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kalpana
Member
Posts: 8

I hope that members will contribute their thoughts on this topic , and offer quotes from the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and other spiritual guides, that have personally helped them on the journey.

I will start by offering this aphorism by Sri Aurobindo:

412.'' To commit adultery with God is the perfect experience for which the world was created.''

This aphorism suggests that the spiritual process is a very special thing, hidden within the heart, away from the outside.

July 29, 2010 at 4:14 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Tara
Member
Posts: 2

Dear Kalpana,


certainly to live in the "world" is a challenge and makes yoga more difficult, above all in the beginning, when one is to go within and to find one's Soul and the Self.


In Letters II, Sri Aurobindo writes a lot about this :


SADHANA IN THE ASHRAM AND OUTSIDE


Mainly on pages 869 - 872.



" Peace is never easy to get in the life of the world and never constant, unless one lives deep within and bears the external activities as only a surface front of being."


LETTERS II, 870



Yet we cannot all live in an ashram, so he says:


"The best way to prepare oneself for the spiritual life when one has to live in the ordinary occupations and surroundings is to cultivate an entire equality and detachment and the samata of the Gita with the faith that the Divine is there and the Divine Will at work in all things even though at present under the conditions of a world of Ignorance.

Beyond this are the Light and Ananda towards which life is working, but the best way for their advent and foundation in the individual being and nature is to grow in this equality....."



July 29, 2010 at 4:32 AM Flag Quote & Reply

kalpana
Member
Posts: 8

Dear Tara,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and quotations.  Especially this extract:

''...with the faith that the Divine is there and the Divine Will at work in all things even though at present under the conditions of a world of Ignorance.

Beyond this are the Light and Ananda towards which life is working:), but the best way for their advent and foundation in the individual being and nature is to grow in this equality....."

 

A wonderful way to start each day with this in mind!

July 29, 2010 at 4:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

kalpana
Member
Posts: 8

Members might also like to read Sri Aurobindo's aphorisms on Bhakti, on how to perceive the 'world'. It is on this website:

http://www.hinduwebsite.com/divinelife/auro/auro_aphorisms.asp#bhakti

July 29, 2010 at 4:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Gopal
Member
Posts: 1

here is another excerpt from Letters on Yoga Vol I, Page 3 and 4,

 

The condition of present-day civilisation, materialistic with an externalised intellect and life-endeavour, which you find so painful, is an episode, but one which was perhaps inevitable. For if the spiritualisation of the mind, life and body is the thing to be achieved, the conscious presence of the Spirit even in the physical consciousness and material body, an age which puts Matter and the physical life in the forefront and devotes itself to the effort of the intellect to discover the truth of material existence, had perhaps to come. On one side, by materialising everything up to the intellect itself it has created the extreme difficulty of which you speak for the spiritual seeker, but, on the other hand, it has given the life in Matter an importance which the spirituality of the past was inclined to deny to it. In a way it has made the spiritualisation of it a necessity for spiritual seeking and so aided the descent movement of the evolving spiritual consciousness in the earth-nature. More than that we cannot claim for it; its conscious effect has been rather to stifle and almost extinguish the spiritual element in humanity; it is only by the divine use of the pressure of contraries and an intervention from above that there will be the spiritual outcome.

--
July 30, 2010 at 7:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Barin Chaki
Site Owner
Posts: 1

As the One willed to become the Many, so there was the need of Involution. And thus, there was / is Matter.

As Matter is there, so there is materialism. The course of Evolution has its base in Matter and Evolution is the course of the One in order to become Many.

If by-passing Matter and materialism would have been the Way, that Way was taught and shown by the Buddha. That is a possibility, but by that Way, Evolution would have been forsaken.

So Matter is not to be forlorn. Annam brahman, said the Upanishad. But surely, to go ahead in the path of Evolution, we shall have to transcend and transmute Matter. Mind has to be freed from Inertia and Darkness and Ignorance. Matter is an aspect of Truth, but not the Total Truth. Matter has ti transcended and transformed, in the Way Sri Aurobindo and The Mother has shown us — by ascending to and with the help of the Supramental Consciousness.

As long we are limited to Mind, life may seem to us to be a hell of Darkness and Ignorance and Inertia. But The Master and The Mother has taught us the Way. We should look beyond Matter and transmute it in accordance to the Supramental necessity.

That is the Way before the Mankind.

 

Barindranath Chaki

30-07-2010

--


July 30, 2010 at 8:32 AM Flag Quote & Reply

kalpana
Member
Posts: 8

Gopal at July 30, 2010 at 7:44 AM

here is another excerpt from Letters on Yoga Vol I, Page 3 and 4,

 

The condition of present-day civilisation, materialistic with an externalised intellect and life-endeavour, which you find so painful, is an episode, but one which was perhaps inevitable. For if the spiritualisation of the mind, life and body is the thing to be achieved, the conscious presence of the Spirit even in the physical consciousness and material body, an age which puts Matter and the physical life in the forefront and devotes itself to the effort of the intellect to discover the truth of material existence, had perhaps to come. On one side, by materialising everything up to the intellect itself it has created the extreme difficulty of which you speak for the spiritual seeker, but, on the other hand, it has given the life in Matter an importance which the spirituality of the past was inclined to deny to it. In a way it has made the spiritualisation of it a necessity for spiritual seeking and so aided the descent movement of the evolving spiritual consciousness in the earth-nature. More than that we cannot claim for it; its conscious effect has been rather to stifle and almost extinguish the spiritual element in humanity; it is only by the divine use of the pressure of contraries and an intervention from above that there will be the spiritual outcome.

Thanks, Gopal, these two passages resonated with me:

 

>>>''More than that we cannot claim for it; its conscious effect has been rather to stifle and almost extinguish the spiritual element in humanity; it is only by the divine use of the pressure of contraries and an intervention from above that there will be the spiritual outcome

>>''The condition of present-day civilisation, materialistic with an externalised intellect and life-endeavour, which you find so painful, is an episode, but one which was perhaps inevitable.''

 

This ''conscious effect ... to stifle...'' sometimes makes one feel it hard to breathe the everyday atmosphere.  Truly the pressure of 'contraries''requires the intervention'' from above, in day-to day living!

The subjective experience through meditation can a great antidote to the sometimes toxic 'externalised intellect'.  No doubt, prayer,karma yogic attitude, etc all help!

 

July 31, 2010 at 3:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

kalpana
Member
Posts: 8

Barin Chaki at July 30, 2010 at 8:32 AM

As the One willed to become the Many, so there was the need of Involution. And thus, there was / is Matter.

As Matter is there, so there is materialism. The course of Evolution has its base in Matter and Evolution is the course of the One in order to become Many.

If by-passing Matter and materialism would have been the Way, that Way was taught and shown by the Buddha. That is a possibility, but by that Way, Evolution would have been forsaken.

So Matter is not to be forlorn. Annam brahman, said the Upanishad. But surely, to go ahead in the path of Evolution, we shall have to transcend and transmute Matter. Mind has to be freed from Inertia and Darkness and Ignorance. Matter is an aspect of Truth, but not the Total Truth. Matter has ti transcended and transformed, in the Way Sri Aurobindo and The Mother has shown us — by ascending to and with the help of the Supramental Consciousness.

As long we are limited to Mind, life may seem to us to be a hell of Darkness and Ignorance and Inertia. But The Master and The Mother has taught us the Way. We should look beyond Matter and transmute it in accordance to the Supramental necessity.

That is the Way before the Mankind.

 

Barindranath Chaki

30-07-2010

Thank you Barin-da, for the optimistic vision of the Masters, which can be a great help while living 'the worldly life'.

 

Reflecting on my original question, 'Is worldly life a help or a hindrance on the path of Integral Yoga?', some answers based on experience:

 

It is a help because there are a broader range of situations and experiences that present challenges and opportunities, which can either reinforce the spiritual call, or clarify that one is not ready.

 

In a monastic life, or an ashram, where the practical needs are met, the spiritual development could be more intensified, but necessaily easier.

 

The main obstacle seems to be the mind, which due its conditioning creates fears and sees 'hindrances'rather than opportunities for growth.  Also there is a danger that the spiritual call might disguise incompetency in dealing with daily life effectively. The key word is 'integral', so the challenges of mundane life have to grasped in that spirit, discovering the aspects of Mahalaksmi, Mahasaraswati, Maheswari,Mahakali hidden therein, awaiting discovery!

 

 

July 31, 2010 at 3:48 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Tara
Member
Posts: 2

Dear Kalpana,


speaking about experience - well, I never lived in an ashram or in a cave or a forest, but certainly worldly occupations can be very distracting - any kind of attachments or desire etc.


As far as I know Sri Aurobindo never intended to found an ashram, the people just came to him. But when they were there, they had to remain in the atmosphere and cut contact with all former relations etc. This certainly was for a reason, and it is widely explained by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.


Actually I would like to recommend a good book about Equality, it is by Bihar Yoga Publications:


SAMATVAM - THE YOGA OF EQUANIMITY


and deals with different aspects ( for people IN THE WORLD!) of this discipline, very interesting and helpful comments by Swami Sivananda and Swami Satyananda Saraswati


July 31, 2010 at 12:57 PM Flag Quote & Reply

kalpana
Member
Posts: 8

Thanks for the book suggested- the Bihar School of Yoga has many good resources.

Having tasted both 'ashram' and 'outside world' - there is always a trade-off of advantages and disadvantages vis-a-vis spiritual development.

Unlike cults, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother did not force people to cut off all former relations, but treated people on an individual basis, as to their readiness and needs - a very compassionate approach.

August 1, 2010 at 10:56 AM Flag Quote & Reply

kalpana
Member
Posts: 8

Thisextract from  http://www.collaboration.org/2001/fall/html/05.pinto.htmlcriptive/restrictive reveals that there was not a forced/regimented 'cutting off' former relations :

''Anie: Did you ever have ambitions to go outside the Ashram and experience the outside world, or marry and have children?

Gauri: I first went outside the Ashram in 1968 with my mother to visit relatives in London. The Mother said that going outside the Ashram would “enlarge my consciousness,” and it has. I traveled again to London in 1975, 1986, and 1990, but the Ashram is my home and the Ashram life is my way of life—so considering the worldly life and marriage was never an option for me. ''http://www.collaboration.org/2001/fall/html/05.pinto.html

 

August 1, 2010 at 11:50 AM Flag Quote & Reply

M Johnson
Member
Posts: 1

Yes and no.  'Worldly' life can teach us many valuable lessons like patience, tolerance of others, work ethics, and more.  But I think there comes a time in a person's evolution where it is helpful to retreat from worldly life and spend a period of time in  silent contemplation, meditation and study. Sri Aurobindo himself is an example of that.

 

 

--

M Johnson

Reiki Master Teacher

August 23, 2010 at 8:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

kalpana
Member
Posts: 8

M Johnson at August 23, 2010 at 8:13 PM

Yes and no.  'Worldly' life can teach us many valuable lessons like patience, tolerance of others, work ethics, and more.  But I think there comes a time in a person's evolution where it is helpful to retreat from worldly life and spend a period of time in  silent contemplation, meditation and study. Sri Aurobindo himself is an example of that.

 

 

I agree.  And also, in my experience, life seems to offer the right circumstances at the right time [ie for what is necessary for one's growth]!

 

Sometimes, the circumstances of worldly life [family, earning a living, relationships, interactions] that might feel like distractions are actually beneficial, as you point out, in cultivating qualities.  It also keeps one 'grounded'.

Also, if we are to undertake the 'mission', as it were, or the adventure of consciousness, then sailing in samsara can open up new vistas, as long as we stay connected to the Mother[ship].

 

Regarding Ashram life, the Mother has commented on several occasions, how human nature is not ready for such a golden opportunity and a lot is frittered away!

 

Sri Aurobindo was at such a high level, that his solitude will/has far reaching effects.

 

For most, retreats act as a balm, a therapy, a reflection - in longer periods one will be faced with oneself - the greatest challenge! [ on a smaller scale perhaps, to what 40 days in the wilderness refers to].

August 29, 2010 at 3:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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