We find here deeper meaning of spiritual call, initiation, adhikāra and the importance of endurance and steadfastness in the path of the Integral Yoga.
In addition to exploring Gratitude in a variety of hues, the issue also features pieces on the inner significance of Navaratri, the festival of Devi, and the cultural significance of Ramayana. Other highlights include a reflection on patriotism and leadership in the light of recent events in Afghanistan, and ‘The Real Gandhi’, an insightful essay approved by Sri Aurobindo.
The Festival of Devi is celebrated in India to mark the victory of the great Goddess Durga over the demon King Mahishāsura and his demon cohorts. Though outwardly it seems to be symbolic of the victory of Truth over falsehood which of course it is, there is much in it to help us understand the process of individual and cosmic evolution. A 3-part essay explores the deeper, inner significance of this festival.
The symbolism of the birth of Mahishasurmardini is presented here. The author also briefly outlines how the nine forms of the goddess form an ascending hierarchy of shakti or energy rising from the root chakra at the base of the spine, mulādhara, traveling upwards gaining strength and force and momentum with each upward gust and impulsion until it reaches the crown and passing beyond unites with its Lord.
The author, in this part, cites some significant descriptions given by the Mother of her realisations. These passages speak of how Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga takes a giant leap over tradition wherein he is not content with the slaying of a demon or many demons but by their conversion or dissolution for good. But for this not only man but even the gods must collaborate.
In this India’s 75th year of political independence, it is timely to present an assessment of Gandhi’s role in India’s freedom movement. Given that our national mind now seems ready to evaluate and understand the role played by some of the leading personalities in shaping the post-Independence India, revisiting this article written by Amal Kiran in 1949, which has the approval of Sri Aurobindo, is highly necessary and relevant today.
Sri Aurobindo summarises the essence of verses 9-14 of Isha Upanishad in ‘The Life Divine’: “Through Avidya, the Multiplicity, lies our path out of the transitional egoistic self-expression in which death and suffering predominate; through Vidya consenting with Avidya by the perfect sense of oneness even in that multiplicity, we enjoy integrally the immortality and the beatitude. By attaining to the Unborn beyond all becoming we are liberated from this lower birth and death; by accepting the Becoming freely as the Divine, we invade mortality with the immortal beatitude and become luminous centres of its conscious self-expression in humanity.”
Written in response to a disciple’s query about a particular statement of Gandhi, this letter of Sri Aurobindo strongly emphasises the need to develop a deeper and wider understanding of truth that is beyond mental-moral-ethical ideals. We also get a glimpse of a significant difference between the Christian or Semitic and the Hindu understanding of virtues or qualities, particularly Humility, which are considered important from a spiritual point of view.
In this part 3 of our ongoing series, the focus is on verses 6-8 of Isha Upanishad. We are reminded that it is the Brahman that is the origin, the end and the container of the things; creating, he indwells the forms of his manifestation, enjoys variously his thousand abodes. He is the One, the same everywhere. And if each individual formation behaves and acts as if it is a separate entity, different from others, it is because it is clouded in its outer consciousness, it has temporarily lost touch with the unifying knowledge and consciousness at its back—that which sustains it as well as it does all the rest in a common extension.
As per the Advaita Vedantic thought, man can attain union with the Divine even while living in the body on earth by abiding in perfect inner knowledge and discrimination. Our sages and seers used this spiritual truth to develop an excellent method of self-healing. Their approach did not involve any external aid such as medicines or mental training, but it focused on achieving oneness with the Supreme Power at a spiritual level. Read more about this approach in part 4 of this ongoing series.
Our conversation this month with two young educators, Pranjal Garg and Neha Singh, teaching Indian History at the university level, takes us beyond the ordinary ideological and political debates that have plagued the discipline of Indian History and Historiography since long, and invites us to explore a more integral approach to learning and teaching of History.
In this part, the author focuses on the first 4 verses of Isha Upanishad. He reminds that this Upanishad addresses itself to the question of world-existence, the problem of harmonising human life and activity with the Reality of Immutable Brahman. The solution it finds is one of the most remarkable found by the ancient Indian mind.