There are many paths which can lead to this stage of Integration. But for one practicing the Integral Yoga, what will matter is whether one is happy in the path and not which path is superior or better. A knowledge will arise that every path leads to that one goal. It will not matter whether Eckhart Tolle or Buddha or Ramana or Sri Aurobindo is read or who has said what and what not. What will matter is how one has practiced what each one has experienced and whether that is leading one to deeper and everlasting happiness. If that does not happen the more effort would be made to Integrate the Mind and other faculties and make it more Inward and calmer. Most search for some quick-fix solution but unfortunately there is none. That is why all paths have to be termed as Yoga. It will result in the outcome meant to be as long as our desire is strong enough to only want Happiness or Bliss always. In fact, it could well be that one gets into this path led by someone who is not even following any path but by pure chance or commonsense he or she would have stumbled on the secret that it is all about one Self and not about others. Here again it is important to understand that in practical Life also one cannot escape this reality. I still recall that a famous family business professor and consultant by name John Ward from Kellog’s University, USA used to say that in family or business relationships there is only one thing in our control which is ourself and our behavior or reactions!
In the final stages of the Integral Yoga, all caste, community, birth rights, place, identity and even more importantly religion or religious beliefs will all merge into one – i.e. That One or to use the right words – ‘A completely Integral Spirituality’ i.e. the world of the Spirit. No doubt religion and its practices have an important role in the initial period. Why? As we saw earlier, discipline is necessary for the Mind to change its habits and when we are struggling with the dualities of Life religious practices and rituals lend a wonderful crutch to discipline one. Fasts, chanting, prayers and most importantly talking about God are all very useful to ensure the Mind loses its separation and starts wanting to merge into the Whole but once the Awareness of the Whole arises then the final step of the Integral Yoga will be a merger with the Self or That One.
The fourth chapter of the Taitreya Upanishad or the Mahanarayana Upanishad has a portion at the end which is to be read without a pause. In that portion the reference is about how every action or moment in one’s everyday Life is an Yoga. An Yoga which can be treated as mundane everyday activity or an Yoga which leads one ever inward. Here the reference is to the fact that every moment of our life can be made as Yoga by directing the same Inward and being free from distractions of all kinds. This is where the living in the Now or completely surrendering to the action at that point of time matters.
The Integral Yoga is all about how one pulls in all the faculties inward. This will be possible only when the Body, Vital (Prana) and the Mind all agree on one single pointed or overarcing goal. This has to be permanent Happiness or Bliss. Once that choice is made, then the search for that is not outside or in circumstances or words of others. It will be a pure and simple identification with the One who is inside or the same One in any form externally. Then all other Desires, even if they exist will be sacrificed to That One. All Knowledge would be used only to deepen one’s experience of That One and He becomes one’s constant companion. All the weaknesses either of the Body, feelings or Mind all fall away to be replaced by a quiet enjoyment of the vagaries of Life. Then one does not feel pressure or feel Life is futile and try to change external circumstances but instead one becomes deeper and deeper inward. As this progresses, the right effort would be made to change external circumstances if required to enable one progress faster on this path.
This then becomes the Life of the Karma Yogi, the Sadhak or practitioner of Yoga. One’s tendencies then do not matter and the only barometer of success would be how happy one is and how happy do others feel in their dealings with the person. No change in Life is possible till one changes and once one changes to identify with That One, then everything changes to enable that state forever. It also will not matter how long this takes as every step is anyway being enjoyed. The only choice that one then needs to make is to choose to be Happy knowing that Happiness is within and not search for the unhappiness which is outside one. Quoting from the Savitri ‘The Call to the Quest’ what we should not forget is that;
The earth you tread is a border screened from heaven;
The life you lead conceals the light you are
Once the choice is made the realization will dawn that ;
Thy soul has strength and needs no other guide
Than One who burns within thy bosom’s power
After that the alignment would be so perfect that
One force shall be your mover and your guide,
One light shall be around you and within
The force of our wanting the Everlasting Bliss or Happiness will lead to a complete silence; continuing to quote from the Savitri ‘The Call to the Quest’
Then, falling silent in himself to know
He meets the deeper listening of his soul:
The Word repeats itself in rhythmic strains:
Thought, vision, feeling, sense, the body’s self
Are seized unutterably and he endures
An ecstasy and an immortal change;
He feels a Wideness and becomes a Power,
All knowledge rushes on him like a sea:
Transmuted by the white spiritual ray
He walks in naked heavens of joy and calm,
This heaven is not some world which is to be tasted beyond one’s life, but our very Life and every waking moment then becomes full of Joy. In fact, it is appropriate considering Durga Puja is just over to understand that in the ‘Durga Suktham’ in the Vedas (the ‘Word’ referred to above has been used by Sri Aurobindo to refer in other writings to the Vedas) there is a specific prayer to Her to bring the Heavens on Earth. What needs to be done is to make the conscious and clear choice by all the faculties and parts of our Being that one wants only Happiness and reject anything which prevents that. Then the Heavens can be experienced through That One in every minute of existence in this Earth itself. One is swallowed in the Whole in perfect identity and alignment with That One. Bliss is then forever.
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(The writer is the Joint Managing Director of TVS & Sons Ltd., and MD, TVS Logistics)