A New Synthesis of Yoga as a necessity to overcome the impasse of modernity - Skype - Track 206 (29 August 2008)

Question: Do you place surrender to the Divine anywhere near as a solution?

Prof. Kireet Joshi: Yes, of course. You are raising one of the most important themes and while I would say certainly yes, and underline it hundred times but when we speak of surrender, we need to understand this concept in a greater depth than what is normally suggested because there are many ideas of surrender in religious thought, even in the thought of legal systems, surrender of Christ, for example, then similar ideas of surrender that we find in economics. We find similarly idea of surrender in spiritual life, not religious but spiritual life. So while I agree with you that certainly the solution would lie in the surrender to the Divine, I would say that we need to understand in greater depth what we really mean by surrender to the Divine. So if you would like to ask something further on this we can dwell upon it, otherwise it’s a question we shall have time to discuss in due course of time. When we come to find out how egoism for example and be led to its vanishing point and there the idea of surrender to the Divine is very relevant and we shall have certainly to say a great deal about this matter.

Question: I just wanted to know if that last chapter of Sri Aurobindo’s book is the one he worked on or that he just, you know did he amend it in the course of his life or was it written in 1914-1921?

Prof. Kireet Joshi: I did not follow exactly. You are asking whether Sri Aurobindo came to all these answers, please continue, can you repeat your question.

Questioner: Yes. Did Sri Aurobindo wrote his thoughts in or work on this chapter at the end of his life or was it complete early.

Prof. Kireet Joshi: I know that Sri Aurobindo wrote basically between 1914 and 1921, but many chapters were added later on and therefore I cannot say that what I read out to you was written in 1914 and 1921, excepting I am quite sure that what was written in chapter no. 2, was certainly between 1914-1915. It was among the other essays that he wrote in The Life Divine, but later on when he comes to discuss the problem of divine life and this problem of modern times, contemporary times, I think it was at a later stage. But I do not know exactly at what later stage, when? I don’t know whether we have sufficient data to be very sure about it. Perhaps Debashish may be able to answer this question. Debashish, can you shed light on this question?

Debashish: Kireet Ji, yes, you are right, I think the six chapters were revised later by Sri Aurobindo towards the 1940s as I am told, but I also not hundred percent sure what exactly he added, the people in the archives have been studying these things and may be some answer can be obtained from some of the people over there. But this last chapter was certainly edited by Sri Aurobindo in the 1940s and maybe even round the time of the Second World War, in that period.

Prof. Kireet Joshi: Would you like to ask archive sometime because this question seems to be a very interesting question even from historical point of view, if you could raise this question to archive and send them this question then maybe next time you can get an answer on this question. It will be quite interesting for all of us.

Debashish: Alright, I will certainly ask the question.

Prof. Kireet Joshi: That will be good, thank you.

Questioner: I was reading a book the latest thing that was the transmission of energy and I thought it was a great breakthrough. It would lead to a lot of things like kinetic in my head, like lot of electric cars being driven around, no need of battery but then I realised that it’s not really a breakthrough it was also mean a tremendous increase in mechanisation, like the power transmission would probably be very destructive if we were aware of it. It’s like thinking of a dead end, so I realised it is connected to, like the vanishing point of mechanisation like the opposite of the, I just felt a sense of spell as I went there. I can see why Sri Aurobindo was feeling that. I wish we get to that vanishing point.

Prof. Kireet Joshi: You know I think there is a what Sri Aurobindo was suggesting was that in wireless telegraphy, we get freedom in transmission and although there are kind of a limitation at the point of impulsion and the point of reception and Sri Aurobindo envisaged there is a possibility of even eliminating these two points, – impulsion and reception and particularly the discovery of the energy at work in the immaterial. We are still at the level, we have not yet crossed the barrier of the material. We have not entered sufficiently into the field of the immaterial, although all the present movements and speed with which we are able to communicate and so on, certainly takes us to borderline where the material and the immaterial meet together but still according to Sri Aurobindo the newer sciences are still to develop. When the science of life, life-world, science of mind-world are discovered and how to utilise them, it’s a great period of development is ahead. But how much freedom even then from machinery, you will get that is the question mark because freedom can be gained only by freedom from egoism. It is not a development of powers and isn’t all kinds of structures which are necessary but real freedom is only when there is this realisation of the freedom from egoistic limitation.

Questioner: Thank you.

Questioner: We got this freedom from egoism and specially seem to be the machinery that is sort of names and sort of preoccupation of modernity or post-modernity, it seems like this machinery, you know we can talk about probably two positions. One sort of internal that Sri Aurobindo was referring to and one external which sooner progresses perhaps like Maclaurin says ‘everything altering for our inner propensities, so we are becoming the altering our looks, close the altering of skin or the central nervous system is sort of altered in sort of mass communication technology. So with this altering with technology seems to me to be working unfamiliar with this inner centring ourselves and I don’t see why altering the psychic being sort of want to be the items of…… modality on the sort of evolution? If that is so, I am sure that Sri Aurobindo warns that this sort mental needs to sort of an effort, it ties with the ego …. And he speaks of the coming of a Nietzschean type of superman and possibly he says that worse the reign of the world to the …… and every, or every being there to return to barbaric .. How we sort of aspiring for the inner evolution as the vanishing point of the ego, rather than the vanishing of the human machine which leads to sort of builds to power, builds to technology and is driving modernity and the sooner you see a sort of dialogue or relationship of how one sort of on the path of inner evolution then sort of encounter the machinery of this outer evolution?

Prof. Kireet Joshi: I think your question is very, very difficult to answer, but let me show some points which you can discuss further. The first point is that there is always a process in this world and there is a law of the process, only there are levels of these processes and therefore different laws of processes. And these processes are more and more flexible as we go from material plane to higher planes of existence. To come out of the binding or the bondage to the process is a process by which one can stand a capacity to stand behind the process that is why a great importance is given to the development of the witnessing consciousness but even that is only a step. At a higher level there should be a will, which can utilise the process according to the need or according to whatever the end in view and therefore in that sense what you spoke of the psychic being is important. It is the discovery of the psychic being in which we are capable of witnessing and also willing and which can control the processes. These concepts are to be put together in a kind of a neat relationship.

We had in India right from the Veda, the concept of swarajya and then the concept of samrajya, that is to say you rule yourself and if you rule yourself you can rule the whole world. And the secret of it was the vanishing point of egoism as a result of which the psychic being can be released from the bondage and it can exercise its own free will to utilise machinery or the processes and the levels of processes, which are available, freely to the individual. So this is somehow the kind of an answer that I can give you temporarily, although I would admit that your question is very vast and admits levels of answer but if you have further thing to say I will be happy to hear you once more.