A 3-day online course with Dr Alok Pandey on Elements of the Integral Yoga was organised by NAMAH, The Journal of Integral Health, Sri Aurobindo Society from 6th to 8th December 2023. These inspiring and illuminating sessions addressed the triple labour of Aspiration, Rejection and Surrender and examined the three phases of the Integral Yoga practice: the beginnings, the stage of progression, and finally the fulfilment.
The first session titled ‘Beginnings of the Integral Yoga’, began with an exposition of the word Yoga and its deeper understanding as union with the Divine, it implies that there is something within each individual that is like an individual representation of the Divine and seeks the Divine and that humanity is programmed for an in-built progress towards greater and greater perfection. The speaker further deliberated on the different connotations of the word ‘Integral Union’; union with the Divine in every possible way, realising the Divine in every aspect of creation, and also when Mind, heart, life, and body and all the parts engage in the yoga and arrive at their own fulfilment. The session progressed with dwelling on Integral Yoga as Supramental Yoga and Yoga of Transformation, further emphasising two other names for Integral Yoga; Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga, when one comes in contact by whatever means with the consciousness of Sri Aurobindo, the yoga will be taken up within the individual and The Mother’s Yoga for which Sri Aurobindo gave two keys; Psychic opening to The Mother and Aspiration for the Divine Life (flawless instruments for Divine manifestation upon earth). To recognise The Mother is to be initiated in this yoga was the key message and the session ended with a discussion on the Four Aids as the method to proceed on the path.
The second session titled, ‘Progression of the Integral Yoga’, opened with a description of various processes on the path (Physical | Psychological| Psychophysical) and Sri Aurobindo’s words on Integral Yoga, it begins with the idea that the soul is involved in the mind and the processes are primarily psychological. The speaker then laid great emphasis on the fire of aspiration and that the seat of aspiration is in the centre of the chest where the core aspiration of the soul is to become one with the Divine, it manifests differently in each part of the being and faces many distractions on the way. Faith and the flame of aspiration need to be nurtured and guarded against invasion and intrusion from all kinds of forces. Aspiration, Rejection, and Surrender as the three key movements along with Equanimity, Sincerity, Endurance, Perseverance, Patience, Faith, Trust, and Confidence in the Divine were discussed in detail during the session.
The third session titled ‘Fulfilment of the Integral Yoga’, began with highlighting the aspects of traditional yoga and integral Yoga, traditional Jnana yoga ends with self-knowledge, in Integral Yoga it is not just self-knowledge but also world-knowledge. One has to deal with the world and it has to be no longer based on the ignorant way of dealing. God-knowledge brings peace and certitude and one can see it along with the mind of light, the life of rhythmic force begins to
develop. The seaker highlighted the fact that there is no need for quantifying progress or comparison in this journey as every individual's journey is unique. The fundamental progress in yoga can be found in one’s own subjective being and when the Psychic door opens, there is a direct communication between the Divine and the nature (psychic discernment emerges). The speaker then went on to share a few pointers on external aids that can help maintain the inner contact, a few of them being, reading the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, having photographs of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, centring one’s life around The Mother and being sincere and honest in sharing everything with the Mother. The three-step process on the path was elucidated by the speaker as, The Beginning - Give All You Have (the things I consume belong to The Mother). Progress on the path - Give All You Do (all daily activities). The culmination of Surrender - Give All You Are (character formed by the forces of heredity and environment). Offer all your movements without judging, do not hold on to habits of the past, offer them to the Mother so that She can change them. The session ended with a powerful statement ‘The Mother is the Path and The Mother is the Goal.’
These three days deeply inspired the participants and gave them clear and concise insights into the various aspects of the Integral Yoga. From recognising the call on the path to the ways to walk the path with Faith and Surrender, Dr Alok Pandey created a space of love and devotion that made the fire of Aspiration march forward with certitude.
“Gratitude for your insights shared during 3 days talks and also patiently answering all our questions.”
“Excellent. Alok da explained the theory and practice effortlessly. I understood the gaps in my own effort in yoga and with grace would like to correct them.”
“Yes, many points were lucidly elaborated by Dada.”
“Everything, Dr Alok sends positive (divine) vibrations, helps me feel more connected to the Mother.”
“Yes, essential for me to understand this to incorporate into daily life.”
“Incredibly inspiring. Very grateful to be able to just participate in these sessions.”
“Simply calling her and remembering her always is Yoga. This is challenging but pray to continue this Mothers Grace.”
“Thank you very much for putting across the basics of Integral Yoga forward in such a wonderful and comprehensive way.”