“Man is a transitional being” – Sri Aurobindo averred when he envisioned the coming of a new species he called “superman”. It is generally not necessary to practice Yoga after you attain Self-realization but both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother continued to do so in order to attain the next stage, which they called the “supramental transformation” (hence the epigram “Sri Aurobindo’s yoga begins where other Yogas end”). This aspect of their work is often misunderstood by pedantic scholars who have the irksome tendency of rashly equating superficially similar ideas espoused by various thinkers across the globe. These scholars tend to claim that Sri Aurobindo’s idea of the superman must have been influenced by Neitzche’s Ubermensch or by Darwin’s theory of evolution. In this article, I will endeavour to demonstrate the actual origin of the concept of the superman through numerous remarks made by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on the subject. As much as possible, I shall present original quotations in order to avoid adding a layer of (mis)interpretation.
One of the pleasures of studying dual Gurus like Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is that sometimes one can find spontaneous and fascinating coincidences in their records. It is as if they had independently experienced the same occult phenomenon. The Mother had once remarked after Sri Aurobindo had left his body: “Nirod (a disciple) is reading me his correspondence with Sri Aurobindo. Strangely enough, there are all sorts of things that I said much, much later, I had no idea he had written them! Exactly the same things. I found that very interesting.” In this article, we will examine some striking parallels in the observations they made fifty years apart pertaining to Nature’s reaction to machinery.
As the consciousness becomes purified through regular practice of Yoga, one finds that sleep becomes more active and more real. Dreams no longer seem to be phantasmagoric illusions but resemble what they actually are – excursions into the occult worlds. We possess one unbroken stream of consciousness, which during the day dwells in the physical world and at night interacts with the occult worlds and consequently, the experiences we have in dreams are inextricably tied to the events in the physical world. In this article, we explore a few ways to become more conscious in sleep.
Human beings are creatures of habit. We seek refuge in an uncertain world by developing all kinds of humdrum routines – big and small. We impart stability and coherence to our life by staying plugged into some social network, eating at regular hours, engaging in small-talk with loved ones or even strangers, meticulously scheduling daily chores – all in the desperate desire to fill that void within. One of the object lessons that we gain from Castaneda’s books is the necessity of giving up attachment to such routines. That doesn’t necessarily imply that one must become erratic in conduct; it’s just that one must stop being an automaton.
It is a seminal phase in the spiritual path when, after years of arduous practice, the surface personality becomes subdued and the inner being(subtle body) begins to awake. It is then that one has the palpable feeling that there are two different beings within – a stable inner part and an insecure outer part. One begins to live in the vast calm of the sturdy inner being even as one observes the action of the restless outer personality as it reacts to phenomenal events based on pre-conceived mental and emotional constructs. In this condition, we gain living proof of the observation noted in various scriptures that “there are two birds sitting on the tree of life; one eats the fruit while the other eats not.” (Rig Veda 1.164.20, Mundaka Upanishad 3.1, Shwetashwatara Upanishad 4.6).
Einstein’s theory of relativity in layman terms states that time slows and length contracts with increasing speed of the observer. At the speed of light, the play of Time is said to stop in subjective terms. Something similar occurs in the occult worlds which exist hidden behind our physical world. The Universe with its physical and supraphysical worlds is a manifestation of Consciousness with different orders of Space-Time. The Yogi by shifting the center of his consciousness is able to awaken in these occult worlds. As one goes higher up the planes of consciousness, the perception of Time changes while Space becomes more flexible and no longer exhibits the fixed physical laws seen here in the material world.
Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa were twin souls. They made explicit statements and also dropped plenty of hints as to the essential unity of their consciousness. He wrote that the “supreme state of human love…is the unity of one soul in two bodies” [Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga – I: The Release from the Ego]. This post collects some of the material on twin souls.
Yoga is more than meditation and breathing exercises. It also requires cultivating an awareness of one’s own psychology – the traits that one has inherited from one’s parents, culture and environment. One must patiently trace the source of every impulse which arises before it is acted upon. (i.e. “Am I doing this for glory, out of fear, out of habit, etc”). This introspection constitutes the practice of Jnana Yoga (Yoga of knowledge and discrimination), which must be undertaken in order to cleanse the soul of its lower egoistic formations.