Monday, July 20, 2009

Chicago, Cairo, Sofia, Istanbul, Mumbai, & Puducherry

[Those who criticize Hinduism for being other-worldly, life- negating and blind to the need for social reconstruction probably have never read the books of Aurobindo, one of modern India's two most celebrated philosophers of religion. After winning fame as a nationalist revolutionary, Aurobindo suddenly retired to an ashram at Pondicherry not because he had abandoned the cause of Indian independence but rather to work out a spiritual philosophy which would give substance to the nation when it won its freedom... Only a spiritualised society can bring about the crucial harmony between individual and communal happiness. Using familiar Christian language, Aurobindo calls for "a new kind of theocracy, the kingdom of God upon earth, a theocracy which shall be the government of mankind by the Divine in the hearts and minds of men. For such a new age the superman must live in the free light of the intellect, and breathe the fresh air of higher ideals. The age to come requires wide intellectual curiosity, a cultivated aesthetic taste and an enlightened will.
Aurobindo carefully distinguished between what he hoped for and the ordinary Christian hope for the coming kingdom. "The trend of the Jewish nation which gave us the severe ethical religion of the Old Testament crude, conventional and barbarous enough in the Mosaic law, but rising to undeniable heights of moral exaltation when to the Law were added the Prophets, and finally exceeding itself and blossoming into a fine flower of spirituality in Judaic Christianity was dominated by the preoccupation of a terrestrial and ethical righteousness and the promised rewards of right worship and right doing, but innocent of science and philosophy, careless of knowledge, indifferent to beauty. A better symbol for the age of the superman is found in Hindu sacred literature. While in the age of Power, Vishnu descends as king and in the age of Balance, as the legislator or codifier of moral laws, in the final age that of Truth he comes as the Master of works manifest in the hearts of his creatures. Such is the kingdom to come, as we are beginning to see, when we find God not in a distant heaven but within ourselves and our society. Or as Aurobindo's widow [sic.] put it in 1956, the manifestation of divinity (the Supramental) is no longer a promise, but a verifiable fact. Not only is it at work here, but the day will come when even the most blind and unwilling will be obliged to recognise it.
HINDUISM'S CHRIST From World Religions, Vol. 2
The Avatar: Hinduism's Christ By
Dr. Young Oon Kim]

[Ours is not a flat world à la the protagonists of capitalism, or mono-linguistic or monotheistic as some religious pleaders would insist it to be. This situation gets worsened when one belief or ideological system imposes itself on others. If there is something meant for us as true progress, then it is that which we must discern and accept, accept what is helpful for it to happen. In the Aurobindonian language it is the growth of collective consciousness which a secret but sure hand is shaping and furthering towards the manifestation of higher powers of the spirit. Knowledge, Happiness, Strength, Beauty, Harmony, Perfection, Sweetness, Love are some of its attributes and these are the ones which must be fortified in our organization of the social systems and establishments. These should take care of the secret evolutionary urge behind the whole process, it directing our aims and objectives.
The name given to this secret urge is Sanatan Dharma which cherishes transformation of life in terms of great and enduring spiritual verities. This wonderful urge is nothing but the ancient Vishnu Tattva, the sustaining Essence of the Cosmic Being, which upholds creatively and progressively this entire universe. We as individuals as well as group-souls or nation-souls have our own uniqueness which provides the meaning to the multiplicity of this creation. We are not typal creations but evolutionary entities associating ourselves in this multiplicity of creation. That indeed is our joy and that is our unique opportunity also to participate in this amazingly rich world of the spirit.
It might be that there are distortions in the functioning of this fourfold order,—and, sure enough, there are distortions,—but the remedy does not lie in condemning it; it rather lies in tracing and removing the deep-rooted causes of such deformations and misrepresentations. The problem, rather the confusion, got further aggravated with the appearance of several religions and religious sects, and further with the clash of civilisations. In fact, it is precisely there that the Indian genius with its roots in spirituality should come to bring harmony with the oneness the Vedantic realization proclaims. Perhaps it had an admirable purpose, an intention to work out a higher degree of synthesis and organization. But that can happen only when there is a deeper understanding not only of our nature but also of the nature of the collective. But where is that understanding, that aspiring soul of the nation cherishing spiritual transformation of life? This aspiration is not the prerogative of the Hindutva alone.
Mirror of Tomorrow India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part I
RY Deshpande on Mon 20 Jul 2009 03:16 AM IST Permanent Link Cosmos]

[on cars from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek
One of my minor goals in life is never to own a car. So far, so good...
What’s wrong with cars? Nothing, especially. I just can’t imagine spending money on fuel, maintenance, and insurance that could go instead toward plane tickets to Sofia, Istanbul, or Mumbai.]

More powers to Harman's finger tips for pushing the frontiers of Philosophy onwards Mumbai. [TNM]

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