Archive for February 2012
When the sages of the Upanishads tried to express the nature of the Infinite and Eternal which they experienced, they eventually concluded with the saying “Neti, Neti” meaning, “Not this, not that”. The implication was made more clear in the Taittirya Upanishad when they described “The delight of the Eternal from which words turn away without attaining and the mind also returns baffled…” By its very nature, the experience of states of consciousness beyond the mind is impossible of accurate depiction by the mind and the powers of speech. Sri Aurobindo points out that the same difficulty occurs when we try to describe the supramental consciousness using human conceptualisation and language.
“…the supramental change in its process carries us into less explored regions; it initiates a vision of heights of consciousness which have indeed been glimpsed and visited, but have yet to be discovered and mapped in their completeness. The…
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The spiritual force from the heights attempting to transform the lower nature turns out to have a long, arduous and complex work ahead of it. The lower nature is not a blank slate upon which the new understanding, responses, actions & feelings can be written. Rather, all of the accumulated habits, patterns and lines of action of the lower nature are fully entrenched and not willing to cede their control easily or without an effort which must be both persistent and extremely detailed.
“Every part of our being has to be taken in its own nature and character, with all the moulds and writings of the past still there in it: each minutest portion and movement must either be destroyed and replaced if it is unfit, or, if it is capable, transmuted into the truth of the higher being.”
Things become even more difficult if the force is descending as…
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Spiritual experiences that are not based on the complete emergence of the soul may be mixed with inner mental, vital or physical movements that can vitiate the purity of the experience and in fact, lead to imperfect or misguided results. “there could be an emergence not only of the subliminal knowledge but of the subliminal ignorance.” Sri Aurobindo points out these dangers: “In the absence of any or of a complete psychic emergence, experiences of certain kinds, experiences of greater knowledge and force, a surpassing of the ordinary limits, might lead to a magnified ego and even bring about instead of an out-flowering of what is divine or spiritual an uprush of the titanic or demoniac, or might call in agencies and powers which, though not of this disastrous type, are of a powerful but inferior cosmic character.”
When something of this type occurs, one can find individuals who seem…
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“The object of religion is the same as that of philosophy; it is the eternal verity itself in its objective existence; it is God. Nothing but God and the unfolding of God… [P]hilosophy in unfolding religion merely unfolds itself, and in unfolding itself it unfolds religion.” -Hegel
“Philosophy is the intellectual search for the fundamental truth of things; religion is the attempt to make the truth dynamic in the soul of man.” -Sri Aurobindo
“Religion, whatever it is, is man’s total reaction upon life.” -William James
What is the relationship between religion and philosophy? Some philosophers, like Bertrand Russell, believe it is philosophy’s job to lift the human intellect above the childishness of religion. Reason and science alone are supposed to guide our species into its adulthood. Levi Bryant’s recent post complicates this picture:
…the choice of philosophy over religion…cannot be completed by demonstrating that philosophy is the “rational” choice…
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Because we mostly live in the surface consciousness, we are not much familiar with the inner realms of consciousness, the inner mental, inner vital, subtle physical, not to speak of the psychic being in the depths at the center. The surface consciousness represents a compromise or amalgam of the action of the native power of each of these levels, and provides a certain measure of stability and “solidity” to the activity. When one enters into the inner realms, however, whether through a natural evolutionary development, or through some “event” that propels us inwards, we are confronted in some cases with forms, forces, powers and entities that are unfamilar to us, that act with an intensity and directness to which we are not normally subjected, and which can both guide, and mislead, depending on how we respond to them.
Sri Aurobindo describes the issues clearly: “In entering within one may find…
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