Eight questions
Where is the yoga headed in the new millenium?



by Vishnu Eschner, David Hutchinson, and Lynda Lester

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.

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 editor@collaboration.org, or postal mail to Editor, Collaboration, P.O. Box 163237, Sacramento, CA 95816 USA.

1. Do we need traditional gurus anymore?

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 decades?

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 Is the traditional yoga of Sri Aurobindo "out of date" now that the supermind is active upon the earth?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 layers?

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 (vishnu@lodinet.net), Lynda Lester (lyndalester@earthlink.net), and David Hutchinson (dbhutchinson@ucdavis.edu) are board members of the Sri Aurobindo Association.

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