People take up the practices of Yoga with many different objects in mind. Many do so from the viewpoint of the individual ego, seeking for fitness, health, energy, prosperity, fame, or for individual spiritual realisations, spiritual experiences, acquisition of special powers, conquest of death or ultimate salvation. These goals are all based in the ego and are ultimately illusory, as the ego is not an independent actor per se. They all measure the results of Yoga based on the individual’s value scale and judgment.

Sri Aurobindo provides a different viewpoint for the practice of integral Yoga. He shifts the standpoint to the Divine standpoint, which implies that Yoga is taken up in order to align the individual with the Divine Presence and Will, and then act as an instrument of the Divine to fulfill the intentions behind the universal manifestation.

This is not to say that other things will not occur along the way. In his lectures on Raja Yoga, for instance, Swami Vivekananda points out that the very practice of Yoga will inevitably bring along the manifestation of various powers but that the practitioner should not seek for or get lost in these powers, but stay focused on the true object of the practice.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “The object of the yoga is to enter into and be possessed by the Divine Presence and Consciousness, to love the Divine for the Divine’s sake alone, to be tuned in our nature into the nature of the Divine, and in our will and works and life to be the instrument of the Divine. Its object is not to be a great yogi or a Superman (although that may come) or to grab at the Divine for the sake of the ego’s power, pride or pleasure. It is not for Moksha though liberation comes by it and all else may come, but these must not be our objects. The Divine alone is our object.”

Sri Aurobindo elucidates further: “The aim of this yoga is, first, to enter into the divine consciousness by merging into it the separative ego (incidentally, in doing so one finds one’s true individual self which is not the limited, vain and selfish human ego but a portion of the Divine) and, secondly, to bring down the supramental consciousness on earth to transform mind, life and body. All else can be only a result of these two aims, not the primary object of the yoga.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, The Integral Yoga and the Ordinary Life, pp. 10-12

Author's Bio: 

Santosh Krinsky is the author of 16 books focusing on Readings in the main writings of Sri Aurobindo. He has been studying the works of Sri Aurobindo since 1971. He is also editor in chief at Lotus Press and President of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life. He writes a daily blog post at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com