Reply To: Dr Mark Vernon's talk, A Revolution in Attention

  • Don Salmon

    May 21, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    Hi Mike and Sjahari:

    Very interesting discussion. I personally have no idea what idea is correct or not, but I just wanted to add to Mike’s comment, there have been discussions of individuality vs no-individuality in Eastern and Western contemplative traditions for thousands of years, so I’m guessing we won’t reach any resolution here!

    I just wanted to share two views that are different from Ramana Maharshi’s (David Godman, who Mike linked to, was a disciple of the Maharshi)


    The Aurobindo Ashram is about 3 hours down the road from Maharshi’s Ashram in South India. The Mother (Mirra Alfassa, Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual partner) used to joke with disciples, saying, “If you want peace, drop by Maharshi’s Ashram, if you want to work for evolution, you’re welcome to stay here.”

    The Aurobindo folks around the world tend to set up a conflict with Maharshi, saying he’s “part of the old yoga” and claiming they are practicing “at the edge of evolution.”

    A very interesting story – Kapali Sastry was a disciple of Maharshi’s in the early 1900s. Around 1920 or so, he left and became a disciple of Sri Aurobindo. A few years after that, he wrote a commentary on one of Maharshi’s writings (Maharshi didn’t actually write – people took notes on what he spoke, but that’s a small side matter).

    The interesting thing is, Sastry’s commentary celebrates the soul, describes it as persisting from life to life, and there are numerous other aspects of the commentary that are almost completely in line with Sri Aurobindo and what David Godman would think of as radically opposed to what Maharshi taught.

    Yet the Maharshi went over Sastry’s commentary line by line (it was a LONG commentary) and said he fully approved of every sentence.

    Just something to ponder.


    I don’t know if Mark is stopping by here. I just saw a wonderful interview he did with the “Transcendent Psychotherapist”<wbr>v=Kxt8jBYWwoU

    He speaks of Owen Barfield’s view of the fundamental importance of the individuated “I AM” not only for humans but in relationship to the very purpose of the existence of the universe.

    No right or wrong intended here – just sharing that some of the greatest contemplatives in history have had radically different views (despite the Sastry story, Sri Aurobindo himself stated numerous times his radically different views from those of the Maharshi)

    Meanwhile, I’m hear enjoying the gently moving branches of the trees outside my window, the dance of light on the leaves, the sweet interplay of the chorus of birds, the hum of my Time Machine backup, and the reflection of light on the timer on my iPad which is keeping track of my steps on the mini trampoline. Am about to heat up the ginger drink for my wife, Jan and make my own iced coffee, after which I’ll be editing several audio tracks for videos we’ll be uploading in a while.

    Radiant, luminous, divine play continues timelessly, from timeless moment to dynamically moving moment.