The Yoga and Its Objects

Sri Aurobindo

The yoga we practice is not for ourselves alone, but for the Divine; its aim is to work out the will of the Divine in the world, to effect a spiritual transformation and to bring down a divine nature and a divine life into the mental, vital and physical nature and life of humanity. Its object is not personal Mukti*, although Mukti is a necessary condition of the yoga, but the liberation and transformation of the human being. It is not personal Ananda*, but the bringing down of the divine Ananda – Christ’s kingdom of heaven, our Satyayuga – upon the earth. Of moksha* we have no personal need; for the soul is nityamukta* and bondage is an illusion. We play at being bound, we are not really bound. We can be free when God wills; for he, our supreme Self, is the master of the game, and without his grace and permission no soul can leave the game. It is often God’s will in us to take through the mind the bhoga* of ignorance, of the dualities, of joy and grief, of pleasure and pain, of virtue and sin, of enjoyment and renunciation: for long ages, in many countries, he never even thinks of the yoga but plays out this play century after century without wearying of it. There is nothing evil in this, nothing which we need condemn or from which we need shrink, – it is God’s play. The wise man is he who recognises this truth and knowing his freedom, yet plays out God’s play, waiting for his command to change the methods of the game.

The command is now. God always keeps for himself a chosen country in which the higher knowledge is, through all chances and dangers, by the few or the many, continually preserved, and for the present, in this Chaturyuga* at least, that country is India. Whenever he chooses to take the full pleasure of ignorance, of the dualities, of strife and wrath and tears and weakness and selfishness, the tamasic and rajasic pleasures, of the play of the Kali in short, he dims the knowledge in India and puts her down into weakness and degradation so that she may retire into herself and not interfere with this movement of his Lila.  When he wants to rise up from the mud and Narayana in man to become once again mighty and wise and blissful, then he once more pours out the knowledge on India and raises her up so that she may give the knowledge with its necessary consequences of might, wisdom and bliss to the whole world. When there is the contracted movement of knowledge, the yogins in India withdraw from the world and practise yoga for their own liberation and delight or for the liberation of a few disciples; but when the movement of knowledge again expands and the soul of India expands with it, they come forth once more and work in the world and for the world. Yogins like Janaka, Ajatashatru and Kartavirya once more sit on the thrones of the world and govern the nations.

Sri Aurobindo
SABCL, Volume 16, page 411-412

*Sanskrit words:
mukti – liberation
Ananda – bliss
moksha – liberation
nityamukta – perpetually in the state of liberation
bhoga – enjoyment
Chaturyuga – a cycle of the four yugas or ages
Narayana – the Divine

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