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Podcast Interview. Vicente Merlo. "Yoga Integral de Sri Aurobindo".

Vicente Merlo. Doctor of Philosophy, writer, and teacher. Yoga, Buddhism and Hinduism specialist. Vicente Merlo Lillo lived for several years in India. He is a founder member of the Sociedad de Estudios Índicos y Orientales, as well as the Asociación Transpersonal Española. He studied in Bombay, Pondicherry, and Auroville. He has been a researcher at the Centro de Estudios Interculturales Vivarium, directed by Raimon Panikkar, a member of the Advisory Council of the Parliament of World Religions (Barcelona, 2004) and a prominent promoter of Indology studies in Spain. He teaches the Master of History of Religions at the University of Barcelona and the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona.


He is the author of about thirty books, such as "Yoga Integral de Sri Aurobindo", "Buscadores de Sentido", "Espiritualidad Transreligiosa", "Del Rap a la Meditación", "La Fascinación de Oriente", "Sabiduría y GraGratitudehinduism"Meditar en el Hinduismo y el Budismo", among many other fascinating titles.



Podcast by Vegà & Màgic Magazine, about the Vicente Merlo masterwork "Yoga Integral de Sri Aurobindo".




1. V&M M . We are talking today with Vicente Merlo.

Doctor of Philosophy, writer, the author of more than twenty books, and a very important current reference in the times we are living, where we need more than ever, to clarify issues that are of the utmost importance, for our day-to-day. Not something distant, but something close. Society has become very materialistic, in recent years to the point that the pandemic has been like a revolution, that has shaken our comfort zone. Suicides have increased dramatically, as addictions, and personal situations may not have been seen so much before. This is the question that I wanted to ask you about your book "Yoga Integral de Sri Aurobindo": I do love everything that is transmitted through this book, which shows us a key point, in my opinion: The holistic/integral conception of the Human Being.


The human race is in the middle of modern scientism and materialism, which conception denies anything that is not seen with the five senses (therefore as the soul cannot be seen, does not exist), and at the other end there is the "illusionist spirituality" a concept called "Maya", which states that when the body dies, the soul melts again into "The Whole", "The Consciousness", "The Divine Source".


This could be a starting point to ask: "What is in fact, the Human Being Vicente?"


Vicente Merlo. Thank you for the presentation and the question so interesting and at the same time so broad as well. Since you have framed it in these two conceptions and the "Yoga Integral de Sri Aurobindo". On the one hand, we have one anthropology, a conception of human beings, materialistic, with two myths. I would like to expose it in two quotes. One that everything begins with an explosion produced by chance, the big bang theory, and the other, the myth of evolution, as if It was already clear that the Human Being is nothing more than the equally random, haphazard continuation and by mere adaptation to the environment, of prehominids before the Human Being. On the other hand, at the other extreme, this spiritualist but "illusionist" conception ( the term used by Sri Aurobindo), consists in saying. if all matter is "Maya", it is a kind of illusion, the only truly real thing is what in Hinduism is called Brahman, which would be absolute, beyond all manifestation, and therefore even individuality, not only psychological but also spiritual, is part of this "Maya".


Between these two conceptions that, as you said very well, on the one hand, is all Western scientific materialism, and on the other hand, the best known of the oriental traditions, Hinduism in its version of "Vedanta Advaita", Buddhism denying the existence of the "adman", of a self, of a subject. Against these two conceptions, the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo defends with a very deep personal experience and with a capacity for argumentation also very importantof but starting from a vision, that is not mere rational speculation, He defends that the human being has several components. first, the personality, composed by the physical body, the vital, and the mind, is coordinated by what we technically call the Ego.

The human being has several components. first, the personality, composed of the physical body, the vital, and the mind, is coordinated by what we technically call the Ego.

The ego is a psychological construct with which we identify ourselves. The ego-centered personality is practically the only thing that materialistic psychologies and anthropologies are aware of.


What Sri Aurobindo says is, apart from that psychological identity that is the ego - which is very important- we do not want to happily throw the ego out with the dirty bath water-. If we have not discovered a deeper identity, apart from this psychological identity, the ego, is what we could call, the psychic identity, of the individual Soul that has lived many lives, and that perhaps will continue to live many more.



The Ego is what we could call, the psychic identity, of the individual Soul that has lived many lives, and that perhaps will continue to live many more.

And I would still distinguish two other levels of the identity, which I do not say anything about because they are higher, only if you want us to go into it laPsychologicaa ogical identity, psychic identity or soul-identity, a spiritual identity that would already explain it, and the ultimate identity, which would be this, not dual consciousness, non-dual-reality. These would be the elements in which, if you want, we can go into some of them a little psychologically or all of them.


2. V&M M. Yes. You say the transformation that leads to the "supramental", right? This has caught my attention, but perhaps it would be good to explain the psychic transformation that, although I know for a fact, that it is already explained, however, I believe that we are still there.


Vicente Merlo. Of course. What's more, I will say, that in the current moment in which we find ourselves, a possible interpretation is, that we are just transitioning, collectively, because individually, more and more people have done it. But collectively it is a push ( now practically by force), to pass from the "egocentered-spychological identity", identified with the body, to the discovery of this Soul Being. This Soul Being, this individual self-conscious subject, that is what I am beyond all personality. This discovery is central, for this reason not only all the constructions of institutions and others are collapsing, but also internally in each one, the identification with our egoic structure and whoever continues to identify with this ego and this personality will have a worse and worse time. as it is already happening.


Because we must seek this center of our Being that is capable of living in freedom, peace, and harmony beyond the turbulence and earthquakes that are occurring on an external and psychological level.



We must seek this center of our Being that is capable of living in freedom, peace, and harmony, beyond the turbulence and earthquakes that are occurring on an external and psychological level.


3. V&M M. One thing that I have observed is, that of course, for those of us who have more or less experienced the issue of the pandemic in a certain way, it has been difficult not to become too much angry, right? And here we would also enter into some comments that you have made regarding this book, to this theme, while to live it from peace, get involved, yes, but with serenity, as an observer, because of course, as we said years ago: Lightwarriors, to be a warrior of light, lightworker, to be a light worker. this is a conversation that was held: I am a fighter. But of course, what is the use of being "a fighter", if when you went to sleep later, you have nightmares.?


How can you have this spiritual transformation without stopping working on what you believe in?


Vicente Merlo. The question you are asking receives a forceful answer in this fantastic work of Hinduism that is the Bhagavad Gita, where let's say that in Hinduism the model that existed until then, was the renunciation of the world: As the world is "Maya", only the ignorant care about action, and even devotion, compared to this monk, the archetype of the renouncing monk, for whom the world is "Maya", the Bhagavad Gita tries to show that it is necessary to act, but not falling into an identification with the action, where I get lost, and I enter into states of anger, because "things are going very badly, and the planet is dominated by selfish beings, dark ones"... or whatever you want to say. I'm not saying it's not true, I'm saying that if we identify with this personality, our personality breaks down.


The lesson of the Bhagavad Gita, ( but I will leave the Bhagavad Gita after that explanation, as I have just used it, to show what I think is a correct attitude: We say no. We are going to have the clearest possible vision of what is happening, and we are also going to act as much as we can and in the most effective way. What happens is ( we already intuit this), that we know that this is not possible if Itheyseesme see myself overwhelmed by emotions and an unstable and unbalanced mind. Therefore, the inner work becomes something essential, not to stay in a "seventh heaven", nor in a "nirvana", but that the action is the most correct and effective possible.


Therefore, the inner work becomes something not to stay "in a seventh heaven", nor in a "nirvana", but that my action is the most correct and the most effective possible.

Well, as you said very well, the whole pandemic has helped us to see that we can't even sit idly by, as if nothing were happening here, and it was just another little bug, nor can we despair, feeling powerless and believing that, ok, the extern domain is going to be absolute and we can not do anything. On the contrary: Clear action.


4. V&M M. Very good, the way you explain the subject of the "planetary consciousness" concept, has also caught my attention. A consciousness that is evolving, because of course, each one of us has been, individually, trying to evolve, trying to improve ourselves, but now, it is important to have a concept of unity. How could we achieve this planetary consciousness, this unity at this point we are at, and moving forward? How according to your experience, your knowledge... what vision do you have?



Vicente Merlo. Well, at the most external level, it is increasingly obvious that at an ecological level, there are no borders, and that at a political and economic level, less and fewe.


Fofewer, these are external signs of this unity towards which we are moving more and more. But not a purely economic unity as globalism wants, with elites that control and dominate, but that we are realizing that we are all in the same boat, in the same spaceship, as you prefer, and that there is an interrelationship, that interdependence, of which Buddhism talks so much, but which now materializes in a very clear way, in planetary events. With the confidence, and I think you were pointing towards this, that it is not only about personal and individual evolution, but that we are beginning to conceive, more and more, that the planet earth is the body and expression of a great planetary consciousness. Let us call it Mother Gaia or Logos Planetary or whatever, but that she is also in evolution, because, we are in fact like cells on a physical level, and holograms, if you like, on a mental level of this Great Being that is this great Bodhisattva, who is under our feet, as Thich Nhat Hahn said. This great being, Mother Earth Gaia. Therefore, from the political econoic, and ecological points of view, it is obvious that it is no longer possible to lock ourselves in our town, in our nation-state, or in our continent. And not from an internal psychic and spiritual point of view, either.


From the political, economic, and ecological points of view, it is obvious that it is no longer possible to lock ourselves in our town, in our nation-state, and in our continent. And not from an internal psychic and spiritual point of view, either.

Evolution is evolution simultaneously of the part and the whole. Of the individual and pl et in this case, for not following holon after holon, seeing that the planet is part of the solar system and the solar system is part of a galaxy, as the Brújula Galáctica, in my book Buscadores de Sentido, tries to explain. A book that came out simultaneously with Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga. Therefore, I agree with you, I fully share the importance of not being left without individualism, neither spiritual, nor of any kind, but, still living our individuality, as a priceless gift, because each one of us comes to express the divine, if I may use this expression, in a unique and unrepeatable way, at the same time we are fractal, so of the planet only, but of the Ultimate Consciousness.


5. V&M Magazine. Exactly, I believe that one of the most interesting things to take into account is that the human being, far from being an imperfect machine, forms part, with the Soul, as a whole, of the Divine Source. So, from cockroaches to Gods. In other words, the jump is quantum.

It changes a lot, right? It changes a lot to have one concept or another. That is why I say, that this knowledge can change your concept of life


I would also like to talk about yoga, integral yoga, we are talking about a concept of yoga, which is not a few physical exercises, or gymnastics, but first of all, we should remember what yoga means, because if not, something else more, wonderful, that can be spoiled. Or in fact, it is already breaking down from my point of view, of course.


Vicente Merlo. Yes, in the case of what we call Integral Yoga, I think that even the term yoga is too narrow, bbecaushere we continue to associate it, as you say, with Hatha Yoga, which is a part, as important as you want, for the care of the physical body and others. But Hath Yoga is one dimension, of the multiple dimensions that yoga has. And for this reason, rather than talking about yoga, which seems to limit a few interested in "strange things from the East", it is an integral conception of the world, and an integral practice of life. In fact, Some call Sri Aurobindo's approach "integralisintegral ."


Integral in all senses is very fashionable today, but when Sri Aurobindo began writing at the beginning of the 20th century, it was not so. Well, I prefer to say, more than yoga, which is too narrow, to talk about philosophy, in quotes, or an integral conception of the world. And see what this is. Also, a practice, of self-discipline, if you will, that is also integral/holistic.


The importance of caring for the body is taken seriously, not only for its own sake but also because we are convinced that it is the temple where our soul and absolute spirit dwell.

Integral means in this last case, that it does not leave out any of the components of the Human Being. The importance of caring for the body is taken seriously, not only for its own sake, but also because we are convinced that it is the temple where our soul and absolute spirit dwell if you want, and therefore you have to keep it, the best possible.


But this concept leaves not out emotions as if one entered "a kind of Nirvana" in which the spiritual world does not matter at all, and one can discover spiritual reality but can end up emotionally illiterate, the same with the mind, integrates the fantastic potentialities that the mind has. Certain aspects of spirituality have told us: the mind is the destroyer of reality, let's put the mind aside, let's discover the spirit. In this comprehensive approach, we say: no no, the body is marvelous, the emotions can be marvelous, just that they can be a great obstacle and confusion as well.


The body is marvelous, it is that emotions can be marvelous, just that they can be a great obstacle and confusion as well.

It is that the mind is a privileged tool to understand and express the mysteries of the Universe. Therefore, in traditional terminology, we can talk about the yoga of emotions, the yoga of devotion, Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of knowledge, Jñana Yoga, and the yoga of action, Karma Yoga. And it is curious because each one of the interpreters tried to read his point of view in this work. "No, no, the Bhagavad Gita it is a work of Karma Yoga", said Gandhi, a great Karma Yogi himself. Shankara said, "no no, it's Jñana yoga".


Sri Aurobindo and others say: The three aspects are necessary. Knowledge. Action, and Devotion (the term devotion usually sounds very bad, but it is something like an opening of our spiritual heart to live existence from over there ). Therefore one of the many senses of the integral/holistic term.


6. V&M Magazine. Very good, It is really interesting that we can remember everything that yoga can mean. I would also like to talk about what Neale D. Walsh explained to me, when I interviewed him, about three important points that summarized his message that are:

Joy, Truth, Love... putting Joy first. I would even add. Beauty.


So I say: where is Joy ,what importan ce Wecan be given to it? Truth is very clear, as it is Love. How can we integrate Joy in this whole situation of transformation, planetary consciousness, and spirituality?


Vicente Merlo. I think we should distinguish between exclusively emotional joy, which is already very good, but not reduce the term "joy" to this, more external manifestation, even more charming, that humor together with love are two of the great tools we have. Perfect.


But without forgetting that true joy must come not from doing well at a certain moment in life, but from discovering this deep joy, this joy of being like the essence of our most intimate soul heart. May external joy be a vehicle capable of expressing this internal joy. This joy of being. That it is not a vital, emotional reaction to a stimulus, like: "Look, as they have told me that I am very pretty, or that I am very nice, I am happy."


Because internally I am experiencing this depth, this ocean of joy and love, then the natural thing is that joy arises to express it.


Internally I am experiencing this depth, this ocean of joy and love, then the natural thing is that joy arises to express it.


7. V&M M. Very good. well, to finish. Meditation theme. Meditation, I have heard different opinions, even controversy, if it is preferable to meditate individually, or on the contrary, a collective meditation, as different groups do, is important, and at what point could this be basic for the planetary consciousness?


Vicente Merlo. Let's look at how here too, it's also a matter of integrating. The logic of the "or" - "or", of the dilemma is already old. It is the logic of “and”- “and”. In this case, individual meditation is an essential basis to get used to being able to enter broader, more harmonious, more luminous states of consciousness. But of course, I am a huge advocate of the group and collective meditation.


But of course, I am a huge advocate of the group and collective meditation.

Weee practice it, here in the Center where we meet every Thursday and we do collective meditation. And the quality, the taste of group meditation, and its power, are very different, we could say, from individual meditation, that on the other hand has all the value in itself, and also prepares us to collaborate in group meditations. Not just small groups. I have been practicing full moon meditations for at least more than thirty years, which through certain teachings have long stood out, and there are people in all parts of the world practicing the meditation corresponding to the astrological sign, of the corresponding month, in this attempt to unite individual consciousnesses. And this point is fundamental. The state of consciousness and the aura of the planet is nothing more than the result of the sum of the different states of consciousness that we are experiencing.


The state of consciousness and the aura of the planet is nothing more than the result of the sum of the different states of consciousness that we are experiencing.

Since transcendental meditation began to become fashionable, when studies were carried out, they said: we have verified how in a community, even in a city, if 10% of the people are meditators (they said of transcendental meditation), but it can be any meditation, the problems of this community are reduced. And it is known, and you know perfectly well, that there have been calls, and more and more, for meditations with a planetary scope, as if we were antennas, that with our state of consciousness, with our higher vibratory nature, we can capture, spread, the highest energy consciousness, capable of transforming the most external levels.


We were antennas, that with our state of consciousness, with our higher vibratory nature, we can capture, and spread, the highest energy consciousness, capable of transforming the most external levels.

V&M M. Very well, thank you very much for your time Vicente, I would love to transmit all these messages to the audience that we have, in the magazine, and I invite you to meet again and continue talking because today we have focused on this topic, but there are many others, which are very relevant. Thank you, see you soon.





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