Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo & The Mother.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Zorba the Vega

You can love him or hate him but can't ignore him: Richard Carlson, L'enfant terrible. As he claims expertise in ever newer pastures, he should have called himself Zorba the Vega instead of Tony Clifton. [TNM]

Friday, February 27, 2009

The J-card

[“What devalued this prime minister’s position is that he was not in control of the UPA regime. 10 Janpath, and not 7 Race Course, was the true seat of power. The latter held office but no authority; the former had authority but no accountability to Parliament.” - UPA devalued office of PM, says Advani Economic Times
PM should be a LS member: Advani NDTV.com Government failed on all fronts: Advani Hindu
India concerned over developments in Pak: Advani Daily Times]

Advani simply seeks to substitute Jhandewalan for 10 Janpath. [TNM]

Once Ashramite, always Ashramite

[Communism not anybody's monopoly: Somnath Chatterjee
Times of India - 27 Feb 2009, 1516 hrs IST, PTI NEW DELHI: Apparently hitting out at CPM which had expelled him, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Friday said he remains a "Communist" as Communism is not "anybody's monopoly".
Retiring Somnath says communism no party's monopoly Economic Times]

Heehs may take solace. [TNM]

Emotional anachar

Heehs' choreography of a biography should inspire further reinterpretations. [TNM]

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Human worth - equal or hierarchical?

[Why Realism? from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects
Take, for example, the contemporary debate over evolution. The religious skeptic might concede the correlationist argument, claiming that at the level of phenomena or how things appear for-us, evolution is the only plausible conclusion. Nonetheless– and here I’m indebted to Meillassoux’s analysis in After Finitude –the religious skeptic can still point out that this knowledge is restricted to appearances, and that the level of things-in-themselves the world could be organized in a completely different way, along creationist lines. “Since we cannot know things-in-themselves,” the religious skeptic reasons, “there is no reason to conclude that things are as they appear.” Consequently, the correlationist move still leaves open wiggle room for faith trumping what our experimental investigation of nature tells us.
1:20 PM]

[By linking inherent rights to God, Wolterstorff is confronting widespread skepticism about theistic groundings of justice... A theory of the goods to which we have rights requires an underlying idea of a person’s fundamental worth.
That conclusion, of course, raises yet another question: how do we account for human worth as a basis for inherent natural rights? Wolterstorff’s answer is especially provocative. After assessing arguments from Kant to Gewirth, he concludes that no existing secular reasons provide an adequate account, but a theistic argument does. Rights inhere in our equal worth as God’s beloved, regardless of our capacities or choices. The Immanent Frame
Justice: Justice and rights-talk in liberal democracies posted by Kevin den Dulk 10:53 AM]

[The earliest preoccupation of man in his awakened thoughts and, as it seems, his inevitable and ultimate preoccupation, - for it survives the longest periods of scepticism and returns after every banishment, - is also the highest which his thought can evisage... The earliest formula of Wisdom promises to be its last, - God, Light, Freedom, Immortality. -Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine]

Sri Aurobindo would go further, integrating appearances and reality, but his account of the worth of humans and their rights will be more practical and hierarchical. [TNM]

Genealogy of justice in Sanskrit texts

[Nicholas Wolterstorff: February 23rd, 2009 at 2:26 pm I don’t really have anything more to say about the role of justice in the New Testament than I said in the book. 10:53 AM 10:43 AM]

For a more rounded picture, it would be appropriate if the genealogy of justice is sought in Sanskrit texts predating the New Testament. [TNM]

Monday, February 23, 2009

Legal clutch to retain the next generation

[Savitri Erans, thankfully, have the Sri Aurobindian vision honed in the conflicting and confrontational discourse of the 20th century to guide them into the future, where art, poetry, politics, and philosophy all blend to build an integral and harmonious highway. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 7:46 AM 0 comments Links
Friday, May 04, 2007 Spread the contagion of The Mother’s love
Our congratulations and gratitude to
Richard Carlson for his historic pronouncement, "we should accept that we are in fact practicing religion" and "there is nothing wrong with this" after a protracted tug of war. This unequivocal stand just ahead of CIIS Public Programs: AUM 2007 CONFERENCE will clear the air to a great extent and would have a distinct bearing on the discourse as well as the strategies drawn for the future. Savitri Erans spread all over the world will evidently rejoice over such reasoned and pragmatic approach. With this sort of minor irritants settled we can march forward unitedly to spread the contagion of The Mother’s love with renewed vigour. [TNM] 7:31 AM 7:40 AM Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 9:00 AM 0 comments Links
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 Minor has hit upon a major truth
The Religious, the Spiritual, and the Secular: Auroville and Secular India by Robert N. Minor
Minor has hit upon a major truth. He has discovered that the Divine Manifestation of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo and their Supramental Revelation constitutes a non-negotiable religion obligatory upon the adherents. They demand unflinching faith and unalloyed surrender.
No masquerade of freedom or plurality here. Minor has said it without beating about the bush, and the Savitri Erans are thankful to him for helping heal the illusion a lot of people are suffering from. [TNM]
4:35 PM 11:44 AM Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 7:48 PM 0 comments Links
Wednesday, June 14, 2006 We belong to the noons of the future
Tusar N Mohapatra said... So much of cacophony over a minor metaphysical riddle which Sri Aurobindo solved almost a century ago. He makes a clear distiction between the Soul and the Psychic Being. He also talks about the Desire Soul. This philosophical feat became posssibe only after the Darwinian revolution, leaving Sankhya's Purusha, Shankara's Atman or Leibniz's Monad outdated.
Tusar N Mohapatra said... No student of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo would ever concede defeat before any ontological argument, whether received or contrived. We belong to the noons of the future as no one in the human history has offered a more coherent philosophy or theology. A robust metaphysical system steeped in religious fervour and spiritual possibility. Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 9:50 PM 0 comments Links]

Religions spread through children born in the household. Savitri Erans will have to secure that legal clutch to retain the next generation in its fold. [TNM]

Ritam = justice

[Justice: Rehabilitating religious rights talk posted by John Schmalzbauer
In
Justice: Rights and Wrongs, Yale University philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff offers a devastating critique of the historical narrative employed by my professor. Drawing on the work of historians Brian Tierney and John Witte, Jr., Wolterstorff argues that the “conception of justice as inherent rights was not born in the fourteenth century or the seventeenth century.” Debunking the notion that natural rights are the outgrowth of philosophical nominalism and the European Enlightenment, he pronounces this narrative “indisputably false.”
Along the way, Wolterstorff critiques the notion that rights talk is an offshoot of modern individualism. Questioning Stanley Hauerwas’ claim that the language of rights “underwrites a view of human relations as exchanges,” he presents an account of justice that is irreducibly communal. Wolterstorff also takes on those philosophers who would ground their accounts of justice in the classical Greek and Roman descriptions of the well-lived life. In his judgment, such approaches fail to take into account the inherent worth of human beings.Rather than treating rights as a modern invention, Wolterstorff traces them back to the early church fathers and the Bible itself.
10:25 PM]

[Feb 20, 2009 Justice and theism from The Immanent Frame by David Johnston
The central claim of Nicholas Wolsterstorff's
Justice: Rights and Wrongs is that justice is based on natural human rights that inhere in the worth of human beings, a worth that is bestowed on each and every human being through God's love. He contrasts this view of "justice as inherent rights" with an alternative notion of "justice as right order," the view that was espoused by pagan philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle and dominated philosophical thinking until relatively recent times.]

[Ritam Indian philosophy Indian ethics (in ethics (philosophy): India) Encyclopædia Britannica
In the Vedic philosophy, the basic principle of the universe, the ultimate reality on which the cosmos exists, is the principle of Ritam, which is the word from which the Western notion of right is derived. There is thus a belief in a right moral order somehow built into the universe itself. Hence, truth and right]

Ritam = justice. [TNM]

Right to express one's convictions in religious terms

[Nicholas Wolterstorff’s fear of the secular from The Immanent Frame by Jonathon Kahn
The truly dynamic discussion in America today about religion and politics is not between "wall of separation" secularists and Christian political theologians attempting to turn American into a theocracy. Instead, the promising but fledgling discussion is between religious and non-religious democrats who are acutely aware of the two horns of this essential American dilemma. First, one has a right to express one's convictions in whatever terms one holds them, including religious terms; second, one cannot assume that one's fellow citizens' convictions are shaped by the same terms. For Jeffrey Stout in
Democracy and Tradition, this is the “sense in which the ethical discourse of most modern democracies is secularized.” Stout’s latest work can be read as an attempt to revalue the ideas of secularity and secularization by sharply distinguishing them from secularism, which entails the policing of religious commitments from the public square. Secularization is not secularism. Under secularization, it is reasonable to be religious, and it is in this sense that John Milbank is right in claiming that the “logic of secularism is imploding.”]

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Debashish Thu 19 Feb 2009 05:19 AM PST. It seems darshan only made sense as part of a lifestyle summed up by the slogan "All life is yoga." But he regretted that few people read anything these days and those who did read had little clarity of mind or training in reading to understand what was being said. Moreover many who even professed that "all life is yoga" found it more convenient to adulate since it absolved them of their own need to realize. Sort of like Jesus Christ has done it for us all so mankind needn't do anything except pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ and persuade or coerce more and more people to do the same.]

Toeing a democratic line of action is the right course. [TNM]

The intimate outsider

[Victor falls more and more under the spell of René. It seems that the Belgian youth has achieved everything that Victor wants. He is a member of the palace's Secret Police; the Regent grants him a young concubine in the palace; he has even won to the heart and bed of the Dowager Empress (not the same one that contributed to the Boxer Rebellion, who was by now dead). The novel grows ever more feverish as young René appears to be more tightly wrapped up in the life of the Forbidden City even as Victor grows more dispirited about his own efforts. Or is he? This question is at the heart of Segalen's novel. The story grows ever more feverish as Victor's desires to be admitted to the Celestial Presence are foiled, even as René ascends ever higher in the Imperial hierarchy. [...] Many readers of this book will end up puzzled or frustrated, because Segalen does not choose to wrap the story up neatly. The desire he has to become part of what seems so patently unknowable gives rise to a nightmarish atmosphere and a growing sense of unreality that reaches a climax at the end of the novel. I for one was enthralled the whole way through. So what if RENE LEYS is a mystery wrapped inside an enigma (which also pretty much describes its author's life). The Impenetrability of the Forbidden City, January 19, 2006 By James Paris "Tarnmoor" (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews Permalink]

There Victor, here Peter; a sad tinge of resemblance. [TNM]

Sunday, February 22, 2009

C for cloud

[I credit Daniel Ingram for reminding me the importance of correct practice (see my review of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha), Shinzen Young for secularizing the dharma and developing user-friendly and uber-scientific techniques (see my review of The Science of Enlightenment), Ken Wilber for his lucid articulation and development of Integral Philosophy, and my fellow dharma geeks over at Buddhist Geeks and Dharma Overground for their encouragement and open-sharing of knowledge. Open Practice: Demystifying and Secularizing the Path to Enlightenment
from ~C4Chaos by c4chaos]

[Feb 3, 2009 Less is More: The League and Blogging
from Indistinct Union by Chris Dierkes
Sorry for the lack of posting around here of late. I promise to get back to it when I get some more time. This week and next are really nutso, so no guarantees. Moreover, I’m spending what precious little blogging time I have available now over at
The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.]

One by one, ardent affiliates of the integral brigade are either streaming out or losing steam. End of a dream. [TNM]

Lay the blame at the door of human nature

[Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Machiavelli, Tocqueville, Mussolini":
These two paragraphs sum up what the AEI, and ALL the other right-wing think-tanks, really represent in the world altogether, and what they thus loudly champion.
"The entire pattern and trend of current human culture, including scientific materialism, all modes of false philosophy, and everything relating to the current domain of consumer based politics, competitive social systems, tribal national systems, un-regulated economics, and archaic tribalistic conventional religiosity---is abouth death and the "culture" of death."
Plus a quote from Jules Henry from his Culture Against Man (1963).
"In Western Culture today one must make a distinction between the culture of life and the culture of death. In the minds of most people science has become synonymous with destructive weapons, i.e. with death....Where is the culture of life? The culture of life resides in all those people who, inarticulate, frightened and confused, are wondering where it will all end. Thus the forces of death are confident and organized while the forces of life--the people who long for peace---are, for the most part, scattered, inarticulate, and wooly-minded, overwhelmed by their own impotence. DEATH struts about the house while LIFE cowers in the corners." Posted by Anonymous to
Marketime at 5:53 AM, February 17, 2009]

The blame, instead of being directed at some abstract "right-wing think-tanks," should ideally lay at the door of human nature, with the admission that we are all complicit; we are all guilty in one form or the other. [TNM]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

At Savitri Era we are passionate about World Union, the Third Dream

[Wednesday, May 23, 2007 Spiritual experiences cannot be exhibited in blog-postings
It seems to be flogging season for the mind and the intellect, and obviously, the poor blogger is at the receiving end. Insisting on experience is fine, but then it begs the question, whose experience? Which experience? Is experience so universal? And how to distinguish those who peddle fakes? At
SELF we are rather wary of experience. Ours is a limited objective of creating a manageable syllabus to learn the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, say, at the undergraduate level. That entails a lot of narrowcasting and hammering out conformity on core questions. Blogging is forcing people to come out of the cover of ambivalence and pledge support for some theoretical school.
Endlessly parroting the word, spirituality is also anathema to us. Spiritual experiences can neither be dispensed from nor exhibited in blog-postings. Reading and writing as mental/intellectual activities are desirable and it is up to the individual how to turn it religious/yoga. Let’s not discourage young people to read philosophical writings that help them in their self-culture as well as mapping the future. TNM
Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 10:03 AM 0 comments Links]

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Debashish Thu 19 Feb 2009 05:19 AM PST. It seems darshan only made sense as part of a lifestyle summed up by the slogan "All life is yoga." But he regretted that few people read anything these days and those who did read had little clarity of mind or training in reading to understand what was being said. Moreover many who even professed that "all life is yoga" found it more convenient to adulate since it absolved them of their own need to realize. Sort of like Jesus Christ has done it for us all so mankind needn't do anything except pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ and persuade or coerce more and more people to do the same.]

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by
Debashish on Fri 20 Feb 2009 12:37 PM PST Profile Permanent Link: It is a given that Sri Aurobindo and/or the Mother are the last authority on "what the Integral Yoga demands" at any time and place.]

Hinging the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo to Integral Yoga alone is too reductionist, and let it be known that at Savitri Era we are more passionate about World Union, the Third Dream. As it partly 'absolves us of the need to realize,' may we call upon others to double up their sadhana so that the overall deficit is compensated. It is just a request, and not sermon or instruction which some are of wont throwing. [TNM]

Defending everyone’s right to present a different than “the only correct opinion”

[At this moment in time, the most important task is to make sure that free discussion about these problems is not silenced as an attack on the very idea of European integration. We have always believed that being allowed to discuss such serious issues, being heard, defending everyone’s right to present a different than “the only correct opinion” – no matter how much we may disagree with it – is at the very core of the democracy we were denied for over four decades. We, who went through the involuntary experience that taught us that a free exchange of opinions and ideas is the basic condition for a healthy democracy, do hope, that this condition will be met and respected also in the future. This is the opportunity and the only method for making the European Union more free, more democratic and more prosperous. Václav Klaus, European Parliament, Brussels, 19 February 2009 Speech of the President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus in the European Parliament//12:35 PM 12:55 PM1:56 PM]

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Debashish Fri 20 Feb 2009 10:51 AM PST. This is the sector of "devotees" who have a narrow understanding of the integral yoga. It is not that this sector was any less numerous during the time Sri Aurobindo and/or the Mother were in the body, but they were given their place and did not have the "voice" they now do in the absence of the gurus. This is what has created a dangerous situation with regard to the wider possibilties of the yoga.]

Voice is the cornerstone of civil society. Knocking the doors of a law court for conflict resolution too is another fundamental attribute. Hence, why these basic rights and prerogatives are being called into question is incomprehensible. [TNM]

Of skulls & snakes

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by Rick on Sun 15 Feb 2009 11:28 AM PST
Profile Permanent Link
So if I do bow to their greater wisdom, it is not the knee jerk of a religious person. It is linking up with this concentrated spiritual exchange that has a scientific foundation. It is feeling in more intense form, knowing by an ever-growing identify, that presence in whom I experience existence most profoundly. It is one scientific means, in a whole panoply of self-transcending techniques, to break—by a methodized effort, through a practical body of psychological processes—the habit of being a human being. And if that “powerful unifying force” leads, in the short term, to some more or less intense disunities, well, how can you transform a dragon without calling it up? I see this not as separativeness, and not as a mistake our masons couldn’t foresee and ought to own up to, but as a Unity Consciousness, loosening us through some evolutionary knots, in order to make that oneness finally a concrete fact. The process of this construction may take us apart all together, if and to the extent that it has to. We’re squaring the circle so the serpent can bite that tail----I mean, we’re not laying bricks here. What is our work? What are we building? It is the psychic being. And it's the sublimely practical, scientific business of a yoga that aspires to build a new kind of being who is beyond believing. But well worth knowing. I warmly welcome any thoughtful comments. Rick Lipschutz]

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by
Debashish on Thu 19 Feb 2009 03:08 PM PST
Profile Permanent Link: In fact, "the Sri Aurobindo Ashram" defines itself as a laboratory for world transformation, hence in terms of a plurality of representations of the yoga and its founders... Once again, whatever a traditional yoga ashram is obliged to do or not does not apply to the Sri Auorbindo Ashram. ]

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by
Kepler on Thu 19 Feb 2009 07:05 PM PST
Profile Permanent Link: The point was simply that an ashram is primarily concerned with growth of spiritual consciousness, not freedom of expression, hence an argument that appeals only or overwhelmingly to free speech is weak. It's not clear to me that Sri Aurobindo Ashram being non-traditional has any bearing on that, although I suppose one can take “non-traditional” to be a valid antecedent to any claim which would then be vacuously true, e.g. Sri Aurobindo Ashram should promote snake-handling as sadhana since it is a non-traditional ashram :-)]

[The Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Peter Heehs reportedly claims, is “a scientific research institution,” and hence it won’t be surprising if some day skulls and skeletons literally tumble out of the cupboards of its departments. Considering the secrecy with which the Ashram operates, it is difficult to predict where this supposedly hallowed institution is heading. Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 7:59 AM Monday, November 03, 2008]

Not a day passes without Ulrich Mohrhoff (koantum), the resident physicist, ridiculing science; and on the other hand the Sri Aurobindo Ashram is labeled as “a scientific research institution.” Hence, which paradigm of science is being adhered to here needs clarification as well as codification. [TNM]

With no opposition, there is no freedom

[The present decision making system of the European Union is different from a classic parliamentary democracy, tested and proven by history. In a normal parliamentary system, part of the MPs support the government and part support the opposition. In the European parliament, this arrangement has been missing. Here, only one single alternative is being promoted and those who dare thinking about a different option are labelled as enemies of the European integration. Not so long ago, in our part of Europe we lived in a political system that permitted no alternatives and therefore also no parliamentary opposition. It was through this experience that we learned the bitter lesson that with no opposition, there is no freedom. That is why political alternatives must exist. And not only that. The relationship between a citizen of one or another member state and a representative of the Union is not a standard relationship between a voter and a politician, representing him or her. Václav Klaus, European Parliament, Brussels, 19 February 2009
Speech of the President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus in the European Parliament 12:35 PM 12:55 PM]


Václav’s fears are likely to have a strong bearing on the shape of the world union envisaged by Sri Aurobindo. However, we may treat it as a welcome development that at least the principle "with no opposition, there is no freedom" has now been firmly instituted amongst the Savitri Erans. [TNM]

Banerji, a complicit

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Debashish Thu 19 Feb 2009 05:19 AM PST. It seems darshan only made sense as part of a lifestyle summed up by the slogan "All life is yoga." But he regretted that few people read anything these days and those who did read had little clarity of mind or training in reading to understand what was being said. Moreover many who even professed that "all life is yoga" found it more convenient to adulate since it absolved them of their own need to realize. Sort of like Jesus Christ has done it for us all so mankind needn't do anything except pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ and persuade or coerce more and more people to do the same.
Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Debashish Fri 20 Feb 2009 10:51 AM PST. This is the sector of "devotees" who have a narrow understanding of the integral yoga. It is not that this sector was any less numerous during the time Sri Aurobindo and/or the Mother were in the body, but they were given their place and did not have the "voice" they now do in the absence of the gurus. This is what has created a dangerous situation with regard to the wider possibilties of the yoga.
Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Debashish Fri 20 Feb 2009 12:37 PM PST. It is a given that Sri Aurobindo and/or the Mother are the last authority on "what the Integral Yoga demands" at any time and place. If either of them intervened in any case of "free speech," it would be accepted as "the thing to be done" (krtavyam karma). My comments are made in a post-physical-presence-of-the-gurus era. There too, I do not wish to press the "free speech" argument for its own sake, but for the integrality of an evolving experience from the ignorant life to the divine life.]

In the integrality of "all life is yoga" there is no dichotomy between reading and adulating. One wonders why Banerji did not raise his voice all these years and remained a complicit in the degeneration he is complaining about now. [TNM]

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nadkarni Manifesto

[As the late Dr. Nadkarni pointed out in an article entitled "Sri Aurobindo and the Indian Intelligentsia", there are four main categories of intellectuals in India who have been largely hostile or at best indifferent to Sri Aurobindo: the Hindu religious establishment, the Gandhians, the politically non-committed but Eurocentric academics and the Leftists. These account for much of the intelligentsia of the country. Re: Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Angiras on Mon 24 Nov 2008 11:08 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
by Angiras on Fri 28 Nov 2008 04:10 AM PST
Profile Permanent Link
David wrote: "You can see how, in our community, even rhetorically stating such questions creates a collective gasp. How dare he write that! Heresy!" This "collective gasp" at seeing certain questions even discussed is, if nothing else, a sign of a community that is not ready for the twenty-first century.]

[a field of integral culture as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as a new kind of "ashram," had to be premised on plurality of approaches to the divine and all expressions of life which could enter into the field of seeking. Clear rules have been made about what cannot enter into this field - smoking, drinking, sex and politics. Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by
Debashish on Thu 19 Feb 2009 10:27 PM PST Profile Permanent Link]

[We have to rebuild this country and for our inspiration in this task we must go to Sri Aurobindo, India’s real Bhagya Vidhata... An important section of Orissa has turned to Sri Aurobindo for its inspiration and a new Orissa is emerging... 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 11:00 AM ]

[Monday, September 24, 2007
A manifesto for the 21st century has been left behind by Dr. Mangesh V. Nadkarni Political opinions, likewise, tend to be different among the Savitri Erans which is natural. But the differences can be narrowed down on the basis of a common minimum programme. Such a manifesto has been left behind by Dr. Mangesh V. Nadkarni that was published in The Indian Express on Thursday, March 21, 2002 (Sri Aurobindo’s Opposition: Why the Indian establishment resisted him) laying down the clear agenda for the 21st century. We call upon all the Savitri Erans spread over the whole planet to rise in unison to the call by Dr. Nadkarni and act resolutely so as to shatter Sri Aurobindo’s Opposition. Joining of hands, and not dissipation, is the need of the hour. We must be all ears to Dr. M.V. Nadkarni. Tusar N. Mohapatra,
President, Savitri Era Party.
11:55 AM. 9:44 AM 4:57 PM 4:49 PM at 2:19 PM at 1:03 PM]

The call of Dr. Mangesh V. Nadkarni remains a challenging task. Elections are a couple of months away, and Savitri Erans are requested to be guided strictly by the Nadkarni Manifesto. [TNM]

How much plurality is enough?

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Debashish Thu 19 Feb 2009 03:08 PM PST - Sri Auorbindo's yoga is not a traditional yoga and his ashram was not meant by him to be a traditional ashram... An individual disciple's attitude towards the guru is entirely between the indvidual and the guru... Thus appraising the nature of one's guru is a personal matter and need have nothing to do with surrendering to the divine in him for yoga sadhana... In fact, "the Sri Aurobindo Ashram" defines itself as a laboratory for world transformation, hence in terms of a plurality of representations of the yoga and its founders... Once again, whatever a traditional yoga ashram is obliged to do or not does not apply to the Sri Auorbindo Ashram... All individual views arising within the matrix of sadhana are legitimate here and should be given their value, whether one agrees with them or not... Those who have acted against the author of The Lives have done so clearly against the spirit of the Integral Yoga and the ashram founded on the principles of this yoga. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they represent a great danger to the collective manifestation of the yoga - its transformation into a controlled and narrowly authorized religion.]
Banerji's sympathy for plurality cannot be contested, but the point is, institutional flexibility for managing diversity always has its own limits. The hurdles here are not only temperamental or ideological, but also political and practical. These aspects need to be spelled out and deliberated separately instead of pegging everything to the book imbroglio. Wanted a bit of sagacity in approach. [TNM]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Offer resistance to dishonest disfiguring

[Hindutva influence
Whether there is a Hindutva interest behind the moves of the opponents of the book and whether this supports or violates the views of Sri Aurobindo is another issue at stake.
The Uttarpara speech has been printed and cited innumerable times since its delivery, partly because it was the first and the last occasion when Sri Aurobindo spoke of his spiritual experiences in public. As such, it is an impor­tant document for scholars of mysticism. But historians, political scientists, and politicians also discuss the speech. Left-wing critics hold it up as proof that Aurobindo’s nationalism was Hindu at its core, and suggest that this bias encouraged the growth of communalism. Right-wing enthusiasts cite passages of the speech out of context to make it seem as if Aurobindo endorsed their programs. Both of these readings are partial and are inconsistent with Sri Aurobindo's major socio-political texts in which he defines his ideals of human unity. Sri Aurobindo’s “universal religion” was not limited to any particular creed. Besides, the Uttarpara speech was given at an early stage of his sadhana and does not adequately represent his later vision. Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy by
Debashish Banerji, Rich Carlson, David Hutchinson, Angiras, Koantum on Sun 01 Feb 2009 09:52 AM PST Permanent Link]

[The other problem is that this impulse for change, like everything else, can get mixed with other motives (as you note, see below), with group behaviors, with past beliefs, with wider political movements (such as the Hindutva movement, which I believe is related to this situation), with historical events (such as the campaign against the revision of Savitri, which I also believe is related to this situation). An argument is put forward for what seems a simple, spiritual matter, but it can be anything but. Re: Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by David Hutchinson on Wed 26 Nov 2008 06:24 AM PST Profile Permanent Link]

[Home This is a community website for the well wishers of Sangh Parivar. The aim of Sangh Parivar is to take Bharat to the pinnacle of glory. Sangh Parivar Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam This website is independent of any Sangh Parivar organisations. The Financial Meltdown and the Triune Crisis : An Integral Perspective Article By: O. P. Dani , Chairman, CAS Corporate Consultants Pvt Ltd., Noida and M.S. Srinivasan, Research Associate, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry.1:38 PM ]

The teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo can be appropriated by anyone within a democratic polity. The role of Savitri Era Party is precisely to ensure right portrayal and offer resistance to dishonest disfiguring. [TNM]

Faith/metaphysics is dynamic and differs from person to person

[Husserl begins with an obvious thesis – “look at the things themselves!” – yet in executing this project he unsettles our assumptions about what it is to experience the world and objects, opening a vast domain that continues to challenge central assumptions in cognitive science, psychology, the social sciences, etc.
Teaching is as and the pedagogy of alienation from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects 5:27 AM]
[Feb 18, 2009 In Praise of Materialism from Larval Subjects . by larvalsubjects
Having picked up Brassier’s dissertation once again, I find myself thoroughly delighted and exhilarated by the hymn he sings to modern science in contrast to reactionary correlationism and phenomenology. This remark by Husserl sums up the entire problem and underlines just why phenomenology is so reactionary: “The existence of Nature cannot be the condition for the existence of consciousness since Nature itself turns out to be a correlate of consciousness: Nature is only as being constituted in regular concatenations of consciousness" (Ideas I, 116). Such, in a nutshell is the entire problem with correlationism. Read pages 10 - 22 of Ray’s
dissertation ... and see if you don’t find yourself electrified.]
[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by koantum on Thu 12 Feb 2009 10:17 PM PST
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You either believe in metaphysical explanations or you do not. Do you actually believe that you can do without metaphysics? For instance, can you explain without metaphysics what you mean by "existential praxis"? The need for a metaphysics — if so you want to call it — is well explained by Sri Aurobindo in "Faith and Shakti" (a chapter of The Synthesis of Yoga). Faith/metaphysics is dynamic and differs from person to person.]
[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by Tony Clifton on Sat 14 Feb 2009 04:40 PM PST
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I am reluctant to quote from these aphorisms, because (not unlike some of Nietzsche's) - removed from the particular contextual inspiration in which they were jotted down- sometimes they just defy common sense. And I do agree that common sense is the last thing one should throw away when they begin yoga. At any rate we have strayed far from the topic from which this comment train was begun. And I dont think any yogi-scientist or priest of the physical types are going coming forward anytime soon to help us around this impasse;) Better to focus on the "larger issues" at stake here.]
[So let me make haste to come back quickly to the original question of “rationalistic approach bearing fruit” while expounding the spiritual experience. But then possibly we have kind of built faith in the rationalistic approach, simply because it has borne fruits elsewhere. There is no theory based on empirical facts that the methods applicable in the domain of physics could also be meaningfully rewarding in the mystical-occult-spiritual fields. Even in lesser sciences, like the biological, there are serious doubts. In fact rationalism taken to extremes has attracted critics.... There can be hardly any doubt that the scientific account of evolution has to be considerably changed or dropped altogether, says David Berlinski. That’s a scientist’s testimony. Re: A Question of Hagiography and Biography--Empirical Rationalism
by RY Deshpande on Thu 19 Feb 2009 08:33 PM IST
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Ontological impasse is as much an essential feature of our finitude as socio-political problems are intractable. An emergent/contingent stance therefore is the most prudent/pragmatic approach that shields us from self-delusion. [TNM]

Blography

[Kepler: …what if one did want to know, as objectively as possible, all that could be documented about Sri Aurobindo’s external life …? Re: A Question of Hagiography and Biography
by RY Deshpande on Wed 18 Feb 2009 11:33 AM IST
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But this is a natural in fact a perfectly legitimate curiosity and it need not be hastily dismissed. ~ RYD
Reply] Re: A Question of Hagiography and Biography
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Thu 19 Feb 2009 05:16 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

An attempt to write such a biography can be made here itself in the Wikipedia style by collective contribution. By writing and rewriting say, seven sentences everyday, one chapter can be covered in one month. [TNM] Reply

[Re: A Question of Hagiography and Biography
by RY Deshpande on Thu 19 Feb 2009 08:38 PM IST
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That's an inspired suggestion, and thanks. May I request volunteers to come forward? We can set aside a category for both the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. ~RYD Reply]

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The term that triggered a million missiles

[Let us take the most shocking example of Heehs’ misrepresentation – his portrayal of the relationship of the Mother with Sri Aurobindo after her second and final arrival in Pondicherry in 1920://

It can be contested that I am merely imagining these flaws in Heehs’ presentation. My criticism could be dismissed on the basis of being more biased against Heehs than he is with regard to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. But lo, new evidence pops up again at the end of the book to show his real intentions. When Sri Aurobindo stumbled over the tiger skin and broke his leg in the early hours of 24 November 1938, Heehs writes about the Mother’s waking up in the following passage:

Around two o’clock that morning, while crossing to the bathroom, Sri Aurobindo stumbled over the tiger skin and fell…Attuned inwardly to her partner, she had felt in her sleep that something was wrong.

The word “partner” seems innocently woven into the text, but you suddenly realise the mischief on closer inspection. According to the Oxford dictionary, a partner is a “spouse” or “a member of a couple who live together or are habitual companions”, or “lover”. The word has other connotations, but you mostly associate it nowadays with an ordinary human relationship. It is hardly appropriate to describe the relationship between Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Peter Heehs’s The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—by Raman Reddy
on Sun 21 Dec 2008 09:36 AM IST Permanent Link Cosmos]

[Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
by
Rich on Sat 10 Jan 2009 09:55 AM PST Permanent Link The Mother’s relation with Sri Aurobindo//(381-82) Around two o’clock that morning, while crossing to the bathroom, Sri Aurobindo stumbled over the tiger skin and fell. There was a sudden flash of pain. After years of practice he had developed the ability to transform most types of discomfort into ananda or bliss, but the pain he was feeling went be­yond his threshold. He tried to get up and failed, then lay back quietly. After a short while, the Mother entered. Attuned inwardly to her partner, she had felt in her sleep that something was wrong.
(Heehs had to ask around to find out what the problem was. The term “partner”, in the sense of “spiritual partner”, has been used to describe the relationship between Sri Aurobindo and the Mother by numerous authors whose attitude towards Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is, like Heehs’s, highly respectful. See for example George Feuerstein, Ph.D., The Yoga Tradition, p. 77, or else perform a simple Google search.) //

Vasavadatta
(299) From a literary point of view, Aurobindo’s plays are the least interesting of his works. Biographically speaking, they may offer insights into movements of his imaginative life. If his earlier plays suggest that he was searching for his ideal life partner, Vasavadutta seems to hint that he had found the woman he was seeking and was waiting for the moment when she would join him.]

At a critical stage in this delightful musical Rab ne Bana di Jodi Suri yells “Taani Partner," and nonplussed she leaves no chance to join him in the dance, and all agony gone with the wind they live happily ever after.

Peter Heehs’ imaginative depiction of Vasavadutta as the ideal life partner Sri Aurobindo “was seeking and was waiting for” gels ill with his denoting the relationship of The Mother by the same term “partner.” The term that triggered a million missiles, alas! [TNM]

Making new rules and regulations for the Ashram

[Any large institution that is involved in publishing needs policies that address individual copyright, the ability of its members to write and publish within the subject matter of their jobs and their role within the institution. It is the nature of writing that it may offend some people, or there may be questions about the right of a person to publish certain material. An institution needs to address this directly. In addition, a large institution needs policies and procedures related to communication and public relations. This issue only shows the current weakness. This "controversy" is common knowledge in the Ashram, in Auroville, and across the world, and is bringing a bad name to the Ashram. There should be a person or an office that is empowered to speak to this, that can be the voice of the Ashram as a whole, that can tell residents, locals, and the world what the actions of the institution are, how it is approaching this matter. In the absence of such a voice, it seems that the institution is throwing itself open to arbitrary actions, movements, and outcomes. Re: Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
by David Hutchinson on Wed 26 Nov 2008 06:24 AM PST
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[Control of representation ... This view would lead to the conclusions that (a) there needs to be an individual or a collective body which will control representations of Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and the ashram (with the opponents of Heehs’s book representing such a body); //New rules for the Ashram
The issue of making new rules and regulations for the ashram and its followers is another important one. Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by
Debashish Banerji, Rich Carlson, David Hutchinson, Angiras, Koantum on Sun 01 Feb 2009 09:52 AM PST Permanent Link]

[Re: Hail to Angiras—by Raman Reddy
by RY Deshpande on Sat 14 Feb 2009 03:14 PM IST
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Alok Pandey adds: The point is not who took or did not take the manuscripts. The point is who misused them for devious designs. Raman did not write any book on Sri Aurobindo... nor did he misuse the information access to him to rpove through an article or otherwise that Sri Aurobindo was a coward and a liar or that His adeshas were simply ratiocinations. If it be true that Raman took more manuscripts home and had as much free an access as PH then one must appreciate Raman's discrimination and deep faithfulness to the Work. In that case it is he who should be heading the team at Archives. On the other hand if PH took nothing and yet managed to write a most damaging book on Sri Aurobindo, then one must say that he is nothing short of a manipulative genius. The logic of Angry-us (sorry Angiras) is a skewed one with no bearings on the subject at all. Or is it a diversion of sort. The book is not written by Raman... he is not the subject or object of controversy... yet he is being brought to the centre-stage suddenly. But again where is logic in all this... anyway Reply]

Alok Pandey has endorsed that "Raman... should be heading the team at Archives." But the larger question is whether the Ashram is capable of handling publishing and public relations effectively after the vertical split? [TNM]

Who's afraid of Strawman Waffle?

[Since Joytirmaya brings up the views of Peter Heehs to support his claim that he gives Sri Aurobindo a balanced treatment. I will add that biographers and historians - even good ones - are forced to select, disregard, and interpret facts which they consider important from their own perspective. Jyotirmaya Sharma’s perspective is no different. To anyone who has studied Sri Aurobindo in any depth at all it will be painfully obvious just how egregiously, Jyotirmaya selects his facts to fit his thesis... Due to these omissions by Jyotirmaya, almost the entire historical context is missing in which Aurobindo at times advocates taking a hard line with Muslim fundamentalist, in their intolerance of secular democracy. Is this not the setting up of a straw man thesis? 1:00 AM Response to Jyotirmaya Sharma by Rich Science, Culture & Integral Yoga on Sat 19 Aug 2006 07:33 AM PDT Permanent Link Posted to: Main Page - Book reviews]

[There are many veiled motives, some clearer than others, and most of them ignoble. Personal ambition, political agendas, sadistic pleasures, wounded egos, cultural chauvinism or inferiority, vendetta, accumulated ill-will and deep fears are all worthy candidates that vie for our consideration. Those who initiate violence are seldom "telling the whole story" and often the story they are telling is immaterial.
Reply Re: Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
by
Debashish on Wed 26 Nov 2008 12:36 AM PST Profile Permanent Link]

[The other problem is that this impulse for change, like everything else, can get mixed with other motives (as you note, see below), with group behaviors, with past beliefs, with wider political movements (such as the Hindutva movement, which I believe is related to this situation), with historical events (such as the campaign against the revision of Savitri, which I also believe is related to this situation). An argument is put forward for what seems a simple, spiritual matter, but it can be anything but... On a related note, the "ringleaders" should be named and known to the wider world. The practice of making accusations in secret, of anonymously slurring another person, has a long and dark history, and brings to mind the worst of McCarthyism in the United States, los desaparecidos in Latin America, and black limousines in Communist USSR. Re: Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
by David Hutchinson
on Wed 26 Nov 2008 06:24 AM PST
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[One indication of the atmosphere of intimidation that Rich alludes to is that nowhere in these blogs do I see the names of the individuals who are actually behind this, nor the documents that have incited the situation. It does seem that people are afraid of something -- what might that be? Re: Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
by David Hutchinson on Sat 29 Nov 2008 07:52 PM PST
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[I can imagine. For I have lived in the American South through the mid-1960s, actively engaged in the Civil Rights Movement at that time. I was involved then in the protests and arrests, looked into the eyes of hatred and intolerance, watching demagogues whip up the masses into a frenzy that fed into a lynch-mob mentality. And I have seen and lived through the divisive damage done to Auroville by those who refused to recognize the "civil rights" of AV residents after the Mother's passing. I experienced for myself then first-hand, the harassment, arrest, beating, jail and expulsion at the hands of one party; while being "excommunicated" by another for daring to call him out for the divisive and intolerant behavior he was inciting among his crusaders in Auroville. Yes, I know the damage that can be done when we turn "other" into "enemy" in the name of righteousness or purity or saving us from the infidels that would corrupt "our" Truth. Savitra speaks out on The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
on Fri 23 Jan 2009 08:34 AM PST
Permanent Link]

By establishing a whipping boy, life becomes so easy and enjoyable. There can be endless talk about his misdeeds and all ills of the world can safely be attributed unto him. Finding friends who are equally worked up over him becomes effortless and a circle forms around the enemy’s enemy principle. Many a time it so happens that the heap of imagined crimes becomes more weighty than the actual and the combined zeal in criticism loses all sense of proportion. Skewed logic by setting up strawman tactics becomes the order of the day and warped arguments abound. Stray facts are piled up to substantiate predetermined charges. Wolfish sophisticated discourse employed for seeking legitimacy is even abandoned at a point. [TNM]