No book, movie, song, or any other proxy or description of experience has been more instrumental in saving, guiding and inspiring my life than this phenomal tome.

Sri Yukteswar is not the only yogic teacher to use such hologramlike terms when describing the subtler levels of reality. Another is Sri Aurobindo Ghose, a thinker, political activist, and mystic whom Indians revere alongside Gandhi. Born in 1872 to an upper-class Indian family, Sri Aurobindo was educated in England, where he quickly developed the reputation as a kind of prodigy. He was fluent not only in English, Hindi, Russian, German, and French, but also in ancient Sanskrit. He could read a case of books a day (as a youth he read all of the many and voluminous sacred books of India) and repeat verbatim every word on every page that he read. His powers of concentration were legendary, and it was said that he could sit studying in the same posture all night long, oblivious even to the incessant bites of the mosquitoes.

Like Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo was active in the nationalist movement in India and spent time in prison for sedition. However, despite all his intellectual and humanitarian passion, he remained an atheist until one day when he saw a wandering yogi instantaneously heal his brother of a life-threatening illness. From that point on Sri Aurobindo devoted his life to the yogic disciplines and, like Sri Yukteswar, through meditation he eventually learned to become, in his own words, “an explorer of the planes of consciousness. ”

It was not an easy task for Sri Aurobindo, and one of the most intractable obstacles he had to overcome to accomplish his goal was to learn how to silence the endless chatter of words and thoughts that  flow unceasingly through the normal human mind. Anyone who has ever tried to empty his or her mind of all thought for even a moment or two knows how daunting an undertaking this is. But it is also a necessary one, for the yogic texts are quite explicit on this point. To plumb the subtler and more implicate regions of the psyche does indeed require a Bohmian shift of attention. Or as Sri Aurobindo put it, to discover the “new country within us” we must first learn how “to leave the old one behind. ”

It took Sri Aurobindo years to learn how to silence his mind and travel inward, but once he succeeded he discovered the same vast territory encountered by all of the other Marco Polos of the spirit that we have looked at—a realm beyond space and time, composed of a “multicolored infinity of vibrations” and peopled by nonphysical beings so far in advance of human consciousness that they make us look like children. These beings can take on any form at will, said Sri Aurobindo, the same being appearing to a Christian as a Christian saint and to an Indian as a Hindu one, although he stressed that their purpose is not to deceive, but merely to make themselves more accessible “to a particular consciousness. ”

According to Sri Aurobindo, in their truest form these beings appear as “pure vibration. ” In his two-volume work, On Yoga, he even likens their ability to appear as either a form or a vibration, to the waveparticle duality discovered by “modern science. ” Sri Aurobindo also noted that in this luminous realm one is no longer restricted to taking in information in a “point-by-point” manner, but can absorb it “in great masses, ” and in a single glance perceive “large extensions of space and time. ”

In fact, quite a number of Sri Aurobindo’s assertions are indistinguishable from many of Bohm’s and Pribram’s conclusions. He said that most human beings possess a “mental screen” that keeps us from seeing beyond “the veil of matter, ” but when one learns to peer beyond this veil one finds that everything is comprised of “different intensities of luminous vibrations. ” He asserted that consciousness is also composed of different vibrations and believed that all matter is to some degree conscious. Like Bohm, he even asserted that psychokinesis is a direct result of the fact that all matter is to some degree conscious. If matter were not conscious, no yogi could move an object
with his mind because there would be no possibility of contact between the yogi and the object, Sri Aurobindo says.

Most Bohmian of all are Sri Aurobindo’s remarks about wholeness and fragmentation. According to Sri Aurobindo, one of the most important things one learns in “the great and luminous kingdoms of the Spirit, ” is that all separateness is an illusion, and all things are ultimately interconnected and whole. Again and again in his writings he stressed this fact, and held that it was only as one descended from the higher vibrational levels of reality to the lower that a “progressive law of fragmentation” took over. We fragment things because we exist at a lower vibration of consciousness and reality, says Sri Aurobindo, and it is our propensity for fragmentation that keeps us from experiencing the intensity of consciousness, joy, love, and delight for existence that are the norm in these higher and more subtle realms.

Just as Bohm believes that it is not possible for disorder to exist in a universe that is ultimately unbroken and whole, Sri Aurobindo believed the same was true of consciousness. If a single point of the universe were totally unconscious, the whole universe would be totally unconscious, he said, and if we perceive a pebble at the side of the road or a grain of sand under our fingernail to be lifeless and dead, our perception is again illusory and brought on only by our somnambulistic inurement with fragmentation.

Like Bohm, Sri Aurobindo’s epiphanic understanding of wholeness also made him aware of the ultimate relativity of all truths and the arbitrariness of trying to divide the seamless holomovement up into “things. ” So convinced was he that any attempt to reduce the universe into absolute facts and unchangeable doctrine only led to distortion that he was even against religion, and all his life emphasized that the true spirituality came not from any organization or priesthood, but from the spiritual universe within:

‘We must not only cut asunder the snare of the mind and the senses, but flee also from the snare of the thinker, the snare of the theologian and the church-builder, the meshes of the Word and the bondage of the Idea. All these are within us waiting to wall in the spirit with forms; but we must always go beyond, always renounce the lesser for the greater, the finite for the Infinite; we must be prepared to proceed from illumination to illumination, from experience to experience, from soul-state to soulstate…. Nor must we attach ourselves even to the truths we hold most securely, for they are but forms and expressions of the Ineffable who refuses to limit itself to any form or expression.’

But if the cosmos is ultimately ineffable, a farrago of multicolored
vibrations, what are all the forms we perceive? What is physical reality?
It is, said Sri Aurobindo, just “a mass of stable light. “

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