In his book The Mother, Sri Aurobindo concisely outlines the processes and steps of the integral yoga. The progress is based on a two-fold collaboration between the individual Soul and the divine Force, brought about through a tuning process for the human individual through what is called aspiration, and a responsive energy from the Divine which enters the being once it is properly tuned and prepared to receive it.

Those who believe that they can accomplish the ultimate success in yoga through personal effort at some point have to recognise that all human striving is limited by the frame of the mind-life-body complex and thus, cannot possible reach the consummation on its own. Thus, the need for the aspiration arises, to turn the being toward the Divine and to invite the Force to enter and carry out the changes required. Once this occurs, the Force can begin to carry out the sadhana in the being, widen the instruments, and prepare them for the full manifestation of that higher Force.

In any process of tuning and reception, there is a balance between “signal” and “noise”. The signal is the divine Force and the being must find the right “frequency” (tuning process) to contact that force and receive the signal. At the same time, it must stay fixed and steady on that signal in order to continue to receive the signal, and overcome the obstructions or limitations of the mind-life-body complex to reduce the amount of disturbance (noise) that occurs as the signal is received.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “Hardly anyone is strong enough to overcome by his own unaided aspiration and will the forces of the lower nature; even those who do it get only a certain kind of control, but not a complete mastery. Will and aspiration are needed to bring down the aid of the Divine Force and to keep the being on its side in the dealings with the lower powers. The Divine Force fulfilling the spiritual will and the heart’s psychic aspiration can alone bring about the conquest.”

“It [the higher consciousness] may not come exactly according to the aspiration, but the aspiration is not ineffective. It keeps the consciousness open, prevents an inert state of acquiescence in all that comes and exercises a sort of pull on the sources of the higher consciousness.”

“Naturally, the more one-pointed the aspiration the swifter the progress. The difficulty comes when either the vital with its desires or the physical with its past habitual movements comes in — as they do with almost everyone. It is then that the dryness and difficulty of spontaneous aspiration come. This dryness is a well-known obstacle in all sadhana. But one has to persist and not be discouraged. If one keeps the will fixed even in these barren periods, they pass and after their passage a greater force of aspiration and experience becomes possible.”

“the intensity of the aspiration brings the intensity of the experience and by repeated intensity of experience, the change.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 5 Bases of Yoga, Aspiration, pp. 107-109

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.