Anecdotes of my Guru

Over the past few years, quite a few blog readers have written to me appreciating the manner in which I have presented the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.  I would attribute much of it to my Guru whom I met early in my teenage years.  My experiences with him seemed to correspond closely with the manner in which the Sri Aurobindo and the Mother interacted with their disciples.  It is this correlation which has enabled me to provide an alternative perspective on their life and teachings.

While my Guru was alive, he preferred to keep a low profile so I am reluctant to share my treasured memories but I would like to share a few anecdotes for the benefit of fellow spiritual seekers.  Looking back, it is hard to imagine that such a serene personage lived in the narrow alleys of a non-descript Mumbai suburb, amidst the constant din and clamour which permeate the stressful life in a busy metropolis.  One expects to meet such people in a verdant retreat near the Himalayas.

I first heard of him from some family acquaintances who talked about the “miracles” he had done with them.  When I visited him with my father, he singled me out and told me to come to meet him alone.  He had sensed that, unlike the rest of my family, I had spiritual potential.

He would ask every visitor to sit in front of him in a chair.  He seemed to emanate a mysterious heat or warmth which would induce a trance in the person who sat in front of him.  Strong currents would flow through the spine for a while after which one would wake up refreshed and recharged.  The feeling of being refreshed didn’t last too long however.  By the time I boarded the crowded train to go back home, I would again feel worn down by the sweat and stress of metropolitan life.  (The effect did not last because there is “tamas” in our consciousness which prevents complete assimilation of a spiritual experience, as I found out later while reading Sri Aurobindo’s “Letters on Yoga”.)

I became addicted to the “recharging” he bestowed on me and began skipping college almost every day to visit him.  Conversation between us was minimal.  I quickly realized that he could sense what I was thinking and would respond telepathically by implanting an idea in my mind.  Once, I was troubled by the conduct of a family member and wanted the person to behave in a more respectable manner.  As I sat in front of him during one of my visits, he told me telepathically, “One must not impose one’s Will on another”.  This seemed like a startling idea at the time, spiritually true, but often unheard in India’s close-knit family life where every individual is expected to fulfill his duty and enjoy the resultant stability.

All those who came to visit him would touch his feet for blessings but I didn’t do so for quite a few years.  I was then a shy, socially awkward, agnostic teenager reluctant to adopt new social customs.  He didn’t insist of me bowing to him either.  Somehow he had quite effectively suppressed in me the idea that he was my Guru.  Many years later, when the realization of who he really was dawned on me, I did touch his feet and was pleasantly surprised to discover a faint spiritual current emanating from them.  In India, touching the feet of elders has been invariably reduced to a social custom but as I discovered, it is only effective when one touches the feet of a sage.  On the other hand, quite a few individuals raised in the highly individualistic     Western culture tend to label the Indian custom of bowing and surrendering to the Guru as infantilism or idolatry.  That is also false.

My Guru would bid every serious aspirant who came to him to read the “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda followed by other books which were suitable to their temperament.  In my case, he introduced me to J. Krishnamurti, Ramana Maharshi, Theosophy, “Psychic discoveries behind the Iron Curtain“, parapsychology (J.B.Rhine), Richard Bach, and even an English Vocabulary builder.  I didn’t fully understand many of these books at the time but they left an imprint in my mind and I reread them later when my mind had matured.  He kept an eclectic collection of books near him and would open a book at random and ask me to read the passage he had pointed out.  I was often surprised to find that the particular passage contained an answer to my predicament.  Many years later, I understood why this technique worked when I came across a description of the Mother practising the same technique with her disciples. See an earlier post “Guidance by random book opening“.

Once on my way to visit him, I thought of taking the bus instead of the train because buses are usually less crowded and one can travel seated instead of standing.  That day, I waited and waited at the bus stop but no bus plying that route seemed to appear.  During this interval, I became fervently praying that a bus should “materialize” out of thin air, similar to the miracles I had read in Paramahansa Yogananda’s book.  No such miracle occurred and I was forced to take the train yet again.  When I arrived at his house, he gently told me to come by train in the future because they are faster.  I nodded silently.  It was only years later that I realized I hadn’t really told him about my long wait at the bus stop.  He had “seen” what I had been upto and cautioned me against losing my mental balance and expecting frequent miracles.

We tend to dilly-dally the spiritual pursuit until we face a crisis in our life.  We try to bargain with the Divine, doing as little as possible in exchange for material health and prosperity.  Why give up anything when you can fulfill your cherished goals while keeping the Divine in the background as a steady support ?  I was doing the same until I faced a crisis.  In my moment of crisis, I turned to him, expecting to hear an easy solution which might ease my hardship and emotional suffering.  He declined to offer a way out, but instead firmly and politely asked me to meditate and find the answer within.  The time had come to hatch the egg; the spiritual seeker had to be released from the cocoon and allowed to suffer some pain and develop the strength to fly on his own.  Meditating alone, especially when I was living away from him, was tough. I hadn’t meditated in a while and wasn’t able to establish myself in the states that he used to put me into.  It took many months to regain my composure but I found that his (invisible) help was forthcoming when I dedicated myself sincerely to the task.

About a year before he left his body, he asked me to read Satprem’s book “The Adventures of Consciousness”.  From then on, I moved to reading the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and it was only then that I got a clear explanation for many of the things that I had experienced with my Guru.  This made me marvel at the tremendous depth and clarity of the insights that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have left in their writings, and that is what I have aspired to present on this blog.

Related Posts

  1. The Mother Mirra Alfassa as a Guru
  2. Dharana Shakti : the capacity to sustain spiritual experiences
  3. The laissez-faire approach of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
  4. Why spiritual experiences do not repeat?
  5. The story of a soul(Huta)
  6. A contemplation exercise before going to sleep
  7. Reconciling Family life with Yoga
  8. A case of Yogic Illness
  9. Gita Chapter 7, Verse 16 – Four types of Divine seekers
  10. Reminiscences of the Mother’s physician, Dr. Bisht
  11. How does the Self-realized person speak? (Gita 2:54)
  12. Handling Rejection by the Guru
  13. Concentration on Mother’s photograph
  14. The spiritual aptitude (adhikara) needed for Yoga
  15. Identifying the signs of spiritual progress
  16. Signs of readiness for the spiritual path
  17. Modalities of the Initiation process (Diksha)
  18. Practicing Yoga without a Guru
  19. Explaining the Ascent-Descent in Integral Yoga
  20. Early mystic experiences of Sri Aurobindo
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108 thoughts on “Anecdotes of my Guru

    1. Sandeep Post author

      Well, there will be no more personal posts! 🙂 I felt very uncomfortable writing this one. I can’t understand how people can write entire memoir-type books on themselves.

      Reply
      1. Marilen

        I really enjoyed it, please continue to share about this, I found wisdom in your words, it was truly touching and inspiring!

  1. M L Gopalakrishnan

    Dear Mr Sandeep,
    The way in which you are sharing the experience with your Guru is very interesting. We are able to get more details abour Mother and Bagawan Sri Aurobindo also. Thank you so much for sharing you experience. Please continue. There is much to learn from you. Good Luck
    M.L.Gopalakrishnan

    Reply
  2. mwb6119

    Dear Sandeep, Thank You very much for this insightful blog. It is interesting to learn about your background and also, how this parallels the growth and development for many of us. I am not at your level of spiritual attainment, but since I began visiting here I have experienced significant development. When I have corresponded with you, your response carries more than just the printed word.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      > I am not at your level of spiritual attainment,

      I don’t know about that 🙂
      Sometimes I am also kept in the dark.

      Reply
  3. Abin

    Dear Sandeep,
    Thank you so much for sharing your own experiences. Are you still living in Mumbai? If so, would it be possible to meet with you.
    Thanks once again.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      No, I dont live in Mumbai and more importantly, meeting me will not be useful at all because I am incapable of guiding others and have no interest in general chatting. I am only good at writing blog posts and making short replies 🙂

      This is one of the reasons I was reluctant to post personal stuff on the blog. It can lead to all kinds of misunderstanding – positive as well as negative.

      Reply
  4. mwb6119

    The truth mind could not know unveils its face,
    We hear what mortal ears have never heard,
    We feel what earthly sense has never felt,
    We love what common hearts repel and dread;
    Sri Aurobindo
    ref. Savitri, Book I: The Book of Beginnings, Canto IV: The Secret Knowledge, p.48

    Reply
  5. Vivek Kr Verma

    I got my hand on Satprem’s Adventures on consciousness @ Rs 5/- as a used book in a market in a metro and one of my first books in spiritual lore was the autobiography of a yogi..( a brother to u in booklore at least )Thanks for reinforcing my faith in the divine plan for everyone .regards

    Reply
  6. nizken

    Is it very necessary to avoid all temptation of “woman and gold” (as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa put it) to have any possibility of doing yoga or progressing in the spiritual path? It seems to be the consensus wherever I read that a spiritual person should never have any attachment to woman nor wealth. So I’m guessing marriage or any sort of yielding to sex is out of question for an authentic spirituality?

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      If this was the motivation behind your earlier question, then I can answer that.

      It is possible that people are married and have sexual experiences (not in that order!) before they have a spiritual opening. It is also possible for people to remain married after having a spiritual opening, depending on how accomodating their partner is to their spiritual pursuit.

      Once you start down the spiritual path, however, you have to give up sex otherwise it leads to terrible chaos within the consciousness. Basically, once you open to other planes, you start getting attacked by vital beings who can sense your weaknesses. So sex is not forbidden for some moral reasons but because its dangerous !!

      Some of Sri Aurobindo’s disciples had been married before they came to the Ashram. They had to leave their wives and families behind (like Sri Aurobindo himself) because their wife did not have any spiritual inclinations. The Mother used to ask such people to avoid any further contact with their wives and other family members to avoid lowering their consciousness. On the other hand, there were also other disiples like Amal Kiran who stayed in the Ashram with their wives; there was no sexual intimacy but purely companionship.

      Reply
    2. brahmacharya.net

      From the Gospel of Ramakrishna:

      To be able to realize God, one must practise absolute continence. Sages like
      Sukadeva are examples of an urdhvareta. Their chastity was absolutely unbroken.
      There is another class, who previously have had discharges of semen but who later
      on have controlled them. A man controlling the seminal fluid for twelve years
      develops a special power. He grows a new inner nerve called the nerve of memory.
      Through that nerve he remembers all, he understands all.
      Loss of semen impairs the strength. But it does not injure one if one loses it in a
      dream. That semen one gets from food. What remains after nocturnal discharge is
      enough. But one must not know a woman.

      The semen that remains after nocturnal discharge is very ‘refined’. The Lahas
      kept jars of molasses in their house. Every jar had a hole in it. After a year they
      found that the molasses had crystallized like sugar candy. The unnecessary watery
      part had leaked out through the hole.

      Another one:

      MASTER (to Mahima): “What I said about aspirants practising continence is true.
      Without chastity one cannot assimilate these teachings.”

      “Once a man said to Chaitanya: ‘You give the devotees so much instruction. Why
      don’t they make much progress?’ Chaitanya said: ‘They dissipate their powers in
      the company of women. That is why they cannot assimilate spiritual instruction. If
      one keeps water in a leaky jar, the water escapes little by little through the leak.’ ”

      Mahima and the other devotees remained silent. After a time Mahima said,
      “Please pray to God for us that we may acquire the necessary strength.”

      MASTER: “Be on your guard even now. It is difficult, no doubt, to check the torrent
      in the rainy season. But a great deal of water has gone out. If you build the
      embankment now it will stand.”

      Reply
  7. mike

    l don’t know if this is right, but it probably is – only thing he doesn;t mention is the Supreme Grace, which is all we need to achieve anything IMO.

    “Perfect brahamacharya is possible only when kundalini rises to the 5th center (Vishuddhi) or higher ones. In this state, even the production of reproductive elements stops in the body, so nocturnal loss (night fall) or monthly period (menstrual loss) stops completely. This is an irreversible stage – that is, once kundalini reaches the 5th center, there is no question of downfall to lower 4 centers/chakras. One can rise only higher from 5th center. Now, the trouble of lust is over and one is established in natural brahmacharya. This is a very very high spiritual state and not even 1 in a million are in this state. Now, the person is fully sattwic (and always remains peaceful and blissful in all kinds of trying situations). Swami Vivekananda remarked that he did not meet more than 20 sattwic people in his life despite travelling half the globe. This is the goal which I am chasing to achieve by the end of foundation phase of Sarvodaya Mission (2009-2033).
    BUT, the great disaster is: till the 4th center (a selfless kindness for everyone is the peculiar mark of a person whose kundalini is in 4th center, whereas in lower 3 centers/chakras, one is mostly selfish with almost everyone), kundalini keeps on moving from 4th to lower and from lower to 4th center regularly, depending on one’s brahmacharya level. If brahmacharya gets broken, kundalini falls down to lower chakras and then after some yoga-practice, it again ascends back to 4th center.
    And to make kundalini reach 5th center requires something which is a himalayana task – it requires absolute brahmacharya practice at the level of body (with the exception of loss through night fall and monthly period) and mind as well as strong yoga-practice for at least 12 years continuously. And the whole animal heritage of millions of past lives has to be faced during this process, which tries to disrupt brahmacharya practice in some way or the other. Many sincere spiritual aspirants also get trapped and get deceived by their own minds. But, this battle, which was extremely difficult for all past great ones and will continue to be difficult for all future great ones, has to be fought persistently and won ultimately by every spiritual aspirant.”

    Reply
  8. nizken

    Yes Sandeep, this indeed was the motivation behind asking you if he was married or not. Mike & Mark thank you for the quotes and info.
    I’ve seen some really conflicting reports about people in Auroville who had married at the age of 70 after a whole lifetime spent in practicing Yoga (50 yrs it seems!) and I’d become very confused if I was repressing my body unnecessarily. I’ve been trying really hard to control the sexual urge for the past 3 years now and my diet/lifestyle as well, ever since I started reading Sri Aurobindo & The Mother. Due to the huge volume of their writings and letters it is quite hard to find out what they said about each specific topic. But this blog is very helpful to me in this aspect which is why I regularly come here as well. However some sadhaks like Satprem had been married by the Mother. I find that a bit confusing to my mind.
    There is also many stories in Hindu Upanishads and Vedas etc of sages having a wife, and then the famous story of Vishwamitra whose tapasya suffered due to Menaka. All these tend to confuse me but I’m forcing myself to follow the modern sages instead.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Nizken: I’ve seen some really conflicting reports about people in Auroville who had married at the age of 70

      Generally speaking, Auroville was not intended to be a place for sadhana and all Aurovillians are not “sadhaks”.

      Nizken: and I’d become very confused if I was repressing my body unnecessarily.

      yes, you are…kidding 🙂

      If you keep working on transcending the urge now, you may succeed in the next life, but if you stop trying because its too hard, you may never succeed.

      A pertinent aphorism of Sri Aurobindo : Suffer yourself to be tempted within so that you may exhaust in the struggle your downward propensities. (No 244 in Section on Karma)

      Nizken: However some sadhaks like Satprem had been married by the Mother.

      Satprem had a past-life connection to his wife Sujata and was married for that reason.

      Reply
  9. mike

    l remember reading something by a sadhak at auroville some years ago. He said he was trying to conquer the sex-impulse and said it was a daily battle.
    And SA said the sex-impulse was the most difficult thing in human nature to overcome [letter’s on Yoga, l think].
    So Nizken, you’ve got a lot of company in trying to kick that habit.
    I’m pretty convinced that Kundalini definitely has something to do with it [although, l believe The Grace can remove all obstacles], as said in my post above, about the 5th chakra. ln SA’s Yoga the Force is supposed to descend downwards, but l’m not sure if the ascent of Kundalini Shakti through the chakra’s is needed too. He does say somewhere that both movements take place, so, l don’t know. ln my own case it disappeared after coming in contact with my Twinsoul or Shakti [quite sure of that]. l’ve said enough about that elsewhere, but some sort of chakra opening took place at ‘anahata’ and ‘ajna’ and the sex-impulse just dropped away, mysteriously [there are still remnants, but no more battles].

    Marriage has never interested me, but in the case of sadhaks like ‘satprem’ and ‘sujata’ [who were obviously Twinsouls] it was probably a ‘sacred marriage’ at the psychic level – being married by the Mother would suggest that l think….

    Reply
    1. mwb6119

      Mike Said

      “some sort of chakra opening took place at ‘anahata’ and ‘ajna’ and the sex-impulse just dropped away, mysteriously [there are still remnants, but no more battles].”

      I cannot track the energy movements in my case, but about one year ago the “sex impulse” mysteriously fell away. By mysteriously, I mean that suddenly a sort of window opened allowing me to take charge over the sexual impulses. It did take some effort, but overall, it was easy. Agreed, still remnants….

      Reply
    2. SomeSeeker

      Thats very interesting that ” ..the sex-impulse just dropped away ..”. Unfortunatley that happened not yet with me. But other habits have been removed in a similar way:
      The desire and habit of smoking dropped immediatly after a woman told me in a pub a comforting personal sentence; i had the feeling as if being in contact with the sense of my life and the desire for smoking was taken out of me like one takes out a worm from a fruit; this happened after several years of failed attempts to ged rid of smoking, i never met this woman again; So, maybe one just needs to keep up the struggle and one day you get the help to complete what you could not complete on your own?

      The addiction to coffee also left in a very strange way: Once i had the idea of making a big hike barfood over stony paths; for some hours i walked; suddenly it was to me as if i had the taste of all chemicals i ever had taken in in my whole life before, appeared in my mouth; i felt depressed and like poisened and did go in a hospital for investigation; they did throw me out saying, dont know what happened to you; then a friend told me: ” Your perceptions are just a cleansing – initiated by this barfood walk – of your body of all the stuff you had taken in years ago”.
      Tis suggestion was completely accepted by mind, vital and body and the depression changed into a great well-being and ecstasy, i realized, i felt soemthing through the heart that was blocked since decades, i walked around and felt sympathy for plants and stones and mud;
      later on i wanted to drink a coffee but it was impossible from now on; in my case, the coffee seemed to bar the heart from deeper feelings, i was scewed up in a very dry and hard intellectualism and unexpectedly freed from this in this strange way; So, sometimes we are freed even without personal effort; )

      Maybe because even free from tis stuff, there are still enough other things that demand our sincere fight …

      Reply
      1. Sandeep Post author

        i never met this woman again;

        thats a pity 🙂

        big hike barfood over stony paths

        I think you meant “barefoot” walk

      2. SomeSeeker

        Sure, it must be barefoot 😉 Yes, a great pity – i really would like to say “Thank You sooooo much !” –
        to that completely unknown woman who frees me from smoking within 2 seconds, just with a sentence; and i have a feeling that that effect was from her side totally unintentioned; though one must be careful, maybe i am just too ignorant and she was fully conscious of what she was doing; A pity, so far i met beings with whom i really had some contact, some intimacy, some effect on each other, some direct communication, some true mutuality, only in dreams or on this earth just for 2 seconds;
        Maybe it is, because i have first to find the instrument in me that is capable of this direct communication. the soul or psychic being.

      3. mwb6119

        from Sri Pandit:

        “For a man whose consciousness is rooted below in creature comforts—greed, for food, sex, comfortable life—certain things are pleasant. He feels they are good and he looks for them. For a man who has developed a little higher consciousness, he finds these things are dissipating, they sap his energies, they kill his time and he does not have a sense of development, of progress. For him they are not good. So what is normally pleasant turns out to be bad for the higher growth of the human consciousness. Everything has to be decided according to the level of consciousness where one dwells. What happens with most of the seekers is they know a thing is bad, wrong, but they can’t resist, they say ‘just this one more time.’ When it is shown and the consciousness appreciates that a thing is bad and one still goes after it, it is rank insincerity. And where there is insincerity there can’t be spiritual progress.
        This inability to distinguish automatically between what is good and what is not good is rooted in our vital desire. It is the ego, the desire-soul that decides what is good for it from its own standards. The true judgement, the true assessment of things can come only from the true soul, the psychic being or the purified mind which is open to the influence and the light of the soul. And the mind cannot be open to the light of the soul unless it is purified of its dross of desires at every level. Desire is the main source of conflict and the intention of purification is to get rid of this deformation imposed by the ego, to thin out slowly the entity called the desire soul so that the true being, the true center, the psychic being gradually comes forward and displaces the frontal ego and begins to function as the leader of the journey of our life.

        Desire is different from need, though the lower vital and the mind given to the vital interpret things to their own advantage. They always take every desire to be a true need. The ability to distinguish between need and desire can come only by a sustained action of purification. Desire is desire on whatever level it functions. For instance, a crude man who has a desire for food wants to eat; if you give anything to a child it wants to put it in its mouth. These are crude desires implanted by nature. Someone who is a little developed doesn’t care so much for such a desire as to get admiration from people, acquire control and influence over people. That is a vital desire. And then at the mental level one has, say, a greed for books. The Mother once said that greed is at the root of tumor. When some one died from tumor in the brain I got intrigued as to how it happened. The man was not an intellectual, not a scholar; his brain could have no greed. I asked the Mother how the tumor had to come to his brain. She said he had ambition—ambition to become a guru and a kind of thing. Greed comes when we try to acquire a thing of which we have no true need. Greed may be at any level; there may even be greed for spiritual progress—they want to storm the kingdom of heaven by violence, they do austerities, they do many things. Even spiritual wealth, spiritual progress can be gobbled up by the lower vital. Anything is fair enough; even spiritual gains are prostituted by the lower desire if it has not been got rid of. It lurks in so many forms and it keeps its individuality intact.

        You have to develop discrimination and for that there has to be sincerity; each one knows where one is sincere and not sincere. There is no dunce who does not know it. Everyone knows. There is something of a divine element in each person which points its finger, “this is right, this is not right for you.” One may pretend not to hear, one may say it is superstition, but everyone knows where he is sincere and where he is not. Unless there is this sincerity, discrimination cant’ function.” [Source: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 7 Purification-The Lower Mentality, pgs 72-74]

      4. Sandeep Post author

        “..For a man who has developed a little higher consciousness, he finds these things are dissipating, they sap his energies, they kill his time..”

        thanks mark! very apposite.

  10. mwb6119

    This brief letter always served me well:

    “To think too much of sex even for suppressing it makes it worse. You have to open more to positive experience. To spend all the time struggling. with the lover vital is a very slow method.” Letters on the Yoga III.

    Reply
  11. ankshitaprasad

    I had an interesting experience reading this. Perhaps I am the only one who did not get that it was a personal write-up! So I was under the impression that some extremely lucky sadhak was sharing his experiences with Sri Aurobindo.
    I respect your decision of not mentioning the irrelevant details and I am certainly not curious. Just wanted to understand how did I so strongly feel that it was Him.
    Maybe the answers lie within.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Ankshita: Just wanted to understand how did I so strongly feel that it was Him.

      Maybe because you skimmed the first paragraph or were misled by the ambiguous title and subsequent lack of personal details 🙂

      Reply
      1. ankshitaprasad

        Thanks. Yes,that was indeed what happened. But I was more intrigued by the vibrations. Not for once did I feel that it was not Him. Else,I would have scrolled up!

  12. nizken

    Are there any other gurus in India who may be worth looking at currently? I wonder if the Avatar and guru incarnations are still prevalent and if there are any living gurus or saints today whose initiation might be useful. I’ve heard about the “hugging saint” of Kerala and Sathya Sai Baba in recent years (but there are lots of accusations about Sai Baba from a lot of Indians!)
    The rest of the famous gurus or spiritual men like Yogananda, Meher Baba seem to have passed on and the Mother Mirra Alfassa seems to have been the most recent one to my knowledge. I don’t know anything about the spiritual tradition in India and if there are any other spiritual gurus out there (alive or deceased) hence I’m asking this question.

    I’m very interested to know if there are any genuine spiritual men or ashrams out there which may be worth taking a lot at., Or even books or other material from other gurus from the past. Thank you so much for all the help I get here Sandeep, Mike and all of you seekers!

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Nizken: Are there any other gurus in India who may be worth looking at currently?

      There is the old adage : When the disciple is ready, the Guru appears.

      You should be prepared for a lifelong struggle to find the ultimate Truth without a Guru. You may make many mistakes along the way but you have to perservere because one day assuredly the door will open.

      Or even books or other material from other gurus from the past

      Try Paul Brunton’s “Search in Secret India”

      Reply
      1. RJ

        So do you think there is no utility in searching for information about possible gurus? I suppose one is not likely to find one’s spiritual destiny as casually as one, say, looks up prospective colleges on a google search. But still. (Playing devil’s advocate to some extent, not sure that I have an opinion one way or the other.)

      2. Sandeep Post author

        It is possible that you may benefit from some of the existing Gurus but I dont want to get into the business of recommending anyone. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

      3. nizken

        Search in Secret India is an incredible read. I just finished the entire 310 page book in 3 days (nights actually lol). Are his other books which deal more specifically with “The Secret Path” and “OverSelf” etc also equally readable and informative? Paul Brunton seems to have a really nice mix of both rational critical thinking and an open-mind towards mysticism & Yoga. By the way I noticed in “The Notebooks of Paul Brunton” that he has written a section about Sri Aurobindo as well. Was he well acquainted with Pondicherry ashram and most other Indian gurus and spiritual men of that era? Is it worth reading all of Brunton’s writings and notebooks? He seems to cover almost all noted gurus in his notebooks (link provided below…)
        http://wisdomsgoldenrod.org/notebooks/15/2#section10

        Sandeep: What about the holy men and gurus post-Independence period, do you have any good sources or info about the current spiritual landscape of India?

      4. donsalmon

        Yes Paul Brunton is very interesting. You all may recall in Letters on Yoga, Book 1, Planes and Parts of the Being, Sri Aurobindo comments on Paul Brunton’s meditation instructions, and his use of the term “Oversoul” (not overself). (sorry, don’t have the page number here; it’s right near the beginning of that section, about 10-20 pages in?). Also, Brunton and Amal Kiran had a series of letter exchanges, published in Amal’s book “The Vision of Sri Aurobindo.” Brunton was critical of Sri Aurobindo’s conception of “matter” and Amal was critical of Brunton’s idea of “mentalism.” This exchange could serve as a model for Auroconf (!! – for example, talking in a calm, mature manner about the pros and cons of the Peter Heehs matter) as they start quite opposed but listen carefully and respectfully and just about come to a complete meeting of minds at the end. Amal rethinks Brunton’s idea of mentalism, and Brunton rethinks Sri Aurobindo’s idea of matter, and they come quite close at the end. This all too rarely happens in the Integral Yoga world:>))

        If you do want to understand Sri Aurobindo’s idea of matter before (I saw this with considerable irony), and you have a scholarly bent, you might enjoy the last 150 pages of “The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga” of Brunton. He’s presenting basically a Vedantic view, combined with the Citta-Matra view of the Buddhists, and bringing in a great deal of basic physiology and perceptual psychology (not entirely unlike the article Sandeep wrote on the epistemology of perception, and which was the underlying basis for our book on yoga psychology).

        I spent about 3 months in 1994 working my way through Brunton’s book, and when I finally dove in to study The Life Divine, in 1996, I found that I had been immensely helped by my study of Brunton. I have been rather amazed to discover the extent to which conventional materialistic views exist in the integral yoga community (among Indians as well as Europeans and Americans) and I think this is one of the single biggest stumbling blocks to understanding Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and can even be a huge stumbling block in meditation and other forms of spiritual practice.

        This goes back to the very first paragraph of “The Teaching of Sri Aurobindo” – as long as we take the appearance for the Reality it’s hard to make a sustained breakthrough, and establish ourselves in any dimension beyond the ordinary surface consciousness. If anybody claims he is open to the inner, or established in the psychic being, or functioning at the level of the higher, or intuitive mind (or beyond!) and believes in the inherent existence of non-conscious matter, they are either lying to you or deluding themselves.

      5. Kian

        Lol. I warned you about Auroconf, Don. My life has been much better since leaving that hopelessly benighted circus.

      6. donsalmon

        (note – I’m aware quite a few readers here don’t know much about Auroconf – it’s an online group of devotees of SrI Aurobindo – I’ll try to write this in a way that those not familiar with it will generally know what I’m talking about).

        Hi Kian:

        Nice to hear from you (drop us a line when you’re available – we’d love to get together to read Savitri). Actually, I’ve been enjoying auroconf very much, my criticism aside. I’m particularly impressed, quite regularly, by comments by Sandeep and Will Moss. Sandeep is not only an unusually intelligent writer (am I being too judgmental of Auroconf if I add, “unusually intelligent for Auroconf:>)) but – and I’m assuming he doesn’t have training in history or the humanities in general as a scholar – he writes like a well-disciplined scholar when it comes to historical or philosophic matters. Quite impressive.

        And I find Will to have an almost unerring intuition, plus a marvelous capacity to inject a note of sanity and balance in the midst of unruly arguments.

        But even the odd or antagonistic writers have much to teach me, I find. I’ve been pondering a rather remarkable letter from Rich Carlson (note for non-Auroconf folks – Rich and several other Integral Yoga students – I wouldn’t call them disciples or devotees, nor would they, I think – have taken to postmodern/literary theory in order to “critique” Sri Aurobindo. Rich’s letter, to my mind, portrayed Sri Aurobindo as a rather naive, early 20th century intellectual swept up in the currents of his time, which included a rather primitive notion of progress. Two world wars have, according to Rich, taught us how naive these ideas are, and now we no longer need to get caught up in what he refers to as “logocentric’ ideas like the Supermind. Apparently, Rich thinks that modern intellectuals are far superior to those inferior intellects that created the Vedanta and Buddhism (no, I’m not just inferring this from that letter; he has said as much elsewhere).

        Needless to say, I find this to be rather stunning cluelessness, but if I let go of my emotional reaction, I find it teaches me a great deal. It is actually extremely rare (which is why I’m about to praise Sandeep again, sorry Sandeep!) to find a well developed intellect hand in hand with a well developed intuition.

        In fact, I’m going to indulge in a bit of what some might call reverse chauvinism – I hope it’s permissible for me to do this. I agree with Aster Patel (a resident of Auroville) who told me back in 2001 that generally speaking, even among the intelligensia in India, there is a capacity for spiritual intuition that is often lacking in Western (or Westernized) intellectuals. I’ve often found that in talking to American disciples about a spiritualized or at least, intuitivized science, it’s like pulling teeth not to be drawn into intellectual hairsplitting. Whereas, I recall being quite astonished and relieved when I spent a month at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, talking to Indian disciples who knew at once what I was talking about.

        In fact, Jan and i became friends with the owner of a small clothing shop in Pondi (it was still “pondi” back then) and they invited us to their home for dinner. I recall talking with the father (who was from Kerela and a Christian, but had a marveously “Catholic” view of religion and saw no difference between the mystical God of Christianity and the Brahman) about various things related to Sri Aurobindo, science, spirituality and various political/sociological trends in India. It is quite rare (at least, for me, here in America) to have such a conversation with a person who is both very intelligent and also very intuitive.

        In fact, I’m just recalling a wonderful lunch I had with a chemistry professor at Marymount Manhattan College back in the 1980s, where I was teaching music for dance. We were talking about the foundations of science, and he told me about his professor back in Madras (it was Madras back then:>)) who taught him everything about science in the context of seeing it all – the laws of nature, chemical transformations, etc – as a manifestation of the Brahman.

        This is what I’ve always sought to do in writing about psychology, and it was just a joy to talk with him about this. I look forward to my trips to Auroville in the hopes that it might be easier to find such people, though as the Force works in strange and at times humorous ways, I imagine that once our attention is fully focused on the work of integrating psychology and spirituality (which I hope – I hope! – will be within the next 2-3 years) people will mysteriously and magically show up right here who will support us and who we can support in this work.

      7. Sandeep Post author

        Didn’t have time to respond here..

        Don: I recall talking with the father (who was from Kerela and a Christian, but had a marveously “Catholic” view of religion and saw no difference between the mystical God of Christianity and the Brahman) about various things related to Sri Aurobindo, science, spirituality and various political/sociological trends in India

        The Christian father that you spoke to might be benevolent and decent but Rajiv Malhotra who has studied Indian Christianity extensively might object to the false equivalence between the dualistic, exclusive and vengeful Christian God (with salvation only coming to those who accept Jesus as the saviour) and the concept of Brahman 🙂

        Christian missionaries in India have for decades followed a strategy called “inculturation” whereby they co-opt Hindu customs and imagery to make the ignorant masses comfortable before converting them into Christianity. They might dress up Mary as a Hindu Goddess, for example and adapt Hindu festivals to celebrate the life of Jesus and Mary (the same way they adopted Pagan festivals 2000 years ago to convert the Pagans around Galilee to Christianity). They convert poor tribals to Christianity by giving them food help – such Christians are called “Rice Christians” in India. They even claim that Christianity is a superset of Hinduism when it is not.

      8. Sandeep Post author

        I’m glad you are gone too, Kian. You are one of the few who could distinguish between my serious and humorous tone. Now I can write without fear of getting caught 🙂

      9. mwb6119

        Sandeep: “Now I can write without fear of getting caught :-)” You “pass” with flying colors. The more I read here (blogs and both author and readers comments) the deeper I am taken. … 🙂

      10. donsalmon

        hi sandeep – this is a reply to your commenta bout rajiv and christianity. Not quite sure if it will appear in a place on the webpage that makes sense, sorry

        About rajiv, he lies about almost everything, so I wouldn’t trust anything he says at this point. more on that some other time.

        Look, I agree with almost everything you say about the problems with Christianity in India, but why make eveyrthing black and white? I’m sure all you’re saying is true, but does that make it necessarily true about the family i spoke with?

        Besides, if you’re going to agree with Rajiv, you’ll have to disagree with Sri Aurobindo, who made exactly the same point I made about mystical Christianity (which, if you recall, was persecuted in the west for the past 2000 years). Sri Aurobindo spoke of mystics in the west realizing through bhakti almost identical spiritual realities (realizing a reality – sorry for the silly phrasing;>)) as yogis. This doesn’t lessen my sense of India as the “guru of the world” but to deny, as Rajiv does, ANYTHing similar ANYWHERE else is just plain childish – and worst of all, violates what is so wonderful about the best of Indian culture (by the way, I wrote this extensively to Rajiv during the few years I was associated with him and he always just changed the subject; you can’t imagine the extent to which he will twist and distort things to suit his own personal needs; and by the way, he has now, he says, “reinvented himself” as he put it to me, so all that old stuff he wrote about is past history).

        The family I met with was talking about the mystical Godhead, not the silly dualistic nonsense which is not what Jesus (or whoever was teaching at the time) really taught. Sri Aurobindo said that Mahayana Buddhist influence on Judaism and Greek Philosophy is what is responsible for the best of Christianity. if we don’t resort to black and white assumptions, I think we can appreciate what an Indian family in Pondicherry saw as a universal Truth, and still respect India for respresenting that Truth in a way unique to any culture in history.

      11. mike

        l think we have to be careful about believing everything Brunton says, in light of what SA said about him. lt’s been discussed here in another thread. Here’s a bit of that conversation:

        https://auromere.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/receiving-guidance-from-masters-of-a-bygone-age/

        “SATYENDRA (after a pause): He says he has plumbed the depths of Yoga. At the beginning he made some foolish exaggerations about the claims of Yoga.

        SRI AUROBINDO: They were not foolish but deliberate exaggerations with plenty of imagination. He wrote with an eye to the reading public.

        Page-272

        SATYENDRA: He says he has given up his search for Yoga as he has plumbed its depths.

        SRI AUROBINDO: Yes, he wants to include Yoga in the educational curriculum. A queer affair, this European mind!

        SATYENDRA: He himself has gone in for several superficial things, magic, occult phenomena, etc. His book on Egypt has a lot of that stuff. He speaks of an Egyptian he met on the top of a hill, who prophesied the destruction of Europe.

        SRI AUROBINDO: That man 1200 years old, who had an Oxford accent in his speech? There was no Oxford accent 1200 years ago. It may be Paul Brunton’s own Egyptian self and hence the accent. That book on Egypt is—(Sri Aurobindo began to shake his head). All the same, he had some sincere seeking for Yoga. It was spoiled by all sorts of people. He ought to have left everything in the hands of Maharshi.”

      12. donsalmon

        Mike – did you think I was suggesting taking everything Brunton says at face value? Did it come across that way to anybody else? if so, I’m sorry. I would think that discernment is required for reading anybody, even Mother and Sri Aurobindo. many people read some suggestion in Letters on Yoga and try to apply it, forgetting that Sri Aurobindo was talking to a specific person at a specific time and place. He wouldn’t even necessarily make the same suggestion to that person a few years (or weeks!) later.

        All I was saying was that one of Sri Aurobindo’s leading disciples felt positive enough about Brunton that he corresponded with him at some length. I also mentioned – I don’t know if you were taking this into account – that Amal disagreed with Brunton as well.

        I hope I didn’t misunderstand you. I just wanted to caution against too much black and white thinking.

      13. donsalmon

        and just to add some more discernment and refinement to the previous response, in this particular post Sri Aurobindo was talking specifically about Brunton’s book, “Search in Secret Egypt. I’ve seen that book – I always thought it was a silly, overblown book, and that Brunton was quite immature and very much a beginner on the spiritual path when he wrote it.

        So again, I would be careful of such broad generalizations such as “we should be careful of [everything??] Brunton’s writing”, when the quotation you cited was just in regard to one particular book. Sri Aurobindo himself wrote a book (“yoga and its objects”) which he disavowed later – would it be fair for someone to say, “be careful of what Sri Aurobindo wrote” because of the limitations of that early book?

        In fact, I dare say that every single person here could find at least one worthwhile sentence in Peter Heehs’ writings. In fact, we might take a leaf from the Mother – do you remember the exercise she gave in Her writings on education? I think it might be good to (this is a joke) desubscribe everybody from Auroconf and not allow anybody back on until they’ve practiced this exercise in relation to the 10 most controversial topics in the Yoga:

        Take some idea or topic. Articulate as clearly as possible your thesis (technically, your “philosophic argument”). Then articulate just as clearly – calmly, without being emotionally reactive – the antithesis. Then come up with a synthesis from a higher (still mental, I think, is acceptable, if you can’t go any higher or deeper) level.

        Example;

        THESIS: Peter Heehs’ wrote a book that presents one of the more acceptable (within the scholarly world) presentations of Sri Aurobindo, who is generally looked on quite negatively in mainstream religion and philosophy departments (just as much in India as elsewhere).

        ANTITHESIS: Peter Heehs’, as an Ashram resident, wrote an outrageous book of poor scholarly quality which was profoundly disrespectful of Sri Aurobindo and thus is not fit to continue being an Ashram resident.

        SYNTHESIS:

        (whoever is able to come up with a synthesis will be allowed to rejoin Auroconf:>))))))))))) (and even if you come up with a synthesis but are emotionally reactive about the exercise, you still can’t come back on Auroconf!!!!!#@#$#%@#$!!!!:>))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    1. mwb6119

      Mike: re: “…your soul will lead you.”

      from Savitri Part Two, Book Seven, Canto One:
      “His fate within him shapes and acts and rules;
      Its face and form already are born in him,
      Its parentage is in his secret soul:
      Here matter seems to mould the body’s life
      And the soul follows where its nature drives.
      Nature and Fate compel his free-will’s choice.
      But greater spirits this balance can reverse
      And make the soul the artist of its fate.
      This is the mystic truth our ignorance hides:
      Doom is the passage for our inborn force,
      Our ordeal is our being’s own decree.
      Ananke is out being’s own decree.”

      Peace.

      Reply
  13. mike

    “But greater spirits this balance can reverse
    And make the soul the artist of its fate”

    Thanks mark, l suppose ‘greater spirits’ might indicate an ‘old’ or mature soul. A soul that’s awake will obvious;y have a more direct influence on the outer nature. l think, according to Mother, most people’s soul’s are in a state of ‘slumber’.

    “Ananke is out being’s own decree”

    l thought ‘Ananke’ that was a typo at first, because l’ve never heard the name. But, it appears to be the personification of Destiny or Fate.
    “Ananke (mythology), in Greek mythology, the mother of the Moirai and Adrasteia, Goddess of destiny, necessity, and fate.”

    l think ‘out’ is a typo, though – it should be ‘our’. That threw me lol….

    Reply
    1. mwb6119

      Mike: ‘Ananke’ threw me too; relates to karma as well. *See: “Savitri – Karma – Fate – Necessity – Providence: Sri Aurobindo”

      Yes, I caught the typo afterwards. LOL. No means to correct after posting.

      Reply
      1. Sandeep Post author

        Mark,

        I didn’t remove anything. Your comments are posted immediately unmoderated.

        When WordPress suspects that a URL within a comment maybe spam, it automatically holds the comment for approval.

    1. mwb6119

      You’re Welcome Mike. My initial intent was one of support, rather than criticism. 🙂 Hope I was clear.

      By the way, I wonder why a topic like this begins to open up (it started with “your soul will lead you”) … several times today I have found the topic (specifically soul-development) as I randomly peruse certain texts of SA’s. I do not have the innate skills of a researcher so it is a surprise when this happens. And then I am not sure what to do with the information since I am not actually researching the topic: it seems such a waste to just push it all aside. For a person like yourself, i.e., quite gifted, I wonder what you do in this event? With SA’s writings, I am usually well over my head: my ability to perform any such coordinated study is beyond my present capabilities, as well, I am not interested in the actual study thereof although I do enjoy the discussion/s here and Sandeep’s blogs. Regarding the over all influence from SA and M’s writings, they meet my interior being rather than information accumulating in memory for whatever service it may render. Most people I meet that are drawn to the likes of SA and M are usually gifted intellectually and fewer like myself. For instance, during my Master’s studies, specifically one course in philosophy, I could not describe in words what I had read on the topic, but I could draw a picture of it. A person I shared it with, who was adept, understood my picture. You might say I have a communications problem 😉 . In my garden is a sculpture I built about ten years ago. It is symbolic of the transformational course my life has taken. It is sort of a symbolic map of the process and journey. I did not plan this image, it came spontaneously. And I didn’t really understand it immediately, the meaning unfolded gradually and now its meaning is quite obvious. It had even been foretelling. … Any insights? Thanks!

      Reply
  14. mike

    Thanks for the link mark.Yes the brain-stuff is interesting, and l’ve noticed personally how an understanding of a subject or whatever l’m studying, will come long after l’ve forgotten about it. l remember reading by SA, l think [not sure if it was mentioned in that brain link] how that everytime we absorb new information, the brain creates a new cells to assimilate it – this could be why it takes some time to understand the new information – because it hasn’t at the time of reception, created the necessary brain cells to accomodate it….

    “By the way, I wonder why a topic like this begins to open up (it started with “your soul will lead you”) … several times today I have found the topic (specifically soul-development) as I randomly peruse certain texts of SA’s. I do not have the innate skills of a researcher so it is a surprise when this happens”

    Yes, l’m constantly surprised at how l’m led to things in this way. Mostly l’m led to something l’ve been researching, and in quite mysterious ways, without any effort on my part – usually not where l’ve been looking at all. Othertimes, l’m led to knowledge, as you say, which is totally unrelated to what l’m looking for, but turns out to be significant in some way.
    lt’s usually termed Synchronicity – sandeep posted something about ths here which was interesting.

    Definition: “Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently unrelated, yet are experienced as occurring together in a meaningful manner”

    l get these synch’s, as their called, with all sorts of things, not just Yoga. ln the Twinsoul experience l’ve described before, l was getting a constant barrage on a daily basis – not so much now..

    ln your case, though, when perusing SA’s texts, something is obviously guiding you to those revelations for some reason. Your Psychic or some part of the ‘inner being’ is directing you to those passages. l don’t think it’s just subconscious association.

    Reply
    1. mwb6119

      Thanks very much Mike.

      “l remember reading by SA, l think [not sure if it was mentioned in that brain link] how that everytime we absorb new information, the brain creates a new cells to assimilate it – this could be why it takes some time to understand the new information – because it hasn’t at the time of reception, created the necessary brain cells to accomodate it….”

      Yes, something to do with the development of new neural-pathways. I know that this was in fact the result of my initially being able to understand SA and M’s teaching. And even when I was struggling to learn, there was strong direction from SA and M to continue reading even though I was not understanding fully.

      Yes, I do understand Sycnhconicity, while in school I studied Carl Jung’s works in some depth. … I may have missed/forgotten your Twinsoul experiences… sorry….

      “ln your case, though, when perusing SA’s texts, something is obviously guiding you to those revelations for some reason. Your Psychic or some part of the ‘inner being’ is directing you to those passages. l don’t think it’s just subconscious association.”

      Yes, clearly not a “subconscious association.” And these experiences come and go, now quite strong for some reason. When reading there is a direct link between “I” and “soul.” And there is an invisible link transferring the messages to the inner-being. And mentally, I think I have to copy all this down and write a book about it. But always, I just let it go partly due to incompetence or lack of initiative…. …My austerities, or disciplines, are all based in reading. That is mostly what I do apart from concentration and prayer. But a lot of observation and concentration. Usually, I am moved to read, and that impression is very soft or silent and does not feel like a loud voice from the Heavens directing me to read, but it is more so silent: how you might be sitting idle and suddenly you are impressed to read a certain topic or reminded of something you have previously read followed by the need to look it up and reread those lines again. I believe it is my contact with SA and M, that is how they talk to me – a subtle message I can feel is meeting something inside. But none of this is recorded, or categorized, nor outlined for research – not yet anyways.

      Reply
  15. mike

    Donsalmon, sorry about that. l thought l’d replied to Nizken but somehow it ended up under your post – though, l certainly don’t want to appear patronizing lol. l though Nizken should be aware of the other side of Paul Brunton, just to balance opinions. l was simply trying to create an awareness, because we can’t really discriminate without access to all the relevants facts.
    l think my generalisation stands, because l dont think Brunton’s views changed all that much in his later writings [and considering he believed world war 3 would break out in 1956 – might not be here or there but still, it adds doubt… could be wrong about him, though], certainly not as much as SA after His major realisations – which is why He discarded His earlier works, l think.
    l agree, nothing is ever ‘black and white’ in this area, and l certain haven’t walked in P.Brunton’s shoes, so l can’t judge his level of realisation or how much Truth appears in his writings. But, l think it goes beyond just the ‘one book’ because of the statement made by SA above:

    “It was spoiled by all sorts of people. He ought to have left everything in the hands of Maharshi.”

    l could be reading it wrong, and l have read quite lot of Brunton’s stuff, albeit a while ago, but l don’t think he can be taken too seriously. Even his leading disciple [heir apparent] became disillusioned with him:
    “Masson subsequently became proficient at Sanskrit, and stated that Brunton did not have the facility with the language that he claimed.[14] He wrote a scathingly critical account of Brunton titled My Father’s Guru: A Journey Through Spirituality and Disillusion”.

    As for Heehs, l can’t really take him seriously, either – too mundane for my tastes. l haven’t read the book, and l think SA and M are probably having a good laugh at all the fuss and misunderstanding.. But l did read the balanced [l think lol] and synthetized account given by Alan Kazlev on this book at:
    http://www.kheper.net/topics/Aurobindo/Lives_of_Sri_Aurobindo.html

    l also read a nice critique, which l believe was written by sandeep on another site [sandeep might verify this]. lt was well-balanced IMO….

    Anyways, best of luck Don….

    Reply
  16. donsalmon

    Thanks Mike. I was just offering what I thought was also a balanced view:>)) (though I’m not sure who you thought Brunton’s major disciple was; his “heir” as teacher was Anthony Damiani, who never disowned him). Anyway, I was recommending Brunton primarily as an aid in something I’m very interested in, challenging materialism in science.

    As for Peter, I’ve spoken with him personally. he told me both in 1989 and 2001 that he had a purely intellectual interest in Sri Aurobindo, having neither had any kind of spiritual experience nor any interest in it. It shows in his books, so why all the fuss? He never made any pretense to be otherwise. He’s written nonsense about Sri Aurobindo, but that’s what all the scholars do. For my money, what Stephen Phillips has done, completely mangling every idea and point in The Life Divine, is infinitely more pernicious than anything Heehs has done. Phillips has academic ‘credentials” that Peter can’t pretend to have. Even Malhotra and his erstwhile Infinity Foundation have been taken in by Phillips. I know it doesn’t really matter in terms of our individual sadhana/practice, but Sri Aurobindo, in the Human Cycle, said at one point the ***single most important** thing that can happen to move us toward a truly spiritual age is for “the mental mind of humanity” to accept a genuinely spiritual vision. People like Phillips, with much influence and nil understanding, do a great deal of harm in terms of what Sri Aurobindo called for.

    yes, I know, ultimately She is in charge and it is not for us to worry about. And I’m not worried.

    As they say, “jes sayin’

    Reply
  17. mike

    Yes Don, l remember SA saying something like – ‘you can’t understand the Life Divine’ with the intellect’. He might have been referring to aldous huxley, who criticised it at some point – at least l recall reading that in huxley’s Letters.

    l got the info about Brunton’s disciple [should have said potential heir] from wikipaedia [probably all wrong lol]:
    “In the 1940s and 1950s, Brunton lived with American author and former psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson, the son of a Jewish American friend of Brunton,[12] as Masson’s parents were among a handful of Brunton’s close disciples. Initially influenced by Brunton, Masson gradually became disillusioned with him. According to Masson, Brunton singled him out as a potential heir to his spiritual kingdom. In 1956, Brunton decided that a third world war was imminent and the Massons moved to Montevideo, since this location was considered safe. From Uruguay, Masson went at Brunton’s bidding to study Sanskrit at Harvard. Brunton himself did not move to South America, instead spending some time living in New Zealand.[13] Masson subsequently became proficient at Sanskrit, and stated that Brunton did not have the facility with the language that he claimed.[14] He wrote a scathingly critical account of Brunton titled My Father’s Guru: A Journey Through Spirituality and Disillusion.”

    “As for Peter, I’ve spoken with him personally. he told me both in 1989 and 2001 that he had a purely intellectual interest in Sri Aurobindo, having neither had any kind of spiritual experience nor any interest in it”

    lt’s almost beyond comprehension that someone who was at the ashram for all that time and in such close proximity to SA and M never had an experience. l mean you’d have to be completely shut off and impenetrable. l wouldn’t have thought it was possible lol. Just goes to show how physical nearness to the Guru doesn’t always produce results – openness is perhaps the main ingredient, it seems..

    “but Sri Aurobindo, in the Human Cycle, said at one point the ***single most important** thing that can happen to move us toward a truly spiritual age is for “the mental mind of humanity” to accept a genuinely spiritual vision”

    Yes l like that 🙂

    Reply
    1. donsalmon

      Thanks Mike (and thanks for being an unwitting support in my procrastination. We’re making a video on the brain and our voices were about 20 milliseconds off, and I’ve been spending the afternoon cutting up the digital file and nudging it a few ms’ this way and a few ms’ that. More fun to write about yoga:>)

      In fairness, perhaps Peter was being modest. Personally, my sense of him in 1989 was he was a very angry person who was (sincerely) endeavoring to come to terms with it. Based on what he told me about how he wanted to write about Sri Aurobindo (i’m not divulging any personal story; he told this to me in the company of others) I told him, “you know, if you are living at the Ashram and want to write about Sri Aurobindo as a regular scholar, you’re going to cause a lot of trouble. and it may come back to haunt you.” He didn’t seem to care.

      I do think that the “vibration” (forgive the New Age term, if you will) he carried around along with his conscious intention in writing as well as his ambition to be a recognized scholar – all of this together drew everything on him that I had expected. When I first heard about this controversy a few years ago, I wasn’t the least bit surprised, given what I knew about Peter.

      I’m glad you like that last comment. Sometimes, in the integral Yoga world, I almost wish we could have a temporary moratorium on all the big words (subliminal, psychic being, supramental, etc) and just practice being normal, thoughtful, kind, compassionate people. It might be an enormous step forward in the evolution of the IY community. Start with where we’re at – for most of us – in the “ordinary mental mind” – and though we may have a large, profound, even infinite vision – with great humility and sincerity, take very small steps toward being just a slight bit more mindful in our dealings with each other (I’m talking about me as much or more than anybody else!!!) – well, I think that would be nice.

      Reply
  18. V. Arvind

    Nolini Kanta Gupta in the chapted titled “What is to be Done?” in his little book “The Mothe Abides” says something similar. Here is the quote from the online version at the ashram website:

    For those who really want a spiritual consciousness, a spiritual mode of life, those who truly want to prepare themselves for greater ends, well, they have to take a serious look at things. For them it is a sadhana, a true endeavour, a conscious preparation. For them it will be better to forget all the big words—the big words like Supermind, Overmind, Higher Mind, etc. We no longer have the right to discuss them, to chat over them. They are dreams, beautiful dreams, but out of our reach. They belong to Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo has himself said

    I have gathered my dreams in a silver air

    Between the gold and the blu

    And wrapped them softly and left them there,

    My jewelled dreams of you.

    “A God’s Labour”

    Page-63

    Sri Aurobindo has woven those dreams with Mother, and they have kept them carefully and safely in themselves. It is in the Overmind they are kept; it is their work, their affair, we have nothing to do with that. Those dreams Mother has gathered in her own bosom; they will materialise in their own time according to their own rhythm.
    Yes, we need not bother about them. Better let us look at ourselves, admit honestly that we are in our nature and consciousness, in our mode of life, animals, nay beasts; we are at the lowest rung of the ladder of consciousness. And we must start our work from there, from the bottom. It is the utmost physical consciousness; in the absence of Mother’s physical body we have plunged straight into the bog, into the mire of crude physical existence. So we have to start the work of purification from that level, from the consciousness identified with the body; we must try to do the cleansing of the body and the vital. Mind? Oh, mind too, the higher levels of mind, the mental proper, that is too high for us. We may think of it much later.

    Reply
    1. donsalmon

      A wonderful quote from Nolini, though I suspect he was addressing himself in a bit of an extreme fashion to the many in the Ashram who – because of their close association with Mother and Sri Aurobindo – seemed to think that somehow just by close proximity, without doing any (or very little) work on themselves, were entitled to speak of such high things.

      His comment about being honest, seeing how much of the tamasic and rajasic, how much our inner selves are slaves to the “sudra” in us, the “physical man” that Sri Aurobindo often spoke of, is wonderful, and perhaps should be attached to every letter sent to Auroconf (the online IY list) so we can all remember this.

      On the other hand, to put a little balance into this, I suspect also (and in fact Nolini’s writings bear this out- particularly his wonderful volume 3, The Yoga Of Sri Aurobindo) that a fairly large number of IY disciples were at least capable of functioning – at times?? – on the level of the mind proper (though again, to go back in the other direction, if you follow the conversations at Auroconf, it is true that there are times you wish one could ban all the big words – overmind, super mind, even psychic being – in the interest of simply having a reasonable conversation.

      Paul Molinari, having worked with world class scientists for many years, wrote an impassioned letter to this effect a few weeks ago, and caused quite a stir, but I thought it was a refreshing bit of sattwic aspiration (no doubt with some rajasic irritation – good natured as it was in intention, I think – thrown in:>))

      Thanks for that passage.

      Reply
  19. mike

    We need these ‘Words’ as a reference point within the terminology of the Yoga, obviously, but of course they are just ‘Words’ in the end, and not the realisations they refer to. Too much talk about these Higher things is alright as an intellectual exercise, but it can never replace the actual experience – which is inexpressible anyway….

    “Yes, we need not bother about them. Better let us look at ourselves, admit honestly that we are in our nature and consciousness, in our mode of life, animals, nay beasts; we are at the lowest rung of the ladder of consciousness. And we must start our work from there, from the bottom. It is the utmost physical consciousness; in the absence of Mother’s physical body we have plunged straight into the bog, into the mire of crude physical existence”

    That sounds a bit depressing lol.
    Personally, l don’t feel the physical ‘absence’ of SA and M is a problem. They are always available IMO. Perhaps, those who lived in ‘close proxity’ for all those years became too dependent on the the ‘physical’ presence – l don’t really understand what Nolini is getting at. Those without realisation have always been plunged in the bog of crude physical existence, whether in the company of Great Sages or not….

    Reply
    1. donsalmon

      I’m not sure that Nolini’s point is to avoid overintellectualizing those higher spiritual realities. I thought his point was (and if it’s not, it’s still a great point). that we have a LOT to do in terms of purifying the ordinary surface consciousness.

      Maybe it would be easier to put it in incredibly everyday, normal, superficial language.
      Let’s say I’m irritated at someone. In fact, I have a habit of getting irritated at them. This happens when I talk to them in person and when I write on line. Since we’re online now, let’s take the 2nd example.

      Let’s say we’re here on this blog. Every time Joe writes a comment (there’s nobody named Joe here, is there?) I find myself getting just slightly irritated.

      Now, I think the habit that Nolini is talking about (which, you may recall, Sri Aurobindo wrote about repeatedly in many, many letters) is the habit of disciples or aspiring yogis thinking they are way way way more advanced than they are. (the Mother wrote about this too – in Her initial essay on education, how many who think of themselves as pure materialists, who would be enraged to hear any talk of “spirit” or “yoga”, are far more advanced on the road to perfection than many who call themselves “yogis” or throw around big words like “surrender” , “Shakti”, “overmind”, etc.)

      So the (alleged, or self deceived) yogi might say, “Well, I just need to “surrender” that irritation to Mother.” Or, “I’l just go inside to my (emphasis on “my”) psychic, and watch the irritation and not be bothered by it; I’ll let go of my ‘attachment” to it” (and then he continues to act out his irritation in his outer behavior without having changed a thing).

      Whereas the materialist might say, “Oh, I have this habit of acting with irritation. I will look at it closely, and change my thinking. Let me reflect on my attitudes toward Joe, and see where I have an internal distortion in my thoughts and attitudes. And now I’ll make an extra effort to respond with calmness, and equanimity to Joe’s comments, though I’ll remain vigilant to see that I am not fooling myself.’

      That, I think, is what Nolini is talking about. I’ve never been part of any spiritual commnity where this kind of “spiritual bypassing” doesn’t take place – many people have talked about it, from Christians to Sufis to Buddhists to Hindus. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so widespread and so prevalent as in the Integral yoga community. I don’t quite know why this is, but my suspicion is that Mother and Sri Aurobindo were so great, and talking at such a high level, that people who follow them often feel that, well, just being associated with them is enough, that will transform my nature and I don’t have to do anything but (in my vital mind) surrender to Them.

      I remember one person (won’t give any clues as to who) who had an incredibly tamasic nature. There were some errands she had to run, and some people were counting on her, but she just didn’t feel like going out that day. Late in the morning, it started to rain, so she concluded, “Oh, Mother must not have wanted me to go out and do the errands.”

      Do you remember Sri Aurobindo’s 1934 letter on this? Someone had written to him saying lots of disciples in the Ashram were putting down other spiritual groups, saying, “Oh, they only have attained Nirvana, or only realized the Self, that’s not such a high stage, that’s only for beginners”.

      Sri Aurobindo was, to put it mildly, quite amused. “Not such a high stage??? Are all the sadhaks, then, realized yogis?”

      The Mother, far more often, talks to the children about the most simple, everyday, ordinary things that most people outside the yoga take for granted but somehow, because we are in “THE” yoga, we only have to “surrender” and all will be taken care of . Sri Aurobindo spoke of this “tamasic” idea of surrender in “The Mother.’

      I think all of this is implied in Nolini’s passage, which is why I think it should be engraved in all Integral Yoga blogs, websites and online groups (just kidding; but it would be nice if people paid more attention to these simple, everyday things. Just think what it would be for the community if we could talk about Peter Heehs in a calm, mature, adult manner. You don’t need to be a yogi to do that, and look how everyone on both sides talks like hurt, wounded 4 year old children. Peter seems to be a lightning rod for all of our worst qualities, and i would hope if one good thing could come out of this whole mess, it’s we would stop taking sides and blaming the insensitive Westerners or the cultish trustees or that nasty old Peter and instead, blame the real culprit, the separative ego, which is in essence, the same problem we all have. This way we’re all on the same side and we all face the same problem, together, as One.

      Reply
  20. mike

    “So the (alleged, or self deceived) yogi might say, “Well, I just need to “surrender” that irritation to Mother.” Or, “I’l just go inside to my (emphasis on “my”) psychic, and watch the irritation and not be bothered by it; I’ll let go of my ‘attachment” to it” (and then he continues to act out his irritation in his outer behavior without having changed a thing).”

    Yes, that is a totally wrong attitude, obviously. lt’s like a catholic going to the confessional, confessing his sins, saying a few hail mary’s, and continuing to act in the same way. lt should be like when Christ said to mary magdalene – ‘go and sin no more’. Although, lf someone let’s go of the attachment completely [difficult] l can’t see how that behaviour would continue. lf their trying to detach themselves from the problem, l don’t think they’d want to allow it in their outer behaviour – surely it would lead to a fundamental change in behaviour.
    And yes, Tamasic Surrender is definitely a danger on the Path. To think that any action we decide is some kind of Adesh from Above [aka SA and M] is delusional. We have to use common-sense.

    “Do you remember Sri Aurobindo’s 1934 letter on this? Someone had written to him saying lots of disciples in the Ashram were putting down other spiritual groups, saying, “Oh, they only have attained Nirvana, or only realized the Self, that’s not such a high stage, that’s only for beginners”.”

    A statement like that is obviously arrogant and misguided, no doubt. We know that Self-Realisation was only the beginning of SA’s Yoga, but only a self-important fool could say such a thing, because they would be comparing themselves to a Buddha or a Ramana – and they were very great souls.

    But, l get the impression that Nolini was hiding something in his statement.
    After Mother’s departure a lot of the leading lights at the ashram believed that the Supramental Tranformation in the Physical had been ‘postponed’ – Nolini made a statement to that effect. So, in his original statement posted above, it sounds like he’s just telling people to forget any kind of Higher Realisation [we can only clean up the lower nature – nothing else] because no-one except SA and M is ever capable of achieving that, and since they’re no longer here, all we can do is live in the ‘bog’ lol.

    From Satprem’s notebooks:
    “March 15, 1974
    The “inoculation” is effective. (Written) declaration from Nolini: “The immediate programme of a physical transformation is postponed … The earth-consciousness was not quite ready for the final transformation of the Mother’s body, that is to say, the material substance of the body. Therefore it could not accommodate the incoming transforming force — and it broke.”
    The falsehood.

    Also, lt seems Nolini had no faith in the Agenda:

    One year later, on February 21, 1982, Nolini, the oldest disciple and Secretary of the Ashram after Mother’s departure, would officially declare to the Governor of Pondicherry: “The Agenda presents no real aspect of the Mother. It gives only some distorted and scattered and out of focus snaps of her most external life”.

    According to Satprem the work went on afer Mother’s departure:
    “November 18, 1973

    I have hardly sat down in front of this body… when Nolini17 sends for me. I refuse to translate Nolini’s “message”: “Her body was not meant to be the New Body.”

    While Mother is lying there, in the midst of the crowd, in that “meditation hall” where they have carried her down only a few hours after she left, I hear a formidable sound pealing over the universe:

    no obstacle — nothing impedes
    no obstacle — nothing impedes…”

    Sorry if l’ve digressed a bit lol….

    Reply
    1. donsalmon

      Yes he might have been. MaybeI’m reading my own concern into it – I’ve just seen so much “spiritual bypassing’ that I like to talk about the everyday stuff at least at a ratio of 10:1 compared to the “big” stuff (i.e. supramental, self realization, etc)

      Reply
  21. mike

    ln response to the christian theme by Sandeep and Don.

    Yes, so-called exoteric christian missionaries around the world have caused more harm than good IMO. The Mother’s admonition of a christian missionary heading off to china to convert the masses, comes to mind lol.
    Don’s christian friend sounds more like one of the esoteric gnostic types of christian – probably True Christians.
    l’ve come across these gnostic christians in the form of Daskalos – the famous christian mystic from cyprus, who had very similar abilities to the Mother from an early age – as described in the book ‘The Magus of Strovolos’ – although Daskalos didn’t like the term ‘Magus’, l believe. He was persecuted most of his life by the orthodox church, from what l remember.
    He apparently had the ability to remember all His past lives and He describes what actually happened at the time of Christ – He wrote a book of His own about what he says was the true life of Christ at the time.
    “Joshua Emmanuel the Christ, the God-man, was preaching all this to His disciple-healers. He didn’t have only 12 disciples, He had thousands of Israelites and Essenes teaching them healing and preaching them the Reality. Talking about His Father and our Father, Joshua Emmanuel the Godman, used to call Him “Allaha”.

    Now, what you call Jesus, He and His family and most of His disciples were Essenes, they were not Jews. What were the Essenes? The Essenes appear in Egypt as descendants of the worshippers, Israelites and Greeks (in Egypt), believing in Aton, the one Spirit-God which the pharaoh Ankhenaton, breaking the idols, declared as the real God. For centuries there was a fight between the old religion of the gods, the idols, and the one God, the Spirit-God, the God of the heavens and of the earth.

    So, we find the Essenes in Egypt. They included the Greek-speaking Israelites who remained in Egypt and also the Egyptians. The language the Essenes were speaking was Greek and Aramaic. The Aramaic language came from the Egyptian language. So, these Essenes were in Egypt, but also in Palestine, in Cyprus, in Asia Minor and in Mesopotamia. They existed worshipping the one God the Father, the benevolent Father.

    At that time they had three religions. The Greek idolaters worshipping idols, false gods, the Greeks and Romans. Then we have the Essenes believing in a God, calling him in Greek “Theos” and in Aramaic “Allaha”. They believed in a God the Father in Spirit, the merciful, loving God. And the Israelites who were worshipping and believing in one Spirit-God also, but a God of vengeance. The difference between the Essenes and the Israelites was that the Essenes believed in Allaha, a benevolent Father, while the Israelites believed in a powerful vengeful God, who was claiming blood sacrifices.

    They both believed in one and the same Allaha, but, while the Essenes were considering the Israelites their brothers, the Israelites were considering the Essenes heretics. Why? Because they made reforms – no blood sacrifices. Not the God of Moses who in the old times was even claiming human sacrifices. You may find it in the Old Testament. Ibrahim or Abraham had to sacrifice Ishak or Isaac. Then later, another biblical personality had to sacrifice his only daughter by burning. Reading the Old Testament you may find such cases. So, there was a great difference between the Allaha of the Essenes and the Allaha of the Israelites.

    Now, though the Essenes were loving the Israelites, the Israelites were considering them heretics. They were killing them by stoning and, as they have done to Joshua Emmanuel the Christ, by crucifying them. Of course, this crucifixion of the Godman created, after a certain time, the claim that Joshua Emmanuel the Christ was a man who lost his powers, treating the crucifixion as the weakness of a human being. Even Caiaphas was provoking Him in front of the guards. He heard all, he acknowledged the miracles that Joshua was doing, and he was not helping himself at that time. But, for the Essenes it was not the weakness of a human being, of the Son of Man, it was the triumph of the Godman.

    If you read the New Testament you’ll find in many cases that He spoke about His crucifixion. In one case, when Petros asked Him, “Why do you not go to Syria not to be in the power of the Jews, of the Sanhedrin?”, He said, “It is for this hour that I have come, to prove that what I am teaching is true. The material body is not me. Your material body is not you. Don’t be afraid of those who can kill your material body, they can do nothing to your Soul Ego-Self. Here is this body. They’ll crucify it.” They wounded His body very badly as he had foreseen and foretold. “In three days I will heal it and raise it up”. Which he did. So, he had proved practically the truth of His saying and He remained with His disciples and those believing in Him for another fifty days, showing the signs from the wounds on the legs and eating with them. “Here is my material body. They have crucified it, but that is not myself.”

    Reply
    1. donsalmon

      not sure again, where to put this, but I think this is so simple, no need to complicate it. in response to a disciple who wondered if Europeans could practice yoga, sri A simply said it’s been done for centuries, that mystics in the west – jewish, christian and sufi – had practiced disciplines virtually identical to those of yoga and had genuine realizations.

      Why make a big deal of this? and how is it relevant to our present times? We live in a time when we’re fast transcending old distinctions of east and west. Indian medical students I interned with at a NJ medical center ridiculed yoga and meditation and thought it was all ancient nonsense, whereas Canadians and South Americans and Germans I’ve met have great reverenence for it. Shall we make a genearlization? Why is this all so important? As I said, I like the title “Guru of the world’ for India, and think there’s some place for letting people know the genuine spiritual worth that has come uniquely out of India, but it’s the 21st century.

      The world is one (not spiritually, but at least on the surface), and these disciplines are being practiced in almost every country around the world.

      Ahh, i don’t know why this works me up so. I feel like it’s so important to get past all these labels. Something is happening, something is shifting, and as long as we get caught up in these old concepts and labels, its hard to see.

      Reply
      1. mwb6119

        Sandeep, Mike, Donsolomon

        Don Solomon stated:

        “Indian medical students I interned with at a NJ medical center ridiculed yoga and meditation and thought it was all ancient nonsense, whereas Canadians and South Americans and Germans I’ve met have great reverenence for it.”

        Don, I am not a scholar, nor researcher, PhD, etc. My spiritual development happened painstakingly over a period 30+ years, rather piecemeal like. SA and M’s teachings came to me 4 plus years ago. I have only been exposed to their writings and recently this blog site. I have grown to trust this teaching implicitly with little/no guidance. … Not attempting to make a point, just thought I would contribute something from a lower I.Q. perspective.

      2. donsalmon

        hi, please don’t think that scholarship, research, phd etc give one even one tiny amount of extra insight into Sri A and M (rather, they in many ways – I’m sort of half kidding but partly serious – make it a lot harder). There’s a very powerful story I heard right before I gave up my resistance to going to grad school (i was a musician in New York City for 20 years before entering teh bizarre world of graduate study).

        There was a study on empathy (the ability to feel, to imagine, to connect with others on a deep level) in psychology students. They tested 1000 entering students at the California School of professional Psychology (these are people who mostly want to be therapists, not just intellectual theorists – the essence of the profession is empathy).

        Overwhelmingly, when they compared the empathy scores before entering school to their scores 5 years later, they scored much LOWER on empathy!

        Well, if that’s not proof of what the world of scholarship can do to your soul:>)))

        So no need to be concerned about that. Most of what I trusted implicitly before finding Sri A and mother in 1976 had come to me in unsought ways from other sources, inner and outer. I feel the same way as you do about them. I was just making a point because I thought Sandeep would be suspicious of what I said about the Indian Christians:>))

        (by the way, I often feel myself a bit intimidated by Sandeep’s writings – he’s one smart guy!)

      3. mwb6119

        Nicely stated Don (Thank You).

        “Most of what I trusted implicitly before finding Sri A and mother in 1976 had come to me in unsought ways from other sources, inner and outer.”

        This is my experience throughout my spiritual progress. There is no way for me to package this process into a neat thesis. And cannot possibly examine spiritual growth based upon a grading system.

        Funny how you mentioned psychology students and therapists. I did manage to obtain a MA in Transpersonal Psychology (a degree based in Clinical Counseling, or “therapy”). And I was barely able to meet the programs requirements. Sadly, there was no testing for empathy. 😦 I have experienced mental block most my life since a child and the education system has always been a very difficult (even painful) process throughout. I have always felt that the spiritual process (and lately SA And M’s influence) has had a much stronger impact than any amount of education I have achieved. But our culture (U.S.) is impressed by test scores, and the ability to relate/communicate information proficiently. Regardless, I am continuing to allow this interior process to develop, following the indications from within.

        And again, thank you, Don, for this clarification,

        Sincerely, Mark

        Yes, agreed, Sandeep is “deep.” 🙂

      4. Sandeep Post author

        Mark:Yes, agreed, Sandeep is “deep.” 🙂

        if you guys dont stop praising me, I will have to quit my job and come out as the Avatar of the present era !! 🙂

      5. donsalmon

        You mean you’re NOT the supreme Avatar???

        That’s it. I’m de-subscribing (not to mention de-composing)

        Don Salmon, Ph.D (also “deep”: P: Piled, h: high D (and) deep!

      6. mwb6119

        Sandeep: “if you guys dont stop praising me, I will have to quit my job and come out as the Avatar of the present era !! :-)”

        …And with better pay and benefits I am sure!! 🙂

      7. Sandeep Post author

        Regarding Christianity, I was merely pointing out the wily methods that Christian missionaries have employed over the decades(and even centuries) to convert poor Indians but I wont belabor the point. And I dont want to get into a debate on your issues with Rajiv.

        Don: Indian medical students I interned with at a NJ medical center ridiculed yoga and meditation and thought it was all ancient nonsense, whereas Canadians and South Americans and Germans I’ve met have great reverenence for it.

        Thats because most urban Indians are raised to be “secular”. They are in awe of Western culture and denigrate anyone or anything identified with Hinduism as “communal” (parochial). It is only when they travel abroad that they realize they can’t be totally Western and then some of them start making frantic attempts to discover their roots. They might fall back on practising the religious ceremonies of their ancestors or latch onto the latest Guru on the scene to provide an anchor for their identity.

        I would suggest that the Canadians and others you mention who come to Hinduism out of genuine spiritual hunger are at a higher stage of evolution than the urban Indians who are merely looking for an anchor to support their materialistic lifestyle.

  22. mike

    “not sure again, where to put this, but I think this is so simple, no need to complicate it. in response to a disciple who wondered if Europeans could practice yoga, sri A simply said it’s been done for centuries, that mystics in the west – jewish, christian and sufi – had practiced disciplines virtually identical to those of yoga and had genuine realizations.”

    Yeah, l think it was only Jung and perhaps rudolph steiner who said the western psyche was not compatible with eastern teachings.

    Reply
  23. donsalmon

    and in a funny, reverse way, Rajiv almost says that himself. The famous Malhotra U Turn (yet he relies on Westernized academics to write for him; really impossible guy)

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Incidentally, the U-turn occurs independently of Rajiv.

      Check out the story of Paul Williams, a senior British Buddhist who converted back to Christianity after spending 20 years of his youth as a Buddhist. Apparently, he realized he wasnt going to attain Nirvana and was afraid of being reborn as a cockroach in South America (no kidding). In his old age, he felt more comfortable in the familiar assurances of gaining salvation through Jesus. Read about him here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Williams_%28philosopher%29.

      A Buddhist magazine responded to his critique of Buddhism in this article: http://www.dharmalife.com/issue19/comment.html

      Sri Aurobindo himself had once remarked on the tendency of people to revert to their native tradition/religion. He attributed it to residual vital formations. The following excerpt is from AB Purani, Evening Talks, third series, page 309, 3rd Feb 1939 (see URL below)

      Disciple : I heard afterwards that he turned to Jainism. I don’t know if it is true.

      Sri Aurobindo : Was he a Jain by birth?

      Disciple : Yes.

      Sri Aurobindo : Well, that often happens. In one’s vital and physical nature there remains a stamp of one’s ancestral religion and it comes out at some time. The Christians usually turn towards Catholicism. A Frenchman – I forgot his name – tried all sorts of things, mysticism, Tibetan Occultism etc. When he was informed by one of our disciples that these things won’t go with Yoga, he abandoned all connection and turned to Catholicism.

      My grand father started by being a Brahmo and ended by writing a book on Hinduism and proclaiming it as thebest religion in the world.

      http://www.motherandsriaurobindo.org/Content.aspx?ContentURL=/_StaticContent/SriAurobindoAshram/-09+E-Library/-03+Disciples/A+B+Purani/Evening+Talks+with+Sri+Aurobindo/Third+Series/-37_3rd+February+1939.htm

      Reply
  24. V. Arvind

    Very interesting. But this could be termed an “individual U-turn” which always can
    happen.

    Rajiv Malhotra seems to be talking of a more global trend that is(?) building up. A large scale turning away in the western world from eastern mysticism and religious thought. Such a movement in full swing would influence everybody.

    I wonder if Sri Aurobindo has discussed anything related to this in either “ideal of human unity” or “the human cycle”.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Rajiv Malhotra seems to be talking of a more global trend that is(?) building up. A large scale turning away in the western world from eastern mysticism and religious thought. Such a movement in full swing would influence everybody.

      I am not aware of any global trend. Atleast in the USA, the people who identify themselves as SBNR (spiritual but not religious) is growing. They create their own heady spiritual cocktail by combining a hodge-podge of Indian mysticism, Rumi, native American tradition etc while consuming organic food and practising the “downward facing dog” at some yoga studio in the local strip mall.

      Reply
      1. mwb6119

        Sandeep: “They create their own heady spiritual cocktail by combining a hodge-podge of Indian mysticism, Rumi, native American tradition etc while consuming organic food and practicing the “downward facing dog” at some yoga studio in the local strip mall.”

        Quite insightful Sandeep, although I had never heard of Rajiv Malhotra, I couldn’t help grinning ear-to-ear while reading this description. This may very well be the stepping off point for many, and those genuinely called, may hopefully find something more substantial. But, kidding aside, there is good money being made via the disenchanted. Hollywood is ever watchful for potential genius’ to lead the herd to true wisdom $$$. LOL

        http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/12/earth-to-hollywood-people-will-pay-to-see-a-female-superhero-film/282107/

  25. mani

    Dear Sandeep,
    Your entire post reminds me of a book “towards the silver crests of Himalayas” by G K Pradhan, translated from Marathi original “saad deti himashikhare”. The main person in the fiction was also guided just as you described to be finally directed to his maha-guru. Even the debate about marriage and sex as is discussed in the posts here is also repeated. Uncanny resemblance. How fortunate.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      Yes, it was one of the books that I was asked to read. Its a spiritual classic. For other readers who may not be aware of it, here is a short blurb.

      “The book begins with the author climbing the Himalayas which are the abode of saints and sages who are seekers of truth. He meets a sanyasi in saffron coloured robes who becomes his guide and leads him to several solutions to his problems. He falls with a thud and realises that this is a dream but which makes him aware that there is a Guide and a Guru waiting to help him. The book is narrative and contains explanations of various problems by the Gurudeo.”

      From http://www.bhavans.info/store/bookdetail.asp?bid=406

      > How fortunate.

      Reality is painful 🙂 The spiritual path is the razor’s edge.

      Reply
  26. mike

    “The spiritual path is the razor’s edge”
    You should see the state of my feet lol

    “Hollywood is ever watchful for potential genius’ to lead the herd to true wisdom $$$. LOL”

    Yes, Yoga is a huge money-spinner these days. But, l suppose that’s where those ppl are mean’t to be – it’s one big learning curve lol
    You only have to watch the ‘Big Bang Theory’ to see the superficial hollywood attitude to lndia and Yoga as portrayed by a sex-obsessed and totally americanised hindu….

    Reply
    1. mwb6119

      Well, I’ve been in the ‘mix’ so I have nothing to complain about. Things have improved since SA and M came along. And sorry but I must admit to not having seen ‘Big Bang Theory.’ Hopefully that is a good sign of Integral Yogic development. LOL.

      This quote was mailed to me today from SACLA and appears fitting:

      (To be constantly governed by the Divine:) A constant aspiration for that is the first thing – next a sort of stillness within and a drawing back from the outward action into the stillness and a sort of listening expectancy, not for a sound but for the spiritual feeling or direction of the consciousness that comes through the psychic.
      Sri Aurobindo
      (SABCL Vol. 23 p. 693)

      Reply
      1. mike

        “A constant aspiration for that is the first thing”

        l’m not sure l’m capable of a constant aspiration, but l do try to visualizing myself seated within the heart centre with SA and M, when l’m walking around – haven’t been run over yet lol.
        l assume SA is talking about our condition before the Psychic Union. l’m just not sure how it works. As l see it, after the ‘reversal of consciousness’ that SA and M describe, we would be living within and the Guidance would be automatic, because we would be living directly through the Psychic Consciousness…. Wait and see, l suppose….

      2. mwb6119

        I’m can never be sure about directly meeting “all of the above” said requirements. LOL. I mean, I can only presume (or guess) that I may be close to, or within proximity of, what SA and M present as the goal/s of IY. I have experienced so many fluctuations in my consciousness over the past 30 years and have tracked/assessed my progress as honestly as I can and attempted to measure the latest movements as accurately as possible in regards to SA and M’s Teachings, but even then my abilities to assess my own progress as reaching this or that level of transformation is not possible (IMO) perhaps without the surveillance of an enlightened person/s such as SA and M. I would be afraid to admit that I have reached the Third Transformation. There is so much disorientation during the reversal of consciousness process. May be best to be bound-and-gagged during such a process. LOL.

        I find this helpful:

        “The way is not to build the mind in the mold of the Gnostic Knowledge, but to lay it open for the higher knowledge to act upon and fill itself in the mind.” M.A. Pandit

        ***I had this idea reversed for the longest time. 🙂 … did I just assess myself??? LOL

      3. mwb6119

        Mark: “There is so much disorientation during the reversal of consciousness process. May be best to be bound-and-gagged during such a process. LOL.”

        This image of from Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner (British TV Series 1967-68). This is an idea for a “Reversal of Consciousness” clinic. 🙂

  27. Pingback: Sandeep Joshi | The Mother's Lasso

  28. Rhea

    Dear Sandeep,

    I came across your blog while doing a search on a subject that interests me. It’s one of the best blogs I’ve ever read regarding yoga. You have opened me up to learning more about Sri
    Aurobindo. I just felt compelled to let you know that I think you are a wonderful writer. I study and teach yoga in the United States.

    Reply
    1. Sandeep Post author

      You have opened me up to learning more about Sri Aurobindo.

      “Mission accomplished” – to quote a famous American 🙂

      Reply
    2. donsalmon

      (I think “infamous American” would be more appropriate)

      Hi Rhea;

      I agree – Sandeep is rather (unusually and pleasantly so) humble, so I thought I’d add a note and say I agree, this is a wonderful blog. He’s been quite busy in recent months and hasn’t posted month, but his readers are hoping perhaps by the fall he might have some more time.

      Meanwhile, welcome aboard. Where do you teach yoga?

      Don

      Reply
      1. Rhea

        infamous? Why do you say that? The word “infamous” means bad reputation. Have you heard bad things about me?
        I teach mostly at the YMCA. I like it there because it is not for profit and it helps families and communities. I was doing research on some subjects regarding yoga when I stumbled across some of the posts on this blog. Even though Sandeep hasn’t posted in a while, I am learning a lot from the archives.

      2. donsalmon

        Oh my goodness, Rhea, I’m so sorry you thought it was about you!! I was referring to Sandeep’s reference to, I assume, President Bush (“mission accomplished”). I was referring to Bush as infamous:>) I don’t know who you are and never heard of you, but am delighted to see you here. Sorry for the misunderstanding!

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