Saturday, August 23, 2008

T. Kodandarama Rao lived near Sri Aurobindo from 1921 until 1924

From: "SABDA eNews" Subject: Two journeys along the path Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 17:27:41 +0530

In this issue we introduce two books that, although very different in time frame, subject matter, and tone, share a common perspective in that both are based on accounts of personal journeys on the path of the integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
At the Feet of the Master: Reminiscences is the story of T. Kodandarama Rao’s stay in Pondicherry from 1921 to 1924. He wrote the book in 1969, more than forty years after he left Pondicherry, and it remains one of the few extant records of life during the early 1920s at what later became the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. It is a very personal story that describes how as a young man the author could not decide between the paths of political action in the independence movement or a dedicated life of spiritual practice. It was an issue of the Arya, which he had found on a library table in his student hostel in Madras that initially drew his interest, and eventually he felt the call to go to Pondicherry and meet Sri Aurobindo in 1920. What follows is an intimate account of the community life centred around Sri Aurobindo at that time, including vivid portraits of some of his fellow sadhaks, as well as descriptions of some of his inner experiences:
A kind of electric drilling was taking place in the head and there was felt the breaking of cells and loosening of knots in the whole being. Channels for the flow of Light and Force were being hewed out and what seemed to be metaphysical phrases when the Master wrote about the pouring of light and force, were becoming concrete experiences.

The other book, more of a philosophical treatment of the psychology of yoga, is A. S. Dalal’s Eckhart Tolle and Sri Aurobindo: Two Perspectives on Enlightenment, a comparison of aspects of Tolle’s teaching and Sri Aurobindo’s integral Yoga. The author relates the roots of his own spiritual seeking, which began when he was just a boy of fifteen, and confides that since 1951 when he became “an avowed practitioner of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga”, he felt no strong inclination to study any other spiritual teachings until he came into contact with Eckhart Tolle, whose experiential, psychological insights have been helpful in his practice of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga. The longest section of the book compares the teachings of Tolle and Sri Aurobindo on such topics as ego, self, and being; evolution of consciousness; mind and the witness consciousness; mind, thought, and stillness; and the process of inner change. In the final chapter he writes of some insights that have surfaced as the result of his comparative study:
A revelational insight gained from Eckhart is about the role of the mind in concealing and distorting the reality of what we perceive.... What appears to the mind as inanimate is described by Eckhart as vibrant with incredible aliveness. Flowers and trees are described by him as _expressions of incredible beauty, stillness, and sacredness. He sees animals living primarily in the joy of being rather than involved merely in a perpetual struggle for existence as they appear through the mental screen. A human being is perceived by him as a beautiful though unconscious form of the One Being in temporary disguise that is thick or thin, depending on the transparency of the human form.

At the Feet of the Master: Reminiscences
— T. Kodandarama Rao ISBN: 978-81-7058-848-1 Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department, Pondicherry Binding: Soft Cover Pages: 60 Price: Rs 35
This short book provides an intimate picture of life in the early 1920s at what became the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. It traces the spiritual journey of its author from his college days in Madras to his first meeting with Sri Aurobindo in 1920. After completing his studies he returned to live near Sri Aurobindo from 1921 until 1924, and his account, written more than forty years later, includes details of the daily life of the community, reminiscences of his fellow sadhaks, and also descriptions of some of his own inner experiences attained under the guidance of Sri Aurobindo.
Eckhart Tolle & Sri Aurobindo
Two Perspectives on Enlightenment— A. S. Dalal ISBN: 978-81-89658-31-1 Publisher: Stone Hill Foundation Publishing, Cochin Binding: Soft Cover Pages: 172 Price: Rs 300
This book combines an account of the author’s own spiritual quest that led him to the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother with the experience of reading Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now after decades of spiritual practice. It includes a long interview the author had with Tolle in 2002 followed by a comparison of Tolle’s teachings with those of Sri Aurobindo’s integral Yoga. The result is a scholarly yet very personally informed look at these two perspectives that eventually leads the author to new insights regarding his own spiritual practice.
Sri Aurobinder Byakhyabalambane — Anilbaran Roy kartrik sampadita Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Pathmandir, Kolkata Binding: Soft Cover Pages: 284 Price: Rs 100
Jai Ma: Sri Ma ni Seva ma
— Pashupati Bhattacharya Publisher: Sri Aravind Krupa Trust, Ahmedabad Binding: Soft Cover Pages: 30 Price: Rs 10
Rose Bianche
— I Messaggi della Madre e la Corrispondenza con Huta ISBN: 978-81-87372-19-6 Publisher: The Havyavahana Trust, Pondicherry Binding: Soft Cover Pages: 137 Price: Rs 150
Izbrannie Soneti
— Sri Aurobindo ISBN: 978-5-7938-0048-8 Publisher: Fund for the Integral Human Development "Savitri", Russia Binding: Hard Cover Pages: 143 Price: Rs 270

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