Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When Richard Carlson talks about "God" or Peter Heehs speaks about "avatar" they commit serious methodological blunders

[There is general agreement among students of religion that Aurobindo was a remarkable mystic, but few are willing to swallow the claim of some of his followers that he was an avatar, like Krishna, Chaitanya or Christ. post by Peter Heehs, author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo August 4th, 2008 at 10:43 am by Columbia University Press in Asian Studies] 11:21 AM5:18 PM

[And of course there is Integral Yoga fundamentalism with its claims that its founders are gods or avatars... by Rich on Tue 23 Sep 2008 Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006) Permanent Link]

[as if he were so holy as to be above any critical inquiry whatsoever. One only makes such arrogant claims of privilege for a God,.... by Rich on Sat 20 Sep 2008 Permanent Link 8:05 AM]

[there is not a shred of evidence you can offer to support your arguments that they were Gods. -- by Rich on Sun 24 Aug 2008 Permanent Link]

[Buffered and porous selves A Secular Age Translation and transformation SSRC Home SSRC Blogs Blog Home]

When Richard Carlson talks about "God" or Peter Heehs speaks about "avatar" they commit serious methodological blunders by a) bringing in such nebulous and loaded concepts to an otherwise secular discourse, and b) dropping these terms without defining them properly. Even they are not honest enough to lay down the minimum presuppositions that they personally hold for using these terms, although they are not unaware of the evident fact that their cultural and religious connotations are context specific, and accordingly vary widely.

Now, the problem is without setting those yardsticks or criteria definitively, how to measure that Sri Aurobindo, or any one else for that matter, is not "God" or "avatar"? Is it proper to stick to uncritically what one was told in his childhood and reject all others as ineligible? This is something which, obviously, no human being can answer satisfactorily. Therefore, it is an academically sound attitude to keep the options open, as Jurgen Habermas or Charles Taylor are thankfully engaged in presently in their mature years.

The best course, in the meantime, is to read the right writings, and there is no better alternative for this than The Life Divine. [TNM]

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