Integral Yoga and the Path of Tantra (HH 080)


An Integral Yoga leans upon both sides of the Divine, – the passive side of Knowledge as we find in the Vedanta and the dynamic side of Power as found in the Tantra. The present talk touches upon some of the aspects of Tantra as have been incorporated in the Integral Yoga.


Words of Sri Aurobindo

Veda and Vedanta are one side of the One Truth; Tantra with its emphasis on Shakti is another; in this yoga all sides of the Truth are taken up, not in the systematic forms given them formerly but in their essence, and carried to the fullest and highest significance. But Vedanta deals more with the principles and essentials of the divine knowledge and therefore much of its spiritual knowledge and experience has been taken bodily into the Arya. Tantra deals more with forms and processes and organised powers – all these could not be taken as they were, for the integral yoga needs to develop its own forms and processes; but the ascent of the consciousness through the centres and other Tantric knowledge are there behind the process of transformation to which so much importance is given by me – also the truth that nothing can be done except through the force of the Mother.

The process of the Kundalini awakened rising through the centres as also the purification of the centres is a Tantric knowledge. In our yoga there is no willed process of the purification and opening of the centres, no raising up of the Kundalini by a set process either. Another method is used, but still there is the ascent of the consciousness from and through the different levels to join the higher consciousness above; there is the opening of the centres and of the planes (mental, vital, physical) which these centres command; there is also the descent which is the main key of the spiritual transformation. Therefore, there is, I have said, a Tantric knowledge behind the process of transformation in this yoga.

* * *

In our yoga there is no willed opening of the chakras, they open of themselves by the descent of the Force. In the Tantric discipline they open from down upwards, the Muladhar first; in our yoga, they open from up downward. But the ascent of the force from the Muladhar does take place.

* * *

In the Tantra the centres are opened and Kundalini is awakened by a special process, its action of ascent is felt through the spine. Here it is a pressure of the Force from above that awakens it and opens the centres. There is an ascension of the consciousness going up till it joins the higher consciousness above. This repeats itself (sometimes a descent also is felt) until all the centres are open and the consciousness rises above the body. At a later stage it remains above and widens out into the cosmic consciousness and the universal self. This is a usual course, but sometimes the process is more rapid and there is a sudden and definite opening above.

* * *

The ascension and descent of the Force in this yoga accomplishes itself in its own way without any necessary reproduction of the details laid down in the Tantric books. Many become conscious of the centres, but others simply feel the ascent or descent in a general way or from level to level rather than from centre to centre, that is, they feel the Force descending first to the head, then to the heart, then to the navel and still below. It is not at all necessary to become aware of the deities in the centres according to the Tantric description, but some feel the Mother in the different centres. In these things our sadhana does not cleave to the knowledge given in the books, but only keeps to the central truth behind and realises it independently without any subjection to the old forms and symbols. The centres themselves have a different interpretation here from that given in the books of the Tantriks.

* * *

Words of the Mother

Last night something happened to me that I found quite amusing. I was awakened by a Voice, or rather it roused me from one trance to put me into another. It happened at about 11 o’clock. Not a human Voice. I don’t exactly recall its words any longer, but it had to do with the Ashram – its protection, its success, its power. And what was interesting was that when I woke up, I was in a state in which this formation that is the Ashram and the Force that is condensed here to realize what this Voice wanted, seemed a very tiny, tiny part of myself.

I heard the Voice and awoke with the feeling of this Power, this Light, this Force of realization concentrated here which sets everything in motion (as always, it is always the same, a Power in motion). It was a dazzling white light. But then, what I found funny was that there I was, quite in my natural state, and this, the Ashram, was a tiny, tiny part of myself…..

What was me was up above, and the Ashram was … It began just here (the navel) and went that way (downwards), and it was encircled, to show that it was a special formation – encircled in the inconscience of the terrestrial creation. And I was everything else, with the usual vibrations of power and light. And then one current and another current and another were passing into it, into this formation, and they kept going in and in and in, accumulating. They kept going in, and yet they did not come out, they did not leave. It was not an undulatory movement, but rather a pulsating movement – it had no beginning, it didn’t go out, and yet it kept moving. It’s very difficult to describe.

The formation represented by the Ashram was located approximately here, at the height of the navel in relation to what I was – but although the body was not delimited, it had certain attributes or undefined forms, each one of which was situated in relation to the other as though each represented one part of the body; each was symbolic of either an activity or a part of the world or a mode of manifestation. So the formation started from about here, near the navel, and went down towards the appendix … Here, I’ll draw you a sketch:

It’s form was elongated, slanting downwards (it always has this form). At the top it looked like a head, then the lines disappeared down below. It had no openings. And then, it was surrounded by various dark sheaths, a very dark purple which is the color of protection. A sparkling light was entering into it – it kept entering, but without making any holes. It passed right through everything, through the purple – through everything. It passed through and entered inside, where there were sparklings of every color, like a cascade. There are always these cascades of force – similar to a cascading stream whose waters neither flow on nor disappear, but accumulate: an accumulation of energies, a condensation. And they accumulate without taking up any more space through a kind of compression. And inside, it’s moving, vibrating, vibrating, vibrating, it keeps coming and coming – you don’t know where it comes from, but it keeps coming and accumulating.

It was a force with a sparkling white light at its center, the light which is the force of the Divine Mother, and as soon as it was well packed and concentrated inside, or condensed, it took on all the colors – vibrations of every color … Like a materialization – these colors were like a materialization of the Divine Force when it enters matter. (Just as matter is a condensation of energy, well, this seemed to be a condensation of Divine Force. That’s really the impression it gave.)

It reminded me of tantric things. I have seen tantric formations and how forces are systematically separated by them – each vibration, each color. It’s very interesting. They are all one, and yet each is distinct. That is, they are separated in order to be distinguished and for each one to be used individually. Each one represents a particular action for obtaining something in particular. This is the special knowledge the tantrics have, I believe. Or it’s the reflection of their knowledge. And my impression is that when they do their pujas or say their mantras, what they are trying to do is recombine all that into the white light. I’m not sure. I know they use each one separately for a separate purpose, but when they speak of their puja ‘succeeding,’ it may mean that they have been able to recombine the light……

This is what I am constantly seeing now, but along with this Divine Force or this Divine Consciousness that Sri Aurobindo speaks of when he says, ‘Mother’s Force is with you.’ When it comes, it is sparkling white, perfectly white and perfectly luminous. And as it accumulates inside, it makes living vibrations of every color. And it goes on and on and on. Sometimes it lasts half an hour, three-quarters of an hour, an hour – nothing goes out. And it keeps constantly entering. And it piles up. It’s as if it is all being accumulated or compressed together…..

So in my vision, my body was as big as the universe, and that (the Ashram) was so tiny, so tiny.

* * *

If no vibrations ever disappear, then what happens with all these horrible things coming from every corner of the world? Don’t they pile up? Don’t the bad vibrations take on a more and more enormous volume in the end?

They are transformed. And at times they are transformed almost immediately.

You can’t see it or feel it till you concretely live the fact that all is divine, that HE is everywhere, in everything, always, in all that happens.

The first reaction is always a kind of shrinking before things which seem horrible, but if you can overcome that and really have the experience, everything changes.

And there are hundreds and hundreds of little experiences like that, like so many little stones marking the way. Then you see that the two things are ALWAYS together: the destructive and the constructive. You can’t see one without seeing the other. A time comes when the effort is to conquer the negative parts of creation and death (as at the end of Savitri), and when you have conquered that, then you’re above. And then if you look at all these things, even those which seem the most opposed to the Divine, even acts of cruelty done for the pleasure of cruelty, you see the Presence – the Presence that annuls their effects. And it’s absolutely marvelous. I had a startling experience one day when X was doing his pujas to encircle the titans. He was in difficulty and I was about to intervene to help him when I was abruptly stopped. I was faced by a massive blackness (blacker than the blackest physical thing) and suddenly, right at its center, I saw the Divine Love shining with such a splendor – I had never seen it so splendid.

And now it has become constant; each time I hear or see something ugly or horrible, or each time something ugly or horrible happens, something which is a negation of the divine life … just behind is this flame – so wonderful. And then the effect is annulled.

There is a magnificence of realization which could not have been had this evil, this horror and this negation not been.

Our consciousness shrinks from these things which belong to the past and which are no longer in their place, so we feel disgust and revulsion – because we are ignorant. But if we can raise ourselves above and be in contact with That – the supreme Light – which is ALWAYS just behind, then this Light seems all the more supreme because it is so much its own opposite.

Then you know.

You know, so there is no longer this uneasiness, this shrinking. You feel carried more and more by all that you reject; you are in a forward movement, further and further, higher, constantly further.

* * *

That interested me very much. Because one of the obstacles I had felt was that although the Force was acting well, there was a time lag that appeared inevitable, a time element in the work which seemed unavoidable – a play left to the forces of Nature. But with their knowledge of the processes, the tantrics can dispense with all that. So I understood why those who have studied, who are initiated and follow the prescribed methods are apparently more powerful – more powerful even than those who are conscious in the highest consciousness.

What interested me is that in their case (those who follow tantric or other initiations), what is doubtful is whether or not they can succeed in receiving the response of the true Power, the divine power, the supreme power; they do everything they can, but this question still remains. Whereas for me, it is the opposite situation: the Power is there, I have it, but how can I make it act here in matter? The process for making it act immediately was missing – though not totally; I know from the psychological standpoint, but there is something other than the psychological power, there is the whole play of conscious, individualized forces that are everywhere in Nature and that have the right to exist. Since it was created this way, it must express something of the supreme Will, otherwise He wouldn’t have made use of intermediaries – but in His plan, it is obvious that the intermediary has a legitimate place.

The spiritual action is direct, but it may not be immediate (anyway, that’s my experience). Sri Aurobindo said that with the supramental presence, it becomes immediate – and I have experienced this. But this would then mean that the supramental Power automatically commands all these intermediaries, whereas if it’s not present, even the highest spiritual power would need a specialized knowledge to act in this realm, a knowledge equivalent to an occult or initiatory knowledge of all these realms.

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