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Achieve perfection with integral yoga TOI 18 Nov 2008, SUDIP TALUKDAR Integral yoga or the yoga of self-perfection synthesises the collective potential of traditional disciplines like bhakti, gyan and karma yogas, to reorient human nature into bringing the supramental or the highest octave of consciousness, down to the earth plane.
Each of the other yogic systems develops a particular faculty, geared towards liberation of the appropriate part. In bhakti yoga, for instance, one approaches God with unconditional love, devotion and veneration. Karma yoga offers every activity to the Divine in a spirit of selfless service, without any expectation.
Integral yoga, which is more comprehensive in its sweep, aims at the total perfection of not one but all parts of the being. It directs the flow of consciousness from soul to the lower levels rather than begin from the bottom up purifying as it descends. This can prove effective only by the instrumentality of like-minded souls, jointly engaged in the endeavour. The core group will act as catalyst in 'Godward' progress. Sri Aurobindo saw this as being "decreed and inevitable in the evolution of earth consciousness".
Integral yoga strips successive layers of the body and mind of every vestige of inertia, falsehood and lower nature, down to the very innards of its tiniest cell, in order to unclog channels for the descent of divine consciousness. Once empowered, it taps into and coopts nature to help hasten its ongoing evolution of divinised beings.
Every voluntary or involuntary effort, activity or drive to better individual or community life, is yoga. It is nature operating through human agency to materialise progress and growth. As a sentient being, man is capable of cooperating with this inexorable evolutionary movement and bring about desired changes in a compressed time-frame, which, if left to itself, would have taken eons. The key is integral yoga with a three-fold approach:
- intense aspiration for the Divine,
- rejection of all that is inimical to the path and
- total surrender or opening oneself to the Divine.
It perceives Godhead as the fundamental unity permeating every atom of diverse creation, or the centrality of the spirit underlying nature, growth, life, material and non-material phenomena. Developed and perfected by Sri Aurobindo in 40 years of unbroken sadhna, it aims at nothing less than the transmutation of matter, a tectonic shift from the earlier quest of sages to help man rise above his mundane limitations.
The Mahayogi who had plumbed the heights and depths of life as revolutionary, political leader, statesman, philosopher, poet-writer and spiritual genius long realised that unless basic fault lines and destructive patterns ingrained in the human psyche were eradicated, the world would never be free of strife. That virtually implied recasting the flawed genetic script before humankind was rid of its demons of base passions and impulses, lying at the root of global unrest today.
"The object of my yoga", Sri Aurobindo wrote, "is to remove absolutely and entirely every possible source of error and ineffectiveness... in order that the Truth I shall show to many may be perfect and effectiveness in order that the work of changing the world... may be entirely victorious and irresistible. It is for this reason that I have been going through so long a discipline... busy laying down the foundation, a work severe and painful".
A B Purani quotes Sri Aurobindo mentioning once how he encountered "the formidable resistance of the inconscient", while engaged in the task of opening up human cells to the Divine light. The Mother, who took up from where the Saint left off after his samadhi, indicated in her notes that "body consciousness" residing in its aggregate of cells, imprinted with fixed impressions, was the most impervious to change. Without overcoming which, Supramental transformation would be incomplete.