Sri Aurobindo about Yoga
In his approach to Yoga, Sri Aurobindo does not give rigid rules or specific set of practices. He appreciates that each form or practice of Yoga has its basis in some aspect of the being, and speaks to some part of the Nature. He sets down the principles and major lines of action while providing an overview of the major paths of Yoga and the results they can bring.
In his own words: “No rule can be laid down which applies without distinction to everybody – the variations in human nature are too great to be covered by a single trenchant rule.”
Not trying to cover all aspects of the teaching, we have selected our favorite quotes of the Master dealing primarily with a practical side of Yoga and inspiring for a personal Sadhana.
“Hatha yoga is a powerful, but difficult and onerous system whose whole principle of action is founded on an intimate connection between the body and the soul. The body is the key, the body the secret both of bondage and of release, of animal weakness and of divine power, of the obscuration of the mind and soul and of their illumination, of subjection to pain and limitation and of self-mastery, of death and of immortality. The body is not to the Hatha yogin a mere mass of living matter, but a mystic bridge between the spiritual and the physical being.
Although, however, he speaks always of the physical body and makes that the basis of his practices, he does not view it with the eye of the anatomist or physiologist, but describes and explains it in language which always looks back to the subtle body behind the physical system. “
Sri Aurobindo, Synthesis of yoga.
Calling down a greater Force to do the work is a method which brings great results, even if in some it takes a long time about it. That is a great secret of Sadhana, to know how to get things done by the Power behind or above instead of doing all by the mind’s effort. … Strength is all right for the strong – but aspiration and the Grace answering to it are not altogether myths; they are great realities of the spiritual life.
" Sadhana is the practice of Yoga. Tapasya is the concentration of the will to get the results of sadhana and to conquer the lower nature. Aradhana is worship of the Divine, love, self-surrender, aspiration to the Divine, calling the name, prayer. Dhyana is inner concentration of the consciousness, meditation, going inside in Samadhi. Dhyana, Tapasya and Aradhana are all parts of sadhana."
Sri Aurobindo - Lights on Yoga, Bases of Sadhana
" The body is the key "
“The process of Yoga is a turning of the human soul from the egoistic state of consciousness absorbed in the outward appearances and attractions of things to a higher state in which the Transcendent and Universal can pour itself into the individual mould and transform it. The first determining element of the siddhi is, therefore, the intensity of the turning, the force which directs the soul inward. The power of aspiration of the heart, the force of the will, the concentration of the mind, the perseverance and determination of the applied energy are the measure of that intensity.
This inner Guide is often veiled at first by the very intensity of our personal effort and by the ego’s preoccupation with itself and its aims. As we gain in clarity and the turmoil of egoistic effort gives place to a calmer self-knowledge, we recognise the source of the growing light within us.”
Synthesis of Yoga, The Four Aids