ast summer the
three of us drove through Colorado to the All-USA Meeting in Baca, passing
through spectacular high country and talking about the yoga. Each of
us feel ourselves to be "traditional" in our general perspective,
but at the same time have thought a great deal about the future of yoga.
1. Do we need traditional gurus anymore?
We came up with eight questions that we later offered to a group of
about thirty attendees at AUM. Although discussion promised to be lively,
time ran out almost before we got started. However, many people asked
for copies to read and think about later.
Here are the questions again. What do you think? Written responses are
welcome! Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or postal mail to
Editor, Collaboration, P.O. Box 163237, Sacramento, CA 95816 USA.
Is the simple guru-disciple relationship the only one that can be productive
of spiritual growth, development, learning? Or are there other, more
equal relationships-perhaps completely unimaginable ones--that are coming
into play, as the yoga fulfills itself, such as the relation between
transitional or gnostic beings?
2. Are the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother the last word in
the yoga, or are there fresh insights, new findings yet to be discovered?
The natural tendency is to look backward to the written words and statements
of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as all-encompassing and complete. But
are they the only source? During their lifetimes, the yoga grew, changed,
and developed new terminology, new forces, and new expressions. Could
that be happening today?
3. Is the yoga still developing? Is new knowledge available that was
not available to sadhaks or the world in 1940 or 1970?
The conventional view is to look to elders in the community, or to their
writings, for insight and direction. But if the yoga is progressive,
if the supermind is active now, or if the Mother's work on the physical
made a radical change in the earth's atmosphere, could new knowledge,
experiences, and developments be emerging that were not present in earlier
4. Is the traditional yoga of Sri Aurobindo "out of date"
now that the supermind is active upon the earth?
There is a general consensus about what the "classical" yoga
entails, from its first beginnings in equanimity and aspiration, through
the opening of the psychic and the higher ranges of mentality, to the
supermind. These guidelines were laid down before the supermind became
active upon the earth. Is this overall approach still valid, or is it
possible to pursue the yoga along other lines?
5. Can one do the physical transformation before the psychic and spiritual
transformations? Is it possible to work on cellular consciousness before
working through the stages of Sri Aurobindo's yoga?
The triple transformation is generally understood to be sequential,
or at the very least, the supramental or physical transformations are
understood to follow the psychic and spiritual. Is this still true?
Or is it possible to do real work on the consciousness of the cells,
for example, while one still lives in the surface consciousness? Does
one have to have an opening to the subliminal before effective work
can be done on cellular consciousness, or on subconscient or inconscient
6. Is the traditional stricture against sharing experiences still valid?
Prematurely sharing personal experiences has long been known to adversely
affect the experience itself, perhaps through mixing of one's consciousness
with skepticism that arises, or through ego involvement. Are there ways
or times or persons with whom this stricture changes, and sharing of
experiences can become a method for progress in the yoga?
7. Is celibacy still valid as a requirement for progress in this yoga?
Celibacy has long been prescribed for serious spiritual aspirants, because
sex strongly involves the physical and the vital, opening a person to
many forces that can impede spiritual progress. Is this admonition still
valid? And/or, if the very nature of the physical will change due to
the emergence of the supermind, will the role of sex as a factor in
sadhana also change?
8. Is it enough to be a traditional sadhak, or are there forces emerging
in the world (communication, technology, virtual reality) that change
the nature of practice of the yoga itself?
he goal of Integral
Yoga is to return upon the world with a transformed individual vehicle,
to do the work of the Divine in the world, among its million-fold forces
and peoples. Does the emergence of communication technologies that are
closely bound to consciousness change the nature of practice in the
yoga itself? Or is the yoga essentially unchanged by these developments?
Vishnu Eschner (email@example.com), Lynda Lester (firstname.lastname@example.org),
and David Hutchinson (email@example.com) are board members of
the Sri Aurobindo Association.