The psychic being(soul) in us is the portion of the Divine which sits behind the heart and guides individual evolution over incarnations. It’s presence is palpable in the innocence and spontaneity of the child but gradually it becomes camouflaged by the carefully cultivated self-image of the adult. It is an important step in Integral Yoga when this psychic being is unveiled because it has the capacity to accelerate the spiritual transformation (in conventional Yoga, this unveiling is symbolized by the opening of the heart Chakra). One has to replace in oneself, the craftiness of the adult with the joyful innocence of the child but this must be done without losing the wisdom and maturity one has gained.
The desire to relax after a hard day’s work or a difficult week is a universal phenomenon observed in people everywhere. The human body has a finite capacity of concentration and needs to relieve the stress which builds up after a significant amount of mental or physical effort. Unfortunately, the methods of relaxation we choose often tend to make the situation worse by sinking us into a malaise which further depletes our energy. Better methods of relaxation are required and it is here that the psychological methods of Yoga need to be applied.
As discussed in the post Taming the Monkey Mind, the mind in contemplation can focus its awareness on many different objects – be they gross or subtle, within the body or without. In this post, we will cover one more method called Videha Dharana(fixing the awareness outside the body) which has been briefly mentioned in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and elaborated by Sri Anirvan in his book Inner Yoga. As we see below, what is noteworthy is that Sri Anirvan’s description of the transformation bears resemblance to some changes in body consciousness that were noted in exchanges between Sri Aurobindo and his disciples.
As anyone who practises meditation will attest, it is not easy to suspend the thought process. Even if thoughts regarding the external objects are switched off, our internal memory (Chitta) keeps feeding past events to our mind and this cycle does not die down easily. Any attempt to control or force the mind to stop always ends in failure. What is required are some supports on which the mind can rest before it glides off into effortless flight. These are observations on a few aids which might help in quieting the thought process.
The path of Yoga requires a steady faith concomitant with a healthy self-doubt. This attitude is quite different from the one advocated by traditional religions. This post elucidates on the spiritual attitude required of the practitioner of Yoga.
It is always of interest when psycho-spiritual descriptions provided by one Yoga practitioner match up with those given by a practitioner of another system of Yoga. In the Gospel of Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna Paramahansa briefly mentions five ways in which the Kundalini rises. In his book Kashmir Shaivism, Swami Lakshman Joo discusses six ways in which the Kundalini rises. It is possible to identify some correspondence between their descriptions. Continue reading
The television, a relatively recent 20th century invention, is a powerful form of entertainment and escape from the travails of life. By identifying with someone else’s life, we momentarily forget the ennui of our own life. TV also provides excitement in the form of sports programs or crime dramas (not to mention the absurd reality shows). But watching TV also has some subtle negative consequences on the consciousness of the spiritual aspirant which are seldom mentioned. In his poem Savitri (all of which was composed before 1950), Sri Aurobindo seems to have anticipated what the advent of television would bring to humanity. He wrote in his poem…
Our soul evolves over thousands of lives, playing a variety of roles – labourer, athlete, businessman, politician, artist, philosopher, scientist and so on and so forth. In the chapter Ladder of Self-transcendence in the Synthesis of Yoga, Sri Aurobindo outlines this gradual evolution from the barbarian to the philistine and then to the person of culture and intellect. The final stage of this evolution begins when the joys of phenomenal life (socializing, eating, traveling, etc) cannot fill the void in the heart and one begins to question the purpose of life. This marks the start of the spiritual journey. The Mother of the Aurobindo Ashram, Mira Alfassa, detailed three signs which indicate that one has reached this stage in life.