Over the past few years, quite a few blog readers have written to me appreciating the manner in which I have presented the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I would attribute much of it to my Guru whom I met early in my teenage years. My experiences with him seemed to correspond closely with the manner in which the Sri Aurobindo and the Mother interacted with their disciples. It is this correlation which has enabled me to provide an alternative perspective on their life and teachings.
As seen in the previous article on “Yogic Illness”, deliberately pushing oneself into deeper Kundalini-type experiences without a Guru can be perilous to one’s health. An authentic Guru, if you can find one, is not a suave orator or an object of worship but someone who links their consciousness with yours during initiation (Diksha) and gradually elevates you to their level by transforming you from within. Such a Guru can also detect and purge the energy blockages which develop in the subtle body (i.e. aura) during the transformation process. The disciples who came in physical contact with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were fortunate to obtain this intimate guidance. What happens to those who are called to Yoga but remain devoid of a Guru? The Mother once provided a sagacious description of the meandering manner in which the spiritual path unfolds for such seekers.
Someone inquired if Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had made any remarks on differences between men and women. This is a compilation of remarks that I was able to find right now. It addresses topics such as : What are the cosmic origins of gender? Are women less polyamorous than men? Are women better at Yoga? Can gender change across incarnations? If I find more remarks, I will add them in the comments section to this blog post.
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).
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.
Genuine Gurus are rare these days, so this question shouldn’t arise, but for what its worth, these are some insights by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on the question of multiple Gurus. The gist of the matter seems to be that as long as you don’t feel strongly drawn to any particular sage, it is permissible to draw inspiration (through reading and interaction) from multiple sages. But once you get initiated by a particular Guru, you must stick to that Guru, otherwise the spiritual energies of different Gurus can interfere to create a frightful mess within your consciousness. Furthermore, if you have reached the apex with one particular Guru, you can certainly look for another. The cases of Kapali Sastry and M.P.Pandit can be cited in support of this clause; they were initially disciples of Ramana Maharshi but later choose Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as their Guru.
This article discusses an assorted range of post-mortem topics : the difference between sleep and death, the state just before death, the difference between cremation and burial, the need for funeral ceremonies, and resurrection.