INTEGRAL YOGA – Gunas of Prakriti, Self Ego and Individuality

Integral yoga, sometimes also called supramental yoga, is the yoga-based philosophy and practice of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother (Mirra Alfassa).

The goal of integral yoga

The goal of Integral yoga is to become aware of the Divine, to integrate the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of ourselves, and to manifest the Divine at earth.

According to Sri Aurobindo, all life is Yoga, while Yoga as a sadhana is a methodised effort towards self-perfection, which brings to expression the latent, hidden potentialities of being. 

Three types of being

Sri Aurobindo discerns three types of being: the Outer being, the Inner being, and the Psychic Being.

The Outer Being

The Outer Being includes the physical, vital and mental levels of Being, which characterises our everyday consciousness and experience. This includes several levels of the subconscient: a mental subconscient, a vital subconscient, and a physical subconscient, down to the material Inconscient.

The Inner or Subliminal Being

The Inner Being, or Subliminal, includes the inner realms or aspects of the physical, vital and mental being. They have a larger, subtler, freer consciousness than that of the everyday consciousness. Its realisation is essential for any higher spiritual realisation.

The Psychic Being

The Psychic Being is Sri Aurobindo’s term for the Personal Evolving Soul (the Higher Mind, Illumined Mind, Intuition and Overmind), the principle of Divine spirit in every individual.The Psychic is the “Innermost Being”, the permanent being in us that stands behind and supports the physical, vital and mental principles. It “uses mind, life and body as its instruments,” undergoing their fate yet also transcending them.

Gunas of Prakriti,

Everything within Prakriti, the illusionary world, consists of three gunas – sattva, rajas & tamas. The three gunas are each associated with a specific characteristic – (purity), rajas (activity), and tamas (darkness, destruction).

What is Sattva?

Sattva manifests itself as purity, knowledge, and harmony. It is the characteristic of goodness, joy, satisfaction, nobility, and contentment. It is free of fear, violence, wrath, and malice. Sattva is pure and forgiving. In order to reach Samadhi or liberation, people want to increase their Sattva guna. Increasing sattva is possible by reducing rajas and tamas, both in your mind and in your body.

What is Rajas? 

Rajas expresses as passion, action, energy, and motion. Rajas is characterized by a feeling of attachment, a longing for satisfaction and desire. If you want to decrease the level of rajas, avoid consuming rajasic foods like fried and spicy food and stimulants such as caffeine.

What is Tamas?

Tamas manifests itself as impurity, laziness, and darkness. It is the consequence of ignorance and it prevents all beings from seeing reality. To decrease the tamasic elements in your mind and body, avoid eating tamasic foods (eg. alcohol, meat, processed food) or overindulging (eg. overeating, oversleeping).

Self Ego and Individuality

self ego –

Ego is defined as one’s image of oneself, or the conscious mind, which is based on one’s perception. It can also be defined as conceit, a sense of self-importance, or as self-esteem.

In the world of yoga, ego (ahamkara) is defined as the individual’s sense of who they are – their thoughts, desires and personality, as shaped by the mind. It is sometimes referred to as the “false self,” because it is colored only by one’s view of the world.

It’s a quality that makes one different from others. If we look closer, we will realise that each one of us, from different walks of life, share an independent opinion about a subject matter. This is hugely influenced by our individual experiences, conditions, upbringings, exposures, natural tendencies, genetics, and most importantly intentions.

The practice of yoga is an attempt at self-recognition in various degrees. It is a process of self-awakening, be degrees, of the subject, missing in our perception. Yoga takes up this subject to solve the mystery. 

According to yoga sutra, the light of the supreme subject is reflected through the medium of the world including mind and intellect, creating a sense of confusion. The subject, which is consciousness, permeates the world of objects so intensely that one thing is mistaken for the other.

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