Selections from Assorted Books of metaphysical import.
What is the meaning of our existence in the cosmic scheme?
Is there a divine purpose in life or is it merely the mechanical playing-out of competing “greedy genes”?
Do we live in a blind universe aimlessly running its course from Big Bang to Big Crunch or is there a higher purpose in evolution?
If there is a conscious guiding intent, why does it allow evil to exist?
How do we transcend the limits of a blind “scientism” locking itself out of a vaster understanding by refusing to admit the existence of any factors outside of its self-imposed limits of “scientific” verifiability? Can these questions be tackled without landing in the other extreme of religious dogma?
Is our planet Earth special in the universe?
Do we human beings have a special role in evolution?
The Belgian writer Georges Van Vrekhem explores these and other timeless questions in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s evolutionary concept and casts a refreshing new look on issues that have been the lasting preoccupation of seekers throughout the ages.
This book contains the edited versions of eleven talks that Georges Van Vrekhem gave in Auroville in 2010 and 2011:
• Adam Kadmon and the Evolution
• The Development of Sri Aurobindo’s Thought
• Preparing for the Miraculous
• What Arjuna Saw: the Dark Side of the Force
• 2012 and 1956: Doomsday?
• Being Human and the Copernican Evolution
• Bridges across the Afterlife
• Sri Aurobindo’s Descent into Death
• Sri Aurobindo and the Big Bang
• Theodicy: “Nature Makes no Mistakes”
• The Kalki Avatar.
link: Patterns of the Present
link: Hitler and His God
Review of Beyond Man, from The Awakening Ray, Jan/Feb 1998, p. 34-35. By Carel Thieme.
IF any persons from India’s political history, philosophical thought and spiritual greatness can be labeled as The Great Unknown, they are Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Few indeed know about Sri Aurobindo’s role as one of the leaders of India’s early independence movement; or of his theory of evolution beyond mankind; or of his and The Mother’s occult action on world events. Even less is their true mission known: to bring down on earth a higher level of consciousness, called by Sri Aurobindo “the Supermind”, in order to make a divine life on earth possible. For, says Sri Aurobindo, “Evolution is not finished; reason is not the last word nor the reasoning animal the supreme figure of Nature. As man emerged out of the animal, so out of man the superman emerges.”
In August 1997, Harper Collins India released Beyond Man, The Life and Work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother by Georges Van Vrekhem. The book comes as an unexpected, agreeable and timely surprise, in this 125th year of Sri Aurobindo’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of India’s freedom, to which not only Sri Aurobindo but also The Mother have contributed so much.
Georges Van Vrekhem, who lives in Auroville, has been working for six years on this book. He quotes extensively both from the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother as well as from the writings by those who have been near to them. The result is a hefty volume of over 500 pages. But its story is gripping and will introduce the reader to the heart of the matter. In fact, the book is so informative and thought -provoking that its length feels rather like a bonus than an ordeal. It has clearly been the aim of the author to write an integral, catholic text about his subject, based on all the documents available.
While reading, one starts to realize how much outward facts are determined
by interventions from other levels of consciousness, for which those facts are only the external appearances and signs. The writer has presented us the biographical material in this context, for instance when explaining Sri Aurobindo’s and The Mother’s occult action on world events. The inclusion of interesting historical, philosophical and spiritual vistas drawn from other sources, has resulted in a richly embroidered tapestry as a background to the exceptional life of the Two-in-One, the “double–poled Avatar of the Supermind” as Van Vrekhem calls Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
The book reveals the golden thread running through the realization and fulfillment of the work of the double-poled Avatar. Highlights are the explication of the descent of Sri Krishna in Sri Aurobindo’s body on 24 November, 1926; the rationale behind the two World Wars; Sri Aurobindo’s voluntary confrontation with Death; the manifestation of the Supermind on 29 February, 1956, when the aim of the avataric incarnation was fulfilled; and The Mother’s ordeal while going still further and building the archetype of the supramental body.
The author shows that Sri Aurobindo had progressed much farther in his Yoga than is commonly believed. He stresses the relevance of the double-poled Avatar, the One Consciousness incarnated in two bodies, which e.g. made possible that one half of the incarnated Avatar (Sri Aurobindo) could consciously enter death because the other half (The Mother) would remain on earth. He shows The Mother’s acceptance, in her Love for mankind, to venture beyond every known limit for the realization of the supramental body, in an effort that will have shortened the material manifestation of the new species by thousands if not millions of years.
In Beyond Man, the importance of the transitional being, called in French by The Mother “le surhomme” is stressed. The Mother, announcing the descent of the consciousness of the ‘surhomme’ in January 1969, explains that, just as in every other great leap in evolution, this time too transitory beings or races will appear. They, born like all of us from human parents, but manifesting a certain degree of a supramental consciousness, will in turn find the key for the creation of the supramental beings. This important element in the evolution, first described by Sri Aurobindo in ‘The Supramental Manifestation Upon Earth’ and afterwards time and again elaborated upon by The Mother, has rarely been given due attention. It is one of several illuminations in this important book.
It is unavoidable in a book of this magnitude that some prevailing standpoints and opinions on the life and work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are being put into question. But Van Vrekhem’s comments are always restrained and worded in a language of moderation. He clearly has been writing in a spirit of understanding, inclusion and construction. His guiding idea seems to have been to consider all Aurobindonians as one family. So doing, Beyond Man shuns no important point or argument, but it is never polemical.
The publishers, Harper Collins Publishers India, have done a fine job and produced a beautiful book that lays lightly and comfortably in the hand. Still, most of the printing errors might have been’ avoided if the proof-reading had been done with more care. It even happens in a couple of sentences that some words have been omitted – and no, Sri Aurobindo did not marry in 1889, but in 1901 – but the book as a whole reads very fluently and pleasantly indeed. The errors will surely be corrected when a second impression is issued – and we hope an index, indispensable for the really interested reader, will then also be included.
Beyond Man is a standard work and a fount of information on the life and work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. It is a must for all those who aspire to live in their Light.
Tattavabodha means Self-Knowledge, which means Knowledge about the real nature of the Self.
* The four fold qualifications which a seeker should be endowed with, without which one will not get the full benefit of learning. 1) Vivekam or discrimination 2) Vairagyam or dispassion 3) six disciplines 4) Mumukshuthvam: Intense desire to get liberated
* The 3 types of body are gross, subtle and causal body
* The 5 sheaths of the body are
* The 3 states of experience
* Nature of Self – sat chit ananda
* Creation – Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic
* Tat tvam Asi (Jiva and Ishwara)
* Karma and Freedom from Karma
1. Tattva Bodha is a fundamental text for those desirous of mokSha [freedom from the sense of limitation centered on ‘I’]. Its value is to present succinct definitions of some key terms in vedAnta. The chart isn’t a replacement for reading the text, but is an attempt to present the information graphically so that linkages and levels can be brought out.
Continue reading “Tattvabodha”
youtube: Tolkien in the Classroom
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is the author of The Silmarillion. It tells of the history of Creation, the trials of the Gods of Ea or Earth, the deeds of Morgoth Bauglir (the Devil), the concept of Eru the Creator who is illimitable, the firstborn (Elves) and the afterborn (Men)
Dubbed “The history of the Elves of the Lord of the Rings”, the Silmarillion took its author almost 50 years to create. Leaf by Niggle best reflects how Tolkien saw this, his life’s work in the grand scale of things.
Tolkien invented a mythology to replace the one England never had. A devout Catholic and scholar of various annals, his views uniquely lend to both schools of thought.
An epic in its own right, some of our curators are undertaking to produce a comparison with other epics that have seeped into culture. Until then, this book by Anne C Petty is a good discussion of its broad swathes and timelessness.
author: Richard Bach
Possibly the most simple, beautiful and most inspiring book ever written. Richard Bach, author par excellence!
Will be back with quotes in time, but I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to buy yourself a copy, read it and then gift it away.
The book is divided into 5 novellas. Each a call to action and license to dream!
A young bright detective whose latest case takes her to the very history of her civilization to find that the famous courtesies of Avedoi Merek were actually written only when they were on the brink of total annhilation from war.
- Whatever harm I would do to another, I shall do first to myself.
- As I respect and am kind to myself, so shall I respect and be kind to peers, to elders, to children.
- I claim for others the freedom to live as they wish, to think and believe as they will. I claim that freedom for myself.
- I shall make each choice and live each day to my highest sense of right.
Budgeron and Danielle
An author and his wife. He strives to write that one classic written for adults, only to find his true gift is in writing stories for children (kits). But in the end he finds that the meaning is timeless and valuable to adults to0.
First Ensign, later Captain, Bethany represents whats best in Sea Ferret Rescue, commanding a small crew aboard J101 – Resolute. Their bond only tightens when Chloe, a musician and writer comes on board and she shares a mystical experience with her when they decide to put their lives on the line to rescue all the disks from USS Explorer.
Monty and Cheyenne
The heartwrenching story of a horse-whisperer and his Hollywood starlet friend. How their sense of highest right keeps them apart, though their love remains true till the end.
Stormy and Strobe
The story of 2 pilots and how their angel ferrets have to wrestle their stubbornness to bring them together so they can change the future for a whole generation of children.
Wiki: Smith of Wootton Major
Author: JRR Tolkien
The village of Wootton Major was well-known around the countryside for its annual festivals, which were particularly famous for their culinary delights. The biggest festival of all was the Feast of Good Children. This festival was celebrated only once every twenty-four years: twenty-four children of the village were invited to a party, and the highlight of the party was the Great Cake, a career milestone by which Master Cooks were judged. In the year the story begins, the Master Cook was Nokes, who had landed the position more or less by default; he delegated much of the creative work to his apprentice Alf. Nokes crowned his Great Cake with a little doll jokingly representing the Queen of Faery. Various trinkets were hidden in the cake for the children to find; one of these was a star the Cook discovered in the old spice box.
The star was not found at the Feast, but was swallowed by a blacksmith’s son. The boy did not feel its magical properties at once, but on the morning of his tenth birthday the star fixed itself on his forehead, and became his passport to Faery. The boy grew up to be a blacksmith like his father, but in his free time he roamed the Land of Faery. The star on his forehead protected him from many of the dangers threatening mortals in that land, and the Folk of Faery called him “Starbrow”. The book describes his many travels in Faery, until at last he meets the true Queen of Faery. The identity of the King is also revealed.
The time came for another Feast of Good Children. Smith had possessed his gift for most of his life, and the time had come to pass it on to some other child. So he regretfully surrendered the star to Alf, and with it his adventures into Faery. Alf, who had become Master Cook long before, baked it into the festive cake once again for another child to find. After the feast, Alf retired and left the village; and Smith returned to his forge to teach his craft to his now-grown son.
wiki: The Snow Goose: A Story of Dunkirk
author: Paul Gallico
youtube: The Snow Goose (1971)
The Snow Goose is a simple, short written parable on the regenerative power of friendship and love, set against a backdrop of the horror of war. It documents the growth of a friendship between Philip Rhayader, an artist living a solitary life in an abandoned lighthouse in the marshlands of Essex because of his disabilities, and a young local girl, Fritha. The Snow Goose, symbolic of both Rhayader (Gallico) and the world itself, wounded by gunshot and many miles from home, is found by Fritha and, as the human friendship blossoms, the bird is nursed back to flight, and revisits the lighthouse in its migration for several years. As Fritha grows up, Rhayader and his small sailboat eventually are lost in the British retreat from Dunkirk, having saved several hundred men. The bird, which was with Rhayader, returns briefly to the grown Fritha on the marshes. She interprets this as Rhayader’s soul taking farewell of her (and realizes she had come to love him). Afterwards, a German pilot destroys Rhayader’s lighthouse and all of his work, except for one portrait Fritha saves after his death: a painting of her as Rhayader first saw her—a child, with the wounded snow goose in her arms.