New letters on yoga

Below are a few of the postings to Auroconf, an electronic forum whichdiscusses Integral Yoga, among other things. To subscribe, send an emailto


By various contributors 

TnFebruary 22, 1997, it was reported that Ian Wilmut, an embryologist fromEdinburgh, had successfully cloned a sheep named Dolly. There was an extendeddiscussion on Auroconf about the spiritual implications of this event. 

The question that stuck me is, what about the psychic being? If we ashumans can create clones, then in the cloned individual does a psychicentity descend as it does in those who take birth in the biological way?Somehow the prospect of people making copies of each other seems a ratherinteresting prospect to me. But I seriously doubt if humans can be copied,except in their most physical and perhaps mental traits. Can one actuallyduplicate another psychic being? And if it is not duplicated then willthe Divine or supernature or whatever name you call it, consent to collaboratewith Man in this artificial process of birth, i.e. would a soul waitingto descend, wish to take on a cloned body? 

The Mother speaks at length of how there are souls who wait for theright conditions and in a way almost choose their parents and environment.After all, unlike the animal, Man has a conscious soul in the form of apsychic entity.… Keeping the deeper laws of birth and evolution in mind,can a human be cloned? Would a conscious psychic being choose to descendinto an artificially created human form? Actually my question is relevantto even test tube babies. 

Tersonally,I would be inclined to think that all such phenomenon such as cloning inthe long run would only show to Man that in fact biological birth is nota necessity, and perhaps in the next century even the now more physicalaids like rubbing of the two eggs or DNA implantation may not be imperative! 

—Ameet Mehra,
*  *  *

It's hard for passionate people in old-fashioned bodies to think dispassionatelyabout all this. Fears arise instantly, evoking the spectre of human farming,of armies of genetically engineered soldiers, of avaricious organ sellersand irreconcilable questions of inheritance, personhood and belonging.With all that complex surrogacy, whose children are the clones, what happensto the concept of family? In fact, human cloning is just the most recentmoral dilemma between conscience and science. We have stood here before. 

From Hinduism Today, April 1, 1997
*  *  *

The psychic being and traditionalyogas 

In May a discussion was started after a question by August Timmerman. 

Traditional Yogas are about the realisation of the Atman or the TrueSelf. But what about the Divine Essence in the Psychic Being? Does thismean that the Yogas do not know about the Psychic Being and its DivineEssence? 

—August Timmerman,
*  *  *
T believethat the evolving personality called by Sri Aurobindo the psychic beingwas known to exist in other traditions. Many of the Christian mystics speakof this entity calling it "soul" and often referring to it in the femininesense. Thus a male mystic could seek the "divine marriage" or union withChrist since his soul was considered to be inherently feminine. Also, SriAurobindo called it the Chaitya-Purusha which seems to indicate that hefound references to it in the Indian scriptures. But it is also very possiblethat Mother brought the knowledge of the psychic being from her backgroundin western spirituality. It ought to also be pointed out that of the threetransformations (psychic, spiritual, and Supramental) Sri Aurobindo saysthat the first two have already been done in the past traditions, whereasthe Supramental Transformation is a completely new possibility since theSupermind is, for the first time in history (as of 1956), directly activein the Earth atmosphere. Psychicisation and spiritualisation are not newspiritual possibilities, but rather have been a part of most earlier spiritualpractices. 
—Prapanna Smith,
*  *  *

The soul is the spark of the Divine which is not seated above the manifestedbeing, but comes down into the manifestation to support its evolution inthe material world. It is at first an undifferentiated power of the DivineConsciousness containing all possibilities which have not yet taken form,but to which it is the function of evolution to give form. This spark isthere in all living beings from the lowest to the highest. 

—Sri Aurobindo (aurobindo@supra.wld?), Letters on Yoga
*  *  *

The Supramental transformation is not new. Sri Aurobindo and Motherunderlined themselves that it is very probable that the ancient Vedas discoveredthis possibility too. Then in the past there seemed to be many individualshaving the same experiences and trying a physical supramental transformationbefore Sri Aurobindo and Mother. I would suggest to take a look to thebook of Marshall Govindam, Babaji and 18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition. Evenif it’s a book about Kriya Yoga it devotes a whole chapter to Sri Aurobindoshowing interesting parallels between the two yogas. There it appears clearthat the attempt of transformation is very old. 

I think that the real difference between Sri Aurobindo, Mother and othersconsists in the fact that they announced that the time has come. They rediscoveredsome secrets of nature and evolution that were, at least partially, alreadyknown also by some few others. But developing the integral yoga, centeringit on the evolutionary vision of a race that is going towards a divinetransformation, they offered this secret to the whole humanity and notonly to some few elected ones. The fact that this did not happen beforeis because only now the human race is probably evolved enough to beginthis journey and because such a transformation seems to be possible onlyon a collective basis. 

—Marco Masi,
*  *  *
To methe psychic being seems to be the key to all the questions man has beenasking for centuries: Where do we come from? What are we here for? Whereare we going? These questions brought me into contact with Sri Aurobindoand Mother. 

The traditional yogas have addressed these questions by confirming thefact of reincarnation and setting out a fixed discipline that brings onewho practices it beyond the senses and into contact with the eternal Atmanor true Self. However that was always regarded as the final aim. Life itself was/is always looked upon as falsehood and misery. However,in the psychic, life is not experienced as misery and falsehood but becomesa joyful existence. Sri Aurobindo and Mother emphasize that  the psychiccan harmonize and unite the outer being with the inner being: once allthe parts of the being: the vital, mind and body are surrendered to thepsychic. None of these parts are ignored or suppressed but put in the trueplace of the total being, without one dominating over the other, and allgoverned by the psychic. 

—August Timmerman,

The nature, work, and relation of Gurus is an ongoing topic on Auroconf.  

From Mother's reply to Alain I gather that  mixing of gurus causesonly confusion in the disciple.  If so it is the weakness of the discipleand I feel that there seems to be  nothing spiritually objectionablein approaching more than one guru.  She warns one against openingoneself to the complex interaction of the influences of two gurus. Somemay be able to handle that and some may not. It is probably to make thingseasier for the sadhak that such an advice is given, and in that case itis true. 

Tutthere is sure harm in  generalizing without qualifications that one should not approach more than one guru.  As long as the personhas sincerity in his pursuit and not a motive to test or weigh one guru against other he will have no problem. An egoistic motive lacking sincerityin the approach to the guru causes some problems. Simple folks with truedevotion always respect a holy man and try to learn from more than one.This freedom has produced such wide spiritual diversity in India and somany gurus. Of course not all gurus are the same level of spiritual height.But that does not matter.  It is only those who are unconsciouslyegoistic suffer from the confusion and difficulties they encounter. Thatis their problem of sadhana. It is not guru's fault. Is it not true thatyou receive in proportion to your receptivity? Blaming a guru for castingsome spiritually harmful influence on you (such as those which contradictthe influence of the other guru) is the  problem of your own and nothis. 

—Madhu Kanchi,
*  *  *

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo remain as our guru (singular) in the bodyor not, but that does not mean that others cannot help. Mother mentionedbefore she left her body that a small number in the Ashram were realizedbeings, many of which have left their body since She made that statement.Such mentors are of immense help. 

—Prem Sobel,
*  *  *

I don't see how you or anyone can accept one or more gurus sincerely.You cannot belong to all of them at the same time. Or do you consider thatsomeone else beside Sri Aurobindo and The Mother knows better than themthe road which has to be taken. Do you really think they are the formlessdivine? 

The acceptance must be absolute. And if we speak about sincerity thattoo must be absolute. The only question which remains is whether one isinvited/accepted by the Mother or not. This doesn’t mean that we cannotask and receive the help from the friends who have advanced on the path.But they will be always friends not gurus. 

—Zdenko Grgic,
*  *  *

“... To admit or call the invasion of others into one's own beingis to remain always in the confusions of the intermediate zone.” (Sri Aurobindo,Letters on Yoga) 

Thenwe are talking about the ordinary influence of a Guru we are not talkingabout allowing someone into our consciousness like he is talking aboutthere. We are constantly being influenced by society, our parents, teachersat school when we were younger, etc., all these acted as influences onus and influences can remain from them but that is completely differentthan allowing a being INTO our consciousness by means of inner penetrationof our personal aura. This is what Sri Aurobindo was referring to in thatparticular letter, not the ordinary influence that comes from contact withothers, be it Guru or ordinary person. Sri Aurobindo, I believe, is referringto a phenomena related to when the inner consciousness is open (after allit is in the chapter Experiences of the Inner and Cosmic Consciousness)whereby one has the ability to allow other beings to act through one directlyby directly impinging on the consciousness directly, if one allows it. 

—Johannes Vloothuis,
*  *  *

It seems that there is a difference between seeking a guru and meetingone. 

All of us on this list are here I believe because we already have directaccess to Mother and Sri Aurobindo, at some level or another. So too, moreand more people, realized, partially realized, etc. have increasing contactwith the Divine. Even the orthodox religions got set up because of someoriginal, embedded, deeper connection, and one can feel this in some oftheir adherents, some of their leaders, their religious festivals, observances,rites, temples and holy places and events, etc. 

For those who experience that direct connection, there is no need fora guru, or a conventional religion, or whatever. Sometimes however, a brieftaste of the connection urges people to seek for more and in their hasteand eagerness, to look for all the help they can get to speed the process,in a possibly misguided but admirable sincerity. Even those who have metMother and Sri Aurobindo also, (not in the physical) might wish to seehow they can get closer, “do it the right way” from someone who they seeas having a closer relationship than they themselves. Only Mother and SriAurobindo themselves really tell one directly that that is totally notnecessary, but one has to be confident enough to hear them! 

So of course we do not need gurus, and therefor need not seek one orthe other, or compare—like a shopping list to see which one has the 'best'path... 

Tonethelesswhen I meet the Divine in a less veiled form I still bow down before it,I still experience Namaste. And the more one comes to know and love theDivine, the easier it is to not only discern, but to discriminate - tosee the 'human' aspect _and_ the Divine, in, for example, Christ, the Buddha,Mohammed, Sri Chimnoy, Alan Watts, Mother Meera, Sivananda Valentina, Krishnamurti,Sai Baba, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. ----- and even in we ourselves,who correspond with ourselves and reveal so much of ourselves and of theDivine on these lists! 

—Marian Cummins,
*  *  *

Based on what Sri Aurobindo and Mother say, there is a possibility thatthe earth today has many manifestations or vibhutis of powers of Mother,just as there existed goddess forms in most traditions, including Hinduism,Christianity, etc. So, perhaps Mother Meera, Ammachi, Anandamayi-ma, etcare personalities or powers or vibhutis or aspects of Mother. To proveor disprove that they are vibhutis or aspects of mother doing her workis beyond my perception. It is also very difficult for me to think of themas the complete manifestation of Divine Mother which some say as to havehappened only once on earth in the form of "The Mother of Sri AurobindoAshram." 

—Girish Mantry,
*  *  *
TriAurobindo and the Mother's teaching demands that we look at the oppositesof our conclusions to see the grain of truth residing there as well, tofind the place where the “opposing'” truths may be unified or harmonized. By saying “no other teachers under any circumstances” we perhaps run therisk of limiting the Mother's action in some way.  Certainly we shouldbe faithful to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and find their presence withinus, but what if we feel that this presence is urging us to a temporaryouter guide of some sort?  Should we ignore that, or explore its possiblevalidity? It may be presumptuous to state that under no circumstances wouldthe Mother direct one to an outer teacher. 
—Benjamin Irvin,
*  *  *

The Western mind always finds it difficult to submit totally to a Guruand without total and unquestioning surrender to the Guru his help to youis paralysed. That is why generally I advise westerners to find the guidanceand the Presence within themselves; it is true that this process is veryoften open to uncertainty and self-deception, mistaking some voice of theego in disguise for the Divine's guidance. In both cases, it is only anabsolute sincerity and an unmixed humility that can be your safeguard. 

—The Mother (Mother@shakti.aum?), Collected Works,Volume 14, page 61

I read a paragraph from the Life Divine, my mind silent (as much asis possible) my heart open, receptive (as much as is possible), I wait,then I begin to reflect—not analyze, but contemplate, allow feelings andthoughts, intuitions, sensations, images and illuminations to come, invitingwithout pulling. I am at the same time ever mindful of the flow of energy,observing the tendency of the analyzing, separative mind coming in. Asinspiration dries up, I go on to the next paragraph, reading in silence.I wait, and again, begin to reflect. In the midst of reflection, inspirationstirs. I stop, and—just as Satprem describes in the chapter on Sleep inAdventure of Consciousness, trying to remember a dream—I gaze, I reachtowards that emptiness, that cloud of unknowing, and attempt to createa womb for the birthing of that inspiration, careful not to disturb itwith too hasty ordinary mental activity. I observe with great care andmindfulness, as the time for the inspiration passes, and it is time eitherto go on with further intuitive/feeling/sensing/imaging reflection, gointo silent effortless concentration, or continue reading. 

And even this is not an accurate description, since the process of integralfeeling and thinking is much more multi-dimensional than any verbal descriptioncould be. But this, as best as I can say it for now, is my current levelof understanding how we can have an openness to the unknown, a respectfor the mystery, AND AT THE SAME TIME, engage in the most precise, carefullydiscerning reflection (and even analysis if called for) of ourselves, ourtext, our life, our world. 

—Don Salmon,
Cell division 

This is a response to Mike Wyatt who requested feedback to his letterabout the Cellular Evolution Conference experience. (Collaboration, Vol.22, No.1) 

Your letter touched on an interesting debate which has been germinatingfor some time now in the rich mental soils of this community.  Callit the question of when to "cell." 

The strategy of the integral yogi so far has been to start with purifyingthe inner being, and when that's sufficiently transformed, the transformationof the body begins by Grace. 

Recently, though, there has been a growing force which recommends anothermethod.  I understand them to be saying, "let's look at the the possibilitythat the supramental transformation is already occurring in the body, andsee what we can do to help it along." 

If we leave it at this level, the discussion is healthy for the community.Unfortunately, perhaps with the intention of transcending the rationalmind, the debate usually slips into irrationality. 

Tneform of decline begins when those who profess finding fulfillment in SriAurobindo's writings and methods are called "dogmatic" and "fundamentalist." Confessing no interest in novel techniques is deemed "reactionary" or "close-minded."  The only defense is to return the insult - call those with an urge to findprocedures of cellular transformation, "superficial!" 

But emotionally charged words like these have no value or relevanceto this disussion.  They completely ignore the important issues whichcould be worked through.  Instead, they move the discourse into arealm where growth and mutual understanding are impossible. 

Your letter, though hardly confrontational, contained subtle and, Iam certain, unintentional movement in this direction.  Because itwas on a public forum I feel the need to respond publicly and specifically.It's important to let you know that I was very inspired by Dr. Basu's talkat the Cellular Evolution Conference in October, 1995.  I did notsense the "chilling effect" or the "defeatist mentality" you mentionedin your critique.  Rather, his talk opened a strong sense of devotionand aspiration within me and in many of the others with whom I spoke atthe conference.  I'm one of those whose days are pretty full attemptingto practice just a few of the thousands of techniques for sadhana thathave already  been given by Mother and Sri Aurobindo.  And personally,I haven't come across anyone besides Sri Aurobindo and Mother who havemade a credible example of transformation beyond what naturally accompaniesthe sadhana outlined by Sri Aurobindo - which was so aptly described byDr. Basu.  For me, simply, it works - and it's working - in a hugeway! That's only my experience. 

I'm not implying that the search for ways to augment bodily transformationis invalid.  Actually, I like to think that most of us are workingout our own, private transformation. 

My concern is not with who's right in this debate.  I think thatwith God, both sides can be correct.  But it is ultimately an intenslypersonal, individual matter - not one which can be decided in a shoutingmatch anyway. Until we become truly conscious of the forces which moveour mindstuff, it is dangerously easy to  divide this blossoming collectiveinto any number of factions, each quoting Sri Aurobindo out of contextin support of some mental position.  It's time we display some realevidence of transformation and try a different approach with each other. 

At a recent seminar at the Cultural Integration Fellowship, Robert McDermottpostulated that compassion and courtesy may be among the more effectivetools for transformation of the collective.  I would like to secondthat. 

—Vishnubhai Eschner,
The third way 

People seem to lean in two directions: 
The way of the devotee, the bhakta: just open, feel the Force, allowMother to lead you, open your heart, do not question the teachings. 
The way of the disciple: study carefully all that the Mother and SriAurobindo have written, carefully practice long, involved meditations,be wary of all special claims, develop a strong and especially, criticalmind. 

The disciple looks at the devotee and smiles at his/her apparent simple-mindedness.The devotee looks with compassion on the disciple, seeing excessive mentalstrain where there could be, instead, simple surrender. 
—Don Salmon, 


*  *  *

There is yet another, third way: the goofy way. 

On this path, the practitioner is smitten forever with the stillnessand rapture of the Divine, sucks up Sri Aurobindo's writings like chocolatemilk, sees Mother's words luminous and transparent, develops a supple powerof thought, can't find his/her mind because it's disappeared into somewide silent sea, laughs because the air is full of enchantment and marvel,notes little difference between meditation hall and workplace, is afflictedwith showers of gold (fairy dust) while walking through parking lots, feelssmaller than nothing, and dreams about enlightened buffaloes. 

On the goofy way the perfect world is perceptible just a micron away,near as breathing, so intimate as to make all existence worthwhile…thetransformation is a felt certitude…and it becomes impossible to dismissanyone because God is in them, looking out through human eyes. 

—Lynda Lester, 


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