Who is Spiritual Vivekananda or Aurobindo


Aurobindo Ghose was born in Kolkata on August 15, 1872 and died in Podicherry on December 5, 1950. Shri Aurobindo was an Indian politician, philosopher, Hindu mystic, guru and yogi, creator of Integralyoga. His letters, poems and philosophical writings are signed and published under Sri Aurobindo. In his person he combines the humanistic education and knowledge of the West with the wisdom teachings and spiritual traditions of India.

Biography of Shri Aurobindo Ghose

After studying in Cambridge / England (1879-1893), Aurobindo Ghose returned to India and studied the great traditions of his country before he campaigned for Indian independence.

In 1909 Aurobindo was released from prison, in which he had spent a year because of his struggle for independence. He had been suspected of being directly or indirectly involved in an assassination attempt; in fact, he later admits that his spiritual philosophy does not lead to the use of a nonviolent strategy like that of Gandhi. According to his own reports, he had a number of spiritual experiences during the year in prison that brought him to a state of consciousness beyond nirvana.

On April 4th, 1910, while fleeing from the English, Shri Aurobindo finally settled in Puducherry (Pondicherry) in France. At this point he comes to believe that beyond the struggle for India's independence there is a struggle for the future of humanity. He is dedicated to spiritual search and research and the creation of his writings. More and more students come to live with him and his French student and colleague Mirra Alfassa, whom both himself and his students call "mother". Mirra Alfassa then takes over the material management of the ashram, which was officially founded in the 1920s.

According to Shri Aurobindo's idea, his ashram should be an "evolutionary laboratory". He worked out his teaching by 1926: In his view, man has only reached an imperfect stage of evolution today; it cannot be denied that “man is a transitional being”. When Charles Darwin admits, prior to the publication of his work on the "Origin of Species," that "it is tantamount to murder", this concerns the statement that humans belong to the same family as monkeys. Sri Aurobindo goes even further in his assumptions about the evolution of species. He suggests to us the possibility that humans could only be one link in the chain of development to a new species. This new species, of which the human being is only an intermediate link, would not necessarily have to be endowed with a consciousness that can be grasped by the human mental consciousness. The consciousness of the new species could be as incomprehensible to humans as the human mind to animals. Nevertheless, Aurobindo sees an important difference to the evolution of the preceding species: We can already foresee the development of this consciousness and, above all, perhaps consciously work towards it.

According to Aurobindo, the conscious path of our evolution is to seek the development of our spiritual abilities. He believes that a more radical development of the spiritual faculties already discovered by mankind will one day lead to the awakening of a still completely unknown dimension. The emergence of this dimension of consciousness represents the evolutionary leap that is indicative of a new species.

In 1926, Sri Aurobindo withdrew from the world and devoted himself exclusively to the earthly manifestation of the supramental. He rarely leaves his retreat, either to meet with his supporters or to intervene in Indian politics. During the rest of the time, he communicates with his students in writing.

He has written a number of works on the sacred Indian scriptures, which for many people in the West, in addition to the writings of Swami Vivekananda, represent a good approach to Hinduism and its philosophy. Aurobindo dies in his ashram in 1950.

Brief outline of Sri Aurobindo's evolutionary philosophy

The idea of ​​evolution presented by Sri Aurobindo is not purely materialistic, as is the case with most of the spiritual heirs of Charles Darwin. Aurobindo does not deny the materialistic approach, but highlights its limitations:

"Today it is common knowledge that science is not a representation of the truth of all things, but merely a form of language for describing certain experiences with things, their structure, their mathematics, an orderly and applicable concept of their processes - nothing more. Matter itself is like an energy structure, of which we only superficially know the structure, as it appears to our mind and our senses and some instruments of investigation (which one now suspects that they themselves determine a large part of their own results, since nature its answers to the instrument used), but no scholar knows or can know more about it. "

Based on this statement, Aurobindo claims that science does allow a spiritual view of evolution. For him, the unconscious is not only of a subconscious nature in the sense of the Freudians (but not the followers of Jung) and all materialistically oriented psychologists, but the unconscious also has a spiritual nature in which the consciousness itself is expanded to the superconscious.

Of course, one can assume on a certain level that the subconscious represents a kind of structure of qualitative drives that reflect the play of material forces, which science regards as quantitative and which are solely responsible for the course of evolution. But for Aurobindo the discovery that the unconscious is also of a superconscious nature throws a superconscious light down to the bottom of the subconscious, which shows that the gaze of research inevitably misses the consciousness that is hidden in matter.

Aurobindo defines human consciousness as a spiritual, mental consciousness:

In the terminology of our yoga, the noun "mind" and the adjective "spiritual" denote in particular that part of nature that forms in the mind with cognitive processes, processes of understanding, thoughts, mental and conceptual perception, reactions that the objects evoke in the mind and currents, spiritual vision and spiritual will, etc.

According to him, human mental consciousness comprises a vital consciousness inherited from animals and a physical consciousness that stems from the first forms of life. Beyond the highest superconscious peaks of mental consciousness, we can, according to Aurobindo, experience the “supramental”, which represents a direct experience of the truth that can be experienced indirectly today and partly through our spiritual intelligence: "By the supramental I mean the consciousness of truth ... through which the divine experiences not only its own essence and being, but also its manifest appearance. "

Incidentally, Sri Aurobindo explains: "A description of the supramental nature with the help of the mental could only be done either with overly abstract paraphrases or with mental images that could transform them into something that completely does not correspond to their reality." With the integral yoga he has developed, Aurobindo wants to promote the individual and collective spiritual development towards this new state.

The new thing about Aurobindo's concept in the spiritual realm is that the practice of his integral yoga not only enables the practitioner to approach the divine, but also to absorb the divine energy within himself, with the aim of bringing the divine consciousness into to embody matter; Aurobindo's mysticism is active as he tries to change our world now at the material stage of its development. He advocates a certain asceticism, but in contrast to a complete rejection of the material body, he tries to make us aware that “one and the same higher law governs matter and spirit”.


The integral Vedanta

Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950)

According to Aurobindo, the spiritual philosophy is one of the four paths of evolutionary development, such as occultism, yoga practice (the spiritual experience) and religion. As such, it offers all possibilities - including those that go beyond the mental itself - just an opening of the mental.

The Divine Life (The Divine Life, also translatable as "Spiritual Life") is certainly Aurobindo's most philosophically oriented work. Aurobindo has revised it several times in the course of his life and the reading was always strongly recommended to those who wanted to be his students. Aurobindo begins in his work with the presentation of two complementary negative aspects. These two negative aspects are not just errors. They are also two half-truths, since every not inconsiderable error hides an aspect of the truth that is trying to come to light. On the one hand, there is the materialistic negation, which denies the importance of consciousness and merely dismisses evolution as a material development. On the other hand, we find the spiritual negation of the value of the present life, which assumes that this life is only an illusory phenomenon or an illusory evolution anyway. This spiritual approach has the consequence that matter is viewed as a gross illusion, as an inert force that opposes spiritual liberation; Aurobindo thus opposes the prevailing interpretation of the Vedanta philosophy in India.

Aurobindo, however, does not deny the value of spiritual experiences, even if they convey this interpretation, which has absolutely nothing in common with the truth inherent in materialism; however, he believes that the spiritual experiences in question must be re-examined, deepened and overcome if they are to become authentic psychological knowledge in the service of the metaphysical evolution of nature. This spiritual psychology in the service of the metaphysical evolution of nature ultimately has the goal of transcending the mental human consciousness, the human spirit, not through its negation, but through its expansion and exaltation. When reading The Divine Life, the mental consciousness is called upon to understand the meaning of evolution, which for Aurobindo is above all a divine evolution: "The goal of yoga is to penetrate the divine presence and the divine consciousness and to be occupied by them to become [...] The divine alone is our goal, "he explains in his Letters on Yoga. The Divine Life therefore takes the standpoint of the development of the Divine itself; in Vedanta philosophy the development of the divine itself is called divine manifestation. The contribution of divine development or manifestation consists first of all in manifesting this divine "bliss in being" itself in the human mind, which feels suffering and pain and experiences the drama of death. According to Aurobindo, this increasingly manifest Divine Life shows itself on the level of human consciousness as the appearance of a harmony between the individual and the collective, capable of reflecting the emergence of a new metaphysical divine reality beyond mental consciousness:

"Only when the veil is torn by the influence of the supramental and the divided mental spirit is dominated, calm and passive, does the mental self turn back to the truth of things. Then we find a reflective, luminous state of mind that serves as an instrument for divine reality There we perceive what the world really is; we experience in every way that we ourselves are in the other and the other in us, that we all form the universal one that has multiplied. We lose our strictly separate individual point of view who is the source of every limitation and every error. "

But Aurobindo goes even further; According to him, the divine wants the emergence of this new metaphysical reality beyond the highest form of human consciousness in the material appearance of man to reveal happiness, perfection, power, immortality, etc. This revelation should take place through the opening of our human bodies to the supramental (supramentalization), just as before in evolution matter was mobilized, animated and endowed with spirit.

According to Aurobindo, this supramental, metaphysical reality, which has not yet appeared on our earth, has already been seen by the Vedic Rishis. His integral Vedanta completes the path that was already prepared by the rishis and then left broke to develop mental awareness. He states that evolution on earth has focused on the development of mental consciousness: "The age of intuitive knowledge, for which the old Vedantic thought of the Upanishads stands, had to give way to the age of rational knowledge; the scriptures received through inspiration have given precedence to metaphysical philosophy, just as later metaphysical philosophy had to give way to experimental science. The human mind tends to be satisfied by its own instrument. "

The supramental is not to be understood from a mental point of view; according to Aurobindo, it eludes any intellectual possibility of understanding, even if the concept can be conceived intellectually. Because: "Life cannot be squeezed into the formulas and systems that our intellect wants to impose on it; it is too complex, too filled with infinite possibilities to allow itself to be tyrannized by the arbitrary human intellect ... All the difficult stems from the fact that there is something at the bottom of our life and existence that the intellect will never be able to control: the absolute, the infinite. "

According to Aurobindo, it is therefore our task to better understand the limits of a mental consciousness in order to be able to take a closer look at the possibility of a supramental consciousness. Apart from the fact that it cannot grasp the infinite, ordinary mental consciousness can best be exercised in intellectual considerations guided by different logical rules, in concepts of different natures; so the mental consciousness can contrast any point of view with another, apparently opposite point of view. A mental consciousness can therefore only approach reality by depicting a sequence of partial views of it. Aurobindo's epic Savitri serves us as a suggestive explanatory brief presentation of a supramental consciousness: "A single, innumerable look".

For Aurobindo, the supermental as a stream of intuitive visions remains a knowledge that is caught in the multitude of shared and only partial insights; For example, in his view, the great religions were founded by people who had such a gaze, but their over-mental gaze led to differences in the emphasis on spiritual aspects.

The integral yoga

The integral yoga or yoga of Sri Aurobindo is presented above all in his works "The Synthesis of Yoga", "Letters on Yoga", "Guide of Yoga" and in the last chapters of "The Divine Life", but also and especially in his epic poem "Savitri".

"We have a double psychic being, a superficial, yearning soul [...] and a subliminal psychic being, a pure power of light, love, joy, the essence of purity; it is our real soul behind the form of external psychic existence , to whom we so often give this name. When a reflection of this wider and purer psychic being comes to the surface, then we say of a person that he has a soul [...] ".

Here we see the beginning of our authentic individuality, our real individual essence, which is completely turned towards the divine and becoming divine, divinization, since it is the individual manifestation of it; Aurobindo speaks of psychization in this context.

The more or less perfect psychization of consciousness then also strives for a real spiritualization that cleanses the mental and vital aspects until they shine in the supermental. From a religious point of view, this supermental enlightenment no longer has the goal of finding salvation at a great distance from the earthly subconscious as in the past. The supra-mental spiritualization rather wants to consciously consider the physical, subconscious phenomena, which are difficult to grasp and control for an ordinary mental and vital consciousness, even if it is psychized.

Aurobindo as a poet

Aurobindo understands the reading of his poetry and in particular the honest handling of his great poetry "Savitri" in such a way that the reader exposes his ordinary consciousness to a strong supra-conscious influence, even if this is not immediately noticeable.

He claims that the reader cannot understand the scope of his epic if he read it on the level of an ordinary consciousness; rather, as the mother explains in a conversation, reading and repeated reading will gradually affect consciousness through its mantric effect. We know that rereading a meaningful text always leads to a better analytical understanding of the meaning of its contents and that it can contribute to the development of our system of spontaneous interpretation of the world if one accepts the contents so understood.

We also know that content that has been tried and tested in everyday reality and understood more intensively reveals the meaning of other content in a powerful text that was initially understood less intensively. If the text read is very meaningful, a new mental vision can take hold that frees us from the previous, more limited mental vision. But this is no longer just an interpretation of the world that frees our mental vision from its narrowness, but rather it is a matter of seeing the mental from a supermental horizon, of abolishing the predominance of the mental vision in our lives.

If we read Savitri sincerely, as one would listen to someone whose words we allow one to explore our own consciousness in a more genuine way than we have up to that point, then we will be able to become conscious through repetitive reading Watching the evolution of a consciousness that pervades our mental fortress? Can we have a more conscious and therefore more authentic experience of consciousness through the most beautiful and best imaginable things?

Auroville in the integral yoga of Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo and the "mother" are the founders of an international community in Auroville near Puducherry. Auroville sees itself as an evolving model of the ideal city, whose residents prepare for the appearance of the new human being, for the manifestation of the supramental consciousness.

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