This article is motivated by a recent comment on this blog. Those who have gained some familiarity with Sri Aurobindo are often baffled by his conduct: How could he smoke or eat meat while practicing Yoga? Doesn’t it violate the central tenets of Yoga? If that didn’t hinder his practice, can I emulate him? The answer is: “No, you shouldn’t emulate him” as we shall see by the end of this article.
Thomas McEvilley has done a systematic study of the correspondence between ancient Greek and Indian philosophy in his 2001 book The Shape of Ancient Thought. This post summarizes his discovery of the Kundalini concept in Greek and other ancient non-Indian cultures. The manner in which these concepts were divined or disseminated through various ancient cultures is a matter of contention, which I shall not pursue here.
Many methods of Yoga have been developed in the Upanishads and other scriptures – Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Mantra Yoga and what not. Why do they work? What is the physiological basis for the “high” you get through meditation? This is a brief exploration of this topic.
Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa frequently spoke of ascents and descents which occur during meditation. Ramana Maharshi, when informed of these statements, firmly denied any such occurrences. Such puzzling contradictions can occur due to different vocabularies used by various sages as well as the varied transformations by which they attain Self-realization. In this article, I will endeavour to outline the resolution to this contradiction and hopefully clear the confusion.
When the Yoga enters into deeper states of trance, the heat of the Kundalini begins to course through the body, the subtle body is activated and the brain experiences a reverberating natural silence. The Yogin experiences a sense of purity, rejuvenation and alertness within. At this point, one may hear subtle sounds in the ear, smell burning incense or floral fragrances (which have non-worldly origin) and gain sight into the occult worlds. The sounds which the Yogin hears tend to vary depending on the inner plane of consciousness to which one is currently attuned. This post is a collection of these subtle sounds as noted in various ancient scriptures. As we see, there is lot of similarity in these descriptions.
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.
It is always of interest when psycho-spiritual descriptions provided by one Yoga practitioner match up with those given by a practitioner of another system of Yoga. In the Gospel of Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna Paramahansa briefly mentions five ways in which the Kundalini rises. In his book Kashmir Shaivism, Swami Lakshman Joo discusses six ways in which the Kundalini rises. It is possible to identify some correspondence between their descriptions. Continue reading