11. Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga
Sri Aurobindo's yoga is of importance for this book because it makes Spiritual opulence possible. As yoga is the antithesis of family life, this aspect of Sri Aurobindo's yoga is relevant and is of interest here. He calls His yoga Integral Yoga. It is so called because this yoga is integrated with life. In Sanskrit it is called Purna Yoga, meaning everything in creation is included in this yoga. He has also said that this is a yoga of Self-Perfection. The Self that is known to be aloof, perfects itself by emerging through our minds, lives and bodies. Hence the Yoga of Self-Perfection. In perfecting life, this Self enriches life, makes it spiritually opulent. There is one more description of this yoga. It is the yoga of spiritual evolution. We know our tradition describes the Spirit as unchangeable and immutable. But Sri Aurobindo has perceived the evolution - change by growth - of the Spirit in all planes. The Spirit that evolves in life makes life,
- invincible, unfailing
- one of ever-growing abundance
- conscious by the force and consciousness that are separate joining together
- capable of prolonging life at will, conquering death
- ascend and integrate itself with consciousness
- evolve its Psychic Being
- enter the third dimension of Time from where it is now - in successive, processive Time as we always know it.
His yoga will be presented in this chapter only from this point of view. Therefore, I do not expect the reader to encounter difficulties of comprehension. Let me start with stating every aspect of this yoga, along with the corresponding position in the tradition and explain each such statement from the point of view of Spiritual Opulence.
- Tradition shuns life, women, and money, as they are parts of ego. Sri Aurobindo accepts life and woman as sacred and hopes to win money from the Asura to put it at the feet of the Divine. It is this aspect that makes life luck.
- Karma determines life. Therefore life is full of ups and down. This yoga dissolves karma. Therefore grace acts in life. There are no failures here.
- In life we live in Time. Therefore our past determines our future. In yogic life we live in the third dimension of Time. There is no past here, only the ever-present. One is not determined by the past.
- Life is in Prakriti, Nature, where there is no soul. The Soul is behind as witness. Hence suffering, pain, and death are in life. Yogic life is not in Prakriti. It is in the evolving soul, the Psychic Being. There is no suffering, pain or death.
- Life is full of contradictions. It causes trouble. That is the source of all our problems. Here we have the knowledge that contradictions are complements.
- Tradition seeks moksha, deserts life, leaves it to take care of itself. We seek transformation, refuse moksha; transformation is fulfillment of life on earth.
- Pure Mind seeks Pure Spirit as moksha. The Spirit returns to its origin through a short cut. The evolving Spirit returns to its origin through the universe, thus fulfilling the intention of God. This process dissolves the ego, the source of all our troubles here - pain, suffering, death, evil.
- Life exists in dualities, light and darkness; high and low; evil and good; pain and Ananda.We see no dualities here. Darkness is for us intense light; evil is a greater good; pain is intense Ananda.
- Yoga needs methods such as asana, pranayama, japa, mantra, austerities, etc. Here there is no method as above. The only method is surrender. Mother asks for purity, openness, sincerity, and receptivity.
- Man is Mind. Mind is partial. Therefore life has its problems. Man is Supermind. It is a whole. Hence life has no problems.
- Events take time to fulfil themselves as life is in Time. Here we witness instantaneous miraculousness as we are in the third dimension of Time.
- Human life is ego-centred. Divine Life is Psychic-centred.
- Our life exists on the surface mind, limited by Ego, Mind, Time as finite. Mother's life is in the subliminal free from Mind, Ego and Time. Therefore it expands into the universe. Life is rich.
- Ignorance vitiates life, creates obstacles. Ignorance is the greatest creation of God. Emerging from it is delight.
- Life is in activity, noise. Its scope is limited. Higher life is in Silence; its scope is unlimited and more effective. It can move to Silence behind Silence.
- Jivatma has no reality. It has to go and dissolve in Paramatma. Jivatma is discovered as Paramatma in this life. Hence heaven comes down on earth.
- Ananda is above. It cannot come down. When it comes down it flashes like lightning, as it has no body. Here ananda expresses itself through Matter. Matter gives Ananda the body it does not have. Hence Ananda becomes permanent here.
- After the Vedic period, life is divorced from Mind and Spirit. Vedic Rishis lived in tune with Nature. We must now recover the harmony of life with the Spirit at the supramental plane.
- The more Man advances, the greater are his problems. It is so because he lives in Mind. The more he advances, the greater is his Ananda as he lives in Supermind.
- Man seeks austerity. Hence he courts a dry life. This life can be simple or luxurious but never austere. Austerity is for the child soul.
- Anything in life is limited - resources, energy, longevity, etc. In Mother's life nothing is limited unless we put a limit on it. Life is like a tub whose water is limited in quantity. Mother's life is like a well which is supplied by a spring below. It knows no end.
- The ruling power of life is falsehood. All our troubles issue from that falsehood. Mother's life is ruled by Truth and Truth alone. No wonder life's sufferings are not found here.
- Status, wealth, and power matter in life. All do not have it. Consciousness alone matters in this life which anyone can acquire in any measure he likes.
- External social life and movements of Nature are beyond the control of Man. This life is based on the outer reflecting the inner. Therefore, all external events can be controlled by controlling our own inner movements.
- On any showing, a certain amount of cruelty, violence, and injustice is inevitable. Mother's life is full of compassion and divine justice.
- Waste of material energy, Time, etc. is part of life There is no real waste as Nature accomplishes many things at once. Mother's life accomplishes more with little resources.
- Blood is thicker than water. There is something - consciousness - thicker than blood.
- Human nature will not change. To transcend nature is our aim.
- Scarcity of one thing or another is inevitable. Abundance is the rule, scarcity is what man creates.
- Man is selfish and mean. Self-giving and generosity are the rules.
- Destiny rules life. Man decides his own life.
- Love, Romance, Friendship are ephemeral. They are the only lasting values of life.
- Ideals are not practical. The greater the ideal, the more practical it is.
- A sound mind in a sound body. Mind rules the body.
- Education means degree. Neither degree nor knowledge is complete education.Education is the experience of the mind.
- We have to do as others do in the society. It is not the society, not even the conscience we have to follow. We must follow the Soul.
- Man is the highest creation of God. Man is not final. Supramental Being is the next species.
- Mind has created the world. Ego has created the world. Supermind has created the world, not mind or ego.
- Contradictions are a feature of life. Contradictions are complementaries.
- Spirit is different from Matter. They are one.
- God has created the universe as His Lila. God seeks delight in creation through Self-discovery.
- To know God is Knowledge. To Know the World is Ignorance.Knowledge becomes Ignorance, the highest accomplishment in creation.
- We cannot know how the One becomes the Many. We can know it. The One and the Many are part of Brahman.
- Life is evil. Life is a creative specialization of the Force.
- We cannot know the process of creation. Self-creation of the Infinite Being creating form out of force is the process of creation.
- Sat is different from Chit which is different from Ananda. All of them are one.
- The tradition does not define Spirit, Supermind, Mind, Life or Matter. Sri Aurobindo defines all.
- Evil is the opposite of good. We have to live with it. There is a Self-existent good, against which no evil exists.
- Rebirth is there for man to overcome karma. Rebirth is necessary for the evolution of the Spirit.
- Any work has its own Time. Time has to come. Man can make Time come now.
- The Spirit is inside. The whole universe and the Transcendent are inside.
- Matter moves Spirit.Spirit moves matter.
Sri Aurobindo's yoga announces to the world new spiritual powers. Man was doing tapas to reach God. HE says God is longing for Man's intimacy and has come to his doorstep. Man now suffers in various ways, a million ways. All such sufferings can be shed and turned into their corresponding joys. What HE shows us today in evolving Spirit has been the history of mankind and the history of the earth. Man lived through hunting. When game was not there, he moved to other places. He did so when water sources dried up. A revolution took place when he discovered agriculture and well digging. He produced abundance from the land, found water underground, stopped his nomadic life, and settled down. It was a major revolution 10,000 years ago. From then on dozens of major and minor revolutions have taken place. That is the history of civilisation. The latest is the advent of the Internet. God seeking delight arrived at a moment of fruition which Sri Aurobindo calls the Hour of God. This is the moment the Godhead buried in the darkness of Ignorance can wake up and hasten evolution. Should man respond to that, That will respond as the descent of Supermind abolishing pain, suffering and death from the face of the earth.
Sri Aurobindo came on earth to announce its advent and realise it. A portion of the Lord came as Sri Aurobindo. Those who came to Him saw a Rishi in Him. Later others thought HE was an Avatar. Mother declared HE was not an Avatar but the Lord. HE was a portion of the Lord. Lord who worked up above and made the HOUR come, came down to realise it in human consciousness. He was not understood as HE ought to have been. There was no response from MAN. MAN betrayed Him, Mother said. Betrayal is an intense form of friendship. HE did not give up. He retired into the subtle plane and succeeded in His mission in 1956. His force prevented the third World War. He is still working for India to be united geographically. Man has indirectly responded to Him partially. The partial response has resulted in vast material progress, but generated pollution.
Of His five dreams, the next is world union. India becoming the World Guru follows. For that, geographical unity is essential. Abolition of poverty and ushering in Prosperity will go a long way in achieving unity. Poverty can be abolished by hard physical work as the world has done. But today the world has progressed and sees that type of hard physical work on land is no longer absolutely needed. India can escape the phase of agriculture and enter into Prosperity directly. There are signs of such a possibility. The Revolution of Rising Expectations perceived by Harlan Cleveland in the 50's is emerging in the rural areas. Primary schools have skipped teaching the alphabet and the rigours of exams all over the world. The child starts reading directly without learning the letters. India can enter the phase of Prosperity directly by starting at the other end of seeking the products of Prosperity. As land and factory were the fields of production, man's needs which serve other's demands has become a field of productivity. It is the creativity of the society. That stage is seen as a silver lining in Indian rural life. It is the carpenters and electricians who are making the cell phone a rural reality. Communication makes their productivity rise. Productivity is Prosperity. This, in my opinion, is the response of social life to the descending Force. Man and his evolving soul can respond to that Force. Now that a new field of creativity has come into existence, Man's spiritual recognition of it can make his life spiritually rich. By recognising Spirituality as Prosperity, Man can escape the trauma of hard physical work the world had to go through hitherto to reach prosperous living standards.
Man resorts to prayer when medicine fails or his efforts fail. With faith, man can bring himself to pray before he seeks the doctor or exercises his efforts. He can avoid the treatment, as the disease will disappear. The call of this book is for Man to see the Force in the atmosphere and avail of it. It is for this purpose I have hazarded writing a chapter on Yoga here, which I would normally avoid. I am writing in this chapter difficult concepts of philosophy but not in terms of Philosophy or Yoga. I write them in terms of life.
Man loses his purse. Not much is lost. Sometimes it can be regained. His search may yield results or not. When he gets the purse back he will find himself in the physical plane of existence. Often the purse too is not recovered. Resorting to prayer,
- The purse will certainly be gained and
- His life moves into the spiritual, supramental plane.
- The gain is not the purse, but his raising his consciousness.
- Should my call be heard and MAN enters opulence, the gain is not abundant wealth, but Man rising into the spiritual consciousness.
I shall be justified in recording a few hundred experiences of devotees in every walk of life but as long as the reader is willing to perceive the spiritual luck that is beckoning him, the examples cited so far will serve the purpose. I dare not invite Man to do yoga, though I shall be delighted to know that some have considered that possibility. I consider that it is my spiritual privilege to place before the Indian citizen the wonder that awaits him. It is available for all, all over the world, but to the Indian it is available in a greater richness more easily, as the light is there in him. I shall dwell on yogic aspects only in that measure. The Indian government can solve the problem of Kashmir by this Force, but I have no access to the Mind of the Indian government or its spiritual appreciation of the Presence of this Force. Should India respond to Prosperity in a wide way, it is my hope, the atmosphere will change for the better and no problem of hers, including Kashmir, will be an exception. Kashmir will unite India and Pakistan.
Yoga in Life
The police in our town is the army for us. There is no comparison between the army that defends us from aggression and the police who quell the local riots. To the ordinary citizen, the police is the army. We know the policeman who risks his life defending lives and property needs to be as brave as the soldier at the front. It is equally so for the fire fighter whose risk is even greater. So, I confine myself to considering the TRUE yoga in life and do not stray into the higher realms of yoga that evolves man into the Supramental Being. The following are my territories for people in various sectors.
1. There are people below the line of poverty. They are crushed under the great weight of poverty especially in the economically demanding social obligations. If all these people come to know of Mother, allow themselves to be engulfed by Her atmosphere, pray to Her for the alleviations of their problems, before long all of them will cross the line of poverty, some of them will step into upper middle class, a few of them will rise meteorically above that too. Since 1980 when the Tamil population recognized the Divine Mother, it is happening in a good measure. As a matter of fact, they came to Mother after the lower middle class responded to Mother. In 1970 in our experiment in our rural project, we heard That
- In this one year bumper crop, everyone in the village had paid off all his debts. One man who was debt ridden for 17 years got fully out of it.
- Marriages took place everywhere. One agriculture labourer, flush with money, celebrated the marriage of his nine year old son.
- Twenty-five years later we heard at the town market a characteristic comment: "It seems all the money in the world is there in this village."
- The Truth is poverty was banished and abolished at its very roots in a token experiment.
2. Next comes the devotee from the lower middle class who in 1980 was taking home a salary of less than Rs.1000 and was living on one square meal a day, not dreaming about higher education, decent employment or a house. At once they all moved into the comfort of the middle class. By now all of them have moved into the comfort of upper middle class, except those who refused to give up the belief in traditional rituals and all that goes with it. Ritualistic life effectively shuts out this Force. All of them without exception now own houses and a good many of them have cars now. Marriage and jobs, the two ghosts that haunt the middle class, have ceased to be a terror to them since they took to the worship of The Divine Mother. People who have not expected their son to pass S.S.L.C., now find him with a PhD from USA. Those who have not dreamt of the top post of their department went higher than that and scaled still further heights rising to national eminence. Mother is everywhere in Tamil Nadu and Her Presence is seen as dynamic life that is prosperous.
3. The response from the industrialist, even the industrialists of the small scale, is meager. Their rise is so meteoric that they are unable to keep their balance. An ego trip or an activation of their greed leads to their falling by the wayside. Our work in this sector remains theoretical and practice is nominal. It is theoretical in the sense that our ideas are appreciated in the reading, not in practice. Life outside has responded in a token way to cleanliness and orderliness. Wherever they are taken to, prosperity shoots up sky high, though they do not know of the existence of this Force. Their values - cleanliness, orderliness, and organisation - have attracted great prosperous waves.
4. In the eighties we published in about a hundred days in a leading newspaper our ideas about Prosperity, and submitted to the Planning Commission 138 concrete proposals on their invitation. Perhaps none of our proposals were incorporated into the government's Five Year Plan. To the hundred articles in the newspaper we rarely got a reader response. Maybe the responses were a few and inconsequential. But the nation at large, particularly Tamilnadu, has responded. Almost all our suggestions have been implemented in one form or another. Hire purchase was our pet theme then. Now it is a reality.
5. Higher still lie OPPORTUNITIES, much of which area vailed of after a fashion, but none in a systematic way. The population has not heard of them as yet, though our ideas are written about constantly. They are opportunities in the industrial fields as well as in the realms of higher education. In fact they are beyond the sphere of higher education. It lies in the plane of originality in the mind. The only valid experiment I know of I mentioned earlier - that of Nirupama.
- The opportunities in small scale industries and heavy industries are enormous. Those who doubt the possibilities need only look at China, Korea and Taiwan. Singapore is unique. What all those countries do on their own, we must be able to do with the Force in the atmosphere. It is the Force that acts everywhere, but we can receive more of it because of our heritage. Software industry shows signs of such a possibility. I am of a different opinion. I see India can skip the agricultural phase and enter into immense Prosperity by urbanization and through the service sector. Economists may not see eye to eye with me. In the coming centuries or even in the coming decades, manufacturing will bring up the rear of the Indian economy. It is in this area India can provide economic leadership to the world, by creating NEW ways of economic activity. It is possible if India wakes up spiritually, not in terms of ritualistic religious worship or the tapas of the sannyasi. India must seek the Spirit in LIFE, in Prosperity, in the Divine Living, here, ihaiva, not in the other world. In the event of India's spiritual awakening, economics will go far behind and manufacturing will have as little place in the nation's economy as khadi and village industries do today.
- In the field of higher education, perhaps the highest possible education, India can set out to create geniuses in as great a number as PhDs in the West now. Genius is the lowest member of Rishihood, the last rung of the ladder that leads one to be a Rishi. Now that Spirit in life has made the muni, Rishi, Yogi who seek moksha back members, Genius is within the reach of all who are mentally awakened. One may wonder whether this is not a wild dream of someone who has lost his senses. My reply is those who see the educational and urban progress of USA, who think of how the world war was won, how India won her freedom without armed uprising, can visualize this possibility. The real understanding will dawn on people when they invoke the Spirit in the experiment I shall be suggesting later. Today we see hundreds of people coming into hundreds of crores in one or two decades. For all my dreams to gain validity in the understanding of the reader, the reader
- must see that utter Truthfulness is abundant Prosperity in his own life.
- should witness the power of ORGANISATION to raise an individual or a nation from nowhere to everywhere.
The East India Company, with a capital equal to one third of the income of England, founded an empire in India fifteen times the size of England in India. It led to a world empire. One must see ORGANISATION is all in progress. The East India Company newly created an empire. In India the treasures of the Vedas and the Upanishads are buried. They have to be unearthed, moksha is to be renounced, and spiritual fulfilment in life should be sought after as a goal. One can then see that Genius belongs to a far lower level than that of our goal, at least five or six levels below it.
- By education and government support, in twenty-five years children of agricultural labourers occupy the IAS cadre and other jobs of equal eminence. It is not because of utter truthfulness. For the level of truthfulness that is prevalent there today, just because they are Indian citizens, they enjoy this administrative privilege. I ask for utter truthfulness in the mentally awakened. Such a cross-section of people - espousing truth and giving up rituals - will find Genius within their reach. Genius is not an endowment one can work for. Render your Being one of Truth, call in Mother into your spiritual life, and the spiritual splendor will blossom in you. Genius will be one of those results.
- It is absolutely necessary that India does not ape America or any other nation. It is equally necessary India should not develop further superstitions in the field of religion and spirit. She must actively endeavour to give up all the present superstitions religions have given us. Those who cling to superstition of any description - religious, social, educational, administrative - cannot receive the TOUCH of this FORCE. They must be content with what their horoscope has in store, granted by karma. I have no meaningful suggestion for them.
- Money has entered into a new phase of existence in the world. So far, Man sought money. Now money seeks MAN. That money will be available in copious abundance to those who have lost their money value. All those who cherish money will enjoy its scarcity, or, they will receive a small portion of what is sanctioned to them. Or, they will receive the lower social value of money. To those Indians who rise above the value of MONEY, who realise that man is more valuable than money, money will be at their service. It will present itself in unlimited abundance. The Indians need new values. They are not divine values, but will lead them there.
- Psychological independence, a capacity to stand on one's own legs, an ability NOT to accept help wherever it comes from. A software company refusing a ten crore assistance from the government is an excellent omen.
- Today some, at least, cherish the future where they can sit idle while others will feed them because it is their religious privilege. I have no comment to offer to them. I wish to say one should be proud not to receive help.
- Sri Aurobindo talks of the old Indian aristocracy Now we must go back to that purity of Jnana, the honour of the courageous, the self-giving of those who produce and the selfless service of those who are skilled. It is a magnificent passage where Sri Aurobindo speaks of the leonine courage of the seeker of the knowledge and honour. Not only that, it has to be raised to its logical spiritual efflorescence, the life of Spirit. We are petty in our minds and life. All that is petty, mean, and perverse springs from untruth. They can be dissolved as if by a magic wand in one flourish. Maybe it would have been an effort of Himalayan proportions before HE was born in 1872. Now 132 years after His birth and the descent of the Force in 1956, for one Major Decision to live by Truth and truth alone, India can rise resplendent in her spiritual garb.