In the Taittiriya Upanishad, Bhrigu is asked by his Guru to (spiritually) realize : “Matter is Conscious!”. The ancients believed that Matter was also a form of Consciousness and that this fact could be uncovered through Yoga. This consciousness within Matter discloses itself as the will in the atom, the symmetry of the crystals, the fatigue in metals, etc. There is an Intuition in Matter which holds the action of the material world from the electron to the sun and planets and their contents. To the modern rational mind, any such proposition seems preposterous and untenable. Modern science has found that Matter and Energy are interchangeable but it has not yet been able to resolve the mind-body dichotomy. On this topic, Sri Aurobindo said, “Only by an extension of the field of our consciousness or an unhoped-for increase in our instruments of knowledge can the ancient quarrel be decided.” The Life Divine – I: The Two Negations: The Refusal of the Ascetic In the absence of such an advance on either side, all one can do for now is examine and anticipate the possibilities…
Einstein’s theory of relativity in layman terms states that time slows and length contracts with increasing speed of the observer. At the speed of light, the play of Time is said to stop in subjective terms. Something similar occurs in the occult worlds which exist hidden behind our physical world. The Universe with its physical and supraphysical worlds is a manifestation of Consciousness with different orders of Space-Time. The Yogi by shifting the center of his consciousness is able to awaken in these occult worlds. As one goes higher up the planes of consciousness, the perception of Time changes while Space becomes more flexible and no longer exhibits the fixed physical laws seen here in the material world.
It is question we may ask ourselves at times “Why don’t we progress spiritually faster?” Because we may meditate for fifteen minutes but, psychologically, the rest of our life remains untransformed. The way we eat, the way we talk, the friends we keep, the desires we nurture – none of these really change. As long as life does not deliver any adversities which throw us off-track, we let things continue and allow ourselves to languish. These are a couple of conversations by the Mother Mirra Alfassa on how to rise above the ordinary life that we find ourselves in.
The Upanishads feature koans for contemplation called Vidyas(literally means knowledge). They are meant to trigger the mind into perceiving yet another facet of the Divine Reality thereby guiding the aspirant into deeper grades of meditation. In a previous post Vidyas in the Upanishads, five such Vidyas were covered: Bhuma, Prana, Shandilya, Madhu and Vaishvanara. The book Supreme Knowledge by Swami Brahmananda  lists an astounding 101 Vidyas drawn from the Upanishads. This post discusses a few Vidyas drawn from this book.
This post supplements a previous post Videha Dharana : fixing the mind outside the body, which discussed a method called Videha Dharana as per Sri Anirvan. The method is drawn from the Upanishads and can also be called PanchaTattva Dharana or contemplation on the five (pancha) elements (tattva) – namely earth, water, air, fire, ether. There is a similar technique in the Tantra texts called Bhuta-Shuddhi which is also outlined here.
We turn to astrology because it gives us hope amidst an uncertain world. It also affirms our identity and increases our self-esteem (“This is my sun-sign and that is why I am good at that“). Unfortunately, it also reinforces our defeatist tendencies (“I am always going to have this problem according to my sun-sign“). This raises the question “Do stars rule our destiny?” According to Sri Aurobindo & The Mother, the stars are merely indicators of our future; they do not control our destiny. Furthermore, those who take up the practice of Yoga (and by that, I mean more than just breathing and postures) begin to actively shape their own destiny. The practice of Yoga can alter our nature and change our Karma. In such cases, the horoscope no longer remains a guide to the future. The following are observations of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother on the general topic of astrology.
The ordinary human mind has a propensity for exaggerating one side of the Truth and ignoring the other. One of the pleasures of reading Sri Aurobindo’s works is that such contradictions do not exist because he resolves every contradiction by tracing it to its Divine origin and reconciling it as part of a larger Truth. He explicates how every principle has it’s play in a certain context but if we over-generalize, then it loses its value. In the previous post, Syncretism in Sri Aurobindo’s thought – part 1, we covered five oppositions which were reconciled by Sri Aurobindo into a larger Truth. This article presents a few more additions: Self-esteem versus Humility, Good versus Evil, Various formulations of the Divine, Nature versus Nurture, Evolution versus Creationism.