Friday, October 31, 2008

And 12 turn out to be guilty

[Who murdered the financial system?
22 Oct, 2008, 1511 hrs IST, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, ET Bureau
Leftists claim that the global financial crisis was caused by reckless deregulation and greed. Rightists blame half-baked financial regulations and perverse incentives. Actually, the financial sector is deeply regulated, with major roles for both the state and markets. It was not one or the other that failed but the combination. The best metaphor for the mess comes from Jack and Suzy Welch, who recall Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. In this novel, 12 people are suspects in a murder. And 12 turn out to be guilty. What starts as a whodunit concludes as an everybody-dun-it.]

It is not a question of one apologizes or another softens. It is certainly, as someone remarked, "shocking and deeply disillusioning to find such an antagonistic attitude among those who purport to be followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother." Why some are so willing to use extreme kind of language where much saner persuasion would do are some phenomena that need to be probed. [TNM]

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Resisting Buddhist skepticism, its latest version being Heehs and his cohorts

One welcome outcome of the present turmoil is that the tasks for the Savitri Erans have, more or less, been clearly defined. On the one front constant vigilance is needed to untangle from the tentacles of Hindutva, and on the other resisting the onslaught of Buddhist skepticism, its latest version being Heehs and his cohorts.

Thanks to the exemplary dedication and loyalty of the direct disciples, Savitri Era Religion today stands on firm foundations. Delusionary outpourings of a few neurotic distortionists suffering from mid-age crisis won’t be able to dent it. To be blind to the divine manifestation of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo is an act of conspirasciy which will surely be throttled by the Savitri Erans. The Veda vs. Buddha war is two and a half millennia old, and let it be fought anew. [TNM]

Sancho Panza offers interpolated narrative voice throughout the tale

[Sancho is illiterate and proud of it but by influence of his new master he develops considerable knowledge about some books. During the travels with Don Quixote he keeps contact with his wife by dictating letters addressed to her.
Sancho Panza offers interpolated narrative voice throughout the tale, a literary convention invented by Cervantes. Sancho Panza is precursor to "the sidekick," and is symbolic of practicality over idealism. Sancho is the everyman, who, though not sharing his master's delusional "enchantment" until late in the novel, remains his ever-faithful companion realist, and functions as the clever sidekick.
In the novel, Don Quixote comments on the historical state and condition of Aragón and Castilla, which are vying for power in Europe. Sancho Panza represents, among other things, the quintessentially Spanish brand of skepticism of the period.
Sancho obediently follows his master, despite being sometimes puzzled by Quijote's actions. Riding a mule, he helps Quixote get out of various conflicts while looking forward to rewards of aventura that Quijote tells him of. Sancho Panza - Wikipedia]

Modern day Sanchos take delight in exacerbating conflicts, instead. [TNM]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Turning green when blue washes off

[When Securities Turn Blue & Red By Dhirendra Kumar Oct 13, 2008
Have you heard the Panchatantra tale about the jackal that turned blue? That story holds an important lesson in trying to understand the root cause of the global financial crisis. Here's my version.
Once upon a time, a jackal from the jungle wandered close to a village and was set upon by a pack of village dogs. While running to save his life, he stumbled and fell into a large vat of blue colour at a dyers' workshop. As he scrambled out, he was surprised to see that the dogs took one look at him and ran away, yelping in fear. He peeped into the water and saw that he had turned into a strange blue being. It was obvious to him that he had fallen into some sort of a magic potion and become a fearsome and powerful creature.
He went back into the jungle and declared himself to be the king. Scared of this blue apparition, the animals hastened to obey all his commands. Soon, using the money he extorted from the poor creatures, he bought himself an apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side and another one in South Mumbai, probably in the NCPA building. However, he spent most of his time in Dubai. For some reason, he preferred the dry weather there. One day the unthinkable happened. Just as he stepped out of a helicopter after surveying the Burj Dubai-2 (he was planning to buy an apartment on the 8000th floor), it started raining. As the torrential rain poured down, his blue colour washed off and there he stood, revealed in his true jackalness. But it was OK because everyone around him was also a jackal. No, wait, that's a different story. As soon as he was revealed to be a jackal, the animals around him chased him back to the village.
The Jackal's pretence has a great similarity to securities being painted up and disguised into something they are not. When the dust finally settles on the Great Panic of 2008, we will all realise that in almost every part of this crisis, the original sin was investments that were pretending to be something they were not.]

Great Play of 2008 - A Tale of A vs. B - Episode II: Turning green when blue washes off. [TNM]

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No one can prohibit us to love The Mother and Sri Aurobindo

No one can prohibit us to love The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. No one can prohibit us to love our motherland, India. Come along, we say to those feeling left out. [TNM] 12:38 PM

God save this blind-leading-the blind brigade!

[How Dare You TOI Edit 28 Oct 2008: The caste system pervaded all Indian institutions of the past. Its influence has been more pronounced in our understanding of knowledge and the learning process. Guru was at the apex of the knowledge pyramid in the Brahmanical scheme. He spoke down to disciples. Modern-day gurus, learned or otherwise, have dutifully copied the pattern. A hierarchical social order has replicated itself in institutions of learning. The result has not been pleasing. We have institutionalised rote learning with the focus on gathering information. The spirit of inquiry is missing in the present system. Education that fails to encourage students to raise questions can’t be expected to produce original minds. New ideas are born in a climate of dialogue and debate. India has long ceased to be a crucible for great ideas and minds. We produce successful doctors, software professionals and businessmen, but not original thinkers. Mahatma Gandhi was an original social and political thinker. His genius was shaped in the school of life rather than in any educational institution and he, like Rabindranath Tagore, was acutely conscious of the limits of our educational system. They knew that great nations were built by original minds.]

This edit writer is not only loathe to mention the name of Sri Aurobindo but also unaware of his insights. No wonder he makes a mess of his politically correct stance on Guru, Brahmanical scheme etc. God save this blind-leading-the blind brigade! [TNM]

It is shameful that the country is still functioning under laws of the British Crown

[Let’s Look Within by K Subrahmanyam, TOI, 28 Oct 2008: After 60 years of independence it is shameful that the country is still functioning under laws of the British Crown...How about regulating the state of affairs in our country other than in the economic arena, caused by the greed of our political class? The economic greed of US financiers is one of the issues in the US election campaign. Can the greed for power of our politicians be made an issue in the upcoming general elections here? But who is to bell the cat? The writer is a Delhi-based strategic affairs analyst.]

Savitri Era Party needs just one person to contest the elections in each Lok Sabha constituency. It is for the intelligentsia of the country to see the light and come forward to support this venture. No amount of whining can help us now; taking part in the political process is the only way. [TNM]

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fantastic exaggerations can be told about the products

[City City Bang Bang Self-regulatory market a false concept - Santosh Desai, TOI 27 Oct 2008: The widely held joint stock company in its purest form has no single owner, no one human source that we can attach consequences to. Theoretically, everyone has a share and no one is eventually responsible. The goals of a corporation, the driving ambitions that it nurtures are those of a self-sustaining organism. The corporation is its own justification. The idea of nameless and fragmented shareholders whose interests seemingly drive it, allows the corporation licence to drive an agenda divorced from any larger social context. The reductive nature of the corporation allows it to multiply endlessly - without any sense of the consequences of its actions. The corporation cannot say no, unless the law explicitly requires it to say so. The owned-by-no-one nature of corporations allows a culture to develop where actions do not need to conform to any rules but those developed internally. People can be fired overnight, fantastic exaggerations can be told about the products that it sells and its financial performance can be window-dressed without any great self-doubt. santoshdesai1963@indiatimes.com]

[Brand trust will finally be about people
D Shivakumar, ET, 27 Oct, 2008: Building trust in today’s society is not about plain size or economics in terms of turnover, profit and brand value. Consumers and communities have less faith in advertising, business, government and politicians than they did a few years ago. The challenge for all of us is to build back the trust in institutions. Organisations are institutions that house brands. The essence of a future brand is the totality of what it represents. Outside of the media hype, a brand will only endure if it is able to be seen as genuine and trustworthy in the way the consumer and community defines it. The good word of the public and the community will go a long way in building brand trust. Pure financial, rational logic has to give way to community involvement and a social commitment.]

Despite the ills listed by a front ranking insider in a dismal milieu, the corporation is still the best mechanism devised by the human mind. [TNM]

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wishing away hierarchy is hypocrisy

[U.N. chief: 'Drastic' action needed for poor: UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Friday for "drastic" measures to shore up banks and extend lines of credit to the world's poorest states, pledging to support European and American efforts to rethink the global financial architecture.
Moon: The era of self-regulation is over. He said the era of self-regulation among the biggest banks and other money-lending institutions had ended... CNN International]

[Marx And Spencer TOI 25 Oct 2008, DIPANKAR GUPTA Society must always come before the market.
We have to decide what kind of society we want before we let loose the market...When one plans for society, one plans for the long run... If one were to think long distance then policies that fundamentally encourage equality need to be at the base of every political decision... Democracy needs resolve and it must place society first. This is where planning plays a role, and all planning need not be of the slothful Soviet type. Interestingly, so many of those who till recently praised the poise and gift of the market have had a sudden change of heart. Earlier, only laissez faire and Spencer’s “survival of the fittest” figured. But today they are overeager to condemn the bosses of Wall Street and of every other crooked street in the world. The short term not only encourages painful social philippics, but also fair-weather friends...
To favour the market and blow the whistle on society only perpetuates the Marx & Spencer brand of politics. Do we really want that? Should not the dead rest in peace? The writer is professor of sociology at JNU.
9:26 AM]

If we can really "decide what kind of society we want," then we should first determine the contours of "equality" that we propose to espouse, for wishing away hierarchy is hypocrisy. [TNM]

Friday, October 24, 2008

We disagree with the wilted model of India that Prof. Stepan is endorsing

[Indian Express > Op-Ed > ‘In India, the greater the intensity of religious practice, the greater the support for democracy’
Vandita Mishra > Oct 24, 2008: Alfred C. Stepan is the Wallace Sayre Professor of Government at the School of International and Public Affairs and Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Toleration and Religion at Columbia University. He teaches comparative politics and his research interests include theories of democratic transitions, federalism, and the world’s religious systems and democracy. He has consistently argued for looking at the Indian model — be it secularism or federalism — on its own terms, and not just as a departure from the western norm. In the capital on Thursday, Prof Stepan spoke on ‘Rituals of Respect: Sufis and Secularists in Senegal’ at the CSDS. Excerpts from an interview with Vandita Mishra: Do you see a crisis of secularism in India today?
I am horrified by events in Orissa and in Gujarat earlier. But as a comparativist, I must look at the larger frame.
The conventional wisdom is that the greater the intensity of religious practice, the more dangerous it is for democracy. But our data tells us that for all of India’s four major religions — Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Sikhism — the reverse is true. The greater the intensity of religious practice, the greater the support for democracy. My judgment is that this would not have happened if India had not chosen its inventive form of secularism. Sometimes the state doesn’t live up to it. But in comparative terms, it is a success.]

It is difficult to gauge what exactly Professor Stepan has in mind when he lauds "religious practice" but the fact that it lulls people into living primitively is perhaps spotted as contributing to peace. Older religions have failed in their duty to impel people to receive education and develop skills in keeping with the times.

We, therefore, disagree with the wilted model of India that Professor Stepan is endorsing. Savitri Era Party has the vision to galvanize the youth of India to build a radically new future for the country. [TNM]

Heehs, Hussain, and Hindutva

[Ketan Mehta's Rang Rasiya to be screened at London film fest IANS Thursday, 23 October, 2008.
Director Mehta said that the movie also dwells at length on an obscenity case slapped on Raja Ravi Varma by puritans in the late 19th century. "Though Raja Ravi Varma died in 1906, the film has a contemporary appeal as the conflict between artistic freedom and social taboos that pestered the painter is still a matter of debate in India," Mehta said. He cited the example of how the noted Indian artist M F Hussain has now become a victim of intolerance and regressive mindset of a section of the society.
"What I mean to say is that, dichotomy still exists in how some influential people who otherwise consider themselves progressive look at the world of art. On the one hand, they feel proud, as they should, about India's successful moon mission, but on the other hand, they get jitters at the sight of a nude painting," Mehta said.]

['Rang Rasiya' is about artistic freedom: Ketan Mehta
Bedika New Delhi, Oct 22 (PTI) Creative freedom for most artists still remains a dream in India as the situation has not changed from the pre-Independence days of Raja Ravi Varma, says acclaimed director Ketan Mehta, who is ready with his new film based on the life of the great Indian painter. "The problems that Raja Ravi Varma faced 100 years ago are still persistent. Artists like M F Hussain are living in forced exile because of their creativity," Mehta told PTI. "We have become more conservative and intolerant despite our exposure to globalisation. My film focuses on this culture of intolerance where an artist is not allowed his creative space," says Mehta. Known for making hard-hitting films like 'Mirch Masala,' "Maya Memsaab" and "Mangal Pandey: The Rising", Mehta's "Rang Rasiya: Colours of Passion" traces Ravi Varma's journey as the leading painter of his time, his relationship with his muse and struggles as an artist in pre-independent India.]

[Referring to agitations against well known artist M.F. Hussain for his paintings that hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus, Raj said, "artists should take care that no sentiments are hurt by their creations." Raj to launch newspaper soon 15 Oct 2008, TNN]

[Re: Thought Reform and Pondicherry by Debashish on Tue 21 Oct 2008 Permanent Link
Keka, I agree. The matter of "taking the blame" is an irony worth contemplating, as you have brought it out. But an even greater irony to contemplate is that the "intelligentsia" of the Sri Aurobindo ashram, those leading the opinion at the heart of the practice of Sri Aurobindo's yoga, could find no better answer to this than to use methods of mass propaganda to incite ostracism, censorship and hatred in the name of the yoga. DB]

We never allowed ourselves to bother about Hussain as we were confident that we have been ordained to keep aloof from all these lowly affairs. We never felt it is needed to sensitize ourselves and the younger generation as regards the intricacies of such ethical conflicts. We chose to stay as silent spectators when Hindutva rode roughshod over many cherished values preserved over centuries. Now, the Heehs imbroglio has clearly brought out in the open that we are unprepared to deal with such issues with the desired sensitivity. It is utterly shameful that we have come to such a pass, but the silver lining is, the preachers now know their lack. A bit of Lacan or Lyotard, let’s hope, can diffuse the heat. [TNM]

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sri Aurobindo is the greatest social scientist that India has produced

[Kalam is a scientist – but he knows nothing of "social science." Indeed, India has been producing excellent scientists, doctors and engineers for over 200 years. And we have failed precisely in the area of "social science." Posted by Sauvik on Thursday, October 23, 2008 ANTIDOTE
by Sauvik Chakraverti: Libertarian Opinion From Indyeah]

Tusar N Mohapatra said... 23 October 2008 16:21
Sri Aurobindo is the greatest social scientist that India has produced, but the intelligentsia continues to ignore him. [TNM] 4:58 PM


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Critical tight-rope-walking with multiple poles to balance

from Tusar N. Mohapatra <tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com> date 22 October 2008 17:54

Thanks for disclosing your sentiments and questioning the ethical aspect. As you know, my own postings at Savitri Era reflect the conflated concerns of sister SELF Group Blogs like, Savitri Era Learning Forum, Savitri Era Religious Fraternity, Savitri Era Political Action, Savitri Era Open Forum, Feel Philosophy, etc. And you can well empathize how critical this tight-rope-walking is with multiple poles to balance.

For any moral dilemma the simple rule is, the higher Dharma takes precedence over the lower, but this ranking, of course, is subjective. In the present case, obligation towards the readers is sacrosanct, and concealing is rather a crime. [TNM] 12:33 PM

Love abiding

Institutions are the backbone of any society. Not only they tend to endure longer than individuals, but also develop a personality of their own free from biological fetters and climatic contingencies. The human body, of course, itself, is an association of countless cells and organs, but a pregnant woman, as an association of two (or more at times) individuals can be said to be embryonic of all institutions. Whether this analogy applies always to the individual’s relationship to the organization he works for is, however, debatable. But it is not unusual to observe that the founder (or, father) of an organization (or, the mother) becomes, over a period of time, its slave (or, child).

The UNO (United Nations Day: 24 October) is the largest association to have taken shape so far although it hardly inspires any emotional attachment among men. On the other hand, the continent, the nation, the religion, the race, the gender, the language, the caste, the tribe, the ethnicity or similar other considerations based on the birth of a person exercise a profound influence upon the individual all his life. To hope that these would melt away or evaporate over time is sheer utopian fantasy.

The point is not to look down upon the birth factor or the blood relationship but to focus on the quantum of its role in determining our seemingly rational actions. But even in the case of temperamental affinities (as against that of the blood) also, it is the genetic configuration that is behind the magic, and thus again it is back to the blood.

The institution, therefore, plays a big role here although a vast majority of them are dedicated to themes concerning the birth or the blood; culture being a respectable euphemism. Hence, the legitimate challenge is not only to hybridize and integrate but scouting for abiding loves that are entirely unlike those occurring in the past.

A philosophy binds people. Economic and political philosophies wield enormous power to unite people across the barriers of birth or blood. But the philosophy proper has had only a limited appeal and reach. That such superlative human creation go waste without being appreciated on a large scale is a terrible flaw of our civilization. And if the transformation that would have been engendered is reckoned, the magnitude of loss accentuates manifold.

A party, though political in nomenclature, also conflates social, cultural, as well as economic concerns. It represents perhaps potentially the largest association of people after the nation and at times with trans-national reach. Savitri Era Party aims at such a possibility with a bias, of course, towards philosophy and discourse on ethics. That surely can count as an abiding love with feet firmly rooted on the ground. [TNM] 2:07 PM 5:09 PM

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Silencing of RY Deshpande is unfortunate

Silencing of the ever ebullient RY Deshpande is an unfortunate outcome of the current tug of war amongst the devotees of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. The Blogosphere misses him and his wise insights. He should open his own Blog as a home to his creative output. [TNM] 8:06 AM

People in India are fed up with the present set of political parties

[India is going through a difficult phase - the Hindutva brigade is waiting to usurp every thing and make it their political agenda. 12:24 PM]

The ongoing crisis among the devotees of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo over the book, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs is not without its brighter hints. It has proved, beyond doubt, that we all can come together, unite, and work to bring about positive outcomes, when opportunity arises. Moreover, this internecine clash should alert us to the magnitude of resistance that outsiders may pose.

Most of us nourish an integral view with an uncompromising attitude towards demeaning stimuli. Knowledge generates a generous stock of courage in us to be firm with our principles. These are, to say the least, are excellent fodder for political canon.

People in India are fed up with the present set of political parties. A party dedicated to the teachings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo has not been experimented before. This can be done now. The present tussle is accentuated by negative feelings. We can turn it into a positive agenda and easily win elections. Wanted solidarity. [TNM] 12:38 PM

Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy did approbate Savitri Era Religion

Richard Carlson complains as follows:

[And of course there is Integral Yoga fundamentalism with its claims that its founders are gods or avatars and that similar to the Christian myth make the case for them descending to Earth to take up the suffering and redemption of humanity. (by Rich on Tue 23 Sep 2008 Permanent Link 11:39 AM)
Although Sri Aurobindo did not proclaim his own Divinity, it is demanded that the faithful invest him with such divinity. (by Rich on Sun 19 Oct 2008
Permanent Link) 9:30 AM 9:03 AM]

Gerhard Wohlberg explains:

[People with a closer understanding of Hinduism know that the impersonal Vedantic/monistic school is only one version of the religion, and that for many (perhaps the majority of) Hindus, the highest form of God is, in fact, personal. This is true, for example, for the many Hindus who worship Shiva or Vishnu and his avatars (such as Rama or Krishna) as their supreme deity.]

And now the judgment:

[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’… J. (O. CHINNAPPA REDDY) New Delhi, 8th November, 1982. EXTRACTS FROM THE JUDGEMENT DELIVERED BY THE CONSTITUTION BENCH OF THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA IN AUROVILLE CASE
9:44 AM 12:21 PM] [TNM]

Don't "modify" the Indian reprint

[www.google.com/search? Consider whether absolute objectivity is impossible for the historian and if so, why. Why do historical facts emerge as a result of interpretative choices that are influenced by the standards of age]

[3) Legal aspects are being looked into as to whether the Indian publication may be at least modified if not stalled, PH, on his own has assured me that he shall try, within the limits and constraints as they exist, to modify where possible some of the passages. According to him, he didn’t imagine that the response to his work among a certain group of people would be so violent and expressed his regrets for being the “cause”. -- Manoj Das Gupta Heehs' contributions, as far the work in the Archives, are indeed praiseworthy 4:20 PM 7:48 PM]

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs is a six-month baby now and we wish it well. An Indian reprint too is eagerly awaited and any coercion to "modify" is uncalled for. The author, however, is free to carry out revisions in the next edition of the book. [TNM]

Monday, October 20, 2008

Manoj Das Gupta's letter reeks in chicanery

Friday, October 17, 2008 Heehs' contributions, as far the work in the Archives, are indeed praiseworthy Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 4:20 PM 0 comments Links

Friday, October 17, 2008 Manoj Das Gupta camouflages his complicity

[Pranabda, 05/10/08 A petition in the form of a signature campaign was hand-delivered to me on 02-10-08. I have no quarrel with the contents of the said petition.]

By saying “I have no quarrel with the contents” he stoops to conquer.

[But what shocked me and pained me most was to find that your name should figure as one of the signatories. Pranabda, right from my childhood, when I first met you in 1942, till the present day, I have had the privilege and good fortune to be the recipient of your love and affection. It is on the strength of this relationship that I would have expected that if ever you found me failing in my duty or going astray, you would have called me in person and as an elder brother to a younger brother asked me for an explanation of my conduct.]

Here he is an embodiment of humility and obedience while flaunting his 66 years of intimacy and dedication.

[But I am sorry to say, that in the present circumstance you have not done so, instead you have fallen prey to the signature campaigns for reasons best known to you.]

The tone changes abruptly and the blame shifts with offending phrases “fallen prey” and “reasons best known to you” thrown in.

[It is my firm conviction that a signature campaign is not the right modus operandi for finding solution to the problems of our collective life in the Ashram.]

Now he comes to his own and lets it know that no monarch likes dissent.

[If this becomes the general trend in the Ashram, I shudder to think what will be our future – another Auroville (!) with Government, finally taking over the administration?!]

And threatens calamity: Après moi le deluge.

[Sri Aurobindo, has clearly stated “…you must also understand that there is only one power at work and neither you nor he not anybody else matters. Let each open himself to the working of that power in him and let there be no attempt at forming a body of sadhaks with somebody leading or intervening between the one power and the sadhaks.”]

Now he takes back his earlier words signifying obedience and emphasizes his own Divine Right, instead.

[I shall now address myself to the controversy that is raging with respect to PH’s book. Let me first tell you that several days back when on hearsay I came to know that when x had broached this subject, you had advised him to remain silent and call the Mother and that you had even added: ‘At one time I used to be angry with the boy (PH) but now I feel sorry for him.’ – This bit of news gave me a sense of great relief, because it corresponded more or less to my line of thinking.Pranabda, I have tried to put down my thoughts concerning more on the controversy than on the book itself, I am sending you a copy for what it is worth.]

Skillfully avoids i) commenting on the book, and ii) spelling out the ins and outs of the imbroglio.

[I shall now enumerate a few corrective measures that we have initiated (and some more on the anvil) so that any further controversy of this sort may be avoided: 1) Instructions have been given, saying that no material whatever should go out of the Archives Dept. without the written consent of the Managing Trustee. 2) Notice has been put up stating that a committee of six persons (Bob, Kiran Kakkad, Medhna, Pattegarji, Richard and Shanta) will henceforth oversee the day today functioning of the Dept. All major decisions should be submitted to the Trust Board for approval.]

Nothing is said as regards i) previous practices, and ii) whether there was any dereliction on his part.

[3) Legal aspects are being looked into as to whether the Indian publication may be at least modified if not stalled, PH, on his own has assured me that he shall try, within the limits and constraints as they exist, to modify where possible some of the passages. According to him, he didn’t imagine that the response to his work among a certain group of people would be so violent and expressed his regrets for being the “cause”.]

A lot is concealed here as to weighing of various options and negotiations conducted with PH.

[4) Experts advice sought for in order to ascertain whether the Ashram, can in any way be held responsible for the said publication. If yes, what preventive measure should we need to take (PH has clearly indicated in the acknowledgements of his book that “Sri Aurobindo Ashram is in no way responsible for the selection, arrangement, interpretation of the material in this biography. The another author alone is responsible for the contents of the book”)]

A fact too well known is repeated to insist that whatever has happened is fine.

[Pranabda, My personal assessment of PH, in the context of this book (I may be totally wrong) is as follows: He may not have had a malafide intention as such to denigrate Sri Aurobindo.]

Awarding clean-chit disregarding loads of protest letters from respectable devotees.

[Unfortunately; he was so obsessed with the anti-hagiography idea that in order to prove his credentials to be an “objective” (does such a thing really exist!) biographer, he has at several places crossed all limits of simple decency!]

A mild chastisement backed up with relevant justification for pardon.

[My present dilemma is this: If our intention is that this book becomes of what we consider to be its potential danger, should reach as few readers as possible, then, whether any public denunciation will help to achieve our goal? Or, on the contrary, it will only make PH instead a martyr like Rusdie, Taslima, etc. and the publisher would be only too eager to exploit the situation in order to promote its sales! I have no answer to the above dilemma.]

This quandary is brought forward to veto any variation in status quo. How he ensures “as few readers as possible” in USA is, of course, not elaborated.

[One more point which makes me hesitate to take any drastic action is the fact that the Mother had given her tacit approval to Jayantilalda when he informed her, through Champaklalji, that PH would be working with him in the new Archives Department. Mother had seen PH. This was in 1971.]

Now the trump card; the authority of The Mother. But whether “the Mother had given her tacit approval” to defame her?

[PH has spent 37 years of the best part of his youth in the department and his contributions, as far the work in the Archives (as distinct from the writing of his own books which is not the work assigned, to him by the Archives Dept.) are indeed praiseworthy.]

All previous complains are overlooked, and a favorable verdict is awarded in a brazen fashion without any hint of collective consultation.

[My personal inclination is therefore more towards maintaining a dignified silence, at least for the time being, and praying to the Mother. I always try to remember and follow Mother’s advice to me:
“Et, en fin de compte, il est toujours préférable de ne pas prendre de décision arbitraire pour on contre les choses et de regarder les évènements se dérouler, avec l’impartialité du témoin, s’en remettant à la Sagesse Divine, qui, Elle, décidera pour le mieux et fera le nécessaire.” (English translation: And, in the last analysis, it is always preferable not to take arbitrary decisions against things but to watch the unfolding events impartially like a witness, relying on the Divine Wisdom, that, She, will decide for the best and do the necessary.)]

He flatly refuses to take any action and defers the issue for an indefinite period. That he won’t reply to any lesser mortal is also implicit.

[Pranabda, I hope and pray that you will not take amiss this missive of mine. I have tried to be as frank and straight forward as possible. You yourself have been asking example of these virtues. With deep love and respect, In Her Love, Sd/- (Manoj Das Gupta)]

The letter reeks in chicanery, on the contrary. [TNM]

Our three Masters of Suspicion: Satprem, Georges Van Vrekhem, and Peter Heehs

[This insistence on the physical – the form and the formula – is a penchant of the western orientation. On the contrary, Sri Aurobindo even admonishes the Overmind for nothing short of the plenary Supramental would please him. The books of Satprem had forcefully advanced an impression that The Mother was engaged in somewhat alchemic activities with the cells of her body. The sensationalism floundered over time but not without corroding the credibility of her mission immensely. Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 9:25 AM Monday, December 18, 2006 Chase the ambrosia of Harmony] 1:10 PM 11:06 AM

[Thursday, March 27, 2008 It is safer to read the original works of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo
To know about The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, many Westerners prefer to pick up books authored by Satprem, Peter Heehs, Georges Van Vrekhem, Joseph Vrinte, or Ken Wilber et al. But it is a flawed choice, as their works - in earnest tones - tend to prejudice the reader in a particular way. It is much safer, therefore, that one initially reads the originals, and then study other writers with a critical eye. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra
1:47 PM 2 comments: Anonymous said...
By and large, yes, it is better to read the original. Nonetheless, Vrekhem's '
Beyond Man' does present a coherent and interesting view of what The Mother had achived in terms of transfiguring and supramentalising Her body. 7:09 PM, April 06, 2008
Tusar N Mohapatra said... I agree. But there is no gainsaying of the fact that there is a grain of truth in this comment over Amazon.com: "But frankly, as far as introducing someone else to their way of thought, I think it might actually be doing some harm. The book is a "thriller". Permalink] 10:48 AM

[These curious disclaimers by one who has been at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives and Research Library for years is simply baffling. Why this split identity? If he lacks the courage of conviction and ducks not to bear the cross, then who’d represent the Ashram? The irreverent tenor of the terse sentences Heehs crafts in his books in order to secure his credentials as an unbiased scholar feels like to pierce as if with a spear. Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra 11:55 AM Thursday, December 21, 2006] 10:08 AM

Our three Masters of Suspicion: Satprem, Georges Van Vrekhem, and Peter Heehs. [TNM] 5:23 AM

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Now is the time for a thorough overhaul at Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Being in a democratic country, respect for individual freedom and rule of law are deemed as sacrosanct, and in that sense, Peter Heehs writing another book is beyond reproach. But the issue is a bit complicated here as being an inmate of the very Ashram whose founder is the subject of his book; his accountability to it takes precedence. And hence arises the question of examining the fidelity to his mandate, both recorded as well as assumed, or any breach thereof.

Obviously, a proper inquiry into all this cannot be conducted with the present Managing Trustee at the helm as he appears to be hand in glove. For long we have been demanding structural reforms at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Now is the time to go for a thorough overhaul. [TNM] 5:38 PM

Sterile secular view of life is losing “certainty” making way for a sane and salutary stance

[Enculturation versus Enskillment - Tim Ingold - Social Anthropology, University of Manchester: Orthodox models of cultural learning rest on the premiss that culture exists as a context-free body of information, available for transmission outside the contexts of its practical application. I argue that this premiss is untenable, suggesting instead that what each generation contributes to the next are not rules or schemata for the production of appropriate behaviour, but the specific conditions of development under which successors, growing up in a social environment, acquire their own embodied skills and dispositions. Thus learning is a matter of enskillment rather than enculturation. This conclusion, however, has radical implications for the way we think about the relations between biological and cultural variation. Instead of supposing that the human being comes into the world innately pre-equipped with mechanisms for the acquisition of cultural information, we need to recognise that the differences we call cultural are themselves biological, established in the human organism through a process of development. This recognition, however, calls for a restructuring not only of the psychological theory of learning but also of the biological theory of genetic inheritance.]

[professional groups, with their own norms and identities, are absolutely central to the functioning of any modern society... these groups are the principal source of a functional and institutionalised morality in modern societies... Societies cannot be held together only by coercion (state) or money (markets). Something more is required. In a broader sense, it requires internalisation of norms and values that set limits on what can be bought and sold. It’s not the market by Pratap Bhanu Mehta Indian Express > Edits & Columns > Oct 20, 2008 at 3:42 PM]

It is not without significance that the suspicion infused into the divinity of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs through his book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo is being hotly contested at the same time when a colossal crisis is threatening to quake the global financial stability. In both the instances it is the sterile secular view of life that is losing “certainty” making way for a sane and salutary stance.

If the 20th century grappled with the “uncertainty” in physics as well as language, the 21st, it seems, will tackle the same in economics and politics. And in all these areas the sage advice of Sri Aurobindo would be of immense help. Sri Aurobindo as a guide of the human race will stand tall transcending all chasms: east and west, north and south, left and right, red and green.

Failure of calibration at various levels has been the bane in the past, and hence, education, ethics, and integrity are to be the cornerstones of a secure future society. Not merely enskillment, raising students with the ability to be “judge of skills” would be the legitimate task for the schools. For all this, willingness to drink from the source is essential. That fountainhead is hidden deep within every human being, and learning should lead one there instead of prohibiting as at present.

It is a temperamental revolution. The path has been charted out by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo 100 years back. We must follow it, we must tell others to follow it, and we must persuade others to follow it. We have to cajole others to follow it. And if need arises, we must force others to follow it, for, we are sure that in that only lies our welfare as well as theirs. [TNM] 7:17 PM 3:42 PM

Friday, October 17, 2008

Manoj Das Gupta camouflages his complicity

[Pranabda, I hope and pray that you will not take amiss this missive of mine. I have tried to be as frank and straight forward as possible. You yourself have been asking example of these virtues. With deep love and respect, In Her Love, Sd/- (Manoj Das Gupta)
Posted at 4:20 PM]
It is not easy to decipher what prompted Manoj Das Gupta to undergo the trouble of writing his reply to Pranab in long hand; to stress humility and subordination on his part, perhaps; and to camouflage his complicity. But the contents don't come from his heart, at least not the following paragraph:

My present dilemma is this: If our intention is that this book becomes of what we consider to be its potential danger, should reach as few readers as possible, then, whether any public denunciation will help to achieve our goal? Or, on the contrary, it will only make PH instead a martyr like Rusdie, Taslima, etc. and the publisher would be only too eager to exploit the situation in order to promote its sales! I have no answer to the above dilemma.

Clearly, as per the script drafted in Heehs' war room, it points to too many missing links in the whole story. No wonder, the post timing showed up as 4:20 PM. [TNM]

Sorry prospect of an eerie homogenization

[Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged first appeared in 1957. The consequences of punishing and demonizing the life of the mind constitute the theme. After all, what would happen if, instead of the dull and the incapable, our best and brightest went on strike? Atlas Shrugged from Thoughts, Books, and Philosophy by jhbowden]

One shudders at the prospect of a possible reign of "the dull and the incapable" as the present goings on insists on an eerie homogenization by "punishing and demonizing the life of the mind." [TNM] 11:11 AM

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No need to read the whole book; even a single word can constitute blasphemy

[Auroville Today Interview with Peter Heehs by Debashish on October 16, 2008 02:33AM (PDT)
Alan of Auroville Today interviewed Peter Heehs, author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, which has created such strong reactions among followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother at the Sri Aurobindo ashram and elsewhere. In this short, but pointed interview, one gets to hear Peter's voice on his book and its controversies.
more » Comments (1) Permanent Link]

No need to read the whole book; even a single word, a phrase, or a sentence can constitute blasphemy which, like obscenity, may be characterized in the famous words of Justice Potter Stewart: "I shall not today attempt further to define…But I know it when I see it.” Such subjectivity, however, is enforceable only when pronounced by a judge and hence inciting street fighting is unwarranted. [TNM]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The second rung leaders are now eager to usurp power

[Re: Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
by koantum on Tue 14 Oct 2008 10:45 PM PDT
Profile Permanent Link
Vladmir, my friend, I hate to have to correct you. Those strong reactions are the vital reactions of a rather primitive type of religiosity, not at all befitting of an aspirant toward the enlightened spirituality that Sri Aurobindo has put before us as the goal. Read these excerpts from the Human Cycle and you will understand.
Reply by Debashish on Wed 15 Oct 2008 01:07 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
What happens between a seeker and his guru is entirely between them. No "other seekers on the path" have or should have anything to do with it. It is the most private of relationships. Nor can anyone have any inkling from someone's expressions, whether they have gratitude or not for their guru. DB Reply]

What apparently looks like a tussle between the devoted and the skeptic, or the religious and the academic, is at heart a political battle. The hierarchy nurtured by The Mother has, obviously, collapsed and hence, the second rung leaders are now eager to usurp power. Whose edicts would be effective in future is emerging in this test run. Who would pull the strings of the “ringleaders” is crystallizing through whispers. Such palace intrigues are nothing new, but the amorphous nature of the power equilibrium leaves scope for much volatility in future.

What hurts the most is hypocrisy. If it is devotion, worship, or scripture, call it Religion. If it is administration, distribution of posts, or selection / election of officials, then call it Politics. If we sell books or other merchandise to earn profit, call it Commerce. Instead, if everything is termed just “spiritual” which cannot be questioned, it creates many anomalies.

That good economics is good politics is a favored slogan now (Krugman winning Nobel notwithstanding 2:29 PM). But our assignment is to bring home the fact that good metaphysics is good politics. That is the essential message of the three immortal books, The Life Divine, The Human Cycle, and The Ideal of Human Unity. How long would we disregard them? Now is the time to take that leap into the future. Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. [TNM]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vladimir condemns the book, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs

[Comment on Getting beyond the Conventions of Biography – and ...
17 Sep 2008 A few weeks ago, a friend sent me comments made by Mr Peter Heehs on his book written on the life of Sri Aurobindo which was posted on the Columbia university press web site. As someone who has been familiar with the works of Sri ...
Comments for Columbia University Press - http://www.cupblog.org]

Curiously, the above comment has vanished. Vladimir is perhaps the first among the non-Indian devotees to condemn the book, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs (on Tue 14 Oct 2008 12:49 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link 2:54 PM) in unequivocal terms. It is hoped that this issue is examined on merit and not on the basis of ethnicity or acquaintance. [TNM]

Sri Aurobindo Ashram has disassociated themselves from The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs

[from S Krishnan <srinivasan.krishnana@gmail.com> to tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 14 October 2008 11:54 subject PH
Hello I guess you know that Mr. Heehs has been asked to leave the Archives. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram has also disassociated themselves from the Publication per se and a circular to the internal departments of the Ashram has been sent. Just for your information! Best S. Krishnan]

Reply from Tusar N. Mohapatra

That's fair, I think, in the present circumstances; less severe than book-banning. Thanks Tusar [12:45 PM]

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs, screenplay for a future Spielberg movie!

The ongoing controversy concerning The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs has many parallels with Satprem’s publication of Mother’s Agenda episode sans, of course, the flurry of e-mails, and the Internet. It would be interesting if someone can depict (and thus, document) the turn of events so that we draw necessary lessons.

But the division between the two camps has hardened and no one seems to be left now who can claim to have an independent or dispassionate view. At the risk of offending the book-baiters, may I venture with the following submissions, nevertheless:

  • Coming from the land of Juggernaut, I am so used to the vulgar verses that are ceremonially addressed to the Lord that Peter Heehs’ insinuations fail to perturb me.
  • In the primary school, on drawing a picture of a mango we used to label it, as in the case of many pupils it didn’t resemble. No one, similarly, is bound to go by Peter Heehs’ “biography” label; I would prefer to deem it as a screenplay for a future Spielberg movie.
  • Now that the book is out with the seemingly official Ashram tag, there is no need to panic. It is always possible to disown undesirable deeds, if any, albeit after a safe distance in time when the dust settles.
  • Instead of indulging in something horrendous like book-banning, it should be seen as an opportunity to shore up our level of scholarship as well as articulateness which is pathetically abysmal at present.

Finally, I take the liberty to quote Ned (A Daniel come to judgment!) that she once wrote in answering a mail in another context. It is instructive to read it by substituting the name of Heehs wherever Alan’s occurs:

“Alan doesn't run the Internets, nor does he run Wikipedia. You're free to go there, edit the pages, express your concerns, and do so in a scholarly and academic manner. You can set up a thousand websites, blogs, or whatever you'd like critiquing Alan or Wikipedia or whatever until kingdom comes! ;-) You're attributing far too much power to Alan in your head -- a mythical amount of power -- which he neither has nor does he claim to have (and I suspect he doesn't want it either)… Why don't you do it? I don't see who's stopping you from setting up your own pages”

Monday, October 13, 2008

Whether policing against people’s religious practices is propriety

Apropos of “This chaotic episode” surrounding The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs, Rick Lipschutz (12 Oct 2008 Permanent Link 7:04 AM), in his excellent summing up, has avoided touching the question of religion whereas Debashish (29 Sep 2008 Permanent Link7:04 AM) squarely blames it on “the religious attitude…building an impenetrable wall” and “an unconscious religiosity whose bane is the self-righteous orthodoxy of worship and the aggressive policing of largely self-created and interpreted myths.”

As proponents of Savitri Era Religion, may we make it clear that to give religion a bad name on the basis of the present imbroglio is not right as similar things happen in secular circumstances also. Having said so, we may as well ask whether “policing” against people’s religious practices and brand it as “unconscious” or in akin pejoratives is propriety. [TNM]

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Savitri Era Party can cure Indian Democracy

[Indian Express > Oct 12, 2008 > Edits & Columns > Renewing India by Meghnad Desai: But those who come into politics crave executive power as a means of enrichment. They have no time for legislative work. Hence politics remains strangely distant from the people because executive power in India at the Union and the state level is untrammelled by any checks from legislatures. The only way to challenge a bad decision is to resort to direct action or go to the judiciary to get redress.
Indian politics needs a renewal in a way that accommodates the democratic spirit of the people. Old style paternalism disguised as Socialism will not do any longer. Since legislatures will not do the work they are meant to, we need much more civil society action to look after public interest in defiance of corrupt and overbearing executive power.]

[Indian Express > Oct 10, 2008 > Edits & Columns > What’s religion? by Pratap Bhanu Mehta: Democracy requires a robust sense of right and wrong, a sense of justice, a social conscience, and a sense of discrimination about what is genuinely valuable and what is not... But the challenge is that the practice of political democracy is not itself sufficient to generate these virtues. What are the sites where an internalised sense of morality will be generated?] 4:08 PM

Desai and Mehta both agree that the Indian Democracy is blighted but they offer no cure. Savitri Era Party is here as an antidote to such hopelessness. [TNM]

Savitri Era Party disapproves Pranab's Talibanistic diktat

When one thought that the controversy over Peter Heehs has petered out during the festivities, comes this fatwa signed by Pranab on 10-10-2008 to “destroy” the book, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. Savitri Era Party, however, disapproves such a Talibanistic diktat. [TNM]

The unsavory departure of Mrinalini proves that we are a separate Religion

[Vijaya
The best wishes for all the members and for everybody who comes here, on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami, though there is no Visarjana of the divine Mother in our life ! We celebrate the victory of the Light over darkness! Barin Chaki 09-10-2008
Posted by
Barindranath Chaki on October 9th, 2008 at 10:28am]

[For a long time I have severed all connections from my official religion-Hinduism. I do not participate in any religious ceremony. Not because that I hate them but because it all seem to me sheer childishness. I am more than convinced that the days of religion have gone. I do not know how one goes to a temple or a church to worship.
Posted by
Debabrata Ghosh on October 9, 2008 at 11:28am]

[Reply by Debabrata Ghosh 1 day ago
Mrinalini, You have missed my spirit. I told even that I think it even a hindrance to belong to any country including India.You have not understood the meaning of the word 'separative'. Whenever I identify myself as a Hindu I mean that I'm not a Christian or Muslim. Whenever I claim my nationality as Indian I mean that I'm not a French or a Pakistani. Have you visited Auroville? Have you read what my Mother advised the Aurovillians. There should not be any religion and no nationality. She advised them -not to make a religion of Auroville. I think you are not aware of the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I would request you to read them. Otherwise I will not be able to answer your opinions. I invited opinions from those who were devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It's futile to ask opinions from a Jain, a Hindu, a Parsi, a Catholic. Devabrata]

The unsavory departure of Mrinalini from the discussion Let our mind be free from all conventional separative thoughts including religion and nationality, however, does one good thing. It proves beyond doubt that we are a separate Religion. [TNM]

Saturday, October 11, 2008

India will assist

It is no secret that India’s drain of wealth helped finance England’s Industrial Revolution leading to the prosperity of Europe and subsequently of America. Once again, India will stand in stoic silence and renunciation to assist them to overcome the present financial crisis. [TNM]

Savitri Erans are for participating in active politics representing a distinct religious denomination

[Indian Express > Edits & Columns > What’s religion? Pratap Bhanu Mehta: Oct 10, 2008. All societies need a source of norms and values that provide an anchor with which to face the flux of the external world, and provide a sense of authoritative internal restraint. Democracy requires a robust sense of right and wrong, a sense of justice, a social conscience, and a sense of discrimination about what is genuinely valuable and what is not. And the freer a society, the more choices it gives, the more it needs to exercise moral and aesthetic discrimination. Exercising genuine choice has to be based on grounds; otherwise it is a dumb, deedless expression of momentary desire. But the challenge is that the practice of political democracy is not itself sufficient to generate these virtues. What are the sites where an internalised sense of morality will be generated? Our educational institutions do not seem quite up to the task, and public culture is seriously corrosive of deep moral reflection. To some extent, for good or for ill, we are living off a complex inheritance of family values, religious associations, traditional authority, on which are grafted schools and modern civic associations. This legacy is a mixed bag: oppressive in some respects, but also with the resources to transcend itself. But many of these institutions that shaped us, for good or for ill, are dissolving. What will fill that vacuum?
The last imaginative attempt to fill the vacuum was the nationalist movement, which, even more than the question of Independence, was obsessed with the question of the norms and values, the sense of self and history that would shape us. But that legacy petered out; partly because of a genuine disillusionment, partly because of the constricted and willfully suffocating intellectual culture we created. Whether we like it or not, new forms of religious groups are filling in that vacuum.
But it is unclear what habits and inner allegiances these new forms will cultivate. If televangelists are any guide, the range is considerable: from the deeply reflective to the dangerously ridiculous. But even in the best, there is an excessive focusing on ordering the inner self, on the theory that if our inner lives are ordered, so will our outer world be. There may be something to this thought. But it still leaves open large questions about the role religion will play in shaping our sense of self and its relation to the world. Will it be supportive of all the moral responsibilities that a democracy will impose upon us? The crisis of our times is reflected in the fact that we cannot say yes to this question with any confidence. Edits & Columns]
Sri Aurobindonians and Savitri Erans are at loggerheads for quite some time now over the issue of religion and politics. Erans are in favor of participating in active politics representing a distinct religious denomination, whereas Nians insist on watching from the sidelines only and relying more on the power of prayers. Both the positions have their own merit as well as justification, but the underlying issues are yet be discussed threadbare.
In this context, Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s excellent examination of religion in Indian Express of Oct 10, 2008 brings out many arguments that could be construed as augmenting the Erans’ stand. While acknowledging that “the practice of political democracy is not itself sufficient to generate these virtues” (that “Democracy requires”), he approvingly remembers the contribution of “the nationalist movement” (read, Sri Aurobindo) in this respect. Mehta’s is a clarion call that should create wide reverberations involving the entire national psyche. [TNM]

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why divide love?

[(3) Religion and Spirituality: Religion of today is blatantly and shamelessly about "identity" and power politics as we all know. In this murderous game the devils on top, our politicians, will be the only ones to profit cent per cent. But there is something to note here apart from the political tinge this religious problem has acquired. The esoterism of religions is dying and is breathing hard to survive. All that will remain in the coming years will be the calcified exoteric religious ego of each and every practising individual and the institution that shelters him/her - the "ego" which religion originally set about to obliterate. Ironical indeed! And in this clash of ossified egos and their following demise, a new spirituality shall be born. I believe hence that a time will soon come when the few remaining true and tolerant seekers of God - who do not look upon God as some chocolate wrapped in a shiny colorful foil of brands like Cadbury or Mars or Eclairs or Lindt and vie for the top spot for their God - will be happy to see that gods of all religions are dying in this head-banging religious "survival-of-the-fittest" game and a new unifying concept shall soon be established, one sans division of any kind. And that would be spirituality! Spirituality not in the way Paris Hilton understands it but in true terms of its original meaning: of "Spirit" of mankind, hidden as fire or god or spark or a sublime feeling of compassion, love and tolerance in every human heart, spirituality which accepts no caste, creed, dogma, doctrine, guru, holy book, as its last word and will embrace and beautify and enlarge all ideas and any idea of God. I wait for such a day when the religious economic market, just born, will die too (sadly with blood on the hands of all religions) and give way to only one faith -- Spirituality. No one would then be bound by an outer form, a set of rituals, a prescribed method of worship, dietary restrictions, a daily method of prayer, a proselytization exercise leading to heaven, no delusional my-religious-daddy-strongest fights, and above all NO BLOWING UP OF PEOPLE in the name of Allah. Sri Aurobindo has already announced that such a time would soon come when we shall all be unified under one single faith with as many ways of pursuing God as each of us personally wants. That will teach us tolerance among diverse faiths. To sum up in Sri Aurobindo's terms: "So also one may say that the perfection of the integral Yoga will come when each man is able to follow his own path of Yoga, pursuing the development of his own nature in its upsurging towards that which transcends the nature. For freedom is the final law and the last consummation. " (The Synthesis of Yoga, pg. 57) I, for one, am waiting for such a day. As for me, I love Jesus and Krishna who are the One manifested as many. I have to acknowledge that I owe my gratitude to the grand and catholic philosophy of my gurus Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for making me so broadminded by inducing in me a love of all philosophies in this world. Let all the squabbling religious and political heads and voices drown and die under their own rubble and a true spirituality emerge to unite us all.Well, that is how I envisage these separate issues that are now being generalized, either as a communal problem, political problem, religious problem or an economic problem. Seeing things the way they are with their nuances helps us fathom situations with more clarity and patience. A serious law and order problem in our State, quickly exploited by one religion for the purpose of conversions, and another religion to react violently, and all of it resulting in bloodletting is something which implicates the State, the Police, the Christian evangelicals and the Hindu extremists all alike in this heinous crime. There is no smoke without fire! And this fire is this entire aforementioned group. Shame on such an onslaught of political incompetence and recklessness and religious greed on innocent people! My deepest sympathies will always be with those whose innocent lives were sacrificed and butchered so heartlessly and futilely resulting in no gain. Christian rapacity for conversion is as much guilty of engendering these moments of violence as is Hindu fanaticism in enacting it. One need not be emotionally biased or mealy-mouthed to say this as a freethinker, Mr. Tharoor!
Posted by Meera Ghose at
1:11 PM Friday, October 10, 2008 Labels: , , , , , , , , , I am an ardent devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. My only source of strength, hope and happiness in this mad and chaotic world is this one sentence from the Mother, which she noted in Her diary soon after meeting Sri Aurobindo for the first time... I am an unreligious spiritualist and hence can say that I love all religions deeply but practice none. To be spiritual is to engulf all faiths, all paths and yet be enslaved to no one form or belief -- except for the true Essence behind all, the great Source that sustains all, which is ever the same. My head bows down in obedience to It forever. Also, everything on this page is a product of my stumbling and ignorance. Meera's Blog ]

  • "I love Jesus and Krishna who are the One manifested as many."
  • "I am an ardent devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother."

It is really difficult to reconcile the two statements. Why divide love? Is it not double speak? [TNM] [Sacred stuff]