Throughout human existence, seekers have recognised that the external life of body, vital force and mind is not the entirety of our being and does not provide us either information about the origin of our lives nor the significance and purpose of our lives. This has led many to seek for God, to seek for the soul, to seek for our meaning of life. Many methods have been adopted and tried as these individuals recognised specific obstacles or difficulties they were facing in turning their focus and attention away from the worldly life to the life of the Spirit. This led to the development of a number of paths, tried and true methods that aided seekers along the way, each method tailored to address a specific aspect of the human condition and overcome specific types of difficulties.
A seeker may find that he may need to adopt one or another method depending on his own unique situation and the conditions under which he is working out the issues. These may vary from one stage of life to another as different issues come to the fore and demand attention.
Many spiritual texts, from traditions around the world, describe various of these methods and their application. The Bhagavad Gita not only touched on these lines of action, but also provided what Sri Krishna called the ultimate method, a complete surrender of the human will to the Divine Will in all ways and acts of the being.
In The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo writes: “For this penetration into the luminous crypt of the soul one has to get through all the intervening vital stuff to the psychic centre within us, however long, tedious or difficult may be the process. The method of detachment from the insistence of all mental and vital and physical claims and calls and impulsions, a concentration in the heart, austerity, self-purification and rejection of the old mind-movements and life-movements, rejection of the ego of desire, rejection of false needs and false habits, are all useful aids to this difficult passage: but the strongest, most central way is to found all such or other methods on a self-offering and surrender of ourselves and of our parts of nature to the Divine Being, the Ishwara. A strict obedience to the wise and intuitive leading of a Guide is also normal and necessary for all but a few specially gifted seekers.”