The Synthesis of Yoga first appeared serially in the monthly review Arya, beginning from its first issue. August 1914. Seventy-two chapters, proceeded by five introductory chapters, had been issued by January 1921, when the journal ceased publication, leaving the series incomplete.
In 1948 the first eleven chapters of the Arya text, extensively revised, enlarged, and expanded into twelve chapters, were published as The Synthesis of Yoga.- Part I, "The Yoga of Divine Works", by the Sri Aurobindo Library, Madras. This identical text was reissued by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, in a second edition in 1953. The same text had been separately published in 1950 by the Sri Aurobindo Library, New York, as The Synthesis of Yoga, Book One. This American edition included an index and a glossary.
In 1955 the Sri Aurobindo International University Centre, Pondicherry, published the first combined edition of The Synthesis of Yoga, as Volume IV of its collection of Sri Aurobindo's works under the title. On Yoga I: The Synthesis of Yoga. All available chapters of the book, revised or unrevised, were included in this edition, the text of which has been used as the text of all subsequent editions. The five introductory chapters are reprinted from the Arya text. Chapters I to XII are taken from the 1948 edition and to these twelve chapters is added all incomplete thirteenth from the manuscripts of the author to make up Part I, "The Yoga of Divine Works". Part II, "The Yoga of Integral Knowledge", is chapters XIII to XL of the Arya text. (These chapters were revised slightly by the author.) Parts III and IV, here entitled "The Yoga of Divine Love" and "The Yoga of Self-Perfection", comprise the remaining chapters of the Arya series.
It should be noted that although this text is complete in so far as it includes all available material. The Synthesis of Yoga as a whole was never completed. Not only was the "Yoga of Self-Perfection" left unfinished, but a proposed additional section was not begun. It also should be remembered that only the first part. "The Yoga of Divine Works", was issued during Sri Aurobindo's lifetime in a thoroughly revised form. The second and more especially the third and fourth parts must be considered as belonging to an earlier period.
A second impression of the first combined edition was issued by the S.A.l.U.C. in 1957. In 1965 the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry, brought out a second edition. The third and fourth editions (1970), entitled simply The Synthesis of Yoga, comprised Volumes 20 and 21 of the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, deluxe and popular editions respectively. The popular edition was a facsimile reproduction of the deluxe. The fifth edition was similarly reproduced, but in a reduced format. There were two impressions of this edition (1971 and 1973), both of which were issued by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry.
The text of the present (sixth) edition is the same as that of the fifth, a few corrections of minor, mostly typographical errors excepted. The addition of an index constitutes it a new edition.
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Extracts from two letters of Sri Aurobindo dealing with THE SYNTHESIS of YOGA are amended here:
The Synthesis of Yoga was not meant to give a method for all to follow. Each side of the Yoga was dealt with separately with all its possibilities, and an indication as to how they meet so that one starting from knowledge could realise Karma and Bhakti also and so with each path. It was intended when the Self-Perfection was finished, to suggest a way in which all could be combined, but this was never written.
At the time when the last chapters of The Synthesis of Yoga were written in the Arya, the name "overmind" had not been found, so there is no mention of it. What is described in those chapters is the action of the supermind when it descends into the overmind plane and takes up the overmind workings and transforms them. The highest supermind or Divine gnosis existent in itself, is something that lies beyond still and quite above. It was intended in latter chapters to show how difficult even this was and how many levels there were between the human mind and supermind and how even supermind descending could get mixed with the lower action and turned into something that was less than the true Truth. But these latter chapters were not written.