The Synthesis of Yoga is Sri Aurobindo's principal work on yoga: an examination of the traditional systems and an explanation of his own method of Integral Yoga.
"Truth of philosophy is of a merely theoretical value unless it can be lived," Sri Aurobindo wrote, "and we have therefore tried in the 'Synthesis of Yoga' to arrive at a synthetical view of the principles and methods of the various lines of spiritual self-discipline and the way in which they can lead to an integral divine life in the human existence."
Sri Aurobindo discusses at considerable length the three great yogic paths of Knowledge, Works and Love, and comments more briefly on other paths: Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga and the Tantric Yogas.
In the final part of the book, the "Yoga of Self-Perfection", he describes his own system of yoga, known as the Integral Yoga, through which his philosophy of supramental transformation and conscious evolution could be lived in life and finally the transformation of Man into Superman could be achieved.
Unlike the other systems, the aim of the Integral Yoga is not only to enter into the divine consciousness but to bring it down on earth to transform mind and life and body.
Its principle is "a self-surrender, a giving up of the human being into the being, consciousness, power, delight of the Divine", as a result of which the Divine himself "shall by the light of his presence and guidance perfect the human being in all the forces of the Nature for a divine living".
Introduction: The Conditions of the Synthesis
Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works
Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge
Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love
Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection
Subjects: Yoga, Philosophy, Psychology
All life is a secret Yoga, an obscure growth of Nature towards the discovery and fulfilment of the divine principle hidden in her which becomes progressively less obscure, more self-conscient and luminous, more self-possessed in the human being by the opening of all his instruments of knowledge, will, action, life to the Spirit within him and in the world. Mind, life,body, all the forms of our nature are the means of this growth but they find their last perfection only by opening out to something beyond them. . . Intellectual, volitional, ethical, emotional, aesthetic and physical training and improvement are all so much to the good, but they are only in the end a constant movement in a circle without any last delivering and illumining aim, unless they arrive at a point when they can open themselves to the power and presence of the Spirit and admit its direct workings. This direct working effects a conversion of the whole being which is the indispensable condition of our real perfection. To grow into the truth and power of the Spirit and by the direct action of that power to be made a fit channel of its self-expression, - a living of man in the Divine and a divine living of the Spirit in humanity, _ will therefore be the principle and the whole object of an integral Yoga of self-perfection. (p.591-92)
About the Author:
Sri Aurobindo was an Indian/Hindu nationalist, scholar, poet, mystic, evolutionary philosopher, yogi and guru. After a short political career in which he became one of leaders of the early movement for the freedom of India from British rule, Sri Aurobindo turned to the development and practice of a new spiritual path which he called the "integral yoga," the aim of which was to further the evolution of life on earth by establishing a high level of spiritual consciousness which he called the Supermind that would represent a divine life.
Sri Aurobindo wrote prolifically in English on his spiritual philosophy and practice, on social and political development, on Indian culture including extensive commentaries and translations of ancient Indian scriptures, on literature and poetry including the writing of much spiritual poetry.