Thursday, December 30, 2010

Knowledge may become a barrier on the path of spiritual growth

The Union Territory of Pondicherry is known for its seaside retreats and secluded getaways that draw in seekers of tranquility from India and beyond. With its French-inspired architecture, sparse population and well-planned boulevard-like avenues, Pondicherry is ideal for any peace-seeker. 
Yoga and meditation classes are available to suit tourists of every kind. A thirty-minute drive away takes one to Auroville, the home of Sri Aurobindo. It is common to visit the Aurobindo Ashram for meditation The Samadhi of Aurbindo is flocked with followers. 
The library and the main building is accessible to those who have a gate pass from the bureau central. The Matri Mandir at Auroville is a famous meditation center in Pondicherry. There is a circular shaped meditation hall. A walk through this vast expanse of greenery gives the first-timer an all-round sense of serenity and peace. Yoga classes are conducted regularly by Yoga Acharyas. 
Several followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (Frenchwoman Mirra Alfassa, disciple to Sri Aurobindo) have taken residence at Auroville and live and work in a self-sustainable work-life set up within Auroville. Several handicraft and small-scale industries operate from within the area. 

Spirituality is not the same as filling the head with spiritual facts. Spirituality may or may not be associated with mental knowledge; what is indispensable to spirituality is practice and experience. Knowledge may sometimes act as a trigger for spiritual progress by arousing the curiosity of the seeker. But if the focus remains on acquiring more and more knowledge at the mental level, knowledge may become a barrier on the path of spiritual growth in at least two ways. First, the person may start treating knowledge as a substitute for experience. Secondly, knowledge at the level of the intellect might make a person critical, less open, and distract him from genuine spiritual inquiry by directing the attention to too many irrelevant questions. As the Mother has said, “the mind is incapable of judging spiritual things… … in order to proceed on the path, it is absolutely indispensable to abstain from all mental opinion and reaction” (1). […]

The right approach is to take the experiences as an indicator of the immense love of the Divine. It is through Divine Grace rather than personal effort that the seeker has received some encouragement in the form of these experiences. To negotiate the long way to the summit also Divine Grace will be much more important than personal effort. The seeker may continue his efforts, and trust that the Divine will take care of his progress in Its way and Its time. Therefore, the dictum is to continue walking the path, and to continue seeking the guidance and grace of the Divine. The walk itself is blissful; why then be in a hurry to scale the summit? [Obsessive-compulsive spirituality by Dr Ramesh Bijlani | Integral ... By Sandeep]

Peter Heehs has devoted decades to preservation and study of the legacy of Sri Aurobindo, and has resided at the Aurobindo Ashram for more almost thirty years. His website links to several reviews of the biography, and I can add nothing ...

In this short note, we cover another distortion in this book which no one seems to have caught. […] Did the Mother actually think Madame Theon's writing was deficient? [...]   
Rule of thumb while reading the book: Every negative remark in this book conceals a wealth of positive information.  One must be prepared to go back to the primary sources to uncover the distortions.

I came across this interesting passage from the book “The Varieties of Religious Experience” by Wiliam James. Here it is: […]
Psychologically time is quite a strange phenomenon. St. Augustine famously said about it that he perfectly understood what time was … till someone asked him to explain.

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