The Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo: a talk by Dr. Debashish Banerji

Sri Aurobindo wrote that, “it is a spiritual evolution we foresee and the material is only its shadow and reflex.” It is easy to interpret this statement, without context, as a form of world-denial. Aurobindo began as political activist, but later in his life turned to the path of the Yogi and never left his ashram in Pondicherry. But in many ways, Aurobindo was foreshadowing the spirituality of the future. He taught a path of immanence, a form of spiritual alchemy where our divine nature was directed toward our “lower” nature, resulting in the transmutation of mind, heart and body.

Hence, he dubbed this an “integral Yoga.” A Yoga turned, not toward transcendence, but the immanence of the soul brought to fulfillment in life, not beyond it.

Together, with his spiritual counterpart, the Mother, he wrote voluminously about the coming “Gnostic Being” – a new form of human whose soul had come to the forefront of their person.

Without writing further on this, I thought I would share a twitter, stream-of-consciousness rant. My attempt to describe Integral Yoga in 140 characters or less!

I’m drawn to Sri Aurobindo’s teachings on the Psychic Being, a kind of ambiguous “sheath” around the soul that develops through lifetimes.
Consider it a tiny divine guide, an inner Guru, that can transmute the soul spark to a bright body of light. It is not shy to time, yet it is not affected by it. It gains wisdom by the lifetimes and attempts to draw the person towards the divine. I love this because it, to some degree, reconciles history. Its a way of telling us what the soul is doing all wrapped up in the flesh. And what’s especially intriguing about Aurobindo’s mysticism is that his teachings are about immanence. He and his partner, the Mirra (the Mother) don’t deny transcendence, but seek an alchemical yoga of transmuting the “lower nature.” I suppose this is why they called it Integral Yoga, the act of acting from the divine soul, coming to the forefront of the person. Transforming the human being into a new kind of being (something we are, already). The “gnostic being.” That works as a transmuter. Anyhow, I am sure there will be many forms of mysticism in our age that are driven towards immanence of the Soul. Despite our materialistic times, I think it is important that we foster these new traditions and work on “seeing through” the world. But not abandoning it. Perhaps that’s not what it’s been about all along. After all, we have been here for a few million years, the human organism has evolved to worship and craft temples and write scripture. The Earth is a sort of temple for a divine host. There are many ways to interpret what our materialistic age knows through soulful vision.

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Before the Age of the Gods

The air is thin, between realms now we slip; reaching for the god’s return, the age of chaos a gateway to Vico’s age of gods. Chaos is the song of nature; all that cannot be contained; growing wild like the Tao. Now as civilization grows wild and chaotic, we find that culture is an expression … Continue reading

Take Your World and Be It a Tomb

The seasons, they turn My lungs are filled with the warmth of spring unborn What a spring this will be, in the stars I feel it What vast expanse What transformations await? I come again to the place of unknowing, with boundaries uncertain and territories vast in this time, empires deflate and new dreams are … Continue reading

Some new writing..

This was written on the Evolutionary Landscape’s twitter: Contemplative practice is not being silent for the sake of a quiet mind. It is seeing through, like a dart piecing beyond the veil. Gnosis is the “spiritual intellect.” A knowing, a being-in-truth. It’s important to remember this is at the heart of contemplation. Be you East … Continue reading

Consciousness Studies

A few days ago I received an email notifying me that I was accepted to Goddard College’s MA program! I’ll do my best to document the experience and share my studies via blogging. It’s a unique school in that you only attend Goddard’s physical location for about a week, where you work intensively with your … Continue reading

Changing sites?

In light of the new blog project, Evolutionary Landscapes, I’m considering switching this blog to Posterous. If (and when) this happens, I’ll leave a link on the front page here.

In light of the Solstice:

Sitting alone in peace before these cliffs the full moon is heaven’s beacon the ten thousand things are all reflections the moon originally has no light wide open the spirit of itself is pure hold fast to the void realize its subtle mystery look at the moon like this this moon that is the heart’s … Continue reading

WikiLeaks, Assange and Social Order

C4chaos just made a post sharing his thoughts on WikiLeaks. I was surprised to find that Robb Smith, CEO of Integral Life, had this position on the matter: Al Qaeda just announced they’re going to use Wikileaks to exploit security weaknesses to kill innocent people. Nice. Assange is a terrorist. His defenders will argue he’s … Continue reading

Jean Gebser on Integral Consciousness

The following gems are excerpts from Feuerstein’s “Structures of Consciousness,” an overview of Jean Gebser’s theories and life’s work. It’s a nice list comparing the “postmodern” or Western psyche’s transition from its state of “deficiency” to a new, more whole state of being. It’s definitely something to print out and place on your wall: Haste … Continue reading

“Aim at the Whole”

“To believe in Him under any particular form is not enough. Accept Him in His numberless forms, shapes and modes of being, in everything that exists. Aim at the whole and all your actions will be whole.” –Anandamayi Ma