We have completed our review of the third section of Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga, focused on the Yoga of Love and Devotion, having previously reviewed the Yoga of Knowledge and the Yoga of Works. Each of the three primary paths of Yoga utilizes a particular capacity of the human being as the lever for the spiritual evolutionary action. Due to the differences in the capacity relied upon in each path, there is a different core focus and a different set of criteria for each one. We cannot say that any one of the three is “better” than the other two for spiritual realisation. In fact, a particular individual may find that there are various stages in the progress that call forth the focus and capacities of one or the other of these paths to achieve a particular step along the way.
Sri Aurobindo has clearly described the practice of the Yoga of love and devotion and has shown that someone starting with this path will eventually need to incorporate both knowledge and the will in works to achieve an integral development of the entire being and achieve unification, not only with the static, unmoving Impersonal but also with the Personal manifestation of the Divine. He has also described the power of this path to achieve complete realisation. Just as Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita treats total devotion as the “supreme secret”, Sri Aurobindo concurs and elaborates on this path in terms of the intensity and intimacy it develops as the seeker works to achieve union with the Divine in all ways and aspects of his being.
The fourth and final section of The Synthesis of Yoga takes up one of Sri Aurobindo’s unique contributions to the science of Yoga when it focuses on the “Yoga of Self Perfection”. That section builds upon the capacities of each of the traditional paths of Yoga to bring about a total transformation of the individual within the framework of the universal manifestation. The world is not treated as a pure “illusion” from which one needs to escape, but is treated as “reality omnipresent” that embodies the Divine in all names, forms and forces, and treats the individual as a unique aspect of this Divine manifestation.
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Conclusions