated for the manifestation of the supramental force and the transformation of the nature. Much of this is essentially unconscious or subconscious, making it even more difficult to identify and root it out, in order to be prepared for an entirely different working of consciousness in the practitioner. It is said that day for the ordinary man is night for the yogin. The reversal of consciousness requires that virtually every action and reaction that comes ‘naturally’ based on the past ingrained habits and education must be reviewed and dispensed with, in order that an entirely new action of the divine force can take place, guide and direct the being.

This is not easy, and many sadhaks of the yoga, at one time or another, fall into the trap of trying to evaluate the yogic process and development using the tools of the mind, the emotions, the life-force and the body’s reactions. These however are clearly unable to evaluate and understand something that operates from a totally different standpoint and uses a totally different basis for its actions. We cannot expect someone, for instance, not trained in quantum physics, to understand the principles of quantum physics and be able to apply them. How much more difficult is it, then, to try to appreciate the spiritual action from a purely mental framework?

Humanity, using the basis of its sense perceptions long believed that the sun rotated around the earth and that the earth was flat. It was only when a new principle of knowing was developed using the higher mental powers, that this mis-perception could be countered and corrected. This provides us an insight to the vast error that can similarly occur when we try to judge something beyond the mind with the mind’s limited framework.

It requires a conscious effort to overcome the inertia of the past ways of seeing, knowing and doing. Absent this conscious effort, it is easy for those who follow a difficult yogic path to get caught up in the limitations, errors, and distortions that occur as the standpoint is in the process of shifting to a new basis.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “Least of all can this yoga be done if those who profess to be its sadhaks continue always to make themselves centres, instruments or spokesmen of the forces of the Ignorance which oppose, deny and ridicule its very principle and object. On one side there is the supramental realisation, the overshadowing and descending power of the supramental Divine, the light and force of a far greater Truth than any yet realised on the earth, something therefore beyond what the little human mind and its logic regard as the only permanent realities, something whose nature and way and process of development here it cannot conceive or perceive by its own inadequate instruments or judge by its puerile standards; in spite of all opposition this is pressing down for manifestation in the physical consciousness and the material life. On the other side is this lower vital nature with all its pretentious arrogance, ignorance, obscurity, dullness or incompetent turbulence, standing for its own prolongation, standing against the descent, refusing to believe in any real reality or real possibility of a supramental or superhuman consciousness and creation, or, still more absurd, demanding, if it exists at all, that it should conform to its own little standards, seizing greedily upon everything that seems to disprove it, denying the presence of the Divine, — for it knows that without that presence the work is impossible, — affirming loudly its own thoughts, judgments, desires, instincts, and, if these are contradicted, avenging itself by casting abroad doubt, denial, disparaging criticism, revolt and disorder. These are the two things now in presence between which everyone will have to choose.”

“For this opposition, this sterile obstruction and blockade against the descent of the divine Truth cannot last for ever. Every one must come down finally on one side or the other, on the side of the Truth or against it. The supramental realisation cannot coexist with the persistence of the lower Ignorance; it is incompatible with continued satisfaction in a double nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 9, Transformation of the Nature, Transformation of the Vital, pp. 246-259

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