The fundamental aim of all Yogic methods is the diversion of the Prana (breath) which normally circulates in the Ida and Pingala channels into the central Sushumna channel, as was elucidated in a previous post. Numerous yogis across the Indian sub-continent over several centuries perfected a multitude of methods to achieve this common goal. If you ever wanted to read all about it in one place, the “History of Yoga” (editor: Satya Prakash Singh) is for you. This is a massive work comprising 40 chapters spanning about 900 pages written by 19 subject experts which traces the origins and development of Yoga starting from the Vedas to the modern times. It is not possible to do justice to such a large comprehensive volume in a short article. Instead, I will present some interesting tidbits that I gained from the book.
You can drive a car while listening to a song, but when you want to see better, you instinctively lower the radio volume in the car. You can listen to a melody while doing chores, but when you want to hear better, you inevitably stop and squint your eyes. The American President Lyndon Johnson once claimed that his political opponent Gerald Ford could not pass wind and chew gum at the same time. Such quotidian observations seem to suggest that there may be some natural constraints in our ability to do multiple tasks simultaneously.
A previous article examined whether the notion of Kundalini may have existed in ancient Greek and other cultures. In consonance with that theme, this article by Jean-Yves Lung probes the similarities between the Vedic god Agni and the Sumerian god Enki. Jean-Yves Lung is a teacher-researcher living in Auroville since 1993. He teaches French, History and Sanskrit. This article originally appeared in June 2009 issue of Ritam, a bi-annual journal published by Sri Aurobindo International Institute for Educaitional Research (SAIIER)
The desire to relax after a hard day’s work or a difficult week is a universal phenomenon observed in people everywhere. The human body has a finite capacity of concentration and needs to relieve the stress which builds up after a significant amount of mental or physical effort. Unfortunately, the methods of relaxation we choose often tend to make the situation worse by sinking us into a malaise which further depletes our energy. Better methods of relaxation are required and it is here that the psychological methods of Yoga need to be applied.
Sri Aurobindo and his disciples uncovered connections between the Vedas and the later scriptures such as Upanishads, Puranas and the Tantra by tracing the evolution of concepts, use of common verses and the underlying symbolism between these scriptures. This is a synopsis of their discoveries collated from a variety of sources.
All great spiritual masters give instruction in silence. This silence is not absence of speech but a force-field emitted the Master which bathes the disciple and dissolves his/her questions. This eternal silence whose vibrations issue forth from the Master is the Para Vak (i.e. transcendental speech) discussed in the previous post Vedic Vak: four levels of sound.
Ancient Indian philosophy says that man is the microcosm of the Universe. The Universe is referred to as the brahmanda (i.e. Egg of Brahma) and Man is referred to kshudra-brahmanda (i.e. Little Egg of Brahma). The Greeks also believed in the same concept (see wikipedia). The major points in favor of this correspondence are:
This is a simplified explanation of the Vedic theory of Sound (Vak, whose root is Vach which means “to speak” and corresponds in Latin to the word is Vox) using some examples as well as the words of the Mother of the Aurobindo Ashram.
Many of us have at times felt those influences and inspirations which express themselves through us as scientific breakthroughs, poetic verses, stirring musical compositions or great works of art. According to Sri Aurobindo, these moments of inspiration are actually the secret workings of the four powers called Revelation, Inspiration, Intuition and Discrimination. These powers can be consciously cultivated through the practice of Integral Yoga. This post describes these four powers.
This post describes the three knots/granthis of mental, vital and physical ignorance that tie our consciousness to the physical world and bind our soul to the superficial personality. When these knots are broken, our consciousness widens and opens to the cosmic mind, vital and physical.
This post is about the Vedic verse “Dawn and Night, two sisters of different forms but of one mind, suckle the same divine Child“.
During the spiritual journey (Sadhana), the Yogi experiences alternating periods of progress and darkness. The Vedas call these periods Dawn and Night, while the growing Divinity within Man is referred to as the Divine Child. Here is the explanation provided by Sri Aurobindo in his interpretation of the Vedas as well as letters to various disciples.
The Vedas and the Upanishads speak of a golden lid (Hiranmaya Patra in Sanskrit) which divides the lower rational mind from the higher planes of the Mind above us. This post explains the significance of that Golden Lid in the words of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother.