Sunday, October 29, 2006

Savitri Era Glasnost

[Re: Re: Reflections on THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY By Debashish Banerji by Rich on Wed 25 Oct 2006 09:24 AM PDT Permanent Link To address the problem of the reification and sedimentation of Sri Aurobindo's work in current doxa pervading the institutions which are founded on his vision. In this regards yes, I think it is important to subject the doxology which is now assciated with his teachings, to the methods of deconstruction. Unless one can legitimize these critical methods of inquiry within SA's institutions, my own belief is that they will continue on their way in creating a new religion. A religion whose metaphysical presentations will lend themselves only to interpretation by those with status and power in said institutions which are cloaked in their own cultural agenda.]
SCIY is busy debating interesting introspective issues in an unprecedented animated fashion. May Savitri Era see more of such open discourse.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Robotics and The Life Divine

[ET-Wharton contest a big hit. Over 600 Budding Entrepreneurs Mail In Smart Business Ideas. The Economic Times Friday, 27 October, 2006 Our aspirations are our possibilities - Robert Browning.
It was such boundless aspirations that the first Economic Times Wharton Business Plan Competition intended to fire up among management students in India. And it sure did. The challenge: coming up with the most innovative and executable business plan ever. The result was overwhelming. Over 600 budding entrepreneurs mailed in their smartest business ideas...The quest for the next big thing had participants exploring a slew of ideas, from a green gymnasium to a complete relocation services firm, an educational gaming venture, and a used-goods recycling company. Some of the interesting proposals were a water desalination service by students from the National Institute of Technology, Warangal, and a programmable reverse horn by the team from the Vishwakarma Institute of Technology, Pune. The best five plans (see chart) chosen by a Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs panel, included a couple of clean technology ideas, a robotics firm, a training institute for women, and an ERP software company for the construction industry.]
While reading a heady report like the above, a saner worldview can act like a compass. As RAM SEHGAL wrote in The Hindu Open Page on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 so valiantly, “I believe the answer lies in what Sri Aurobindo has written in his magnificent book, The Life Divine. He states that we need to go beyond the mind and reason.” 4:49 PM #

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Who speaks for India?

Who would have thought that the much maligned Macaulay will be feted and revered for his Promethean role in sowing the seeds of modernity in India in contradistinction to Sri Aurobindo branded as a Manuvadi Hindu revivalist. For them, Sri Aurobindo writing The Secret of the Veda is an indelible blemish as it harks back to obscurantism; his system of Integral Yoga, medieval superstition. Such is the hubris of our neo-rich subalterns.

So much so that recently the Prime minister of India found it shameful to utter and preferred to drop the name of Sri Aurobindo as a Cambridge alumnus. God save the moderns! #

Sunlit Path for China

That the Left parties are brokering entry of the Chinese companies into the country by officially shedding their opposition to Capitalism is a welcome development. Both China and India have learnt the rules of the new economy the hard way and now is the hour to consolidate mutual leverages. But whether the commercial commensalism would also cover the cultural sphere is a question difficult to answer. Because the history of the last 5000 years shows that such intercourse has been at the minimal.

Language and religion have acted as two major deterrents in the past. Of late, English is coming up as the common language, but the religion question is too nebulous. Here is a wonderful opportunity for the Savitri Erans to target China. The Chinese can learn English by (t)reading the Sunlit Path.

A book for Sophie

Now that Sophie is fairly acquainted with the history of western philosophy, she needs a book on The Mother and Sri Aurobindo: a short and simple narration of their life and philosophy. But such a book meant for the school-leavers is simply not available; nobody has thought of writing a book like that. Strange but true. Should we institute an award for someone to accomplish the feat?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Haridas Chaudury and Amitav Ghosh




Can the twain meet?




Revenge of Theosophy through Ken Wilber

Perhaps the first major messenger of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo in America was Dr. Haridas Chaudhuri. The California Institute of Integral Studies founded by him has been instrumental in popularizing their thoughts in a big way. Subsequently, the Esalen Institute of Michael Murphy made substantial contributions.

But the real thrust came by the publication of the book, Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness by Satprem. This pithily written concise account of the Master’s life and philosophy has benefited a large number of seekers and readers in the West. But instead of treating it as a primer and an introduction, many tend to think that they quite understand what Sri Aurobindo says. Consequently, they miss out on the pleasure of reading the original words of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

Another disadvantage with the Satprem’s works is that they present the case too spiritedly and the readers’ whetted up expectations die down too soon. The realization that the process of Yoga is a long-term affair and the promised Supramental age is a little bit far-off comes as a disappointment to a too passionate reader.

For those who reach Sri Aurobindo through the Ken Wilber route, it is the other extreme. They are continually administered sedatives in small doses so that they never are Sri Aurobindo enthusiasts. All kinds of prejudices are fed to them in a sinister fashion to belittle the Great Master. In a way, it is the revenge of Theosophy that Sri Aurobindo fought a century back returning in a new avatar. Thus, Wilber is the greatest threat at the moment in the west to build up of any mass attraction for The Mother and Sri Aurobindo and their immortal works.

That is, of course, no cause to be disheartened for the Savitri Erans. The English reading public there can some day be motivated to taste the nectar that is Savitri. And from then on there would be no looking back. In the meanwhile, may our aspiration and action match!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pranab Mukherjee is the senior most statesman of the world

Pranab Mukherjee is the senior most statesman of the world. Eminently qualified to become the Prime Minister, at the moment he has been assigned to handle the international affairs. Let us hope that Sri Aurobindo’s vision of the World Union gets a quantum impetus with Mukherjee at the helm. Should we greet him with the title The Brain Of India!

Integral Adwaita, Yoga Vashishtha, Kashmir Shaivism

[The viewpoint embraced by Vasishtha's Yoga is very similar to Kashmir Shaivism, which teaches that Consciousness alone exists and that the universe is nothing but the self-expression of this Consciousness. Hindu Gems - Siddha Forum]
Not included in any major scriptural combination and its authorship and age debatable, the Yoga Vashistha Ramayana is a curious text. A potpourri of cosmology, mythology and ethics, its low-brow status is ironic for its high exegesis.

Although Sri Aurobindo is on record as not having much acquaintance with it, among the ancient treatises, the Yoga Vashistha comes closest to his theory of Integral Adwaita. Though not identical, it contains the description of various kinds of Ignorance as in The Life Divine.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dear Chaki Babu

My good wishes for your forthcoming book on The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. More power to your pen! Whenever I think of you, the names of Barindra Kumar Ghosh and Prafulla Chaki come to the mind. By bearing their names, I am sure; you too retain strains of their legendary heroism.

Just think of the crucial battle their band was fighting 100 years ago. From journals and organizations to bullets and bombs, how intense and passionate was their mode of action. But today, it is indifference and complacence all around. Mukul Kesavan wrote in The Telegraph a year ago that Sri Aurobindo is the worst poet of Bengal, and nobody in Kolkata protested. The one person who has been always a one-man-army against any attack on Sri Aurobindo but unfortunately no longer active, is our dear Amal Kiran. One hopes that there would be thousands like him ready to take on the task.

Sri Aurobindo takes the formal charge as the Editor of Bande Mataram tomorrow, i.e. on October 24, 1906. A day for remembering and making resolutions, for us. The solitary task then was to fight the British. Now, of course, our adversaries are multifold. It is the hour to be heroic. Yours fraternally, Tusar

Savitri Era will conquer

The action of the Supramental consciousness, light and force permeates the earth atmosphere for the last 50 years. While a yeaning for peace jars with the wars and conflicts dotting the globe, a sure progress towards a more secure future is not unconceivable. Culture, commerce and technology are the major peace-precipitating factors today.

But thought, which should have acted like a catalyst, is sadly found moribund. In India, the Marxist professors of our Universities and the secular sub-editors of our national newspapers have been successful in preaching a sanitized version of life and society that has no place for any higher aspiration or intervention.
This lie has to be fought with all might. The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have equipped us with all the intellectual ammunitions for this purpose. Their words would conquer the world. But only if our Gautiers and Daninos choose to keep the straight and narrow path and not stray into adulterated arsenals.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Federation of corporate empires

After Arcelor-Mittal, Tata-Corus is making waves. At this stage it is difficult to speculate how long these so-called Indian multinationals would remain Indian. But a more important question is how far these corporate empires will replace the functions of the State.

That looks imminent and in that case, philosophical perspectives adverting to a State set-up should also, mutatis-mutandis, apply to these corporate structures. One such important vision is Kant’s ‘federation of free states,’ which has been endorsed by Proudhon as well as Sri Aurobindo. Corporations must start behaving like city-states and form a federation too.

Pilate's poser and Tennyson's flower

It is not difficult to discern derivations from the Theosophical literature in the system-building of Sri Aurobindo. But in the “Papers on Theosophy” [CWSA Vol. 12] he has been unsparing in his criticism of the movement and its methods. The series could well have taken off to become another The Life Divine, as the chapter captioned ‘Sat’ takes up the Pilate's poser to arrive at the Vedantic affirmations. It also dwells in between on the ‘intellectual history of the European continent.’
While privileging the epistemological preference for the fundamental over the particular, he takes a dig at the inductive approach by citing a Tennysonian line. He also values an intense and enthusiastic religious approach than the high philosophic or a dry scientific. In volume after volume one senses the theme that Buddhism is anathema. In The essays on the Gita, the nihilistic Buddhist philosophy is deprecated in the manner Kant rebutted Hume. Of course, Buddhism, as it is practiced today, is altogether a different concoction.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Caste and Equality

[Concept of Equality: The Nineteenth Century Indian Debate by Ganguli, B. N.
Six lectures tracing the growth and influence of the concept of equality in Indian society. Chapter one introduces the impact of Western ideas. Chapter two looks at inequality as a structural problem. Chapter three looks at social reform efforts towards equality. Economic progress and equality are considered in chapter four. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's essay on equality (Samya) is studied in the fifth chapter while the concluding chapter looks at religion and equality.
Obviously, Sri Aurobindo is not included in the analysis as his work belongs to the next century. But being a Bengali and aware of him, Ganguli could have mentioned Sri Aurobindo’s opinions on the matter so as to present a more rounded debate.

Bankim Chandra’s philosophical essays on equality published in 1879 were dropped by him in 1892 as he found it “all wrong”. Perhaps his admiration for Mazzinni’s insistence on the primacy of Fraternity was too politically volatile to express at the time.

But Sri Aurobindo has dared to defy his contemporary political correctness by maintaining a bias for truth. His notion of equality is the equality of the soul and not abolition of hierarchy at the practical level. This must be firmly kept in mind, as the whole nation, currently, is debating caste-based reservations and creamy-layers.

Politics need not remain alien

The Bush regime is often derided for identifying itself too openly with the Christian enthusiasts. This is rather hypocrisy, for transparency and consistency should be seen as virtues in the arena of public life. Be that as it may, the larger question of conflating religion and politics need not be that undesirable in our day and age. In order to remain relevant the dominant religions are striving hard to keep abreast of science, logic, and ethics. If such updated religious leaders become part of the political process, then there should not be any room for objection.

Separation of the Church from the State was insisted upon because the Church was not willing to change. That is no more the case now, although Hegel’s system is yet to be accommodated in toto. Savitri Era, on the other hand, is offering a compact religion as an alternative that is compatible with the modern day logic and science. Politics, therefore, need not remain alien to a religion of such futuristic vision.

The intention of Nature

One of the philosophical innovations of Sri Aurobindo that has not received the attention it deserves is the Problem of Rebirth. Although the book did not receive his time and attention for revision, the subject has been thoroughly dealt with in The Life Divine and in the Letters. Even Savitri contains some pregnant and intriguing utterances on the matter. Considering the complex and ambiguous nature of the issue and multiple theological theses on it, Sri Aurobindo’s attempt to remove the cobwebs and clear the confusion is epochal. But the elite of the day argue endlessly over the old formulations without reading Sri Aurobindo’s solutions.

Friday, October 20, 2006

From Kant to The Cantos

In the very first paragraph of The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo brings in the great Kantian issues of "God, freedom, and immortality" as his point of departure. All his works are replete with similar allusions. Years ago V.K. Gokak spared a full chapter in his book, Sri Aurobindo: Seer and Poet listing such allusions scattered throughout Savitri. Recently, Mother India, in a rare gesture, invited from its readers their take on such pickings. When finally compiled, it would open up new vistas of delight for the discerning readers.

Mother India, of late, is issuing special numbers as thematic compilations. Ideally, a journal should stick to its definition and not aspire to encroach upon the function of a book. When would Mother India go online? Savitri Erans are athirst.

We won’t be silent

[Their alarm has been stoked by a highly suspect claim that if current trends continue, only 4 percent of teenagers will be “Bible-believing Christians” as adults...For the next two days, the teenagers in the arena pogoed to Christian bands, pledged to lead their friends to Christ and sang an anthem with the chorus, “We won’t be silent.” Hundreds streamed down the aisles for the altar call and knelt in front of the stage, some weeping openly as they prayed to give their lives to God. By LAURIE GOODSTEIN The New York Times: October 6, 2006]
If young people are unwilling to go with the religion they are born into, Savitri Era is the most rational alternative. So it is for the Savitri Erans not to be silent and spring into action in order to fill the void. The Mother's poser ever echoes, Are you ready?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Carry the words forward

  • [Karsh argues that whilst Christianity had its own (obvious) imperialist ambitions it has finally surrendered them. Islam has not. (Although I think Karsh neglects to mention that Christian imperialism has been revived amongst American evangelicals). Islamic imperialist ambitions are a fundamental aspect of the Islamic narrative. Al Qaeda is simply the latest manifestation of the eternal jihad. Posted in Terrorism, Ray's Integral Blog, Integral politics]
Sri Aurobindo wrote in English and The Mother’s works are in French. Thus, primarily they are addressed to the Westerners and Christians. The Savitri Erans have to build an elaborate infrastucture to carry the words forward, bothways: precision-shooting as well as carpet-bombing.

Savitri Erans must be politically savvy

It’s good that the political cleavage in India is becoming clearer. While BJP has already established its credentials in favour of militant Hinduism, BSP has started batting for Buddhism now. The Marxists’ abhorrence for any religion is well known but of late their voice in India is being identified with Islam. The Congress, though maintains a facile stand of respect for all religions, in effect, pushes forward a strange combination of Neheruvian secularism and Gandhian ambiguity. The Janta-Socialist section is as confused and opportunistic as ever.

One recalls that at the time of its formation, NCP was enthusiastic about Sri Aurobindo, thanks, of course to Shri Sangma. But everything is forgotten now. Savitri Erans must be extremely cautious while associating themselves with certain politician or some party. Politically, they are all our adversaries and at the time of exercising vote also, it is better to go by the principle of lesser evil.

Auroville, locus for a larger discourse

The Economic Times, today, carries a nice leader article, From sin-cities to cities of joy by Pothik Ghosh, which examines several issues relating to urbanization in India. At a time when SEZs are a hot topic and democracy is at war with economics, Ghosh’s vision of reviving our traditional University towns as model habitats comes as a breath of fresh air. Even, reading the names of The Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Bhatkhande Institute of Music & Musicology and Bharatendu Natak Academy in The Economic Times itself is an eye opener.

In the context of city-building, education and environment, the name of Auroville immediately comes to the mind. The socio-political concerns that the Aurovillians are engaged with should form a part of the larger discourse that the new India is encountering. The cultural hiatus that the affluent portion of India is struggling with, is also akin to the Aurovillians’ aspiration for material perfection along with spiritual realization. It is for the Savitri Erans to judge all these issues critically so as to develop a harmonized theory for socio-cultural living.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Discarded history

The Life Divine (CWSA Vol. 21 & 22) is in hand. It is nice to see the Mottoes printed in a larger font. But the lack of an index is a great handicap. Incomplete drafts of The Life Divine are now available in the Isha Upanishad volume. But what about the discarded eight Arya chapters? Will they be accommodated somewhere in the Series?

For, unused versions of a certain chapter of The Synthesis of Yoga are appearing in the Reference volume. And here, it is a question of whole chapters, already published. The historical and hermeneutical importance of the Arya writings is immense. One wonders how The Complete Works would be complete without them.

Amchi Mother

Some years ago, the residents of Mumbai (then, Bombay), under the banner of “Our Mumbai,” used to demand that there should not be any new influx into the city. A similar mindset prevails among the believers in The Mother and Sri Aurobindo also. That we are the chosen few engaged in a grand spiritual adventure and lesser mortals remain consigned to their petty religious activities. Steer clear of mass conversions, they warn.

Such an attitude is elitist, chauvinistic, and snobbish to say the least. The Unschooled has the same claim on The Mother as the scholarly and no one has any right or authority to preclude others. A simple faith can be a great passport to the Master’s vicinity while all learning fails. The notion of the Life Divine or Collective Yoga cannot be confined to a centre, a coterie or a caucus. The Supramental is free to propel any large mass out of the six billion of us.

Mass media and mass culture is swaying the people like never before. In such circumstances, Saviri Era as a youthful religion can make a dent by its fresh appeal. To carry the information forward down to the last mile is the initial challenge. Faith is, of course, the recipient’s choice.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Salvation via Hegel

It is a welcome sign that theoretical debates are cropping up stirring religious beliefs. The evolution vs. intelligent design discourse has hardly died down and we have this he-she imbroglio. While Wilber’s painstakingly built AQAL edifice, like the Al Quida, is corroding from the inside in the manner of a cancer, the papal glasnost is also proceeding towards an inevitable Gorvachevsque denouement.

All this is a matter of glee for the Savitri Erans and reason enough to laugh up their sleeves. Let there be more of navel gazing so that Hegel once again become a rage and from there Sri Aurobindo is just a stone’s throw away.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Aspirealty

Religion is basically mind-space, but also concerns real-estate. Savitri Era is in the process of expanding in both the spheres. Perhaps an exponential expansion is in the offing. More and more roads, buildings, schools, libraries, centres, retreats, industries, businesses, down to books-selves in residences are coming under The Mother’s lien. The material too should consent to be carried along with the aspirational.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Savitri Era is the sunlit path

“Is religion the new fashion?” was the debate CNN-IBN aired an hour ago. But religion has always been in fashion, from the pre-historic times. It is one of the basic emotions and inspirations of man.

Perhaps a more appropriate observation would be that the fashion of religious practices keep changing. Opting for the newest offerings entails a lot of emotional trauma. And, enormous energy is wasted in trial and error.

Savitri Era is the sunlit path as assembled by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Their unremitting grace coupled with an infallible philosophy makes Savitri Era the most acceptable religion on the planet. Not to miss out on this sumptuous feast is one's free choice.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This is the hour to be united for the Savitri Erans

[Do not compromise doctrine in dialogue, Pope says Keep true to Christian identity, pope tells pilgrims at audience By Cindy Wooden 10/11/2006 Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Christians are called to form a united community of faith where social status and politics do not divide them and where dialogue with the world does not mean hiding the truths of the Christian faith, Pope Benedict XVI said. "Certainly the path of understanding and dialogue, which the Second Vatican Council happily undertook, must continue with firm constancy," he said Oct. 11 at his weekly general audience. "But this path of dialogue, which is so necessary, must not lead us to forget our obligation to recall and demonstrate with the same energy the principal elements of our Christian identity, which cannot be renounced," he said.]
Savitri Erans the world over must follow the cited words of the Pope in letter and spirit with regard to their faith in The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. This is the hour to be united to help the manifestation of the Supramental at the physical level.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should resign

It is a criminal offence on the part of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In his acceptance address on being conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Law, he spoke about the links between India and Cambridge. So many names he recalled, but forgot the name of Sri Aurobindo, the foremost poet and philosopher of India.

If this is inadvertent, then he must resign from his post for his poor memory. But if deliberate, then also he should resign for insulting the great Teacher of the Nation as well as the Savitri Erans. ¶ 2:08 AM

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Globalization’s children

It is not only the problem of the Indian Diaspora, but of the whole lot of people who are born in multicultural family set-ups. Searching for the roots and yearning for an anchor becomes a powerful emotion at one stage of life, but more often than not, the person is buffeted about from one parlour to another.
Long before Globalization became a reality, The Mother and Sri Aurobindo had foreseen the need for a new global faith, and therefore the Savitri Era. The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have minced no words about the dominant religions of the day. To leave the seeking young hearts at the mercy of the Jurassic relics would be an act of nonchalance and cruelty. So, the Globalization’s children need not despair. They must come forward to embrace the Savitri Era religion.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Amal not noble enough for Nobel

One just wonders how much a person should achieve to merit a Nobel Prize. The prodigal creations of Amal Kiran range from poetry and criticism to history and philosophy, from science and religion to literature and yoga, from education and psychology to politics and journalism. A direct disciple of Sri Aurobindo and his chosen interlocutor on Savitri, Sethna has lived his more than hundred years as a deputy of the aspiring world.
He is truly a global citizen and radiates goodwill for the whole humanity. He justly deserves a Nobel either for Peace or Literature. Savitri Erans should hurry up for the task.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Liberation of Auroville, the original island of freedom

The administration of Auroville is in the hands of Government of India. Although many problems relating to Auroville are still of the nature of, what has come to be known in our electoral politics parlance, BSP or Bijli, Sadak, and Pani, the higher purpose for which it was envisaged can not be articulated from the Public Sector approach. When the rest of the country is witnessing liberalization on an unprecedented scale, it is really ironical to see Auroville, the original island of freedom to be fettered.

Two and a half decades after the infamous takeover the circumstances have changed entirely. Savitri Erans must come forward to demand Liberation of Auroville from the Government hands, in one voice.

No confusion over the identity as a religion

That Savitri Era constitutes a religion was adjudicated by Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy in his famous dissenting judgemnet of 8th November, 1982 in the Auroville Case
[We do not desire to enter into any polemics over Sri Aurobindo's teachings as it is not within the judicial province to do so except to the limited extent of finding out whether his teachings have the necessary spiritual content to qualify as religious doctrine and how his followers understood these teachings...
Sri Aurobindo, of course, disclaimed that he was founding a religion. No great religious teacher ever claimed that he was, founding a new religion or a new school of religious thought. The question is not whether Sri Aurobindo refused to claim or denied that he was founding a new religion or a new school of religious thought but whether his disciples and the community thought so. …
If the followers of Sri Aurobindo constitute a religious nomination as, to my mind, they undoubtedly do, the members of Sri Aurobindo Society are certainly a distinct and identifiable section of the ‘religious denomination’] EXTRACTS FROM THE JUDGEMENT BY JUSTICE O. CHINNAPPA REDDY IN AUROVILLE CASE New Delhi, 8th November, 1982. ¶ 9:44 AM

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The birth-place of Sri Aurobindo

Pilgrimage is integral to religion as well as the tourism industry. While tours to Puducherry and Auroville are very common, Kolkata has not yet caught the fancy of the Savitri Erans. The birth-place of Sri Aurobindo at 8, Shakespeare Sarani should be a site of pilgrimage. So also, the cell in Alipur Jail where Sri Aurobindo was lodged for a year as an undertrial.
Vadodara, too, has its share of glory and Nainital already has a retreat maintained by the Delhi branch of Ashram. All these combined can form an attractive Savitri Era Circuit.