It doesn’t matter how great your religion is or how ancient your scriptures are if you will not attempt to independently rediscover the Truths which were discovered by your forerunners. Much too often, people forget this cardinal dictum and fall into the egoistic trap of boasting of the greatness of their religion without actually living it. The practice of Yoga provides a pathway for rediscovering the verities recorded in the scriptures such as the Upanishads and Vedas. This article examines the Nachiketa fire sacrifice as experienced by a disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
The Upanishads feature koans for contemplation called Vidyas(literally means knowledge). They are meant to trigger the mind into perceiving yet another facet of the Divine Reality thereby guiding the aspirant into deeper grades of meditation. In a previous post Vidyas in the Upanishads, five such Vidyas were covered: Bhuma, Prana, Shandilya, Madhu and Vaishvanara. The book Supreme Knowledge by Swami Brahmananda  lists an astounding 101 Vidyas drawn from the Upanishads. This post discusses a few Vidyas drawn from this book.
This post supplements a previous post Videha Dharana : fixing the mind outside the body, which discussed a method called Videha Dharana as per Sri Anirvan. The method is drawn from the Upanishads and can also be called PanchaTattva Dharana or contemplation on the five (pancha) elements (tattva) – namely earth, water, air, fire, ether. There is a similar technique in the Tantra texts called Bhuta-Shuddhi which is also outlined here.
One of the techniques Sri Aurobindo and the Mother recommended for meditation was contemplating on Akasha or Space. This has been discussed in the section on Widening of consciousness. The source of this technique lies in the Yoga Upanishads. Out of the 108 Upanishads, there are 21 which are known as the Yoga Upanishads. These contain various methods of Dharana (i.e. one-pointed concentration). This post contains a brief overview of these techniques as given in the book Dharana Darshan by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga.
As discussed in the post Taming the Monkey Mind, the mind in contemplation can focus its awareness on many different objects – be they gross or subtle, within the body or without. In this post, we will cover one more method called Videha Dharana(fixing the awareness outside the body) which has been briefly mentioned in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and elaborated by Sri Anirvan in his book Inner Yoga. As we see below, what is noteworthy is that Sri Anirvan’s description of the transformation bears resemblance to some changes in body consciousness that were noted in exchanges between Sri Aurobindo and his disciples.
Sri Aurobindo and his disciples uncovered connections between the Vedas and the later scriptures such as Upanishads, Puranas and the Tantra by tracing the evolution of concepts, use of common verses and the underlying symbolism between these scriptures. This is a synopsis of their discoveries collated from a variety of sources.