A picture below pertains to my village home in Odisha clicked when I visited last in February 2014. It is there that The Mother came to me in 1964 when I was nine. Thus, my entry into Integral Yoga has been in a playful manner and not through intense study, search, or sadhana. My initial lessons in self-reflection and self-management, however, surely come from The Mother, apart from so many things other.
Now, fast forward to 1995. By the time I got well acquanited with the intricacies of their teachings, a sense of disquiet set in about The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. Reading the works of The Mother convinced me that what she demands is an impossibility. So, the following poem was a sort of a complain to The Mother by collating and paraphrasing (and, teasing) a few of her own precepts. I continue to express such frustrations and disappointments here in various forms. But, the only solace is that I have not found any other source or resource as an alternative recourse, till now. [TNM55]
Life vs. Yoga
Wednesday, June 28, 1995
Life vs. Yoga
Thou shalt not love
All egoistic attachments will have to go,
Be it freinds or the family
The whole world revels in quid pro quo.
Thou shalt not speak
The first condition is to speak as little as possible,
In silence is the peace
To indulge in gossiping is wrong and listening to too.
Thou shalt not read
Sheets of falsehood should not mar your mornings,
Novels and Dramas too
Which incite the passion and drag you down.
Thou shalt not judge
Of men, their actions and events, the Divine knows better,
Can one judge oneself?
So it is but futile to look at things this way or the other.
Thou shalt not do good
To be altruistic is to be covertly egoistic,
Be just for justice' sake
Not for others' gratefulness as a bargain
Thou shalt not enjoy
When joy comes, can grief be far behind?
Prefer good to pleasant
By renouncing only comes the true enjoyment.
[TNM55 - 280695]
The sceptics wonder about the fate of Integral Yoga without a spiritual successor, especially since they think that the task of physical transformation undertaken by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother has been left incomplete. Some use the term postponed, others say it has been temporarily abandoned. The faithful however continue to repose their trust in the Mother and accept everything as part of Her Divine Lila even if they do not comprehend it.
This article (running in ten parts) is an effort to take a look at some of these issues with regard to the Integral Yoga and its many-sided fulfillment.
2. Kerala Seminar - Psychology in India: Past, Present and Future
"Sharing my Experience About the Psychology Conference at Kollam," a report by Sangeetha Menon, PhD, Associate Fellow: Consciousness Studies, Philosophy of Science Unit, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bangalore, India 560 012
1. Organisation: The organisers really did a wonderful job, always careful to have traditional Kerala touch, including for the formal inaugural session. The head of the dept. of psychology of the college, principal and their colleagues were all so wonderful. My thanks to all who made this conference possible, especially, Prof. George Mathew (Head, Dept. of Psychology, University of Kerala), Prof. Jose Puthenveed (Head, Dept. of Psychology, FMN College, Kollam) and Prof. Henry (Principal, FMN College, Kollam). I would say it was a good 'experience'. They tried to include all of whom desired for paper presentation, and even fit in a panel session.
2.Quality: Sadly, below average papers ruled the stage. It once again showed that Indians have the 'extraordinary' ability to talk about something with no research or thinking at all. The President of the Academy, with whom I had extensive dialogues shared my view. But still, if I make a little more differentiation, the senior professors seemed unconcerned about what they speak, or to put their ideas in a larger context and open it up for dialogues. Young scholars and students, though their representation was quite small, relatively, did a better job. Most of the papers concerning Indian psychology were repetitive and usual glorifying stuff with the starter like 'ancient Indian wisdom or psychology having all answers and being the repository of all solutions'. There were hardly any presentation (on Indian psychology) with detailed study, except a few on Sri Aurobindo's psychology.
3. Convictions: It was interesting to see that almost 90% of the participants directly or indirectly appreciated the idea of looking at 'Indian psychology'. Of the 10% which didn't favour the idea, half the number had somewhat well spelt out reasons, while the other half had reasons based on faulty notions and ideas. This came up during the panel session which Janak Pandey (President of NAOP) chaired, on the last evening of the conference. Two ideas fascinated me, of the opponents of (looking at) Indian psychology, both for their shallow conceptualisation. One argument (he was a senior professor of psychology) was that Indian psychology cant be related to empirical methods, and the other argument was that (she is a feminist, I think) ideas like 'self-exploration' cannot be pursued by subaltern sections of the society, since it is for hierarchically higher classes or sections of people. Let me also share with you my responses (in short) to these two arguments which I expressed at the panel: i) there need to be a clear distinction made between what is empirical and what is experiential; to be empirical, in order to be validated, is a normative idea we have followed, but the norm need not be the truth, when what is 'empirical' itself is to be re-looked and accounted for. ii) 'self-exploration' or 'self-hood' is not a right to be gained or lost. It is looking for new understandings of one's identity, re-directing goals, new experiences. What is needed is a paradigm shift in our thinking and framing concepts