Tag Archives: atman

Sleep-learning and the Upanishads

Centuries ago, Yajnavalkya used the analogy of “the great fish which travels along both banks, the nearer and the farther” while referring to the human consciousness which oscillates between the waking and the deep sleep state (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.3.17).  He wrote that when the Atman “rests in the intermediate state (of dream)”, it sees both states – waking and deep sleep (Brihad. Up. 4.3.9)[1].   In the state of dreamless sleep, the Advaita Vedantins saw evidence of the existence of Brahman; they reasoned that if a person feels refreshed after sleep, it must be because the Atman had temporarily united with Brahman [2].

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Reconciling Samkhya, Vedanta and Tantra

In The Life Divine, there is a chapter entitled “Brahman, Ishwara, Purusha – Maya, Prakriti, Shakti“.  According to the editing notes, this chapter was inserted by Sri Aurobindo as part of a revision of The Life Divine completed in 1940 [1].   The purpose of this chapter is to reconcile three different views of the Universe proposed by the philosophies of Samkhya, Vedanta and Tantra.  This intent may not be immediately apparent to those not well-versed in Indian metaphysics, because the word “Samkhya” is explicitly used only twice in this chapter while the terms “Vedanta” and “Tantra” never occur.  This article is a light contextual introduction to this chapter.

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How to awaken the soul (psychic being)?

The psychic being(soul) in us is the portion of the Divine which  sits behind the heart and guides individual evolution over incarnations.  It’s presence is palpable in the innocence and spontaneity of the child but gradually it becomes camouflaged by the carefully cultivated self-image of the adult.   It is an important step in Integral Yoga when this psychic being is unveiled because it has the capacity to accelerate the spiritual transformation (in conventional Yoga, this unveiling is symbolized by the opening of the heart Chakra).  One has to replace in oneself, the craftiness of the adult with the joyful innocence of the child but this must be done without losing the wisdom and maturity one  has gained.

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