The gross body of man is not like the stone or the earth; it is a combination of two sheaths, the vital and the “food” sheath and its life is a constant interaction of these two. Still the life-energy and the physical frame are two different things and in the withdrawal of the mind from the absorbing sense of the body we become increasingly sensible of the Prana and its action in the corporeal instrument and can observe and more and more control its operations. Practically, in drawing back from the body we draw back from the physical life-energy also, even while we distinguish the two and feel the latter nearer to us than the mere physical instrument. The entire conquest of the body comes in fact by the conquest of the physical life-energy.
Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga intends to transform man. The body is the base of the being, hence The Mother’s emphasis on proper physical culture.
Sadhana has to be done in the body, it cannot be done by the soul without the body. When the body drops, the soul goes wandering in other worlds — and finally it comes back to another life and another body. Then all the difficulties it had not solved meet it again in the new life. Moreover, if one throws away the body wilfully, one suffers much in the other worlds and when one is born again, it is in worse, not in better conditions. The only sensible thing is to face the difficulties in this life and this body and conquer them.
The darkness failed and slipped like a falling cloak
From the reclining body of a god.
Then through the pallid rift that seemed at first
Hardly enough for a trickle from the suns,
Outpoured the revelations and the flame.