Lesson 55: The Integral Yoga and the Path to a Conscious Life
You will notice with great clarity that your unique life path forces you to grow even if you don’t want to. When things are going great, you move outward. You expand your horizontal, physical life. When things are not going well, the movement turns you inward to your center and you grapple with your circumstances. All of your life is this process: from the vertical (inner) to the horizontal (outer) and from the horizontal (outer) to the inner (vertical). It is the individual breathing in and breathing out that makes up all of life. You descend into human form. You scale the heights to Truth and Wisdom, and then you descend once more into the horizontal to transform your life and the world.
This is the profound spiritual practice of what Aurobindo refers to as the integral yoga. Let me explain. I remember many years ago when I was first introduced to a different reality than the one I maintained, that the object of the discipline which involved meditation was to transcend the physical, material world and the illusions I practiced. Through 10 years of disciplined meditation, I was able to transcend my body and on a number of occasions access a different reality that was really quite remarkable but when I returned from tripping the light fandango, everything was the same. The world had not changed. So, naturally, as a result of that training and discipline, I believed that the world was an illusion.
In spite of the fact that I was able to experience a certain form of Nirvana outside of me, it led to a certain kind of meaninglessness of my daily life. Most importantly, when I went through “the grinder” when I was 40 years old, I had neither the skills or understanding of how to navigate the turbulent storms of life much less understand why they had happened in the first place. I had no choice but to rely upon my previous discipline. But how could this be? How could it be that I could meditate and transcend and yet, my life at that time was a wreck? It became simple. What I had learned was not the truth. I would experience that spiritual escape only leads to prison and it this form of spiritual practice that is the most prevalent form of practice today.
I will not try to explain to you any more of Aurobindo’s work and the integral yoga which is the path to a conscious life. If there is a fire burning in your belly and you realize that there must be something more, then you, too, just as I did, will find your way to this work and your life will be changed forever. As Savitri says to Satyavan, “Our parting was the dream.” Unconsciousness, unhappiness, depression, loneliness, despair, pain and suffering…they are but dreams.
In chapter 12, the epilogue, called “The Return to Earth,” Savitri and Satyavan return to the secrecy of the woods and their thatched home.
“And all her life was conscious of his life
And all her being rejoiced enfolding his.
The immense remoteness of her trance had passed;
Human she was once more, earth’s Savitri,
Yet felt in her illimitable change.
A power dwelt in her soul too great for earth,
A bliss lived in her heart too large for heaven.”
“All now is changed, yet all is still the same.
Lo, we have looked upon the face of God,
Our life has opened with divinity.
We have borne identity with the Supreme
And known his meaning in our mortal lives.
Our love has grown greater by that mighty touch
And learned its heavenly significance,
Yet nothing is lost of mortal love’s delight.
Heaven’s touch fulfils but cancels not our earth:
Our bodies need each other in the same last;
Still in our breasts repeat heavenly secret rhythm
Our human heart-beats passionately close.
Still am I she who came to thee mid the murmur
Of sunlit leaves upon this forest verge;
I am the Madran, I am Savitri.
All that I was before, I am to thee still,
Close comrade of thy thoughts and hopes and toils,
All happy contraries I would join for thee.
All sweet relations marry in our life;
I am thy kingdom even as thou art mine,
The sovereign and the slave of thy desire,
Thy prone possessor, sister of thy soul
And mother of thy wants; thou art my world,
The earth I need, the heaven my thoughts desire,
The world I inhabit and the god I adore.
Thy body is my body’s counterpart
Whose every limb my answering limb desires,
Whose heart is key to all my heart-beats, — this
I am and thou to me, O Satyavan.
Our wedded walk through life begins anew,
No gladness lost, no depth of mortal joy.
Let us go through this new world that is the same,
For it is given back, but it is known,
A playing-ground and dwelling-house of God
Who hides himself in bird and beast and man
Sweetly to find himself again by love,
By oneness. His presence leads the rhythms of life
That seek for mutual joy in spite of pain.
We have each other found, O Satyavan,
In the great light of the discovered soul.
Let us go back, for eve is in the skies.
Now grief is dead and serene bliss remains
The heart of all our days for evermore.
Lo, all these beings in this wonderful world!
Let us give joy to all, for joy is ours.
For not for ourselves alone our spirits came
Out of the veil of the Unmanifest,
Out of the deep immense Unknowable
Upon the ignorant breast of dubious earth,
Into the ways of labouring, seeking men,
Two fires that burn towards that parent Sun,
Two rays that travel to the original Light.
To lead man’s soul towards truth and God we are born,
To draw the chequered scheme of mortal life
Into some semblance of the Immortal’s plan,
To shape it closer to an image of God,
A little nearer to the Idea divine.”
Awake to the meaning of your heart and feel the love and oneness and harmony of each moment, the magic of your life and the healing of the world resting on your fingertips. From the entanglements of your life, it is inevitable that one day in one lifetime, you will wake to the path of living a conscious life because not only is it what you already are but it is your destiny.
“With linked hands Satyavan and Savitri,
Hearing a marriage march and nuptial hymn,
Where waited them the many-voiced human world.
Numberless the stars swam on their shadowy field
Describing in the gloom the ways of light.
Then while they skirted yet the southward verge,
Lost in the halo of her musing brows
Night, splendid with the moon dreaming in heaven
In silver peace, possessed her luminous reign.
She brooded through her stillness on a thought
Deep-guarded by her mystic folds of light,
And in her bosom nursed a greater dawn.”
In ending, I wish you the very best along the path to a conscious life and a greater dawn and share the following prayer with you written by Patrizia Noreilli-Bachelet, known as Thea.
“I pray for a new way to come about, a way that will cause the barriers between nations and between individuals to fall away – that we may come to the realization of a new way.
I pray for peace and harmony and good will – above all, good will – among men. I pray for the emergence of a greater understanding and a breakthrough in the attitude of division, be this either political, social or religious. May all men be brought to the realization that they are members of the one planetary family, regardless of color or creed, regardless of wealth or poverty.
I pray for prosperity, that each man and woman and child may have what is necessary to live in decency in this world, so that their passage on this planet will be a joy and signify a progress – a spiritual and a material rise.
May each man come to enjoy the possibility of moving about as he wishes over the Earth, as his one home and the one home of all his brethren; and to express himself as he may like; and to know freedom in all things. But may this freedom be only for the expression of the highest part of himself. May all the ugliness of the old man fall away.
May the whole Earth come to realize the one goal, and to understand that no matter how contradictory the appearances may be, each of us is here for the realization of the One Goal: to help the Earth to realize herself, though her ways are many and appear each one to offer a resistance to the other. Yet this resistance is merely to create the conditions needed for the realization, the all-embracing Realization.
Let each person see the cause within himself for the suffering and the agony of his Earth. Let him understand that the division in his being is productive of a division within his society. Let him heal this division, and then come to the new way in the collective body – that of true collaboration in a life of harmony, of positive growth, and of all that is true and good and real.
May all the forms of religion fall away – anything that seeks to pull this new light into the ways of the past: there is a way that is not religious – may this be revealed.
May the new light shine forth with a brilliance such as has rarely been seen in the history of the Earth, and may this be as a magnet which draws people to it and fills them with the thirst for Truth; and grant them the power to express this Truth in all the ways of life.
May we not seek miracles – let us rather have realization. This is the solid way. Let us not see visions or lights or etheric forms…let us BE light, let us SEE IN UNDERSTANDING, let us be the ‘new seeing’.
Let the new way of Love manifest, the real way that carries in it a power of transformation. Though we may not recognize it as Love, let it BE, in spite of us. Let Power indeed lend itself to Love, and these two will carry us forward on the glorious new way. Let each man and woman and child be touched by THE NEW WAY OF POWER AND LOVE.
But let us truly move forward to the New: let us not call the Old the New. Let the New come forth in spite of ourselves.
May the Power of Harmony, the Power of Truth and the Power of Love manifest, and may we become each day the purer instruments for this integral realization.”