Sri Aurobindo, Bases of Yoga

150th birth anniversary of Aurobindo

A criticism that ignores or belittles the significance of the unsurpassed record and the splendor the self expressing spirit and creative intelligence of the Vedas, stands convicted at one of a blind malignity or an invincible prejudice and does not merit refutation.

By your stumbling, the world is perfected.

We must not only cut asunder the snare of the mind and the senses, but flee also from the snare of the thinker, the snare of theologian and the church-builder, the meshes of the Word and the bondage of the Idea. All these are within us waiting to wall in the spirit with forms; but we must always go beyond, always denounce the lesser the greater, the finite for the Infinite; we must be prepared to proceed from illumination to illumination, from experience to experience, from soul state to soul state… Nor must we attach ourselves even to truths we hold most securely, for they are but forms and expressions of the ineffable who refuses to limit itself to any form or expression.

There are two powers – a fixed and unfailing aspiration that calls from below and a supreme Grace from above that answers – that alone work together in achieving great aims and overcoming difficult things.

But the supreme Grace will act only in the conditions of the Light and the Truth; it will not act in conditions laid upon it by the Falsehood and the Ignorance. For if it were to yield to the demands of the Falsehood, it would defeat its own purpose.

If you open yourself on one side or in one part to the Truth and on another side are constantly opening the gates to hostile forces, it is vain to expect that the divine Grace will abide with you. You must keep the temple (body and mind) clean if you wish to install there the living Presence.

If you learn to live in that calm of the inner being, you will have found your stable basis.

There are two attitudes that a sadhak can have – either a quiet equality to all or a general good will.

A contempt of others is out of place, especially since the Divine is in all.

To discourage anybody is wrong, but to give false encouragement or encouragement of anything wrong is not right.

The absolute is in itself indefinable by reason, ineffable to the speech; it has to be approached through experience.

Action solves the difficulties which action creates. Inaction can only paralyse and delay.

To be in full union with the Divine is the final aim.

The nearer we get to the absolute Ananda, the greater becomes our joy in man and the universe.

The artificiality of much in  human life is the cause of its most deep seated maladies; it is not faithful to itself or sincere with Nature and therefore it stumbles and suffers.

Fear is always a feeling to be rejected, because, what you fear is just the thing that is likely to come to you.

Truth is the foundation of real spirituality and courage is its soul.

Reason and intellectuality cannot make you see the Divine, it is the soul that sees.

The past is our foundation, the present our material and the future our aim and summit.

Faith does not depend upon experience; it is something that is there before experience.

The entire identification of the self with the body is the primary characteristic of complete barbarism.

All birth is a progressive self-finding, a means of self realization.

Bondage and freedom are states of the outer mind not of the inner spirit.

A compromise is a bargain, a transaction of interests between two conflicting powers; it is not a true reconciliation.

For the most part men are the slaves of their associations.

Where there is not the personal egoism of the doer, desire becomes impossible.

In its essentiality all is divine even if the form baffles or repels us.

Be that Fire and that Sun and that Ocean. Be that joy and that greatness and that beauty.

We create our own truth of existence in our own action of mind and life, which is another way of saying that we create our own selves, are our own makers.

The joy of perfect union can come only when what has to be done is done.

The real difficulty is always in ourselves, not in our surroundings.

To have a developed intellect is always helpful if one can enlighten it from above and turn it to a divine use.

What men call knowledge, is the reasoned acceptance of false appearances. Wisdom looks behind the veil and sees.

What the soul sees and has experienced, that it knows; the rest is appearance, prejudice and opinion.

A certain kind of agnosticism is the final truth of all knowledge.

No action, however fast, exhausts the original power from which it proceeds.

The ego of the altruist is as powerful and absorbing as the ego of the selfish and it is often more powerful and insistent because it is a self righteous and magnified ego.

It is for Ananda that the world exists; for joy that the Self puts Himself into the great and serious game of life.

The nearer we get to the absolute Ananda, the greater becomes our joy in man and the universe.

For the most part men are the slaves of their associations.

Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.

Get out of your mind to have the true intelligence.

Spirituality is indeed the master key of the Indian mind; the sense of the infinitive is native to it.

In order to see, you have to stop being in the middle of the picture.

What the soul sees and has experienced, that it knows; the rest is appearance, prejudice and opinion.

The Divine Truth is greater than any religion or creed or scripture or idea or philosophy.

For all problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony.

The soul that can live alone with itself meets God.

Do not belong to the past dawns, but to the noons of future.

True knowledge is not attained by thinking. It is what you are; it is what you become.

It is only the hypocrite and insincere who believe that they are superior to others. Humility is a state of consciousness.

The highest aim of aesthetic being is to find the divine through beauty.

All affinities have to be surrendered to the Divine along with the rest of the old nature, so that only what is in Harmony with the Divine Truth can be kept.

The psychic fire is in the fire of aspiration, purification and Tapasya.

To return to the truth of the Divine now clouded over by Ignorance is the soul’s aim in life.

To be alone with the Divine is the highest of all privileged states for the sadhaka.

The first thing to do in the sadhana is to get a settled peace and silence in the mind. Otherwise you may have experiences, but nothing will be permanent. It is in the silent mind that the true consciousness can be built. A quiet mind does not mean that there will be no thoughts or mental movements at all, but that these will be on the surface and you will feel your true being within separate from them, observing but not carried away, able to watch and judge them and reject all that has to be rejected and to accept and keep to all that is true consciousness and true experience.

One who has not the courage to face patiently and firmly life and its difficulties will never be able to go through the still greater inner difficulties of the sadhana. The very first lesson in this Yoga is to face life and its trials with a quiet mind, a firm courage and an entire reliance on the Divine Shakti. Letters on Yoga, 2 vols (Pondicherry: Aurobindo Ashram, 2013), 2.149–50.

Aspire intensely, but without impatience. … If there are difficulties, stumblings or failures, one has to look at them quietly and call in tranquilly and persistently the Divine help for their removal, but not to allow oneself to be upset or pained or discouraged. Yoga is not an easy path and the total change of the nature cannot be done in a day (Sri Aurobindo, Bases of Yoga (Pondicherry: Aurobindo Ashram, 1955), 21–2.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *