This was the original idea of the Veda. If you read the Veda the whole life was explored just as a physicist explores matter, a biologist explores organic life and psychologist explores mind. Even so, the scientist of yoga basically explores the whole life, the totality of life. It is a very difficult task to find out what is human life. The Vedic Rishis made a big exploration and laid out the entire process and said if you lead your life in this particular fashion you will reach the highest fulfilment. It was the programme. And if you read the Veda you will find the whole yoga as in a scientific book but in due course this effort to lead the whole life was reduced. People began to find shortcuts instead of leading the whole life they tried to find out if there was a shortcut to the achievement, to the realisation, to the fulfilment. As a result a distinction came to be made ? don’t bother about the whole life, bother only about one process and develop only one process. And they said that you develop that process to such extend that you don’t have time for anything else.
If you go to the Hatha yogi he will occupy the whole day so that you can do no other work in life. Go on doing asanas and paranyama and no other time is left to you for doing anything in the world. If you go to Raja yogi he will constantly ask you to do pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. You don’t have much time left for anything else. You are told don’t do this, don’t do that. If you go a jnana yogi he will say: “Think but don’t feel. All activities of feeling you ban them. All activities you ban them. Only think and think in only one particular line” If you go to a bhakta he will say: “Don’t think, don’t do any activity, do only bhajan and kirtan. Sing a song in praise of God all the time or turn your rosary all the time. Take the name of God all the time. Don’t think, don’t do any activity, cut off everything.” If you go to a karma yogi he will say, don’t feel anything, you simply go on acting and that is enough.
You will find that in due course of time life was cut off from the process of yoga. It even came to be known in such a way; that if you want to become a yogi you should renounce life. Therefore even today many people are afraid that if you become a yogi you will be out of the world. It is against this principle that Sri Aurobindo has written: “All life is Yoga.” No need to cut yourself off from life, on the contrary use the life itself as a process of yoga. You must be absolutely involved in life. Instead of renouncing you are completely immersed in feeling, in thought, in action, in all kinds of relationships. But in a special way and that special way constitutes the yoga. How you relate yourself to others in action? Don’t renounce action; don’t renounce relationship in action. But what kind of relationship will you have? What do you expect from action? That will be different from what other people do. This yoga does not say that you should not feel. It does not say don’t love as many yogis do — they say don’t fall in love. In this yoga you love but love differently, there is a different way of loving. Not love for bargaining which is the normal way of loving, no there is a different way of loving. This is what constitutes yoga. Yoga of love is yoga of Divine love, how do you love Divinely-- Love, but love Divinely that is the message of the Integral yoga. Jnana yoga as Sri Aurobindo proposes is not only to think but think Divinely. Not only to stop thinking because in Jnana yoga there is stoppage, cessation of modifications of stuff of consciousness. According to that yoga you cease to think and what Sri Aurobindo says is that you cease to think and yet you think in a different way. You arrive at a point where thoughts arise automatically and the nature of thoughts are different. There are inspirations, not thoughts but inspiration. There are revelations, there are intuitions, and there are discriminations but not arising in the ordinary way, in a new way. In other words in the yoga that Sri Aurobindo has proposed all life is taken up, every activity of life is accepted but every activity is transformed. This is one formula of the Integral yoga: All life is accepted but all life is transformed. That is the meaning. “All life” is merely ordinary life is not the doctrine. All life is life, transformed the statement “all life is yoga.” If you accept life as it is and be satisfied with it, it becomes all life is life but if you say all life is accepted but all life is transformed it becomes all life is yoga. Yoga is a process of transformation. You accept life but transform it.
This was also the principle of the Veda but Sri Aurobindo says that the Veda was a very remote experiment and we are not able to understand it now. It is written in terms which are very difficult to us to understand therefore Veda does not become easily accessible to us. So even that past experience has now to be done again and that is what Sri Aurobindo has done. Even the Vedic yoga is accepted here but re-termed. It is not given in the same terms as in the Veda. It is written in terms that are understood by us today. “Unite the horse and the cow” was one of the expressions of the Veda and Sri Aurobindo says, “Unite knowledge and will.” This is the new terminology, the same sentence. “Unite horse and the cow” was an expression of the Veda and you would not understand what it means but to us we will understand if you say “Unite knowledge and will”. Sri Aurobindo has changed the whole terminology of the Veda and written in such a way that we can understand it in our modern times. And also he found that what was in the Veda is not enough. Vedas had made a big exploration but not a complete exploration. And this is a very important statement that has to be underlined. The Integral yoga explores something which has never been explored earlier. Even the highest realisations of the past in the Veda or even in the Upanishads, Sri Aurobindo found to be not capable of answering the question that he had put forward. We must know what is that question and what is that answer. And then only we shall be able to understand this phrase “All life is yoga”.