In the Integral Yoga, it is a speciality of Integral yoga, the fixation is very loose. There is not such insistence that you should first master the first step then this, then this… There is some kind of fixation but it is very loose, you can change. There is no insistence that you must start first with Karma Yoga, then you should continue with Jnana Yoga, then you should do Bhakti Yoga. There is not such a line. If it is easier for you to start with Karma Yoga you start with Karma Yoga. If it is easier for you to start with Jnana Yoga you start with Jnana Yoga. It depends upon each individual; the freedom is tremendously given in the Integral Yoga. But normally in the systematic systems, which are currently available in tradition, all the lines are fixed and you cannot move forward by breaking the line.
“One often even hears the objection urged against a new practice, a new Yogic teaching, the adoption of a new formula, “It is not according to the Shastra.” But neither in fact nor in the actual practice of the Yogins is there really any such entire rigidity of an iron door shut against new truth, fresh revelation, widened experience. The written or traditional teaching expresses the knowledge and experiences of many centuries systematised, organised, made attainable to the beginner. Its importance and utility are therefore immense. But a great freedom of variation and development is always practicable. Even so highly scientific a system as Raja Yoga can be practised on other lines than the organised method of Patanjali.” You can do Raja Yoga, normally you follow the same process called Ashtanga Yoga –– it is called eightfold path. I told you about the eightfold path earlier. You have first yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. These are the eight steps and normally you should move in this direction, one after the other in a fixed line. But even this Raja Yoga practice, Sri Aurobindo says, can be handled in another way. Although there is fixation some kind of flexibility is allowed. But in Integral Yoga as I said there is a tremendous flexibility, much greater than anywhere else.
“Each of the three paths of the trimarga…” Tri means three, marga means path. Trimarga are Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. They are called the three paths. It is also called the triple path. Whenever there is the expression triple path, it normally refers to the path of Jnana, the path of Karma, the path of Bhakti. “Each of the three paths of the trimarga breaks into many bypaths which meet again at the goal.” The way in which you can connect jnana with karma, karma with bhakti –– there are many different ways of doing it. “The general knowledge on which the Yoga depends is fixed, but the order, the succession, the devices, the forms must be allowed to vary; for the needs and particular impulsions of the individual nature have to be satisfied even while the general truths remain firm and constant.” For each individual there has to be a difference, a kind of variation.
And now Sri Aurobindo speaks of the Integral Yoga.
“An integral and synthetic Yoga needs especially not to be bound by any written or traditional Shastra; for while it embraces the knowledge received from the past, it seeks to organise it anew for the present and the future. An absolute liberty of experience and of the restatement of knowledge in new terms and new combinations is the condition of its self–formation. Seeking to embrace all life in itself, it is in the position not of a pilgrim following the highroad to his destination, but, to that extent at least, of a path–finder hewing his way through a virgin forest.” This is our present condition. We are actually, pilgrims who don’t have the map. We do not know where is the highway. The map does not give the highway. We are like the path–finder. We go sometime is this way, sometime in that way, we are constantly making a voyage into the unknown –– as Sri Aurobindo says in a virgin forest. A forest, which has not been trodden by anybody as yet, and you make a new path. “For Yoga has long diverged from life and the ancient systems which sought to embrace it, such as those of our Vedic forefathers, are far away from us, expressed in terms which are no longer accessible, thrown into forms which are no longer applicable. Since then mankind has moved forward on the current of eternal Time and the same problem has to be approached from a new starting–point.”
This is an example which is given here which requires a little explanation. Yoga has for long deviated from embracing life. What does it mean? If you look at the first page of The Synthesis of Yoga you will find a very short line: “All life is Yoga.” It is the most important line of this book.