Aurobindo (Aravinda Ackroyd Ghosh) August 15, 1872 - 5 December 1950. (Moola). I had to read this book to understand Involution/Evolution and Integral Yoga for an exam. This booklet is a collection of 24 essays, divided in 4 sections, published posthumously. This 124 page booklet had been lying in shelf for quite some time. Since Sugi was once a Senior Housie in JIPMER, Pondicherry this should have come home anytime after 2004. Am not agreeing or disagreeing with his philosophy or pitting them against other Indian or RoW philosophies. Just culling out few lines here and there in addition to my own ramblings.
The Divine Superman
The joy of the way is because that which is drawing thee is also with thee on thy path and the power to climb was given thee so thou mightiest mount to thy own summits …one who saw but through a veil and mistook the veil for the face…
To enter into relations with God is Yoga, the highest rapture and the noblest utility. To the materialist He disguises Himself in matter. For the Nihilist He waits ambushed in the bosom of Annihilation.
Initial Definitions and Descriptions
Yoga has 4 powers and objects, purity, liberty, beatitude and perfection.
Why shouldst thou hunger after departure from manifestation as if the world were an evil?...neither desire nor shun the world, but seek the bliss and purity and freedom and greatness of God in whatsoever state or experience or environment. …for all these ideas of world and not-world, of transcendence and immanence and relation are expressions of thought by which mind puts it own values on the self-manifestation of Parabrahman to Its own principle of knowledge and we cannot assert any, even the highest of them to be the real reality of that which is at once all and beyond all nothing and beyond nothing.
The Object of our Yoga
The object of our yoga is self perfection, not self-annulment.
1 asceticism – withdrawal from Universe – receives us when we lose God in existence
2 Effected by Tapasya – Perfection in Universe – attained when we fulfill existence in God
Aurobindo compares Buddha and Shankara. Both of them supposed world to be false and miserable and therefore escape from world was wisdom to them.
…the world is God, the world is Satyam, the world is Ananda; it is our misreading of the world through mental egoism that is a falsehood and our wrong relation with God in the world that is a misery. There is no other falsity and not other cause of sorrow.
यदाऽतमस्तन्न दिवा न रात्रिः न सन्नचासच्छिव एव केवलः |
तदक्षरं तत् सवितुर्वण्यं प्रज्ञा च तस्मात् प्रसृता पुराणी ||4.18|| Shvetasvatara Upanishad
When ignorance is gone, then there remains neither day nor night, no existence or non existence, but he alone the absolute and imperishable. From him proceeded the ancient wisdom. That savita is indeed worthy of adoration.
He quotes from Shvetasvara Upanishad - प्रज्ञा प्रसृता पुराणी
… the vedic meaning of Maya is not illusion, it is wisdom, knowledge, capacity, wide extension in consciousness… Omnipotent Wisdom created the world, it is not the organised blunder of some infinite dreamer… We also can enjoy this truth and bliss, called the Veda amrtam, Immortality, if by casting away our egoistic existence into perfect unity with His being we consent to receive the divine perception and the divine freedom.
The Entire Purpose of Yoga
He is also Absolute and Supreme Personality playing in the universe and as the universe; in the universe. Purpose is not to dispute this or that philosophy or religion… But to realise and become all of them, not follow after any aspect to the exclusion of the rest, but to embrace God in all His aspects and beyond aspect.
He mentions the 7 principles of existence as the basis of the world of Puranas (Satyaloka-world of highest truth/Being, Tapas-world of infinite Will/conscious force, Jana – world of creative delight of existence, Mahar-great world or supramental, Swar-pure unobscured mind, Bhuvar-world of pure vitality and Bhur-material world)
Lila of creation with Matter as lowest and Pure as highest form
1. Mind and Life stand upon Matter (Manas and Prana on Annam) and make the lower half of the world-existence (aparardha)
2. Pure consciousness and pure bliss proceed out of pure Being (Chit and Ananda out of Sat) and make the upper half of the world existence.
3. Pure idea (Vijnana) stands as the link between the two.
Our life on this earth is a divine poem that we are translating into earthly language or a strain of music which we are rendering into words. I kind of liked his choice of words.
• Under the conditions of mind, life and body, ahamkara is born
• the subjective or objective form of consciousness is falsely taken for self-existent being
• the body for an independent personality;
the one loses itself in us in its multiplicity and when it recovers its unity, finds it difficult, owing to the nature of the mind, to preserve its play of multiplicity. Therefore when we are absorbed in the world, we miss God in Himself; when we see God, we miss Him in the world.
He further goes on to state what is our business wrt Sat, Chit and Ananda. To come out of dualities and multitude and realize God in universe, transcendent of universe.
Parabrahman, Mukthi and Human Thought-Systems
Parabrahman being Infinite can be known in a way, so far as the symbols reveal it. Akin to mathematical infinity… but even the knowledge of the whole of symbols does not amount to real knowledge of the Absolute.
Aurobindo states, how different people reach different states as a result of their quest for release – Gods to Shunya, sushupti etc.
…to lust after becoming Parabrahman is a sort of luminous illusion or sattvic play of Maya, for in reality there is none bound and none free and none needing to be freed and all is only God’s Lila… (I badly need this pointer, because, i quit living and went on pondering about life and afterlife for ever. Have to just live now, paying heed to the inner calling - Svadharama as BG says)
… aim of our Yoga is jivanmukti in the universe, not because we need to be freed or for any other reason,……..we have to live released in the world, not released out of the world.
As with other philosophies, the indescribable is finally made – That is and we are that
Lining with Bacon’s read not to contradict…, Aurobindo calls for realization and experience alone are alone of importance. And not to bother about disputants questioning your system on the ground that is not consistent with this or that shastra or this or that authority…
The Evolutionary Aim in Yoga
He quoted BG 8.1, 3.35, 3.33 and proclaimed that the aim of yoga is Supernature; possess and enjoy nature as free and lord, svarat and samrat; being still a figure of humanity, a man among men...
What I liked the most was that he did not renounce the truth of Maya and perceived it as a partial explanation of existence. The way he analyzed Buddhist and Sankara’s view on Maya was intriguing. Now I understand, why many told me not to ever try Vipassana (its hollow body meditation etc). Learnt the meaning of new terms like Teleology.
As usual, i started intending to write, everything, i marked in the booklet, but once I completed my notes for the 2 questions, this too got impatiently shelved.
Wonder what happened to his wife of 14, when they married at 28. A letter to her. He mentions India before Independence - a demon sucking blood from the breast of my mother (India). Enlightenment after 1year solitary confinement 1908-09.