How does the mind change with Yoga?

The ordinary human mind interfaces with the phenomenal world through abstractions; with the aid of the senses, it builds a representation of the world in the human memory which it manipulates with the reasoning process, rejecting and accepting ideas based on the ego’s subjective inclinations.  The nature of the thought process changes as the mind becomes electrified with progress in Yoga.   The practice of mental silence heightens the vibratory pitch of the brain and the awakening of the Kundalini kindles subtle centers in the brain.   The mind expands into the cosmic planes of the Mind and acquires new powers of consciousness.  In such a mind, the memory of the past is purged, the reasoning process is replaced by spontaneous intuition, and the abstractions within are substituted by a more intimate knowledge acquired by direct contact of subject consciousness with object consciousness.

To put it differently, one can say that the mind alters in the following ways through Yoga.

  1. Instead of functioning indirectly through abstractions, it begins gliding in direct touch with reality.
  2. Instead of holding past knowledge in memory, it exhibits an effortless acquisition of spontaneous knowledge of the past, present and future – all of which is already present in the Universal Consciousness.
  3. Instead of being ensnared in partial truths, it radiates a plenary, all-sided and inner knowledge of reality.
  4. Instead of stumbling through the reasoning process, it displays irresistible intuition.
  5. Instead of relying on the input of the five senses, it is aided by direct inner contact with object consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo identified various stages in this mental transformation which he denoted as the Higher Mind, the Illumined Mind, the Intuitive Mind, the Overmind and the Supermind.  The Higher Mind works from a broad holistic perspective seeing the inner relation between ideas.  The Illumined Mind flows visually with (subtle) images rather than step-by-step using dry logic.  The Intuitive Mind acquires knowledge by direct contact of the subject consciousness with the object consciousness without the intermediary input of the senses.  The Overmind is the state attained by Enlightened Masters where one is able to see all sides of the Truth and smoothly reconcile contraries. Beyond that is the Supermind which is the rarely attained summit of the Superconscient.

The rational mind works in an exclusionary fashion

An inconclusive play is Reason’s toil.
Each strong idea can use her as its tool;
Accepting every brief she pleads her case.
Open to every thought, she cannot know.
The eternal Advocate seated as judge
Armours in logic’s invulnerable mail
A thousand combatants for Truth’s veiled throne
And sets on a high horse-back of argument
To tilt for ever with a wordy lance
In a mock tournament where none can win.

Sri Aurobindo, Savitri – I: The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind

Sri Aurobindo: The capital period of my intellectual development was when I could see clearly that what the intellect said may be correct and not correct, that what the intellect justifies is true and its opposite also is true. I never admitted a truth in the mind without simultaneously keeping it open to the contrary of it. Mind means infinite possibility. Reason or intelligence chooses one to the exclusion of all the other possibilities. But it is reason which gives value to one and selects it. It is like a law in science; you accept it because it explains most of the phenomena. In the mind we accept one and suppress the other possibilities and so we see the reasons for the view we hold and other reasons are suppressed. Or the intellect goes in a futile round and justifies the choice, which has already been made by some other part of the being.

Intellect is merely selective. I felt it very clearly for a long time. And the first result was that the prestige of the intellect was gone. As you go higher up, a wider movement develops which reconciles all contraries.  Then you see the Forces that are behind mental ideas. Of course, it is no use telling this to the ordinary man as he would be in a most hopeless confusion if he saw everything as mere possibilities. For instance, you would be absolutely confounded if I placed before you all the possibilities.

[A.B. Purani.  Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p 79]

Image by freewine via flickr. Click for source

Mental constructions are purged

All here was known by a spiritual sense:
Thought was not there but a knowledge near and one
Seized on all things by a moved identity,
A sympathy of self with other selves,
The touch of consciousness on consciousness
And being’s look on being with inmost gaze
And heart laid bare to heart without walls of speech
And the unanimity of seeing minds

Sri Aurobindo, Savitri – I: The World-Soul

The ordinary human mind indulges in constructions, holding many bits and pieces of imagination and partial conclusions within.  These get purged when the mind begins to brim with silence.This is an excerpt from a conversation between Sri Aurobindo and a disciple where this aspect is detailed.

Disciple : When the Mind is transformed by the action of the Higher Power what are the changes that take place in the Mind?

Sri Aurobindo : Which part of the mind ? The thinking mind ?

Disciple : Yes.

Sri Aurobindo : The reasonings and the fanciful constructions of the mind cease: there remains only a play of intuitions.

Disciple : Does not reason remain, at all ?

Sri Aurobindo : When the whole mind is intuitionised, it knows directly and therefore needs no reasoning. I see you before me; so, why should I argue whether you exist or not ?

Disciple : Reason may not be required for acquiring the Truth, but, for practical application of the Truth reasoning may be necessary.

Sri Aurobindo:  Do you think that Truth is not practical?  The Truth is not something abstract. As long as the mind reasons there is the possibility of error.

Disciple : As regards mental constructions,are they always incorrect ? May not they be inspired by the Truth ?

Sri Aurobindo : Mind may build on its intuitions, but there is every likelihood of its committing mistakes or errors. Mental transformation is a gradual process. First, the reasoning and constructions are silenced. Then the mind becomes intuitionised. Then one feels that there is something above which is much more than intuition. Intuition goes downwards and the higher Truth takes the place of intuition. At present, you find it difficult to understand how all reasoning and constructions of the mind can cease. That can be understood when you know what is intuition.

Disciple : I understand that reasoning and constructions are obstacles to the coming of the Truth.

Sri Aurobindo : Yes, if you go on eternally with them the Truth will not come.

Disciple : Then one must correct these things before the higher Truth can come down.

Sri Aurobindo : You cannot do that ; it is only the Truth which can change the nature and activities of the mind. You can only quiet them so that the Truth may come down and take up the Transformation.

Disciple : If the mind is silenced, will the Truth come down ?

Sri Aurobindo : If you do nothing else but merely silence the mind you will have a silent mind and nothing else.

Disciple : When a developed mind opens to the Truth and an underdeveloped mind opens to it which will be the richer of the two ?

Sri Aurobindo : First you have to see whether the under-developed mind can open itself to the higher Truth ; generally it cannot. Then, it may have a narrow opening and the result will be limited. The higher Truth may afterwards develop the mind but if the mind is already developed, there is already a rich material upon which the Truth can work. But the too much developed mind is also an obstacle. It has its fixed habits, its fixed grooves to which it sticks tenaciously. With the coming down of the Truth the mind may suddenly develop new powerspainting or poetry etc.

[A.B. Purani.  Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p 122]

The need for mental abstractions vanishes

There was no gulf between the thought and fact,
Ever they replied like bird to calling bird;
The will obeyed the thought, the act the will.

Sri Aurobindo, Savitri – I: The House of the Spirit and the New Creation

Sri Aurobindo : Beauty is not an abstraction. It is a power of the Supreme on the plane above mind. On the plane of mind you have abstractions. It is the mind’s way of representing realities of planes higher than the mind. Behind these abstractions there is a Reality. On the plane above the mind there are no abstractions, there are realities and powers. For instance, you form an abstract idea in the mind about the Supermind. When you get to the Supermind you find it is not an abstraction at all. It is more intensely concrete than Matter, something quite overwhelming in its concrete-ness. That is why I called it the Real-Idea and not an “abstract idea”. In that sense there is nothing more concrete than God. Even if we were on the pure mental plane we would find mind much more concrete and real. But as we are on the physical plane we always think the mind more abstract. Before the Supermind Matter dwindles into a shadow !

Disciple : What is that concreteness like ?

Sri Aurobindo : The sense of solidity, mass. That is perhaps what the Veda meant when it said, “Agni is wider of light, and concrete of body“. You can say that the Supermind is harder than the diamond and yet more fluid than the gas.

[A.B. Purani.  Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p 291]

Overmind heights (source unknown)

The mind experiences a downpour of light and knowledge

Oft inspiration with her lightning feet,
A sudden messenger from the all-seeing tops,
Traversed the soundless corridors of his mind
Bringing her rhythmic sense of hidden things.
A music spoke transcending mortal speech.

Sri Aurobindo, Savitri – I: The Yoga of the King: The Yoga of the Soul’s Release

We are aware of a sealike downpour of masses of a spontaneous knowledge which assumes the nature of Thought but has a different character from the process of thought to which we are accustomed; for there is nothing here of seeking, no trace of mental construction, no labour of speculation or difficult discovery; it is an automatic and spontaneous knowledge from a Higher Mind that seems to be in possession of Truth and not in search of hidden and withheld realities. One observes that this Thought is much more capable than the mind of including at once a mass of knowledge in a single view; it has a cosmic character, not the stamp of an individual thinking.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine – I: Supermind, Mind and the Overmind Maya

The mind acquires the ability to reconcile contradictions

There was no quarrel more of truth with truth;
The endless chapter of their differences
Retold in light by an omniscient Scribe
Travelled through difference towards unity,
Mind’s winding search lost every tinge of doubt
Led to its end by an all-seeing speech
That garbed the initial and original thought
With the finality of an ultimate phrase:
United were Time’s creative mood and tense
To the style and syntax of Identity.

Sri Aurobindo, Savitri – I: The Yoga of the King: The Yoga of the Spirit’s Freedom and Greatness

(The Overmind as mentioned before is the state reached by those who have attained Enlightenment).

What to the mental reason are irreconcilable differences present themselves to the Overmind intelligence as coexistent correlatives; what to the mental reason are contraries are to the Overmind intelligence complementaries.  Overmind consciousness perceives that each view is true of the action of the principle it erects; it can see that there is a material world-formula, a vital world-formula, a mental world-formula, a spiritual worldformula, and each can predominate in a world of its own and at the same time all can combine in one world as its constituent powers.

The Overmind is a creator of truths, not of illusions or falsehoods: what is worked out in any given overmental energism or movement is the truth of the Aspect, Power, Idea, Force, Delight which is liberated into independent action, the truth of the consequences of its reality in that independence.

To the Overmind, for example, all religions would be true as developments of the one eternal religion, all philosophies would be valid each in its own field as a statement of its own universe-view from its own angle, all political theories with their practice would be the legitimate working out of an Idea Force with its right to application and practical development in the play of the energies of Nature.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine – I: Supermind, Mind and the Overmind Maya

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42 thoughts on “How does the mind change with Yoga?

  1. Pingback: Syncretism in Sri Aurobindo’s thought – part 1 « Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

  2. Chetan

    Thank you for the excellent blog. I am curious about what Sri Aurobindo said about hallucinations and how to differentiate hallucinations from manifestation of knowledge.

    It is well known that by taking certain legally forbidden substances, one may experience a state of consciousness that is out of ordinary. But at the same time these experiences are not a direct perception of the Truth. How can one subjectively make a distinction between the two. Many cultures (including the Indian) make use of similar substances for spiritual awakening (see e.g.,

    More importantly, there are many people with extraordinary capabilities who are know to suffer from extraordinary mental illness that most of the time involve hallucinations. The most famous example being that of Noble Prize winner Jonh Nash (of the movie A Beautiful Mind) who suffered from Schizophrenia and experienced hallucinations. One of the greatest US presidents, Abraham Lincoln also suffered from Bipolar disorder (see which also involves hallucinations. On the other hand, Saints such Sri Ramakrishna also used to see visions.

    So, we have on one extreme people who are diagnosed “insane” and committed to lunatic asylums (to normally functional people suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy), in the middle people of exceptional abilities such a Abraham Lincoln and on the other extreme mystics and illuminated sages like Sri Ramakrishna. All the three classes of people “see” or experience something that the so called “normal” people don’t. Yet, some experiences/visions are direct perception of truth while others are hallucinations.

    Did Sri Aurobindo say anything about how can one classify his/her subjective experiences as truth or fantasy?


    1. Sandeep Post author


      Your question calls for a new blog post/article which I am planning to write. Give me a week or two.
      The short answer is that there are (intersubjective) indicators of progress in a mystic’s life which can be recognized. Some of these have been discussed under Videha Dharana. The mystic goes through successive stages of development which can be recognized. Beyond a certain stage, subjective experiences actually acquire an objective character and turn out to be just another view of reality (e.g. visions can come true in the near future, etc)


    2. Al

      Chetan wrote: [It is well known that by taking certain legally forbidden substances, one may experience a state of consciousness that is out of ordinary. But at the same time these experiences are not a direct perception of the Truth. How can one subjectively make a distinction between the two. Many cultures (including the Indian) make use of similar substances for spiritual awakening (see e.g.,]

      Can one say that these experiences are, necessarily, not, or never, a direct perception of the Truth? An Entheogen, properly administered and supervised, can accelerate the affirmation of certain aspects of reality needed to advance on the spiritual path, than otherwise would take the sadhak much time and effort:

      Among then Ayahuasca and San Pedro. I adhere to the narrower definition that an entheogen must have a successful history of Shamanic use, like those two I named. No chemical substitutes. Supervision is critical. They should not be consumed without the supervision of a proven, honest, and successful Shaman. Honesty, and purity of purpose, of the Shaman is the key, a difficult thing to find nowadays. Preparation for the ceremony is crucial, from diet, to fasting, to promotion of Sattvic qualities.

      This is an interesting Sutra from Patanjali:

      Chapter 4
      Kaivalya Pāda:

      Verse 1
      जन्मौषधिमन्त्रतपःसमाधिजाः सिद्धयः॥१॥
      janma auṣadhi mantra tapaḥ samādhijāḥ siddhayaḥ
      janma – birth, particular species; auṣadhi – drugs; mantra – special sound; tapaḥ – physical bodily austerities in haṭha yoga; samādhi – continuous effortless linkage of the attention to a higher concentration force, object or person; jāḥ – what is produced from; siddhayaḥ – mystic skills.
      The mystic skills are produced
      by taking birth in particular species,
      by taking drugs, by reciting special sounds,
      by physical bodily austerities or
      by the continuous effortless linkage of the attention
      to a higher concentration force, object or person.

      1. Al

        Thank you!…Will check it out, my experience is with Ayahuasca and San Pedro only, I am just about to leave for Pisac, in Peru, for another chapter of the exploration.

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  6. mike

    Personally. l wouldn’t recommend the use of drugs even under the instruction of a shaman [unless your goal is just projection into the lower planes]. Castaneda and people like Aldous Huxley [LSD fame]are probably the most responsible for promoting the use of hallucinogens. Al, l assume your more interested in castaneda and don juan’s peyote/mescalin path, since you mention the san pedro cactus… l’ve always felt very dubious about castaneda myself, and l don’t put much trust in what he said. Sandeep thinks quite highly of him though, unless l’m wrong.
    SA and M never advocated their use, so l think it’s wise to avoid them.
    As for shamans, l have the impression they only contact spirits at the astral or vital levels, so their knowledge, however useful in healing etc., is very limited IMO.
    But, everyone to their own path and l hear what your saying. You believe these particular drugs are an aid or catalyst for spiritual progress. l’m not so sure myself. We hear about the good trips but very little about the bad one’s – of which there are many l believe, even with the help of a qualified shaman – but, l’m no expert.
    l think DMT is all the age these days, though, especially since authors like graham hancock took it up. Most of what they describe seems to be lower astral phenomenon.
    The famous kundalini yogi Swami Satyananda Saraswati said this about drugs and l’m inclined to agree:

    “Can you get enlightenment by taking drugs?

    You can get certain experiences, but you can’t retain them. Drugs weaken the nervous system, cause depression, disturb the hormones and affect the circulatory system. As a result, later on the experiences almost dwindle into nothing. In the beginning, some drugs do affect the processes of the brain and consciousness, either directly or through other parts of the nervous system. If we could perpetuate these experiences for many years, it would be nice. However, I have found that in the course of time the body and physical organs become very weak, and as a result the later experiences are marked by fears, doubts and passions. What is the use of having a high state after which you fall in a ditch? I don’t disagree with people trying these things now and then, but I think you must try to create the change within the consciousness, through the medium of consciousness, if you want to be able to maintain the experience.”

    1. mwb6119

      Mike: regarding LSD/drugs:

      I was fortunate not to have a bad experience with LSD and psilocibyn. In my teens I wanted that experience since my normal consciousness was so painful. Besides that, at 40, I again experimented with psilocibyn and had one memorable vision regarding psychic union (I did not know it as “the psychic” then, only as the ‘heart center’ or ‘soul’). Apparently the vision was showing me either how to reach it, or it was telling me that I would reach it one day, or both. That was 12 years ago and since then I have made significant progress. …At the time I had not been introduced to yoga or SA & M but I was many years into a spiritual discipline.

      1. mike

        ” Apparently the vision was showing me either how to reach it, or it was telling me that I would reach it one day, or both.”

        Yes mark, we seem to be following the same line of development lol.
        l think these experiences, whether through a drug or some other method are an indication of whether we have a Spiritual Destiny or not..
        M has said it somewhere. That if we have an experience of the Light, then we are destined for realisation in this life.
        Many years after the drug experience of Light and Bliss [when l’d come to know about the Yoga], l had a an incredible dream-experience with the Mother, which was much better than the drug experience, of course. Ananda had been entering [like a trickling] my body for a few weeks or longer, and suddenly one night, l had this dream [one of those dreams that is not really a dream, but something much more] where l was with M in some kind of vehicle that felt like it was going at the speed of light. She touched me in some way, l think, and l was once again in a bodiless state of consciousness, surrounded by Light and filled with indescribable bliss – l think l might have joined with Her consciousness for a short time, or had some kind of temporary Psychic Union as you describe. This went on for a while, as M was doing something to my vital being [around that area] – She said she didn’t like something there. Shortly after l was back in my body completely stunned by the experience.
        l have read of M doing this to test the sadhak in some way.
        ln any case, it was a second confirmation for me, and now l’m just waiting for the permanent experience that will become a Realisation.
        Looks like we might both be on a promise, mark lol.

      2. mwb6119

        Mike, sorry for the late reply-I was not prompted by e-mail for some reason. Thanks for sharing this. I have similar experiences even in waking states. I mean, many times when reading a paragraph, and most recently from SA and M, I sense what I had read had an immediacy about it-best I can explain it. And then I do not attempt to memorize it or practice it because I am certain that it met me, or moved me some how.

        By the way, I no long practice drug use. No need for it any longer because I have reached the high they used to give me.

      3. mwb6119

        Mike: Also, I wanted to mention. In that drug related vision (psilocybin), I actually experienced the vision, I underwent the intense effort of reaching the said goal. I was not just watching an image, like watching a movie.

  7. Al

    Yes, Mike, thanks for your input. You made very good points.

    Castaneda is definitely not my cup of tea, as I call myself a yogi, and Castaneda had no truck with Yoga. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I can barely read what he wrote. Most of his writings seem to be compilations of some facts and his imagination, at least from many sources agglutinated into the famous Don Pedro.

    Yes, the limitations you mentioned are correct. The Shamans of worth dabble in the vital plane and no more, and engage the spirits of the plant they use for medicinal/psychical purposes, that’s the extend of my involvement with it. They are no yogis.

    I do not believe these drugs or concoctions are a catalyst for spiritual progress, but I believe that they can be used to affirm certain aspects of reality that otherwise escape us or that are difficult to affirm in normal conditions, that’s all, thus indeed their benefits are quite limited. I only use them with that in mind, besides as a medicine.

    Ayahuasca and San Pedro do not linger or cause side effects if you know how to approach their use, fasting, sattvic diet, abstinence from sex, and proper preparation are essential before trying them…how many shamans are promoting that? This is a key question. The Vedic Soma was apparently an entheogen of this type.

    1. Felix

      Re: LSD, the following is from Mother’s Agenda (April 15, 1967)

      “That it (LSD) disrupts the being’s equilibrium is absolutely without doubt. And obviously, disrupting one equilibrium may lead you to a higher equilibrium. But there is a risk.

      It’s probably part of the preparations. Only, the results may be catastrophic enough. It could be part of a scientific discipline. But then, that’s how it should be done, as a discipline, and under the supervision of those who know.

      You see, he takes great care not to say anything about the harmful effects (she is referring to a report by Tim Leary). I have personally met two people who had done the experiment and had met with dreadful effects – they decided never to touch it again in their lives. They are very careful not to say anything about that.

      It should be done as a discipline of education, with all necessary safeguard and supervision. It’s the same as all the rest: it’s the method that starts from below. The true method starts from above – it’s more difficult, less spectacular, and it takes more time.

      From the standpoint of study and observation, it’s very interesting. But it should be done scientifically, in a spirit of discipline and almost consecration, as a means of study. Of course, just the contact with a small amount of the Force from above disturbs many people’s minds; so here, I think the effect would be very widespread.

      It’s a risk one has to take. If someone – someone conscious, who already knows much, has much self-mastery and control over his reactions – does it as a means of study, it can be very interesting. But giving it to a poor devil who knows nothing and is hurled into it out of curiosity can be disastrous.” – Mother

      The subject of visions came up fairly often in Mother’s Agenda. Satprem often complained to Mother that he never had any (visions) and continually had doubts about whether he was making any spiritual progress because he saw no “concrete” evidence of it. Her advice to him on this subject is quite enlightening (no pun intended). – Felix

  8. mike

    “Ayahuasca and San Pedro do not linger or cause side effects if you know how to approach their use, fasting, sattvic diet, abstinence from sex, and proper preparation are essential before trying them…how many shamans are promoting that? This is a key question. The Vedic Soma was apparently an entheogen of this type.”

    Yes, Al exactly. l don’t do fasting because SA and M don’t recommend it, but the other conditions you mention must be very important IMO. Perhaps this is why so many who take it in the begining are quite sick – possibly due to the impurity of the consciousness and the body [unprepared as you say].
    l believe Swami Vivekananda said [l read it somewhere recently] that the ancient Yogi’s were using many concoctions [including mercury] to extend the life of the body. That pedro cactus has actually been used for about 3,000 years according to that wiki link you gave.
    Myself, l have used supplements. l’m trying one at the moment that seems to be highly recommended for lucid dreaming [it contains silene capensis – which is another shamanic herb, but is a world away from things like LSD and other hallucinogens]. The formula is called ‘Oneiromancer’ and lt gives extremely vivid dreams, and helps with remembering them. l’ve always had an interest in lucid dreaming [which can be turned into an exteriorisation], so this is something that l find helps me. l exteriorise now and then, but sometimes [as you say] we need a little help lol.

    Thanks for posting that felix. l didn’t realise M spoke about LSD;
    l know how damaging it can be. l knew one person who only took it once and was never right again, and totally unhinged him, [as far as l know – l think it’s rare, and they have a name for it, but still…dangerous]. Most of us have seen what damage has been been done through the wide spread use of crystal meth. l saw one lecture that said crystal meth in particular, opens people up to astral possession – wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Apparently, hitler was giving crystal meth to the german people, so they could deal with the stress of the war!! – of course he was taking it too.
    l took mescalin once when l was younger, and l felt like l was suddenly a bodiless consciousness surrounded by white light and filled with an incredible bliss – but l didn’t have much mental control [which is what most people don’t like about drugs, l think]. l did read recently that LSD has been very useful in curing OCD – one person was cured almost straight away [under medical supervision].

  9. mike

    “The subject of visions came up fairly often in Mother’s Agenda. Satprem often complained to Mother that he never had any (visions) and continually had doubts about whether he was making any spiritual progress because he saw no “concrete” evidence of it. Her advice to him on this subject is quite enlightening (no pun intended). – Felix”

    Yes, felix, l remember reading that, Sujata was the visionary at the time, although l think satprem certainly seemed to get his fair share of visions later – when he and sujata moved out of the ashram into that place in jungle.
    l used to moan about whether l was making Spiritual Progress or not [there are long dry eriods in the beginning and a lot of patience is needed]. What helped me was that advice by MP Pandit [quoted from M l believe]:

    “Once one opens oneself to the Shakti (Force or Energy that enters us) – the work goes on ceaselessly whether one perceives it or not. When this goes on behind the surface one has the feeling, naturally enough, that nothing is being done; actually it is never so.
    Between the advance achieved within and the appearance of its perceivable results on the surface there is a necessary time lag.
    lf this working were to proceed in a way perceptible to the outer senses the mind and the vital would interfere at every step, insist on giving their own self-chosen direction to the development and altogether act as blocks to the Power at work. That is why the work is carried on mostly underneath so as to proceed uninterruptedly. It is only when the results appear in their own time that we see how things had been moving in that direction all along and how circumstances were developing to favour that culmination. It is also seen how nothing has been in vain.
    The progress has been going on within all the time irrespective of whether one has been conscious of it or not.Most of the progress – especially in the earlier phases – is worked out behind the curtain. And that is done on purpose; because, otherwise the limited ignorant mind tends to interfere at every step. Thus one is not normally aware of the movement of progress that goes on within until its results reach out to the surface. But because one cannot see or grasp with the physical senses, it does not mean that the thing is not there.”

    1. mwb6119

      Mike: “l used to moan about whether l was making Spiritual Progress or not [there are long dry eriods in the beginning and a lot of patience is needed]. What helped me was that advice by MP Pandit [quoted from M l believe]:”

      Thanks Mike!

  10. Felix

    Thank you for that, mike. We all have times when our faith wavers, Sri Aurobindo was an agnostic before his spiritual awakening – and Mother was too, in her own way

  11. mwb6119

    Above in the A.B. Purani. Evening Talks with Sri Aurobindo, p 79 SA says: “Mind means infinite possibility.”

    What is SA suggesting here? Perhaps regarding the powers of the mind in regards to the lesser experience of “the ordinary man.”

    1. Sandeep Post author

      No, he is referring to the fact that the mind can justify anything. All lines of thought are equally possible but the mind chooses one to the exclusion of others.

  12. Al

    Dear Mike:

    Going back to the substances in question, I have only used San Pedro and Ayahuasca, and from these 2, I only have a real relationship with Ayahuasca. I would never use a synthesized chemical or drug of any sort, such as straight DMT or LSD. In the places that I frequent near Pisac, Peru, it is well known the unwholesome, and partial thus troublesome, effects on the brain of LSD, compared to the more holistic, and general, effects of San Pedro and Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is used by the spiritual aspirant for 2 major reasons; namely, as an affirmation of occult phenomena that normally escape us of the transcendental, or the hereafter, or the occult composition of our being, as expounded, for example, in the Sankhya. These confirmations act as a spur, a moving forward towards a more thorough and puissant knowledge. To illustrate this point, and as occurred to me last week, when I take Ayahuasca, among other things, I develop prana-vision for many hours after the event, meaning I see my subtle body – sukshma sarira – as I normally see, and as well as I am seeing now, my physical body – linga sarira. What is the value of this? Well, it takes years if not lifetimes of yogic practices to develop the mystic power that results in the siddhi of prana-vision. I hope you don’t take this siddhi, and its potentials for the yogi, lightly. The subtle body is seen as an envelope or membrane, murky violet, that protrudes and intrudes continuously in and out of the physical skin for one to two inches. At any limb movement, leg or arm, its subtle counterparts stays behind and rushes to catch up to its frame. If the movement is slow, the vision includes a perfect double of the physical in the subtle. If you swirl a limb, now the energy patterns that delimit the subtle frame get entangled and become visible as black energy lines. I do not think that Patanjali was bluffing when he said in Chapter 4, Verse 1:

    जन्मौषधिमन्त्रतपःसमाधिजाः सिद्धयः॥१॥
    janma auṣadhi mantra tapaḥ samādhijāḥ siddhayaḥ
    janma – birth, particular species; auṣadhi – drugs; mantra – special sound; tapaḥ – physical bodily austerities in haṭha yoga; samādhi – continuous effortless linkage of the attention to a higher concentration force, object or person; jāḥ – what is produced from; siddhayaḥ – mystic skills.
    The mystic skills are produced
    by taking birth in particular species,
    by taking drugs, by reciting special sounds,
    by physical bodily austerities or
    by the continuous effortless linkage of the attention
    to a higher concentration force, object or person.

    Now, the second use of Ayahuasca by the spiritual aspirant is even more important, for it entails the integration of the Jungian Shadow; in other words, the making conscious of the unconscious character defects, or, in Sanskrit parlance, the sublimation from Avidya to Vidya. Here we verily enter into the Yoga of the Mother Mirra Alfassa, and I quote Her here:

    “When one does not repeat one’s past mistakes, the divine power, the power of the divine Grace, abolishes their consequences – their karma – in the being. But as long as mistakes are repeated nothing can be abolished, because one re-creates them at every minute. When a person has made a serious error, say, a serious mistake (it can be serious or not, but we are concerned primarily with the serious ones), such mistakes have their consequences in life, a karma which has to be exhausted. The divine Grace, if you call upon it, has the power to abolish that karma, to cut short the consequences – but the Grace can only do this when you, within yourself, don’t begin all over again, when the mistake committed is not renewed. The past can be completely purified and abolished, on condition that one does not keep making it into a perpetual present. The past can be cleansed to the point where it has no effect of any kind on the future, but only on condition that you stop the wrong vibration in yourself, that you don’t reproduce the same vibration indefinitely….”

    Ayahuasca points out these mistakes. It has taken me to the deep recesses of the unconscious, and have shown me there these mistakes, these character defects, in the exact same form that the Mother described them, as intractable, recalcitrant, little dark spots. I am sure you remember her words saying that it was easier to have a tooth extracted without anesthesia than to pull out, shed light on, these defects. These are the real impediments to the advancement of the being. Mind you, Ayahuasca will have work work on them, but never on your terms, but hers, often quite painful. I finally had to draw a contract with Ayahuasca for their eradication. Thus I now close this section with another quote by the Mother:

    “It is a great victory to get rid of the influence of an adverse force. It is truly a victory which goes beyond the individual’s own person and has a repercussion on the whole terrestrial state. Each victory gained like this by an individual over a hostile force influencing him, is a long step forward to the day when the earth will be completely free of the presence of hostile forces. It represents a great progress for the earth”.

    Thanks to Ayahuasca I have been able to tackle this.

    Finally, as for fasting. Any fasting is negative and troublesome if it is not accompanied by urine therapy, which is aptly called in India Shivambu. Without ingesting all the urine passed during fasting, plus rubbing old urine on the skin twice daily, you soon develop heart palpitations and the fasting becomes a nightmare. Whether you do water-only, or even juice fasting, the heart palpitations will ensue. With urine and water you can fast all the way to 45 days with no problem, as urine provides all the trace elements necessary during that time.

  13. gopal.M

    In the record of Yoga under the section Yogic sadhan Sri Aurobindo talks about this,

    ” Knowledge, therefore, jnanam is the next stage to be considered.
    But before I come to that, let me finish about the obstacles
    in the Swabhava. There are not only the wrong Samskaras and the
    ashuddhi of the adhar, but the general nature of things has certain
    tendencies or laws in it which oppose the development of the Yoga
    as well as certain tendencies which help the development of the Yoga. There are three laws which oppose the law of persistence,
    the law of resistance and the law of recurrence: there are three laws
    which assist the law of gradual processes, the law of concentrated
    processes and the law of involved processes.”

    Think this covers difficult but not impossible process of karma being resolved by Mother’s grace. But that’s the process.. have seen it in work in Life in all these Life movements….

    Sri Aurobindo is supposed to have written this yogic sadhan as part of his Automatic writing process, and he has also said “….There is no necessity of following
    the methods suggested in that book unless one finds
    them suggestive or helpful as a preliminary orientation of the
    consciousness e.g. in the up-building of an inner Will etc.”

    i have tried some of those and found ’em helpful in building up the will..

  14. mw

    Hi Sandeep (Yes, I’m still here lol)…

    Q: Is “Mind of Light” an umbrella term for the 2nd Transformation? Or is it a stage of that development (Higher Mind, Illumined mind, Intuitive Mind, Overmind, Supermind)?

    Warmly, Mark

    1. Sandeep Post author

      As per Amal Kiran, “This physical mind receiving the supramental light [is what] Sri Aurobindo called the Mind of Light.”

      This is from his book “The Vision and Work of Sri Aurobindo”

      1. Mark

        Out of curiosity, did Amal Kiran experience Mind of Light personally, or is this mere study? Is Mind of Light a common experience among those practicing SA&M’s Yoga today?

      2. Sandeep Post author

        I recall reading that Amal Kiran wrote it as an explanation after talking to Mother. He did not experience it.

        One would have to do a survey to find if its a common experience today 🙂

    2. Mark W

      What is meant by “Material Transformation”? See quote below:

      “…when the physical mind receives the supramental light directly it is called the mind of light. The mind of light is already formed and functioning. Whoever reaches that stage of evolution can embody it. But the supramental light has not yet become part of the physical existence in the sense in which it can be a permanent acquisition for anyone who strives. For that, in principle, the material transformation has to be achieved.” Source: The Yoga of Knowledge p.177, by M.P. Pandit

      Initially I was under the impression that anyone could acquire the mind of light. Apparently not so.

      Is this a terrestrial transformation Pandit is indicating? Or is this transformation within the individual? An individual effort?

      Thank You!

      1. Sandeep Post author

        I do not know the answer and frankly, I don’t bother to intellectually interpret such passages.

        The Mother’s sadhana evolved over the years so it would be difficult to determine if a remark made in one point in time was applicable at a later point of time.

        Secondly, if you reach an advanced stage of Sadhana, the Divine will whisper in your ear and tell you what you transformation you are undergoing.

      2. Mark W

        Thank you Sandeep. You have the ability to see through. In my case, when I encounter a quote like Pandit’s (above) I get stuck — like a bolder in a creek blocking the flow of water. Hopefully this mental handicap will dissolve eventually with the Yoga. I also appreciate your insight on the Divine’s whispering….

  15. Mark

    re: “The practice of mental silence heightens the vibratory pitch of the brain and the awakening of the Kundalini kindles subtle centers in the brain. ”

    What are these subtle centers in the brain? [A source of info will suffice] And for someone who is experiencing kundalini in the brain (head space), does this mean there is kundalini movement in the Sahasrāra Chakra? Regarding symptoms: initially fatigue followed by tension headaches? Normal?

    1. Sandeep Post author

      The awakening of the subtle centers should also have some positive effects like faster and more intuitive thought; it should not be just fatigue and headaches. If you are experiencing only fatigue and headaches, it might imply disturbance in Prana.

  16. mike

    As far as l’m aware the ‘subtle centres’ or ‘chakras’ are in the subtle body, not the physical brain – of course they do affect the brain.

    ln other yoga’s the kundalini operates differently, as you probably know. ln the lntegral Yoga the descent comes first. ln the Letters, SA mentions how a resistance to the descending Force can create a ‘pressure headache’ .

    “What you saw was indeed a sun, – the sun of blue light which is the light of a higher mind than the ordinary human mind. The sun is the symbol of Light and Truth. This higher spiritual Mind is trying to wake in you, but at the beginning there is always a difficulty because the consciousness is not habituated to receive, so there is the sense of pressure deepening sometimes into a feeling of headache or this feeling of the head preparing to split. It is nothing but a sensation in the physical created by the inner mind (this part of the head is the seat of the inner mind) trying to open under the touch from above”

    “Headaches “produced by a pressure from above”, as you put it, are not due to the pressure or produced by it, but produced by a resistance”

    “The pressure does not “bring” a resistance. “If there were no resistance there would be no headache” is the proper knowledge, not the reverse. So long as you think that it is the pressure that brings the resistance, the very idea will create the resistance. X’s case is not an example either of headache due to resistance or of headache due to pressure – it is due to ordinary physical and psychological causes”

    Assuming it’s not the latter – physical and psychological, l suppose it could be what some call ‘kundalini syndrome’ as explained in the video below. l read her book a while ago and she’s seems knowledgeable enough – albeit along buddhist lines.

  17. mike

    Also, l think many people are still confusing Pranotthana with Kundalini?
    ln the integral yoga the Force rises above the brain or head, of course.

    Swami Santaram Saraswati

    Full article:

    ‘Whether pranotthana occurs by individual efforts or by the activation of one’s prana by a guru, the fact is that this is not kundalini awakening as many people are saying. The confusion perhaps came about because the process which pranotthana affects on the body and mind of the individual is somewhat similar in the beginning to that of kundalini awakening. Some books state that this energy – kundalini – awoke and rose up to the brain, either straight away or after a few times, in many individuals. Nevertheless, these people carried on with their normal lives, apart from an improvement in health and mental clarity. This shows that it was not the kundalini energy that rose to the brain, but the pranic force released by pranotthana. This force follows the same pathways as does kundalini energy. It starts in mooladhara and ascends the spine, purifying the chakras, partially but not completely, until it reaches the brain. This pranic force thus makes it easier for the kundalini purificatory process which will come about at a later time.’


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