One of the themes on which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother differ from early Vedantins is “conscious dream exploration”. While Sri Aurobindo claimed that the occult worlds that we enter in our dreams are as “real” as the physical world, the earliest Advaita Vedantins, Gaudapada and Adi Shankaracharya (8th century C.E.) saw all the worlds as illusory. For Gaudapada and Shankara, the highest state was sushupti (deep sleep) because the Atman became united with the Brahman in that state.
Those who practice the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have developed the habit of reading their books either alone or during study circles. They claim that this activity is a meditation in itself which naturally awakens the wisdom needed to respond to the multifarious challenges of life. The Mother herself recommended that disciples read Sri Aurobindo’s books with a blank mind without discussing or explaining the writings to each other. Does this work?
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 . 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.
Emma Calvé (1858 – 1942) was a well-known French female opera soprano of the Belle Époque. These are the recollections of her interaction with Swami Vivekananda(1863-1902). This article first appeared as Chapter XXII of her autobiography “My Life“, and has also appeared in the Nov 1922 issue of the Prabuddha Bharata(Awakened India) magazine.
The ordinary human mind has a propensity for exaggerating one side of the Truth and ignoring the other. One of the pleasures of reading Sri Aurobindo’s works is that such contradictions do not exist because he resolves every contradiction by tracing it to its Divine origin and reconciling it as part of a larger Truth. He explicates how every principle has it’s play in a certain context but if we over-generalize, then it loses its value. In the previous post, Syncretism in Sri Aurobindo’s thought – part 1, we covered five oppositions which were reconciled by Sri Aurobindo into a larger Truth. This article presents a few more additions: Self-esteem versus Humility, Good versus Evil, Various formulations of the Divine, Nature versus Nurture, Evolution versus Creationism.