Jung and Sri Aurobindo: Comparisons and Differences

In this paper, I favorably compare the psychology of C. G. Jung and the yoga of Sri Aurobindo. In particular, I show where each of the two approaches to yoga/psychology fully accepts both the masculine principle and the feminine principle.  In Jung’s case, the feminine principle of Eros is particularly evident in his study of alchemy whereas, in the case of Sri Aurobindo, one can see it in his high regard for Tantra and the feminine creative power, Shakti. Sri Aurobindo also extols the Bhagavad Gita with its Karma yoga, which involves devotion to the masculine principle, the Purushottama, the Divine Will. Likewise, Jung emphasizes the Logos, the masculine principle of discernment, and the need to align one’s life with a superior Will. I also discuss the nature of the ego and the incarnated soul from the point of view of both Sri Aurobindo and Jung and conclude that they are essentially saying the same thing.  In both cases there is a need to disengage from illusory aspects of life and to find one’s true individuality. For the sake of putting things in perspective in relationship to mainline Western psychology, I then show how different Jung’s view is from other schools of Western psychology, which either undervalue what Jung refers to as the ego [and Hindu tradition refers to as the purusha/ego] or overvalue it.

Finally, I describe what I believe to be the key differences between Jung’s path and that of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.  For one thing, when they were alive, the formers disciples were mainly Westerners, while those of the latter were mainly Indians. However, the principle difference is related to the fact that the disciples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother accept them as the Avatars for our time, whereas some of Jung’s main disciples consider him to be a prophet. Avatars embody the Word, whereas the prophet is compelled to announce to the people what he sees and understands the Word to be. This suggests that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother understand more clearly the nature of the new integral consciousness seeking embodiment, but that Jung also sees it, although a little less clearly.  In the final analysis, in my personal experience, both paths converge and can contribute to one’s quest for understanding and psychological assimilation of the new consciousness incarnating today.

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