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Some thoughts on the real issue: The Life of Sri Aurobindo

Author: Vladimir

Last Activity: May 14, 2012

An integral vision of man and the world with the correspondence of the heart, the mind and the will was the ideal of the Vedic Knowledge and the Gita.

Later, after it failed, it preferred to take the Advaitic approach to reality, where the preference for the Spirit was emphasized over the preference for the Matter. It happened due to the failure of the Vedic Rishis to transform life, according to Sri Aurobindo, because humanity was not yet ready for such a transformation. But the ideal stayed hidden behind the screen of the Advaitic approach. This Ideal of an Integral Man is India’s fundamental contribution to the future development of mankind.

This ideal was never truly or directly envisioned by any other civilization or culture. It was, of course, always lurking beyond every possible sincere approach to understand reality but it was never consciously formulated as its goal elsewhere, which makes India so special.

The division on mental and emotional realms of perception always was bewildering the psychology of man and especially in the west, which resulted in the split on the secular and sacred types of order in the society: known as social laws and religious dogmas.

Now when someone, let’s say a typical representative of the materialistic scientific paradigm, where the oneness of the mind and heart was never even theoretically envisaged, would try to approach any such integral issue as in the Veda or Sri Aurobindo and explain it to oneself and others, what would he actually see? Let us try to put ourselves into his shoes, would it not be an unusual perfection in thought mixed with unexplainable emotions and feelings, which he would easily mistake for some atavisms inherited from the religious imaginations or cultural habits. This particular perception we can find in all the western researches in the fields of Vedic and Vedantic studies. There is a constant tendency to ignore or even belittle the perception of the heart and its invisible contribution to the integral perception. It is a common trend of any rational thinking not only in the West but also in the East (see Gebser’s critique of the mental structure of consciousness). Jnanin and bhakta would have difficult time to communicate on the same philosophical topics even in India. But again in India the ideal of the Integral Knowledge was never totally lost and therefore it would come to the front in a critical moment of such a dispute, where bhakta would find meaningful jnanin’s search for Knowledge and jnanin would easily justify the aspirations of the bhakta for knowing and loving the Divine in the world. But this is not the case in the West. The reconciliation between the mind and the heart was never attempted, it was never done there, nor was it its remembered beginning; it was only tolerated as a system of believes alien to the mind but not really looked into as another possible approach to the one Integral Truth.

Now for such a mind which is separated from its deeper perception in the heart, and even theoretically has no possibility to be united with it, the only option to fill the abyss in its being or the inadequacy of its life would be by imitating an integral perception to refer to the vital emotions and sensations for its support. At least these senses stay with it, supplying the evidence to the sense-mind, which is connected through the ego-sense to the higher activities of the rational thinking, and not going beyond to some unknown Origin as the inner heart does.

To be able to bear this duality of our being, the inner orientation of the heart and the outer orientation of the mind with its semi-inward reality (senses-sensemind-egosense-reason), one must have an Integral Vision, as profound as in the Veda, the Upanishads or the Gita. Otherwise seen from the point of view of separate mind or separate heart the path to the integral perception looks difficult if not impossible. There must be a greater vision than either of these two can provide.

What is that greater vision?

The Knowledge of the Purushottama of the Gita or the Vision of the Lord in the Ishopanishad, or of the Savitar of the Rigveda, is the Knowledge we must refer to and make our own. Purushottama is neither only Transcendental nor only worldly, but something altogether different encompassing both and still greater than them. It is because of Him that both these poises can coexist in one being, and the manifestation of the world and the birth of man, a very complex being, reflecting the Universal in himself, can take place. This is not a common knowledge in the West, neither in Philosophies nor Religions. The oneness of the thought, heart and will is precluded by the existence of Purushottama. It is because of him that the Transcendent and the World could constitute or coexist within one person, one individual, and that is the basis for the Integral paradigm of knowledge.

Now when the outwardly oriented mind, which was never touched by the integral knowledge, tries to deal with this paradigm, it immediately notices that the heart, which is inwardly oriented, does not fit into this profile. It cannot deal with it, for it cannot sustain its own identity when dealing with it. It cannot find its true position in relation to the world or tolerate any of the ‘exaggerations’ of the heart, which is also when cut off from the integral perception cannot be much of use. Such a heart, which is trying to assert itself against the mind, using the means of life as enforcement without admitting the necessity of integral being, becomes in the eyes of the mind an intolerant fool, which takes an authority to judge and execute on the basis of dogma or feelings only (The Holy Inquisition in Europe, or even modern Christian organizations which we can watch on TV, are good examples for); a hypocrite which declares one thing and does another, because life brings its correlatives anyhow in spite of its dogmatism, a religious fanatic which can do irrationally horrible things in the name of some unknown and nonexistent reality.

The complexity of the conflict between the heart and the mind is even greater especially when viewed in relation to the faculty of the Word. For the heart the Word is an active force, a means of finding or arriving at experience, a means of becoming and growing into the greater state of being. For the mind the word is only a token indicating some other reality beyond it (Phenomenology is the best result of this thinking). Mind can easily use the words without paying much attention to them, but to its own scheme of things. As for the heart the Word constitutes its very substance which expresses its state of being, it is a means of ascent to the Truth, and not only a tool, as it is for the mind, which is expressing some other state of being symbolically. Therefore mind is heartless, it does not understand that for the heart these are not just symbols but a means, a real substance; and heart is mindless, for it takes the symbols of the mind too much to the heart, applying it to its own perceptions as the means of arriving at truth. It is only when these two are reconciled and united that this error can be eliminated.

To reconcile between these two: mind and heart, two different perceptions which coexist within one individual, one needs a greater Vision, a greater Knowledge! The Knowledge of the Veda, of the Gita and the Upanishads, the Knowledge of the Integral Yoga!

So when the scholar with materialistic perception or presuming materialistic audience approaches the integral views of the Veda or let us say the Life of Sri Aurobindo, which is an expression of the heart, mind and will in their integral fullness, what he can do is to bring into it the perception of the outwardly oriented mind, which does not believe in the ‘religious exaggerations of the heart’ nor in the ‘miraculous movement of the will’, which is another great constituent of the integrality, about which we did not speak. It will also purposely try to belittle them to make its own point more clear, and it will call this a ‘research’. It will also introduce more ‘radical’ or ‘tangible’ reality that of the senses, that this ‘unclear something’ can be finally accessed and understood rationally, not in this ‘wishy-washy unclear way of mixture of feelings and thinking’, but as a real thing, as it can see it. “Let us be honest,- it will say, - let us admit the truth and not imaginations and feelings about some unknown thing, let us not speak about things we have no experience about, lying about ourselves and others; enough of this nonsense, back to the truth, whatever it may be!” This is the best what a sincere scientific mind can do, when it is cut off from an integral perception of being.

This lack of understanding of Integrality of the Ancient Indian Knowledge made western scholars do what they did with all the superiority rational thinking can provide for a more real approach to matter. After their research not much is left of the Spirit in the Scriptures, but lots of references and indexes. One can study them endlessly and uselessly, for they bring us nowhere, which actually proves their point that there was nothing actually there.

Similarly the picture of Sri Aurobindo, painted over with love and affection by many ‘ignorant hearts’, should also be restored and cleaned up with the help of the mind, which will strip off intolerantly all the untrue paint of love and affection, looking into all hidden corners of his life, and if nothing is found there it should make some suggestions that something can be found, for after all it knows what life is about and wants to be realistic. So, it became ‘more real’ then it was, or even ‘realistic’ not only to the ‘researcher’ but to many others who have the same approach and are to choose between ‘the painting over with the heart’ or ‘the striping off’ with the mind.

Sri Aurobindo in the Synthesis of Yoga introduces the concept of Faith, Shraddha (lit. ‘holding the heart’), which is uniting Mind, Heart and Will, from the realms of the Supermind, where they are one. It is the secret power in man demanding from him his integrality. It is actually the essential presence of the Supermind in its innermost meaning of our life. The divided personality which lacks this integral Faith, who is not sincere enough, we may say, cannot fully understand the necessity of the Supermind and its working in manifestation. It is this lack of Faith which is the real issue for us all.


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commented by Rod on May 12, 2012

I suppose that you may be referring to The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, although it is not clear, except from the responses...

Just a small textual correction may be needed. more

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replied by Keka Chakraborty on May 12, 2012 (in reply to Rod's comment)

Logocentric fallacy - that is quite an apt term referring to the religious and materialistic dogmas. However, Veda and Sri Aurobindo both talk about the reversal of consciousness which strikes at more
replied by Keka Chakraborty on May 14, 2012 (in reply to Keka Chakraborty's comment)

This is in reply to Rod's reply. I am posting it here since it is beyond the maximum depth allowed in this forum. I agree with and enjoyed most part of your comments (both of them). This higher more

replied by Vladimir on May 13, 2012 (in reply to Keka Chakraborty's comment)

Thank you, Rod and Keka, for your valuable comments, thoughts and insights.

Logocentric fallacy is always a danger especially on the Path of Integral Knowledge. The moment we pause more

replied by Rod on May 13, 2012 (in reply to Keka Chakraborty's comment)

Does this imply that we shouldn't express our insights? The passive attitude toward the higher force must be there of course. But we have to test its degree of effectivity by action, and response, more

commented by lseidlitz on May 11, 2012

While there are surely limitations in the author's viewpoint, is that the real issue? Nobody denies that. It may be partly due to his Western upbringing, partly due to his personality, partly due more
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replied by Vladimir on May 13, 2012 (in reply to lseidlitz's comment)

Larry, the real issue, as I think, is in our lack of integrality of the mind, heart and will.
replied by lseidlitz on May 14, 2012 (in reply to Vladimir's comment)

Well, yes, lack of integration among these, and also lack of integration of these with the higher spiritual consciousness. This is ultimately the source of all problems, not just this one. more

commented by Amit Gujral on May 11, 2012

Vladimir, I think the possibility of integrality exists in every individual. A certain amount of  inner preparation is necessary for one to recognize it. I do agree that the western approach more
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replied by Vladimir on May 11, 2012 (in reply to Amit Gujral's comment)

Yes, Amit, I fully agree with you. It is about individual development.
commented by Sergey Mekhontsev on May 10, 2012

Many thanks for an open statement, it resonates deep with my own position. 
It is very comforting to see so eloquent and articulate opinion on this complicated and more
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