Every great philosopher proposes a frame, a new window through which to encounter the world… We no less frame selections of the world than we are seized by selections of the world.
The book is dedicated to Richard Hartz who completed the Herculean task of making the diaries of Sri Aurobindo available for the first time and who served as an important guide to the text for Banerji. It is Banerji’s genius however, to have offered an interpretation of the text that both renews Sri Aurobindo’s relevance for 21st century intellectual culture and also provides the follower of Aurobindo’s yoga with an exegesis of the Record of Yoga that enables them to comprehend this extremely important text. POSTHUMAN DESTINIES
Comment on The Seven Quartets of Becoming by Debashish Banerji by debbanerji from Comments for Posthuman Destinies by debbanerji Posted March 14, 2012 Permalink
How does one know what he has abandoned? SA used different terminologies and different formulations in different texts; this doesn’t necessarily mean he abandoned one for the other.
Finally, the siddhis and anandas spoken of in the Record are not addressed anywhere else but can clearly be seen in Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s own functioning. Comment on The Seven Quartets of Becoming by Debashish Banerji by debbanerji from Comments for Posthuman Destinies by debbanerji
I may add that in my opinion, in the physical absence of the Mother, the danger of distortion by the vital emotional being that Sri Aurobindo wrote about in the chapter on the Intuitive Mind is very much increased, so that the demand for the shuddhi of the prana and the importance of the emergence of the mental pursha as a purifying agent, is greater today. Without these, we are seeing the repeated and insistent mouthing of the need for psychic emergence accompanied by fanatical narrowness and disturbed emotionalism.
Of course, this is the guru tradition of India and it was undoubtedly a tremendous advantage to have the physical presence and action of the Mother, but I think it was reduced to a formula by the devotees and reified into a habitus, that “helped cultivate an atmosphere that over time has facilitated the development of fanatical extremism in certain followers.”
What he taught to disciples after 1930 seems to me to be a fomulation which he found most suitable to its practice for those disciples given the prevailing conditions of the ashram, not necessarily a formulation he privileged over others which he saw or practised himself…
According to Sri Aurobindo, terminology and structire are never absolute, they are devised to follow process. Changes of emphasis in practice would demand a change in terminology and structure. Practices, on their part, would change depending on milieu and circumstance, not necessarily due to new understandings…
The yoga the Mother made available arose from the direct access to the psychic being which her physical presence and occult action made possible. However, even this needed the sadhak to distinguish between an active and a passive surrender and open to the detailed work (which I believe is what is given in the Record) whose possibilities the Mother’s action would open up. The Record equally relies on the Mother’s (the Divine Shakti) and the Ishwara’s power and presence, only here the physical component of the shakti avatar is missing.
Sri Aurobindo privileges the purification of the buddhi and the emergence of the mental purusha in the Synthesis (not only in Part IV), calling man primarily “a mental being” and saying that the evolution of nature has prepared in man an intelligence (buddhi) which is an impartial seeker of the truth and saying that it is easier to build a quiet mind (silence in the inner mind) or even to still the mind for the emergence of the mental purusha and rise to the planes above the mind. For this reason also, he calls for the Shakti to be invoked from above the mind, to descend and purify the lower parts of the being. A quiet mind or silent mind also facilitates this descent of the Shakti. With the Mother’s presence in the ashram, this necessity is replaced by the Mother’s physical action (though this also aids in the descent of Shakti from above)…
I do think he felt the psychic change to be difficult before the Mother came. The Indian tradition has developed schools of bhakti yoga to aid in the purification of the emotional being and Sri Aurobindo gives us his own integral version of this in the Yoga of Divine Love; but the kind of access to the psychic being provided by these traditional schools are generally partial at best. All I’m saying is that the access to the psychic being was made much easier by the physical presence of the Mother;
Kepler Posted March 16, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
Baring that, it would seem at least as plausible to me that the meeting of the oceans of spiritual consciousness that were Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in the flesh resulted in some genuinely new yogic possibilities and orientations, and some of the terminology subsequently developed (e.g. psychic being) reflected that. In this view the reason he didn’t use the same language and give the same stress to the psychic earlier was not that he thought it was too difficult and dangerous, but that it wasn’t as fully known or experienced (or experienceable) in quite the same way earlier. There are a number of places where Sri Aurobindo refers to earlier stages of his sadhana and the writings corresponding to those periods, as having been superseded in various ways by later developments in his sadhana. (Given that sadhana is all about ever-increasing consciousness and experience, this doesn’t really seem surprising.)
Nothing wrong with making a bold claim, but if the primary support of yours is that some of the people violently upset by PH’s book also talk a lot about the psychic being, thus the pursuit of the psychic opening must have become dangerous, I guess I’m still looking for some additional justification.
At one place, he writes about the development of the “yogic consciousness” as a prerequisite to the emergence of the true soul. The yogic consciousness is the purified inner being under the control of the mental purusha. [Yoga of Works, Supermind and the Yoga of Works: Synthesis, CWSA: 281-82]. In this light, one may think of four transformations, not three. A part of the Record could be thought of as relating to the development of a yogic consciousness.
Comment on The Seven Quartets of Becoming by Debashish Banerji by Kepler from Comments for Posthuman Destinies by Kepler
I don’t think you can take texts from very different periods and assume he is talking about exactly all the same things and only choosing a different word here and there. Thus there’s reason to give more importance to his later expressions over much earlier ones.