Integral Yoga and Other Spiritual Paths

In the Integral Yoga, we turn to the Divine Mother who is One and yet Infinite and hence can be approached by each individual in his or her unique way. The lack of a rigid structure in the yoga allows for individual variations in our approach to the One Infinite Reality whom we call by different names. However, it is important to note that though the Divine Mother has Her own Divine Form in Her Transcendental and Cosmic aspects, for the purposes of the Integral Yoga Sri Aurobindo clearly asks us to approach Her through the present embodiment.  The reason is to be found in the Indian conception of Avatarhood wherein the Eternal Divine assumes a mortal cloak, a form constituted of the same matter as ours rather than of celestial substance which the beings who dwell in higher worlds assume for their form. The Divine Mother by assuming this human form and subjecting Herself to the ignorance and unconsciousness of human nature, by entering the valley of Death opens a possibility for the Divine Victory, the victory of Truth, of Light, of Love, of Beauty, of Bliss over all that opposes it here. Hence when we turn to Her in this present embodiment through devotion, worship, love, faith and surrender to Her then a certain opening, a conscious link is created between our humanity and the new divine possibility that She has worked out in and through Her body.

Through this link, She begins to pour what has been realised in Her into the aspirant.  The more we give ourselves sincerely to Her the more this link is strengthened. The best part in us through which the link is forged most strongly is the psychic being, though one may try it through different elements of nature such as thoughts, emotions, will, outer actions and by offering them to Her we begin to receive what She is here to give. The best method is to remember Her as often as we can and thereby form the strongest bond of love with Her that endures all the rub and change of time. Naturally, this is an act of love and it cannot be limited to a fixed period of time or formal practice. And yet it helps to create our own unique structure with a certain degree of freedom and flexibility to initiate the journey.  It is good in the beginning and for a long time to set aside a time when we would devote ourselves exclusively to creating the conscious link or strengthening it so to say. Once the link is formed in a solid way, especially when one has become conscious of Her Presence within, one is identified with the soul then the slightly formal structures can be slowly brought down to allow for a free play of Her Shakti all the time in our nature and through every activity until all our life becomes a ceaseless aspiration and a constant self-giving to Her whom we adore.

Of course, there are paths of yoga that do not need any such turning towards or through a form, whether a divine being or human guru. The reason is that these yogas are seeking for liberation into the Infinite and hence regard all forms including creation itself as a bondage. Through an exclusive inner concentration taking the support of an Idea or a mantra the human soul passes into the Beyond from where there is no return.  Even where forms are used as in certain tantra rituals it is only to invoke one or another aspect of a Deity for a limited and specific benefit.  This benefit is time-bound, there is no permanent bonding and hence the ritual needs to be repeated daily or annually. But here the very objective is different.  It is a permanent change of earth nature, to upgrade our human consciousness into the Divine and hence the link too must be permanent. Of course a time comes when the inner link is strong but even then, since the outer nature and the very physical body aspires to participate in the yoga, the outer form and seemingly ritual acts such as bowing before the Divine Mother,  Pranam, working for Her physically so to say, opens our body too to the workings of Her Force within the human adhar.

It is with this background that one has to understand other Divine Avatars such as Krishna, Jesus, Buddha. Each is a Divine Manifestation and hence equally divine.  But the purpose of each embodiment is to bring a certain power or aspect of the One Infinite into the earth. Each brings a certain angle of vision.  Thus, for example, Buddha brought Permanence and Compassion, Krishna brought Freedom in action and delight, Jesus brought Divine Love that sacrifices itself at the altar of world to redeem humanity. But all these great beings and their teachings were later turned into fixed and formal religions. Sri Aurobindo and The Mother bring Divine Perfection and Divine Life through the victorious power of Divine Love and Grace.  Depending upon our core aspiration we are drawn to the form. What is important is to keep strengthening the bond and as many points of contact with Her through the various aspects of our human nature. She has linked us with Her by becoming the Golden bridge between the Divine Perfection Above and the human ignorance below. Now it is our turn to nurture the beautiful relationship and water it with love and devotion, strengthen it with faith and surrender, tie ourselves eternally to Her by the power of Name.

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