Role of experience and intellect in Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga

Q: Is not all action incompatible with Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga?

His idea that all action is incompatible with this Yoga is not correct. Generally, it is found that all Rajasic activity does not go well with this Yoga; for instance, political work. The reasons for abstaining from political activity are:

All action requires a certain inner formation, an inner detached being. The formation of this inner being requires one to dive into the depth of the being, get to the true Being and then prepare the true Being to come to the surface. It is then that one acquires a poise — an inner poise — and can act from there. Political work by Rajasic activity which draws the being outwards prevents this inner formation.

He asks about the synthesis between Sadhana and action. In this Yoga such a synthesis is not necessary in the beginning. The sadhak in general, opens himself alternately to the Higher Power and to the ordinary life. It goes on like that for a long time. Then comes a time when the two powers oppose each other and then the need for synthesis arises.

But if the difficulty is only intellectual then it need not be solved now. In this Yoga intellect is not the chief instrument, — experience is primary. Of course, there is the intellectual side of Yoga which the mind of the sadhak must grasp as it would be helpful to him. But it is the experience which is the most important thing.

– Sri Aurobindo