Monthly Archives: January 2012

How does the brain absorb new ideas?

Over the years, the Mother conducted numerous dialogues with students at the Ashram school in which she expatiated on the proper method of studying and diligently developing the mind.   What seem like banal exhortations are in reality infused with innate wisdom, as becomes evident when we juxtapose her insights with anecdotes from the lives of scientists such as Richard and Joan Feynman, Stanislav Ulam and Sofia Kovalevskaya.

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Sattwic ego, Rajasic ego and Tamasic ego

When we say someone is egoistic, we often imply that the person is proud. Sri Aurobindo observed that egoistic movements are actually of three types – sattwic(illumined), rajasic(kineticism) and tamasic(indolent).  The sattwic ego revels in the brilliant power of its intelligence, the rajasic ego is eager to dominate, and the tamasic ego wallows in self-pity.

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A mystical incident in the life of Mughal Emperor Akbar

Akbar (1542-1605) was the third Mughal Emperor who ruled over much of Northern and Central India. The family was Turko-Mongol in origin.  Akbar, after ascending to the throne at the age of fourteen, cemented his power with successive victories over insubordinate local chieftains.  He was a great patron of art and culture, somewhat analogous to Lorenzo the Magnificent of the House of Medici, who nourished the artistic community in Florence and turned the city into a locus of the Italian Renaissance. Akbar was known for his syncretic and liberal religious policy.  Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, and even Jesuits who had travelled all the way from Europe by sea to spread Christianity graced the royal court of Akbar.  When he was thirty six years old, he had a mystical experience which seems to have been a turning point in his life.

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How can Sri Aurobindo smoke while practising Yoga?

This article is motivated by a recent comment on this blog.  Those who have gained some familiarity with Sri Aurobindo are often baffled by his conduct: How could he smoke or eat meat while practicing Yoga?  Doesn’t it violate the central tenets of Yoga?  If that didn’t hinder his practice, can I emulate him?  The answer is: “No, you shouldn’t emulate him” as we shall see by the end of this article.

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My words will remain imprinted on your soul

There is a golden thread which knits together the lives of all sages.  Behind their unique beatific personalities and inimitable ways of expression, they are all manifesting the same Divine Consciousness.  It is this underlying unity which forms the basis for the similar phenomena that are visible in their lives.   This article examines their ability to utter those aphoristic Truths which continue to resonate long after they are gone.

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2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 120,000 times in 2011. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.