Yoga is more than meditation and breathing exercises. It also requires cultivating an awareness of one’s own psychology – the traits that one has inherited from one’s parents, culture and environment. One must patiently trace the source of every impulse which arises before it is acted upon. (i.e. “Am I doing this for glory, out of fear, out of habit, etc”). This introspection constitutes the practice of Jnana Yoga (Yoga of knowledge and discrimination), which must be undertaken in order to cleanse the soul of its lower egoistic formations.
Karma Yoga(Yoga of Works), as outlined in the Bhagavad Gita, involves doing work not for one’s ego but as an offering to the Divine. The principles of Karma Yoga can be easily applied in the tranquil atmosphere of some spiritual retreat where one is surrounded by like-minded people but it is much more difficult to practice in a professional or business environment of today’s capitalistic society. This post discusses some finer points of Karma Yoga based on the commentaries of Sri Aurobindo.
When the goal of life changes, the people we associate with also change. Traditional family life between individuals is bound by a certain level of comfort, attachment, fulfillment of the desire for security and the satisfaction of egoistic demands. When the search for the Truth becomes an all-consuming passion, these traditional bonds of comfort are discarded and replaced by bonds of wisdom that tie us to a new set of people. The Mother calls this the True family. Her comments on this issue are excerpted below.
This is a simplified explanation of the Vedic theory of Sound (Vak, whose root is Vach which means “to speak” and corresponds in Latin to the word is Vox) using some examples as well as the words of the Mother of the Aurobindo Ashram.
The words of Christ: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4) have deep meaning to those who practice Yoga. The “word of God” here indicates that the Divine Being has manifested the world using etheric vibrations and all these vibrations are akin to words coming from the mouth of God.
Here is Sri Aurobindo on the Gita Chapter 6, Verse 5
uddhared atmanatmanam natmanam avasadayet
atmaiva hy atmano bandhur atmaiva ripur atmanah