CHENNAI: Yoga, in its essence is a passage from the ordinary consciousness, which we are aware of, to a higher, wider and deeper consciousness in which we further become alert of the realities of life and the one actuality. Not only do we become aware, but we then tend to live in it and act according to it, instead of living according to the appearance of things.
Yoga is a passage from ignorance to self-knowledge, from our apparent to our true being, from an outer phenomenal mental and vital material life-existence to an inner spiritual existence and a spiritualised nature.
By Yoga we pass on from the phenomenal to the real, from the consciousness of our own apparent outer nature to the consciousness of our real self, Atman, an inner and inmost man, Purusha, that which we eternally are. This self or true being remains constant through all the changes of our phenomenal being, changes of the mind, life or body or changes of our apparent personality; it is permanent, perpetual and immortal, a manifestation of the Eternal.
By yoga we also pass from our consciousness of the phenomenal appearances of the cosmos or world around us, to a consciousness of its genuineness and truth. We become aware of the world as a demonstration of a universal being that is the truth of all that we see, hear and experience. We become aware of the cosmic consciousness which is the secret of the cosmic energy, a cosmic self or spirit, the cosmic divine, the universal Godhead.
But, by yoga we become aware that our own self or true being is one in unison with the cosmic self and spirit, our nature is just a play of the cosmic nature, and when we realise that the wall between ourselves and the universe begin to disappear and vanish altogether. We comprehend the self same pantheos in ourselves, in others and in all universal existence.
We also become conscious of something that is more than our individual being and more than the cosmic being, a transcendental being or existence which is not dependent on us or the existence of the universe.
Our existence is a just an expression of that being, the cosmos is a demonstration of that one supreme existence. This is then the verity to which we arrive through yoga - A supreme existence manifests as a cosmic self and again as our own self or spirit which are actually aware of as our own individual existence.Union: The Aim of Yoga
It is the aim of yoga to transform our consciousness so that we understand the reality that is behind things and no longer in their appearance. The object of yoga is to enter into some kind of union or communion through participation in spiritual doings.
But the reality presents itself to the consciousness of man’s mental being as various aspects. We see the divine as a personal Godhead or as an impersonal existence. A compassionate, loving god, he is a divine friend who meets us or a divine master, father or of all or a divine lovers. We are in the presence of a cosmic spirit in whose universal consciousness we lose our separate ego or a super cosmic absolute in whom we lose our entire cosmic as well as our individual existence. We find our own highest self or the self of all or we pass into a sublime mystery, being without relation or feature where no self can exist any longer. It may be the inexpressible mystery of an original Nihil that saves us from all suffering along with all existence. That Nihil may be a mystic that is far other than the false and illusory being created by our minds and experiences in life.
Yoga is our union with that greater being, a higher reality which is greater than ourselves and much more larger than our real self; it is with that through yoga in we join, enter into or merge.
Yoga strives towards union with the highest: the spirit, the self, the divine, or whatever other name or aspect we wish to give the one eternal and infinite. And by union one means the first constant contact with the divine and then increasing with the infinite consciousness infinite and finally to assimilate it. One may then not only like and enjoy the experience but would like to enter into it and dwell in it. To become that divine consciousness and being one must realize from where one comes and wherte one finally returns.
To be one with the Eternal is the object of Yoga; there is no other object, because all other aims are included in this one divine perfection.
To be one with the Eternal is to be one with him in being, consciousness, power and delight. All that is summed in these four terms of the infinite, for all else are nothing but their workings.
— Excerpts from the book Essays Divine and Human by Sri Aurobindo