CWSA > Essays In Philosophy And Yoga > NOTE ON THE TEXTS PART TWO: THE YOGA AND ITS OBJECTS (CIRCA 1912)
The Yoga and Its Objects This essay, which is mentioned in a letter written by Sri Aurobindo in 1912, was first published as a booklet in 1921 under the title "The Yoga and Its Object" The title was changed to the present form in the second edition, issued in 1922 New editions were published in 1931, 1938, 1943, 1946, 1949 and subsequently In 1934 Sri Aurobindo wrote that the booklet represented "an early stage" of his sadhana "and only a part of it is applicable to the Yoga as it has at present taken form after a lapse of more than twenty years"
Appendix: Explanations of Some Words and Phrases consists of explanations of certain words and phrases in the essay, written by Sri Aurobindo in June 1938 in answer to questions posed by a disciple. Page – 597
Manuscripts of six of these essays—"The Sources of Poetry", "The Interpretation of Scripture", "On Original Thinking", "The Balance of Justice", "Social Reform" and "The Claims of Theosophy"—were typed in or around 1912 using the same typewriter and the same sort of paper. The other seven essays are related to the typed ones by subject or date or both.
The Sources of Poetry. Circa 1912.
The Interpretation of Scripture. Circa 1912.
On Original Thinking. Circa 1912. After the text of the principal version, the editors have placed the draft opening of another version, entitled in the manuscript "On the Importance of Original Thinking". Above this title Sri Aurobindo wrote: "Essays—Human and Divine". Page – 504 The editors have used a variant of this (see "The Silence behind Life" below) as the title of this part and of the volume as a whole.
The Balance of Justice. Circa 1912. This is a revised and enlarged version of "European Justice" (published in Early Cultural Writings), which probably was written in 1910.
Social Reform. Circa 1912. The first nine paragraphs were typewritten. Sri Aurobindo subsequently added five handwritten paragraphs to the last typed sheet. (These paragraphs are difficult to read and parts have been lost through mutilation of the manuscript.) The passage beginning "We are Hindus" was written separately and headed "For Social Reform'". Sri Aurobindo left no indication where he wanted it inserted. The editors have placed it at the end, separating it from the main text by a white space.
Hinduism and the Mission of India. Circa 1912. Editorial title. The first pages of the manuscript have been lost; the first surviving sentence lacks its beginning.
The Psychology of Yoga (regarding the title, see the note on "The Psychology of Yoga" in Section One). Circa 1912 (written around the same time as the pieces on Theosophy that follow).
The Claims of Theosophy. Circa 1910 12 (certainly written after January 1908, when Sri Aurobindo met V. B. Lele, the "member of the Theosophical Society who [gave] me spiritual help" mentioned in paragraph six). This article, like the others on Theosophy, was never published by Sri Aurobindo. However much he disagreed with some of the methods or doctrines of the Theosophical Society, he was well aware of the pioneering work done by this movement, which "with its comprehensive combinations of old and new beliefs and its appeal to ancient spiritual and psychic systems, has everywhere exercised an influence far beyond the circle of its professed adherents" (The Renaissance in India, CWSA vol. 20, p. 70). He assured a disciple who had been associated with the Theosophists: "I have nothing against it [the Theosophical Society] nor against any of the Theosophists, to all of whom I wish the best. I am not against them" (Talk with a disciple, 11 January 1926).
Science and Religion in Theosophy. Circa 1910 12. Heading in the manuscript: "Papers on Theosophy / II / Science & Religion in Theosophy". (Although not so identified, "The Claims of Theosophy" evidently is the first of the papers.) Page – 505
Sat. Circa 1912.
Sachchidananda. Circa 1912 13.
The Silence behind Life. Circa 1912. Above the title Sri Aurobindo wrote: "Essays Divine and Human". The editors have used this as the title of this part and of the volume as a whole.
Section Three (circa 1913)
The essays in this section form three groups, which were written in three notebooks in or around 1913. The titles of the first and third groups were given by Sri Aurobindo.
The Psychology of Yoga. Sri Aurobindo wrote this title inside the cover of the notebook used. On the front of the cover he wrote, and then cancelled, "Hints on Yoga".
Initial Definitions and Descriptions. Circa 1913. Before the first paragraph Sri Aurobindo wrote the numeral "1".
The Object of Our Yoga. Circa 1913. This essay is found in the notebook containing the pieces that make up the next group, but seems to go better here. It has no title in the manuscript.
Purna Yoga. Editorial title. The three pieces are headed I, II, III in the manuscript.
I. The Entire Purpose of Yoga. Circa 1913.
It does not matter if for the present we fall short of our aim, so long as we give ourselves whole-heartedly to the attempt and by living constantly in it and for it move forward even two inches upon the road; even that will help to lead humanity out of the struggle and twilight in which it now dwells into the luminous joy which God intends for us. But whatever our immediate success, our unvarying aim must be to perform the whole journey and not lie down content in any wayside stage or imperfect resting place. Page – 98
In brief, we have to replace dualities by unity, egoism by divine consciousness, ignorance by divine wisdom, thought by divine knowledge, weakness, struggle & effort by self-contented divine force, pain & false pleasure by divine bliss. This is called in the language of Christ bringing down the kingdom of heaven on earth, or in modern language, realising & effectuating God in the world.
Humanity is, upon earth, the form of life chosen for this human aspiration & divine accomplishment; all other forms of life either do not need it or are ordinarily incapable of it unless they change into humanity. The divine fullness is therefore the sole real aim of humanity. It has to be effected in the individual in order that it may be effected in the race. Page – 101
II. Parabrahman, Mukti and Human Thought-Systems. Circa 1913.
III. Parabrahman and Parapurusha. Circa 1913. Editorial title.
Natural and Supernatural Man. This title is written on the cover of the notebook that contains all the pieces in this group.
The Evolutionary Aim in Yoga. Circa 1913.
The Fullness of Yoga—In Condition. Circa 1913. A draft of this and the preceding essay is published as piece 127 of Part Two. The second part of the draft, from the phrase "Yoga in its practice may be either perfect or partial" to the end, was rewritten as "The Fullness of Yoga—In Condition". This essay follows the draft rather closely for two and a half paragraphs; from this point the two are developed on different lines. The significance of the phrase "in condition" in the title is not made clear in the essay; but it is brought out sufficiently well in the draft. Page – 506
Nature. Circa 1913. This essay was at one point to be entitled "Maya, Lila, Prakriti, Chit-Shakti". Individual pieces on each of these aspects of the force called Nature were apparently planned, but only "Maya" was written.
Maya. Circa 1913. In the second paragraph Sri Aurobindo writes of his intention to "look at the Cosmos from . . . the standpoint . . . of . . . Lila". Although never able to complete an essay on this theme, he did sketch his view of the subject in two sentences written on the back cover of the notebook. These sentences are given as a footnote.
PART TWO: FROM MAN TO SUPERMAN
5. Circa 1912. Heading: "Ishavasyam". On the next two pages of the same notebook is written a fragmentary commentary on the Isha Upanishad. The present piece clearly is related to that commentary.
The rooted and fundamental conception of Vedanta is that there exists somewhere, could we but find it, available to experience or self-revelation, if denied to intellectual research, a single truth comprehensive & universal in the light of which the whole of existence would stand revealed and explained both in its nature and its end. This universal existence, for all its multitude of objects and its diversity of faces, is one in substance and origin; and there is an unknown quantity, X or Brahman to which it can be reduced, for from that it started and in & by that it still exists. Page – 182
22. Circa 1913.
All existence is Brahman, Atman & Iswara, three names for one unnameable reality which alone exists. We shall give to this sole real existence the general name of God, because we find it ultimately to be not an abstract state of Existence not conscious of itself, but a supreme & self-aware One who exists—absolutely in Himself, infinitely in the world & with an appearance of the finite in His various manifestations in the world.
God in Himself apart from all world manifestation or realisable relation to world manifestation is called the Paratpara Brahman, & is not knowable either to the knowledge that analyses or the knowledge that synthetically conceives. We can neither say of Him that He is personal or impersonal, existence or nonexistence, pure or impure, Atman or unAtman. We can only say to every attempt to define Him positively or negatively, neti neti, Not this, not this. We can pass into the Paratpara Brahman, but we cannot know the Paratpara Brahman. God in the world is Brahman-Iswara-Atman, Prakriti or Shakti and Jiva. These are the three terms of His world-manifestation.
24. Circa 1913.
The self which we have to perfect, is neither pure atman which is ever perfect nor the ego which is the cause of imperfection, but the divine self manifested in the shifting stream of Nature. Existence is composed of Prakriti & Purusha, the consciousness that sees and the consciousness that executes & formalises what we see. The one we call Soul, the other Nature. These are the first double term from which our Yoga has to start. When we come to look in at ourselves instead of out at the world and begin to analyse our subjective experience, we find that there are two parts of our being which can be, to all appearance, entirely separated from each other, one a consciousness which is still & passive and supports, and the other a consciousness which is busy, active & creative, and is supported. The passive & fundamental consciousness is the Soul, the Purusha, Witness or Sakshi; the active & superstructural consciousness is Nature, Prakriti, processive or creative energy of the Sakshi. But the two seem at first to stand apart & distinct, as if they had no share in each other.
The Purusha, still & silent witness of whatever Prakriti chooses to create, not interfering with her works, but reflecting only whatever forms, names & movements she casts on the pure mirror of his eternal existence and the Prakriti restlessly creating, acting, forming & effecting things for the delight of the Purusha, compose the double system of the Sankhyas. But as we continue analysing their relations and accumulate more and more experience of our subjective life, we find that this seeing of the Purusha is in effect a command. Whatever Prakriti perceives it to be the pleasure of the Purusha to see, she tends to preserve in his subjective experience or to establish; whatever she perceives it to be his pleasure to cease to see, she tends to renounce & abolish. Whatever he consents to in her, she forces on him & is glad of her mastery & his submission, but whenever he insists, she is bound eventually to obey. Easily found to be true in our subjective experience, this ultimate principle of things is eventually discovered by the Yogin to determine even objective phenomena. The Purusha & Prakriti are therefore not only the Witness & the Activity witnessed, but the Lord & his executive energy. The Purusha is Ishwara, the Prakriti is His shakti. Their play with each other is both the motive & the executive force of all existence in the universe. Page – 195
30. Early 1913.
Chitshakti not mind has created the world. Chitshakti is the thing which the Scientists call in its various aspects Force & Energy, but it is no material Force or Energy, it is the divine power of self-conscious Being forming itself not materially, not in substance of matter but in the substance of that self-consciousness into these images of form and force which make up the world. What we call world, is a harmony of things seen not by the individual mind or even by universal mind, but rather seen through universal mind, as through a reflecting medium, by the Eye of divine Being. The eye that sees is immaterial, the things seen are immaterial; for matter itself is only a form, image & appearance of eternal Spirit. Page – 200
35. Circa 1912. Heading: "Life".
36. Circa 1912. Heading: "Vedantic Suggestions / The Secret of Life —Ananda".
62. Circa 1913.
Matter is but a form of consciousness; nevertheless solve not the object entirely into its subjectivity. Reject not the body of God, O God lover, but keep it for thy joy; for His body too is delightful even as His spirit.
Perishable and transitory delight is always the symbol of the eternal Ananda, revealed and rapidly concealed, which seeks by increasing recurrence to attach itself to some typal form of experience in material consciousness. When the particular form has been perfected to express God in the type, its delight will no longer be perishable but an eternally recurrent possession of mental beings in matter manifest in their periods & often in their moments of felicity.
106. 1912 13.
107. 1912 13. Faces piece in the manuscript.
122. Circa 1913.
Yoga is the contact of the humanity in us with the deity in which it dwells, of the finite with the Infinite, of the as yet accomplished evolving & imperfect humanity with its yet unevolved attainable perfection, of the outwardly active waking consciousness which is controlled with the inwardly active controlling consciousness, of man with God, of the changing outward apparent ego with the secret real and immutable Self. By that contact the lower rises to the higher, the unevolved evolves, the unborn is created, humanity assumes some part of godhead, man moves upward to God. This upward and self-expanding movement is the utility of Yoga.
124. Circa 1913. Heading: "The Evolutionary Aim of Yoga." The piece apparently is related to "The Evolutionary Aim in Yoga" (Part One, Section Three), and so to piece 127.
The human being on earth is God playing at humanity in a world of matter under the conditions of a hampered density with the ulterior intention of imposing law of spirit on matter & nature of deity upon human nature. Evolution is nothing but the progressive unfolding of Spirit out of the density of material consciousness and the gradual self-revelation of God out of this apparent animal being.
Yoga is the application, for this process of divine self-revelation, of the supreme force of tapas by which God created the world, supports it & will destroy it. It substitutes always some direct action of an infinite divine force for the limited workings of our fettered animal humanity. It uses divine means in order to rise to divinity.
All Yoga is tapasya and all siddhi of Yoga is accomplishment of godhead either by identity or by relation with the Divine Being in its principles or its personality or in both or simultaneously by identity and relation.
Identity is the principle of Adwaita, relation of Dwaita, relation in a qualified identity of Visishtadwaita. But entire perfection comes by identity with God in essential experience & relation of difference with Him in experience of manifestation.
126. Circa 1920. Heading: "An Introduction to Yoga. / 1 / The Meaning of Yoga".
127. Circa 1913. This long piece can be considered a draft of what, differently developed, became two essays, "The Evolutionary Aim in Yoga" and "The Fullness of Yoga—In Condition" (Part One, Section Three). The sense of the second of these titles is explained better in the last two paragraphs of the present piece than in the revised essay.
129. Circa 1915. Heading: "Essays in Yoga. / The Seeds of Yoga."
144. Circa 1912.
PART THREE: NOTES AND FRAGMENTS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS
The Marbles of Time. 1910 14. Editorial title. Cancelled heading: "Marbles".
A Theory of the Human Being. 1912 14.
A Cyclical Theory of Evolution. 1910 13. This piece probably was written around the same time as the preceding one. The opening page or pages (and so also the title) are missing.
Towards Unification. Circa 1912. In the manuscript written beneath the heading: "Studies in the Mahabharat—/ The Book of the Woman." Evidently the passage printed here was meant to be an introduction to a discussion of the eleventh book of the Mahabharata, the Stri-Parva or Book of the Woman. Sri Aurobindo broke off work on the piece without reaching the proposed subject. The title has been supplied by the editors.
China, Japan and India. Circa 1912.
The Origin of Genius. 1910 14.
Poetic Genius. Circa 1912. Editorial title. In the manuscript the heading is "The Genius of Valmekie" (see the next piece).
The Voices of the Poets. Circa 1912. Editorial title. The text of this piece, like the preceding one, was written under the heading "The Genius of Valmekie". There is no explicit mention of Valmiki in either piece.
Pensées. Circa 1912.
The Beauty of a Crow's Wings. 1910 12. Editorial title.
PART FOUR: THOUGHTS AND APHORISMS
Thoughts and Aphorisms. In or around 1913, Sri Aurobindo wrote 552 aphorisms in a single notebook. In May 1915 and May 1916 he published ten of them in the monthly review Arya.