While the integral Yoga does not depend on the techniques or methods of the traditional yogic paths, Sri Aurobindo has identified several processes that can be of great help in some cases. They help the seeker achieve a state of separation from the outer ego-personality and vital desire-soul, to be able to recognise the motives, impulsions and habitual actions and reactions of the outer nature, so that they can be distinguished and either changed or transformed under the pressure of the yogic process. The separation can also aid in the focus and tuning effort as the seeker enters a status of disinterested observer of the action of the nature and thus, is free to move the attention to the divine reality which is the aim of the yoga. These techniques both have certain similarities. The separation of Purusha and Prakriti distinguishes the awareness from the active self, while the technique of jnana yoga to distinguish the Self from the mind-life-body helps create the needed detachment and focus on the omnipresent Reality rather than the transitory individuality.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “The result of the concentration is not usually immediate — though to some there comes a swift and sudden outflowering; but with most there is a time longer or shorter of adaptation or preparation, especially if the nature has not been prepared already to some extent by aspiration and Tapasya. The coming of the result can sometimes be aided by associating with the concentration one of the processes of the old yoga. There is the Adwaita process of the way of knowledge — one rejects from oneself the identification with the mind, vital, body, saying continually ‘I am not the mind’, ‘I am not the vital’, ‘I am not the body’, seeing these things as separate from one’s real self — and after a time one feels all the mental, vital physical processes and the very sense of mind, vital, body becoming externalised, an outer action, while within and detached from them there grows the sense of a separate self-existent being which opens into the realisation of the cosmic and transcendent spirit. There is also the method — a very powerful method — of the Sankhyas, the separation of the Purusha and the Prakriti. One enforces on the mind the position of the Witness — all action of mind, vital, physical becomes an outer play which is not myself or mind, but belongs to Nature and has been enforced on an outer me. I am the witness Purusha; I am silent, detached, not bound by any of these things. There grows up in consequence a division in the being; the sadhak feels within him the growth of a calm silent separate consciousness which feels itself quite apart from the surface play of the mind and the vital and physical Nature. Usually when this takes place, it is possible very rapidly to bring down the peace of the higher consciousness and the action of the higher Force and the full march of the yoga. But often the Force itself comes down first in response to the concentration and call and then, if these things are necessary, it does them and uses any other means or process that is helpful or indispensable.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 8, The Triple Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual and Supramental, The Spiritual Transformation, pp. 209-229

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at http://sriaurobindostudies.wordpress.com and podcast at https://anchor.fm/santosh-krinsky He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.