Text and experience
Posted May 26, 2007on:
This kind of textual meandering, which is limitless, and for the most part useless, points directly to the problem of textual fallacies in Sri Aurobindo’s world. (By which I mean the world of students and disciples of Sri aurobindo as well as his teachings, texts, and direct spiritual influence.) It is a kind of legacy for deconstructionists to savor these things I suppose.
The first deconstruction here would point to the alleged discrepancies between Self and Soul, Atman and Purusa, etc. as defined textually. One can easily reiterate many textual references and then believe that one has grasped something about Self and Soul. This is the scriptural Sri Aurobindo school.
Then there is the yoga transmission school of the yoga guru Sri Aurobindo. For the latter, there is the goal to experience the void as selfless bliss, as well as simultaneously universal world-bliss, and then perhaps to derive from that realisation a sense of the meaning of the Buddhist practice of compassionate emptiness. Something like this seems to be implied by the previous comment.
Whether this tells us anything about the ontological truth of reality (what is) as opposed to the epistemological, subjective impression, of what is thought or felt, etc., and therefore is a reality of Mind only, is not necessarily known or considered. And so there must follow an alternating exploration between text and experience to determine whether Truth-consciousness, in knowing Self, is also knowing world, force, prakriti, process, time, material reality, etc.
Buddhism is much less inclined to tackle this project than Sri Aurobindo was, and in fact that is his primary project. Therefore, the experience of transformation is privileged over textual interpretation, yoga sadhana (practise) over shastra (scripture). Herein lies, perhaps, the paradoxical trap of religion in this school. Shastra, devotion, practise are necessary aids, but unless they disappear in the truth of experience they easily become ego-projections. Then of course we “know” the truth and we “feel” the divine and we “live” a righteous life of yoga. And we can then prattle endlessly about which plane of atman is next in the hiearchy of interpretation.
Do these reflections constitute a “substratum” for understanding Buddhist truth? They may, if we realize that the experience of the Void of Selfless Bliss requires the annihilation of the ego. After that happens, we may realize that it is also the nature a material world and universe that is the body of sacrifice, the fire of agni.