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Mind-energy: Lectures and Essays (1920) by Henri Bergson

Mind-Energy
Lectures and Essays

In these essays, Bergson writes, concerning the idea of parallelism between mind and body:

“Consciousness tells no more than what is going on in the brain, it only tells it in a different language.”  There can be no doubt that the origin of this thesis is entirely metaphysical. It comes to us in a direct line from the Cartesian philosophy of the seventeenth century. …I believe that the facts, examined without prejudice and without the bias towards a mathematical mechanism, suggest a more subtle hypothesis concerning the correspondence between the psychic (ie., mental) and the cerebral state. The latter only express the action which is prefigured in the former. …for to the same cerebral state there may equally well correspond many different psychic facts” (p. 144).

In his characteristically clear and precise manner Bergson pursues in these essays the elusive problem of the mind-body relationship which is once again at the forefront of both the science and the philosophy of consciousness today. The solution that he suggests is that these are two different approaches to the understanding of reality, each describing an aspect of that reality – one material and the other spiritual. Science tries to grasp the reality by means of physical observation and measurement; the philosophical approach tries to grasp reality by means of intuition and ideation. To fail to make the distinction necessarily leads to contradiction and error.

Bergson published these essays in 1919, more than 20 years after Matter and Memory (1896) and Creative Evolution (1907), at a time when his reputation as the leading philosopher of the day had spread throughout both the physical and the spiritual world. He was president of the Academie des science (France) and the Society for Psychical Research (UK), representing the two approaches to knowledge. And he had lectured at Oxford (UK) and Columbia (USA) universities. He was fluent in English and had decided as a young university student to become a citizen of France rather than of England.

The fact that Bergson’s work is currently enjoying a revival in both science and philosophy, due to the widespread interest in the study of  “consciousness”, along with the concurrence and convergence of his philosophy with that of Sri Aurobindo, suggests that these essays may be important to the understanding of both of these philosophers of Intuition and Consciousness, as well as to better understanding the relevance of their thought in the world today.

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Lyrical Poems of Sri Aurobindo

Lyrical Poems of Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo once wrote that he wanted his short poems published in two separate books, one of sonnets and one of “(mainly) lyrical poems”.

This book contains all of Sri Aurobindo’s short poems, other than sonnets, composed between 1930 and 1950, with the exception of poems written solely as metrical experiments, nonsense poems written as parodies of surrealist verse, and incomplete or fragmentary poems. Most of the poems included are “lyrical” in the technical sense: they are short and express the writer’s personal thoughts and feelings. Unlike most other examples of the genre, however, their lyricism is spiritual and psychic. Along with the later sonnets and the epic Savitri, they represent Sri Aurobindo’s highest achievement in spiritual or yogic poetry.

Twenty-eight of the forty-two poems in this book were published by Sri Aurobindo during his lifetime in the following volumes: Six Poems (1934), Poems (1941), On Quantitative Metre (1942), and Poems Past and Present (1946). The other fourteen poems are taken from his manuscripts from the same period. Most of them were revised more than once, but some exist only in a single handwritten draft.


Book Details

Author: Sri Aurobindo

Print Length: 83 pages

Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle

Language: English Read more

Thoughts from Sri Aurobindo (Compiled by Kishor Gandhi)

Thoughts from Sri Aurobindo

These passages extracted from Sri Aurobindo’s works are intended to serve as significant pointers to the inestimable value of his views for a true understanding of the important issues in the life and thought of the individual and the society. It is hoped that they will awaken the interest of the intelligent reader and will induce him to seek fuller illumination by drawing him to the original works themselves which contain immeasurably more than these few extracts can offer.


Book Details

Author: Sri Aurobindo

Print Length: 47 pages

Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle

Language: English Read more

The English of Savitri Volume 6

The English of Savitri
volume 6

This is the sixth volume of the English of Savitri series, based on transcripts of classes led by the author at Savitri Bhavan, in this case from 23 June to 29 December 2016. The transcripts have been carefully revised and edited for conciseness and clarity, while aiming to preserve the informal atmosphere of the course. This volume contains detailed explanations of the texts of the two closing Books of Sri Aurobindo’s epic: Book Eleven – The Book of Everlasting Day and Book Twelve – Epilogue: The Return to Earth. Each sentence is examined closely and explanations are given about vocabulary, sentence structure and imagery. The aim is to assist a deeper understanding and appreciation of the poem which the Mother has characterised as ‘the supreme revelation of Sri Au robin do’s vision’.

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Questions and Answers 1957 and 1958 (Collected Works of The Mother Volume 9)

Questions and Answers 1957 and 1958

Collected Works of the Mother Volume 9

This volume contains the conversations of the Mother in 1957 and 1958 with the members of her Wednesday evening French class, held at the Ashram Playground. The class was composed of sadhaks of the Ashram and students of the Ashram’s school. The Mother usually began by reading out a passage from a French translation of one of Sri Aurobindo’s writings; she then commented on it or invited questions. For most of 1957 the Mother discussed the second part of Thoughts and Glimpses and the essays in The Supramental Manifestation upon Earth. From October 1957 to November 1958 she took up two of the final chapters of The Life Divine. These conversations comprise the last of the Mother’s “Wednesday classes”, which began in 1950.

The Mother’s French classes cover the eight-year period from 1950 to 1958. The Wednesday classes of 1950-51 and 1953-58 comprise the “Questions and Answers” talks. Between June 1951 and March 1953 these classes were replaced by “translation classes” in which the Mother translated into French several of Sri Aurobindo’s works, including The Ideal of Human Unity, The Human Cycle, part of The Synthesis of Yoga and the last six chapters of The Life Divine. During this period, she continued to speak informally with the students, but what she said was not tape-recorded.

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Questions and Answers 1956 (Collected Works of The Mother Volume 8)

Questions and Answers 1956

Collected Works of the Mother Volume 8

This volume is made up of conversations of the Mother in 1956 with the members of her French class, held on Wednesday evenings at the Ashram Playground. The class was composed of sadhaks of the Ashram and students of the Ashram’s school. The Mother usually began by reading out a passage from a French translation of one of Sri Aurobindo’s writings; she then commented on it or invited questions. During this year she discussed portions of two works of Sri Aurobindo: The Synthesis of Yoga (Part One) and Thoughts and Glimpses (first part).

The Mother’s French classes cover the eight-year period from 1950 to 1958. The Wednesday classes of 1950-51 and 1953-58 comprise the “Questions and Answers” talks. Between June 1951 and March 1953 these classes were replaced by “translation classes” in which the Mother translated into French several of Sri Aurobindo’s works, including The Ideal of Human Unity, The Human Cycle, part of The Synthesis of Yoga and the last six chapters of The Life Divine. During this period, she continued to speak informally with the students, but what she said was not tape-recorded.

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Questions and Answers 1955 (Collected Works of The Mother Volume 7)

Questions and Answers 1955

Collected Works of the Mother Volume 7

This volume is made up of talks given by the Mother in 1955 to the members of her French class. Held on Wednesday evenings at the Ashram Playground, the class was composed of sadhaks of the Ashram and students of its school. The Mother usually began by reading out a passage from one of her works or a French translation of one of Sri Aurobindo’s writings. She then commented on the passage or invited questions. For most of the year she discussed two small books by Sri Aurobindo, Bases of Yoga and Lights on Yoga, and two chapters of The Synthesis of Yoga. She spoke only in French.

The Mother’s French classes cover the eight-year period from 1950 to 1958. The Wednesday classes of 1950-51 and 1953-58 comprise the “Questions and Answers” talks. Between June 1951 and March 1953 these classes were replaced by “translation classes” in which the Mother translated into French several of Sri Aurobindo’s works, including The Ideal of Human Unity, The Human Cycle, part of The Synthesis of Yoga and the last six chapters of The Life Divine. During this period, she continued to speak informally with the students, but what she said was not tape-recorded.

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Questions and Answers 1954 (Collected Works of The Mother Volume 6)

Questions and Answers 1954

Collected Works of the Mother Volume 6

This volume comprises talks given by the Mother in 1954 to the members of her French class. Held on Wednesday evenings at the Ashram Playground, the class was composed of sadhaks of the Ashram and students of its school. The Mother usually began by reading out a passage from one of her essays or a French translation of one of Sri Aurobindo’s writings; she then commented on the passage or invited questions. During this year she discussed several of her essays on education and three small books by Sri Aurobindo: Elements of Yoga, The Mother, and Bases of Yoga. She spoke only in French.

The Mother’s French classes cover the eight-year period from 1950 to 1958. The Wednesday classes of 1950-51 and 1953-58 comprise the “Questions and Answers” talks. Between June 1951 and March 1953 these classes were replaced by “translation classes” in which the Mother translated into French several of Sri Aurobindo’s works, including The Ideal of Human Unity, The Human Cycle, part of The Synthesis of Yoga and the last six chapters of The Life Divine. During this period, she continued to speak informally with the students, but what she said was not tape-recorded.

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Questions and Answers 1953 (Collected Works of The Mother Volume 5)

Questions and Answers 1953

Collected Works of the Mother Volume 5

Talks by the Mother including comments on her Questions and Answers 1929. This volume is made up of talks given by the Mother in 1953 to the members of her French class. Held on Wednesday evenings at the Ashram Playground, the class was composed of sadhaks of the Ashram and students of its school. The Mother usually began by reading out a passage from one of her works and then invited questions. For most of the year she discussed her talks of 1929. She spoke only in French.

The Mother’s French classes cover the eight-year period from 1950 to 1958. The Wednesday classes of 1950-51 and 1953-58 comprise the “Questions and Answers” talks. Between June 1951 and March 1953 these classes were replaced by “translation classes” in which the Mother translated into French several of Sri Aurobindo’s works, including The Ideal of Human Unity, The Human Cycle, part of The Synthesis of Yoga and the last six chapters of The Life Divine. During this period, she continued to speak informally with the students, but what she said was not tape-recorded.

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Bengali Writings by Sri Aurobindo (translated into English)

Bengali Writings

Most of the pieces in Bengali were written by Sri Aurobindo in 1909 and 1910 for Dharma, a Calcutta weekly he edited at that time; the material consists chiefly of brief political, social and cultural works. His reminiscences of detention in Alipore Jail for one year (“Tales of Prison Life”) are also included. There is also some correspondence with Bengali disciples living in his ashram.


Book Details

Author: Sri Aurobindo

Print Length: 448 pages

Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Book format: PDF, ePub, Kindle

Language: English Read more