Aurobindo View on Yoga and Life:
Yoga- Sri Aurobindo finds a wide gulf between the ordinary mind and the Supermind. He suggests that this gulf should be bridged by Yoga. The integral view of life culminates in synthetic Yoga. Sri Aurobindo defines Yoga as “a methodized effort toward self-perfection by the expression of potentialities latent in the being, and a union of the individual with the universal and transcendent Existence we see partially expressed in man and in the cosmos”. To him all life is Yoga. He says that the human and the cosmic evolution will follow the same line. It is with an idea of integral Divine that he speaks about his Integral Yoga. Thus the Integral Yoga is based on integral philosophy, but it is not subordinated to philosophy. However, in a way, he finds Yoga and philosophy correlative to each other.
In order to find a true basis of harmony and peace, man must rise to a consciousness higher than the limited and ignorant mind and reason. It is the silent mind that higher consciousness can be built. Sri Aurobindo strongly advocates the practice of Yoga for getting settled peace and silence in the mind. To him, Yoga is not to escape nature but to become free from births and deaths. Yoga is the remedy to eliminate the ills and imperfections of life and help human life to be turned into something divine. He observed, “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”.
The methods of Yoga that Sri Aurobindo prescribes are free from the difficult feats of physical postures (Asana and Pranayama) and mechanical exercises in concentration. His method is profoundly religious and spiritual. He recommends an absolute and unconditional surrender to God (Atmasamarpana) as the first step of Yoga, and this condition has to be maintained throughout. Man can achieve nothing on his own unless he is helped by God. So he must surrender himself to God so that His grace may enter and purify and uplift him. Thus Aurobindo’s Yoga aims at divinising the whole man and for this, he advised the education of the mind.
Life- Sri Aurobindo regards life as universal. It is everywhere whether it is secret or manifest, organized or elemental, involved or evolved. It is all-pervading and imperishable. In the words of Sri Aurobindo, “Life is a form of the one cosmic Energy, a dynamic movement or current of it, positive or negative, a constant act or play of the force which builds up forms, energizes them by an unceasing process of disintegration and renewal of their substance”. Thus disintegration and renewal, status and change, birth and death, all are the processes of the same life. Sri Aurobindo finds no essential difference between life in plants or in animals or man. Everywhere he finds the same birth, growth, nutrition, productiveness and sterility, sleep and walking.
Life, according to Aurobindo is a universal organization of conscious force acting subconsciously in the matter. He finds three stages in this operation- Material life, Vital life, Mental life. Life is a connecting link between matter and mind. It is not like the mind, but it possesses all conscious force behind it and it is this conscious force that acts in created things.