Our many selves

A.S. Dalal

From the preface of Our many selves, a compilation by A.S.Dalal.

Yoga is generally associated with certain set practices such as postures, breathing exercises, meditation and the like. In addition, yoga is understood as consisting in certain rules and norms pertaining to aspects of one's outer life, such as diet, habits and acts of conduct. However, as taught by Sri Aurobindo, yoga consists essentially in inner psychological work aimed at the change and transformation of consciousness. As he states: "Yoga is nothing but practical psychology"1; "... the whole method of Yoga is psychological; it might almost be termed the consummate practice of a perfect psychological knowledge." 2

This book, meant primarily for the general spiritual seeker rather than for the practitioner of Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga, deals only with the initial and preliminary steps towards the radical change of consciousness aimed at by the Integral Yoga. These initial tasks of psychospiritual growth consist in: emerging progressively from the unconscious state in which one is more or less a fused part of the collective mass rather than an independent individual who is a truly mental man who thinks for himself, is free from all outer influences, who has an individuality, who exists, has his reality. Developing an increasingly greater understanding of oneself by becoming more and more conscious of one's being in all its complexity in order to discern the springs of one's actions arising from the different parts of one's being so as to be able to exercise self-control and attain self-mastery; bringing harmony and order among the diverse parts of one's being which normally are in a state of conflict and disorder; discovering one's true self and unifying one's being — which is normally characterised by division and disunity — by organising all other selves around one's true self. ...


1Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, Vol. 20, p. 39

2Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, Vol. 20, p. 496