There is a stage in the yogic transformation when the inner being awakens (i.e. when Chakras begin to open) but the consciousness is not fully centered in the Atman (Self). This half-way mark is an extremely vulnerable phase of life because now you become exposed to the vital forces which are being continuously exchanged between human beings during all social interactions. You may find yourself becoming angry for no reason whatsoever after talking to an eccentric and turbulent man or you may become worried about your own life after listening to the dejected musings of some depressing and ineffectual person.
The Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, was skeptical of the widespread Eastern notion that the individual ego can be completely transcended and some form of universal consciousness can be attained. He thought it was a psychological projection of an idea which had no foundation in human experience and was critical of any attempt to mix psychology and philosophy. Jung thought that the East made such reductionist errors because it had not reached the high level of self-awareness achieved in the Western development of scientific thought .
There are many planes and parts of our being each with their own unique rhythm. Idling in bed early in the morning, we may find that the longing for sex can seize the lethargic mind. After lunch when the stomach is full, one might feel the irrational urge to lash out in anger at some irritating individual. On Sunday evenings while listening to a wistful melody, one might become forlorn and slip into a state of depression. Psychologist Kay Jamison, after reviewing more than sixty studies across countries in both hemispheres, concluded that the peak periods for suicide are late spring and summer. Likewise, she found two broad peaks in seasonal incidence of major depressive episodes: March-May and Sept-Nov .
The sudden inflow of energy, the rapture and the sense of release that one feels after a favourable period of meditation is not easy to sustain. The mind mostly misinterprets the experience, the heart seizes and appropriates it, while the physical body feels relieved and exhausted that it has ended. We tend to yawn and eat junk food after a period of meditation because the physical body is tamasic(dull) by nature and not accustomed to the newly attained tranquility. Instead of yawning and dissipating the energy gained during the meditation, the body needs to be molded to become more supple and receptive; the cells of the body have to be made more and more conscious through regular exercise and refined eating habits so that it can sustain longer and greater spiritual experiences. Sri Aurobindo denoted this power of the body as Dharana Shakti or Dharana Samarthya (retention capacity; Samarthya or Shakti = capacity, Dharana = retention).
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.
When we say someone is egoistic, we often imply that the person is proud. Sri Aurobindo observed that egoistic movements are actually of three types – sattwic(illumined), rajasic(kineticism) and tamasic(indolent). The sattwic ego revels in the brilliant power of its intelligence, the rajasic ego is eager to dominate, and the tamasic ego wallows in self-pity.
These are some general observations by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa on topics related to sexuality: sex education; touching; whether indulgence, starving the flesh or mixing freely can alleviate sexual difficulties encountered in spiritual practice. This article follows on the previous articles on this subject: Should women dress modestly?, Sublimation of the sexual urge through Yoga and The transmutation of sexual energy.
For centuries, religious clerics have railed against women for tempting men with their seductive and skimpy clothing, and sought to sequester them and restrict their dress choices. Such rash and narrow social impositions often create a deceptive illusion of purity without addressing the sexual turbulence which continues unabated within the individual consciousness. A more sagacious solution has to be based on the recognition of the complexity of human consciousness. This article examines some insights provided by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (Mirra Alfassa) on this matter.