Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘Sri Aurobindo’

The Modern Knowledge Academy, Vedantic Education and Integral Education

Debashish Banerji

The early Upanishads provide a model of education which Sri Aurobindo drew on for his system of education, which has been called “integral education.” Yet, having himself been educated in some of the canonical institutions of the modern knowledge academy, Sri Aurobindo’s views on education did not adhere to a nativist or essentialist interpretation of indigenous knowledge. This article will consider the critique of both modern knowledge as well as of nativist approaches to knowledge acquisition and dissemination implicit in Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s vision of integral education; and if or how that can be implemented in a post-secular global society.

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A Complete Integral Education: Five Principal Aspects

Jeremie Zulaski

This article reviews the five principal aspects of a “complete integral education” envisioned by Sri Aurobindo and Mother Mirra Alfassa and elucidated in their writings. This innovative, learner-centered pedagogy encourages holistic development through acknowledgment and cultivation of the five dimensions of a human being—the physical, the vital, the mental, the psychic, and the spiritual. The article suggests that a complete integral education contributes a potentially corrective alternative to outmoded orthodox methods that privilege intellectual proficiency over the holistic knowledge potentially present, given authentic engagement of learning communities.

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Integrative Research: Integral Epistemology and Integrative Methodology

Bahman A.K. Shirazi

Abstract: This article provides an introduction to integral epistemology and integrative methodology through a discussion of basic ontological principles of integralism and their implications for developing integrative approaches to knowledge. After a review of classification of approaches to research, integration is introduced as a research strategy that can be applied to various modes of scholarship and within specific research methods. It is argued that the current dichotomy between qualitative and quantitative research methods may be reconciled by showing that various research methods belong to a wide spectrum of methodologies that correspond to an integral epistemological gradient. Lastly, three basic strategies for integrative research: Integral Dialectical Synthesis, Unity-in Diversity, and Analytico-Synthetic Integration are discussed.

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Individuation, Cosmogenesis and Technology: Sri Aurobindo and Gilbert Simondon

Debashish Banerji

Abstract: The turn of the 19th/20th centuries saw a number of philosophers of conscious evolution emerging from different cultural backgrounds. This paper argues that this phenomenon, which has sometimes been seen as a philosophical consequence of Darwin’s evolutionary theory in the life sciences, is more importantly related to the enhanced scope of human subjectivity made possible by technology at this time. Yet technology remains the “unthought within the thought” of its times, an ambiguous presence, derided for its alienating effects and praised for its enhancement of human capacities and comforts. A later generation of thinkers, belonging to the post World War II era renews the thought of conscious evolution, now in engagement with new technologies of a planet spanning scope. This essay considers the ideas of these two generations of thinkers, focusing on Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) from the earlier generation and Gilbert Simondon (1924-1989) from the more recent era, questioning the consequences of contemporary technology in their thoughts, goals and practices. In developing the historical continuity of ideas, it tracks the question of technology from the earlier to the later generation, highlighting the understanding of both its promise and its ills and engaging with it the possibilities of conscious evolution.

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Unfolding Toward Being: Etty Hillesum and the Evolution of Consciousness

Barbara Morrill

Abstract: The ‘unfolding’ of Etty Hillesum’s developing consciousness is considered from an integral and ‘evolution of consciousness’ perspective. In the introductory section some parallels and similarities between aspects of transformation of consciousness and personality in integral yoga psychology and the work of A.H. Almaas and Karen Johnson, the developers of the Diamond Approach, is drawn upon to set the stage. This path combines Eastern teachings and practices with the concepts of Western depth psychology and sees development as occurring in spiraling and overlapping stages. Etty’s spiritual and psychological journey is examined in the context of these stages. Her evolutionary process is informed by the Diamond Approach’s method of inquiry, which is similar to Etty’s process of “hineinhorchen” or “hearkening” to herself. This exploration will offer a contemporary yet ancient perspective that tracks Etty Hillesum’s own radical evolution of consciousness that we glimpse in a mere ‘moment’ in time, that is, indeed, timeless.

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A New Creation on Earth: Death and Transformation in the Yoga of Mother Mirra Alfassa

Stephen Lerner Julich

Abstract: This paper acts as a précis of the author’s dissertation in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. The dissertation, entitled Death and Transformation in the Yoga of Mirra Alfassa (1878-1973), Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram: A Jungian Hermeneutic, is a cross-cultural exploration and analysis of symbols of death and transformation found in Mother’s conversations and writings, undertaken as a Jungian amplification. Focused mainly on her discussions of the psychic being and death, it is argued that the Mother remained rooted in her original Western Occult training, and can best be understood if this training, under the guidance of Western Kabbalist and Hermeticist Max Théon, is seen, not as of merely passing interest, but as integral to her development.

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Traditional Roots of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga

Debashish Banerji

Abstract: Sri Aurobindo’s teachings on Integral Yoga are couched in a universal and impersonal language, and could be considered an early input to contemporary transpersonal psychology. Yet, while he was writing his principal works in English, he was also keeping a diary of his experiences and understandings in a personal patois that hybridized English and Sanskrit. A hermeneutic perusal of this text, The Record of Yoga, published by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, uncovers the semiotics of Indian yoga traditions, showing how Sri Aurobindo utilizes and furthers their discourse, and where he introduces new elements which may be considered “modern.” This essay takes a psycho-biographical approach to the life of Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), tracing his encounters with texts and situated traditions of Indian yoga from the period of his return to India from England (1893) till his settlement in Pondicherry (1910), to excavate the traditional roots and modern ruptures of his own yoga practice, which goes to inform his non-sectarian yoga teachings.

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The Metaphysical Instincts & Spiritual Bypassing in Integral Psychology

Bahman A.K. Shirazi

Abstract: Instincts are innate, unconscious means by which Nature operates in all forms of life including animals and human beings. In humans however, with progressive evolution of consciousness, instincts become increasingly conscious and regulated by egoic functions. Biological instincts associated with the lower-unconscious such as survival, aggressive, and reproductive instincts are well known in general psychology. The higher-unconscious, which is unique to human beings, may be said to have its own instinctual processes referred to here as the ‘metaphysical instincts’. In traditional spiritual practices awakening the metaphysical instincts has often been done at the expense of suppressing the biological instincts—a process referred to as spiritual bypassing. This essay discusses how the metaphysical instincts initially expressed as the religious impulse with associated beliefs and behaviors may be transformed and made fully conscious, and integrated with the biological instincts in integral yoga and psychology in order to achieve wholeness of personality.

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Integral Education: Founding Vision and Principles

Bahman A.K. Shirazi

Abstract: This introductory article gives a brief account of the founding vision and ontological and epistemological principles of the integral framework expounded by Haridas Chaudhuri and some of his original collaborators at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). A brief biographical account of Sri Aurobindo and Mother Mirra Alfassa, originators of integral yoga and education, is provided and some of the principle tenets of an integral worldview that informs the philosophy of integral education are discussed.

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Connecting Thought and Action for Beginners: A Meditation on Integral Philosophy and Experiments in the Yoga of Love, Action, Knowledge

Maureen Dolan

Abstract: This paper has a two-fold purpose: to examine some of the main precepts in chosen works of Sri Aurobindo and Dr. Haridas Chaudhuri regarding the philosophical basis for integral understanding and to describe concrete ways to introduce the integral paradigm into practice in the U.S. within a particular undergraduate course titled Body, Mind, Spirit: Yoga and Meditation at DePaul University in Chicago. The introduction includes a brief description of the cultural milieu of 21st century American realities for adult students, identifying some of the conditions which can serve as impetuses to integral thought and action. The main text contains certain basic tenets of integral wisdom, which combine Eastern and Western thought in revolutionary ways, and examples from an introduction of integral yoga into higher education for adult learners. This can serve those who are just beginning to explore integral being and evolutionary action through intellectual, psychological, physical, and spiritual pursuits and those who already teach the integration of love-action-knowledge.

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The Union of Spirit and Matter: Science, Consciousness, and a Life Divine

Lynda Lester

Abstract: The once unbridgeable chasm between spirit and matter is closing. While the scientific method and scientific materialism have brought untold benefits to humanity, quantum physics has changed our view of matter as solid, objective, and obvious to a view that is more complex and which includes the possibility that consciousness has a part in manifesting reality. This shift mirrors Sri Aurobindo’s integral philosophy, which states that the universe is a manifestation of consciousness. This manifestation occurs through a process of involution followed by evolution, the next step of which is the emergence of a suprahumanity whose native state of consciousness will be supramental. Interestingly, some of Mother Mirra Alfassa’s experiences in bringing supramental consciousness into her body bear similarities to the discoveries of quantum physics. Unlike previous spiritual realizations, the supramental realization has the power to unify spirit and matter and usher in a life divine on earth.

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