Letters on Yoga – IV contains letters of Sri Aurobindo on the transformation of human nature – mental, vital, and physical – through the practice of the Integral Yoga, and on the difficulties encountered along the way. It is the last volume of Letters on Yoga. Most of these letters were written by Sri Aurobindo in the 1930s to disciples living in his Ashram in Pondicherry. About one-third of the letters in the present volume were not published in the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library.
This fourth volume is arranged by subject in four parts. The first covers sadhana on the level of the mind (mental difficulties, cultivation of the mind, power of expression, and speech), and is followed by sadhana on the level of the vital (the vital nature, vital temperament, and vital defects; human relations and interactions). The third part deals with sadhana on the physical, subconscient, and inconscient levels and the fourth addresses the kinds of difficulties encountered in the practice of Yoga, how to face and overcome such difficulties, and the nature and function of the adverse forces in the sadhana.
“The chief obstacle in you is the mind. If you can quiet your mind and give the psychic being a chance, that will be your spiritual salvation. Your mind is inordinately active, too full of questionings, too shrewd, worldly and practical, too much given to doubt and self-defence. All that is very useful in worldly life, it helps to bring success, but it is not the way to succeed in Yoga. No doubt in Yoga, the critical rational mind (self-critical as well as critical of things outside you) is an element that has its value so long as the true inner discrimination does not come; but of itself it cannot carry you on the way, it will only make your progress slow and stumbling. There must be something in you that will open itself directly to the Truth and Light. The unregenerated vital being of man cannot do that because it demands of the higher Power that it shall satisfy the vital desires, demands, ambitions, vanity, pride, etc., before it will accept the Truth. The unillumined mind also cannot do it because it refuses to recognise the Truth unless the Truth first satisfies its own judgments, ideas, opinions, critical or conventional standards, – unless in a word the Truth consents to narrow itself into the moulds of the mind’s own ignorance. It is the psychic being alone that turns to the Truth directly, feels it instinctively behind all appearances and in spite of all disguises, accepts it
without any egoistic demand or condition, is ready to serve it without reserve or refusal. It is the psychic being also that can at once feel and reject all imitations of the Truth, all shows, all pretences.”
– Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Yoga – IV, p.8
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