Letters on Yoga (CWSA Edition)

Letters on Yoga (Volume 1-4)

Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo Volumes 28-31

Sri Aurobindo’s Letters on Yoga (CWSA Edition) Four volumes of letters on the integral yoga, other spiritual paths, the problems of spiritual life, and related subjects. In these letters, Sri Aurobindo explains the foundations of his integral yoga, its fundamentals, its characteristic experiences and realisations, and its method of practice. He also discusses other spiritual paths and the difficulties of spiritual life. Related subjects include the place of human relationships in yoga; sadhana through meditation, work and devotion; reason, science, religion, morality, idealism and yoga; spiritual and occult knowledge; occult forces, beings and powers; destiny, karma, rebirth and survival. Sri Aurobindo wrote most of these letters in the 1930s to disciples living in his ashram.

Letters of Sri Aurobindo was first compiled and published in four series from 1947 to 1951. The First, Second and Fourth Series contained letters on yoga, the Third letters on poetry and literature. Prior to that, small collections of letters were published in The Riddle of This World (1933), Lights on Yoga (1935), Bases of Yoga (1936) and More Lights on Yoga (1948). Some letters were also published periodically in various Ashram journals: Sri Aurobindo Circle, Sri Aurobindo Mandir, The Advent and Mother India.

The First and Second Series of Letters of Sri Aurobindo were reissued in 1950 and 1954 respectively.

In 1958 all the above letters, excepting those on poetry and literature in the Third Series, were published again, along with additional material as Volumes VI and VII of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education Series in two volumes. Volume One was reissued in 1969 with further additions.

In 1970 Letters on Yoga was published as volumes 22, 23 and 24 of the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library. This edition contained a large number of letters not included in the two volumes of the Centre of Education edition. It was reprinted several times.

In 1997, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram began to publish the Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo in a uniform library edition of 37 volumes. A considerable number of new letters has are being published for the first time in the new CWSA edition.

Book Details

Author: Sri Aurobindo

Print Length: 2420 pages

Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle

Language: English

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Letters on Yoga I

Part One. The Divine, the Cosmos and the Individual

  • Section One. The Divine, Sachchidananda, Brahman and Atman
  • Section Two. The Cosmos: Terms from Indian Systems
  • Section Three. The Jivatman and the Psychic Being

Part Two. The Parts of the Being and the Planes of Consciousness

  • Section One. The Organisation of the Being
  • Section Two. The Concentric System: Outer to Inner
  • Section Three. The Vertical System: Supermind to Subconscient
  • Section Four. The Chakras or Centres of Consciousness

Part Three. The Evolutionary Process and the Supermind

  • Section One. The Supramental Evolution
  • Section Two. The Supramental Descent and Transformation

Part Four. Problems of Philosophy, Science, Religion and Society

  • Section One. Thought, Philosophy, Science and Yoga
  • Section Two. Religion, Idealism, Morality and Yoga

Part Five. Questions of Spiritual and Occult Knowledge

  • Section One. The Divine and the Hostile Powers
  • Section Two. The Avatar and the Vibhuti
  • Section Three. Destiny, Karma, Death and Rebirth
  • Section Four. Occult Knowledge and Powers

Letters on Yoga II

Part One. The Path of the Integral Yoga

  • Section One. The Path and the Goal
  • Section Two. Basic Requisites of the Path
  • Section Three. The Foundation of the Sadhana
  • Section Four. The Divine Response

Part Two. The Synthetic Method of the Integral Yoga

  • Section One. A Yoga of Knowledge, Works, Bhakti and Self-Perfection
  • Section Two. Sadhana through Work
  • Section Three. Sadhana through Concentration, Meditation and Japa
  • Section Four. Sadhana through Love and Devotion

Part Three. The Integral Yoga and Other Spiritual Paths

  • Section One. A Yoga of Transformation
  • Section Two. Other Spiritual Paths and the Integral Yoga

Letters on Yoga III

Part One. The Place of Experiences in the Practice of Yoga

  • Section One. The Nature and Value of Experiences
  • Section Two. Vicissitudes on the Way to Realisation

Part Two. The Opening of the Inner Senses

  • Section One. Visions, Sounds, Smells and Tastes
  • Section Two. Lights and Colours
  • Section Three. Symbols

Part Three. Experiences of the Inner Consciousness and the Cosmic Consciousness

  • Section One. Experiences on the Inner Planes
  • Section Two. Experiences of the Inner Being and the Inner Consciousness
  • Section Three. Experiences of the Cosmic Consciousness
  • Section Four. The Dangers of Inner and Cosmic Experiences

Part Four. The Fundamental Realisations of the Integral Yoga

  • Section One. Three Stages of Transformation: Psychic, Spiritual, Supramental
  • Section Two. The Psychic Opening, Emergence and Transformation
  • Section Three. Spiritual Experiences and Realisations
  • Section Four. The Spiritual Transformation

Letters on Yoga IV

  • Part One. Sadhana on the Level of the Mind
  • Section One. The Mind and Sadhana
  • Section Two. Cultivation of the Mind in Yoga

Part Two. Sadhana on the Level of the Vital

  • Section One. The Vital Being and Sadhana
  • Section Two. Vital Temperament
  • Section Three. Vital Defects
  • Section Four. Human Relations in Yoga

Part Three. Sadhana on the Physical, Subconscient and Inconscient Levels

  • Section One. Sadhana on the Level of the Physical
  • Section Two. Food, Sleep, Dreams and Sex
  • Section Three. Illness, Doctors and Medicines
  • Section Four. The Subconscient and the Inconscient and the Process of Yoga

Part Four. Difficulties in the Practice of the Integral Yoga

  • Section One. Difficulties of the Path
  • Section Two. Overcoming the Difficulties of Yoga
  • Section Three. The Opposition of the Hostile Forces

Book Sample

Letters on Yoga

The Central Being and the Psychic Being

The central being is above the Adhara — most people are not aware of their central being (Jivatma) — they are aware only of the ego.

The psychic is the soul — it is a portion of the Divine that supports the mind, life and body in the evolution. The psychic gets the Divine’s help directly from the Divine.


The central being is that which is not born, does not evolve, but presides over all the individual manifestation. The psychic is its projection here — for the psychic being is in the evolution and from within supports our whole evolution; it receives the essence of all experience and by that develops the personality Godward.

The Self is at once one in all and many — one in its essence, it manifests also as the individual self which may be described as in Nature an eternal portion of the Divine; in spirit a centre of the manifestation, individual but extending into universality and rising into transcendence.


It is the central being above the evolution (always the same) that we call the Jivatma — the psychic being is the same in the evolution, it is the spark of the Divine there growing into its full divinity as a portion of the Divine.


The central being and the soul are both in different ways portions of the Divine. They are in fact two aspects of the same entity, but one is unevolving above Nature, the other evolves a psychic being in Nature.


The phrase “central being” in our Yoga is usually applied to the portion of the Divine in us which supports all the rest and survives through death and birth. This central being has two forms — above, it is the Jivatman, our true being, of which we become aware when the higher self-knowledge comes, — below, it is the psychic being which stands behind mind, body and life. The Jivatman is above the manifestation in life and presides over it; the psychic being stands behind the manifestation in life and supports it.

The natural attitude of the psychic being is to feel itself as the child, the son of God, the Bhakta; it is a portion of the Divine, one in essence, but in the dynamics of the manifestation there is always even in identity a difference. The Jivatman, on the contrary, lives in the essence and can merge itself in identity with the Divine; but it too, the moment it presides over the dynamics of the manifestation, knows itself as one centre of the multiple Divine, not as the Parameshwara. It is important to remember this distinction; for, otherwise, if there is the least vital egoism, one may begin to think of oneself as an Avatara or lose balance like Hriday with Ramakrishna.