December 31, 2006

A Spiritual Biography of Savitri

Re: "The Ideal We Must Keep Before Us" -- The Mother's Talk
by RY Deshpande on Fri 29 Dec 2006 02:42 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
In Savitri we have the perfect description of human destinies and the fulfilment that come to them. It occurs in the Book of Love with Satyavan making advances towards Savitri. They have met on the chance road of time and instantly fallen in love with each other. The God saw that it did happen in the Shalwa wilderness where would also occur the Death of Satyavan exactly one year hence, that post-human destinies start arriving.
Satyavan speaks first to Savitri, that the mystery of Time remains unknown to us; but somehow something happened and, out of its silence, there she is standing in front of him. What was all along asleep in him has suddenly awoken. He was always alert to the deep promptings of the earth, and nothing remained hid from his sight, a state in which human destinies were active in him. But now here is she who speaks to him far more than all he was used to hear. The message of the future, the realisation of its prospects starts guiding him now. The possibilities of the earth are going to be extended by her, she coming on the scene, and there is the loving and joyous recognition of it.
The one who was standing in front of him seemed to him a damsel coming from heaven, radiant and beautiful. Yet there was also a mortal sweetness smiling between those lids. Satyavan introduces himself to Savitri and tells her that, during all these youthful years, he was ever happy, happy with things, and that he lived contented. But she has come and, very paradoxically, that contentment has gone. A prince though, he was an exile in the forest; but great Nature gave him everything. There he enjoyed the intimacy of infant God, of the early life. That was his palace and the birds and beasts and trees and the rivers and the mountains were his youthful and enthusiastic companions and educators. He says; I lay in the wide bare embrace of heaven…
Satyavan becomes ecstatic and tells about the kind of things he learnt in the forest...Although all these days it was just a common life, and although there were glimpses of the deeper self, and even thought was perceptive to truth, there was the secret groping for the Mystery of this existence. He could not live the truth the word spoke and thought.
Satyavan is the evolving soul of the earth and his destinies are the human destinies; but they remain incomplete, as if there is something intrinsically lacking in them, and the higher power alone can bring perfection to them, the perfection of post-human destinies through the work of the incarnate Savitri. RYD
by RY Deshpande on Sat 30 Dec 2006 02:47 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Dear Ron Yes, Debashish is here presently, in Puducherry. I met him suddenly a few days ago in the Dining Room. He says that he will be here for a few more days. And, as you inform, Rich is now on way to India. I believe he will be here up to the third week of January. But surely they are scrolling down the posts and getting some general idea of what is happening in the forum. They will have to catch up with all this when they get back to ‘work’. We can wait until their return.
Reg. your Savitri query. No, I don’t think anyone has presented the whole of Savitri with the bold captions as are here. Madhav Pandit has done something but in a different manner. I don’t know whether you are aware of Savitri in 20 Minutes by William Netter. It has a canto on each right page with the Mother’s eyes looking into ours. The canto is described just in a few succinct phrases. I have a book The Birth of Savitŗ published by the Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles, East-West Cultural Center, LA, and has a forward by Debashish himself. Each canto is presented in a twelve-line poem and a paragraph in prose. If you wish, you could request Debashish to post his preface on the site here.
But more important is the presentation of the spiritual biography of Savitri as we have in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri. This was serialised in Mother India for a number of years and covers everything related with Savitri as given in the epic. Each instalment had about 75 lines with appropriate titles given to them. I wonder, if you would like to start it on the sciy forum, with weekly instalments, each running into 30-40 lines. This can be made open for comments, queries, clarifications. I am giving one sample in the following, the passage broken up into paragraph-sentences. Please have a look at it and let me know. We can start the new section with the New Year, 1st January 2007. If you like the idea, I will prepare an appropriate preface. If it is ok please make available a suitable category. RYD

December 29, 2006

Explore the suns of truth-beauty-delight-life-spirit

Re: The Ideal We Must Keep Before Us -- The Mother's Talk
by Rich on Thu 28 Dec 2006 03:31 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
r: The supramental force, i think, can modify the body for its purpose more effectively than any of the primitive efforts of science can envisage. The plasticity in the body will come with its touch
rc: and where do you see any evidence for this? or is this simply belief? I simply do not find the casting aside of reason and science to be the goal of this yoga. Instead I believe that this tendency is more properly called religion or religiosity. rc
by rakesh on Thu 28 Dec 2006 04:33 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Medical science that has been developed in western contries especially the medications have numerous side effects. Infact a large population dies becuase of those effects. Its attempt to cure a disease from cellular level is indeed a good one but its not a exact science. What is the science behind discovering medications? it is a hit and trial method without understanding the subtle energies that control the body. Each medication is specific to an organ or part of the body neglecting the other parts and hence the side effects. I am just reminding about the limitation of medical science to deal with the complex human physiology.
Medical science has made great advancements in surgery and many more aspects but look at the serious limitations and understanding in the field of medications. Even in the understanding of the Genes, the scientists are attempting the same hit and trial methods by replacing a amino acid( deletion), or adding, etc . There are several factors that control the working of a gene and what they are trying to do is to manipulation with one or 2 factors and discover a medication. This method will undoubtedly have serious flaws. Hence a complete understanding of the body as a whole along with the subtle energies has to be made and not tring to resolve the problem only from the gene level.
by Rich on Thu 28 Dec 2006 04:49 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
I will personally vouch for the idiocracy of narrow mindedness of certain scientist who reduce everything to genes, or those who do not understand the limitations of allopathic medicine. And along with the influence of subtle energies one must also add the great impact of society and culture to understand the complexity of being human. However, Mother as we find in these quotes while understanding the limitations of science also harbors the hope that it will play a key role in the evolution of consciousness . In one place she calls doctors priest of the physical. So rather than dismiss science (or simply be outraged the arrogance of certain scientist) we should bring to bear on it a wider understanding of human nature and especially those insights given by SA/M and seek not to reject it but to assist in its transformation so it does become a more potent instrument of the spirit rc
by RY Deshpande on Thu 28 Dec 2006 03:16 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
I think we have to make a distinction between human destinies and post-human destinies. It is of course understood that the foundational basis, the support, adhara, is to be assured in terms of human destinies; it is only then can the higher spiritual and supraphysical powers and possibilities work here, in them, making them also progress. Human destinies can by a kind of bootstrap pulling themselves up, but they yet remaining in the human domain. It is true for science, arts, thought, physical culture, everything,—everything we are occupied with, in our present state of consciousness. For the real and authentic change to come something else has to happen; it is the post-human destinies which should start entering into the human destinies. They do so ever, but “it is not the same thing when we are in awakened and living communion with them.”
The Mother has to see both the aspects in totality of their functioning. Presently there are limitations and imperfections and the work has got to be done under these circumstances. As Sri Aurobindo says, “there are powers of the nature still belonging to the mental region which are yet potentialities of a growing gnosis lifted beyond our human mentality and partaking of the light and power of the Divine and an ascent through these planes, a descent of them into the mental being might seem to be the natural evolutionary course. But in practice it might be found that these intermediate levels would not be sufficient for the total transformation. (I have added the emphasis) The Mother’s talk is in the context of “this progressive transformation”.
She makes it clear that we must maintain our body, keep it fit, improve it and keep it in good health, because of the state of consciousness we are in; “our body is an instrument of our consciousness and this consciousness can act directly on it and obtain what it wants from it.” She then, while saying that this intellectual human science is, surprisingly enough, drawing closer and closer to the essential truth of the Spirit, also adds that “this is not a final realisation, nor is it the ideal to which we want to rise. There is a higher state than this, in which the consciousness, though it still remains principally mental or partially mental in its functioning, is already open to higher regions in an aspiration for the spiritual life, and open to the supramental influence.” That is the true sense of post- or trans-human destinies.
For this “whatever is necessary has to be kept and furthered; but what has to be overpassed, whatever has no longer a use or is degraded, what has become unhelpful or retarding, can be discarded and dropped on the way. The necessary forms and instrumentations of Matter must remain since it is in a world of Matter that the divine life has to manifest, but their materiality must be refined, uplifted, ennobled, illumined, since Matter and the world of Matter have increasingly to manifest the indwelling Spirit.”
About the chakras and the flow of subtle energies, it is another aspect. So also matters dealing with science. We will have to read the Mother's Agenda more and more for that. The Mother’s work of physical transformation has really remained ununderstood by us and we don’t know to what extent we can understand it in mental terms. But perhaps we could make an attempt, invoking her own light to illumine our dark continents and, if it is a human belief coming from its soul, surely it will come and lead us towards its certitude. RYD
by RY Deshpande on Thu 28 Dec 2006 06:07 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Rich says: “…rather than dismiss science (or simply be outraged the arrogance of certain scientist) we should bring to bear on it a wider understanding of human nature and especially those insights given by SA/M and seek not to reject it but to assist in its transformation so it does become a more potent instrument of the spirit.” Thu 28 Dec 2006 04:49 AM PST
Let me rush to congratulate Rich for this wonderful statement of his. In the Aurobindonian vision and work nothing is to be dismissed that can acquire soul-value and spirit-sense. The Mother herself said that it is the scientist who has the first chance for transformation, the politician the last. The scientist’s search for truth in the material world with the total sincerity of the pursuit is what qualifies him for this prize from the Mother. She was of course speaking of those who had made wonderful discoveries, like Mme Curie and her contemporaries.
Sri Aurobindo calls JC Bose “a great Indian physicist” in The Life Divine. But what you are saying is also true of all ennobling human activities, every human activity, physical culture, arts, sciences, philosophies, rationalism, occultism, mysticism, literature, human studies, everything, man’s relationship with environment, care of the earth and the wild beast and the wind and the sea. This is what I was trying to indicate in my response to the Pollock discussion. From a professional point of view we might make impeccable and perfectly satisfying evaluations of his art, which is neither an accident in art nor art coming out of accident.
What needs to be looked into things is the authentic spirit of aesthesis speaking about these matters in the possibilities of expression which is an aspect of progress and manifestation, human destinies approaching post-human possibilities. Sri Aurobindo gave the Overmind Aesthesis and it is that which must bear upon our judgement of all our creative effort. He wrote by way of an illustration The Future Poetry, but what he meant was also The Future Science, and so on. It is expected of us to explore the suns of truth-beauty-delight-life-spirit and live in their splendour. Congratulations again. RYD
by Rich on Fri 29 Dec 2006 03:52 AM PST Profile Permanent Link thank you, but I guess I should qualify this by adding that it is only Them who should get the credit. all we can do is to be thankful for having had their guidance. I am delighted to see the link you have given between a Future Poetry and a Future Science, it is certainly an subject which I look forward to further explore with yourself and all aboard. rc

December 28, 2006

To understand the invisible forces working in nature

"The Ideal We Must Keep Before Us" -- The Mother's Talk
by RY Deshpande on Wed 27 Dec 2006 06:18 AM PST Permanent Link
Under the title Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies there has been during the last few weeks a good deal of presentation of various view points, enriched by extensive quotations mostly from the writings of Sri Aurobindo. Reference may be made to the following:
by Rich on Wed 27 Dec 2006 11:56 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Well let me start by posting a passage from the Chapter the Divine Body in the Supramental manifestation which the Mother is commenting on. Earlier in the chapter Sri Aurobindo speaks of the necessity of the organic form of the body to remain, in order to fulfill the promise of the spiritualization of matter.So this tells me 1) Sri Aurobindo's vision of the future body is embodied and it will not be brought to us on an intel platform, nor will human consciousness be uploaded into a machine as the trans-humanist would have it. Now here is the passage:
In this passage we find the stress on the process of internalizing the evolutionary transformation. For example perhaps the subtle energy fields of the chakras will perhaps be tapped to rejuvenate the body and even replace internal organs. My thoughts here as well as what might be my reckless speculation, is that it is quite impossible at present to measure the success of such an occult internal transformation on the organic being undergoing physical evolution. Although admittedly even some science can accept the extraordinary feats of some yogis who can stop their hearts and cease breathing. Whether or not this is influencing the course of physical evolution on the planet is at best undetermined.
I might add it we take Karl Popper's falsification thesis seriously we also can not discount whether this phenomena is occurring or not, because we could never sample every human being to determine the collective effects of their practice. However, what is quite clear is that science is influencing the evolution of the body. Preventive medicine and life style changes brought about by scientific understanding has remarkably increased the life expectancy of an average person on the planet dramatically. Moreover, due to new methods of physical training brought about by scientific understandinghuman beings are running faster, jumping higher, and swimming farther than ever before.The ability of science to now intervene on a genetic level means that some maladies of the human condition may be permanently removed. For example in genetic pre-screening a father and mother can now screen an embryo for up to 1300 genes which can if activated cause all manner of disease and suffering later on for the baby to be born in question.(of course there are some real ethical issues here, but I wont go into those now, nor will I go into the very real possibility that science may manufacture a human pathogen which might end life as we know it on the planet, such as Bill Joy warns us of in his article Why the Future Does not need US in the April 2000 issue of Wired magazine) But aside from this, what I am getting at is that if one understands the Mother's embrace of physical science here, and in other statements (I believe there is also from a talk in 1957, I am on the road and must paraphrase here) when she exclaims that science and spirituality are two poles of the same reality, then I think we have to consider seriously that science may be a vehicle which the evolutionary nature has at present judged superior for the task at transforming the physical nature of humanity.
I believe what we have here again is another example of what was previously thought to be occult forces which have been tapped and outered by science and technology. But, I dont think this presents a challenge to Sri Aurobindo's initial vision. (although science may begin to tap the subtle energy fields of the chakras) but it does seem for me to continue a certain trend in the evolution of humanity since recorded times namely, the exteriorization of what previously had been internal human processes. Whether it is the oral word to the printed page, or the subtle body into the physical organism we seem to be ever more exponentially turning ourselves inside out. rc
by rakesh on Wed 27 Dec 2006 08:47 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
science is giving an oppurtunity now to understand the invisible forces working in nature. If man investigates more on these lines he might discover subtle material forces and exploit them for longevity and health. Or he might go deeper and try to understand the mind-body relationship and then may be the spirit. Is this not more like the tantric way of discovering the spirit? We have just started manipulating with the genes to eradicate diseases. On the level of DNA, there are a number of enzymes,receptors etc that regulate a gene functioning. There is a great possibility that our understanding of genes can prevent a lot of diseases still the task is dependent on innumerable interdependent factors. The supramental force, i think, can modify the body for its purpose more effectively than any of the primitive efforts of science can envisage. The plasticity in the body will come with its touch.

December 27, 2006

Invisible travellers of the journey

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by RY Deshpande on Tue 26 Dec 2006 05:21 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
This note could be to see, at least meet, some of the “invisible travellers of the journey” on the path of post-human destinies. They are as ancient as Patanjali but seem to be more friendly than the present-day vague sojourners.

Patanjali in his Yoga-Sutra describes the three inner conditions to be fulfilled for getting the knowledge of the objective world. But when was this system given? There is a detailed exposition of the Sutras by Vyasa and therefore it must precede him; if he is the Vyasa of the Mahabharata then, it could be before 3000 BC. The three requirements of the objective knowledge stipulated by Patanjali are: dhāraņā, dhyāna, and samādhi. The three terms can be understood as follows: dhāraņā is the act of holding, supporting, preserving, keeping the mind collected; dhyāna concerns with meditation, contemplation, reflection; and samādhi is the absorption of thought into the object of meditation, intentness, concentration, bringing together, union with it. The combination of dhāraņā, dhyāna and samādhi constitutes samyama, the three perceiving or held together or fixed on the object. The successful accomplishment of samyama, leads to Wisdom or prajňā. In the siddhi of samyama one enters into a kind of meditation in which the object of meditation can still remain distinct; it is samprajňātah. Eventually, there arrives the state of Wisdom which is full of Truth, ritambharā prajňā.

Patanjali gives quite number of examples of the successful samyama, the siddhis attained through samyama. Thus when differentiation of succession is made, it leads to change; samyama on change brings knowledge of the three divisions of time, past-present-future. The sound of a word when uttered, its sense, and the object it connotes are taken together by us, but samyama on it gives knowledge of what it is; thus samyama on these three aspects of the word ‘tree’ brings knowledge of the tree. By samyama on the strength of an elephant comes strength to us. Knowledge of the universe comes by samyama on the Sun, bhuvanajňānam sūryé samyamāt. These include seven nether worlds and the seven ascending worlds of Matter-Life-Mind-Supermind-Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. By samyama on the Moon knowledge of the arrangement of the stars is obtained, that is the Vedic way of doing astronomy; and then samyama on Polaris gives knowledge about the relative movements of the stars.

Along with samyama given by Patanjali, let us also see The Life Divine. Sri Aurobindo writes about the four methods of knowledge as follows: “Our surface cognition, our limited and restricted mental way of looking at our self, at our inner movements and at the world outside us and its objects and happenings, is so constituted that it derives in different degrees from a fourfold order of knowledge. The original and fundamental way of knowing, native to the occult self in things, is a knowledge by identity; the second, derivative, is a knowledge by direct contact associated at its roots with a secret knowledge by identity or starting from it, but actually separated from its source and therefore powerful but incomplete in its cognition; the third is a knowledge by separation from the object of observation, but still with a direct contact as its support or even a partial identity; the fourth is a completely separative knowledge which relies on a machinery of indirect contact, a knowledge by acquisition which is yet, without being conscious of it, a rendering or bringing up of the contents of a pre-existent inner awareness and knowledge. A knowledge by identity, a knowledge by intimate direct contact, a knowledge by separative direct contact, a wholly separative knowledge by indirect contact are the four cognitive methods of Nature.” The Life Divine, pp. 524-25

About knowledge by identity we may look into a few more aspects also. Thus “…when the subject draws a little back from itself as object, then certain tertiary powers of spiritual knowledge, of knowledge by identity, take their first origin. There is a spiritual intimate vision, a spiritual pervasive entry and penetration, a spiritual feeling in which one sees all as oneself, feels all as oneself, contacts all as oneself. There is a power of spiritual perception of the object and all that it contains or is, perceived in an enveloping and pervading identity, the identity itself constituting the perception. There is a spiritual conception that is the original substance of thought, not the thought that discovers the unknown, but that which brings out the intrinsically known from oneself and places it in self-space, in an extended being of self-awareness, as an object of conceptual self-knowledge. There is a spiritual emotion, a spiritual sense, there is an intermingling of oneness with oneness, of being with being, of consciousness with consciousness, of delight of being with delight of being. There is a joy of intimate separateness in identity, of relations of love joined with love in a supreme unity, a delight of the many powers, truths, beings of the eternal oneness, of the forms of the Formless; all the play of the becoming in the being founds its self-expression upon these powers of the consciousness of the Spirit. But in their spiritual origin all these powers are essential, not instrumental, not organised, devised or created; they are the luminous self-aware substance of the spiritual Identical made active on itself and in itself, spirit made sight, spirit vibrant as feeling, spirit self-luminous as perception and conception. All is in fact the knowledge by identity, self-powered, self-moving in its multitudinous selfhood of one-awareness. The Spirit's infinite self-experience moves between sheer identity and a multiple identity, a delight of intimately differentiated oneness and an absorbed self-rapture.” (pp. 546-47)

A knowledge by identity using the powers of the integrated being for richness of instrumentation would be the principle of the supramental life. In the other grades of the gnostic being, although a truth of spiritual being and consciousness would fulfil itself, the instrumentation would be of a different order. A higher-mental being would act through the truth of thought, the truth of the idea and accomplish that in the life-action: but in the supramental gnosis thought is a derivative movement, it is a formulation of truth-vision and not the determining or the main driving force; it would be an instrument for expression of knowledge more than for arrival at knowledge or for action,—or it would intervene in action only as a penetrating point of the body of identity-will and identity-knowledge. So too in the illumined gnostic being truth-vision and in the intuitive gnostic being a direct truth-contact and perceptive truth-sense would be the mainspring of action.

In the Overmind a comprehensive immediate grasp of the truth of things and the principle of being of each thing and all its dynamic consequences would originate and gather up a great wideness of gnostic vision and thought and create a foundation of knowledge and action; this largeness of being and seeing and doing would be the varied result of an underlying identity-consciousness, but the identity itself would not be in the front as the very stuff of the consciousness or the very force of the action. But in the supramental gnosis all this luminous immediate grasp of the truth of things, truth-sense, truth-vision, truth-thought would get back into its source of identity-consciousness and subsist as a single body of its knowledge. The identity-consciousness would lead and contain everything; it would manifest as an awareness in the very grain of the being's substance putting forth its inherent self-fulfilling force and determining itself dynamically in form of consciousness and form of action. This inherent awareness is the origin and principle of the working of supramental gnosis; it could be sufficient in itself with no need of anything to formulate or embody it: but the play of illumined vision, the play of a radiant thought, the play of all other movements of the spiritual consciousness would not be absent; there would be a free instrumentation of them for their own brilliant functioning, for a divine richness and diversity, for a manifold delight of self-manifestation, for the joy of the powers of the Infinite. In the intermediate stages or degrees of the gnosis there might be the manifestation of various and separate expressions of the aspects of the divine Being and Nature, a soul and life of love, a soul and life of divine light and knowledge, a soul and life of divine power and sovereign action and creation, and innumerable other forms of divine life; on the supramental height all would be taken up into a manifold unity, a supreme integration of being and life. A fulfilment of the being in a luminous and blissful integration of its states and powers and their satisfied dynamic action would be the sense of the gnostic existence. (p. 1007-08)

There are subordinate, but important details. The Vedic seers seem to speak of two primary faculties of the “truth-conscious” soul; they are Sight and Hearing, by which is intended direct operations of an inherent Knowledge describable as truth-vision and truth-audition and reflected from far-off in our human mentality by the faculties of revelation and inspiration. Besides, a distinction seems to be made in the operations of the Supermind between knowledge by a comprehending and pervading consciousness which is very near to subjective knowledge by identity and knowledge by a projecting, confronting, apprehending consciousness which is the beginning of objective cognition. These are the Vedic clues. And we may accept from this ancient experience the subsidiary term “truth-consciousness” to delimit the connotation of the more elastic phrase, Supermind. (p. 125)
When we compare these modes of acquiring knowledge with the scientific method of investigation based on empirical rationalism which has proved so rewarding in the domain of physical sciences of a certain kind, we see that there is a deep gulf and one wonders if it can be crossed at all by pursuing it. Knowledge based on them is also of a different kind. We might first look into the scientific approach and try to see its boundaries and its limitations before we can opine anything about the post-human destinies founded on it. a critical review of this aspect is essential when we start entering into the occult and spiritual domains of man’s progress without which there can be no worth while destiny, that is, if we are to avoid the Brownoskian Ascent of Man based on his intellectual muscles we must look into the hidden possibilities present in Man’s soul and Man’s spirit as much as his instruments of operation and cognition. RYD

December 25, 2006

The identity was in fact at a much deeper level

Re: The Vedic Vision and the Triple Transformation.
by RY Deshpande on Mon 25 Dec 2006 03:01 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
In the above we have the following statement: “When Sri Aurobindo realized the Supramental Consciousness he did not see any possibility to connect it to the earthly life. There was a gap, an abyss between them, and nothing seemed to be able to connect them. It was only when the Mother arrived that he saw the link, the Golden Bridge, and his Sadhana has changed quite considerably. He saw that the psychic being, a growing divinity in man, was the Key to the whole evolution, a Lord to Be.”
Apropos of it, let me quote the following letter from Sri Aurobindo, dated 16:9:1935: “It is not clear what your Guru meant by my sitting on the path; that could have been true of the period between 1915 and 1920 when I was writing the Arya, but the Sadhana and the work were waiting for the Mother’s coming. In 1923 or 1924, I could not be described as sitting on the path, so far as the Sadhana was concerned, but it may perhaps be only a metaphor or symbol for the outward work not yet being ready…”
Mark the mention of two separate things: “Sadhana” and “work”.
Sri Aurobindo On Himself, p. 459 RYD
by RY Deshpande on Mon 25 Dec 2006 05:56 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Let me add the following to the earlier post: Sri Aurobindo in a letter, dated 12 July 1911 to Barin, his younger brother and revolutionary, written a little after one year of his coming to Pondicherry, reveals as what he was busy with:
I am developing the necessary powers for bringing down the spiritual on the material plane… What I perceive most clearly, is that the principal object of my Yoga is to remove absolutely and entirely every possible source of error and ineffectiveness… It is for this reason that I have been going through so long a discipline and that the more brilliant and mighty results of Yoga have been so long withheld. I have been kept busy laying down the foundation, a work severe and painful. It is only now that the edifice is beginning to rise upon the sure and perfect foundation that has been laid.
In another letter he tells us about his earliest connection with the Mother, that they were in material and spiritual contact with each other since his coming to Pondicherry. But the identity was in fact at a much deeper level. Even before the actual meeting took place for the first time on 29 March 1914, the Mother was significantly speaking of “us” in a few contexts. Thus we have the Mother’s revealing prayer of 11 January 1914.
I know that a day will come when Thou wilt transform all those who come to us; Thou wilt transform them so radically that, liberated completely from the bonds of the past, they will begin to live in Thee an entirely new life, a life made solely of Thee, with Thee as its sovereign Lord.
Again, on 11 August 1914, after the meeting, the Mother speaks of their being sent upon earth to prepare the Unknown’s ways. The Unknown One, she says, is waiting for the propitious hour of manifestation in which His Will will be done. Indeed, behind their coming together there was the Divine Will itself. It was in that Will, in that high samkalpa that everything was going to be worked out. That Will became dynamic in their wonderful undertaking. RYD

December 24, 2006

How to transcend the particular point of view

-- The Determinism and Freedom Philosophy Website -- INTRODUCTION
This book is about a single problem: how to combine the perspective of a particular person inside the world with an objective view of that same world, the person and his viewpoint included. It is a problem that faces every creature with the impulse and the capacity to transcend its particular point of view and to conceive of the world as a whole.
Though it is a single problem, it has many aspects. The difficulty of reconciling the two standpoints arises in the conduct of life as well as in thought. It is the most fundamental issue about morality, knowledge, freedom, the self, and the relation of mind to the physical world. Our response or lack of response to it will substantially determine our conception of the world and of ourselves, and our attitude toward our lives, our actions, and our relations with others. ...
Objectivity is a method of understanding. It is beliefs and attitudes that are objective in the primary sense. Only derivatively do we call objective the truths that can be arrived at in this way. To acquire a more objective understanding of some aspect of life or the world, we step back from our initial view of it and form a new conception which has that view and its relation to the world as its object.
In other words, we place ourselves in the world that is to be understood. The old view then comes to be regarded as an appearance, more subjective than the new view, and correctable or confirmable by reference to it. The process can be repeated, yielding a still more objective conception.

December 23, 2006

Brahman consciousness is not alien to the mental and physical world

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by RY Deshpande on Fri 22 Dec 2006 09:08 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
In a talk with Pavitra in 1926 Sri Aurobindo speaks about his Nirvanic experience. It was in Baraoda, in 1907, when he received the initial guidance from Lele; he had within three days one of the major spiritual realisations in a state of silent mind, of the Passive Brahman. He tells Pavitra that, in that state of silent mind, “…everything had stopped. But everybody cannot do it. I could do it because there had always been a tendency to calm in my being and because I became aware of the thoughts coming from outside. When I rejected them the calm descended upon me. Everything appears in the mind but does not evoke any response in it. I see, I hear, but no respon¬ses are awakened. At that time a complete silence came down. Everything that happened was like a cinema. After that I had to take things back again into me, but in their right place.” Later he put some of these experiences in Savitri.

The important point in the context of our discussion of responses of the senses is that one sees objects, one hears things, but no impression is made anywhere—because the mind-sense has fallen quiescent, is not there. The connection between the object and the sense perception is kind of snapped. The instruments are there but they have remained unused. But that very condition awakens the eye behind the eye and the ear behind the ear, chakuschya chakshuh, srotrasya srotyah, that by which the eye sees and the ear hears. In this state, says the Kena Upanishad, the wise are released and pass from this world; they become immortal. And yet this Brahman consciousness is not alien to the mental and physical world. Sri Aurobindo wrote the whole of the Arya, for seven years, from 1914 to 1921, in this state, and he could have continued to do so, he writes in a letter afterwards, for seventy years without exhausting his knowledge.

Human speech is “a shadow of the divine Word,” says Sri Aurobindo in his commentary on the Kena Upanishad. In the same manner, our eye and our ear are the far shadows of that which sees and that which hears, the Eye of the Spirit and the Ear of the Spirit. With them come the faculty of revelation, drishti, and the faculty of inspiration, sruti, of truth-vision and truth-audition. With them comes true knowledge of things.

Knowledge by the comprehending consciousness gets closer to the subjective knowledge by identity. This can open out to the knowledge by the apprehending consciousness as a beginning of objective cognition. But eventually we should know how our physical organs of recognition are formed? The details might not be available, but there are ample clues at a number of places. We might hopefully explore them as we shall proceed

In order to repair the fall of these four beings

The Vedic Vision and the Triple Transformation
by Vladimir on Fri 22 Dec 2006 04:53 AM PST Permanent Link
There are many myths in the Veda which describe the Beginning of Creation from different angles or stages. Some of them start with the description of the Supreme Person, Atman, Self, 4 others - of the Impersonal Spirit, Brahman,5 some start from Nothingness or Darkness,6 which they call “night”, ratri-, or apas, apraketam salilam7, “dark waters”, or sometimes as mrityu ,8 “death”, etc., etc. They all refer to different stages of Creation, where Darkness or Nothingness was depicted as our beginning, but not as our Origin. We can easily reconcile these myths, knowing that Darkness was the result of the Fall of the Supreme Light, (Involution):...
According to the Mother’s story of Creation, told to the children of the Ashram, at the beginning there were four Divine Beings emanated from the Supreme: Consciousness in Light, Bliss, Truth and Life.
After deciding to be independent from the Supreme, they fell into their opposites.
Light gradually turned into a complete Darkness,
Bliss turned into Suffering,
Truth turned into Falsehood,
Life turned into Death. 16

Darkness is therefore nothing but Light carried out by Power without Knowledge of the Supreme, just as Suffering is Bliss, Falsehood is Truth, and Death is Life, carried out by Power without Knowledge of the Supreme...
In the Mother’s story, in order to repair the fall of these four beings, the Supreme Mother, Aditi, delegated out of herself the force of Love which has plunged into darkness of the first Creation. That’s why Sri Aurobindo calls it a Holocaust of the Divine Mother.

"In the Vedas it is Agni, the Divine Will,19 the first Avatar, who lay down and hid himself within the darkness: the Immortal among Mortals. He is the Will of the Godhead, the Divine Purusha, the Lord, the Conscious Soul; it is because of his presence that everyone is evolving, seeking after the higher knowledge of the Supreme."

From this point onward the Evolution starts to takes place.
“A soul of the Divine is here slowly awaking out of its involution and concealment in the material Inconscience.”20 - says Sri Aurobindo in The Synthesis of Yoga.
So, actually there were two Creations (Involutions) before the Evolution could take place: first, out of Himself he created the worlds, and then he entered them, plunging into the darkness and lying down at the bottom of the Inconscient...
These two involutions created a double process of evolution: of the body and the soul; and thus - the whole hierarchy of Consciousness...
When Sri Aurobindo realized the Supramental Consciousness he did not see any possibility to connect it to the earthly life. There was a gap, an abyss between them, and nothing seemed to be able to connect them. It was only when the Mother arrived that he saw the link, the Golden Bridge, and his Sadhana has changed quite considerably. He saw that the psychic being, a growing divinity in man, was the Key to the whole evolution, a Lord to Be. This chaitya-purusha, or angushtha-matra-purusha28 in the cave of the heart hridi guhayam, which was well known in the Indian spiritual tradition, was seriously underestimated. It may be because of predominant concentration on the spiritual powers and personalities like Gods and Goddesses or because of other spiritual experiences and realizations like Nirvana, Dhyana, Samadhi. Whatever the reason, the utility of the psychic being was not clearly seen or understood, which has a unique characteristic: it belongs to, develops and grows only on earth, in the physical body.
In a letter to a sadhak, Sri Aurobindo through Amrita-da explains that he and the Mother represent one consciousness in two bodies. He represents the spiritual consciousness, acting from above the head over the mental and vital consciousness, whereas the Mother represents the psychic consciousness, acting from within the heart on the vital and physical plane. And for the Integral Yoga both these influences are necessary.29 ...
In the past the spiritual life was possible only by excluding matter because the utility and the purpose of Chaitya Purusha was not fully understood, and most probably it could not be otherwise, for it was only with the Mother’s coming that its purpose and importance became completely clear and the transformation of the body became possible. The Psychic Being, the Individual Supreme, is a future Lord of this Creation. It is he, who is to evolve and to take into his hands the whole of Nature. Thus the Supramental Manifestation can be understood as the Third or a New Creation...
Thus the Psychic being is the key to the whole evolution. It has to be discovered and brought forward. It has to be enlarged and strengthened by the spiritual transformation of all its instrumentations of mind, vital and body. It has to be enthroned as the Lord of the Universe by the Supramental transformation and, by entering into the realms of the Supreme Transcendental Ananda, it should bring down the higher laws of the Divine Existence into the earthly life of man.
16 Questions and Answers 16 October 1957, CWM Vol. 9 p. 205-6. Referring to a very ancient tradition underlying the Vedic knowledge, the Mother told this story in her own way on several occasions, each time warning that it should not be taken too literally or too dogmatically, but simply as a story.
27 Mother in her Conversations explains that Vedic Rishis were “involutionary beings”, (MCW, vol.7, p. 355) who brought down the Vedic truths for us to evolve towards. She even says that there was no yet psychic being fully developed in the times of Vedas. ( see: Mother’s Agenda, September 26, 1962)

Psychic being evolving from within the manifestation

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by Vladimir on Fri 22 Dec 2006 01:19 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
The perception of Atman and the experience of Psychic being evolving from within the manifestation are quite different:
“The true being may be realised in one or both of two aspects—the Self or Atman and the soul or Antaratman, psychic being, Chaitya Purusha. The difference is that one is felt as universal, the other as individual supporting the mind, life and body. When one first realises the Atman one feels it separate from all things, existing in itself and detached,… When one realises the psychic being, it is not like that; for this brings the sense of union with the Divine and dependence upon It and sole consecration to the Divine alone and the power to change the nature and discover the true mental, the true vital, the true physical being in oneself. Both realisations are necessary for this yoga.” V
by RY Deshpande on Fri 22 Dec 2006 08:58 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
That’s nice, but the phrase “the Son of the Purusha” needs qualification; the psychic being is not the son of, say, the manomaya purusha, the mental being, unless you mean the Divine Soul is the father of the psychic being, “directly descended from the Father”. But even then the psychic being is the projection of the central being who supports the evolving psychic being. If the psychic being evolves, does the Son of God also evolve?

December 22, 2006

About him we comprehend nothing

Passing through the Portals of the Birth that is a Death
by RY Deshpande on Thu 21 Dec 2006 06:39 AM PST Permanent Link
In The Life Divine Sri Aurobindo writes: “Purusha and Prakriti, Conscious Soul and executive Force of Nature, are in the supramental harmony a two-aspected single truth, being and dynamis of the Reality; there can be no disequilibrium or predominance of one over the other. In Overmind we have the origin of the cleavage, the trenchant distinction made by the philosophy of the Sankhyas in which they appear as two independent entities, Prakriti able to dominate Purusha and cloud its freedom and power, reducing it to a witness and recipient of her forms and actions, Purusha able to return to its separate existence and abide in a free self-sovereignty by rejection of her original overclouding material principle. So with the other aspects or powers of the Divine Reality, One and Many, Divine Personality and Divine Impersonality, and the rest; each is still an aspect and power of the one Reality, but each is empowered to act as an independent entity in the whole, arrive at the fullness of the possibilities of its separate expression and develop the dynamic consequences of that separateness.”

In the cosmic process the Purusha stands aside and allows Prakriti to do all the work of manifestation. In this process one of the first practical and essential things done was to create four qualities or the fourfold soul-force, the four swabhāvas, as the organisational basis. The Purusha handing over the initiative to Prakriti and himself becoming subject to her operational demands is the key step that was taken the moment things were ready for a certain larger and universal collective life. That was the happy optimism of the Purusha Sukta in which the Purusha offered himself to be sacrificed. In the language of Savitri:

He has forsaken his omnipotence,
His calm he has foregone and infinity.
He knows her only, he has forgotten himself;
To her he abandons all to make her great.
He hopes in her to find himself anew,
Incarnate, wedding his infinity’s peace
To her creative passion’s ecstasy.
Although possessor of the earth and heavens,
He leaves to her the cosmic management
And watches all, the Witness of her scene…
He leans on her for all he does and is…
In a thousand ways he serves her royal needs…
His soul, silent, supports the world and her,
His acts are her commandment’s registers.
Happy, inert he lies beneath her feet:
His breast he offers for her cosmic dance…
In the Bhagavata Purana we have the Bhagavati Shakti of Narayana as one who has established the whole universe, nārāyaņé bhagavati tad idam viśvam ahitam. She the executive Force accepts the three qualities,—represented by Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva,—of the supreme Lord in order to give rise to this material creation. The needed support, ādhāra, for her work, for the work of the Prakriti is provided by the Purusha; it is the Being or Pure Existence who offers the vast and firm ground to the Chit-Shakti, the Consciousness-Force; it is the indispensable basis for her to do her work, statis becoming the foundation of dynamis. Hers is a long and arduous and painful task, a task also full of suffering, full of travail. What is a single-aspected oneness in the Transcendental starts becoming dual in the Overmental and lower creations, Prakriti becoming more and more prominent, more and more active than the Purusha. Therefore her personalities are the ones that stand out more distinctly in the cosmic working.

The four powers of the Chit-Shakti or the Divine Mother described by Sri Aurobindo in The Mother belong to this Overmental creation, with the Purusha aspects present only in the background. These four in us are understanding, life-dynamism, the sense of love and joy and beauty, and skill in work, our capacity to attend to minutiae and essentials, they all attaining perfection by which the will in the physical develops, each of the four characterising a certain trait in us, defining our swabhāva. That is how the soul in us grows. In fact it is the soul, the divine residing in us, that becomes an alchemic agent to bring about the transformation of the complex of this nature. These are the qualities or energies, guņas, śaktis, by which the individual as well as collective evolution advances...
After reading the line “life only was my blind attempt to love” the Mother said that it was her experience, that life without death was a blind attempt to love. It would not have won the victory for the Divine, victory over the forces of dark and terrible uncompromising Inconscience, an antagonist shadow thick as the Void. But after winning the victory death is no longer necessary, and all struggle would vanish. Such is the mystery of death.

Elsewhere the Mother tells that the four emanations, those first beings of the universe, the four Asuras, cannot be got rid of so easily, by winning just one war. “As long as they are necessary for the universal evolution they will exist. The day they lose their utility, they will be converted or will disappear… There were four of them. The first one has been converted; another is dissolved into its origin. Two are still living and these two are more ferocious than the others. One is known in occultism as the ‘Lord of Falsehood’, the other is the ‘Lord of Death’. And as long as these two beings exist, there will be difficulties.”...
Sri Aurobindo, speaking about himself, said in letter written in 1911: “I have been kept busy laying down the foundation, a work severe and painful.” A work severe and painful—and it stands to perfect reason that anyone wishing to change the earth-nature must work hard against all odds, against every kind of antagonism, first bear its law, the law of anguish and suffering, must come in contact with the harsh reality of this life, this existence on earth. In a letter written to Dilip Roy Sri Aurobindo quotes a stanza from his own poem A God’s Labour, unpublished at that time, in 1935:

He who would bring the heavens here,
Must descend himself into clay
And the burden of earthly nature bear
And tread the dolorous way.

The heavy yoke of Death and Ignorance he must bear to do God’s work precisely in those conditions. But in the next stanza the description proceeds to make a revealing statement; it is about the deep and occult process by which the Divine Soul carries out his work:

Coercing my godhead I have come down
Here on the sordid earth,
Ignorant, labouring, human grown
Twixt the gates of death and birth...
We have absolutely no conception, no understanding, no idea of the pain taken by the Avatar, the Divine Pain, for the sake of this mortal creature. The Mother says: “People do not know what a tremendous sacrifice Sri Aurobindo has made for the world. About a year ago, while I was discussing things, I remarked that I felt like leaving this body of mine. He spoke out in a very firm tone, ‘No, this can never be. If necessary for this transformation, I might go, you will have to fulfil our Yoga of supramental descent and transformation.’ We stand in the Presence of Him who has sacrificed his physical life in order to help more fully his work of transformation. He is always with us, aware of what we are doing, of all our thoughts, of all our feelings and all our actions.” She told this to one of her attendants on 18 January 1951. And then we have her prayer at the Samadhi:

To Thee who hast been the material envelope of our Master, to Thee our infinite gratitude. Before Thee who hast done so much for us, who hast worked, struggled, suffered, hoped, endured so much, before Thee who hast willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all for us, before Thee we bow down and implore that we may never forget, even for a moment, all we owe to Thee. 9 December 1950

He “who worked, struggled, suffered, hoped, endured so much, willed all, attempted all, prepared, achieved all,”—about him we comprehend nothing. What can we know about the Avatar’s passing through the portals of the life that is a death? Perhaps not a bit. RY Deshpande

In Sankhya there is no such goal at all

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by Vladimir on Thu 21 Dec 2006 03:12 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
What I was trying to say is that these great faculties of consciousness: Speech, Sight, Hearing, Mind, Life and even Body, in the Vedic paradigm are still holding the memory of their Origin, as it were; and because of that their ascent is possible back to their origin. But in Sankhya there is no such goal at all, but a separation of Purusha from Prakriti, mukti, liberation and not a transformation of the faculties rising up to their Origin.
by RY Deshpande on Thu 21 Dec 2006 08:04 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Your mention of Patanjali's Mahabhashya is profound. Don't we see the similarities of separation with the Overmind in Sri Auribindo's formulations and Indra's partitioning Brihaspati's Speech? I think it is the same knowledge and only the language is different. Sri Aurobindo's is of course for the modern mind, particularly so in the case of The Life Divine; it is different in Savitri. RYD

December 21, 2006

Vedic to the Vedantic and later to the Sankhyaic paradigm

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by Vladimir on Wed 20 Dec 2006 10:36 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
It is quite interesting to see the transition from the Vedic to the Vedantic and later to the Sankhyaic paradigm. In the Vedic Vision the Word-faculty was even superior to the Mind-faculty. The Brihaspati, the Lord of the Word, was a teacher of Indra, the Lord of Divine Mind.
There is a famous story in Mahabhashya of Patanjali, where Indra, who is considered to be the first grammarian, the creator of Language, was a student of Brihaspati, learning from him the original Sanskrit, as it were. The flow of the Brihaspati’s Speech was infinite, for the meaning and the sound were identical, the sound itself was the meaning, as it were, so whatever was sounding was true at that particular moment of time in the Infinite; there was no gap in the flow. Indra understood that he could never accomplish his studies, for there was no end to it. So, he stopped the flow of Brihaspati’s speech and cut it into pieces, grams, and created Grammar. He filled the sound-meaning with the mental categories of subject, object, etc., creating Language, separating the meaning and the sound. From now the word, though having its own meaning, could be applied in any context, relevant or irrelevant, indicating the creation of time and space. This act of Indra was seen as the act of creation, the separation of artha and vak, the Heaven and the Earth, and connecting them with the Grammar, the space in-between. Now to understand the meaning of the sound one has to know the language, grammar.
I quote from The Secret of the Veda, p. 54: “The Vedic Sanskrit represents a still earlier stratum in the development of language. Even in its outward features it is less fixed than any classical tongue; it abounds in a variety of forms and inflexions; it is fluid and vague, yet richly subtle in its use of cases and tenses. And on its psychological side it has not yet crystallised, is not entirely hardened into the rigid forms of intellectual precision. The word for the Vedic Rishi is still a living thing, a thing of power, creative,formative. It is not yet a conventional symbol for an idea, but itself the parent and former of ideas. It carries within it the memory of its roots (Brihaspati’s speech), is still conscient of its own history.”
The whole mantric theory is based on this experience that the word is a power of consciousness which can form and create ideas. The transformative mantric power of Savitri and of the Veda is of this nature. Now in the Upanishadic paradigm the mantric or brahmic power of the Word, of the Lord Brihaspati is reduced to the usage of the intuitive Mind, flashes of Indra, as it were. RYD’s quotation from Sri Aurobindo: “Especially he (Agni) is the primary impeller of speech of which Vayu is the medium and Indra the lord.” And finally in the Sankhyaic paradigm the word is only an expression of the mind, completely dependant on it, and a mere symbolic representative of thought.
The Secret of the Veda, p.52: “The last stage of the entirely natural growth of language comes when the life of the word is entirely subjected to the life of the idea which it represents. For in the first state of language the word is as living or even a more living force than its idea; sound determines sense. In its last state the positions have been reversed; the idea becomes all-important, the sound secondary.”
by RY Deshpande on Wed 20 Dec 2006 09:40 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
We have been talking about reason. Let us see the issue in the context of post-human destinies. This is greatly important when we know that reason has serious, actually dreadful and appalling limitations. This becomes particularly obvious when we talk of supra-rational realities, assuming that supra-rational realities are real, that they do exist, and that they are not simply metaphysical formulations or abstractions. But, whether one likes it or not, they are real, real in the sense that they are powers and personalities and embodiments of the Spirit in different domains of this vast creation. But, then, what is reason? The immediate answer is: an instrument of knowledge in the possession of our ego-self, and that reason is already circumscribed, constrained by it. But there is another reality also, that at another level reason herself is a goddess.
“Our reason is only a rule-maker in a stumbling game. She hopes to see God in her heart and feel the body of his reality. Her hands are too small to hold vast Truth. She sees but understands it not.”
But then can come unseen announcers of a distant Truth. Not only do they intend to come; there is a still greater Gnosis looking at the world. Indeed, as I had already stated in one of the earlier postings, the journey of the evolution of consciousness is made not only by reason, but there are other known and unknown travellers too.
Let us read a bit of Savitri. Just beyond reason, above in a high breathless stratosphere, are present two sun-gaze Daemons, the aspirants to a limitless Beyond. There is the huge high-winged Life-Thought and there is the pure Thought-Mind, an archangel of a white transcending realm. They are not mere metaphysical concepts, but are living powers, entities, deities, beings influencing all the while our thoughts and actions, not passive observers but full of interest and dynamism in the terrestrial scheme. We are not alone in our search for the truth of this world and there are helpers and shapers and moulders of destiny standing beyond our little earth, our island universe.
In fact there is a whole race of beings, a subtle archangel race, “with larger lids and looks searching the unseen”.
High architects of possibility And engineers of the impossible, Mathematicians of the infinitudes And theoricians of unknowable truths, They formulate enigma's postulates And join the unknown to the apparent worlds… Each mysteried God forced to revealing form, Assigned his settled moves in Nature's game, Zigzagged at the gesture of a chess-player Will Across the chequerboard of cosmic Fate…
And yet beyond them
In a sublimer and more daring soar To the wide summit of the triple stairs Bare steps climbed up like flaming rocks of gold Burning their way to a pure absolute sky. August and few the sovereign Kings of Thought Have made of Space their wide all-seeing gaze Surveying the enormous work of Time… A Wisdom knows and guides the mysteried world; A Truth-gaze shapes its beings and events; A Word self-born upon creation's heights, Voice of the Eternal in the temporal spheres, Prophet of the seeings of the Absolute, Sows the Idea's significance in Form And from that seed the growths of Time arise. On peaks beyond our ken the All-Wisdom sits… Translated the unthinkable into thought: A silver-winged fire of naked subtle sense, An ear of mind withdrawn from the outward's rhymes Discovered the seed-sounds of the eternal Word, The rhythm and music heard that built the worlds, And seized in things the bodiless Will to be…
There are beings and beings and beings, what in earlier times, of mythology, we would have called gods and gods and gods. And they are not sitting there quiet. They are constantly influencing our thoughts and feelings and actions. In fact many of them have given the form and the shape that we presently have, our instruments of volition and cognizance and action. We are a mental being and this mental being, Manomaya Purusha, was fashioned with their active participation. How it happened? Among many factors, there is in it the role of the divine Sankhya. It is the study of that Sankhya which could be rewarding. We could perhaps have a new title for this theme. RYD

December 20, 2006

Masters of the material, vital, and mental realms

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by RY Deshpande on Wed 20 Dec 2006 03:06 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
We have been talking about pure Sanjnana and several other faculties of perception and cognition. How they eventually become our sense organs, such as eye and ear, is another subject which perhaps belongs to the domain of Sankhya, Sankhya that must be coupled with the Vedic significance of the various Gods. But, presently, let us see here the three important Gods connected with this triple world of Matter-Life-Mind, Agni-Vayu-Indra. While explaining the symbolism of the Vedic Gods, Sri Aurobindo says that these Gods are not mere personifications of the forces of Nature, but are the Masters of the material, vital, and the mental realms.
Vladimir connects, and rightly so, Earth with Agni, and the space between Earth and Heaven, Antariksha, with Vayu. Beyond them is Indra, the Lord of Heaven, Dyauh, having a divine Mind by which things here can somewhat be known. Indra has the faulty of opening himself to higher knowledge. In our understanding of the sense functioning, including our physical senses, we could to some extent perceive and intuitivise their modes of operation; we could perhaps even make them a part of our faculties, our instruments opening to them. The ascent of intellect could then be a positive movement towards post-human destinies.
In the Kena Upanishad we have a parable concerned with these Gods. Let us first read its relevant part. Once Indra and Agni and Vayu became proud of their prowess and thought theirs was the victory which was actually won for them by the Eternal. The Eternal knew their thoughts and appeared before them. Agni the knower all things born, Agni Jatavedas, rushed towards the Eternal, claiming who It was. But when a blade of grass was set before him, he could not burn it. Then Vayu, who expands in the Mother of all things, Matarishwana, went towards it with all his speed and he could not take it. It was now the turn of Indra, Master of plentitudes. He rushed upon That, and That vanished from before him. But in the same place came the Woman who shines out in many forms, Uma. Indra requested her to tell who that mighty Daemon, the Yaksha, the Spirit, the unknown Power, was. She disclosed to him that it was the Eternal, the Brahman himself. Sri Aurobindo reveals the meaning of this parable as follows...
Agni is the heat and flame of the conscious force in Matter which has built up the universe; it is he who has made life and mind possible and developed them in the material universe where he is the greatest deity. Especially he is the primary impeller of speech of which Vayu is the medium and Indra the lord. This heat of conscious force in Matter is Agni Jatavedas, the knower of all births: of all things born, of every cosmic phenomenon he knows the law, the process, the limit, the relation…

December 19, 2006

Sri Aurobindo integrates the mystic and the evolutionary

(posted by alan kazlev) Posted in Integral Spirituality December 18th, 2006
The following passage by Sri Aurobindo (from The Life Divine Book 2, ch.19 “Out Of the Sevenfold Ignorance to the Sevenfold Knowledge”), was posted by Tusar on his Savitri Era Open Forum blog. It may be pertinent to the current discussion of what the Integral Movement stands for and what its goals are. Please note that I have added the italics to highlight what I consider points of relevance to the present discussion; they aren’t in the original.
This evolution, this process of heightening and widening and integralisation, is in its nature a growth and an ascent out of the sevenfold ignorance into the integral knowledge...
Wilberians and postmodernists may take exception to the metaphysical language. In that case you need only replace the words used here with terms you feel more appropriate, e.g. you can replace “material plane” with “gross realm”, it amounts to the same thing.
The concept of the “materialised mental intelligence” and the self-limitation of being though infatuation with the mental sphere and the material world is however an important one. Elsewhere (e.g. in Letters on Yoga) Sri Aurobindo refers to this as the “physical mind”. It is the sceptical intellect that can only accept what is seen and proven empirically, and has difficulty with or rejects concepts pertaining to larger realities. It is necessary to overcome this limited outlook, and it doesn’t matter whether it is done intellectually through being receptive to esoteric writings and concepts, intuitively through contemplation of the Self and development of insight, dialectically through Nagarjuna or Derrida, yogically through meditation or devotional aspiration (bhakti), or integrally through a heightening or widening of the entire being, because all these practices have a role to play.
As the quoted passage shows, at issue is growing and evolving beyond self-imposed boundaries to a greater knowledge, power, and wholeness. In this paragraph, Sri Aurobindo incorporates and integrates the mystic and the evolutionary, the traditional yogas and the modern conception of progress.

December 18, 2006

Balance of four fluids or humours

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by RY Deshpande on Mon 18 Dec 2006 03:26 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Let me take the second part of Debashish’s posting, dated 15 Dec, bringing out the significance of Nataraja and associated with him the five great elements, pancha-maha-bhutas. I think the Indian iconography came at a much later stage in India, perhaps after the invasion by Alexander the Great in 326 BC. Which means, the country was already leaving far behind the Age of Intuition, of the Vedas, and the Age of the Intuitive Thinkers, of the Upanishads. This was also the period when the Puranas started making their impact on the society. No doubt, there were genuine spiritual and yogic experiences and realisations behind them, but that sure intimate and warm contact of oneness was perhaps becoming weaker. The result was, very often, equivalences. Shaivite and Vaishnavite sects were also becoming powerful, each asserting its supremacy. If Sankhya has a truth, then it became necessary for them to associate it with their Gods, Shiva in the case of the Shaivite and Vishnu for the Vaishnavite traditions. Their spiritual realisations coupled with this knowledge gave rise to all this abundance, even a kind of richness in the modes of expression. What you say about Shiva or Nataraj is valid; there is also the counterpart for the other God, Vishnu.

In the following please allow me to quote the relevant parts from my book Narad’s Arrival at Madra:
• The Sankhya and Shakta traditions in India go back to ancient times and describe all the spiritual, occult and physiological aspects. The three forces of Nature or Gunas form an integral part of the Vedantic description, everywhere, in the Vedas, in the Upanishads, in the Gita, in the Epics, in the Puranas. But the description does not stop just with that; it also goes farther to characterise the fourfold order of the society. A vaster connection is seen behind the cosmic organisation and the basic qualities that enter into the play. We might just list here the five elements with their associations. (1) Ether: Akash; Sound; Shabda; (2) Air: Vayu; Contact; Sparsha; (3) Fire: Agni; Form; Roop; (4) Water: Apah; Fluidity; Rasa; (5) Earth: Prithvi; Solid; Gandha. According to the Vishnu iconography the associations go as follows: (1) Ether: Vasudeva; Shankha. (2) Air: Samkarsana; Chakra. (3) Fire: Pradyumna; Gada. (4) Water: Aniruddha; Lotus. (5) Earth: Narayana; between the two feet of Vishnu.
• Plato’s account of creation of the universe, as given in great detail in the Timæus, essentially derives its authority from an ancient and remote tradition handed over from generation to generation. Written towards the end of Plato's life, c. 355 BC, the Timæus “describes a conversation between Socrates, Plato’s teacher, Critias, Plato’s great grandfather, Hermocrates, a Sicilian statesman and soldier, and Timæus, a Pythagorean philosopher, scientist, general, contemporary of Plato, and the inventor of the pulley.”
• There is a geometrical structure also associated with each element. The Platonic Solids, as they are known, connected with the five elements are: (1) fire--tetrahedron; (2) air--octahedron; (3) water--icosahedron; (4) earth--cube; (5) the universal, the quintessence we now call ether--dodecahedron. Aristotle, however, was not in favour of such a characterisation of the elements linked up with geometry. He considered fire as hot and dry, air as hot and wet, water cold and wet and earth as cold and dry. It is the Aristotelian view that dominated thought for several centuries, till the Middle Ages. One really wonders why people just refuse to think independently, even today; inquiry became a victim.
• It is interesting to see that connections were sought between the four elements and the aspects of health even by the early philosophers. By the time of Hipocrates (c. 460 - c. 377 BC) the theory of the four humours was well developed in Greece. Empedocles (c. 493-433 BC) was the first to introduce the idea that health depended on the balance of four fluids or humours in the working of the human body. In this description fire corresponds to blood, air to yellow bile, water to phlegm, and earth to black bile. But the question as to how they arrived at this doctrine, that the diseases have their seat in the humours, remains a mystery to us. Perhaps some ancient mystical or occult knowledge was already present in the race and that knowledge or intuition was seized by the perceptive mind that was quick and supple enough to receive such intimations. RYD

Sankhya covered up the Veda rendering it obscure and remote

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by Vladimir on Sun 17 Dec 2006 06:53 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Sankhya (lit. ‘enumeration’) is a system based on mental analysis, it came much later when the mental speculations were a norm of philosophical enquiry. The correspondence of pancha mahabhutani with five senses is somewhat tense and in many regards mechanical, as it were. There was another great system of intuitive knowledge developed before in the Upanishads on the basis of the Vedic vision, where Agni is Word, and the Sun is Sight, and the Wind is Prana. These three constitute a basis of Vedic sacrifice. Agni is the essence of the Earth, Prithivi, Vayu is the essence of the Space between Heaven and Earth, Antariksha, and Aditya is the essence of Heaven, Dyauh. It is by the union of these three fires that the aim of the sacrifice is achieved and yajamana gets the boon of Immortality. It is by this sacrifice that the redemption is completed and the gods are freed from papa, sin, and return to their origin and the rishis join the Creator. Sankhya has made a clear cut between the ancient times of intuitive knowledge and the modern times of mental enumeration. It is still great, but it covered up the knowledge of the Veda, which now became obscure and remote.
by Vladimir on Sun 17 Dec 2006 08:58 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Dear Deshpande, thank you for your inspirational overview. Such an accent of sight, as you describe, would be impossible within the Sankhyaic paradigm, where all the faculties of consciousness were determined and submitted to the mind as its senses only, completely dependant on it, as it were. It is purely Vedic, where the Sight, Drishti, Revelation is the faculty of consciousness equal to or in some respect even greater than the Mind, according to Sri Aurobindo. The same we can say about Shruti, Hearing, as the faculty of consciousness pertaining through the body of Space and Time and the Beyond; and about the Word, Vac, expressing and manifesting the potential and hidden powers of the Supreme throughout the Creation, the power of Savitri.

Memory is spirit, not a manifestation of matter

Henri Bergson Matter and Memory Summary and Conclusion
translated by Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer. The Mead Project
The body an instrument of action only

Perception and memory. the physical and the mental, are not mere duplicates of each other

The mistake is due to our believing that perception and memory are pure knowledge, whereas they point to action

Perception gives us "things-in-themselves."

The mistake is to set up homogeneous space as a real or even ideal medium prior to extension

Real action and virtual action. Transition to affection and memory

Memory is spirit, not a manifestation of matter


The different planes of consciousness

Associationism and general ideas

The union of body and soul

Three oppositions: Extension, Tension, Freedom and necessity

Spirit borrows from matter the perceptions on which it feeds, and restores them to matter in the form of movements which it has stamped with its own freedom.

December 17, 2006

It was written by Sri Aurobindo much before Fermi’s graphite reactor

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by RY Deshpande on Fri 15 Dec 2006 03:17 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
You have raised many significant points, but to see Agni as the form-builder, the Lord of the Material Creation, we will have to go the Hymns of the Mystic Fire. We should do it sooner than later. About the discovery of the fission-fusion energy we should remember that it happened much later, 12 years later, in 1938. I have a few things to say about it also, but please allow me some time. There is a significant line in Savitri which appears in the following passage. It appears in the context of Aswapati who has now entered into the House of the Spirit: p. 320...
Sight defines form. The connection of eye-sight-form-Agni is very obvious; but then how is the formless ‘seen’ or discerned? Savitri had obtained formless liberation.
by RY Deshpande on Sun 17 Dec 2006 04:54 AM PST Profile Permanent Link Let me first pick up the following part of the comment by Debashish on Fri 15 Dec 2006 12:08 PM PST...
I had briefly responded to this part of DB’s posting by citing the line “Beyond the sight that seeks support of form” from Savitri, that sight defines form and that the connection between eye-sight-form-Agni is quite discernible in it. Incidentally, this line in the Centenary Edition of Savitri reads as follows: “Beyond the sight, the last support of form.” To my mind, this earlier printed version is occultly more significant than the one which appears in the latest edition. But then what about the formless? Who supports it? What faculty ‘sees’ it? In one of his sonnets Sri Aurobindo speaks of “Each sight is now immortal with Thy bliss.” The phrase “each sight” raises the question of the number of sights that are possible. How many sights are there, and when do they become immortal with bliss? Any prospect of our instrumental sight, our Hubble for instance, shooting to that greatness? Can we really conceive of such likelihood? Frankly, I don’t know.

In fact the question is: when we look at an object what is it that we really see there, an object such as a mountain, a car, a horse, or an electron? and in which space do we see it, physical space, inner space, subtle space, chittakasha, extension of mental or vital consciousness, vyoma or ethereal, antariksha, soul-space, where? Sri Aurobindo sees the electron as something on which forms and worlds are built, not as a theoretical physicist, but as an occult-spiritual seer. Recall his sonnet Electron with the description of form and worlds, the electron but a blind abode of God. He goes a step farther and says

Atom and molecule in their unseen plan
Buttress an edifice of strange onenesses,
Crystal and plant, insect and beast and man,—
Man on whom the World-Unity shall seize.

He is going beyond the materialistic monotheism which itself could hopefully be a half-bright shadow of the advaitic spiritual. This is obvious because it is an experience and not simply a juxtaposition of the whirling of an electron in an atom with the Dance of Shiva, as Tao of Physics would like us to believe. There you are: “In that flaming chariot Shiva rides.” If only we can grasp the significance of that flame, Agni the form-builder!
Related with it must be the significance of the threefold Fire Sri Aurobindo is describing: Jala Agni, Vaidyuta Agni, and Saura Agni. I think we are mostly using the nomenclature, and we do not have direct contact with the entities they represent. Call them powers, gods, deities, beings, forces, embodiments or by whatever else you like, they certainly are not our theoretical-conceptual abstractions, our mathematical formulations, figures.

When Sri Aurobindo is talking of Saura Agni or Solar Fire he is not talking of Atomic Physics of the kind given by Bohr. Bohr gave the theory of the hydrogen atom in 1913, a theory based on our planetary system, planets orbiting around the sun. But that was too mechanistic a theory and Sri Aurobindo would not refer to it. In fact this theory was soon abandoned, during the period 1924-26, when Quantum Mechanics was getting formulated. And it was in 1926 that Pavitra had this talk with the Master. At that time, in the world of physics, Louis de Broglie introduced wave-particle duality right in the heart of the atom. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and Schrodinger’s Quantum Mechanics were bringing about a remarkable revolution in our ideas and notions of the physical world. Was Sri Aurobindo sitting far away in Pondicherry oblivious of it? Let us see.

In 1938 Otto Hahn discovered nuclear fission in the laboratory. Soon Otto Frisch and Lise Meitner conducted further experiments and confirmed the findings. Bohr himself gave immediately the theory describing the fission process. In 1939 Hans Bethe extended the ideas to explain the source of energy in the sun and all the stars. Nuclear process made the world, nay the universe, bright. But it left the empty spaces in between dark.

And on 25 September 1939 Sri Aurobindo wrote the sonnet A Dream of Surreal Science. In it are the famous lines

A scientist played with atoms and blew out
The world before God had time to shout.

Was he aware of the fission discovery when it was just being made in the laboratories? If so, he must have been extremely up-to-date. Otherwise, he must have ‘seen’ things with another eye. There is also a note written by Sri Aurobindo around 1940: “Now there is disintegration of the atom and the power that is released at it. Humanity must step in, otherwise they can blow up humanity and human civilisation.”

Take another instance, of the line that appears in Savitri, p. 255:

The riven invisible atom’s omnipotent force.

This is sheer Mantra, and Amal Kiran is simply ecstatic about the poetic power present in it. It was written by Sri Aurobindo much before Fermi’s graphite reactor in Chicago became critical on 2 December 1942. That is the beginning of the success story of the War-time Manhattan Project. It had to succeed, and much credit of it should go to General Leslie Groves than perhaps Oppenheimer, the physicist Project in-charge.

It had to succeed in the US rather than in Hitler’s Germany. No less a person than Heisenberg was in charge of the Nazi effort, and he had already built a heavy water reactor. This had to be thwarted. Soon Germany abandoned its atomic war-effort, arguing that their findings were being secretly passed on to the US scientists. But perhaps another Force had entered into the business and worked its way through all the human agencies. We know Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s involvement during the War-period and what they did to save humanity and human civilisation. Georges van Vrekhem’s Hitler and his God is a forceful presentation of some of these facts, though he does not bring the atomic angle into discussion. We could perhaps take it on another occasion. RYD