Archive for September 2014
Sri Aurobindo and the Mother: Yoga of Integral Transformation
The other great modern pioneers in Yoga are Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual collaborator, the Mother.
Sri Aurobindo’s integral Yoga accepts almost all the principles of the synthesis arrived by Gita and Tantra and keep them as its foundation and starting point. Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo accepts and adopts fully the triune path of the Gita with an emphasis on Karma Yoga or Yoga of action; it accepts the total life–affirming emphasis of the Tantra and the tantric view of life as the progressive manifestation of the Divine power; it accepts and incorporates in its discipline all the methods of practice evolved by ancient systems of Yoga. But the unique feature of Sri Aurobindo’s integral Yoga is the concept of the Descent of the Divine Consciousness and the concept of integral transformation. The main emphasis of traditional Yoga is on…
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While the Gita spends quite a bit of time addressing the concerns of the physical, vital and mental being of man, the essential “highest secret” involves finding a way to shift the standpoint from the human egoistic to the divine universal poise of consciousness. All paths of spiritual development, all forms of evolutionary growth are considered to be steps along the way from the human to the divine, or aids in achievement of this eventual result. For those who can do it, a complete surrender of all one is and all one does is the direct route to this transformation, a method that is not dependent on any particular dharma, any particular philosophical or religious ideal or practice, or any particular yogic methodology.
Identifying with the true inner being, the soul, the Divine Person within is a challenge primarily because of our fixation with the outer world and our identification…
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In this final chapter of the Essays on the Gita, Sri Aurobindo provides us a systematic summary and recap of the primary concepts presented in the Bhagavad Gita.
The fundamental point from which the Gita starts is to emphasize that our normal human standpoint does not fully comprehend the significance or meaning of life, and thus, our interpretation about what needs to be done, and why, is necessarily incomplete and inaccurate.
Sri Aurobindo takes up the basic points: “Existence is not merely a machinery of Nature, a wheel of law in which the soul is entangled for a moment or for ages; it is a constant manifestation of the Spirit. Life is not for the sake of life alone, but for God, and the living soul of man is an eternal portion of the Godhead.”
With this understanding, our action in the world can no longer be seen as solely…
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Posted September 20, 2014on:
The Gita occupies an important position in the spiritual development of humanity and helps bridge the gap between the ancient Vedic and Upanishadic views of existence, and the needs of the social order that had developed as of the time within which the Gita takes place. Numerous different approaches to the significance of human life had by that time arisen and taken hold of the mind of humanity and, as is usual with mental formations, they tended to be opposed or in conflict with one another. What was missing was the unifying key that tied all the approaches together within a larger framework. The Gita provided that key.
The various paths of the time included one of renunciation of the outer life, sannyasa, to focus solely on an individual spiritual attainment; a path of ritual and disciplined practice intent on achieving fulfillment within the framework of the life in the…
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Simple things tend to have simple solutions. Complex things are more difficult to resolve. When we look at the world of life around us, we find that those beings with a primarily or entirely physical-vital existence, without higher conscious mentality or evident spiritual concepts have straightforward and relatively simple lives. They do not worry about the past or the future, the meaning or significance of their lives or existence as a whole, nor how to view and manage their actions to achieve specific higher goals or implement refined principles.
It is frequently stated that with the advent of the mental consciousness, man became dissatisfied, and confused! There are even those who counsel abandoning the mental activity and living a purely animal-like existence, “living for today” and simply “eating, drinking, and being merry.” Of course, such an approach cannot succeed because the human being cannot simply avoid his destiny and innate…
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As the seeker becomes awake to the spiritual consciousness and the necessity to evolve into that standpoint, there remains the issue of what relationship should be maintained between the spiritual aspiration and practice and the daily life in the world. There have been a number of different answers to this question. Some simply try to compartmentalize the spiritual practice and separate it from the “regular” life, such that there is very little effective communication or influence occurring between the spiritual life and the actions in the world; at best, some rule or standard of conduct is developed as a framework for action based on a set of moral-ethical principles, which people generally try to follow to some degree (or at least pay lip service to it). Some try to renounce outer action in the world and put a primary and fixed focus on the spiritual practices needed to achieve a…
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The question of the ongoing relevance of the Gita is one that must be addressed if we are to rely upon and find living benefit from its teachings. As with many teachings which originated in an age several thousand years ago, we must be able to find its universal principles and application, despite the changes in human development, and the vastly different circumstances of society that we see today compared to the civilization when the Gita was first composed.
The Gita remains among the most important and well-recognized spiritual scriptures of the world because it has described universal and over-arching issues and solutions that remain essential regardless of differing specific or localized details. The Gita addresses “the human condition”.
Arjuna’s plight, his attempt to sort out conflicting duties in a difficult situation, resonates with all of us as we face the pressure of survival, the desire to live according to…
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