April 27, 2007

About him we comprehend nothing

Re: 09: Her Mortal Birth by RY Deshpande
on Thu 26 Apr 2007 04:53 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
The mortal birth—a double sacrifice Savitri’s birth is an act of sacrifice, is from an act of sacrifice, a sacrifice made to perform sacrifices. In the sacrifice is made the sacrifice, discloses the Vedic intuition. That is the secret key for the growth in this creation, the growth of the individual soul and the world-soul. The imperial She, the majestic She, aishwaryamayi, the transcendental Consciousness-Force left her glory and greatness and her grandeur, her shining royalty; and she accepted the ignominy of the mortal creature. It is thus alone that She might transform it, give to it its true divinity. But well before that transformation can happen, this mortal creature must make a sacrifice to her. It is this sacrifice which she herself, as Savitri, performs here again, performs by taking a mortal birth. That is her identification with the mortal creature. That is the Law, the eternal Law binding even on the highest and the freest, and the Supreme obeys it or, one might even say, does what it demands to be done, does it even as he comes here as an Avatar or a Vibhuti. The Mother explains the aspect of sacrifice as follows:
The Divine has sacrificed Himself in Matter to awaken consciousness in Matter, which had become inconscient. And it is this sacrifice, this giving of the Divine in Matter, that is to say, His dispersion in Matter, which justifies the sacrifice of Matter to the Divine and makes it obligatory; for it is one and the same reciprocal movement. It is because the Divine has given Himself in Matter and scattered Himself everywhere in Matter to awaken it to the divine consciousness, that Matter is automatically under the obligation to give itself to the Divine. It is a mutual and reciprocal sacrifice. And this is the great secret of the Gita: the affirmation of the divine Presence in the very heart of Matter. And that is why, Matter must sacrifice itself to the Divine, automatically, even unconsciously—whether one wants it or not, this is what happens.
But, actually, it is the Divine Mother as incarnate Savitri who does the Yoga of Surrender to the Supreme and it is she who identifies her will with the Will of the Supreme. Only this incarnation, this Savitri, who can do it and not the other powers and personalities or embodiments. The surety of the success is also there in it, in this Yoga of Savitri. She alone, and not other powers and personalities or embodiments, can attain the needed perfection. Savitri was “sent forth of old beneath the stars” of the dark Night for doing that Yoga.
The mystery of manifestation is “[more] terrible and unfathomable than the Eternal Cause”; it indeed looks strange, the problem of death and ignorance arising out of the immortal spirit full of knowledge and wisdom, prajnānam brahma giving rise to its weird extreme opposites. However, it is precisely to remove that mystery, to bestow reality’s sense and purpose, to discover the law that governs it that the divine Soul takes birth here. What is true of the Chit-Shakti’s incarnations passing through the portals of the life that is a death, is also true for the supreme Purusha’s incarnations, the Avatars and also the great Vibhutis.
But why does the Divine incarnate at all, why does he undergo the thousand sufferings our flesh is prone to? When the Divine comes, asserts Sri Aurobindo in a letter to Dilip Roy, he suffers or struggles not for himself “but in order to bear the world-burden and help the world and men; and if the sufferings and struggles are to be of any help, they must be real… the Divine bears them and at the same time shows the way out of them.” And then: “The manifestation of the Divine in the Avatar is of help to man because it helps him to discover his own divinity and find the way to realise it… The psychic being does the same for all who are intended for the spiritual way—men need not be extraordinary beings to follow it. That is the mistake you are making—to harp on greatness as if only the great can be spiritual.”
This was in the mid-1930s. But even during the earlier period 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.
We have absolutely no notion, no perception, no understanding, no idea of the pain taken by the Avatar, the Divine Pain borne by the Divine, borne 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.
Speaking about one of his ‘madnesses’ Sri Aurobindo says: “…whereas others regard the country as an inert object, and know it as the plains, the fields, the forests, the mountains and rivers, I look upon my country as the mother, I worship her and adore her as the mother. What would a son do when a demon sitting on the breast of his mother is drinking her blood? Would he sit down content to take his meals, and go on enjoying himself in the company of his wife and children, or would he, rather, run to the rescue of his mother? I know I have the strength to uplift this fallen race; it is not physical strength, I am not going to fight with the sword or with the gun, but with the power of knowledge. The power of the warrior is not the only kind of force, there is also the power of Brahman which is founded on knowledge. This is not a new feeling within me, it is not of a recent origin, I was born with it; it is in my very marrow. God sent me to the earth to accomplish this great mission."
“God sent me to the earth to accomplish this great mission,”—that is the arrival of the Avatar. He came to fight with the power of knowledge. During his absolutely last revision of Savitri, made around 15 November 1950, Sri Aurobindo added the following lines in the Book of Fate: (Savitri, p. 445; p, 459)
He who has found identity with God
Pays with the body’s death his soul’s vast light.
His knowledge immortal triumphs by his death.
And, then, taking the occasion of the prophecy of Satyavan’s death:
His death is a beginning of a greater life,
Death is the spirit’s opportunity.
The allusion to the sacrifice being made by the Avatar cannot be more explicit than what we have here. Sri Aurobindo kind of went out of the way and created a situation in the epic to give this occult knowledge about the decision he had taken to withdraw, that by withdrawing the Hour of the Eternal be hastened in the evolutionary process. RYD

Sapta Chatusthaya

Triyoga-Internal Martial Arts

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Vijnana Chatusthaya
From Sri Aurobindo's Record of Yoga II
posted by Pravritti @ 11:07 AM 0 comments
Friday, April 20, 2007

Shakti Chatusthaya
From Sri Aurobindo's Record of the Yoga II
posted by Pravritti @ 10:01 PM 0 comments
Thursday, April 19, 2007

Overmind Gradations to Mind
From Sri Aurobindo's Record of the Yoga II
posted by Pravritti @ 1:27 PM 0 comments

April 25, 2007

People usually pass over or glance at without much concern

The Divine Mother and the Triple Status of the Supermind by Debashish Banerji
Guru Pershad Memorial Lecture, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry, 2004.
by Debashish on Wed 26 Oct 2005 03:39 PM PDT Permanent Link
Thank you for inviting me to give this address for the Annual Guru Pershad Memorial Lecture. When Professor Nadkarni asked me to make this address I thought of this subject because at our Center in Los Angeles we were studying both The Mother and the chapters on the Supermind in the first part of The Life Divine at the time and this theme drew my attention.

To talk about the triple status of the Supermind sounds like something very esoteric and very distant – chapters of The Life Divine that people usually pass over or glance at without much concern, and usually the idea that is propagated is that things like Supermind are too far from us, we should not even think about them. They do not warrant thought. We should make ourselves silent and proceed as best as we can, and may be we will catch a glimpse by the Grace, of what the Supermind is or can do or is here to do.

Well, Sri Aurobindo wrote this substantial tome - which he once called humorously “a fat elephant”, and a lot in this book has to do with the Supermind. Now he wrote it evidently because he wanted us to read it, and wanted us to read it because he wanted us to form an idea, however adequate or inadequate it may be, so that we might develop some sort of an aspiration towards what his central work has been. And aspiration, as we know, is one of the two central powers of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga. As you are no doubt aware, Sri Aurobindo begins The Mother by enumerating the two sole powers of his yoga; and these are – Aspiration and Grace.

But Aspiration in itself can be either vague, nebulous, diffuse, or it can be something which is fine-tuned. We all start with a vague aspiration. Everybody in this world has some kind of an aspiration. Aspiration, one may say even, is the essence of humanity. But the aspiration of most people remains vague for their entire life. They do not form any clarity about where they want to go. Of course with the action of Grace, Aspiration clarifies, but the works of Sri Aurobindo are meant to give us a finer tuning to our aspiration. And as the aspiration grows in precision, so too the Grace can act with greater precision on us and bring us closer to a realisation which opens more and more of that Truth to us. So with this preamble, I would like to move on to the relevance of today’s talk and of what Sri Aurobindo had to write about it in The Life Divine and The Mother...
Now the Vedanta is very clear about the unity of all things and unity is what we move to intentionally in our human existence. Mind itself gropes for unity and carries within it an intention of unity. It is impossible for mind to rest until it can assert something of a fundamental unity in existence. This is what makes even Science look for a Unified Field Theory. So what is that fundamental unity which Vedanta classifies as Adwaita – the one without a second? We know that the Adwaita that is most popularly understood in India today is the Adwaita of Sankara, which asserts that Sachchidananda is Brahman, is true and the world, ‘Jagat’ here, is the fragmented reality, is false. Therefore the reality of the world is denied as something illusory, something which does not have any kind of substantiality except in the false experience which somehow we have been given to experience through the mysterious agency of Maya- an illusion-making magician - within the unitary reality of Sachchidananda. If we can escape from this prison of Maya we will experience Reality as it truly is – one, undifferentiated, without name and form, without any particularity, specificity or fragmentation. So this is the One without a second that we are asked to approach.

Now the Veda had a different approach; it gave us a process by which to understand the difference between the One and the infinite particles or fragments of the One. And this process is that of the Purusha-Medha Yajna: the sacrifice of the Purusha. By sacrifice the Purusha has became this world. This is the idea of the Veda. And this sacrifice is seen as that of the One Being, Purusha, the One Being there is, who for some mysterious reason has fragmented himself, has broken himself up, broken himself into pieces, and these fragments, infinite fragments of That One (Tad Ekam) are separate realities – that are here in this Ignorance. Thus, the Ignorance is the sacrificed body of the Supreme Person. We ourselves are the limbs of that sacrificed body of the Supreme which is why we experience separativeness. This is the dichotomy between Vidya and Avidya as far as the Veda is concerned.

April 24, 2007

Take an unconditional plunge towards a great radical adventure

24th April, 2007 PROGRESS Charters for the Integral Youth
Anirban Ganguly anirbangan@gmail.com
Swarajya and Samrajya – the inner as well as the outer mastery cannot be achieved by the pampered and the faint hearted. A radical aspiration, a radical will, a radical tenacity, a radical faith in a radical vision has been the hallmark of those who have undertaken the conquest of the world and the spirit. The youth who dream and yearn to achieve an integral perfection in their lives and in the nation have to be ready and consenting to take an unconditional plunge towards a great radical adventure. The first step is the breaking of worn out bonds and past barriers, as the Master’s clarion call to the youth rings out, for according to Him it is they
‘who must be the builders of the new world – not those who accept the competitive individualism, the capitalism or the materialistic communism of the West as India’s future ideal, nor those who are enslaved to old religious formulas and cannot believe in the acceptance and transformation of life by the spirit, but all who are free in mind and heart to accept a completer truth and labour for a greater ideal…’
This then we shall treat as the first charter for the youth seeking an integral perfection and action and shall strive to establish it permanently in our minds and hearts. For it is accepted that no lasting structure, no great movement or creation can be envisaged without a mandatory cleansing process preceding them. A thorough rejection of the old and the constricted is required for absorbing the new light and this can still be done by the youth.
The old, the ancient can be distinctly separated into the momentary and the eternal, the form and the spirit, the structure and the ideal and a discerning vision can always extract the essence and let the appendage drop. It is when the essence, the spirit, the core-truth and teaching is assimilated that one can build on it. This is what is meant by the past shaping by its inner-spirit and influence a greater future. This then shall lead us to the second charter before the integral youth as enunciated by the Master and which needs to be worked upon if a steady and lasting foundation is to be built based on the inner-strength,
‘…Materially you are nothing, spiritually you are everything. It is only the Indian who can believe everything, dare everything, sacrifice everything. First therefore become Indians. Recover the patrimony of your forefather. Recover the Aryan thought, the Aryan discipline, the Aryan character, the Aryan life. Recover the Vedanta, the Gita, the Yoga. Recover them not only in intellect or sentiment but in your lives. Live them and you will be great and strong, mighty, invincible and fearless. Neither life nor death will have any terrors for you. Difficulty and impossibility will vanish from your vocabularies…’
It is the youth which inspires and drives the rebirth of a nation and a race, it is they who eagerly pluck and devour a radical thought or a novel vision till then neglected or abandoned by the old order. An inner impulse gives rise to an outer spirit of resolute action which brings about the age of liberation and new creation. But for any movement of regeneration to be thorough and all encompassing a deeper inspiration and identification have to be the constant guides, a shallow, impulsive, surface-motivated vital movement can never be sure to usher in a lasting and a radically new phase. The third charter then for the integral youth demands that this deeper source – the identification of the Mother in the nation - be touched and be allowed to regenerate the whole outer structure as well as the inner fields and one must unreservedly subordinate oneself to this influence,
‘…it is in the spirit that strength is eternal and you must win back the kingdom of yourselves, the inner Swaraj, before you can win back the outer empire. There the Mother dwells and She waits for worship that She may give strength. Believe in Her, serve Her, lose your wills in Hers, your egoism in the greater ego of the country, your separate selfishness in the service of humanity. Recover the source of all strength in yourselves and all else will be added to you, social soundness, intellectual pre-eminence, political freedom, the mastery of human thought, the hegemony of the world.’
One of the first essential conditions for the regeneration of the collective life, the race and the nation, its growth and well-being – the establishment of the samrajya – is the fulfillment of the swarajya – inner liberation and mastery. This, as we have said earlier, is a radical demand and necessity. Since the integral youth cannot follow beaten tracks taken by previous half attempts at regeneration they have to necessarily follow the hardest but surest route to success. The fourth charter then placed before the youth of the integral life is the demand and necessity of ‘a yoga of self-purification’ which as it progressively unfolds in the individual creates transformative ripples in the collectivity, there is no other way, no short cuts or fast relief and this demand is of the Mother,
‘The world will be made better only in proportion as we make ourselves better. The Vedantic truth that the world is only a projection – a function – of our consciousness is as pragmatically true as it is spiritually true. The ills that humanity suffers from – collectively and individually – stem from the errors that lie at the root of our ignorant nature. We must be cleaned of these evils – individually first of all – if we ever hope to see a clean world outside. A yoga of self-purification is the condition precedent to a yoga of perfection…’
The demand is mighty and the attitude must be that of an uncompromising self-abandonment which we believe must also be a principle trait of the integral youth.
Such is the path of the beginning set before the youth who dream of a greater perfection, harmony and progress and such are the charters as given by our Masters to act as signposts guiding towards that great and true destiny which awaits us and for which ‘a great inner as well as outer liberation and change, a vast inner and outer progress is needed’. - Anirban Youth is Progress matrimandir-habra.org/Progress/240407

The Eternal limits his transcendental characteristics in the process of time

Re: 09: Her Mortal Birth by RY Deshpande
on Mon 23 Apr 2007 05:16 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
A mysterious play Divine Savitri has consented to take mortal birth. This birth is in response to the invocation of Aswapati the Yogi who has prepared the ground for such an incarnation of hers. The birth of Aswapati itself is a feature of the “mysterious play” in which the Eternal limits his transcendental characteristics in the process of time. Aswapati comes as Avatar. But what does that mean, what is incarnation, what is Avatarhood? The Mother answers: Avatar is “the Supreme manifested on earth in a body.” And what is the work the Avatar comes to do? “To go up and down and join the top to the bottom, the whole secret of realisation.” He comes here to establish the Divine Power who will execute the Divine Will in the Creation. There is a twofold division of work, pertaining to Will and to Action. The formula is: he wills; she executes. Such indeed is the double aspect of Avatarhood. Not by self-propelled human effort, howsoever mighty it might be, but by a direct action of the transcendental Divine can the miracle of divine manifestation be possible here. Aswapati's birth must precede Savitri's birth.
The reason for invoking Savitri’s birth is, she alone can remove the obstacle that is standing across the path of the divine Event, Death obstructing the march of evolution towards love and beauty and joy and truth and harmony and perfection and immortality in the widening growth of knowledge. True, the Divine Shakti can do everything from above; but it is not the same thing as her accepting human birth, her coming down here and working in the lesser triple world of ignorance and falsehood and death. Not only impersonally, but personally too “she must stoop to descend here into the Darkness that she may lead it to the Light, into the Falsehood and Error that she may convert it to the Truth, into this Death that she may turn it to godlike Life, into this world-pain and its obstinate sorrow and suffering that she may end it in the transforming ecstasy of her sublime Ananda.”
We may discern the following from the Mother’s story of creation: there is first the Supreme’s wish to objectivise himself; in the sequel is the emanation of four beings to start the universal development; then occurs their separation from the Origin in the joy and freedom the four emanations had; the result is the world as presently is; the creative Force, which had emanated these four Beings, is stunned on seeing what had happened; appalled, she turns to the Supreme and prays for the remedy; a command is given to her to precipitate her Consciousness into this inconscience, her Love into this suffering, her Truth into this falsehood, and she does it. That is the great sacrifice she has made, the Holocaust of the Divine Mother, of the creative Force. That is her first sacrifice. The second sacrifice comes in the nature of her mortal birth, when she accepts to pass through “portals of the birth that is a death”. (The Mother)
The phrase “portals of the birth that is a death” is a beautiful description of this sorrowful world, this world of ours, of our mortal lot, our mortal state, of the conditions in which we make progress through them both together, through birth aided by death; in just a few words, we have here an incomparable picture of this mortal world, mŗtyuloka. Its poetic enchantment is such that the obscurity and the cheerlessness and the falsehood in which we live turn into their benign opposites. What we have in this mortal world is “the birth that is a death”. The two together are there to build the House of Life wherein the higher powers could come and dwell. If one knows that by which both the Knowledge and the Ignorance are known then, by the Ignorance one crosses beyond death and by the Knowledge enjoys immortality, as the Isha Upanishad says. Life in the present stage of evolution cannot make progress without death; it gives the helping hand. As a matter of fact, without death life would get swallowed by the hungry mouth of inconscience, the Light quenched by the darkness of the Night. A very astounding process this is, and we should really wonder at the wisdom that framed it. A “mysterious play” this, indeed.
N.B.: Reference may be made to Passing through the Portals of the Birth that is a Death at

April 20, 2007

His own life and the world-life would be to him like a perfect work of art

Sri Aurobindo
The gnosis is the effective principle of the Spirit, a highest dynamis of the spiritual existence. The gnostic individual would be the consummation of the spiritual man; his whole way of being, thinking, living, acting would be governed by the power of a vast universal spirituality. All the trinities of the Spirit would be real to his self-awareness and realised in his inner life. All his existence would be fused into oneness with the transcendent and universal Self and Spirit; all his action would originate from and obey the supreme Self and Spirit's divine governance of Nature.
All life would have to him the sense of the Conscious Being, the Purusha within, finding its self-expression in Nature; his life and all its thoughts, feelings, acts would be filled for him with that significance and built upon that foundation of its reality. He would feel the presence of the Divine in every centre of his consciousness, in every vibration of his life-force, in every cell of his body. In all the workings of his force of Nature he would be aware of the workings of the supreme World-Mother, the Supernature; he would see his natural being as the becoming and manifestation of the power of the World-Mother. In this consciousness he would live and act in an entire transcendent freedom, a complete joy of the Spirit, an entire identity with the cosmic Self and a spontaneous sympathy with all in the universe.
All beings would be to him his own selves, all ways and powers of consciousness would be felt as the ways and powers of his own universality. But in that inclusive universality there would be no bondage to inferior forces, no deflection from his own highest truth: for this truth would envelop all truth of things and keep each in its own place, in a relation of diversified harmony,—it would not admit any confusion, clash, infringing of boundaries, any distortion of the different harmonies that constitute the total harmony. His own life and the world-life would be to him like a perfect work of art; it would be as if the creation of a cosmic and spontaneous genius infallible in its working out of a multitudinous order.
The gnostic individual would be in the world and of the world, but would also exceed it in his consciousness and live in his Self of transcendence above it; he would be universal but free in the universe, individual but not limited by a separative individuality. The true Person is not an isolated entity, his individuality is universal; for he individualises the universe: it is at the same time divinely emergent in a spiritual air of transcendental infinity, like a high cloud-surpassing summit; for he individualises the divine Transcendence. Page 972 Document: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > The Life Divine Volume-19 > The Gnostic Being

April 18, 2007

An intellectual approach to the highest knowledge is an indispensable aid

Sri Aurobindo
The individual demands from religion a door of opening into spiritual experience or a means of turning towards it, a communion with God or a definite light of guidance on the way, a promise of the hereafter or a means of a happier supraterrestrial future; these needs can be met on the narrower basis of credal belief and sectarian cult. But there is also the wider purpose of Nature to prepare and further the spiritual evolution in man and turn him into a spiritual being; religion serves her as a means for pointing his effort and his ideal in that direction and providing each one who is ready with the possibility of taking a step upon the way towards it. This end she serves by the immense variety of the cults she has created, some final, standardised and definitive, others more plastic, various and many-sided.
A religion which is itself a congeries of religions and which at the same time provides each man with his own turn of inner experience, would be the most in consonance with this purpose of Nature: it would be a rich nursery of spiritual growth and flowering, a vast multiform school of the soul's discipline, endeavour, self-realisation. Whatever errors Religion has committed, this is her function and her great and indispensable utility and service,—the holding up of this growing light of guidance on our way through the mind's ignorance towards the Spirit's complete consciousness and self-knowledge...
An intellectual approach to the highest knowledge, the mind's possession of it, is an indispensable aid to this movement of Nature in the human being. Ordinarily, on our surface, man's chief instrument of thought and action is the reason, the observing, understanding and arranging intellect. In any total advance or evolution of the Spirit, not only the intuition, insight, inner sense, the heart's devotion, a deep and direct life-experience of the things of the Spirit have to be developed, but the intellect also must be enlightened and satisfied; our thinking and reflecting mind must be helped to understand, to form a reasoned and systematised idea of the goal, the method, the principles of this highest development and activity of our nature and the truth of all that lies behind it.
Spiritual realisation and experience, an intuitive and direct knowledge, a growth of inner consciousness, a growth of the soul and of an intimate soul-perception, soul-vision and a soul-sense, are indeed the proper means of this evolution: but the support of the reflective and critical reason is also of great importance; if many can dispense with it, because they have a vivid and direct contact with inner realities and are satisfied with experience and insight, yet in the whole movement it is indispensable. If the supreme truth is a spiritual Reality, then the intellect of man needs to know what is the nature of that original Truth and the principle of its relations to the rest of existence, to ourselves and the universe. The intellect is not capable by itself of bringing us into touch with the concrete spiritual reality, but it can help by a mental formulation of the truth of the Spirit which explains it to the mind and can be applied even in the more direct seeking: this help is of a capital importance...
The means by which this need can be satisfied and with which our nature of mind has provided us is philosophy, and in this field it must be a spiritual philosophy. Such systems have arisen in numbers in the East; for almost always, wherever there has been a considerable spiritual development, there has arisen from it a philosophy justifying it to the intellect. The method was at first an intuitive seeing and an intuitive expression, as in the fathomless thought and profound language of the Upanishads, but afterwards there was developed a critical method, a firm system of dialectics, a logical organisation. The later philosophies were an intellectual account1 or a logical justification of what had been found by inner realisation; or they provided, themselves, a mental ground or a systematised method for realisation and experience.2 In the West where the syncretic tendency of the consciousness was replaced by the analytic and separative, the spiritual urge and the intellectual reason parted company almost at the outset; philosophy took from the first a turn towards a purely intellectual and ratiocinative explanation of things. Nevertheless, there were systems like the Pythagorean, Stoic, and Epicurean, which were dynamic not only for thought but for conduct of life and developed a discipline, an effort at inner perfection of the being; this reached a higher spiritual plane of knowledge in later Christian or Neo-pagan thought-structures where East and West met together.
But later on the intellectualisation became complete and the connection of philosophy with life and its energies or spirit and its dynamism was either cut or confined to the little that the metaphysical idea can impress on life and action by an abstract and secondary influence. Religion has supported itself in the West not by philosophy but by a credal theology; sometimes a spiritual philosophy emerges by sheer force of individual genius, but it has not been as in the East a necessary adjunct to every considerable line of spiritual experience and endeavour. It is true that a philosophic development of spiritual thought is not entirely indispensable; for the truths of spirit can be reached more directly and completely by intuition and by a concrete inner contact. Page 879 Document: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > The Life Divine Volume-19 > The Evolution Of The Spiritual Man

April 16, 2007

Indeed, the story of Savitri is both parable and pre-history

Re: 09: Her Mortal Birth by RY Deshpande
on Sun 15 Apr 2007 07:38 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
A strange comparison Oftentimes a comparison is made between the original Savitri-tale in the Mahabharata and Sri Aurobindo’s epic Savitri. It is even asserted, rather too enthusiastically, that Sri Aurobindo’s work has nothing to do with the tale of conjugal love given to us by Vyasa. And yet the story-line runs more or less in the same sequence, with profound spiritual connotations and nuances, dhārmic and yogic. We should also keep in mind that Sri Aurobindo calls his Savitri both a legend and a symbol. Its deep symbolic connection with the legend is traced to one of the myths belonging to the Vedic cycle.
Indeed, the story of Savitri is both parable and pre-history. Its character is occult and its contents are spiritual. Given as a human tale, the story has several suggestions and is loaded with supernatural significance. In fact, its symbolic nature is quite evocative of the issues involved in this mortal creation, mŗtyuloka, the creation to which we belong. Therefore, before we pass any scholarly or academic comments on the ancient tale, we must acknowledge first the authentic truth-substance and truth-values it is in possession of. In fact, had it not been so, it would have hardly served for Sri Aurobindo the purpose of describing his spirituality, his philosophy of the life divine, his yogic attainments, and their possibilities. If it is such a wonderful support, ādhāra, it has to be outstanding in its spirit and in its matter. Not only the framework, but there is also something housed in the frame which is genuinely valuable.
The characters described in the story are “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.” This aspect of the ancient description, of incarnation of conscious Forces, is something absolutely wonderful which only goes to show the greatness of the revelation made by it. In our hurry to elevate Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri we tend to pooh-pooh the past creations or presentations, least realising that, in the process, we are actually bringing down his Savitri from the spiritual majesty and loftiness it has in their midst.
A few things are at once revealed to us to grasp the truer significance of the Savitri-tale that has come down to us as a tradition. Savitri is an incarnation which took place in far past times when the whole thing had to be opened out. The work is to open out the ways of Immortality; but what is that “whole thing” that had to be opened out, for which she had come here? And how is she going to do that? These are important questions which arise in our mind vis-à-vis the gripping story of Savitri. That is its merit, its luminous plus point. There was that awareness of the “whole thing”, forming the quintessential truth of this entire evolutionary creation, a splendid awareness indeed.
It is in this background that we must dismiss some of the comments made while talking about the epic Savitri and the ancient story as is narrated in the Mahabharata: “The first mistake people can make regarding Savitri is to assume that it deals with the story as is told in the Mahabharata, Vana Parva. This is a fundamental mistake. It is true that the particular sage, the particular person who recites to Yudhişthira the story about the power of conjugal felicity, had the intuition of the Savitri story.” But the intention of Mārkaņdeya’s narration of the story is not regarding “the power of conjugal felicity”. It is about the power of dhārmic conduct in winning victory over the stubborn-most antagonist. The legend itself has already in it a powerful symbol.
Then, there are others who make puerile comparisons with Vyasa’s Savitri and the Savitri as given by Sri Aurobindo. It is said that the whole episode connected with Aswapati’s getting a boon from Goddess Savitri is sort of disposed of by Vyasa in just a few shlokas, whereas Sri Aurobindo gives it to us in about ten thousand lines. Is that really the greatness of Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri? What about the basic contents? The ancient realisation was that, it is by the power of Yajna that the righteous Dharma can be established to promote the conduct of life and it is that which must be followed in the greatness of its worth and value. We should not underrate this aspect in any way.
Sometimes it is also said that Savitri “resuscitated” Satyavan when he collapsed in her lap. That would totally knock off the occult basis of Savitri conquering Death.
The fundamental truth is that the birth of Savitri is related to the Yajna Aswapati performed over a long period of time, as if showing the “difficult and painful task” he was engaged in. The Gods don’t oblige so very easily, and particularly so if the boon is going to be of an exceptional kind. RYD

April 10, 2007

Sri Aurobindo’s aesthetics yields a complete approach, a rich harvest

The present writer would like to hope, in fact, would like to shout from the house-top, if necessary, that it is time that we introduced in Indian University-curriculum at the Post-graduate levels, a school of aesthetics and criticism called ‘Aurobindonian’ to supplement the other approaches such as Biographical, Historical, Formalist, Freudian, Jungian, and Genetic etc., because Sri Aurobindo’s aesthetics yields a complete approach, a rich harvest, self-contained, self-subsistent; it has a range and depth which goes beyond the other schools and it is holistic and also wholistic. -- H.R. Justa, Preface, The Search for Beauty, Ajanta-1988

April 09, 2007

Of a rope taken for a snake

Sri Aurobindo
If we take up the analogy of hallucination, we find it hardly more helpful for a true understanding of the theory of cosmic Illusion than the dream-analogy. Hallucinations are of two kinds, mental or ideative and visual or in some way sensory. When we see an image of things where those things are not, it is an erroneous construction of the senses, a visual hallucination; when we take for an objective fact a thing which is a subjective structure of the mind, a constructive mental error or an objectivised imagination or a misplaced mental image, it is a mental hallucination.
An example of the first is the mirage, an example of the second is the classic instance of a rope taken for a snake. In passing we may note that there are many things called hallucinations which are not really that but symbol-images sent up from the subliminal or experiences in which the subliminal consciousness or sense comes to the surface and puts us into contact with supraphysical realities; thus the cosmic consciousness which is our entry by a breaking down of our mental limitations into the sense of a vast reality, has been classed, even in admitting it, as a hallucination. But, taking only the common hallucination, mental or visual, we observe that it seems to be at first sight a true example of what is called imposition in the philosophic theory; it is the placement of an unreal figure of things on a reality, of a mirage upon the bare desert air, of the figure of a non-present snake on the present and real rope.
The world, we may contend, is such a hallucination, an imposition of a non-existent unreal figure of things on the bare ever-present sole reality of the Brahman. But then we note that in each case the hallucination, the false image is not of something quite non-existent; it is an image of something existent and real but not present in the place on which it has been imposed by the mind's error or by a sense-error.
  • A mirage is the image of a city, an oasis, running water or of other absent things, and if these things did not exist, the false image of them, whether raised up by the mind or reflected in the desert air, would not be there to delude the mind with a false sense of reality.
  • A snake exists and its existence and form are known to the victim of the momentary hallucination: if it had not been so, the delusion would not have been created; for it is a form-resemblance of the seen reality to another reality previously known elsewhere that is the origin of the error.

The analogy therefore is unhelpful; it would be valid only if our image of the universe were a falsity reflecting a true universe which is not here but elsewhere or else if it were a false imaged manifestation of the Reality replacing in the mind or covering with its distorted resemblance a true manifestation. But here the world is a non-existent form of things, an illusory construction imposed on the bare Reality, on the sole Existent which is for ever empty of things and formless: there would be a true analogy only if our vision constructed in the void air of the desert a figure of things that exist nowhere, or else if it imposed on a bare ground both rope and snake and other figures that equally existed nowhere. Page 429 Document: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > The Life Divine Volume-18 > The Cosmic Illusion; Mind, Dream And Hallucination

April 08, 2007

Every bit of hers meets its opposite with a much stronger hostility and antagonism

RY Deshpande Sat 07 Apr 2007 07:28 AM PDT
A magic leverage The book Savitri is writing is the saga of Consciousness-Force working in this material creation, the divine saga of manifestation, the drama of despair and delight. Its blueprint is in the Transcendent, its action is on the cosmic stage, its dénouement in the Shadow hidden behind the God of Love, its resolution is with the sword of victory. The difficulties are there, enormous difficulties born from the Creator himself in his contrary greatness. Every bit of hers meets its opposite with a much stronger hostility and antagonism, with fallacy, betrayal, violence. But (Savitri, pp. 19-22)
To stay the wheels of Doom this greatness rose…She must face the engines of the precarious and dangerous universe; she must hold the wheel in her firm hand and drive the car of success; she must operate the leverage that gives the desired direction to the course of events. The flame of her soul and not the troubled throb of the locomotive should lead the course of action. What is that sudden leverage Savitri has to operate?
A prayer, a master act, a king idea
Can link man's strength to a transcendent Force.
Is it that? When that comes into operation, then miracle is made the common rule, and a mighty deed changes the course of events and things; “A prayer, a master act, a king idea”—is this sufficient to win victory over the tallest of the antagonist powers? Are these three independent alternatives or possibilities that can link man’s strength to a transcendent Force? Or, is the prayer a master-act and a king-idea doing whatever is to be done? Or, is the master-act, a king-idea and a prayer? Or, is the king-idea a master-act and a prayer? For a bhakta the first will take care of the other two; similarly, for the man of action, his action is at once prayer and knowledge, as much as for jnani his knowledge becomes complete with bhakti and karma coming to it. Any one of these can put the aspirant soul in contact with the divine Force who will do for him whatever is to be done for him. This is the Vedantic sadhana bringing the high fruits of spiritual attainments, the great siddhis, for which all labour is undertaken, all effort made. This is the method given to the warrior-soul on the battlefield of life. But can that battle give victory over death? Will it?
In these two pentametric lines Sri Aurobindo has practically written the whole of his Synthesis of Yoga. But is this yoga for Savitri good enough to conquer Death? It is not. In it there is not sufficient security for the God of Love to dwell in her; the hunted bird does not get adequate repose and safety in it. Along with the Vedantic sadhana Savitri, to win mastery over the forces of Nature, must also do the Tantric sadhana, to deal with Nature who has her roots in the Inconscient working. Savitri has to write her Book of Yoga differently, in another script, with another font and format, in another style. Jnana-Bhakti-Karma can link us to the transcendent Force, but the imperative is, the transcendent Force must work in us and take possession of us in every respect. Savitri must harbour it in her soul.
Another Mantra has to be discovered for that. When the Mother was practising occultism in Algeria under Théon, she had discovered the Mantra of Life. Théon wanted it to be given to him but the Mother refused to do so. He became violent and maliciously cut off her life-cord; but she managed to come back. She was not even thirty at that time. Later, in Pondicherry, she gave it to Sri Aurobindo. But her supreme discovery to make the God of Love live in her was another Mantra, the Mantra of Surrender to the supreme Lord. “What Thou Willest, What Thou Willest” became the king-idea and the prayer and master-act for her. What is it that one cannot achieve with it, with “What Thou Willest, What Thou Willest”? Isn’t it that which made the God of Love happy in her? Of course, of course.
But perhaps there is something more to it than just that. The Mother’s Mantra “What Thou Willest, What Thou Willest” has something absolutely remarkable. It is not “What Thou Willest, What Thou Willest” just in her mind, or in her heart, soul, spirit; it is in the very physical itself that it got established. The body’s cells opened to it and started constantly chanting “What Thou Willest, What Thou Willest”. That is the magic leverage she got hold of, the golden rod waving which she achieved all that was to be achieved in the sanction of the Supreme.

April 05, 2007

The spiritual and ritualist interpretation of the Veda

Unveiling the Light in the Veda Compiled from Siddhanjana and Other Essays on the Veda T. V. Kapali Sastry By R. L. Kashyap Sri Satguru Publications (Delhi), ISBN : 81-7030-701-5 Price: Rs. 400
Contents:Foreword (S. K. Ramachandra Rao)The Evolution of Siddhanjana (Sri T. V. Kapali Sastry)1. Overview of Vedas. 2. Spiritual interpretation and the symbolism of Yajna. 3. The Gods and the supreme one. 4. Critique of the esoteric interpretation. 5. Inner Yajna in the Vedic texts and the Mimamsaka view. 6. The evidence in RV text for the secret. 7. Nirukta, Gita and others on esoteric interpretation. 8. The Mantra: its nature and meaning. 9. The method of initiation, Diksha. 10. Upanishads and the Veda Samhita. 11. The period 1200-1900 CE: spiritual interpretations and others. 12. Conclusions. 13. References. 14. Siddhanjana • Bhumika. 15. Appendices. 16. Index.
The present book is a rendering of the major portion of the introduction or bhumika of Sri. T.V. Kapali Sastry’s magnum opus Siddhanjana. This is the only book available which discusses in detail both the spiritual and ritualist interpretation of the Veda over the last four thousand years, beginning with Yaska and ending with the spiritual interpretation of Madhwa Acharya, Raghavendra Swamy and their disciples. It has extensive quotations from the Yaska’s books Nirukta, Brhad devata of Shaunaka, the Brahmana, Mahabharata, Upanishads, Gita and the Manusmrti.
For Copies contact at your nearest bookshop or Indian Books Centre 40/5, Shakti Nagar, Delhi- 110007 Ph No. 91-11-2384 4930 2384 6497 Fax No.91-11-2384 7336 E-mail ibc@indianbookscentre.com Website: http://www.indianbookscentre.com
Request a Complete Catalogue 4:21:06 PM Posted By nareshgupta Comment (0) Arts

Plotinus and Sri Aurobindo: a comparative study

Sunday, January 21, 2007 Neoplatonism and Indian Thought Posted By naresh gupta Arts
Neoplatonism and Indian Thought/edited by R. Baine Harris. Reprint. Delhi, Satguru, 1992, xiii, 353 p., ISBN 81-7030-321-4. Rs.450 Reprint. Delhi, Satguru, 1992, xiii, 353 p., ISBN 81-7030-321-4. Rs.450
Contents: Preface. Introduction/John R.A. Mayer. 1. Indian wisdom and porphyry’s search for a universal way/John J. O’Meara. 2. Plotinus and the Upanisads/Lawrence J. Hatab. 3. Proclus and the Tejobindu Upanisad/Laurence J. Rosan. 4. Buddhi in the Bhagavadgita and Psyche in plotinus/A.H. Armstrong and R. R. Ravindra. 5. The plotinian one and the concept of Paramapurusa in the Bhagavadgita/I.C. Sharma. 6. Phraseology and imagery in plotinus and Indian thought/Richard T. Wallis. 7. Meditative states in the Abhidharma and in pseudo-dionysius/David F.T. Rodier. 8. Matter and exemplar: difference-in-identity in Vijnanabhiksu and bonaventure/John Borelli. 9. Cit and Nous/Paul Hacker. 10. Matter in plotinus and Samkara/Francisco Garcia Bazan. 11. Samkara and Eriugena on causality/Russell Hatton. 12. Union with God in plotinus and Bayazid/Mohammad Noor Nabi. 13. Advaita Vedanta and neoplatonism/R.K. Tripathi. 14. The concept of human estrangement in plotinism and Samkara Vedanta/Ramakant Sinari. 15. Plotinus and Sri Aurobindo: a comparative study/Pritibhushan Chatterji. 16. The influence of Indian philosophy on neoplatonism/C.L. Tripathi. 17. A survey of modern scholarly opinion on plotinus and Indian thought/Albert M. Wolters. 18. Neoplatonism, Indian thought and general systems theory/John R.A. Mayer. 19. Some critical conclusions/I.C. Sharma. Index.
"The nineteen essays that form this pioneering comparative philosophy represent an exchange of ideas among specialists in neoplatonism and specialists in Indian thought. These scholars have examined concepts and assertions that appear to be common to both philosophical tradition, as well as the possible historical influence of Indian sources upon late Greek philosophy, and specifically upon the Alexandrine Platonists. While most of the essays refer to Hinduism, several of them contain general surveys.
copies from Indian Books Centre40/5, Shakti Nagar, Delhi- 110007 Ph No. 91-11-2384 4930 2384 6497 Fax No.91-11-2384 7336 E-mail ibc@indianbookscentre.com
Website: http://www.indianbookscentre.com

April 04, 2007

Integral self-transformation of Man

An Integral Self-Transformation of Man Dr. Ananda Reddy
Lecture given May 19th 2001 in Munich at Schweisfurth-Stiftung
Sri Aurobindo is the Seer-Prophet of a life divine upon earth - of a divinised humanity and a transformed earth. Sri Aurobindo is a Seer who has given us a new vision of Man and Mankind. He is neither a speculative thinker reconstructing the image of Reality in intellectual terms, nor a mystic engrossed in the immediate realisation of a supra-sensuous Reality and one who is incapable of evaluating the profundities of his own experience. Sri Aurobindo is an intellectual giant who presented to the world in intellectual terms a new vision of the many-sided movements and potentialities of the evolving consciousness of Reality. He is a sharp critic of the one-sided tendencies in human culture. He is a Seer Poet who has insisted on the dynamic truth-vision of life as well as a comprehensive and integral transformation of man.
Translating his comprehending spiritual peak-experiences into intellectual terms, Sri Aurobindo says that this Universe is but the self-concealing and self-revealing of the Divine Consciousness. This is what he terms as Involution and Evolution respectively. Involution is the Divine Reality’s plunge into the Inconscient, a movement of the densification of the Spirit into Matter. Evolution is the return to the Superconscient through the process of sublimation and integration.In this march of evolution, the Divine Consciousness, asleep in the Inconscient, awakes to itself in Matter, then it becomes semi-conscious in Life – through plants and animals and then, to self-consciousness in Man. The stage is yet to arrive when the Divine Consciousness will be fully conscious, integrally conscious of itself – and that stage is the next evolutionary step beyond Man – the stage of Superman.The same evolutionary process is noted in the evolution of man – on the collective as well as the individual, says Sri Aurobindo. On the collective level, we see Nature moving through three steps or stages...
It is true. But Integral Yoga has brought all these ideals within the range of possibility – it is no more a probability – because Sri Aurobindo and The Mother have brought down the needed Force and Consciousness – Supermind. It is a thing decreed in the evolutionary endeavour of Nature, and by man’s active participation with her, he can hasten its fuller manifestation.

The Cosmic Harmony that is The Life Divine

The Life Divine Truth And Luminous Thoughts Ananda Reddy, Ph.D.
The predominant personality that comes out in this magnum opus is not his philosophical one, for he was never a philosopher in the common sense of the term, but a great synthesiser of philosophic thought and spiritual experience. We see in it a Himalayan statured Rishi, a seer scanning the world in a single gaze, in a central, unified consciousness wherein all views, all principles, all methods more or less according to their capacity to express and reflect the Truth – find their harmonious place in the cosmic plan of the Divine Manifestation. Each major School of thought or spiritual experience that has influenced sufficiently or contributed recognisably to the march of human consciousness finds its true relation and place and function in the Cosmic Harmony that is The Life Divine. An integral awareness and acceptance of all is necessary for the totality of Divine Manifestation, for the wholeness and completeness of human evolution.
The Life Divine, thus stands as a unique synthesis of the quintessential experience of human thought and consciousness. It stands on par with the Gita and the Upanishads as a vision and work of spiritual synthesis.

This is a hard saying for the occidental mind

THE description of the status of knowledge to which we aspire, determines the means of knowledge which we shall use. Document: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > Synthesis Of Yoga Volume-20 > The Purified Understanding
In the first place we have seen that intellectual thought is in itself inadequate and is not the highest thinking; the highest is that which comes through the intuitive mind and from the supramental faculty. So long as we are dominated by the intellectual habit and by the lower workings, the intuitive mind can only send its messages to us subconsciously and subject to a distortion more or less entire before it reaches the conscious mind; or if it works consciously, then only with an inadequate rarity and a great imperfection in its functioning. In order to strengthen the higher knowledge-faculty in us we have to effect the same separation between the intuitive and intellectual elements of our thought as we have already effected between the understanding and the sense-mind; and this is no easy task, for not only do our intuitions come to us incrusted in the intellectual action, but there are a great number of mental workings which masquerade and ape the appearances of the higher faculty.
The remedy is to train first the intellect to recognise the true intuition, to distinguish it from the false and then to accustom it, when it arrives at an intellectual perception or conclusion, to attach no final value to it, but rather look upward, refer all to the divine principle and wait in as complete a silence as it can command for the light from above. In this way it is possible to transmute a great part of our intellectual thinking into the luminous truth-conscious vision, – the ideal would be a complete transition, – or at least to increase greatly the frequency, purity and conscious force of the ideal knowledge working behind the intellect. The latter must learn to be subject and passive to the ideal faculty.
But for the knowledge of the Self it is necessary to have the power of a complete intellectual passivity, the power of dismissing all thought, the power of the mind to think not at all which the Gita in one passage enjoins. This is a hard saying for the occidental mind to which thought is the highest thing and which will be apt to mistake the power of the mind not to think, its complete silence for the incapacity of thought. But this power of silence is a capacity and not an incapacity, a power and not a weakness. It is a profound and pregnant stillness. Only when the mind is thus entirely still, like clear, motionless and level water, in a perfect purity and peace of the whole being and the soul transcends thought, can the Self which exceeds and originates all activities and becomings, the Silence from which all words are born, the Absolute of which all relativities are partial reflections manifest itself in the pure essence of our being. In a complete silence only is the Silence heard; in a pure peace only is its Being revealed. Therefore to us the name of That is the Silence and the Peace. Page – 301