How can one hope to change others when one cannot change one’s own faculties? Once the goal is ‘permanent Happiness’ and the alignment of the faculties start, then the Awareness will slowly start arising that unless one is identified within and not with one of the faculties there is no way that goal can be achieved. Then what does one do? The Integration has to be more complete by becoming more ‘Self Centered’! How is what we saw in earlier articles but the real need for a spiritually oriented practical life arises only then. As we saw a tired Body or Mind does not and cannot lead one to Happiness. A chattering Mind causes more problems. Faith has to lead one to the goal. Discipline alone will lead to alignment. Discipline of the Body, Vital (Prana) and the Mind. All the earlier seen effort would have to be made and the occasional glimpses of the True Joy one gets when aligned in absorbed and relaxed activity or silence spurs one in that path faster.
The Integral Yoga is where the Body willingly sacrifices its efforts to be the perfect instrument of the Self. Similarly, the Desires or Prana become single pointed and pursue only the Happiness in that ‘Self’. The Mind stills and experiences the greatest Joy. The Knowledge or Awareness becomes deeper and broader. As we saw earlier, each of the faculties (Body, Mind etc.) have their own levels of evolution. There are ways to reach the best evolution of each faculty separately but there is no escape or solution to first want to follow an Integral approach to achieve Happiness as even the highest evolution of the Body or even the Mind cannot help one reach permanent Happiness. The basic Awareness and a deep desire to change has to arise. Quoting from the Savitri ‘The Call to the Quest’ – Canto III
But dim in human hearts the ascending fire,
The invisible Grandeur sits unworshipped there;
Man sees the Highest in a limiting form
Or looks upon a Person, hears a Name.
He turns for little gains to ignorant Powers
Or kindles his altar lights to a demon face.
He loves the Ignorancefathering his pain.
A spell is laid upon his gloriousstrengths;
He has lost the inner Voice that led his thoughts,
And masking the oracular tripod seat
A specious Idol fills the marvel shrine.
The great Illusion wraps him in its veils.
This is the essence of what is termed as Maya or the veil of ignorance. This is the reason why all of us do not make a clear and logical choice to choose Bliss or permanent Happiness always but instead struggle with the outside world or mistake one of our faculties as being able to lead one out of the Ignorant state we are in without going Inward to the Self first.
The Integral Yoga starts with the common overarching goal – Permanent Happiness. The Body, Prana (Feelings) and the Mind all agree to make this the paramount goal. In order to avoid the faculties working at cross purposes, the Mind has to take charge first. It must willingly submit itself to not focus too much on other issues as that is the instrument which cognizes the other faculties problems (Example: The Body does not feel pain, the Mind cognizes the pain). All the distractions / reactions caused by external circumstances have to be dropped or the importance or attention given to those reduced. Rather the maximum focus will be on a calm, relaxed enjoyment of whatever one does. Every time an agitation or opposite state arises, it will be observed and not identified with. Initially the Mind will still be the observer, as the calmness increases the Inner Self will take over.
It is futile to even attribute or waste time trying to attribute causes for our not being relaxed or enjoying Life. There is nothing outside one which matters. It is all inside one –The second step of the Integral Yoga is this realization and the Mind becoming one’s partner. The next steps are almost all simultaneous. Depending on one’s tendencies, either the One within or the One seen as a favourite God becomes a magnet. Then Love, Devotion, Surrender all take over and nothing else remains. The last step is like a fire which destroys all but the core. Again quoting from the Savitri -‘The Call to the Quest’
How long will you tread the circling tracks of mind
Around your little self and petty things?
But not for a changeless littleness were you meant,
Not for vain repetition were you built;
Out of the Immortal’s substance you were made;
Your actions can be swift revealing steps,
Your life a changeful mould for growing gods,
A Seer, a strong Creator, is within,
The immaculate Grandeur broods upon your days,
Almighty powers are shut in Nature’s cells.
A greater destiny waits you in your front;
This transient earthly being if he wills
Can fit his acts to a transcendent scheme.
Once one realizes that one is in essence That One, the veil of Ignorance falls away. One has all the strength required to make the change but what is needed is a strong Will to change and not be satisfied till one identifies with That One.
What does the lack of outside interference mean and how can the faculties be integrated. The first need is for one to stop bothering about what others say beyond any practical need to understand or answer the same. Normally, most persons need the praise or acceptance of others, to motivate or move them forward in their life. That has to change. Other’s words, comparisons or even praise should be replaced by the need and interest in the perfect work or effort. But many times the feelings will refuse to cooperate. The reaction will start. This is when the Mind must stop the same either by strongly willing the same or by not identifying with the same and allowing it excessive reign. Now as we saw in earlier articles, the Integral Yoga demands that this does not became a fight between the two faculties of which is superior but instead both should surrender themselves to the pursuit of the Higher goal of Permanent Happiness.
This alignment will also mean the Body will become fully compliant. This will mean two things. First the Body will not need too much attention. Instead it will start cooperating with the Desire to pursue Higher Happiness by not clamouring for attention always. Secondly the Mind will not register and give too much importance to the Body’s ailments. It does not mean the upkeep of the Body will be given up. Instead the reverse will be true, i.e. the focus would be on the body becoming a true instrument and not the conductor who demands excessive attention. As we have seen earlier, when the Body is in pain, only a complete identification with the Inner Self can save one from unhappiness. Therefore every effort would be made to reach that stage at the earliest. It is also clear that the Highest of evolved Souls leave their Body but it is the way in which they do which matters and not whether one can prevent that.
(This is the third article of a four-part series on ‘The Integral Yoga’. The fourth and last part will appear next Friday.)
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(The writer is the Joint Managing Director of TVS & Sons Ltd., and MD, TVS Logistics)