Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Let's not nurture this double edged weapon of chronology

[Re: Goodbye To All That: Nature and the Future Body in Sri Aurobindo by RY Deshpande on Mon 28 Apr 2008 04:44 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Your quotes from the Letters belong to the early 1930s. Much happened in the spiritual tapasya later, and happened very rapidly, witness for instance the autobiographical sonnet The Golden Light dated 8 August 1938... Quotes from the Supramental Manifestation trace the various possibilities which Sri Aurobindo the Yogi was examining from the point of view of the Divine Body...]

[I speak as a historian: one who uses documentary and other evidence to reconstruct the past in order to understand the present better. A historian generally begins with a problem: an event or line of development that has not been sufficiently studied or is commonly misunderstood. Sri Aurobindo's relationship to Hinduism is such a problem.... Since I speak to you as a historian, I will present my findings chronologically. -- Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006) by Rich on Sat 22 Mar 2008 11:40 AM PDT Permanent Link Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism] [PDF - Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism - Apr 29 - View as HTML ...]

Let's not nurture this double edged weapon of chronology. [TNM] 7:46 AM

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Let's welcome people acting with firm convictions

If a group of eminently undistinguished European NGO's get together to organize a
Conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia, you might be forgiven for wondering why it hardly receives any coverage in the Indian media...
A little investigation will reveal that two of the NGO's associated with the conference -
Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values - are both the organizational children of someone who makes himself known under the title of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Nothing unexpected about a sadhu propagandizing for peace, in fact I wish more would do so honestly and critically. But what is a sadhu who claims to be promoting peace doing in the company of the persons listed above? ...
Another participant in the discussion was a French journalist resident in India called Mr. Francois Gautier. His own
website shows him to be a fervent supporter of the right-wing Hinduist form of politics that goes under the name of Hindutva. This form of politics has generally been associated with Hindu religious extremism that (together with the extremism of Muslims) has wreaked havoc in our country through terror bombings and riots for the last two decades.]

India being a free democracy, we must welcome people acting in the public domain out of their own firm convictions. Questioning that freedom would be Fascist. [TNM]

Friday, April 25, 2008

I was an activist judge. Now, I have grown wiser

[Home News India North India New Delhi ‘Activist judge to wiser judge’
Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times New Delhi , April 22, 2008
Justice Markandeya Katju, who has been consistent in his stand against judicial over-reach in the recent past, has grown wiser after being elevated to the Supreme Court.
In a candid admission before a crowded courtroom, he said on Monday: “I was an activist judge when in the Allahabad High Court. Now, I have grown wiser
and changed my philosophy.” Justice Katju’s admission came during the hearing of the Mayawati government’s appeal against an Allahabad High Court order restraining the state administration from changing the Lucknow Master Plan to allow construction of Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s memorial in a ‘green belt’.
Responding to the state government’s plea for setting aside the High Court order, senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi showed him a demolition order passed by him on January 20, 2004 while he was a judge in the Allahabad High Court. Tulsi intended to convince Justice Katju to take an activist role to stop the Mayawati government from going ahead with construction in the ‘green belt’.
Justice Katju, who recently hit the headlines after saying that courts cannot run the government, had then restrained the state government from changing the Lucknow Master Plan to permit commercial and industrial activity in residential areas. The case also relates to an amendment of the Lucknow Master Plan to allow construction of the memorial in Ambedkar Park.
Though Justice Katju admitted being an activist judge in the past, he disagreed with Tulsi’s contention that courts could intervene if a state government brazenly flouted the law. “Is it correct to pass an order restraining Parliament from making laws?” he asked.
Through the 2004 order, Justice Katju had directed removal of illegal encroachments in Lucknow. The judge, who has criticised the Delhi High Court’s activism in demolishing unauthorised constructions and appointing court commissioners, had himself constituted a committee for monitoring implementation of the court orders. Along with another High Court judge, Justice Katju had specifically asked the committee members not to buckle under any kind of pressure, including those from politicians.
He had further stopped illegal construction on several green belts in Lucknow. “Lucknow is the capital of the state. It should look like the capital city with modern infrastructure, modern facilities and amenities,” Justice Katju had said in his order that also dealt with lack of adequate parking facilities in the city.]

The “Now, I have grown wiser” remark by Justice Katju, not only exposes how subjective judicial pronouncements are, but also raises several interconnected issues as regards Ends and Means in Private and Public Life. It also substantiates the old notion that wisdom rises with age, and hence, the young must wait before they are allotted responsible assignments.

Arun Shourie once opined that one need change his profession several times over. Does this mean that age limits be fixed for various vocations depending upon the level of wisdom required? Now, what about the upcoming Advani vs. Rahul Gandhi wrestling episode? And, what about our all-knowing but under-age columnists, analysts, and blog-tenders? [TNM]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In Sri Aurobindian ontology these problems simply don’t arise

Hume’s revolutionary theory of causality echoing Nagarjuna ushered in an era of Emergence and Uncertainty. Husserl’s frustration with Logical Positivism led to the discovery of the Life-world and the Pre-reflective. Making mountains out of molehills have been valid philosophical ventures but in Sri Aurobindian ontology these problems simply don’t arise. [TNM]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Adam Smith was never an ideologue. Justice in society is essential

[The chapter in Wealth Of Nations to which Dani Rodrick refers demonstrates the authentic Adam Smith who was never an ideologue of any kind. What worked was more important than what fitted a ‘theory’ of what ought to work. The problem of bank paper (currency notes) was compounded by the behaviours of individuals – not all expressions of self-interest lead to socially beneficial outcomes, as students of Adam Smith know, but Nobel Prize winners in economics sometimes don’t, let alone legions of ‘top’ academics who pontificate on ‘his’ alleged theories with all the arrogant certainties of what Smith called ‘men of system’. Dani Rodrik exposes the silliness of the so-called libertarian: ‘If my purchase harms me, I have nobody to blame but myself. I cannot plead for a government bailout’. They ignore the fact that a banking crisis does not just harm the individual; it harms many others who were not party to the individual’s transaction. Justice in society, said Adam Smith (and similarly, said David Hume) is essential, otherwise it would ‘crumble into atoms’, and justice is not just about apportioning ‘blame’ to individuals who contribute to the problem, it is also about protecting other individuals who are affected by such actions.
Dani Rodrik Wins April's Lost Legacy Prize
via Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy on 4/22/08]

[Cities still do not matter in their 'politics'. This is how the word 'politics' has lost its meaning. It meant something else in ancient Greece. In means something else in the western world. It means something completely different in contemporary India. And I think it was Confucius who said: "When words lose their meaning, the people will lose their freedom." See my "The Purpose of Politics".
Politics - from Pericles to Rahul Gandhi
via ANTIDOTE by Sauvik on 4/21/08]

If “Justice" is really so crucial to both politics and economics, then a whole new political culture must take root. Savitri Era Party is awake to the urgency and would like to stick its neck out. [TNM]

Savitri Era Party extends its invitation for contesting the Lok Sabha elections

[Doors to Enter Dr. Shyama Kanungo
When The Mother's Work in Orissa started gaining momentum Prapatti had a vision of 4 doors- Education, Commerce, Agriculture and Politics. He had the clear indication to enter through Education. Infact the numerous Sri Aurobindo Study circles and the Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Centers are an infrastructure of these doors of 'Education' through which the Transforming Consciousness enters to touch the bedrock of society to bring about the change. However other doors have to be explored in course of time.]

[We have to rebuild this country and for our inspiration in this task we must go to Sri Aurobindo, India’s real Bhagya Vidhata. I was speaking in Kolkata the other day when I told my audience that at one time Kolkata was preeminent in many cultural and intellectual fields in India. It has lost that pre-eminence today. The only way they can regain the lost ground, is to claim Sri Aurobindo once again. An important section of Orissa has turned to Sri Aurobindo for its inspiration and a new Orissa is emerging. In this respect, Bengal has to learn from Orissa, and once again claim Sri Aurobindo as their own. That will set in motion a powerful renaissance in West Bengal and help it regain its pre-eminent position in our national life...

Ladies and gentleman, whether any body knows it or not, we are present at a historic occasion; we are laying today the foundation of aspiration and prayers for Sri Aurobindo University. Even the Orissa government probably has not taken complete note of you yet. But they can not ignore you much longer. 429 schools with 10,000 pathachakras, 5,000 teachers, 60,000 students – you are a great rising wave in Orissa. If I stand for an election in Orissa today in the name of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, I might probably win hands down. As a community of devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, you have done great work already; its fruit may not yet be palpable. You have done the basic work of preparing the tapobhumi, of erecting the yajna vedikas. The Mother is supporting you in your work. Inaugural Speech by Dr. M.V. Nadkarni on 4th April, 2007. Structure of Sri Aurobindo University]

Savitri Era Party extends its invitation to one from each constituency for contesting the Lok Sabha elections due next year. [TNM]

Savitri Era Party does not subscribe to these views of muscular nationalism

[Why must India kow-tow to China? Rediff Home » India » News » Columnists » Francois Gautier
April 18, 2008: For 60 years, China has humiliated India at every step... India has also to wake up to the plain fact that China needs space and has hegemonic aspirations: It got Tibet, it got Hong Kong, it got part of Ladakh; now it wants Taiwan, Arunachal Pradesh, the Spratly islands and what not!
Fifty years ago, during the Korean war, Sri Aurobindo, had seen clearly in the Chinese game: 'the first move in the Chinese Communist plan of campaign is to dominate and take possession first of these northern parts and then of South East Asia as a preliminary to their manoeuvres with regard to the rest of the continent in passing Tibet as a gate opening to India.' ... Never has India faced a darker hour whatever gurus say. Never has she faced so many enemies at the same time -- and truly China is one of the most dangerous ones. Yet India always bends backwards to please the Chinese.]

[He foresaw the future Claude Arpi, The Pioneer Sunday April 20, 2008: Sri Aurobindo's 'last' letter is a sad reminder that his vision is far from having percolated to our 'contemporary' leaders in the South Block, more addicted to the Bolshevik (now called Marxist) diktats than to national interests. What Sri Aurobindo wrote 58 years ago is still valid today:
"Militarily, China is almost 10-times as strong as we are (this has recently been admitted by Defence Minister AK Antony)... the primary motive of Mao's attack on Tibet is to threaten India as soon as possible."
Though the recent intrusions in Tawang or the planned diversion of Brahmaputra are signs that the danger looms large over India, who realises the relevance of Sri Aurobindo's words? Will India have to go through another traumatic experience? Let us hope not.
1:01 PM]

[Hindus must create a new intelligentsia that has the power to overcome and absorb the alienated and Western dominated intellectuals of India, projecting an intellectual view that is articulate and compelling. They must turn Sanatana Dharma into a world cultural force, not merely a religious curiosity. For a culture that has produced such thinkers as the Vedic seers, Upanishadic sages, Kapila, Buddha, Patanjali and Shankara, and in the modern times Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharshi, this is certainly possible. In fact such great modern figures of India as Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda are good models of intellectual Kshatriyas as well as spiritual masters. Clearly the success of Hindus in such intellectual fields as science and medicine shows that they have the capacity. What is lacking is the motivation, the guidance, and perhaps the inspiration.
This article is taken from the book 'Awaken Bharata: a Call for India's Rebirth', by David Frawley...director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies.
9:06 AM]

Savitri Era Party does not subscribe to these views of muscular nationalism and dissociates itself from such speculative formulation of our foreign policy ostensibly based on Sri Aurobindo's remarks. [TNM]

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sri Aurobindo goes beyond the Gita and aims his arrows in a number of directions

[The central interest of the Gita's philosophy and Yoga is its reconcile and even effect a kind of unity between the inner spiritual truth in its most absolute and integral realisation and the outer actualities of man's life and action...

And yet it goes boldly beyond all these conflicting positions; greatly daring, it justifies all life to the spirit as a significant manifestation of the one Divine Being and asserts the compatibility of a complete human action and a complete spiritual life lived in union with the Infinite, consonant with the highest Self, expressive of the perfect Godhead.
All the problems of human life arise from the complexity of our existence, the obscurity of its essential principle and the secrecy of the inmost power that makes out its determinations and governs its purpose and its processes. If our existence were of one piece,...there would be nothing to perplex us... But the existence of man is a triple web, a thing mysteriously physical-vital, mental and spiritual at once, and he knows not what are the true relations of these things, which the real reality of his life and his nature, whither the attraction of his destiny and where the sphere of his perfection. Page – 545 Location:
Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > Essays On The Gita-Volume-13 > XXIII The Core of the Gita's Meaning]

[A gospel of the will to live or the will to power or of a rationalised vital and material perfection becomes the recognised dharma of the human race and all else is considered either a pretentious falsity or a quite subsidiary thing, a side issue of a minor and dependent consequence...The clue must be sought in something greater, an unknown something above the mentality and morality of the human creature.
The mind itself has the vague sense of some surpassing factor of this kind and in the pursuit of its absolutes frequently strikes against it. It glimpses a state, a power, a presence that is near and within and inmost to it and yet immeasurably greater and singularly distant and above it; it has a vision of something more essential, more absolute than its own absolutes, intimate, infinite, one, and it is that which we call God, Self or Spirit. Page – 547 Location:
Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > Essays On The Gita-Volume-13 > XXIII The Core of the Gita's Meaning]

[The spiritualised intelligence on the other hand offers indeed by the voice of religion the promise of some victorious millennium hereafter, but meanwhile half convinced of terrestrial impotence, persuaded that the soul is a stranger and intruder upon earth, declares that after all not here in the life of the body or in the collective life of mortal man but in some immortal Beyond lies the heaven or the Nirvana where alone is to be found the true spiritual existence.
It is here that the Gita intervenes with a restatement of the truth of the Spirit, of the Self, of God and of the world and Nature. It extends and remoulds the truth evolved by a later thought from the ancient Upanishads and ventures with assured steps on an endeavour to apply its solving power to the problem of life and action. The solution offered by the Gita does not disentangle all the problem as it offers itself to modern mankind; as stated here to a more ancient mentality, it does not meet the insistent pressure of the present mind of man for a collective advance, does not respond to its cry for a collective life that will at last embody a greater rational and ethical and if possible even a dynamic spiritual ideal...

A gospel of the will to live, the will to power, of the satisfaction of desire, of the glorification of mere force and strength, of the worship of the ego and its vehement acquisitive self-will and tireless self-regarding intellect is the gospel of the Asura and it can lead only to some gigantic ruin and perdition. The vital and material man must accept for his government a religious and social and ideal dharma by which, while satisfying desire and interest under right restrictions, he can train and subdue his lower personality and scrupulously attune it to a higher law both of the personal and the communal life...

This highest message is first for those who have the strength to follow after it, the master men, the great spirits, the God-knowers, God-doers, God-lovers who can live in God and for God and do their work joyfully for him in the world, a divine work uplifted above the restless darkness of the human mind and the false limitations of the ego. At the same time, and here we get the gleam of a larger promise which we may even extend to the hope of a collective turn towards perfection,—for if there is hope for man, why should there not be hope for mankind?
Page – 551 Location:
Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > Essays On The Gita-Volume-13 > XXIII The Core of the Gita's Meaning]

While conceding that the Gita is deficient with respect to a "collective turn towards perfection," Sri Aurobindo, "reserves" his right to "differ" and "go beyond its metaphysical teaching or its Yoga." He is also aiming his arrows in a number of directions in this core polemical warfare against:

  • The materialist disposition of "our existence" as "one piece" and "an exclusive acceptance of the vital and material existence"
  • Arthur Schopenhauer’s concept of “will to live” and "the satisfaction of desire"
  • Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of “will to power” and "the glorification of mere force and strength"
  • The Buddhist ideal of "Nirvana"
  • The Christian "promise of some victorious millennium hereafter" or "immortal Beyond lies the heaven"
  • "Ahinsa, or non-injuring and non-killing as the highest law of spiritual conduct"
  • The "fanatics of the Absolute" or "the intransigent absolutists of the spirit who reject the mental and condemn the material being and yearn after a pure spiritual existence"
  • "an absolutist ethical ideal, is apt to take the ascetic turn and to point away from life and all its aims and standards of action towards another and celestial or supracosmic state"
  • "useful social duty and current law of social conduct, popularised by cult and ceremony and image is the outward substance of the world's greater religions."


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nothing irrational or incredible; nothing abnormal or miraculous

[But there would be nothing supernatural or miraculous in such an evolution, except in so far as it would be a supernature or superior nature to ours just as human nature is a supernature or superior nature to that of animal or plant or material objects... It is not irrational to suppose that at this much higher stage of the evolution a similar but greater progression starting from these rudimentary beginnings might lead to another immense development and departure...

There is nothing in this future evolution of the being which could be regarded as irrational or incredible; there is nothing in it abnormal or miraculous: it would be the necessary course of the evolution of consciousness and its forces in the passage from the mental to the gnostic or supramental formulation of our existence. This action of the forces of Supernature would be a natural, normal and spontaneously simple working of the new higher or greater consciousness into which the being enters in the course of his self-evolution... Page 1043 Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > The Life Divine Volume-19 > The Divine Life]

Words more reassuring that ring of certainty are hard to find even if we scan all the books of the world in all the languages. [TNM]

Geography, Geometry, and the Zodiac

[An Interview with Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet was published in Bhavan's Journal, Volume 54, Issue 1 on the 15th of August in conjunction with India's Independence Day, and Sri Aurobindo's 135th birthday. Part II of the interview was published on August 31st in Volume 54, Issue 2. The Interview is titled 'India's True History is in its Myths'. 'Evergreen Essays' has posted the interview in three segments. Link to Part I, Part II - A, and Part II - B.]

Stella Kramrisch concerned herself to the symbolism behind the geometry of temple architecture. Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet is prosecuting an analogous venture at based on Cosmology & Mythology among other things. Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference by David Harvey also makes compelling reading in this context. [TNM]

“How do you make an economy grow?” this point at least, no such answer exists

[The point instead is that Chang is giving us a simple answer to the question “How do you make an economy grow?” when, at this point at least, no such answer exists. There have been innumerable studies, for instance, looking at the relationship between free trade and economic growth, and the only thing that’s clear is that neither free trade nor protectionism is a cure-all. The problem of disentangling all the factors that go into a country’s economic performance in order to isolate the ones that really count is a monumental task, and not one we have accomplished. Bad Samaritans is written with a kind of smug certainty that is, paradoxically, reminiscent of precisely the neoliberal triumphalism that it’s written against. What’s missing is a recognition of how mysterious the secret of economic growth remains, despite all the energy that economists have poured into solving it. Chang may know the answer—the rest of us will have to keep looking.
James Surowiecki writes the Financial Page column for the New Yorker... Feb/Mar 2008]

An honest engagement with ontology can instill the "recognition of how mysterious the secret of economic growth remains" for which there is no other authentic treatise than The Life Divine. [TNM]

Friday, April 18, 2008

Orissa has the numbers, but lacks clout

Thanks to the persistent efforts of the pioneers like Prapatti, Orissa has the numbers today, but it lacks clout. The quasi-religious quest for an illusive Supramental dream anchored to intellectual-aesthetic sensitivity has spread so far and wide that its effect should have been felt distinctly outside the State in a normal way. But that is not the reality today after sixty glorious years.

Front-ranking intellectuals, politicians, journalists, and technocrats have been part of the movement in the past, and as a result a large number of educational and other institutions are functioning, but not a single has grown to rank as world-class. An identifiable brand is yet to emerge. If the leadership in number is to translate into actual leadership, then several management initiatives are needed.

On the language front, English has to be accorded equal status with Oriya. Seminars and workshops will have to be conducted exclusively in English so that they attract participation from across the globe.

Productive deployment of personnel should be a priority by assessing disguised unemployment, and diversifying into new activities. Similarly, allocation of assets -- real estate and otherwise -- needs periodical overhaul keeping revenue generation as well as wealth creation in mind.

In this entire endeavor, giving up the needless modesty is a necessity. Being media and market savvy is also a prime requisite. As thousands of students pass out from our schools every year, things must change very fast. [TNM]

Finance is like psychology. There are no definite answers, but with the right tools we get an idea

[Dangerous Expansion of the Fed's Power (by Don Boudreaux)
from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux
Bill Shughart has
a second essay published by The Independent Institute, on the unjustified and dangerous recent expansion of the powers of the Federal Reserve. A selection: "And most worrisome, the regulatory reform plan also empowers the Fed to ensure "market stability," watching for threats originating anywhere within the financial system, be it from commercial banks, investment banks, mortgage lenders, hedge funds or insurance companies. As economists have asked: if smart, highly paid Wall Street investment bankers with huge financial positions on the line failed to foresee the risk to which subprime mortgages exposed them, how can one expect a regulatory agency to do so? And, what steps will the central bank take to "stabilize" markets, if it does perceive a threat? Will it continue to bail out institutions who run into financial trouble?"]

[‘There are no business ethics, only naked greed’ ET 18 Apr, 2008, Shishir Prasad & Pravin Palande, TNN. Satyajit Das, author of Traders, Guns and Money, has spent more than 31 years teaching and practising in the exotic financial derivatives industry. "I am not against change if the change is good. But there are no ethics in the business anymore. What we have is naked greed,” he says. ..."This is a clear case of massive information asymmetry between the foreign bank, the Indian bank and the Indian firm...For many of the CFOs, the remuneration is built around ESOPs. This gives all the more reason for the CFO to manufacture earnings than the core product. This is what leads to all the problems... The knowledge is useful. It totally depends on how you use it... Anyway, finance is not as complex as it is made out to be. If I say that my job is simple, I may not be able to justify the amount of money that I make. Hedge fund managers and other financial professionals get the highest fees for their work. Can they justify the fees if their field is simple? The field is deliberately made complex so it can be closed-door and very few people can access it. Secondly, there are sub-industries that survive because the field is apparently complex. People write books and there are training classes which are very lucrative and this is an industry on its own. Finance is like psychology. There are no definite answers, but with the right tools we get an idea. If you understand the basic principles of finance and have some luck, you can end up making a lot of money."]

What better tool than Intuition that is the fodder of The Life Divine? [TNM]

Brits learnt nothing from their engagement with India

[110 Best Books: The Perfect Library from Integral Options Cafe by WH
The Telegraph UK posted an article that attempts to suggest what books in a variety of categories should be included in the perfect library. As always, these things are pretty arbitrary, and this list is British, so an American list might look a bit different. You can tell how British the list is by the fact that Ted Hughes, a minor poet at best, made the list in poetry. Silly, silly Brits. Still, the idea is interesting, as is the list. Here are a couple of the categories -- others include most major genres (sci-fi, romance, literary fiction, crime, and so on), as well as books that changed the world and books that changed your world.]

Evidently, The Life Divine is missing. Pity that the Brits learnt nothing from their engagement with India. [TNM]

Savitri Era Party is against propagation of the nihilistic philosophy of Buddhism

[The signs are clear: Maya is marching on
Vikas Pathak from The Indian Express Friday, April 18, 2008
The replicas of Parliament and India Gate at her recent rally, her slogans, her attack on Rahul-Mayawati makes no attempt to hide her national ambitions... In every Mayawati rally across the country, one finds an innovative social engineering at work. Aware of the deep emotional urge for a political agency among Dalits, her rallies have stuck to the core symbolism of Dalit empowerment and liberation. Before the predictably late arrival of the leader herself, the stage for her arrival is set through folk songs celebrating B.R. Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule, Sri Narayana Guru and Kanshi Ram.]

Savitri Era Party has nothing against Mayawati or any other national leader of SC/ST empowerment except for the propagation of the nihilistic philosophy of Buddhism by B.R. Ambedkar and his cohorts. [TNM] 7:28 AM

Charles Darwin and The Life Divine

[Charles Darwin on-line from Marginal Revolution by Tyler Cowen
Wow. It's supposed to amount to about 90,000 pages; here is an article about the project. Here are a few indicated highlights.]

Without The Life Divine the project is just an ant-hill. [TNM]

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How to fashion that right differential across the level playing field

[On Tibetans in India from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik
While discussing Tibet and Tibetans, it is rarely recognized that they are highly skilled traders...In my book, Tibetans in India should be treated exactly as the kings of Gujarat treated the Parsees when they fled Iran and took refuge there. The Parsees were skilled traders; they immediately struck roots; and even produced a JRD Tata: pioneer aviator and globally respected businessman. If the Tibetans in India are given the same freedoms that the Parsees got those centuries ago, I am confident that very successful businessmen will arise from their ranks too.] 10:43 AM

Admittedly, some people are more "skilled traders" than those belonging to other ethnic groups or castes, and thus, in a free trade scenario more economic advantage continues to accrue to them. Competition, though theoretically envisages equal opportunity for all, fails in effect to repair this skew. Hence, how to fashion that right differential across the level playing field is the crux of the matter. [TNM]

The wonder that is Savitri

[Seshagiri said... 6:39 PM, April 15, 2008
Can I have at any place on web, explanatory notes on Sri Aurobindo's epic poem - SAVITRI.- Please help me. -Seshagiri]

Tusar N Mohapatra said... 9:02 AM, April 16, 2008 Dear Seshagiri-ji

It is nice to see that you have developed an interest in Savitri, but my suggestion will be: Be patient. You need not go by line-by-line at the outset, but be curious and try to read about it wherever the mouse leads you. There is a narrative that runs through the epic, but the more important aspect is the message. So, you can just read a few lines at random, re-read them, contemplate over them, or, may be, write a few lines by way of explanation; that's how you will have the pleasure of discovery.

Yours fraternally, Tusar N. Mohapatra

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jugantar 1908 vs. Salwa Judum 2008

[The truth about Salwa Judum is that it is not spontaneous. It is a monster created cynically from a real grouse that some tribal people and farmers harboured against the heavy-handedness of Maoists in the area. The government tapped into this partial resentment and created Salwa Judum with state support ~ financial, logistical and moral. But by setting brother against brother, Chhattisgarh has created a situation of mutually assured destruction of tribals. Homes are razed, lands are lost, livelihoods are destroyed, and futures erased. The chaos that Salwa Judum has caused is perhaps the only reason that has kept other states from employing similar methods as strategy. Senior policemen, intelligence officials and security experts have told me Salwa Judum is a no-hoper. But Chhattisgarh can’t retract it; it has become a prestige issue, a noose... Sudeep Chakravarti spoke to SHIV KARAN SINGH NaxalWatch. BEYOND THE RED CORRIDOR: STATESMAN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF RED SUN from GYANOPROBHA by Gautam Sen]

[Should Salwa Judum be disbanded?
Though at least initially I was sceptical about the success of the concept, I am thoroughly disillusioned now and actively want such attempts to be not tried at all. I am talking of Salwa Judum, the failed experiment that is taken up in Chattisgarh to counter the Naxal menace.
In contrast, AP seems to have notched up commendable progress in containing the Naxal menace. The only thing that needs to be ensured is that there should be as less an interference as possible when it comes to controlling law and order. Once such a free hand is given to the security agencies they will usually succeed in putting down insurgencies. Of course, there should be adequate vigil over the free run that is given to them, as without such a vigil, even the security forces are likely to degenerate into a bunch of lawless gun-trotting marauders. Let’s look at some coverage on the issue that appeared in today’s ET. Worth an excerpt:
The apex court, while hearing a petition challenging the establishment of Salwa Judum, has rightly observed the state giving “arms to some persons” would mean it is “abetting in a crime if these private persons kill others”. A democratic state is a keeper of the sovereignty of the people. Any attempt by it to arm one section against another constitutes a clear violation of this principle. It’s time governments realised that Maoist insurgency indicates a crisis of sovereignty for the Indian state. And there is no way it can be overcome without first rendering state institutions inclusive and functionally democratic through a politically-driven process of social transformation. The Chhattisgarh government has, however, only served to deepen this crisis by aiding and abetting the Salwa Judum.
Modern republics claim legitimacy, and therefore sovereignty, through two principles: democracy and the rule of law. The arming of civilians tears away the last shred of these two principles, already shaken by conflict, because it openly throws the state’s power behind a group of people. This group is now totally unaccountable: protected from their own community by the state, protected from the militants by the security forces and protected from the law by their position as government allies.
This naturally encourages brutal and inhuman violence; in Bastar, for instance, it has meant killings, rapes and razing villages to the ground. Thus the “lawfully established government of the land” ends up patronising lawlessness.
Any armed conflict is, as the army’s generals themselves have pointed out, fundamentally a political conflict. Just and long-term solutions will also have to be political — not based on military force, and certainly not based on “self-defence” that often becomes nothing more than organised crime.
from Indian Current Affairs by (Ramakrishna)]

[The Bomb in Bengal: The Rise of Revolutionary Terrorism in India, 1900-1910 (Hardcover) by Peter Heehs (Author)
A Brilliantly written work on the origins and the evolution of the Bengali and Subcontinental revolutionary nationalist movements that aimed to overthrow the despotic imperialist-fascist occupation forces of the British in the Indian subcontinent. Chronological, lucid and absorbing, the author brings in a tremendous amount of authentic sources to give us life-like impressions of freedom fighters such as the immortal Khudiram Bose. The beginnings of Jugantar and the Anushilan Samiti under Aurobindo Ghose and Pulin are also closely studied (there is more emphasis on Jugantar and Aurobindo Ghose, also see Asok Ray's 'Party of the Firebrand Revolutionaries' for more on the Anushilan Samiti) A whole decade of nationalist endeavour passes before our eyes from the creation of these groups to their attempts to defeat the illegal occupation of the subcontinent. And although these movements would be dealt severe blows, it must not be assumed that they were defeated. Jugantar and Anushilan Samiti continued [as fragments] to fight British occupation. Ultimately their efforts would be justified when another great revolutionary, Bengali statesman and nationalist leader Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army would provide the impetus for the British withdrawal from the subcontinent in 1947. Indeed it was British Premier Clement Attlee who in 1956 said that it was Netaji and the INA who rocked the very foundations of British rule in the Indian subcontinent and created the revolutionary atmosphere [including inspiring the revolt of the sailors of the British Indian Navy and raising the spectre of the First War of Independence of 1857 which threatened defeat for the occupiers of the subcontinent] which made the situation untenable in 1946-47 for British rule in the subcontinent. [when asked what role had Gandhi or Nehru played in forcing the British withdrawal from the subcontinent, Attlee had smiled and said one word, 'minimal'] This book is a must for background to the Indian Subcontinent's independence movement.]

The very people, who hold a dim view of Jugantar revolutionaries resorting to arms in order to free the nation, strangely turn a Nelson's eye to Salwa Judum. [TNM]

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Advani's political trajectory has nothing to do with the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo

[This biography has a multipersonality disorder, so it often assumes the role of a breathless catalogue of important names. Sometimes, it reads like a manifesto for the forthcoming elections. For a man waiting for the people’s mandate to become Prime Minister, the epilogue sadly doesn’t throw up his vision for the nation. It paints the picture of an eighty-year-old man finding directions for the future from Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda. My review of Advani’s biography April 13, 2008 Posted by Meena Kandasamy in Dr.Ambedkar, book, caste, culture, dalit, hindutva, india, politicians, politics. (This review of LK Advani’s My Country, My Life appeared in today’s The New Sunday Express)]

We are not sure whether Advani, in his biography, avers anything to the effect that he is "finding directions for the future from Sri Aurobindo" as claimed by Meena Kandasamy. Let it be made clear, nonetheless, that Advani's political trajectory has nothing to do with the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. [TNM]

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sri Aurobindo was dismissed by his contemporaries as a misguided enthusiast

[But history does not follow a predictable linear path, and we may recall an incident from India’s history when at the very beginning of the last century Aurobindo Ghose gave a call for ‘purna swaraj’, or full independence for India. The Indian National Congress was then just a deliberative body and the British Empire sat securely over nearly two-thirds of the globe. Aurobindo was surely dismissed by his contemporaries as a misguided enthusiast. After many turns of fortune both in India and the world, none of which could have been predicted in their detail on the day of that call to freedom, India finally got her full Independence, on the day Sri Aurobindo predicted, his birthday—15th of August 1947. The cultural logic of a nation and a people that has a past and a present is that it will have a future: the current task is to keep the door open for that future to emerge. Organiser Home > 2008 Issues > April 20, 2008
Insight - Tibet and China: Divergent routes to harmony By Madhuri Santanam Sondhi (The writer is director, ML Sondhi Institute for Asia-Pacific Affairs and can be contacted at]

A nice portrayal of Sri Aurobindo's vision and its relevance in the present day political maneuvers. However, a small correction is called for: Sri Aurobindo never “predicted” that India will be Independent on August 15, 1947. [TNM]

Flight of talent to USA during the last 60 years is more damaging than two Centuries of British colonialism

Educational infrastructure in India was painstakingly built during the British rule. But after Independence, a significant portion of our Professionals migrated to the USA. The calamity wrought by this flight of talent during the last 60 years has been far more damaging than the ill-effects of two Centuries of British colonialism. This trend is likely to reverse with our economy showing signs of taking off. But this whole phenomenon needs to be looked at not only from the economic angle but from a moral viewpoint too. [TNM]

Free Progress system of education and Free Market economy

The Free Progress system of education enunciated by The Mother is a remarkable innovation. It is interesting to juxtapose its rationale with the philosophy of Free Market economy. The innate instinct of man to acquire, to possess plays out copiously in both instances when no hindrances are applied. Moreover, avenues of free exchange in both the streams lead to aggrandizement and not decimation. [TNM]

Ananda Math to Andaman; Alipur to Life Divine

It is a shame that the saga of Barindra and his band of young lieutenants involved in a rag tag adventure of raging an armed revolution against the English administration hundred years ago has been blacked out from the national memory. When Bankim Chandra decided to include his poem, Bande Mataram in his novel, Ananda Math, perhaps the seed was cast. It sprouted when Bipin Chandra Pal launched the periodical, Bande Mataram with Sri Aurobindo spearheading the editorial. In the Maniktola Garden project can be seen the prelude to Ananda Math materializing. But the patriotic dreams of the passionate hearts would soon be tossed over to Andaman.

Come May 1908, it’s catastrophe for the young revolutionaries. They are all arrested and their wares confiscated. Sri Aurobindo too goes to police custody and would spend a year in the Alipur Jail as an undertrial. The prison liberates him and arms him with the secret of Life Divine, thus unveiling a new vista for him as well as the whole world. [TNM]

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sri Aurobindo's three insightful principles of education are beacons of hope and sapience

Larval Subjects [April 10, 2008 at 12:32 am] laments, "learning gets conceived as a brute transfer of information, where educators function as “senders” and students function as “receivers”, and knowledge amounts to the ability to reproduce..."

Sri Aurobindo's three insightful principles of education, in this context, stand out as beacons of hope and sapience. [TNM] 9:49 AM

Accept Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine as the substratum for all thinking

[Over time my writing became ever more elaborate and lengthy, always striving after that elusive goal. My point is that my writing wasn’t borne out of some set of Grand Ideas that I just had to get on paper– readers of Larval Subjects can attest to the fact that I lack such Ideas –but rather that my writing was undergirded by an entire libidinal economy pertaining to the “pleasures of the text” in the most literal sense of the term… Not the pleasures of content and meaning, but the jouissance of the smell of the paper, a stapled spine, blue ink, the heft of a lengthy paper in your hands, the way a paper opens when you staple long the spine, and so on… An assemblage of impressions without any meaning beyond that. Molar Machines and the Psychology of Bureaucrats– An Incoherent Rant
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects ]

[Now, you wouldn't know it, but these thoughts were prompted by two books I'm currently reading, Creative Tension, by Michael Heller, and another one that shall go unnamed (file it under integral/new age/evolutionary). In the case of Heller, he is an unusual man, in that he is both a first rate physicist with a specialty in cosmology, and a Catholic priest and theologian. However, he is refreshingly cautious about how science and theology relate to one another, and this book, although challenging, is proving to be a sort of psycho-spiritual disinfectant, helping me to clarify certain intuitions of mine and make them more explicit. Beyond that, it is helping me to grapple with the fundamentals of my worldview, which is always healthy. In my mind, there is still this painful dichotomy or tension between the anti-evolutionary worldview of Schuon and the cosmic-evolutionary view, not just of science, but of esteemed pneumanauts such as Teilhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo. Second Thoughts About First Causes
from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob]

Disturbing confessions by two stalwarts of the Blogosphere! While it is debatable whether Larval Subjects really "lacks" (Lacanian that he is) "Grand Ideas" or it just suits and subserves his latent subversive socio-political construct, Gagdad Bob is genuinely torn between two (or, three? Genesis?) "worldviews." One is reminded of Heidegger's comment on Lacan's Écrits: “It seems to me that the psychiatrist needs a psychiatrist” [enowning].

More seriously, vacillation, by itself, may be a delightful pastime, but stealthily guzzles enormous time and energy. The prudent course, therefore, is to forsake the vain insistence that the right Ontology has to be from a Westerner, and accept Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine as the substratum for all thinking by disregarding the nagging suggestion of “missing something precious elsewhere.” [TNM]

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sri Aurobindo's magic formula -- Unity, Mutuality, and Harmony -- points the way

[The deeper question your essay implicitly raises is why humanity has so profoundly forsaken the obvious benefits of mutualism in favor of an extreme form of dominance over all other species. The short term benefits of this dominance are clearly at odds with the evolutionary catastrophe we are in the process of precipitating. Let us hope that one day you will focus your theoretical prowess on that tragic paradox, and maybe even point the way toward a solution to it. — Posted by David Moody April 8th, 2008 10:23 pm NYT April 8, 2008,
A Mutual Affair
11:20 AM]

Sri Aurobindo has already dwelt on the magic formula -- Unity, Mutuality, and Harmony -- extensively in his magnum opus, The Life Divine. [TNM]

Sri Aurobindo’s unparalleled contributions to esoteric philosophy and poetry

[The perspective in which the truth of poetry is placed by Sri Aurobindo is the infinite potential of man and the infinite possibility of his innate evolutive urge. The man who creates is not merely a maker of beautiful words and pharases but really a spokesman of the eternal spirit of beauty and delight... Imagination gets a new dimension in Sri Aurobindo’s mantric organization of poetic material, which is the revival of a primitive phenomenon. Archetype is the formal cause. Life can be divinized by assimilating all that is around us... The lever of Sri Aurobindo’s poetic philosophy is evolution (like Emerson’s ascension’) or the passage of soul into higher forms. The process of the evolution of soul or the poetic creativity is not only after the nature of myth --quest myth—but also vibrantly alive in the recreation of the conscience of human race... The Poetics Of Sri Aurobindo
Sri Aurobindo’s Poetics R. K. SINGH]

[The whole task of spirituality is to help us deal with our relative knowledge, our attachment to both pain and fleeting pleasures, and the limited, imperfect perception that we have, while showing us a way out of all these limitations.
And as far as analytical, painful precision goes, one only has to read Sri Aurobindo’s
Record of Yoga to see how precisely he records his spiritual experiences and maps out what he is “seeing”. The precision with which mystics train their attention and learn to control it is quite frankly superhuman, and is no different from a scientist studying a quark with a microscope in a laboratory. The only difference is that mystics turn that microscope inward, and observe themselves with an attention and precision that is perhaps even more intense (and certainly far more painful — for who can honestly look within and face their limitations for a sustained period without going crazy?) than that of the scientist... Preliminary Notes on Taner Edis’s Book ... Very conveniently, he would much rather mention UFOs and Space Brothers and what-not, rather than the poetry of William Blake, the literature of Marcel Proust, Sri Aurobindo’s unparalleled contributions to esoteric philosophy and poetry...
The Stumbling Mystic by ned]

Three years after Frederick W. Taylor published his famous book, The Principles of Scientific Management in 1911, The Life Divine rolled out of Sri Aurobindo's pen in the Arya periodical heralding a new paradigm of managing the human affairs. These can be said to be the two different approaches espoused by the West and the East. It is not yet clear as to who wins; but the tussle is on. [TNM] 11:46 AM

What is needed is economic freedom for people to best use their skills in productive activities and a functioning market for voluntary trades

[Get Involved By Avoiding Politics (by Don Boudreaux)
from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux
Get involved! And the best way to do so is to avoid politics. I elaborate in
my column appearing in today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Here are a few paragraphs:
It's a mistake to applaud greater involvement in politics as if such involvement is by its very nature the best use of people's time and effort. A more serious delusion is that politics is the only -- or, at least, the most noble -- venue for each of us to get "involved" with our fellow humans.
In fact, though, we are involved even when we pay no attention to politics. We care for our families, support our friends, work at jobs that produce goods and services for millions of people and are active members of churches and clubs. Each of us is intensely involved, daily.
Indeed, we are involved better and more fully when we act privately (that is, outside of government) than when we act politically.]

[Adam Smith described his fourth age of man as ‘commerce’, which he didn’t ‘invent’. It operated thousands of years before the fall of Rome in the 5th century, and Adam Smith noted how commerce revived in Western Europe from the 15th century onwards from observing its effects in gradually widening social choice and promoting technological change.Smith saw the revival of commerce as contributing to the spread of opulence in Britain which would have a dramatic effect on the living standards, health and education of the labouring poor...But be clear, nobody ‘invented’ any of the ages of the four subsistence, least of all an observer like Adam Smith, talented as he was. They emerged, slowly and gradually, from the inter-actions of unknown individuals learning how to ‘better themselves’ (as Smith put it) through experimentation, the application of retained and new knowledge about the physical world, the creation of appropriate institutions and social norms, regimes of law and justice, and, additionally, by the invention of new technologies, and the emergence of markets.]

[Orissa or Kalinga as it was then called... was a formidable maritime empire with trading routes stretching up to Bali, Sumatra, Indonesia and Java. The key to international trade and immense wealth, it was coveted by many rulers.]

[Home > Op-Ed > Lessons from a poor little VIP constituency
Siddharth Dube Indian Express: Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Rural India is in crisis because its needs have been grossly neglected by government after government, writes Siddharth Dube. Consider Ganjam district. Ganjam derives from the Persian for ‘granary of the world’. At independence, the district began with the advantages of the ryotwari system of land tenure, rather than the burdens of zamindari. But today, agriculture is so poor here that the majority of farmers get just one rain-fed paddy crop and a meagre second crop of dal. The failure to expand irrigation — and to preserve the abundance of existing tanks and local canals — is to blame. Equally to blame is the utter neglect of efforts to modernise agriculture through diversifying crops, boosting yields, or storage and marketing.
The tragic upshot in Ganjam is that there is virtually no work to be had locally. Agricultural labourers can find employment for just two months or so, earning only about Rs 25 for a long day. Families with unirrigated land have roughly four months of income. There are few jobs in the towns even for young people who have completed secondary school. Not surprisingly, child labour is common.
The primary means for survival for Ganjam’s people has been migration.]

[Compare and contrast the two distinct cases of colonialism in the 18th century: Bengal in India and Massachusetts in North America.
Massachusetts had land and other natural resources but had very few people. To translate the resources into wealth that you could later extract, you had to first get people to settle there. To attract people and for them to create wealth, the policies had to be development oriented. In other words, the policies gave settlers economic freedom, the freedom to create wealth.
Bengal, in contrast, already had people who were creating wealth. The policies for colonial Bengal were therefore designed to extract and exploit that already existing wealth. Therefore controlling economic activity through the denial of economic freedom was required. Command and control of the economy was a more direct route to exploitation. Doubtless, the consequence was similar to that of killing the goose that lays golden eggs. It is a short-term policy since by denying economic freedom, eventually wealth creation comes to a halt. When all the existing wealth is extracted, it is time to move out. Colonialism ended in India when the cost of extracting wealth became greater than the value extracted... Atanu Dey has a
fantastic conversation with the spirit of Adam Smith 2:04 PM]

Given the fact that "independent India inherited the entire institutional, administrative, and organizational structure of colonial India" it is not easy to dismantle them nor the culture they spawn. In this circumstance, “greater involvement in politics” is an imperative, and Savitri Era Party will perform its role of a change agent. [TNM]

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Kissinger's Three Revolutions is nothing in comparison with Sri Aurobindo's Five Dreams

[Henry Kissinger - The Three Revolutions from Integral Options Cafe by WH
As much as I dislike a lot of what
Henry Kissinger believes in, I can't ignore the fact that he is incredibly intelligent and has what some might call an integral level understanding of international politics. This new article, The Three Revolutions, offers a rather comprehensive view of what is happening on the global stage. Here are the key passages that highlight the three revolutions in question.
"Essentially tactical issues have overwhelmed the most important challenge a new administration will confront: how to distill a new international order from three simultaneous revolutions occurring around the globe: (a) the transformation of the traditional state system of Europe; (b) the radical Islamist challenge to historic notions of sovereignty; and (c) the drift of the center of gravity of international affairs from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Indian Oceans."]

On the Record -‘Asians have not arrived. They have just begun on the road to modernity’
Kishore Mahbubani’s new book, ‘The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Power to the East’, captures the Asian transition... Indian Express Wednesday, April 09, 2008]

Henry Kissinger's The Three Revolutions is nothing in comparison with Sri Aurobindo's Five Dreams. [TNM]