The Course of Progress in Yoga: the Rise and the Fall pp 34-35

Opening remarks
The journey and process of yoga is not a straight line but a wave-form with rise and fall and rise again. This wave-form movement is inevitable due to the complexity of our nature and the taking up of different parts and engaging them in the yoga. It is this which is being described now.

Only awhile at first these heavenlier states
Only awhile at first these heavenlier states,
These large wide-poised upliftings could endure.

The flight of the soul into vaster and luminous domains is not fully supported by our nature that is still bound to its lower movements. It resists the upward ascent and pull of the soul.

The high and luminous tension breaks too soon
The high and luminous tension breaks too soon,
The body’s stone stillness and the life’s hushed trance,
The breathless might and calm of silent mind;
Or slowly they fail as sets a golden day.

It is only some parts of the higher mind that is able to follow the movement of the soul to some extent. Rest of our nature is unable to keep pace and pulls the soul back to its earthly base. Or else the beautiful experience gently fades, receding into the background depths, while the surface nature struggles with Ignorance.

The restless nether members tire of peace
The restless nether members tire of peace;
A nostalgia of old little works and joys,
A need to call back small familiar selves,
To tread the accustomed and inferior way,
The need to rest in a natural pose of fall,
As a child who learns to walk can walk not long,
Replace the titan will for ever to climb,
On the heart’s altar dim the sacred fire.

Our inferior nature, long accustomed to agitation and restlessness, is unable to rightly receive the higher states. It soon sinks back into tamas and is unable to respond to the call of the Spirit. The memory and conditioning of past habits draw it back to the old self. The fire of aspiration gets covered by old passions or sinks into inertia.

A dull gravitation drags us down
An old pull of subconscious cords renews;
It draws the unwilling spirit from the heights,
Or a dull gravitation drags us down
To the blind driven inertia of our base.

Thus far it has been like this. The subconscient refuses to yield. As long as the soul is tied to the material body, it is pulled back from the luminous heights to the dark fields of nature.

This too the supreme Diplomat can use
This too the supreme Diplomat can use,
He makes our fall a means for greater rise.

The Divine is everywhere and He can use everything for His Divine Purposes. He does not simply watch us sink but rather plunges into the abyss with us. Nay He is there, even in the densest darkness, to receive us and once again push us back to even greater heights.

The formless Power, the Self of eternal light
For into ignorant Nature’s gusty field,
Into the half-ordered chaos of mortal life
The formless Power, the Self of eternal light
Follow in the shadow of the spirit’s descent;
The twin duality for ever one                          (p 35 begins)
Chooses its home mid the tumults of the sense.

The play of Purusha and Prakriti, the Divine Self and His eternal Power takes place on every plane. Even in the darkest states He is there, to help, to heal, to succor, to uplift. His Power, the Divine Shakti, though veiled by the darkness, works even there.

He comes unseen into our darker parts
He comes unseen into our darker parts
And, curtained by the darkness, does his work,
A subtle and all-knowing guest and guide,
Till they too feel the need and will to change.

The Divine Wisdom works even in the heart of densest darkness, putting a silent pressure on all things to change. He may seem to be momentarily overpowered by the darkness, but in fact it is not so. Rather it waits for the darkness to yield to the Light, for thus alone can anything true and enduring can be built. The divine compulsion behind all things is our source of Hope and a promise that the transformation is going to be.

All here must learn to obey a higher law
All here must learn to obey a higher law,
Our body’s cells must hold the Immortal’s flame.

Nothing is to be left out untouched by the Light and Power that engages with our nature in this yoga. It is a thorough going Power, so to say, and nothing short of a perfect perfection is Her aim. Indeed, all, even the smallest of movements, must be purified and uplifted to its divine possibility.

Else would the spirit reach alone its source
Else would the spirit reach alone its source
Leaving a half-saved world to its dubious fate.

Liberation of the soul from the meshes of Ignorance is but one step, the first mandatory movement. It must be followed by the liberation or rather the transformation of Nature, for in its deepest sense they are one. To merely liberate the soul is a work half-done.

Nature would ever labour unredeemed
Nature would ever labour unredeemed;
Our earth would ever spin unhelped in Space,
And this immense creation’s purpose fail
Till at last the frustrate universe sank undone.

This is the purpose of creation. It is Divine in origin and each element of it must recover its divinity. This is the purpose why the soul is tied to Nature, not merely to escape but to pull Nature also out of its fallen state. If this were not so, then indeed creation would be an absurdity, a miserable failure or a meaningless accident. For Sri Aurobindo creation is a divine event, and its purpose is to fulfill itself in God through a progressive awakening to the Divine, and consequent divinization of nature itself.

Closing remarks
This is the general course of the process of Integral yoga. The soul ascends to a higher level and then returns back with the light and power gained to lift up the nature as well.

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