Integral Yoga - An Outline of Major Aims Processes, Methods and Results

PART ONE

Systems of Yoga and their Synthesis1

Sri Aurobindo defines Yoga as the methodized effort towards self-perfection by the expression of the potentialities latent in the being and a union of the human individual with the universal and transcendent Existence we see partially expressed in man and in the Cosmos. The commencement of yoga is characterized by the point of contact of the human individual consciousness with the higher and profounder states of consciousness that can ultimately lead to the universal and transcendent Existence. That contact normally takes the form of concentration, and concentration implies a process of purification and a process of renunciation. For it is impurities and mixtures in our consciousness that are the causes of distractions in our consciousness, which prevent concentration; again, it is attachment to one ordinary object or the other on account of preference or attraction that causes distraction and deviation from the central object on which we need to concentrate. It is by the process of concentration that our complex and intricately organized consciousness can be led to the contact with the integral Divine Object. The contact may be effected in the physical through the body as in the Hatha Yoga;2 it may be effected in the vital and in the mind through the action of those functionings which determine the states and experiences of our nervous being, as in Raja Yoga;3 again, it may be effected through the mentality, by means of the emotional heart, as in Bhakti Yoga, or through the active will, as in Karma Yoga, or through the understanding mind, as in

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