January 30, 2007

Free self-expression in the application and evaluation of a dynamic spiritual message

The Integral Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo: A Commemorative Symposium Book by Haridas Chaudhuri, Frederic Spiegelberg; George Allen & Unwin, 1960 PREFACE
THE idea of this Commemorative Symposium on the integral philosophy of Sri Aurobindo was first conceived while celebrating his birthday anniversary at San Francisco Ashram in August 1957. It was felt that the time was ripe for the message of Sri Aurobindo to be increasingly known to the wider public in different parts of the world. It is a message which silently took shape over a long period of time in the medium of a life such as transcended all geographical and national boundaries, and unconditionally offered itself at the altar of human welfare, or rather at the altar of the Divine in human evolution. The message is one of human unity, and of 'the out- flowering of the Divine in collective humanity'. Occasioned by an intermingling of the two broad streams of culture, eastern and western, it envisages a new world-order of peace, progress and international harmony, broadbased upon a radical change of man's collective consciousness. It indicates the lines along which the unification of all human races is to be achieved through increasing participation in the creative adventure of the world-spirit. It utters forth the secret of collective and co-operative living toward the fulfilment of the ultimate destiny of man.
The present symposium consists of various articles contributed by some eminent scholars of Aurobindonian literature. It cannot possibly claim to cover all the aspects of Sri Aurobindo's teaching. Nor is the list of contributors included herein to be taken in any way exhaustive of the vast and ever-growing volume of scholarship in the field. Different contributors had full freedom in expressing their own interpretation and evaluation of the approach and outlook which has now come to be known as integral nondualism (pūrṇa- advaita). Editors have proceeded on the assumption that truth in its creative aspect lies, not in reproducing a static thought structure, but in the free self-expression of different individuals in the application and evaluation of a dynamic spiritual message.
The symposium has five parts: Philosophy, Epistemology and Psychology, Yoga and Ethics, Literature, and Miscellaneous. The part called 'Miscellaneous' includes tributes to Sri Aurobindo, an outline of the historical setting in which his message was formulated, his political thoughts on freedom and world unity, and a brief sketch of his life.
Dr Frederic Spiegelberg's article 'Sri Aurobindo and Existential- ism' is based upon one of the three talks which he gave at San Francisco Ashram on August 21, 1958, in connection with the celebration of Sri Aurobindo's birthday. Dr Pitirim A. Sorokin article, "'The Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo'", is taken from his book, The Ways and Power of Love ( Boston: The Beacon Press, 1954), pp. 371-6. Editors wish to take this opportunity of expressing their grateful thanks to Dr Sorokin and his publisher for their kind permission in this respect. Professor Richard P. Marsh paper, "'The Organismic Psychology of Andras Angyal in Relation to Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy of Integral Nondualism'", represents the essay which won him the first prize in the Aurobindo Essay Contest which was held in 1958 among the students of Indian philosophy in Northern California. Sri A. B. Purani brief life-sketch, 'Sri Aurobindo', was first broadcast from the B.B.C., London, in December 1955, and has been incorporated here by courtesy of the B.B.C.
No words would be adequate to express the gratitude of the editors to the eminent contributors who have most graciously co-operated with them by joining this symposium. Editors are also grateful to Cultural Integration Fellowship, San Francisco, for sponsoring the symposium. Finally, sincere thanks are due to Bina Chaudhuri, Esther Weissman, Bernice Littlewood, Myrtle Vepsala, and Blanche Beat, who have assisted in various ways in the preparation of this volume, and to the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram of Pondicherry for permission to quote extensively from the works of Sri Aurobindo.
San Francisco October 15, 1958

Since no one culture has a monopoly on truth-seeing

Re: Post Human Variations by Richard Carlson
by RY Deshpande on Sun 28 Jan 2007 06:54 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
I understand what you are trying to say, Deba, but even there I will take a different stand. It is the power of truth-seeing that uses the faculty of imagination, like any other well-developed human faculty, and not the other way around. The Vedic poetry is all that, and everywhere so; so of course is Savitri. RYD

by Rich on Sun 28 Jan 2007 08:38 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Actually if you boil it down, the "power of truth-seeing" proceeds from the organ of meditation e.g."imaginito vera" at least that is my interpretation after some twenty odd years of studying Corbin's esoteric Sufism . I should also add that since no one culture has a monopoly on truth-seeing, it should not surprise us to find cross-cultural accounts which poet the phenomena by using different metaphors. Interesting also is that 600 years before Edward Said raised the issue of the exoticism of the East by the West in his book Orientalism that the Persian Sufis were referring to the journey to the "Orient" as a mystical journey toward the soul, and contrasting this with the profane journey to the "Occident" as leading to the surface world of sensory experience. Although I am mostly sympathetic to Said, obviously this metaphor of the "Orient" is much more complex than certain post-colonial accounts of cross -cultural differences ascribe. rc

by Debashish on Sun 28 Jan 2007 09:13 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Both these comments of RY and RC are profoundly interesting to me. I agree with you RY that Truth-seeing uses the imagination. Truth-seeing in the Aurobindian corpus is an aspect of the Divine Sense (see the posting on Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies), an impersonal and supramental power which can act directly but this may act also through various forms of individualized imaging - here the psychic imaging. Cultural differences, as for example the variations in function, symbology and iconography between Greek and Vedic gods may also be due to such individualized receptions.
Rich, I find particularly interesting your comment on the history of Sufi "Orientalism" vis-a-vis Edward Said. Perhaps one strand of colonial Orientalism can be traced to this Sufi history though what complicates the Orientalism of 18th/19th c. Europe is its co-existence with colonial mercantile/religious/political hegemony. Said's "Orientalism" has been criticized for its homogenizing of the phenomenon. In my own approach, I have seen these two strands, the mystical and the predatory, as a dialectical pair generating the productive force of European Orientalism. DB

by Rich on Sun 28 Jan 2007 11:09 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Let me also briefly post a quote taken from an important essay by Ashram archivist Richard Hartz which I hope to post on SCIY soon. The quote is from Ibn' Arabi one of the most important figures in Corbin's medieval Sufism and one whose method of illumination was in cultivating imaginito vera. Corbin has written an important text called "creative imagination in the Sufism of Ibn' Arabi" Speaking of the experience of Divine that transcends mere belief Ibn' Arabi says: * "It is He who is revealed in every face, sought in every sign, gazed upon by every eye, worshipped in every object of worship, and pursued in the unseen and the visible."
This is why I suggest that while it is important to parse differences in approaches to spiritual experience -which I have attempted to highlight in Sri Aurobindo and Mothers experience of evolution - it is also essential that we recognize the affinities of inner experience across cultures and epochs.. * (In Hartz the Forgotten 9/11 and the Clasp of Civilizations: Ibn ’Arabi, Futûhât al-Makkiyya, cited at rc

January 28, 2007

A solitary mind, a world-wide heart

Re: 03: The Foreknown and Fatal Morn RY Deshpande Sun 28 Jan 2007 01:47 AM PST
A solitary mind, a world-wide heart, To the lone Immortal's unshared work she rose. Savitri is the incarnation of the divine Shakti which took place in “far past times when the whole thing had to be opened so as to hew the ways of Immortality,” says Sri Aurobindo in one of his early letters on Savitri. She has taken the mortal birth to do “the lone Immortal’s unshared work”. The Mother herself once declared: “Since the beginning of the earth, wherever and whenever there was the possibility of manifesting a ray of the Consciousness, I was there.” When the “earth wheeled abandoned in the hollow gulfs, forgetful of her spirit and her fate,” it was necessary for Savitri to come down. She came down as a link between the two Nothingnesses, the Superconscient and the Inconscient, the Non-manifest and the Un-manifest. She is the golden bridge joining the two extremes, of Existence and Non-existence; she is the mediatrix between God and Nature; she is the executrix of the sanction of the Supreme when the call of the individual soul rises to him; she by her sacrifice gives sense of Infinity to this world as much as persuades the Infinite to live in the finite, in the spaces of Time and the moments of Space. But before all that happens, she has a lot to do. The greatest she has to do is to remove the stone-block present across the path of the divine Event.
Was the “lone Immortal” supposed to do all that, without sharing it with anyone? Perhaps he was doing it already, as the Inconscient Purusha and the Somnambulist Prakriti in one. But in order to hew the ways of immortality, it was necessary for the divine Shakti to step into the process. She came down in far past times. At first nothing seemed to take place, nothing seemed to happen. Not even did the grief awake in her. Insensitive like a rock and kind of cold like the unawakened star, she lived. The hammer-beats of pain and the cutting-saw of anguish would not bring to her the imperative of what she had come to do. She was not even aware that death would come to her lover sooner than later. “Inert, released into forgetfulness, prone she reposed.” But slowly things started happening. The work of millennia started acquiring sense and significance. Life came, but she carried the ancient ache in her dim breast. She touched her bosom and felt that it had become a nest for pain. The purpose of this pain she could not yet understand. In fact, she did not know whence it had come. The powers of mind were yet fast asleep, and the instruments of knowledge, sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, remained obtuse and obscure, the torch unlit—because the primary sense, manas, had not come into operation. “Only a vague earth-nature held the frame.” But suddenly Savitri came to know that the day of Satyavan’s death had arrived. Decisive progress had been made. When Savitri awoke, everything changed. She prayed: “O Lord, awaken my entire being that it may be for Thee the needed instrument, the perfect servant.” The Lord had commanded her: “Plunge into Matter and identify thyself with it: it is there that I would manifest.” And she did it. A great advance was made. She had awakened fully. Once the Mother was asked: “When the Supreme Lord told you to make the world, how did you know what had to be done?” She answered: “I had nothing to learn for that, because the Supreme Lord contains everything in Himself: the whole world, the knowledge of the world and the power to make it. When He decided that there should be a world, He first brought forth the knowledge of the world and the power to make it and that is me, and then He commanded me to make the world.” On which day did she get that knowledge? “This was the day when Satyavan must die.” RYD

Fourfold manifestation of the purusottama

fourfold iı¯s´vara (ishwara)— the ı¯s´vara in his four personalities, usually referred to in the Record of Yoga as Mah¯ av¯ıra, Balar ¯ama, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, to whom correspond the four aspects of his ´sakti and the four psychological types of the c ¯ aturvarn. ya; each of these personalities is not a separate deity, but an aspect of the ¯ı´svara or Kr.s.n.a, “Four who are One, One who is Four”, often combined with one or more of the other three aspects.
Sri Aurobindo adapted the Vaishnava tradition of the caturvyu¯ ha (fourfold manifestation of the purus.ottama) in giving to the four aspects names associated with Kr.s.n.a as an avat ¯ ara.
Mah¯av¯ıra (“the great hero”) designates ´ Sr¯ıkr.s.n.a himself, Balar¯ama was his elder brother, Pradyumna his son and Aniruddha his grandson; they figure together in the legend of Us. ¯a and Aniruddha told in the Bh¯agavata Pur¯an. a.Other names that are sometimes used in the Record of Yoga for these aspects of the ı¯s´vara are Mahes´vara or S´iva for the first aspect (Mah¯av¯ıra), Rudra2 for the second (Balar¯ama) and Visn.u for the third (Pradyumna).

Phenomenological properties are distinct from physical properties

Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed reply, Dave!
First, one minor point: I'm not sure what metaphysical inquiries you have in mind that don't concern modality. Aren't metaphysical claims in general supposed to hold with some modal force stronger than natural necessity? And if an inquiry yields a judgment construed as having that type of modal force, doesn't it concern modality?
On the main point, my basic confusion/disagreement remains: How can we get at "the fundamental structure of reality" by armchair inquiry? Here's my alternative take: When we reflect on a priori necessities, we're reflecting on the structure of our concepts. We may thereby discover what is more fundamental than what in a certain conceptual scheme. But whether that scheme matches up well with the universe is a separate question, and not one we can answer by a priori methods.
So I'll grant you this: In our conceptual scheme, phenomenological properties are distinct from physical properties. I think your work brings this out nicely. But I know you want to argue for more than that -- you believe that conceptual distinction between phenomenologial and physical reflects a real distinction in the fabric of the universe, and not just in the fabric of our conceptual scheme. And that's what I can't see discovering through a priori arguments of the sort you develop.
I think this point is at the heart of many of the criticisms of your work -- but most critics can't develop the point entirely convincingly and self-consistently because they don't reject, in general, the existence of subtantive (i.e., not merely conceptual) metaphysical truths -- so they find themselves committed, as you point out in your replies to them, to awkward notions of strong metaphysical necessity and the like.
The arguments are in The Conscious Mind are so tight, I think, that the only plausible way to reject them is to reject the basic conception of philosophy on which they're built; and few philosophers are willing to do that. It means going back to something startlingly close to Carnap -- to, that is, a very deflationary view of metaphysics. Fragments of Consciousness and David Chalmers's list of philosophy blogs

January 25, 2007

That dire hour itself brought that strength out most wisely and most convincingly

by RY Deshpande on Wed 24 Jan 2007 06:39 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Unhelped she must foresee and dread and dare Savitri was living in love’s union, as would a young and newly married couple would. But even as the summer of this union was coming to a close, (Savitri, pp. 468-69)
…listening to the thunder's fatal crash And the fugitive pattering footsteps of the showers And the long unsatisfied panting of the wind And sorrow muttering in the sound-vexed night, The grief of all the world came near to her. Night's darkness seemed her future's ominous face. The shadow of her lover's doom arose And fear laid hands upon her mortal heart. The moments swift and ruthless raced; alarmed Her thoughts, her mind remembered Narad's date. A trembling moved accountant of her riches, She reckoned the insufficient days between: A dire expectancy knocked at her breast; Dreadful to her were the footsteps of the hours: Grief came, a passionate stranger to her gate…None was there to help her and, not knowing what could be the way out of this dire predicament, silently, helplessly she awaited the fast-approaching doom. No help came to her from any quarter. True, she did not disclose her psychological plight to anyone, not even to the great accomplished rishis and tapasvins of the forest; true, also that she did not speak of Narad’s prophecy to anybody; but, then, she was absolutely sure that none would be able to provide her the needed conquering strength. For her, with the kind of stuff she was made of, there was no other alternative but to win the battle against the inveterate and hardened death, the irreparable habit born of Inconscience. Who would wage a battle against him? and win it? Spiritual history of the earth tells us that all, everybody had accepted death as a fact of life here and had found other ways to escape from it. Savitri would not go by it. And yet the question will continue to trouble us: Why did Savitri keep the prophecy only to herself, instead of sharing it with others, with the dearest ones, with the wise ones? They would have at least spoken to her soft comforting words of sympathy, given her consolation, provided some kind of moral support, assuaged her sad deep feelings. Caving in of the vital causes depression which can be dangerous, suicidal, and it is wise to speak out heartrending and sorrowful things. But Savitri was Savitri; and there was always, and everywhere, something luminous about her. She knew perfectly well that her strength would come from God only, and from none else, and that it is that strength alone which would give her true help in her dire hour. She had that inner conviction, and inherent inborn wisdom, and she knew that she could fully depend upon it. Indeed, that dire hour itself brought that strength out most wisely and most convincingly. In answer to her mother’s pleading to choose another youth as life’s partner, Savitri tells: (Savitri, p. 435)
My will is part of the eternal Will, My fate is what my spirit's strength can make, My fate is what my spirit's strength can bear… If for a year, that year is all my life. And yet I know this is not all my fate Only to live and love awhile and die. For I know now why my spirit came on earth And who I am and who he is I love.This awakening to her own spiritual reality came to her with the newly awakened power of love. She has not yet done any conscious yoga but the kindled soul at once saw what was hidden behind the prophecy and she held on to her decision firmly. With the disclosure of Narad, of Satyavan’s death, Savitri at once awoke to the purpose of her birth itself. With it her missioned work must begin; Narad had cast the seed for that to happen and she received it rightly. Equally significant, in the context, is Savitri’s capacity to hold only to herself the foreboding as well as mysterious prophecy, without divulging anything to anyone around. It indeed needs enormous strength of character, almost amounting to the superhuman. The mystery is, Satyavan’s death had to take place in total isolation, without the knowledge of anybody; it had to take place not in the hermitage, but in the forest where none else, apart from Satyavan and Savitri, were present. This aspect of the episode is luminously charged with the occult. By holding the prophecy to herself only, she kind of strengthened her will-power to face the event; everything got firmly quintessenced in it, without the possibility of any dispersion. Like spiritual experiences taking wings when made public, getting lost, this would have lost its effectiveness had she divulged it to others. When Savitri discovered her soul and when the Consciousness-Force descended, centre below centre, in her body, she was told not to bare her kingdom to the foe, she was told to hide her royalty of bliss (Savitri, p. 536)
Lest Time and Fate find out its avenues And beat the thunderous knock upon thy gates. Hide whilst thou canst thy treasure of separate self Behind the luminous rampart of thy depths Till of a vaster empire it grows part.Savitri’s dhāraņā śakti, the power to hold what was given, is absolutely marvellous, absolutely yogic in the superlative, and it is that which became the basis of her success. So also is the power to hold the secret prophecy in the deeps of her soul where no assault is possible. Because Savitri has that dhāraņā sāmarthya, capacity to hold it, that Narad made his eventful prophecy. Narad knew who Savitri was, and he knew that human Savitri had to be set on the path of yoga; no wonder, in the joy of his Vishnu whose glory he ever sings, he rushed to earth. His visit is an epochal visit. In it are the elements of the new unfolding destiny of the evolutionary earth. Savitri’s keeping the word of fate is an aspect of that momentous possibility. Savitri has found her soul and she is told to keep its kingdom hidden from the foe. Savitri has come to know the death of her husband after the marriage and she understands well that she must keep its knowledge as a secret even from him. Savitri is indeed a Yogini par excellence. RYD

Many scientific principles, concepts, or discoveries need not be understood by the public

Roderich Tumulka Researcher in physics at the Mathematics Institute at the University of Tübingen Thursday April 7, 2005 Guardian by rjon on Wed 24 Jan 2007 06:22 PM PST Permanent Link
Paranormal phenomena do not exist. Magic, witchcraft, mind-reading, clairvoyance, faith healing and similar practices do not work and never have worked. It makes a crucial difference whether we imagine ourselves surrounded by supernatural beings and happenings or whether instead we see ourselves in a world that science can help us understand. Many scientific principles, concepts, or discoveries need not, despite their importance, be understood by the public, but just by the experts. The question of the paranormal is different in this respect.

The human being can project himself partially into these higher planes

Not having bound ourselves down, like so much of modern thought, to the dogma that only physical experience or experience based upon the physical sense is true, the analysis of physical experience by the reason alone verifiable, and all else only result of physical experience and physical existence and anything beyond this an error, self-delusion and hallucination, we are free to accept this evidence and to admit the reality of these planes.
We see that they are, practically, different harmonies from the harmony of the physical universe; they occupy, as the word “plane” suggests, a different level in the scale of being and adopt a different system and ordering of its principles.
We need not inquire, for our present purpose, whether they coincide in time and space with our own world or move in a different field of space and in another stream of time,—in either case it is in a more subtle substance and with other movements. All that directly concerns us is to know whether they are different universes, each complete in itself and in no way meeting, intercrossing or affecting the others, or are rather different scales of one graded and interwoven system of being, parts therefore of one complex universal system.
The fact that they can enter into the field of our mental consciousness would naturally suggest the validity of the second alternative, but it would not by itself be altogether conclusive. But what we find is that these higher planes are actually at every moment acting upon and in communication with our own plane of being, although this action is naturally not present to our ordinary waking or outer consciousness, because that is for the most part limited to a reception and utilisation of the contacts of the physical world: but the moment we either go back into our subliminal being or enlarge our waking consciousness beyond the scope of the physical contacts, we become aware of something of this higher action.
We find even that the human being can project himself partially into these higher planes under certain conditions, even while in the body; a fortiori must he be able to do it when out of the body, and to do it then completely, since there is no longer the disabling condition of the physical life bound down to the body. The consequences of this relation and this power of transference are of immense importance. Page 788

There is Law, but there is also spiritual freedom

It is indeed held by many that all is Law and Process and there is no conscious Being or Will in or behind the cosmos; if so, here is a Law and Process that satisfies our human reason and our mental standards of right and justice and it has the beauty and truth of a perfect symmetry and a mathematical accuracy of working.
But all is not Law and Process, there is also Being and Consciousness; there is not only a machinery but a Spirit in things, not only Nature and law of cosmos but a cosmic Spirit, not only a process of mind and life and body but a soul in the natural creature. If it were not so, there could be no rebirth of a soul and no field for a law of Karma. But if the fundamental truth of our being is spiritual and not mechanical, it must be ourself, our soul that fundamentally determines its own evolution, and the law of Karma can only be one of the processes it uses for that purpose: our Spirit, our Self must be greater than its Karma.
There is Law, but there is also spiritual freedom. Law and Process are one side of our existence and their reign is over our outer mind, life and body, for these are mostly subject to the mechanism of Nature. But even here their mechanical power is absolute only over body and Matter; for Law becomes more complex and less rigid, Process more plastic and less mechanical when there comes in the phenomenon of Life, and yet more is this so when Mind intervenes with its subtlety; an inner freedom already begins to intervene and, the more we go within, the soul's power of choice is increasingly felt: for Prakriti is the field of law and process, but the soul, the Purusha, is the giver of the sanction, anumanta, and even if ordinarily it chooses to remain a witness and concede an automatic sanction, it can be, if it wills, the master of its nature, Ishwara. Page 808

January 23, 2007

Mitra and Varuna are possessed of the law of Truth in the supreme ether

Re: 02: Hard is it to Persuade Earth-Nature's Change by RY Deshpande on Thu 18 Jan 2007 03:06 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
The Assault of Ether and of Fire Earth-nature fears the assault of ether and of fire; it trembles at the naked power of Truth; it cannot bear the might and sweetness of the absolute Voice. When the Divine Mother stood in front of Aswapati, to give him a boon, she spoke in a voice “absolute and wise”, addressing him as “the Son of Strength”.
Aswapati’s was no longer the frail earth-nature to give way to her Presence; he could stand there firmly and resolutely, even insisting on what he wanted from her. But for us it will be an assault of fire and of ether; under it we will easily crumble or get crushed. Too great her presence for mortality to bear,—“too immense my danger and my joy,” as she tells Aswapati. Man is too weak to bear the Infinite’s weight and truth born too soon might break the imperfect earth.
Such is the danger she herself indicates. But there is something wonderful about the phrase “the assault of Ether and of Fire”. Very often in Savitri the Unseen becomes mantrically visible and the Unspoken rapturously audible, in a mystically charged manner. The Word, dynamic in its power of expression, is seen and heard with the sight carrying the creative sound and the sound the large and luminous form presenting itself in its rhythmic movements. In the Rig Veda we have a Rik which says: “By the Truth they uphold the Truth that holds all, in the power of the Sacrifice, in the supreme ether, even they who by the godheads born in them travel to the godheads unborn, to the Powers who are seated for ever in the Law that upholds the heavens.” (The Secret of the Veda)
It speaks of the supreme ether, parama vyoma; in another place we have the supreme ocean of light and expanse of the highest superconscient ether; and then, Vishnu takes the supreme step in the highest ether, the Transcendent. There awaits us the Truth that is hidden here by the lesser truth. Mitra and Varuna are possessed of the law of Truth in the supreme ether and it is the bliss of Mitra and Varuna that has to increase in us. The Gods who are the Guardians of the Truth ascend to the supreme ether which is the infinity of the superconscient being.
Another Rik says: “With blows that slay cast from our path, O thou Flame, the powers that stammer in the speech and stumble in the thought, the devourers of our power and our knowledge who leap at us from near and shoot at us from afar. Make the path of the sacrifice a clear and happy journeying.” And: “Burn away from us the sin, flame out on us the bliss. Burn away from us the sin! apa naĥ śośucadaghamagne śuśugdhyā rayim, apa naĥ śośucadagham.”
Only when the Will in man becomes divine and possessed of the Truth, amŗto ŗtāvā, can the perfection towards which we move be realised in humanity. When this happens no more earthnature will shudder to the divine assault, the assault of the Majestic and the Imperious.
“Agni is, preeminently, the Immortal in mortals. He is the divine Will which in all things is always present, is always destroying and constructing, always building and perfecting, supporting always the complex progression of the universe. It is this which persists through all death and change. It is eternally and inalienably possessed of the Truth. In the last obscuration of Nature, in the lowest unintelligence of Matter, it is this Will that is a concealed knowledge and compels all these darkened movements to obey, as if mechanically, the divine Law and adhere to the truth of their Nature. It is this which makes the tree grow according to its seed and each action bear its appropriate fruit. In the obscurity of man's ignorance,—less than material Nature's, yet greater,—it is this divine Will that governs and guides, knows the sense of his blindness and the goal of his aberration and out of the crooked workings of the cosmic Falsehood in him evolves the progressive manifestation of the cosmic Truth.” (See The Secret of the Veda)
The Divine Dynamism, Kali’s Work in the Cosmos begins in the wake of the assault of the Ether and of the Fire. When she is thus active can in the creation rush the Divine Ananda, can the Flute-Player’s Joy prevail here. Far beyond Coleridge’s “happy valiancy”, the phrase “assault of Ether and of Fire” reaches the wonder that is the spirit of the sheer Overhead Poetry. We are seized entirely by it, as if nothing else should now count. RYD
by RY Deshpande on Fri 19 Jan 2007 01:10 AM PST Profile Permanent Link The cross their payment for the crown they gave: The image of cross appears in several places in Savitri. But Savitri’s cross is also the sign of her complete surrender to the Supreme, she going by the Will of the Lord whatever be the difficulty. Sri Aurobindo writes:
“All true Truth of love and of the works of love the psychic being accepts in their place: but its flame mounts always upward and it is eager to push the ascent from lesser to higher degrees of Truth, since it knows that only by the ascent to a highest Truth and the descent of that highest Truth can Love be delivered from the cross and placed upon the throne; for the cross is the sign of the Divine Descent barred and marred by the transversal line of a cosmic deformation which turns it into a stake of suffering and misfortune. Only by the ascent to the original Truth can the deformation be healed and all the works of love, as too all the works of knowledge and of life, be restored to a divine significance and become part of an integral spiritual existence.” (The Synthesis of Yoga p. 157)
One may acquire a kind of divine equality in all circumstances of life, including even the extreme of deathful anguish; but there must yet come a degree of perfection surpassing everything. The key for this perfection could be in accepting in all gladness the circumstances as they are, as a god-given opportunity to remain untouched by them. But the truer way is the way of surrender, surrender to both the divine Will and the divine Wisdom. That is the perfect way to bear the weight of the cross, recognising in it the way of the divine Love. That is the way Savitri follows, the way of perfect surrender to the Supreme. She carries the cross of suffering and pain, not just submitting but surrendering herself to the Will and Wisdom of the Divine. RYD

The Dark Foreknowledge

Re: 02: Hard is it to Persuade Earth-Nature's Change by RY Deshpande on Tue 23 Jan 2007 02:53 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
After the discovery of love Savitri must discover death. She has met Satyavan in the distant Shalwa Woods one fine summer morning and, at once, they have decided to be together. It was love at first sight and all was settled in that significant moment. It was in fact a multiply significant moment, not only for Satyavan and Savitri, but for the entire evolutionary creation. They did not fall in love, rather they rose in love; they rose to another splendour, godheads greater by the fall; it is we who in love fall, in love we fall. Their united life began again in human forms, their coming together marking the arrival of “a greater age”. Young and beautiful and reddened with a bride’s joy, dreamy Savitri returns to the palace to disclose to her eager parents the discovery she has made in the far-away secluded land. But she already finds in the palace-hall Narad the heavenly sage in their company, he singing the song of creation to them. (Savitri, p. 417)
He sang to them of the lotus-heart of love
With all its thousand luminous buds of truth,
Which quivering sleeps veiled by apparent things.
It trembles at each touch, it strives to wake
And one day it shall hear a blissful voice
And in the garden of the Spouse shall bloom
When she is seized by her discovered lord.
But soon Narad is going to announce something apparently ominous, the foreboding deep-rooted evil indeed. However, he announces it perhaps with a grave serious concern. Savitri has come to know love; it is necessary that she must also know death. Eventually Narad discloses that Satyavan, whom Savitri has chosen for a husband, is doomed to die exactly one year after the marriage, samvatsaréņa kşīņāyurdéhanyāsam karişyati, or as we have in Savitri:
Twelve swift-winged months are given to him and to her;
This day returning Satyavan must die.
Savitri yet remains firm in her resolve and starts living in her new home. She adapts herself to the life of the hermitage and looks after the physical needs of her parents-in-law, speaking always to them with a sense of humility and reverence. She also performs, with noble composure and grace, the various household routines, of attending to the kitchen-fire and using broom and jar. In a like manner, and always remaining calm and contented, employing soft and sweet language, mindful of her husband’s wants and desires, in their community life and in their privacy, she keeps Satyavan happy. This way, and absorbed in tapasya, a lot of time goes by. But about the prophecy of Satyavan’s death no one knows, neither Satyavan, nor his parents, nor the ministers in the court of her father’s kingdom, not even the rishis in the hermitages though they might have felt something of the sort; it remains a secret of the palace, known only to her and her parents. “A dark foreknowledge separated her from all of whom she was the star and stay; too great to impart the peril and the pain, in her torn depths she kept the grief to come.” The secret was meant to remain the palace secret only. Just imagine if Satyavan had come to know about it! But, then, it also reveals the tremendous power of the woman who in her heart could keep such a calamitous possibility secret from her intimate ones, including her husband. That itself is the yogic preparation of Savitri and a great deal of her success rests on it. The human instrument did not fail in the hour of reckoning.
But, within, the virtuous woman suffered greatly. With each rising sun, or while sleeping in the night, at every passing moment, she remembered Narad’s words and felt the cruel day approaching closer. When she counted that only four days were left, and Satyavan would be living no more afterwards, she resolved to perform the three-night vow, trīrātra vŗta, of fasting and standing at one single place through the entire period. Another Shakti living beyond the domains of the three nights,—of the physical, the vital, and the mental,—entered into her soul and she was now ready to confront the firm and uncompromising God of Death, Yama. The mystic truth is that the balance between Fate and Freewill can be reversed by the greater spirits. By doing yoga Savitri must rise to the greatness of her own spirit. That certainly is the merit, the purpose, of Narad’s disclosing the death of Satyavan. RYD

January 22, 2007

The physical itself will then be a wonderful expression of harmony and beauty of the spirit

Re: Re: 02: Hard is it to Persuade Earth-Nature's Change by RY Deshpande on Mon 22 Jan 2007 04:16 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Godhead greater by a Human Fate It must have been pretty cruel of the godhead to await Savitri’s hour of ordeal. That would almost look rather nasty-spiteful of him. In any case, there is no escape for Savitri from the painful tribulation. She must meet Yama, the God of Death. He is the formidable Spirit of Antagonism born from Inconscience in response to the arrival of Life upon Earth, one who in his dark and terrible, hostile-repulsive form nullifies all the wonderful gains that come in the soul’s progress. As long as Death is present, things will always go wrong,—says the Mother.
Sri Aurobindo’s aphorism puts it as follows: “Death is the question Nature puts continually to Life and her reminder to it that it has not yet found itself. If there were no siege of death, the creature would be bound forever in the form of an imperfect living. Pursued by death he awakes to the idea of perfect life and seeks out its means and its possibility.”
Death is therefore, negatively, the helper on the way, a remover of imperfection. That is the utility of Death. But, now, a moment has come when it is no longer necessary for him to be there, as progress should commence from perfection to perfection. Death the Adversary has to disappear. But Death is not going to walk away simply like that, of his own free choice, his volonté. In fact, he will confront fiercely if he is going to be challenged at all. Death’s challenge,—that is the frightening Portal of Death Savitri has to pass through. Unless she passes through it, through distress and suffering and hardship of mortality’s last portal, Death cannot be left behind. It is for that moment that the godhead is waiting. But who is this godhead waiting for such a harsh severe ordeal of hers? But it is this godhead himself who has taken a human form and is present as Savitri. By such a human fate he will rise to yet another greatness; in it there will be the Law of Immortality guiding the Soul of Evolution in the terrestrial scheme of things.
Well, but what the removal of Death should actually imply? If, as the Mother tells in a talk, “death is the phenomenon of decentralisation and dispersion of the cells which make up the physical body,” then it is that decentralisation and dispersion which will stop when Death is removed; decay disintegration and inevitable death will cease. In another talks she says:
“…the whole of humanity believes firmly in death; it is, one might say, a general human suggestion based on a long unchanging experience. If this belief could be cast out first from the conscious mind, then from the vital nature and the subconscious physical layers, death would no longer be inevitable.”
The physical itself will then be a wonderful expression of harmony and beauty of the spirit in an ever-growing fullness of manifestation. There is the fear of death in the present body and that will disappear; it will open itself to the adventure of new consciousness full of light and sweetness and joy, of love and beauty, within and without.
Aswapati the Yogi is standing in front of the Divine Mother and is arguing for her to incarnate herself here and conquer Death. He even tells her that god does make progress by coming down, by the fall, by stepping into birth. Human fate makes the godhead greater and therefore the godhead awaits the ordeal’s hour. Shiva did not opt to take human birth and therefore he is perhaps going to miss something remarkable in that respect. Gods do get disfigured by the pangs of birth (Savitri, p. 677), but there is also the marvel of the new birth. Savitri, although standing beneath the eyes of Fate, has the confidence that nothing, nor Fate nor Death nor Time, has the power to dissolve the diamond-scripted signature of her soul. She is willing to pass through the ordeal, and that is her splendid sacrifice in the Will of the Supreme. RYD

There are personalities behind the words written by Sri Aurobindo

It is generally accepted that people read in order to understand themselves and the world around them, to expand their personal insight. Most of us take for granted the act of reading in our daily lives, but a history of reading shows that it changed and developed like all other human activities. While we think of reading as an intensely personal and usually silent activity, it used to be very different. In the Argentina-born writer Alberto Manguel’s book A History of Reading we learn that people used to always read aloud. Early Greek and Latin texts were written without punctuation or separations between words, just a continuous string of words that had to be read aloud, sounded out, in order to get the meaning of the words in relation to each other. It wasn’t until the 9th century that silent reading became common.
Something of reading’s early mystery still remains when we consider poetry, writing that is written for sound. There are those who would argue that half the beauty of poetry is lost if it is not read aloud; that when they read silently people learn to look for meaning rather than respond to the beauty of what they hear. At the age of 73 W.B. Yeats is said to have commented that he had spent his entire life as a poet taking out of his poetry everything that had been written for the eye alone and using only those words that spoke to the ear.
In Sri Aurobindo we have a poet extraordinaire and in his epic poem Savitri, a poetic experience in reading aloud or listening that has touched many souls. Narad (Richard Eggenberger), who has been reading and reciting Savitri for the last 45 years, reminds us that each line of the poem is mantric, and it is the power of the mantra that can put us into contact with the spiritual experiences described in the poem. He points to the Author’s Note at the start of Savitri, where Sri Aurobindo says that “still this is not a mere allegory, the characters are not personified qualities, but incarnations or emanations of living and conscious Forces with whom we can enter into concrete touch and they take human bodies in order to help man and show him the way from his mortal state to a divine consciousness and immortal life."
Nolini Kanta Gupta once told some students at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education that there are personalities behind the words written by Sri Aurobindo, and if you listen carefully, letting each word sound through your mind and heart until it strikes the soul within, “the consciousness, the being in each line comes to you. And you find how beautiful it is. This is an approach of love, not of the intellect to understand and explain.”
The art of listening to or reciting good poetry is then no mystery, but a revelation to the inner being, a development of the capacity to hear and see and feel a world of Beauty, Truth, and Love. Visit these websites to hear audio clips of the Mother reading from Savitri:

January 20, 2007

She must conquer death to conquer life

RY Deshpande Fri 19 Jan 2007 03:53 PM PST
On p. 638 of Savitri we have the following line: Earth saw my struggle, heaven my victory.
This is what Savitri tells Yama, the God of Death from whom she is claiming back the soul of her deceased husband Satyavan. Yama had all along remained unconvinced by Savitri’s powerful arguments and was not ready to release the soul he was carrying with him. And one of the arguments Savitri puts forward is, about her struggle and her victory. Her argument is preceded by a statement that, it is in her unceasing fire that the great stars burn, the fire whose faggots are life and death.
“Savitri could not win the victory in life,” says Devan Nair, “because she lacked death, and she had to conquer death in order to conquer life.” That is true, indeed. The stars in the night get their supernatural fuel from both life and death. That is the mystery of the stars as against the mystery of the suns whose fuel comes only from the transcendent Fire, the divine Agni who knows no night.
But, at the moment, Savitri is stuck, even as Yama remains unyielding. The debate between Yama and Savitri, we must recognise, is not just a set of arguments, a profound metaphysical dialogue, a verbal engagement, a conjuration of one-upmanship, not even sharp and cutting logomachy. With each utterance of theirs, vast occult forces are released, forces clashing one against the other in the cosmic functioning. But Savitri has no other choice but to win. She must conquer death to conquer life. With the power of her total surrender she must carry the cross on her shoulder.

January 16, 2007

Isn’t she the Sun from which we can kindle all our suns?

Re: "'Savitri' by heart," by Sonia Dyne RY Deshpande Tue 16 Jan 2007 05:55 AM PST “If truly one knows how to meditate upon Savitri, one will receive all the help one needs.” The Mother
Thanks for the encouraging responses and I am reassured that the effort has some value and sense, certain pertinence as far as our endeavour to enter into the world of Savitri is concerned. All our faculties, our will and thought and feeling, our spirit and soul must awake to the sun that is Savitri. And, in fact, any one of these can be a way to live in Savitri. The rest will come from Savitri. I heard of a person who could not see but when Savitri was given to him, he ‘saw’ that it was all written in gold. I also recall an occasion what a learned person said in his talk after my presentation in a conference. I had quoted Savitri and soon he said, rather obliquely, that the Mother never liked Savitri being discussed at all. I responded, simply by saying: “I don’t know.” Isn’t she the Sun from which we can kindle all our suns?
There are many aspects of Savitri and there are many ways of looking at Savitri. The most important is of course its affirmation of the Spirit in things, Spirit as the dynamic Truth shaping in its expansive luminous freedom the destiny of this creation. This also implies that, to enter into Savitri, we have to make an extensive, a many-sided preparation as far as our instruments are concerned; we have to also make progress leading to wideness of consciousness, including possibly the yogic-spiritual. While Savitri itself can become a means for that progress, there is needed the right kind of effort from our side. We must be prepared to undertake the hardship of its discipline by keeping ready all the instrumental aspects of our personality—with the mind capable of receiving intimations of a luminous knowledge, and the heart responding to the ardencies of life-movements in their thousand moods of magnificence and dignity, and the will steady in its intent, steady like a bright flame of sacrifice burning upward to heaven. What is it here that cannot be pressed into service for the fullness of realisation that Savitri offers? Indeed, nothing there is that cannot be transformed by Savitri. But, fundamentally, there has to be in us a “call” to live in Savitri which shall give us the Truth and the things of the Truth. With it alone can begin our yogic life in Savitri, of making Savitri as our Book of Yoga.
In the meanwhile, however, we can live in Savitri’s presence in several ways. In Savitri there is spiritual philosophy put in the revealing language of a poet, its expression carrying the inspired and inevitable Word. We have in it mysticism, occult knowledge, religion, metaphysics, arts, sciences, literature, history of man and history of the earth, all that is noble and living, that can impart to our perception the sense of infinity which can give meaning to our daily occupations. Any one of these can become our foundational engagement. In fact, it has thus already opened out an altogether new world of creative action for us.
Based on Savitri we already have Sunil Bhattacharya’s music, and Huta Hindocha’s paintings under the direct guidance of the Mother. These are examples of the new art that is to come in its wake, and there will be many more creations to bring Savitri itself closer to us. We thus envisage the coming of new schools of thought, choreography, poetry, criticism, comparative research and studies, fiction, songs, oratorical dissertations, discourses, recitations and readings, all welling up from this inexhaustible fountain of creativity. The poem has also been translated into several languages, mostly in verse-form, but also at times as prose renderings. Maybe some of these are rudimentary attempts and much will have to be done to achieve some minimum aesthetic satisfaction that is to be expected from a work connected with it. Nonetheless, these attempts do demonstrate the possibilities that have sprung up from Savitri’s world of delight. If around the stone-still statue of Buddha, in Ellora, there is the calm of infinity that nothing can disturb, we shall expect a crystalline stream of sweetness and joy rushing from the marble face of Savitri; halo’d by the moon of beauty, or carved in the heart of amethyst, she shall prove to be “the Sun from which we kindle all our suns.” If only, Satyavan-like, our “mind transfigures to a rapturous seer”!
About approaching Savitri, the Mother says that “the direct road is by the heart.” She told this to young Mona Sarkar in one of his meetings with her. I am posting this talk of the Mother on Savitri separately. It has the power to settle everything for us. She prefaced it by saying: "I shall give you something special; be prepared." The talk begins as follows: “It does not matter if you do not understand it—Savitri, read it always. You will see that every time you read it, there will be something new experience; things which were not here, things you did not understand arise and suddenly become clear. Always an unexpected vision comes up through the words and lines. Every time you try to read and understand, you will see that something which was hidden behind is revealed clearly and vividly. I tell you the very verses you have read once before, will appear to you in a different light each time you re-read them.” And she says: “Always your experience is enriched, it is revelation at each step…” Perhaps there is always something special she gives to each individual to be in Savitri. Her demand is: “Be prepared.” RYD

If human endeavour has a justification in shaping the destinies, it is here

RY Deshpande Mon 15 Jan 2007 02:58 AM PST
To live with grief, to confront death on her road,—
The mortal's lot became the Immortal's share.
If the gods wish to rise to higher worlds they must come down and take a human birth. Progress is here and this beautiful birth, though downhearted and full of misfortune and affliction, is god’s wonderful boon given to heighten the soul in the glory of possibilities of the manifestation. This is what the Vishnu Purana says: come here to make progress. This is what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have said a number of times. But most of the gods are happy with their lot. Perhaps they can afford to be so, but not we; in fact we will not be allowed to remain where we are.
“The gods,” says the Mother, “do not have within them the divine spark which is the core of the psychic, because only on earth—I am not even speaking of the material universe—only on earth did this descent of divine Love took place, which was the origin of the divine Presence in the core of Matter. And naturally, since they have no psychic being, they do not know the psychic being. Some of these beings have even wanted to take a physical body so as to have experience of the psychic being—but not many of them. As a rule, they did it not only partially, through an ‘emanation’, not a total descent. For example, Vivekananda is said to have been an incarnation—a Vibhuti—of Shiva; but Shiva himself has clearly expressed his will to come down on earth only with the supramental world. When the earth is ready for the supramental life, he will come. And almost all these beings will manifest—they are waiting for that moment, they do not want any of the present struggle and the obscurity… None of these gods has a psychic being. It is only by coming down and uniting with the psychic being of a man that they can have one, but they have none themselves.” (12 January 1965)
Is Shiva going to miss something by opting to come down on earth only with the supramental world and not in the present process? Possibly so, for the simple reason that the Mother had at all made such a suggestion to him.
And then, in contrast to this, the Mother says something interesting about her experience with Durga: “…I was in touch with her during my meditations upstairs, and this new power in the body was in me then as it is in me now, and… (how to put it?) I made her participate in the concept of surrender. What an experience she had! An extraordinary experience of the joy of being connected with That. And she declared, ‘From now on I am bhakta of the Lord.’ It was beautiful. Truly… truly, it was beautiful. I knew how it was with her because I remember the days when Sri Aurobindo was here and I used to go downstairs to give meditations to the people assembled in the hall. There’s a ledge above the pillars there, where all the gods used to sit—Shiva, Krishna, Lakshmi, the Trimurti, all of them—the little ones, the big ones, they all used to come regularly, every day, to attend these meditations. It was a lovely sight. But they didn’t have this kind of adoration for the Supreme. They had no use for that concept—each one, in his own mode of being, was fully aware of his own eternal divinity; and each one knew as well that he could represent all the others (such was the basis of popular worship, and they knew it). They felt they were a kind of community, but they had none of those qualities that the psychic life gives: no deep love, no deep sympathy, no sense of union. They had the sense of only their OWN divinity. They had certain very particular movements, but not this adoration for the Supreme nor the feeling of being instruments: they felt they were representing the Supreme, and so each one was perfectly satisfied with his particular representation. Except for Krishna…” (2 August 1961)
And for Savitri, who accepted to pass through the portals of the birth that is a death. She came here to do the Lord’s work. When the Mother was asked (on 19 February 1969) if the gods can help the work of transformation, she replied: “It is too soon to put such a question.” What chance then for technocapitalism and our ideas of post-human destinies? Savitri came to live with grief; she came to confront death; she bore the mortal’s lot. Gods and Goddesses don’t do that; they wish also not to do that; they “do not want any of the present struggle and the obscurity”. It is only Savitri who can do it and she does it—because such is the command of the Lord to her. She has with her the unfailing Mantra of Surrender to the Lord and it is that alone which can accomplish the great miracle of transformation. She has found it. Gods and Goddesses perhaps do not even have the knowledge of it. In the process, to redeem the creation, Savitri is willing to undergo all the misery and suffering. She has faith and she has utter confidence that things here will change.
The Mother’s prayer is such a happy splendid assurance: “What are these powerful gods whose hour of manifestation upon earth has come, if not the varied and perfected modes of Thy infinite activity, O Thou Master of all things, Being and Non-Being and What is beyond, Marvellous Unknowable One, our sovereign Lord?... What are these manifold brilliant intellectual activities, these countless sunbeams illumining, conceiving and fashioning all forms, if not one of the modes of being of Thy infinite Will, one of the means of Thy manifestation, O Thou Master of our destinies, sole unthinkable Reality, sovereign Lord of all that is and all that is not yet… And all these mental powers, all these vital energies, and all these material elements, what are they if not Thyself in Thy outermost form, Thy ultimate modes of expression, of realisation, O Thou whom we adore devotedly and who escapest us on every side even while penetrating, animating and guiding us, Thou whom we cannot understand or define or name, Thou whom we cannot seize or embrace or conceive, and who art yet realised in our smallest acts… And all this enormous universe is only an atom of Thy eternal Will. In the immensity of Thy effective Presence all things blossom!” (August 2, 1914)
What are these manifold brilliant intellectual activities… if not one of the modes of being of Thy infinite Will? In it is the place for our thought, for our philosophy, for our sciences and arts, for all the thousand human occupations that make a wider and brighter and nobler place for the Lord’s habitation. If human endeavour has a justification in shaping the destinies, it is here. The mortal’s lot then becomes the Immortal’s glad acceptable share. That is the joy of participation which is, indeed, such a marvellous gift given to us. Should we not be thankful for it? RYD

January 15, 2007

The rocks are hard and inflexible yet concealing the stream of life

RY Deshpande Sun 14 Jan 2007 08:08 AM PST
Hard is it to persuade earth-nature’s change. Harder is it also to impose change on the working of the nature of the earth. The issue is constitutional. The habits are pathological, related to body and health, of various kinds. The last habit is the habit of death. But before that there are the habits of suffering, error, falsehood, ignorance, gloom, pain, inertia or tamas, depression, fear; there are suggestions of sadness, despair and suicide, suggestions from what the Mother calls “the thieves of the vital world”. All these are parts of, or consequences of our physical and sometimes psychological makeup and hard they are to eliminate. That is what we are presently composed of. Savitri’s task is connected with it, and she has to pay a heavy price, by accepting this world’s ignominy and its stubbornness, stubbornness of the mortal life. Its entire past stands against all progress.
Rishi Agastya was engaged in a long and arduous tapasya. But then he felt that he was not making progress. He was told to get up from the thick grass seat on which he was sitting and meditating. The moment he got up, flames rose up from it. He realised that, all along, his past samskaras, the old habits were getting consumed in the fire of his tapasya. Agni Pavaka, Fire the Purifier has to be kindled if such a change is to come. Only such tapasya can perhaps persuade earth-nature’s change.
The Avatars do it for us, for the entire earth. There are a thousand things that happen in the subconscient, or in the occult, or else in half-dark half-bright subtle domains. And there are yet swallowing abysses below them. Here we are, we who laugh and weep, a la Binyon’s pilgrim; we suffer the stroke, exult in victory, struggle for the crown, bleed with the Fate’s whips. But change we do not strive for. Our nature remains crooked, like the famous dog’s tail Vivekananda spoke of...
Earth was an impossible place for some of the old yogas. Sri Aurobindo was concerned with it, and this is what he states in Savitri. As far as the collective life was concerned it was infinitely more difficult to bring about the change. Easy it was for the creator to make heaven than the earth. But the redeeming feature comes as follows...
We have no idea what the Avatars strive for to change the earth-nature. On one occasion the Mother tells: “There is no disease from which I have not suffered. I have taken all the diseases upon my body to see their course and to have their knowledge by experience in the physical, so that I may be able to work upon them. But as my physical has no fear and it responds to the higher pressure, it is easier for me to get rid of them.” RYD

January 12, 2007

Vedic practices also had a powerful presence of the Tantrik principle in it

Vladimir Wed 10 Jan 2007 03:22 AM PST I think it is very important topic, which sheds some light on the nature of evolutionary process. In 1925-26, when Pavitra was guided into meditation by Sri Aurobindo, practicing the separation of Purusha from Prakriti, aspiring for his personal liberation, Mukti, he got the descent of the Divine Power from above, and all his meditation changed and got centered on it: to become more receptive and open to it. In this process he asked Sri Aurobindo about the completion of what he started to do: the separation of Purusha from Prakriti and his final liberation, and Sri Aurobindo answered that it was surely going to happen, but was not important anymore, for the Shakti was already working in his adhara and she knew better what to do and how to do it.
This Shakti is of the nature of Ishvara-Shakti, where the separation on Purusha and Prakriti is no more an issue. In fact the whole Vedic tradition is based on this Ishvara-koti power, where the realization of the Self was seen in the context of manifestation and not as separation from it. The idea of liberation, Mukti, as we know it now, is a later idea. In my view it can not be sanctioned by the Divine Shakti, therefore we have only few liberated souls, and mainly Avatars and Vibhutis, who had something else to accomplish in the world.
The process of liberation offered by the Vedas and early Upanishads was having a character of transformation: turning our senses within in search of their higher universal domains, devatas, and then making them passive, as it were, or rather attentive to the Presence of the Spirit beyond, which was gradually to take over the whole substance of the sense and thus to come to the surface of consciousness, Manifestation. There was neither separation nor liberation offered but Immortality.
RY Deshpande Wed 10 Jan 2007 04:09 PM PST This is absolutely beautiful, Vlad. “This Shakti is of the nature of Ishvara-Shakti, where the separation on Purusha and Prakriti is no more an issue. In fact the whole Vedic tradition is based on this Ishvara-koti power, where the realization of the Self was seen in the context of manifestation and not as separation from it. The idea of liberation, Mukti, as we know it now, is a later idea.
In my view it can not be sanctioned by the Divine Shakti, therefore we have only few liberated souls, and mainly Avatars and Vibhutis, who had something else to accomplish in the world.” If the Ishwara-Shakti is the Vedic aspect of spirituality, then one could almost say that the Vedic practices also had a powerful presence of the Tantrik principle in it.
Is it true? We don’t see that Shakti aspect in the Upanishads and not explicitly so in the Gita also, which is what makes it an Upanishad, the Upanishad of the Bhagavatgita. When and how started the separation of the Ishwara and the Shakti leading to two independent approaches? Was that inevitable in the Vedic system if it saw Ishwara-Shakti as a single biune reality? We will be thankful to have your views about this important theme. RYD

January 11, 2007

Contrary order possibilities

But, given the fact that the infinite Reality is free in the play of its consciousness, it is not bound to involve itself in the nescience of Matter before it can at all manifest. It is possible for it to create just the contrary order of things, a world in which the unity of spiritual being is the matrix and first condition of any formation or action, the Energy at work is a self-aware spiritual existence in movement, and all its names and forms are a self-conscious play of the spiritual unity.
Or it might be an order in which the Spirit's innate power of conscious Force or Will would realise freely and directly its own possibilities in itself and not, as here, through the restricting medium of the Life-Force in matter; that realisation would be at once the first principle of the manifestation and the object of all its free and blissful action.
It might be an order, again, in which the free play of an infinite mutual self-delight in a multiplicity of beings conscious not only of their concealed or underlying eternal unity but of their present joy of oneness would be the object; in such a system the action of the principle of self-existent Bliss would be the first principle and the universal condition.
Again, it might be a world-order in which the Supermind would be the dominant principle from the beginning; the nature of the manifestation would then be a multiplicity of beings finding through the free and luminous play of their divine individuality all the manifold joy of their difference in oneness.
Nor need the series stop here: for we observe that with us Mind is hampered by Life in Matter and finds all the difficulty possible in dominating the resistance of these two different powers and that Life itself is similarly restricted by the mortality, the inertia and the instability of Matter; but evidently there can be a world-order in which neither of these two disabilities forms part of the first conditions of existence.
There is the possibility of a world in which Mind would be from the first dominant, free to work upon its own substance or matter as a quite plastic material, or where Matter would be quite evidently the result of the universal Mind-Force working itself out in life. It is that even here in reality; but here the Mind-Force is involved from the beginning, for a long time subconscient, and, even when it has emerged, never in free possession of itself, but subject to its encasing material, while there it would be in possession of itself and master of its material, which would be much more subtle and elastic than in a predominantly physical universe.
So too Life might have its own world-order where it would be sovereign, able to deploy its own more elastic and freely variable desires and tendencies, not menaced at every moment by disintegrating forces and therefore occupied chiefly with the care of self-preservation and restricted in its play by this state of precarious tension which limits its instincts of free formation, free self-gratification and free adventure. The separate dominance of each principle of being is an eternal possibility in the manifestation of being,—given always that they are principles distinct in their dynamic power and mode of working, even though one in original substance. [Page 786]...
A secret continuous action of the higher powers and principles from their own planes upon terrestrial being and nature through the subliminal self, which is itself a projection from those planes into the world born of the Inconscience, must have an effect and a significance. Its first effect has been the liberation of Life and Mind out of Matter; its last effect has been to assist the emergence of a spiritual consciousness, a spiritual will and spiritual sense of existence in the terrestrial being so that he is no longer solely preoccupied with his outermost life or with that and mental pursuits and interests, but has learned to look within, to discover his inner being, his spiritual self, to aspire to overpass earth and her limitations.
As he grows more and more inward, his boundaries mental, vital, spiritual begin to broaden, the bonds that held Life, Mind, Soul to their first limitations loosen or snap, and man the mental being begins to have a glimpse of a larger kingdom of self and world closed to the first earth-life. No doubt, so long as he lives mainly on his surface, he can only build a sort of superstructure ideal and imaginative and ideative upon the ground of his normal narrow existence. But if he makes the inward movement which his own highest vision has held up before him as his greatest spiritual necessity, then he will find there in his inner being a larger Consciousness, a larger Life.
An action from within and an action from above can overcome the predominance of the material formula, diminish and finally put an end to the power of the Inconscience, reverse the order of the consciousness, substitute the Spirit for Matter as his conscious foundation of being and liberate its higher powers to their complete and characteristic expression in the life of the soul embodied in Nature.
[Page 791]

January 05, 2007

The ultimate Reality not "unconscious"

Jung has contributed to the study of the nature of personality and to the understanding of the action of human groups by positing the "Collective Unconscious." By an extensive study and analysis of myths, legends, customs. and early cultural history of many races he arrives the Collective Unconscious" as the psychological substratum which explains the behaviour of the individual and of the groups of men. The late Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy also has made very extensive study of comparative myths. The positing of the "Collective Unconscious " means that Jung abandons, by implication, at least, the naturalistic stand in psychology; for, one could ask,
  • where does the " Collective Unconscious " abide?
  • Is it in the material or non-material medium?
  • Is it of the vital or mental stuff ?

So far as the study of human personality is concerned Jung admits that the roots of personality are veiled in mystery. The term "Collective Unconscious" reminds the Indian Student of the terms "Collective Consciousness", and "Cosmic Consciousness" already used in our Ancient Sacred "books. This Cosmic Consciousness and even a supra cosmic-transcendent-Consciousness mentioned in Indian books, are Superconscient to the ordinary man, but they are regarded as capable of being experienced by men if certain psychological conditions are fulfilled.¹

Dr. Harish Chowdhari finds this 'Collective Unconscious a "blanket term " and says, "It is too inadequate to carry any exact senses." To Jung the collective unconscious is not a state of Consciousness, because, according to him "relatedness to an ego is an essential condition of consciousness." This is a limited view of consciousness, as it takes for granted the mental as the only possible consciousness.
All spiritual experience, including that of Sri Aurobindo, always speaks of the ultimate Reality not as "unconscious" but as Supreme and infinite conscious- ness. It does not depend upon nor does it require an 'ego' for its support. It is spoken of as the golden Purusha and the golden Light and the unconscious is described as the "dark". Sri Aurobindo speaks of it as "luminous uttermost super-conscience" as against the "dark inconscience. " Jung's failure to realise the distinction between the two, the Super-conscient Infinite and the Inconscient Infinite is responsible for his description of the ultimate reality as "Collective Unconscious." Page - 121 Home > E-Library > Works Of Disciples > A B Purani > Sri Aurobindo-Some Aspects Of His Vision > Psychology

Overmind will re­place the automatism of instinct of the animal

Evolution has not been merely something material, only a creation of new forms of Matter, new species of inanimate objects or animate creatures as physical science has at first seen it: it has been an evolution of consciousness, a mani­festation of it out of its involution and in that a constant progress towards something greater, higher, fuller, more complete, ever increasing in its range and capacity, therefore to a greater and greater perfection and perhaps finally to an absolute of con­sciousness which has yet to come, an absolute of its truth, an absolute of its dynamic power.
The mental consciousness of man is greater in its perfection, more progressive towards the absolute than the consciousness of the animal, and the consciousness of the overman, if I may so call him, must very evidently be still more perfect, while the consciousness of the superman may be absolute. No doubt, the instinct of the animal is superior to that of man and we may say that it is perfect and absolute within its limited range and in its own type. Man's consciousness has an infinitely greater range and is more capable in the large, though less automatically perfect, in the details of its work, more labo­rious in its creation of perfection.
The Overmind when it comes will decrease whatever deficiencies there are in human intelligence and the Supermind will remove them altogether; they will re­place the perfection of instinct by the more perfect perfection of intuition and what is higher than intuition and thus replace the automatism of the animal by the conscious and self-possessed automatic action of a more luminous gnosis and finally, of an inte­gral Truth-Consciousness. Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > Future Poetry Volume-09 > Sources Of Poetic Inspiration And Vision Mystic And Spiritual Poetry [Page - 382]

January 04, 2007

Agastya gives up all that is realised in him

The governing idea of the hymn belongs to a stage of spiritual progress when the human soul wishes by the sheer force of Thought to hasten forward beyond in order to reach prematurely the source of all things without full development of the being in all its progressive stages of conscious activity. The effort is opposed by the gods who preside over the universe of man and of the world and a violent struggle takes place in the human consciousness between the individual soul in its egoistic eagerness and the universal Powers which seek to fulfil the divine purpose of the Cosmos.
The seer Agastya at such a moment confronts in his inner experience Indra, Lord of Swar, the realm of pure intelligence, through which the ascending soul passes into the divine Truth. Indra speaks first of that unknowable Source of things to wards which Agastya is too impatiently striving. That is not to be found in Time. It does not exist in the actualities of the present, nor in the eventualities of the future. It neither is now nor becomes hereafter. Its being is beyond Space and Time and therefore in Itself cannot be known by that which is in Space and Time. It manifests Itself by Its forms and activities in the consciousness of that which is not Itself and through those activities it is meant that It should be realised. But if one tries to approach It and study It in Itself, It disappears from the thought that would seize It and is as if It were not.
Agastya still does not understand why he is so violently opposed in a pursuit which is the eventual aim of all being and which all his thoughts and feelings demand. The Maruts are the powers of Thought which by the strong and apparently destructive motion of their progress break down that which is established and help to the attainment of new formations. Indra, the Power of pure Intelligence, is their brother, kin to them in his nature although elder in being. He should by their means effect the perfection towards which Agastya is striving and not turn enemy nor slay his friend in this terrible struggle towards the goal. Indra replies that Agastya is his friend and brother, — brother in the soul as children of one Supreme Being, friends as comrades in a common effort and one in the divine love that unites God and man, — and by this friendship and alliance has attained to the present stage in his progressive perfection; but now he treats Indra as an inferior Power and wishes to go beyond without fulfilling himself in the domain of the God.
He seeks to divert his increased thought-powers towards his own object in stead of delivering them up to the universal Intelligence so that it may enrich its realisations in humanity through Agastya and lead him forward by the way of the Truth. Let the egoistic endeavour cease, the great sacrifice be resumed, the flame of the divine Force, Agni, be kindled in front as head of the sacrifice and leader of the march. Indra and Agastya together, the universal Power and the human soul, will extend in harmony the effective inner action on the plane of the pure Intelligence so that it may enrich itself there and attain beyond. For it is precisely by the progressive surrender of the lower being to the divine activities that the limited and egoistic consciousness of the mortal awakens to the infinite and immortal state which is its goal.
Agastya accepts the will of the God and submits. He agrees to perceive and fulfil the Supreme in the activities of Indra. From his own realm Indra is supreme lord over the substances of being as manifested through the triple world of mind, life and body and has therefore power to dispose of its formations towards the fulfilment, in the movement of Nature, of the divine Truth that expresses itself in the universe, — supreme lord over love and delight manifested in the same triple world and has therefore power to fix those formations harmoniously in the status of Nature.
Agastya gives up all that is realised in him into the hands of Indra, as offerings of the sacrifice, to be held by him in the fixed parts of Agastya's consciousness and directed in the motional towards fresh formations. Indra is once more to enter into friendly parley with the upward aspiring powers of Agastya's being and to establish agreement between the seer's thoughts and the illumination that comes to us through the pure Intelligence. That power will then enjoy in Agastya the offerings of the sacrifice according to the right order of things as formulated and governed by the Truth which is beyond. Page – 244 Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > The Secret Of The Veda Volume-10 > The Colloquy Of Indra And Agastya