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April 2023 issue of Renaissance – Religion and Yoga

The April issue of Renaissance focuses on the theme – Religion and Yoga. What is the nature of religion? And how is it connected with spirituality or yoga? Are the two similar or is there any difference? Is there something unique about the Indian outlook on religion? Are there any deeper spiritual significances behind the various outer adoration and devotional practices that millions of people follow every day?

These and other related questions are explored in the current issue, in the light of the timeless wisdom we find in the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The issue also features a detailed analysis of why in human history religion has not been a sufficient guide for conducting individual and collective life. In addition to relevant selections curated from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the issue also features some fresh perspectives by authors drawn to the teachings of Integral Yoga.

Read the Editorial by Beloo Mehra HERE

In this Issue

In the feature titled ‘Sri Aurobindo on Religion as Law of Life’, we present a selection from The Human Cycle. It helps us understand why historically religion has not been a sufficient guide for conducting individual and collective life. But this need not be so if we understand the true nature of religion, which is its spiritual core.

We also feature selections from the Mother regarding the ‘Origin and Social Crystallization of Religion‘. In a feature titled Is Religion a helper or an obstacle to spiritual life?‘ the Mother helps us understand that religion can even be a help to sincere seekers who have an individual capacity to find the Divine.

The feature titled ‘Religion, Yoga of Bhakti and the Conception of the Divine‘ highlights selections from two chapters of Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga. We find here a detailed description of commonalities and differences between popular religion and Yoga of Devotion. Also presented is an interesting analysis of how fear of God does not find any place in true Bhakti or devotion.

We carry the spirit of bhakti in our Book of the Month feature.

We highlight Nirodbaran’s book titled ‘Twelve Years with Sri Aurobindo‘. This book truly gives a very personal account of numerous ways in which one may practice Integral Yoga by cultivating an intimate relation with the Divine and serving the Divine. We zoom in on a special excerpt where he describes some delightful aspects of Champaklal’s ‘bhakta’ personality. Reading this is an entire education in what it means to truly give oneself to the Divine.

On Morality, Religion and Spirituality‘ highlights the differences between a moral life, religious life and spiritual life. What should be one’s attitude toward Religion when one enters the path of Yoga? We find some insightful answers in a few passages by the Mother. In another feature we explore with the help of the Mother’s words — do heaven and hell of the religions really exist?

More on Religion and Yoga

The two-part article titled ‘Indian View on Religion, Dharma and Life‘ highlights the Indian term dharma when speaking of Indian outlook on religion. Part 1 reminds that ancient Indian culture tried to turn the whole of life towards spirituality by a persistent filling of every circumstance of life with the religious sense. Part 2 summarises some fundamentals of Sanatana Dharma as explained by Sri Aurobindo. The necessity for outer forms of religious practices is also briefly explored.

Monica Gulati joins the Renaissance group of authors and contributes her first piece in this issue. In ‘Stilling the Mind and Tuning into Inner Silences‘ she highlights the necessity of silencing the thoughts and vital movements as an essential foundation of the sadhana in the path of Integral Yoga.

In ‘Blessed are the Pure in Heart‘ Narendra Murty reminds that religion while being a means of social cohesion can easily become a source of conflict. Most religious oriented people tend to focus only on the external aspects. And that is why religion as such does not help in inner transformation. For that one must go on an inner search, the path of yoga.

In Part 5 of Prema Nandkumar’s essay, Sri Aurobindo’s Interpretation of Indian Culture: The Mahabharata, the focus is on Sri Aurobindo’s fascination with the legend of Savitri in the Mahabharata. With a sage’s vision he saw Savitri as the redeemer of the entire humanity.

Read the Editorial by Beloo Mehra HERE

For highlights of the issue,
click HERE for the Renaissance Newsletter

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