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Sri Aurobindo: integral yoga Descriptive Essay

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Updated: Jun 10th, 2019

“But difficulties were made to be overcome and if the supreme will is there, they will overcome” (Esposito, Fasching and Lewis 88). This is Sri Aurobindo’s famous quote on spirituality and Human soul conversion. Sri Aurobindo suggests that regardless of one’s religion, philosophy, stand point or creeds, there is a universal unity that supports all our diverse views and methods of understanding.

He is of the opinion that all our personal experiences are different viewpoints looking at a single reality. These varieties of philosophies and religions all have a clue of the truth in them, or an aspect of the truth (Esposito, Fasching and Lewis 45). He explained that religion played an important role in the evolution of human consciousness.

Humans find it difficult to believe in something they have not seen themselves, but it’s easy for them to believe in something they see as extraneous to themselves and the spirituality of most people needs external support of an object of faith. Therefore, all religions are formed by the internal need to climb towards this object of faith.

These needs are then shaped into rites, rituals and creeds that differ with time and the society in which they are formed. Religion can then be said to be formed on the external and temporal/ internal aspect (Sri Aurobindo). The external aspect represents the universal truth while the temporal aspects represent the frameworks of the individual which are mostly based on personal experiences.

Aurobindo views fits with the Hindu culture and beliefs, where there is a widespread reliance on personal experience in understanding foreign religions, making them very receptive to these religions. They believe that religion is based majorly on personal insights and experiences and not outer constructs. In Hinduism, the concept of a single divine power is expressed in personal experiences not mental constructs.

They believe that god can be experienced in many ways, hence many opposing rituals in the religion. Hinduism distinguishes itself from other religions and even some of its cults and ritual practices are not beliefs (Sri Aurobindo). The diversity in India also contributes to these differences in religion.

Sri uses the Hindu religion as an example of different beliefs and experiences that point to a single universal truth, the existence of a supreme being.

Sri Aurobindo suggests that a human soul can be converted into a divine soul through what he called integral yoga. He claimed that other yoga was aimed at reaching the spiritual level and away from normal human life. Integral yoga was aimed at getting to the spiritual level and coming back to live a normal human life to transform it (Kvassay n. p.). He believed that:

there was a possibility of divine manifestation in every human being, where one could open oneself to higher divine consciousness which could then reveal to them their true self, remain in that divine state constantly and bring down a higher force which would then transform one’s mind, life and soul (Esposito, Fasching and Lewis 28).

This transformation from a human soul to a divine soul is what Sri said was the purpose of integral yoga.

He further pointed out that man was born with many limitations which prevented him from knowing the true nature of reality. He therefore must go through a process of discovering them to realize his divine nature. He came up with the triple transformation process which is a 3- step process to help one discover oneself (Satprem 67).

The first stage is psychic transformation and it involves the discovery of the psychic being or the evolving soul. This leads to spiritual transformation, whereby the mind expands and there is a change of perception from the initial perception.

Sacramental transformation is the last and most radical as it involves a complete transformation of the emotions, soul, mind and the body. This resulted in a change from a human soul to a divine soul (Sri Aurobindo).

Works Cited

Esposito, John L, Darrell J Fasching and Todd Lewis. Religions of Asia Today. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.

Kvassay, Marcel. Sri Aurobindo’s “Universal Realism” and the Doctrine of Cosmic Illusion. Web.

Satprem. Sri Aurobindo, or the Adventure of Consciousness. Manchester: Oxford publishers, 2008. Print.

Sri Aurobindo. Institute for Wholistic Education Sri Aurobindo Information Page. Web. <>.

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