Shastra, Guru or Intuition: The Question of Guidance in Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga

The question of guidance is a major issue in contemporary yoga practice. The mainstream sri aurobindoof yoga culture seems to favor living gurus. In Sri Aurobindo’s own life, there developed a mythos of God-guru around him and the Mother; and after their passing, their followers normatively consider them as immortal beings who continue to guide them. We ask if there are other forms of guidance available to those interested in the Integral yoga. Or is it necessary to join an initiatic circle marked by the acceptance of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as God-gurus? Should we look rather at the text of their words, the Shastra, to derive a compass for travelling the vast terrains of their thought? What are the advantages and dangers of such compasses? Finally, we consider the praxis of intuition, the purificatory path to the Daemon of Socrates and a reciprocal relationship with the integral consciousness, which is the vanishing point of all perspectivism.


Debashish Banerji is the Haridas Chaudhuri Professor of Indian Philosophy and Culture and the Doshi Professor of Asian Art at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco; PhD Indian Art History, University of California, Los Angeles; MA Computer Science, University of Louisville, KY; BA English Literature, Elphinstone College, Bombay University. Since the 1970s, Banerji has been a student of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s teaching.

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