"One must have a fixed and unfailing aspiration, vigilant and constant, an aspiration of the entire being, an aspiration that takes hold of you completely, to succeed." — The Mother
The Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother
Integral Yoga is a yoga of Earth-transformation. Its aim is not an escape from life or a shunning of worldly existence but a transformative change in our life even while living amidst it. It is a yoga that can be done anywhere and by anyone, regardless of his outer antecedents. One need not be a brilliant intellectual or a woman with astounding capacities to be an entrant into this Path. Nor are we called upon to leave our vocations or abandon our work and present station or change outer situations, but to see them in a New Light and to act upon them with a New Consciousness.
In accordance with Integral Yoga, there is a right balance between the soul and nature, a poignant harmony between the inner and outer life, a divine rhythm between who we presently are and what we can become in the Future. Consequently, the seeker of this path focuses on the discovery of the Divine Presence within and behind creation and, as well, works upon his nature so that it becomes an increasingly fit instrument and channel and vessel of the growing divine consciousness and power within. An inner perfection is not enough; the outer nature too must share the growing perfection within.
Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual collaborator, the Mother, found the Way to realize the age-old dream of ‘bringing the kingdom of Heaven upon Earth’ or to use a Vedic phrase, make ‘Earth and Heaven equal and one’. They became the bridge to fill the gap between our human limitations and the unlimited divine possibilities waiting to be born. They saw that mind is not the summit of human possibilities. There are higher and vaster ranges of Consciousness beyond the Mind which man can and must one day embody. This New Path which will lead man to realize his divine destiny here on earth is known as the path of Integral Yoga.
It is immensely helpful to spend time reading the luminous writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in quiet reflection and meditation upon the real purpose of our existence. Their writings not only provide us with the knowledge base needed for any high endeavor, they are not only informative and instructive, but also inspiring and uplifting. They prepare us for the Path and give us the strength to walk upon it.
Sri Aurobindo and The Mother
Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872. At the age of seven he was taken to England for education. There he studied at St. Paul’s School, London, and at King’s College, Cambridge. Returning to India in 1893, he worked for the next thirteen years in the Princely State of Baroda in the service of the Maharaja and as a professor in Baroda College. Sri Aurobindo had begun the practice of Yoga in 1905 in Baroda. In 1908 he had the first of several fundamental spiritual realizations.
In 1910 he withdrew from politics and went to Pondicherry in order to devote himself entirely to his inner spiritual life and work. During his forty years in Pondicherry he evolved a new method of spiritual practice, which he called the Integral Yoga. Its aim is a spiritual realization that not only liberates man’s consciousness but also transforms his nature. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, the Mother, he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Among his many writings are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga and Savitri. Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950.
The Mother was born Mirra Alfassa in Paris on 21 February 1878. A pupil at the Academy Julian, she became an accomplished artist, and also excelled as a pianist and writer. Interested in occultism, she visited Tlemcen, Algeria, in 1905 and l906 to study with the adept Max Theon and his wife. Her primary interest, however, was spiritual development. In Paris she founded a group of spiritual seekers and gave talks to various groups.
In 1914 the Mother voyaged to Pondicherry to meet Sri Aurobindo, whom she at once recognized as the one who for many years had inwardly guided her spiritual development. After a stay of eleven months she was obliged to return to France due to the outbreak of the First World War.
In April 1920 the Mother rejoined Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry. When the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was formed in November 1926, Sri Aurobindo entrusted its full material and spiritual charge to the Mother. Under her guidance, which continued for nearly fifty years, the Ashram grew into a large, many-faceted spiritual community. The Mother left her body on 17 November 1973.