Evolution Fast-forward – Part 2 – Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo

Integral yoga was developed by the
Indian seer Sri Aurobindo and his French collaborator known as
The Mother In the 1920s a growing group of
spiritual seekers formed around Sri Aurobindo
in Pondicherry The Mother organised the group
more formally into the Sri Aurobindo Ashram This ashram was in practice a
living laboratory for accelerating
human evolution in order to transform all
life into a divine living Sri Aurobindo declared that
all life is yoga and all activities can be made a
means for spiritual evolution In his integral vision Sri Aurobindo synthesized
the spiritual wisdom-traditions of the past with the modern scientific
concept of evolution on earth It is in his synthesis that we find the
earliest, most comprehensive vision and practice of an evolutionary yoga
psychology and cosmology Many spiritual traditions focus exclusively
on the liberation of consciousness into a timeless existence
beyond birth and death They aim to escape from the
cycle of rebirth and therefore ignore the evolutionary
potential of life on earth But Sri Aurobindo’s Integral yoga aims at
not only the liberation of consciousness but demands an evolutionary
transformation of human life towards its divinisation here on earth Modern science has shown that
life on earth has evolved over millions of years and the tree
of evolution is still unfolding But science explains evolution through a genetic process of
probability and chance Sri Aurobindo explains that consciousness
is the fundamental reality of all existence and it is already
involved in Matter Evolution is the method by which this
secret consciousness liberates itself and creates increasingly complex
life forms to express itself The human mind is the peak
of Nature’s evolution But the evolution of mind
is still incomplete Beyond mind are higher
ranges of consciousness The range of consciousness which
Sri Aurobindo calls the Supermind is the next evolutionary step beyond mind A new species of humanity
endowed with Supermind is emerging from the present human race The long process of evolution on earth can be understood as the
unconscious Yoga of Nature a development without self conscious
will in plant and animal life But human beings are self-aware and now the evolutionary process
can become conscious This gives us the possibility of a consciously accelerated evolution There are hidden splendors within us, waiting Integral yoga is a process of
accelerating their flowering Pure consciousness is one indivisible whole But it has two poles of existence Between these two poles moves the
vast spectrum of consciousness giving birth to the cosmos across
many dimensions and scales of time and space Our mind can access only a narrow
range of consciousness that lies in between the two poles The superconscient pole above is what
ancient seers called Satchidananda: the existence, consciousness and bliss of the
One Being The inconscient pole below is inert Matter: where consciousness is entirely asleep Science is plumbing the material end of reality, using objective and analytical methods trying to understand the
fundamental Forces of Nature But yoga explores the higher
realms of consciousness and discover the source of creation using subjective and psychological methods Each pole of existence secretly contains its opposite hidden and unmanifest At the superconscient pole the material universe exists as an
eternal and infinite potentiality At the inconscient pole pure consciousness
is absorbed in the utter sleep of Matter Evolution is a game played
between the two poles: Matter flows into consciousness and
consciousness flows into Matter Between these two poles, consciousness
continuously ascends and descends The descent and ascent are mediated
by the creative power that manifests the universe which Sri Aurobindo calls the Supermind The first and primary poise of Supermind is a selfextension of Satchidananda in which there is divine ideation
and formation in the infinite There is no difference between
Consciousness and Force or Matter All is developed in unity and as one There is not yet any individualisation In the second poise of the Supermind the Divine Consciousness begins
the individualisation seeming to distribute itself in its forms the same everywhere in soulessence
but varying in soulform In the third poise the Supermind projects itself into the
movement of time and space and involves in it It enjoys a fundamental
blissful dualism in unity Along with the truth of stable unity it supports the truth of differentiation and enjoys its divine play in manifold
existence in time and space This third poise of Supermind is what is involved
in the inconscient pole as psychic principle There it supports and drives the
evolution of consciousness through all forms rising from below This is the Agni of the ancient vedic seers the knower of all births This involved divinity emerging in us through
many births is the pure psyche the divine soul of love and delight As it evolves and gets individualised it becomes the psychic being When the psychic being develops
and comes forward it takes charge of our evolutionary flowering and leads the way to transformation This is the first step and foundation
of the integral yoga The evolutionary process is already happening
secretly behind our surface consciousness and we are unaware of the journey Our psyche, in its early stages of development exists only as a divine spark covered by
the layers of surface consciousness These frontal surface movements are all that we are normally
aware of Together they constitutes
our false self, our ego made up of ideas, thoughts,
imaginations, memories, emotions, passions, drives, desires,
sensations, and habits It can be a fully individualized ego or an ego that identifies more
with a group consciousness An underdeveloped ego is one that
thinks and feels along with its group and is yet to crystallise as an
individualised mental being The development of a personal
vision and ideas that can successfully differentiate a
person from the group consciousness and follow the individual will is the beginning of the individual
mental being and its individual ego Current approaches to
personality development mostly center around developing
this outer individuality Integral Yoga recognises the emergence and development of the individualised
mental being as a necessary step in evolution before spiritual and supramental
transformation is possible The human body is a product of the
evolution of consciousness in matter and carries within it the whole
evolutionary past First the emergence of Matter Second the emergence of
Life in Matter Third the emergence of
Mind in living Matter Our body is made of the elements of matter within this material frame life energy
has established its workings and within this living frame the mind
has established its workings These three layers can be compared to: the hardware …the electrical energy and the intelligent software These are the three layers
of our instrumental nature Body, Life and Mind They are woven into each other and have
mixed workings in the whole system In subjective experience,
the operations of the Mind are experienced in the region of our head The movements of Life energy
are generally felt in the torso as emotions, passions, drives and desires Life energy gives us our vitality and
it is called the Vital in integral yoga Going down the body, characteristic
movements are more dense and habitual The consciousness of the Physical
is relatively dull and inert The stages of our evolutionary past can be seen as stacked
vertically in the body each layer expressing a different type of
consciousness What is below is subconscient going all the way down to the inconscient pole Consciousness is on an ascending
course of evolution emerging from the inconscient pole What is above is superconscient going all the way to Satchidananda What is behind is subliminal Carrying deep within it the psychic being Our psychological centre
secretly guiding evolution Our normal wakeful state knows
only the surface layers Much more happens behind the veil These are the broad regions of consciousness explored and mapped by
Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Humanity is currently passing through
the mental stage of evolution For this reason integral yoga
begins with the utilisation of powers of the soul in the mind through an awakening aspiration
for a greater perfection Mind has the ability to stand back,
observe and correct itself It can distinguish the observing self
from what is being observed: The static awareness from all the
movements inside or outside Usually our attention is wandering
upon external things There is a random and inert subjection
to the impacts of external contacts By shifting attention inward we can observe the movements of
our surface consciousness For this the power of
concentration is required Close observation can reveal the entangled
workings of mental, vital and physical energies often at
odds with each other Movements of the lower layers can confuse the functions of the
higher layers Mind is not material in essence but in the human body it operates
primarily through the brain a material organ Because of this our mind is dependent
on the body’s healthy functioning The consciousness of the physical
is habitual, inert and passive Also it disperses energy When the physical dominates,
the mind gets dispersed through useless scattered and habitual
movements of thoughts When the vital energy dominates the mind thoughts and imaginations get driven
by attractions, repulsions and impulses of the vital Consciousness of the vital generally
lives in its emotional drama fantasies of greatness desires and fears The physical dominating the vital causes habitual cycles of
these movements By developing the power of self observation we can distinguish different parts
of our psychological makeup Our intelligence and will can be made free by a constant rejection of habits
and impulses arising from below As our mind gets increasingly free its power of concentration
also increases They go together as two sides
of one movement This process of vigilant rejection liberates the intelligence and
will of our mental being from the domination of our lower nature The result is a more individualised
mental being capable of differentiating itself
from the collective being This is still a developmental stage of the
mental ego the surface person The true person, our psychic being,
is behind the veil Discovering our psychic being is accomplished by the triple
movements of : aspiration rejection and surrender At our inmost centre is the psychic being secretly guiding our evolution awaiting discovery behind the frontal waves of emotions Our psychic being reveals itself as a
gentle response and preference for all that is True, Good and Beautiful But this gentle response gets lost
in the flux of surface consciousness Our identification with mental chatter veils the messages coming from
the emerging psychic being Therefore it is necessary to establish silence and peace in
our surface consciousness There is a zone of silence and
vast peace above the head By opening to this region by
concentration above the head silence and peace descend
into the instrumental nature The descending silence and peace settles and establishes calm equanimity
in the whole system Then communication from the inner
guide becomes clear and steady The more we follow this inner call
the more the inner guide reveals As the inner guidance become steady all movements of our thoughts,
emotions and actions are to be offered for the
inner sanction Consecration of Knowledge, Will and Love thus forms the triple movements of
practice opening the inner doors This inward journey into the
depths of our heart opens the subliminal ranges
of our consciousness There are vast inner physical inner vital and inner mental
ranges of consciousness within Yoga opens these inner doors As we follow the inner guidance,
the psychic presence grows and eventually we enter the world of profoundly sacred psychic being Our outer person gladly merges
with the psychic being This inner union brings a
reversal of consciousness The psychic being comes forward to
govern the evolutionary transformation This is the process of
psychic transformation bringing realisation of the divine presence growing within as well as all around Guiding all If psychic transformation is a change
that emerges from within spiritual transformation is a change
that comes by a descent of higher consciousness from above These two transformations support
and complete each other A wide upward opening to
what is above the head opens the doors for Divine
Peace, Light, Knowledge, Power and Bliss to descend from above which transforms the lower nature The Divine Force descending works its way downward from top to bottom opening all the centres of consciousness When it reaches the lowest
the physical centre it awakens the divine force asleep in matter the Kundalini, which then
awakens and rises upward and our centre of consciousness
rises above the body The sense of a separate self, the ego
completely dissolves Consciousness widens to impersonal
and spiritual ranges of the Mind This wider self has two aspects:
the static and the dynamic The static aspect is the silent Self of wide peace and freedom unaffected by any action or experience The silent Self does not
originate any action instead it stands back
detached and impartial This is often mistaken
for the final liberation but it is a static
liberation and freedom without any mastery over
the cosmic action There is also a dynamic aspect experienced as cosmic
Self or Spirit which not only supports but also originates and contains the
cosmic action Opening to this dynamic aspect gives us greater powers of cognition
creative action and delight The Integral Yoga unites both static and dynamic
aspects of the Self above In the active dynamic condition of the body The Force descends from above And acts through the
individual in the world with the psychic being
as the support below This leads to the spiritual transformation
of the whole being The transformation gradually takes place through a series of ascending and descending movements of consciousness There are seven distinct planes
of cosmic existence Three planes form the upper
hemisphere of Satchidananda the triune Existence, Consciousness
and Bliss beyond space and time And the lower hemisphere is formed
by the three planes of Mental, Vital and Physical
worlds in time and space Between the two hemispheres
is the Supermind linking both It is the Mahas or Vijnana
of the Vedic Rishis The Supermind is the creative
power that builds the worlds First it creates the worlds
of pure archetypes then forms the worlds of mental ideas Then the vital worlds of dynamic life force And finally the physical world and
its material condensations But all the higher planes
are involved in it All the involved planes create a
pressure within matter to evolve Evolution is the unfolding
and emergence of these higher planes within
the domain of Matter This is supported by descending
force from the planes above A yogi can consciously ascend
to the higher planes But such an ascent does not
transform the human nature Only when the dynamic powers
of the higher planes descends with the psychic being as
the support from below the mental, vital and physical parts
of being undergo transformation The physical is most
resistant to change This is where the entire evolutionary
past of life on earth is stored as obscure cellular memory bound
by habits of disease and death In the process of ascent the intermediate ranges of the Mind above descend and transform our lower nature First is the Higher Mind which transforms our step by step linear
thought process into mass ideation Second is the Illumined Mind which sees the truth directly
without thought Third is the Intuitive Mind where knowledge comes by identity
and is infallible although limited And the Fourth is Overmind the highest spiritual range of the Mind in which consciousness is universal and all is known but
from a limited perspective But even the descent of
Overmind consciousness is not enough to transform the obscure resistance
of the body consciousness We have to go beyond Overmind And enter the Supermind where reality is no more diversity
moving towards unity but unity embracing diversity
in the infinity of our being The power of triple time vision
trikaladrishti seeing the past, present and future
arrives at its perfection Knowledge and Will move together
upon the foundation of oneness Only the descent of Supermind into
the universalised human instrument can successfully transform the obscure
consciousness of the physical nature It is the final transformation
leading to a divine life and eventually the birth of
a new species on earth It is a radical proposition that has
never been attempted in the past Thus the integral yoga goes beyond
the individual liberation and embarks upon a collective and
evolutionary transformation on earth After Sri Aurobindo’s passing
The Mother continued their work and on February 29th, 1956 she brought down the Supramental
consciousness upon earth Since then the Supermind has
been operational on earth as an active evolutionary power A new phase of evolution has begun
amidst the collapse of the old world Integral Yoga is an invitation to take part
in an unprecedented adventure of consciousness English – Manoj Pavitran, Abha Prakash

Jerry Heath

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