"Integral Yoga" for Human Development

  • 10 November 2021
  • 8 replies
  • 37 views

Userlevel 1

Can I start the session on "Integral Yoga" once in a month from this platform?

 

dr.(med.) Pavitra PAUL, PhD.(health economics)

https://sites.google.com/view/paulpavitra/home


8 replies

Hey Pavit, 

Wonder is great place to share energy and joy. So Integral Yoga seems pretty interesting to host as an event. 

I would definetly join ! 

 

Userlevel 1

Encouraging, I wait for a few more response and then we discuss the action plan.

Regards

 

Pavitra

Userlevel 5

Hey @PavitP,

I have to admit, I never heard of Integral Yoga, but after looking it up, I definitely would love to learn more! Do you think you can provide some more info and share some links here?

Personally, I go to a Kundalini Yoga class once a week and really enjoy the internal focus on energy flow through outward expression; I find the chanting and meditation to also be very grounding, but at the same time, lifting. Anyways, I always love learning more about all different forms of yoga! 

You can already start using a Wonder Space! Just click the following link: app.wonder.me

A Space is always open, so it’ll be great for a monthly meeting and also to meet people in between.

Looking forwarding to hearing from you. :)

 

Userlevel 1

Andrew,

Glad to hear you!

The meaning and senses of ‘integral Yoga’

It is the discipline of the mind, senses and the physical body. It helps us to attain perfect concentration of the mind, ethical perfection in our actions, moral excellence in our thoughts and spiritual calmness in our existence. It unlocks the realms of Peace and Bliss, Mystery and Miracle. The meaning of Yoga is not limited to the techniques to achieve the mere physical health. Real Yoga is the attainment of the highest divine knowledge through development of conscious communion with God.

Integral Yoga is the science that teaches us the method of uniting the individual soul with the Supreme Soul and of merging the individual will in the Cosmic Will. An honest practice of Integral Yoga instils in us a sense of security, a new strength, confidence and self-reliance. This path has the capacity to transform us into a whole new being by unfolding our latent faculties in the eternal light.

What is ordinary life?

The ordinary life is that of the human consciousness separated from one’s true self and from the Divine. Life of this nature is driven by the laws of ignorance in its mind, life and body.

What is the purpose of life?

Life is not an end in itself. It is a mean to an end for a life that is acceptable to the earth. The earth cannot accept the present form of human being - the form that is ignorant, imperfect and subconscious. Life is wasted if it is not put into the path of evolutionary progress towards perfection with self-development. We need to be equipped with the knowledge to distinguish between the eternal and the ephemeral phenomena.

Integral Yoga is essentially a practical methodology for evolution of the human race with the intention of living a normal life here on earth after developing higher states of consciousness. Sri Aurobindo considers consciousness (chit) together with being (sat) and bliss (ananda) as the basis of all that is. These are the three components of Sachchidananda.

 

Here, is the genesis of “Integral Yoga”.

The Evolution

Evolution is not just a concept or something that the Biologists do in laboratories; it is an approach to unfold existence. It is a framework for grasping the true meaning of reality, for learning to think correctly, to be conscious on all levels of our consciousness in a focused and conscious manner. This meaning of evolution has aptly been expressed by Henry Bergson (the noted French philosopher of 20th century) as “this question of evolution - this understanding of reality requires the evolution of consciousness”. It is something that has drawn the attention of the mankind over the last hundred and fifty years or so. During the last fifty years this attempt of exploration has taken a quantum strides. With the understanding of this reality a new power would come into play and by aligning ourselves with its meaning and values we can make evolution more conscious. The understanding on value is important in pursuing a philosophy of evolution. What are our values? What is valuable? What is worthwhile in reality? What  indeed gives us values? When we are confronted with such questions to ourselves, the whole range of human attempts to understand the existence comes into a reflection. This is the subject of philosophy of evolution and this is one perspective that the question of the philosophy of evolution brings into focus. When we read Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, David Hume and John Locke, we try to reconcile the questions like what is knowledge? what is the purpose of life? How does it work? How does mind play in this picture? Where does mind come from? What is the scope of mind? When we seek answer of these questions, the whole array of attempts that human race is indulging becomes obvious. This becomes the subject of philosophy proper and this also makes the philosophy to fake religion.

The process of evolution is not a progress on a straight line. The process of evolution  does not outstrip the past as a radical phenomenon. It is a journey on a double helix with no definite angle. Each human is to traverse forth and back on an undefined axis along the helix with his / her plasticity.  Over the centuries, the human race has registered a quantum progress  in politics, society, life, science, metaphysics, knowledge of all kinds, art, literature, etc; …but this manifold development of knowledge could not carry the race  beyond itself, into a self-exceeding, a transformation of the mental being. But, the evolutionary development demands an unfolding of the conscious from within to enter into the next phase  of the evolutionary process - a ripened decisive emergence in being.  The trace of aspiration in human race to be embedded within the stress of spirituality is the sign to operate, within the capacity of the race, in herself/himself for aiding the nature. This seal of aspiration, already endowed in the race,  is the obvious method of nature for the evolutionary production of the supramental being - a self-exceeding transformation of the mental being.

From a very early time, the Western and the Eastern philosophy accepts the idea that what we perceive is not the truth of things but that the truth of things, with respect to the human being, is the Supreme’ - the ‘Form’, as conceived by Plato and translated by Sri Aurobindo as the ‘Supreme Truth’.  Biology describes that everything just keeps on changing. Platonic idea that expresses with philosophy and science calls for the evolution of Goodness in human. Sri Aurobindo describes  this Goodness as the consciousness that evolves. Sri Aurobindo acknowledges human being’s ability to cultivate species from within for specific purpose and the Nature also does  the similar activities albeit more slowly. Nested with the vita, the mound is evolving in this physical structure.

Henry Bergson argued that the existing mental frame is not serving well the human race anymore. His comprehension of an evolving mind  has found expressions in his quotes as (1) “I cannot escape the objection that there is no state of mind, however simple, that does not change every moment”, (2) “Some other faculty than the intellect is necessary for the apprehension of reality” and (3) “An absolute can only be given in an intuition, while all the rest has to do with analysis”. Thus, Bergson recognised the capability of the mind to enter into a different plane. The plane of new behaviours and new structures that mind is already having a sense of such new form of existence. He also postulated the necessity for some other faculty (intuition[1]) for the evolutionary development of the mind.

Therefore, it was Bergson who had argued for the intuition to evolve and Sri Aurobindo developed a path for the intuition to evolve, a methodology, a practice, an intention, and in himself attempted to manifest fully what that intuitive mind could do, what its behavior would be like.

Darwin says that nature selects those types that are best able to sustain themselves in the context of the existing environment, in the contingent web of life. As soon as some variation can sustain itself more successfully, it replaces those that are less successful. What things actually are is determined from moment to moment by their evolution, and every pattern of behavior is a product of previous patterns of behavior, every structure is the product of previous structures and functions. There is a mysterious correspondence between the behavior we see and what the genes do. The behavior actually selects the genes, the genes don’t select the behavior. But the genes create and preserve the structure, which makes the behavior possible. And if that behavior works then those genes get passed on. If that behavior doesn’t’t work then those genes don’t get passed on. But, they also make possible a wider range of behaviors than are manifested under a particular set of conditions. There may be some other behaviors that work better, and then another genetic pattern can be selected, because those members of the group that manifest the better pattern are more successful, and those that manifested the other pattern drop out. Somehow there is constant communication going on between structure and form. This ever changing behaviours and patterns are transmitted through heredity, through language, through culture and behaviour. The phenotype finds its niche and the genotype tends to evolve in a way that preserves that behaviour in that niche, but only for the transit. Permanence is an illusion.

Darwin has made obsolete the concept of essentialism. What essentialism means is that when we know something, what we know is not the matter of the thing, but the idea of the thing. We know abstractly what it is. We can give those processes names; when we see patterns being repeated, we recognize them whenever they occur. Thus we have a kind of abstract formal knowledge of what things are, and we construct the concepts. We test the concepts, measure them against the patterns that we perceive, and compare them with what other people perceive and finally, we agree about the nature of the forms and behaviours that exist. Thus, we create a framework of understanding to agree upon and that gives us certain powers but this knowledge is not at all the truth of that world of process that is going on. We can illustrate this with the example of language. We know what languages are and we have been studying more or less how the languages work. Language is a miracle. We can analyse the language and determine its structure but the fact remains unknown about the mechanisms of functioning of the languages. So, the reality is language is quite an extraordinary phenomena.  So, is the life evolution - the process of variation, diversification, and selection are going on continuously - an unconceivable phenomena.

When we see the patterns being repeated, we recognise them whenever that occurs. We have a kind of abstract formal knowledge of what things are. Our minds are full of such concepts. Aristotle called these concepts as forms.  We know the form healing but we really do not know how healing takes place. We know in theory the becoming of such essence. Essence is what we grasp in the meaning of the thing. Aristotle conceived that the form of a thing is its fully realised potential. His idea was that the development of any living thing towards the realisation of its full potential is determined by its form, which is its essence. Aristotle calls that form the Final Cause, and everything that happens along the way is either a material cause or an efficient cause. When we strike the match to the candle it starts to light the room, but striking the match to the candle isn’t what is really, essentially happening; lighting the room is really what’s happening. This lighting is fulfilling the purpose of the candle, which is why we struck the match to start with and put it to the wick. We wanted the candle to light up the room. The form or final cause is always there in the fulfilment of that which is becoming. That form does not exist in the realm of current time and space because human race are transitory temporal entities.  Hence, human being is not yet fully realised. Thus, for the modern science the idea of evolution is a non-entity because modern science is grounded on the concept the elephants are, apple trees are, human beings are, what  they have always been - they just are as we understand, they do not evolve. 

In the present transitory phase, we project our ideals on things for the purpose of judging and condemning them. And we make assumptions that are often not true. But we do other things and use this idealizing mind to transcend its limitations (to rise above beyond the range of normal/conceivable thoughts/imaginations), and also to know things with respect to the truth.

We share the structures of mind, life, and matter with all other living things, and we have recognized often that each individual in each species acts from its own center according to its own type to achieve its own ends. From the most basic structure of life there is a “self” that is developing and determining the choices that are being made by it. Its self-choices tend to be made in context with its environment and the choices other individuals are making, and evolution has happened like this. If we look at biology, it tells us there is a principle of innate structure in things, and language is an innate structure in the human being. Hearing and sight are innate structures in all species, and we have this amazing awareness suddenly that the organs of consciousness have been evolving from the beginning. Clearly, if its organs have been evolving from the beginning, then consciousness has been evolving, from the beginning, these structures. This is Sri Aurobindo’s fundamental philosophy of Nature.

Mind has achieved in the human species a fairly high level of manifestation of its potentials. Evolution has evolved, and it is no longer happening on the ground of nature through immediate perception and response; it is now happening on a level of rational- ideal-will. Sri Aurobindo argues that the human mind of rationality itself indicates the will to transcend. Human rationality conceives of the ideal in society. It makes these rules governing human behavior because it can imagine a perfectly regulated world. It imagines making its members better, higher, more evolved, through education and training, and imparting values. The essence of rationality is that we abstract from the immediate world of constancy phenomena (constancy mechanism means that somehow your cells, and your nervous system, are able to tell you what’s red every time it sees it) and project a totality that is different from what we perceive. So, the present form of human being is not that form that is envisioned to become. Mind has evolved in finding ways to extend our life years and to enable successfully in reproducing of types but it does not prevent us from behaving in quite unacceptable way at times, and at times some of those unacceptable behaviours  begin to threaten the survival of the race itself. Hence, the thought of 20th century has given birth to (1) the shift of erstwhile knowledge developed from scientific understanding  from essentialism towards  process and (2) a fundamental question about consciousness itself.

What is this consciousness? How does it work? Since Aristotle, everyone assumed that consciousness is a part of nature that has emerged in mind and knows the world it perceives in terms of forms.  All living beings (organisms) have sensory apparatus which enables them to get information about their environment and to decide to behave in that environment. There is a processing of information and interpretation that goes on in the nervous system; then the organism decides whether to eat or stay or run away and so on. This relationship between the organism and the environment has been identified now-a-days by biologists as a process of consciousness.  Awareness is another conventional understanding of the meaning of the consciousness. Often, consciousness is also understood as perception.  The theory of natural selection postulates nature’s ability to operate unconsciously but not unintelligently throughout millennia from the inconscient to the present level of consciousness and beyond. Thus, this theory is based on the assumption that mind is there in matter, that life is there in matter, and that evolution is a systematic process (within the constraints of what has already happened) of nature that is unfolding (through processes of cognition) transfer of information between the genome and the environment through the phenome. Hence, there is an ongoing process of adaptation amongst the three levels - the environment, the phenome and the genome through exchanges of information. The evolutionary biologist, Konard Lorenz (1973) established that the evolutionary process underlies the development of behaviour and this was the question Sri Aurobindo has raised in 1920. Hence, this idea that matter, life and mind are emerging from the basic fundamental structure of nature, is widely accepted now. Now, the question is hovering around the processes (to know ‘what is happening’ but not ‘what is there’). The scientist (Physicist) Rodger Penrose is suggesting that the new methodologies must evolve to solve the problem of consciousness. This question of evolving new methodologies is for biology, philosophy, psychology and spirituality.  If, we look at the history of philosophy, we find the focus on the idea that the process is determined by the form have its origin from Aristotle. Those forms are propelling but not telling us the truth about the World, we perceive. We look changes, we see patterns, and then we compare different pattern of changes and this is called as ‘knowledge’. Once, we try to apply such knowledge for our survival, improvement, beauty and joy, and then we find that it does not give us quite the same what we would like to have many times. And, even if such knowledge gives us what we like, it does not sustain - disappears fairly soon in the onrush of time. Hence, we get the sense of being on the way - not what exists.

In 1690, John Locke raised the question as “must there be something eternal?” The philosophy in raising such question lies in the acceptance that something does not come from nothing. Matter cannot come from nothing - either it has come from something or it must have always been there. So, this idea of eternity is not new. It is a reflection of most common sense. It is unrealistic to conceive that a thinking intelligent being emanates forever bare incogitative matter. Intelligence is of a different order than matter, it is about ideas, memory and conscious purposeful action. Intelligence is not just about exchanges of energy and reproductive life - another order of nature. Amidst such argument, Sri Aurobindo subscribes as “although Matter is the first substance, the original and ultimate power is not an inconscient material Energy. Inconscience cannot evolve consciousness, nor an inanimate force evolves life, therefore, a secret Consciousness greater than life-consciousness or mind - consciousness, an energy more essential than the material energy must exist”. Since this secret consciousness is greater than mind, it must be a supramental Consciousness - Force; since it is a power of essential substance other than Matter, it must be the power of that which is the supreme essence and substance of all things, Power of the Spirit. The transition from mind-consciousness to supramental consciousness force demands a total abdication mind level of consciousness-force. Because mind is not embedded in the truth nor does it have the creative power. It has the capacity to organise and served so far the survival of humanity fairly well. If we conceive of something powerful enough to create matter, which is necessarily eternal that is Spirit. And, it is not other than Nature. Matter and Spirit are the same. But it can transform progressively higher and perfect embodiments of itself. 

The purpose of philosophy is to explore the reality. Then, the next question comes to my mind is who defines ‘reality’. Then, I understand reality as ‘assemblage of ideas of importance’ – importance to the being for its harmonious existence with surroundings. Thus the foundation lies in understanding the ‘importance’. Now, to understand importance, we need to develop our level of consciousness in all its planes.

In one extreme the very existence of the word ‘Evolution’ is denied while at the other, it is invoked uncritically to support preconceived ideas. Between these two extremes, ‘Evolution’ is expected to take on varying degree of teleology, determination or finalism. The role of chance is often slurred over even in scientific circles.

The evolution of man – the animal is all too frequently confused because difference between biological and cultural process are not appropriately taken into account in explaining ‘evolutionary’ processes. Darwin lacked the understanding of the machinery of inheritance. For example: the idea that ‘superior races’ were chosen by ‘tooth and ‘claw’, struggle for survival has been used as propaganda for ethnic segregation; and the supposed benefits of ruthless competition within species have served to apotheosize individual initiatives. Current thinking is pervaded by teleo-determinism., likely due to overemphasis on adaptation to environment on the one hand, and ideas of rigid physical control of evolution, on the other.

Our understandings of ‘evolutionary’ mechanisms are exposing humanity to the light of newer knowledge – neither a strictly biological nor a strictly cultural phenomenon. From fundamentalists, there come steadfast denials of evolution. Confusion of biological with cultural evolution in well exemplified by Bronowski (1973). ‘Finalism’ is avowed in numerous papers in ‘Evolution in Perspectives’ (Shuster and Thorson; 1970). ‘Determinism’ lurks in the pronouncement of Jukes (1966). Thus, confronted with conflicting opinion, layperson is in quandary regarding ‘Evolution’.  So, for this illustration we may conclude that ‘Philosophy’ is to consider the interplay of biological and cultural evolution in explaining the growth of being. 

Many of the things that we know are held in a semiconscious or unconscious state of the mental apparatus. There is physical mind, vital mind and intuitive mind. The way that consciousness relates to the physical, vital and intuitive mind constitutes planes of consciousness, planes of perception and planes of reality. Sri Aurobindo says that mind is a plane of reality. We relate a vast range of human behaviours to the term “Consciousness”. Sri Aurobindo argues that, “what we perceive is  energy. It is not random energy. It is energy that is producing life. Matter itself cannot produce life but life is produced. Life itself cannot produce consciousness. Consciousness is produced”. All we have to recognise as science has accepted, that consciousness and matter are corollaries - in us, consciousness is mind. But consciousness as is now, life as is now, cannot be the whole secret. For both are very distinct that  something unfinished, still in the process. Consciousness and life are not what we would like them to be. Human mind is ignorant and imperfect. This imperfect and ignorant thought - mind is certainly not the last word of Consciousness. This follows Bergson that is “evolution demands evolution of Consciousness”. Sri Aurobindo has formulated that Consciousness from now on is not about knowing things but about Being. When, we achieve that Consciousness of Being, we just need to be because things in themselves are beautiful and Divine. The essence of Consciousness lies within the power to beware of self and its objects. In its true nature, this power must be direct, self-fulfilled and complete. We are capable of uniting our Consciousness with all of Nature which is only One. If, we abdicate the idea of formal difference, we can allow to emerge a continuum, we can allow emergence of a continuum of consciousness that operates from an impersonal centre - the Supramental centre. Before our thinking - reasoning - reflecting mind, there was a consciousness - unthinking but living and sentient[2]. There was also a unthinking i.e. insentient but cognisant. After us (in our yet unevolved selves) there is likely to be in waiting a greater consciousness, self luminous - not dependent on thoughts construction for expressions. This concept of the Self that each type of creature develops to its maximum capacity is in itself everything. The Self do not need any objects - it is self-knowing, self-acting, self-luminous and self-contented. One with everything, self-fulfilled, self-sufficient, unique and universalised. When this consciousness in us is Inconscient (indirect, incomplete, unfulfilled and dependent on constructed objects/instruments), consciousness is emerging from veiled Inconscience. The true nature of consciousness is to be wholly aware of its objects, and of these objects the first is Self, the being which is evolving its consciousness here, and the rest is what we see as not - Self, - but if existence is indivisible, that too must in reality be Self: the destiny of evolving consciousness must be, then, to become perfect in its awareness, entirely aware of self and all - aware.

Thus evolution is an approach to understand existence. So, the question of evolution is prominent in our consciousness. It is a framework for grasping the true meaning of reality, for learning to think correctly, to be conscious on all the levels of our consciousness in a focused and premeditated way. The process of evolution elaborated by Sri Aurobindo begins with the thoughts that ‘freedom evolves’. This concept is based on the premise that ‘ethical mind do not have the solution for all the problems’ - a different level of intelligence must emerge. The ability of human beings to influence the group functioning in order to change behaviour in a way that is not beneficial to the reproduction of the individual is the sign of possibility emergence of such level of intelligence. It is possible to sacrifice traditional methods of species survival in order to achieve a more harmonious social structure. For example, voluntary celibacy and isolation from standard social relations e.g. women choose of governments choose to have fewer children. This contradicts traditional Darwinism. Every philosophical, poetic and psychological effort of transformation that human beings make is an indications of the emergence of new norms, new order under evolutionary stress - otherwise, known as the ‘will of the Divine’. According to Sri Aurobindo, the Divine is involved from the inside but to awaken that being it is necessary to develop the philosophical mind to its limits (maximum) for the new level of consciousness to descend that mind has to abdicate. The philosophical affirmation of existence takes one to the point where one can abdicate to another level of potential. One must cease to be judgmental - it is possible to affirm everything. The processes of evolution that Sri Aurobindo introduces have not been addressed by Darwinism but these processes do not contradict Darwinian perspective. Sri Aurobindo is suggesting a paradigm shift in the scientific way of knowing - that scientific thinking is to learn to step back from its dependence on sensory impressions and data and is to apply same rigor to psychological data from inside.

The practice of Yoga is meant to enable us to allow the emergence of that all-aware Consciousness which lies dormant in human being. This perfect and the final form of consciousness is to us a Superconscience, a state which is beyond us and in which our mind, if suddenly transferred to it, cannot at first function; but it is towards that Superconscience that our conscious being is to evolve. But this evolution of our consciousness to a Superconscience or supreme of itself is possible only if the Inconscience which is our basis here is really itself an involved Superconscience; for what is to be in the becoming of the Reality in us must be already there involved or secret in its beginning.

Hence, Evolution is the method by which it liberates itself; consciousness appears in what seems to be inconscient, and once having appeared is self-impelled to grow higher and higher and at the same time to enlarge and develop towards a greater and greater perfection. Life is the first step of this release of consciousness; mind is the second; but the evolution does not finish with mind, it awaits a release into something greater, a consciousness which is spiritual and supramental. The next step of the evolution must be towards the development of Supermind and Spirit as the dominant power in the conscious being. For only then it becomes possible for life to manifest perfection.

 

[1]The faculty of knowing or understanding something without reasoning or proof.

 

[2] means conscious.

 

Pavitra

Userlevel 1

The “integral yoga” is to harmonize ‘the mental’, ‘the vital’ and ‘the physical being’. In yoga, ‘life’ and ‘consciousness’ are expressed as prakriti and purusha. The physical being (the body) houses the soul, possessed by the divine. The body is not an inert shell but a dynamic entity and is on interplay with ‘the mental’ and ‘the vital’. Everything in this universe is evolving, including the rocks. Mankind is to evolve further - if civilisation is not in tandem with evolutionary need, then death and finally extinction is inevitable. Human consciousness also undergoes metamorphosis.

 

Pavitra PAUL

Userlevel 5

Hey @PavitP, loving all of this! Thank you very much for this information. I’ll admit, I haven’t read all of it, just yet, but definitely in my free time I’m going to research more. :)  

Userlevel 1

Hey @PavitP , pretty long read but worth to read ! Thanks for sharing. 

 

Did you decide when you gonna have your event yet? I would love to join ! 

 

Userlevel 1

Sebnem,

Glad to hear you! Thanks; I am waiting for few more responses. Hope, we can have our 1st session before 2021 ends.

 

Pavitra

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