Thursday, May 31, 2007

Measuring up to Maheshwari

[It is not female but male surrender to the Divine that we see in it. The quality of the surrender of Aswapati is masculine, lofty, wonderful, full of knowledge and power, more spiritual than psychic. RYD on Mon 14 May 2007 02:09 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link]
An innocuous and well-intentioned comment by RY Deshpande in his ongoing meditations on Savitri at SCIY is likely to ruffle the sentiments of the gender-sensitive. Especially when we see Sri Aurobindo’s life long endeavour to endow the women of his poems with enormous light as well as might.

One another character created by Sri Aurobindo is Maheshwari. Modeled on Varuna, She is absolutely unique and has no affinity with any name in Indian mythology. Now, Maheshwara must be having a tough time in approaching and measuring up to her! [TNM] 7:11 AM

Monday, May 28, 2007

Leadership in philosophy is with Savitri Erans

Heidegger was arguably the philosopher of the twentieth century (just as Hegel was the philosopher of the nineteenth): P. 273 The Parallax View by Slavoj Zizek
No, a resounding no. The 20th century belongs to Sri Aurobindo. Unfortunately, ill-informed and ill-read people are dishing out worn out judgments. Let Zizek read The Life Divine first, and then we would agree to listen to him. The leadership in philosophy, as S.K. Maitra noted, has passed to India and Savitri Erans scattered all over the globe have to strive hard to make it real and visible. [TNM]

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Castes and constellations

tusarnmohapatra Says: May 27th, 2007 at 4:59 am [Plato saw people as controlled by mind, will and appetite.] [Plato argues that the human soul has three parts: an intellective (rational) part, a spirited part (having to do with emotion and will), and an appetitive part (having to do with drives and basic impulses).]
Can this be a key to understand the cause of what you have called “constellations" or, by extension, the phenomenon of “castes” prevailing in India?
tusarnmohapatra Says: May 27th, 2007 at 5:39 am [The philosophers and the warriors are thus the “Guardians” of Plato’s ideal state. This does not seem like a familiar sort of definition for justice, but the result, Plato says, is that each interest is satisfied to the proper extent, or, in society, everyone has what is theirs. The philosophers have the knowledge they want; the warriors have the honors they want; and the commoners have the goods and pleasures they want, in the proper moderation maintained by the philosophers and warriors. The root of all trouble, as far as Plato is concerned, is always unlimited desire.]
The caste system in India, too, operates more or less on a similar taxonomy: knowledge, power, capital, and labour.

tusarnmohapatra Says: May 27th, 2007 at 6:26 am The caste syndrome is not confined to India alone and should be seen as prevailing everywhere in many disguised forms, as Bob has blogged: [Sunday, December 03, 2006 Know Your Caste]

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Fighting fallacies

It is quite stimulating that Rod Hemsell has broached The problem of textual fallacies in Sri Aurobindo's world. His 2002 essay was instrumental in trouncing Ken Wilber and now he can take this problem head on in collaboration with other veterans. Obviously, spirited fights might ensue, but that will be all in the interest of the posterity and good academics. [TNM] 9:27 PM

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spiritual experiences cannot be exhibited in blog-postings

It seems to be flogging season for the mind and the intellect, and obviously, the poor blogger is at the receiving end. Insisting on experience is fine, but then it begs the question, whose experience? Which experience? Is experience so universal? And how to distinguish those who peddle fakes?

At SELF we are rather wary of experience. Ours is a limited objective of creating a manageable syllabus to learn the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, say, at the undergraduate level. That entails a lot of narrowcasting and hammering out conformity on core questions. Blogging is forcing people to come out of the cover of ambivalence and pledge support for some theoretical school.
Endlessly parroting the word, spirituality is also anathema to us. Spiritual experiences can neither be dispensed from nor exhibited in blog-postings. Reading and writing as mental/intellectual activities are desirable and it is up to the individual how to turn it religious/yoga. Let’s not discourage young people to read philosophical writings that help them in their self-culture as well as mapping the future. [TNM]

Monday, May 21, 2007

1818, 1919, and 2020

Marx was born in 1818. In 1919, Sri Aurobindo wrote in the Arya,
[The year 1919 comes to us with the appearance of one of the most pregnant and historic dates of the modern world. It has ended the greatest war in history, begotten a new thing in the history of mankind, a League of Nations which claims to be the foundation-stone for the future united life of the human race, and cleared the stage for fresh and momentous other constructions or destructions, which will bring us into another structure of society and of the framework of human life than has yet been known in the recorded memory of the earth's peoples.]

We must appropriate unapologetically

[The End of Diversity: If Catholicism seeks to be true to itself and its supernatural head, then it must appropriate unapologetically Christ as its true, singular, and ultimate end. To do anything less would be to adulterate itself and misunderstand the personality of Christ..Posted by Anxietas at 1:42 PM Sunday, May 20, 2007]
Savitri Erans, too, will have to grapple with Cultural Diversity more and more and there is no other solution than to religiously cling to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. To do anything less would be reactionary and regressive. [TNM]

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Agastya and Aswapati

In The Prospectus of the Arya itself "was printed The Colloquy of Indra and Agastya, published in the first issue of Arya and later reproduced in The Secret of the Veda." In this hymn "the human soul wishes by the sheer force of Thought to hasten forward beyond in order to reach prematurely the source of all things.”

Clearly, the resonance with Nietzsche’s "exceeding" is apparent and hence the theme was so dear to Sri Aurobindo . In a way, in Aswapati's forward march in Savitri too we see Agastya's agenda unfolding. [TNM]

Friday, May 18, 2007

The why

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 17th, 2007 at 11:58 pm The “univocity” of Being assuming “thoughts in the concrete are made of the same stuff as things are” is not the whole story. Thing/thought is same as space/time i.e. sat/chit that explains the where/when but the why remains unanswered. Ananda or bliss is the third aspect of the trinity, Sat-chit-ananda which is unity as well as multiplicity at the same time. 7:25 AM

Monday, May 14, 2007

In Sri Aurobindian Ontology (SAO) we find such a convergence

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: Response to “Olive Branches” May 14th, 2007 at 5:23 am The conflictual situation arises when many of you equate religion with Christianity or a particular version of it. The more harmonizing course would be to look for a philosophy that does not clash with either religion or politics.
In Sri Aurobindian Ontology (SAO) we find such a convergence. A masterly treatise, “The Life divine” is at once philosophy, religion and politics. Only you have to consent to step outside your cultural boundaries to discover such a marvel. Continued fascination for a solely vitalistic interpretation of reality has also to be loosened a bit.

The whole affair looks so mysterious

The West is an open society, or so we listen. Recently, Satprem left us and then Sujata a month after. But due to lack of proper information the whole affair looks so mysterious. Barring one line announcements nothing was disclosed to the public. Even that came 3 to 4 days later. One gets a sinister Kafkaesque feeling!

We posses the greatest of contents

A child born today to a Savitri Eran parents will be 15 years of age in 2022, when we shall be observing the 150th birth-anniversary of Sri Aurobindo. After leaving the school he will be joining a Junior College/ Higher Secondary by opting for a particular stream. Around this time his mind space would have been grabbed by some leftist ideology through some lecture, film, theatre, TV serial, social work or NGO activism. Else, he would have fallen prey to the propaganda of Hindutva fanaticism.

Can we rescue him and retain as a Savitri Eran? What has happened to the thousands of students who have been educated in schools named after The Mother and Sri Aurobindo? Even in communities run in Orkut and elsewhere not much promise is visible. Is it because we lack credibility and respectability in the eyes of the young and educated?

This calls for serious introspection and earnest strategizing. The branding exercise for the Savitri Erans should function at multiple levels so that our visibility increases. We posses the greatest of contents; so why should the future generation be deprived of it because of poor packaging and sloppy marketing?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sri Aurobindo's insights on history and hermeneutics

At least four Bengali names are doing the rounds for the forthcoming Presidential election. But unfortunately no one has brought in the name of Prof. D.P. Chattopadhyaya so far, who so eminently deserves the honour.
His Ways of Understanding the Human Past (Centre for Studies in Civilisations 2001 New Delhi Pp. 164) is an anchor for hermeneutics which defies all the 20th century fads and seeks to endorse many of the insights of Sri Aurobindo on the matter. A must read. [TNM]

Uttering ontological incongruities is so common

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 12th, 2007 at 9:06 pm The challenge Edward, is how to integrate all these propensities of our be-ing into a coherent ontology. I don’t know why you have called yourself “a secular humanist” on the other thread and what exactly does it denote. But this sort of playing around is certainly not in accordance with the urgency for individuation that is incumbent upon us.
Just like we express hundreds of logical fallacies without being aware of them, uttering ontological incongruities impudently is also so common. Basically it is a question of good academics and intellectual rigor, like what Husserl insisted upon. Only then we stop being a hypocrite to ourselves and refrain from telling one thing here and another there.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Vedic nisus cannot join hands with Buddhism

Since yesterday we are listening to paeans for Mayawati, and her so called lethal Dalit-plus-Brahmin combination, sung by our TV news-channels. The euphoria over a decisive electoral victory is understandable but the warnings must not be glossed over.

  • Brahminhood (not necessarily by birth) represents custodianship of the Vedic enlightenment which can’t be compromised or bartered away for a few pieces of silver or crumbs of power.
  • The Vedic nisus, as represented by the thought and action of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo in the present age, is a perpetual war against nihilism and hence there can’t be any joining of hands with Dr. Ambedkar and his Buddhism.
  • Allied politically-correct cohorts espousing agnostic/ rationalist/ secularist theses are also serious threats despite their decent logic couched in unbeatable eloquence.
  • Not to forget the hypocrisy and bankruptcy of ideas of the Hindutva bandwagon that is singularly responsible for bringing a bad name to the great Indian civilization.

In such a circumstance, Savitri Erans will have to be extremely cautious as to their sympathies, support and casting of votes. Let us not forget that the issue of stigma for siding with the Nazis is still raised against even great persons like Heidegger, Paul de Man, and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. [TNM]

Along the footsteps of Sri Aurobindo, the poet

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 11th, 2007 at 8:25 pm I would wish that let the rest of your life be an endless series of discoveries along the footsteps of Sri Aurobindo, the poet. Here is a letter he wrote to one of his close disciples...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Doesn't matter if it takes a lifetime

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 10th, 2007 at 10:46 pm Glad to know Marko, you are a connoisseur of poetry as well. Doesn’t matter if Dante “did not write from the perspective of a teaching” but the way you relish the original lines in Old Italian is supremely spiritual, and that is far more important. There is a very fine book captioned Dante and Sri Aurobindo: a comparative study of The Divine Comedy and Savitri by Prema Nandakumar, Publisher: Madras: Affiliated East-West Press, [1981].
Savitri is a poem in blank verse, i.e. iambic pentameter with usual variations. You have rightly insisted on the poetry aspect than any teaching and I hope you will allow yourself a little more time to delve into it before passing any judgment.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Savitri Eran as the next President

[Who would you like to be the next President?
A. APJ Abdul Kalam, B. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, C. Narayana Murthy, D. Amartya Sen, E. Jyoti Basu F. Somnath Chatterjee,
Editor, The Times of India PS: You may also SMS or email your views.
Posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 10:05 AM]
None of the probable persons listed above is a Savitri Eran. Let us hope that a person who openly expresses his allegiance to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo and avers to work for the fulfillment their ideals comes to occupy the highest office of the nation. [TNM]

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

An engaging eye on the future

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 8th, 2007 at 5:46 pm Why not pick up Sri Aurobindo instead, who holds up all that is best in the previous centuries with an engaging eye on the future.
Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 8th, 2007 at 9:45 pm Anthony, thanks for the honest observations. I mentioned only Sri Aurobindo, but you have brought in a whole Arcade from “Indian philosophy” to “philosophies of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America, and their subcontinents.” That’s obviously a tall order and also a nice pretext to evade them.
Indian philosophy, of the Academia, is in fact a black hole (in a pejorative sense). Sri Aurobindo has been successful to rescue it and integrate it with the western tradition and thereby constructing a robust ontology the like of which is not available elsewhere.
To copy and paste blog posts and comments is perhaps my way of flattering what I admire. 8:34 AM
Tusar N Mohapatra said...The rationalists are nothing but Ontology famished and they can have their fill. 4:35 AM

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Remix recreation of philosophical mythology

[Undeniably Deleuze’s philosophy is far from autonomous, as he merely constitutes a kind of workshop for the production of concepts. Therefore, rather than focusing our attention on whether or not Deleuze re-presents those whom he thinks with and through in an accurate and scholarly fashion, we will instead take Deleuze’s word for it and treat these works as an attempt to take these thinkers beyond themselves, as if Deleuze had picked up an arrow of thought and shot it to some other place, to some other unthought thought.
Posted by Anthony Paul Smith on May 4th, 2007 An und für sich]
And thus the philosophies of Hume, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Nietzsche, Bergson, Foucault, et al would be a remix recreation in the years to come. Literary philosophy as an expression will perhaps fall inadequate. Why not call it philosophical mythology? [TNM]

Let a million mythos bloom!

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 7th, 2007 at 8:26 pm Thanks Andy for your fine attempt but obviously you have missed out much. The word “unfolding” is an allusion to the concept of “involution” that is pivotal to Sri Aurobindian ontology. The word “if” in the original passage is only a polite expression and does not denote any kind of vacillation or option. For, the evolution “must” unfold as charted out by the involution.
Both Greg’s and Alan’s reservations are certainly worth ruminating, but I have not said anything original. Already many books are available on this subject and no one can prevent the publishing houses from benefiting from popular subjects. And then, there is nothing to shudder in this age of hermeneutics. Let a million mythos bloom!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sri Aurobindo foresees a race of supermen endowed with divine potencies

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 7th, 2007 at 5:36 am Sri Aurobindo’s ontology as delineated in his magnum opus, “The Life Divine” was spurred by the conception of Overman enunciated by Nietzsche. No wonder, he was involved in fighting Hitler from his retreat in Puducherry through his inner forces subsequently. Sri Aurobindo foresees a race of supermen endowed with divine potencies rather than vitalistic beings as speculated by Nietzsche.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Just like Hegel’s Science of Logic; The Life Divine cannot be paraphrased

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 6th, 2007 at 5:44 am We may forget for a moment the whole exchange of views whether Sri Aurobindo qualifies as a guru or not. Let us judge him simply on the basis of his ontology and poetry. For his poem Savitri, he ranks along with Dante, Milton, and Goethe. If one has read Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, or even Habermas, then reading The Life Divine is not at all difficult. The vitalism of Schelling, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Spenser, Bergson, Nietzsche, Freud etc. down to Deleuze of our own times has been a dominant influence in philosophy. In The Life Divine we find the integration of both the streams.
The kind of comments we read here is specific to the ontology one believes in. Without reading The Life Divine, one is simply deprived of the Sri Aurobindian integration. I dare say that even Alan is not fully privy to the intricacies of the Sri Aurobindian ontology and hence expresses many discordant opinions. I would disappoint Ray by holding that just like Hegel’s Science of Logic; The Life Divine cannot be paraphrased. As regards verbosity, I can challenge, let anybody take out even a sentence out of the book and show that the meaning is intact.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Careless remarks about Sri Aurobindo’s ontology

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 4th, 2007 at 10:45 pm I am appalled at the manner several careless remarks about Sri Aurobindo’s ontology have been pronounced here. I’d request restoring seriousness and genuine curiosity to understand the thought of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo and avoiding “for every one of your opponent’s arguments, make three counter-arguments (Joe Perez)syndrome.
Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: May 4th, 2007 at 11:07 pm Can we request Kela to come out with his assessment of Sri Aurobindo?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Spread the contagion of The Mother’s love

Our congratulations and gratitude to Richard Carlson for his historic pronouncement, "we should accept that we are in fact practicing religion" and "there is nothing wrong with this" after a protracted tug of war. This unequivocal stand just ahead of CIIS Public Programs: AUM 2007 CONFERENCE will clear the air to a great extent and would have a distinct bearing on the discourse as well as the strategies drawn for the future.

Savitri Erans spread all over the world will evidently rejoice over such reasoned and pragmatic approach. With this sort of minor irritants settled we can march forward unitedly to spread the contagion of The Mother’s love with renewed vigour. [TNM] 7:31 AM 7:40 AM

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Argue but obey

After The Mother’s passing the Savitri Erans have weathered three major crises relating to Auroville, Agenda, and Savitri. And perhaps we have come out stronger and our faith has seeped deeper over the years. What seemed intractable then, is just some ephemeral memory today. Time heals; faith endures.

The Mother was against any standardized, straight-jacketed, and mechanical formulation of their teachings. The individual preference and freedom was held as essential in the practice of Integral Yoga. While this approach has been the cornerstone all these years, many have not been able to appreciate its merit because of the diversity it generates and the accompanying confusion of multiple options. And many might not be intellectually or culturally equipped to shuffle through the choices and select. Often it so happens that the undesirable modes tend to whip controversy by successful mobilization and media management.

Obviously, an excess of freedom can prove to be counter-productive. A modicum of a system, instead, can be helpful to the newcomers and beginners. Attempts of sensational persuading with exotic promises and miracles would be under check. A certain consensus among our senior ideologues as regards metaphysics will also go a long way in creating such a learner’s manual. [TNM]

Who conceives? Who feels?

He who conceives that the object of his love is destroyed will feel pain;
if he conceives that it is preserved he will feel pleasure.
~ by larvalsubjects on May 3, 2007.]
So, “He” has two components independent of each other:
  1. his love/ feel pain / feel pleasure,
  2. who conceives destroyed/ preserved.

Can we extend the supposition to say that there may be more than two components? Multiple, or may be innumerable. Then, what kind of taxonomy should be proposed to understand them? Tusar N. Mohapatra said this on May 3rd, 2007 at 12:01 pm

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sociology and ontology

You have pointed out that “sociology presupposes an ontology” which implies the primacy of ontology. Your “ontology of assemblages” in the present skeletal form leaves scope for hundreds of questions, and hence the disagreements. If you are proposing a new ontology devoid of sedimentation then a lot of fleshing out would be necessary. Or if it is a synthetic one then you will have to spell out the sources. In this context, may I reproduce what you wrote a few days back:
[Much of my thought and writing lately has been an attempt to speak honestly about what I value and am committed to. That is, I’ve tried to imagine a writing that might transform how I feel or relate to the world, or a writing that might be addressed to a close friend or loved one, summing up what I feel to be of particular value and truth. It seems to me that theory as it is often practiced today is split between a surface theory that is published and a shadow theory that the theorist genuinely advocates. For instance, a theorist might publicly claim that all is signifiers and then go to the doctor to get checked for cancer. There seems to be a disadequation between what the theorist proclaims and what he really advocates. This is a banal and unfair example. I want form of thought that is more honest and true to how I actually encounter the world.]

Hope to see the canvas spread

Clarity is your forte and deserves a clap. But, as you so well understand, the words, Sociology and Ontology don’t gel. Hope to see the canvas spread. Tusar N. Mohapatra said this on May 1st, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Religion, politics, and emancipation

Lest this great debate terminate, a few posers:

  1. When we are so passionately speaking against the political/religious detractors, how do we locate them as the other and under which ontological paradigm?
  2. Whether the thoughtless affiliation to some political/religious praxis has any potential of kindling emancipatory instincts in the individual? If yes, then whether it is a desirable phenomenon? And,
  3. Should it evolve through the ambiguity of complex moral choices instead of settling for simplistic black and white labels?

Tusar N. Mohapatra said this on May 1st, 2007 at 2:39 pm

Infatuation and inertia

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: April 30th, 2007 at 11:45 pm The citations from The Life Divine amply guide us on the question of method that is being discussed in other threads. Individual experiences are particular as well as local and hence offer no credible principles to rely upon. Our narcissistic tendency to cling to such memories often prevents us to see the broader picture. Infatuation with a set of ideas and inertia too play their part to bar us from any new adventure.
However, these are part of our personal growth and the failings need not be seen as shortcomings. Since each individual’s is a unique journey, the cues on the way are of significance. The lessons learnt at each parlour add up to create a certain world-view essential for the person.