Monthly Archives: August 2009

Similarity between Neurological and Yogic models of human memory

Neuroscientists have identified various types of human memory based on differences in cortical processing.   Sri Aurobindo classified human memory into three types.  Ancient Indian Yoga psychology works have made a distinction between various parts of memory(i.e. Chitta).   We will explore to determine if there is any correspondence between all these various classifications of human memory.

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Vedic Vak: illustration of Para Vak

All great spiritual masters give instruction in silence.   This silence is not absence of speech but a force-field emitted the Master which bathes the disciple and dissolves his/her questions.  This eternal silence whose vibrations issue forth from the Master is the Para Vak (i.e. transcendental speech) discussed in the previous post Vedic Vak: four levels of sound.

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Man the microcosm, Universe the macrocosm

Ancient Indian philosophy says that man is the microcosm of the Universe.     The Universe is referred to as the brahmanda (i.e. Egg of Brahma) and Man is referred to kshudra-brahmanda (i.e. Little Egg of Brahma).  The Greeks also believed in the same concept (see wikipedia).   The major points in favor of this correspondence are:

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Twelve occult dimensions

Occult cosmology typically centers around the seven planes of the Universe (see here).  The Mother of the Aurobindo Ashram, Mira Alfassa, defined a finer gradation of twelve planes which she had learned from her spiritual teachers, Max and Madame Theon.  Corresponding to these twelve planes, she also mentioned twelve Chakras, twelve subtle bodies and twelve aspects of the Magna Mater (i.e. Divine Mother)  which are reflected in all creation.

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Types of meditation

Vyasa, in his commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, defines five planes of the mind (i.e. Chitta Bhumi)

  • Kshipta: Disturbed and restless mind due to the predominance of Rajas (kineticism).
  • Mudha: Dull and forgetful mind due to the predominance of Tamas(inertia).
  • Vikshipta: Occasionally steady mind which gets easily distracted by impulses.  In this state, neither Sattva (illumination), Rajas or Tamas is dominant.
  • Ekagra: One-pointed concentration of thought is possible.
  • Niruddha: Complete mastery over the thought process.

The following is an excerpt from an article by Nolini Kanta Gupta, a disciple of Sri Aurobindo, on the progressive stages of meditation as one leads the mind to the last stage of Niruddha or Complete Mastery described above:

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True family and True country

When the goal of life changes, the people we associate with also change.   Traditional family life between individuals is bound by a certain level of comfort, attachment, fulfillment of the desire for security and the satisfaction of egoistic demands.   When the search for the Truth becomes an all-consuming passion, these traditional bonds of comfort are discarded and replaced by bonds of wisdom that tie us to a new set of people.   The Mother calls this the True family.   Her comments on this issue are excerpted below.

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Illustrating Integral Psychology using the Gita

Integral Psychology, as defined here, is the psychology adapted from Sri Aurobindo’s division of human consciousness. (see here and  wikipedia page ).  This post provides an illustration of Integral Psychology terminology using the verses of the Bhagavad Gita.

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