Now there are three features of Integral Yoga. In this yoga there is no strict or rigid sequence. This is a very important statement. In Hatha Yoga first you do asanas and when you master this you do pranayama. In Raja Yoga you do first yama and niyama, then asanas, then pranayama, then like the tortoise, withdrawal from all the outside influences, then dwelling, then dwelling further, then absorption. In every yoga there is a sequence. In the Integral Yoga there is sequence but there is no rigid sequence. If you ask: “What is the first thing I should do in this yoga?” There is no straight answer. If at all you insist a few things can be told but even there you find that you can do whatever is convenient to you. There are of course broad lines of development. You cannot jump straight to the Supramental. That you can’t do, supermind will come at a latest stage, but even there you can make jumps from one to the other, depending upon what your capacities are, what your state is. There is sequence but no rigid sequence. Whatever is convenient to you to start with, that you should do? If it is not easy for you to study, you will be allowed in this yoga. Don’t study. What do you like to do? Whatever you can do easily, whatever is your inclination concentrate on that, purify that and develop that. Then gradually a sequence will be built up. Once you take this up there will be sequence developed but even there the sequence will not be rigid. If after sometime you say that you want to do something else that also is allowed. That is the real principle of free progress. In a rigid system of education first you must do this, then you must do this, it is a fixed syllabus. In the free progress system the syllabus is not fixed. Whatever you feel like doing you do it. After sometimes if you want to do something else do that. Integrate it with what you have done so far or don’t integrate go to the third step. Allow your natural being to flow. Gradually you develop your faculties. The ultimate aim is to bring all your faculties into the picture. If this is not done ultimately you lose everything. Your aim should be all, everything should be developed, everything should be transfigured. This is the first characteristic of the Integral Yoga.
In this Integral Yoga there is no rigid sequence. There are people who are so active they cannot meditate at all. To them the answer is: don’t meditate, go on doing your work and offer your work to the Divine. That is a meditation of a different kind. Offering your work to the Divine is another kind of meditation. Do that kind of meditation; don’t sit quietly at one time half an hour, one hour. Don’t do that. There are some people who are incapable doing a lot of work. Their energies are not tuned to action. They like to meditate, reflect, contemplate, withdraw, retire, be quiet, silent. For them that is the method, they start with that. For other remembering the Divine, to sing the songs of the Divine, to praise the Divine, to live all the time in love of God, will be much easier for so many people. So they start with that. There is no rigid sequence that you must start with this or this or this. You start whenever you are, whatever you are. It is to such an extent that every individual will have his own system of yoga because every individual has his own combination of mind, life and body.
Therefore everybody will have appropriate to himself his own method. Synthesis of Yoga, Integral Yoga is one in which every individual will have his own system. There are millions and millions of ways of Integral Yoga; not just one. Therefore Integral Yoga cannot become a religion. Religion is a system in which one method is prescribed, one principle is introduced and you have to follow that one principle. Integral Yoga cannot become a religion because everyone is allowed to develop his own method so there is no religion at all. That is why Mother has said that it is impossible to make Sri Aurobindo’s teaching a religion. You cannot make it a religion if every individual has his own method of development. You cannot prescribe that everyone should do this. In religion all those who believe have to follow one method. In the Integral Yoga everyone has his own method, his own way of development. There are no two identical persons having the same system of yoga in Integral Yoga. For each individual the yoga develops as he moves forward. His method develops depending upon what is now prominent, what is easy, what is demanded by the force of your action and you go on growing on that side. Gradually all of them, like branches of a tree, will intertwine. Ultimately you become a beautiful lotus with all the petals growing together in a perfect manner. That is the aim. This is the first characteristic.
“There are three outstanding features of this action of the higher when it works integrally on the lower nature. In the first place it does not act according to a fixed system and succession as in the specialised methods of Yoga, but with a sort of free, scattered and yet gradually intensive and purposeful working determined by the temperament of the individual in whom it operates…” These are very important words: free, scattered and yet gradually intensive and purposeful. This is the method, the special feature of Integral Yoga. It is determined by the temperament of the individual, according to the temperament of the individual, whether you are active or emotive or contemplative or a muscular man trying to do muscle building all the time. It depends on your inclination. Nothing is compulsory in this yoga. Ultimately everything is included but nothing is compulsory in the process
“… the helpful materials which his nature offers…” You have to find what is helpful in your nature. If it is easy for you to contemplate then that is your method. It is easy for you to love then that is your method. It is easy for you to work then that is your method. Depending upon your temperament what are the elements in your temperament.
“… the helpful materials which his nature offers and the obstacles which it presents to purification and perfection.” Purification and perfection come by development. Purification, development, concentration, these three methods are always present but where you apply them depends where your obstruction is, where your helpful material is.
“In a sense, therefore, each man in this path has his own method of Yoga.” This is the most important sentence. In Integral Yoga there is a different path for everyone. There is one beautiful sentence in the Bhagavad Gita: “As they approach Me so do I deliver.” “If you approach the Divine with love, He returns to you with love. If you want that the Divine should increase your power of work, He pours work in you. If you contemplate on Him He gives you a lot of peace and silence. Ye yatha mam prapadyante tan tathaiva bajamayaham.” “As they approach Me so do I respond to them.” If you think the Divine is angry with you He is angry with you; if you think the Divine is pleased with you He is pleased with you. You decide. Both are good. If you need the hand of Kali, think the Divine is angry with you and Kali will come and will break all your obstructions on the spot. If you want a soft, step by step process the Divine will do all the things that have to be done very softly, very tenderly, very affectionately. It depends on you, as you approach Him so He will deliver, so He will respond. And there are million ways of approaching the Divine. That is why it is said: Integral Yoga has a million ways, there is no one-way.
“Yet are there certain broad lines of working common to all which enable us to construct not indeed a routine system, but yet some kind of Shastra or scientific method of the synthetic Yoga.” Although outwardly it may look scattered but behind it there is a method -- not a rigid method but a sequence. There are three basic steps of this yoga. You may start anywhere but you have to pass three basic steps. Sri Aurobindo has spoken of them as the Triple Transformation -- psychic, spiritual and supramental. Even there the process overlaps. It is not a rigid process. Even while you are in the psychic stage of development Supramental stage also can intervene suddenly. Or spiritual stage can intervene. You may go first to spiritual and psychic may develop later. We shall see all this later on but still in a general way the basic thing is you develop the psychic then spiritual then Supramental. That kind of succession is not entirely impossible. In fact, it is very much in the picture. This is the shastra of Integral Yoga which is already written in your heart. It is the shastra of psychic transformation, spiritual transformation and Supramental transformation. Such is the scientific method of Integral Yoga.