Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Majority of Westerners are willing Christians

[The Western psyche has been shaped by an utter revolt against the suffocating norms of Christian Church with all it's regulatory framework of sin, salvation and ex-communication. Consequently, the Westerner is eager to throw out all external forms and embark on the path of Sadhana without embellishments. by auroman on Mon 28 Dec 2009 09:55 PM IST |  Profile |  Permanent Link Re: Portraits, Relics and Medicaments—by Paola De Paolis]

Comments by auroman, most of the times, are well meaning and perceptive, and here too he is spot on in the context. His description, however, won't apply to all Westerners as majority of Westerners are willing Christians. [TNM]

Contingent & engine congeries

[But I think Meillassoux’s position actually entails the larger claim that all things are cut off form one another. They would even be cut off from their own parts: absolute contingency would not just mean a contingency from one moment to the next, after all, but would suggest that there is a merely contingent relationship between a car and the parts of that car at this very moment. It might be merely contingent that the engine in the car is what powers its movement, rather than my own thoughts, or the engine of another car on the other side of the world. dry Amazon review line of the day from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek
[The Life Divine - Google Books Result by Sri Aurobindo - Mind, being an action of the Infinite, depieces as well as aggregates ad infinitum. It cuts up being into wholes, into ever smaller wholes, into atoms and those atoms into primal atoms, until it would, if it could, dissolve the primal atom into nothingness. (1.18.180)

Speculative philosophy, when poetic, has an added charm, regardless it solves sundry riddles or not. [TNM]

Monday, December 28, 2009

As if our path were a religion

25 Dec 2009 by bhavana Now, i’ve been living in Auroville India for the last 35 years, which is trying to build a city which will not need money, not need laws, because the citizens of that city will have a consciousness which understands the Whole first, and perceives personal interests in that context. Unfortunately, we the citizens of that city are not yet established in that wholistic state of consciousness, and our efforts to do without money and without laws are thwarted by the prevailing mind-set not only in the world but also within ourselves, in our own mental habits and limitations. What has held us together and with the project (a project which UNESCO endorsed in its beginning and celebrates on its 40th birthday), is a spiritual vision. Not a religious orthodoxy, but a vision of a new consciousness prevailing on the planet.]
 [Re: Portraits, Relics and Medicaments—by Paola De Paolis by paulette on Mon 28 Dec 2009 08:13 AM IST |  Profile |  Permanent Link 
Deeply true, and one way or the other positive developments follow. But what about those who have no idea of yoga, that the ultimate goal of yoga is abiding oneness with the Self – then only the specificity of the Integral, Supramental Yoga may commence? People mistaking yoga (or not even trying to use the word) as some kind of commodity, where there is no effort, no self-discipline, no work to harmonise one’s conflicting parts around the leadership of the psychic being, no facing one’s darkest aspects and impossibilities to work them out, calling for the Mother’ force to do the sadhana – brushing away with a single stroke all that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have taught us? 
This third category is the one that turns to Mother’s pictures and relics and plays with them with a hollow heart, using them as if our path were a religion; unaware that the psychic being is its own master and doesn’t need outer paraphernalia and crutches. The Mother has taught us the language of flowers as the royal way to the emergence of the psychic being. This is all that we need. The Mother is in our inner heart. Paulette Reply]

While Bhavana seems to be humble and honest to acknowledge the shortcomings, Paulette goes ballistic against "People mistaking yoga" and puts them condescendingly in the "third category." such supercilious posturing is better avoided. [TNM]  

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gandhi Ghettoization

[Nonviolence and Peace – by Manas Roy Posted on May 2, 2006 The author is a non-teaching employee of Assam University, Silchar, India.  He holds an MA (Philosophy and Religion), NET (Buddhist, Jaina, Gandhian and Peace Studies) and presently doing PhD work on Phenomenology.  He is a guest Faculty of Philosophy in Sri Aurobindo Evening Degree College, Silchar, Assam.]

Ghettoization is so pervasive that just one entry at The Gandhi Foundation site when searched for the key word Sri Aurobindo and that too as the author's address.

"Gandhi's Faith - and Ours" is the title of a lecture by Prof. Ramachandra Guha at Theosophical Society Convention at Adyar today. "Beyond Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the young today know relatively little about the numerous heroes of the freedom movement," laments Arvind Panagariya in TOI today [Another Tryst With Destiny]. Cong's 125th year pledge: let's respect rivals‎ reports Indian Express. [TNM]

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chairman of parliamentary party and Chairman of a Company

[Split offices of chairman, CEO, govt tells India Inc Times of India - Pankaj Doval - ‎Dec 21, 2009
The proposal to separate offices of the chairman and CEO is considered tricky for Indian industry as most listed companies are controlled by promoters, ...

Ministry moots separating CEO, chairman's role Daily News & Analysis - Vivek Seal - ‎Dec 21, 2009
The ministry has suggested that offices and roles of chairman and chief executive officer should be separated to promote balance of power. ... The ministry has also suggested that an individual may not remain an independent director in a company for more than six years.]
[BJP idea: Formalise Advani, Sonia status Indian Express - ‎Dec 22, 2009
Senior BJP leader LK Advani quit as Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha last week to become the Chairman of its parliamentary party. ... A new role for Advani Express Buzz - ‎Dec 21, 2009‎ There is, however, a qualitative difference between Sonia and Advani. Sonia is the power behind the throne. Advani is being seen as a “mentor”.]
I am increasingly convinced that the existence of the Senate is the greatest single obstacle to social justice in the United States, even moreso now that it has compounded its anti-democratic character and adopted a de facto supermajority requirement for all legislation. In the ideal world, not only would the Senate be abolished, but so would their logical presupposition: quasi-sovereign “states.” If I were given the ability to write a new constitution for the US, I would eliminate the concept of states altogether and turn them into flexible administrative units whose borders were periodically redrawn.]

There is an urgent need for a re-look at the Indian Constitution and rethink on the idea of nation and its administration. [TNM]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Professional training does not suffice

[As the crisis gathered momentum in the last few years, I realized that all my readings in theories of globalization, Marxist analysis of capital, subaltern studies, and postcolonial criticism over the last twenty-five years, while enormously useful in studying globalization, had not really prepared me for making sense of this planetary conjuncture within which humanity finds itself today... If, indeed, globalization and global warming are born of overlapping processes, the question is, How do we bring them together in our understanding of the world? The Climate of History: Four Theses by Dipesh Chakrabarty - Posthuman Destinies]

[My problem is that my training as an analyst does not suffice to unlock the riddle of existence. While I believe that Freudian subconscious is the source of our biological and atavistic drives, I cannot also ignore the mystic’s description of the superconscious as the source of our highly evolved impulses. This means that one suffers not only from the repression of one’s biological drives but also can suffer from suppression of the sublime (Reddy, 1988).
This also means that to increase my repertory of counseling skills, I need a framework of reference where the subconscious and the superconscious are both accommodated in their proper places. This pursuit leads me to search for a model of Integral Psychotherapy (90). Soumitra Basu, Consciousness and its transformation 10:42 AM 9:44 PM]

The geographical contours of globalization and global warming are, obviously, too constricted to permit any holistic understanding of their dynamics and implications. [TNM]

The Life Divine retains its fertility

[Take The Life Divine for example. Sri Aurobindo is very conscious of the historicity of various discourses which provide different trajectories for human becoming and negotiates his integral ground by addressing all these. Outside of his own intent, contemporary thought has introduced new concerns (which are often old concerns in new bottles) which the text can be seen to have anticipated in certain ways and hence retains its fertility. The question of bias arises in a situated study very clearly. In untangling the discourses and their genealogies in a text, the biases of the text also reveal themselves. DB Posted June 25, 2009 at 3:48 am | Permalink]

The pivotal role of The Life Divine in the overall Sri Aurobindian scheme is so well entrenched that it is very difficult to elicit a critique. Deficiencies and discrepancies, nevertheless, exist, and a full scale interrogation is required to be attempted.
One glaring rupture is the addition of the last six chapters which altered the basic thrust of the book. Second is the Problem of Rebirth which, unresolved, remained outside the text. The third is the Mind of Light which torpedoed its neat structure. Fourth is the four powers of The Mother which could not be accommodated there.
Scores of other ontological questions raise their heads upon close reading of The Life Divine. On the praxis front too, adequate safeguards against collective yoga changing into a religion have not been addressed. [TNM]  

Welcome wizard

[In the first Navayana annual lecture series, Žižek shall deliver two talks
in Delhi (4 and 5 Jan), and one each in Hyderabad (7 Jan) and Kochi (9 Jan):
4 Jan 2010. 5 p.m. Lecture “Ideology in the Post-ideological World: The Case of Hollywood”

Sarai-CSDS. 29 Rajpur Road, Civil Lines, Delhi
5 Jan 2010. 7 p.m. Lecture “Tragedy and Farce”
Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
7 Jan 2010. 11 a.m. Lecture “Capitalism and Particular Life-Worlds: In Defense of Universalism”
ICSSR Auditorium, English & Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
9 Jan 2010. 5 p.m. Lecture and Panel Discussion “Whither Left?”
Town Hall, Kochi. For details and further information on the Žižek tour contact S. Anand at

We welcome the wizard of philosophy to India who has successfully wrested the discourse from the likes of Wilber. [TNM]

No need to rely upon ancient stories

Tusar N Mohapatra said...

Nicely put. Yoga, however, is not merely "mindful living." To remember The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and offer the work to them is crucial in this alchemy, while faith and aspiration act as catalysts. No need to rely upon ancient stories therefore. [TNM] December 22, 2009 9:07 PM

Saturday, December 19, 2009

St. Stephen's College and Sri Aurobindo Ashram

[Stephen's teachers unite against bishop Times of India - ‎Dec 17, 2009‎ NEW DELHI: A section of teachers of St Stephen's College challenged the bishop of Church of North India, Sunil Kumar Singh, on Thursday, accusing him of ... Stephen's teachers up ante against Bishop Indian Express Church demanded Rs 1 lakh from Stephen's Daily Pioneer St. Stephens' teachers launch protest against bishop New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS) Teachers of one of India's top educational institutes, the St. Stephen's College Thursday launched a protest campaign against the ... Survival of St Stephens in danger, say teachers Press Trust of India - ‎Dec 17, 2009‎ New Delhi, Dec 17 (PTI) St Stephens faculty members today alleged that Church of North India's Bishop's interference in a "reckless manner" in the ..St. Stephen's teachers launch protest against bishop, Delhi News ...]

It is a pity that institutions like St. Stephen's College and Sri Aurobindo Ashram are unable to manage their affairs in a fair and transparent manner. [TNM]

Its illustrious career would remain a beckon of light

Y2K spurred me to survey the 20th Century thought and 5 years later when I stumbled upon SCIY, it was no alien territory. Banerji’s dense compositions used to surprise, Carlson’s forthright interventions evoked curiosity; the overall concern always levitating at a certain height and encompassing a wideness while pursuing an integral spirit all through. Right in the prescribed path: heightening, widening, and integration, as it were.

Nolini, Purani, Amrita, Pavitra – great as they are – but are poorer by not having a chance to read the rich discourse that SCIY harbored. Even the Heehs imbroglio that raged for over a year brought out unexpressed dimensions of theory as well as practice in the open, the finer threads of which would be explored in the years to come.

With its founder-editor dead, and it metamorphosing into a more conventional site, albeit with an ultra-futuristic theme, SCIY, like Arya, comes to an end. Its illustrious career would remain a beckon of light for a long time. Ideological commitment may have prevented its contributors to espouse the idea of religion openly, but the way the journal ran is in the best of religious spirit. SCIY is dead, long live SCIY. [TNM] 11:56 PM, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Larval Subjects announces a course correction

  "This matter of not participating in idle words and chatter, which proliferates through the internet, is important," notes Radha Burnier [The Theosophist, December 2009]. Like all those who are part of the Establishment, she must be feeling the heat of freedom of thought that the internet facilitates. But words, as assumed, are not always idle, as "a drop of ink makes millions think."
Schopenhauer’s tryst with the Upanishads is well known. Heidegger's encounter with Daoist thought at a depressing period of his life transforms his philosophy. Larval Subjects, similarly, has announced a course correction after his 2009 tête-à-tête with Bhaskar and Harman (Harman’s route from Plato to Latour culminating in a new ontology). Such examples demonstrate the crucial role of right reading materials at different points of our lives.
“I regret very much,” wrote S.K.Maitra apropos The Life Divine “that I had not read this great work when it appeared in the pages of the Arya, for if I had done so, it would have saved me a number of years of philosophical wanderings in search of a standpoint. ["Emerging Theory of Values" 11:34 PM 12:30 PM 3:53 PM 11:52 AM]. [TNM]

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sharm for Ashram

[Alok Pandey’s Reply to "The Larger Issues behind the The Lives of Sri Aurobindo Controversy"
For all Ashram related matters, it is obviously the Ashram Trust that enjoys the full authority. For PED (Physical Education Dept of the Ashram) matters, it is the PED that decides, and so also for most departments. There is no doubt about this. That is why the Ashram inmates welcomed the PED decision whereas they remained silent (though somewhat sorrowfully) at the decision of the Trust. at
8:05 PM]

The PED decision as regards the book is patently ultra vires and Alok Pandey’s attempt to rationalize it is laughable. When Pandey himself vents his complains against the Trustees in public, no one is going to believe in his all-is-well verdict. "The Ashram as an institution" would do well to plug its systemic loopholes as early as possible in order to avoid further embarrassment. [TNM]

Religious empathy creates social capital

[Rethinking Religion in India The Colonial Construction of Hinduism
Edited by Esther Bloch, Marianne Keppens, Rajaram Hegde

Increasingly scholars have come to realise that the dominant understanding of Indian culture and its traditions is unsatisfactory. According to the classical paradigm, Hindu traditions are conceptualized as features of a religion with distinct beliefs, doctrines, sacred laws and holy texts. Today, however, many academics consider this conception to be a colonial ‘construction’... Hinduism only exists in the European experience and does not correspond to any empirical reality in India. Published December 14 2009 by Routledge.]

[The magic of religion Pune Mirror - By N Vittal
Monday, December 14, 2009:
Even in the 21st century, religion continues to be critically important in the lives of people. It is not very fashionable or modern to say that you believe in your religion, especially if you are a Hindu in our country. We feel that we should flaunt our secularism by avoiding taking a firm stand on religion. An elegant ambiguity, if not outright skepticism or agnosticism, seems to be a sine qua non... But religion has a credit side when it comes to human affairs. This is the altruistic inspiration it provides. Marxism and rationalism do not have this redeeming feature. Religion has been the source of inspiration for a whole multitude of humane and charitable institutions which sustain their activities from generation to generation. In our country, rich businessmen as enlightened vaishyas have been practitioners of philanthropy in every part of the country. For example, in the healthcare sector, there are institutions like Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai launched by Dr Badrinath who, in turn, was inspired by the Parmacharya of Kanchi. The Arvind Eye Hospital in Madurai, Tamilnadu, owes its origin to the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry and the Mother.
Liberhan and 26/11 Mumbai Mirror]

The track record of Savitri Era Religion in this respect is yet to be enumerated appropriately. [TNM]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Savitri Era Party is the dream BJP of Swapan

[Rajnath was quite unfazed and bereft of any squeamishness when he approvingly referred to “genetic engineering”, a term suspiciously reminiscent of eugenics, and to DNA tests to argue that the genetic pool of India differed from that of Central Asia. This sudden burst of science was aimed at demonstrating that Babur, a Chagtai Turk, had nothing in common, at least genetically, with local Muslims who were converts from either the Hindu or Buddhist faith.
Ever since Nazi Germany used race and physical anthropology to perpetrate some of the worst crimes against humanity, the invocation of race and genetics in history and the social sciences have been viewed with considerable suspicion. These sensibilities were absent from Rajnath’s speechwriters, who are still bound in a ghettoized world of like-minded individuals. Their detachment from a new India that has become cosmopolitan and more Western was marked. They have become a caricature of the celluloid Borat from Kazakhstan whose pathological aversion to Jews and unfamiliarity with the social mores of America made him both funny and unacceptable.
The Liberhan report presented the BJP a handy escape route from the embarrassment of a misadventure 17 years ago... Rajnath’s certitudes appealed to the fanatically faithful, but seemed comic to those for whom the Ayodhya years are a hazy memory. He showed quite conclusively why any BJP that chooses to be bound in ghettoized Hindutva will invariably hit road bumps in 21st-century India. Unwittingly, he also demonstrated why another BJP with a more contemporary idiom has a future as the rallying point of anti-Congressism.
BEYOND THE OLD BOOKS - Modern India and the discourse of faith
Swapan Dasgupta Front Page > Opinion > Friday , December 11 , 2009]

Dasgupta's "another BJP with a more contemporary idiom" is already here in Savitri Era Party. [TNM]

How the world must have been packaged for it to be consumable

[Bhaskar on the Priority of Ontology Over Epistemology
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects
the transcendental realist begins with the question of what the world must be like for it to be knowable.]
[Ruled by Anniversaries TOI Santosh Desai Monday December 07, 2009 The idea of the anniversary is precisely to create a dam that gathers the gushing waters of time in the reservoir of today... Since so much that of how we see the world is shaped by media today, the process by which memory gets manufactured, retained and recalled is not an innocent one... Coverage finds comfort in numbers; and reportage tends to cling to mainstream issues that everyone is focusing on. Like the structure of markets where competing shops selling the same wares tend to spring up in a single area rather than spread themselves out, media too finds security in aggregating sameness. As readers and viewers we can choose which channel to watch but in reality all channels seem to cover on the same events in pretty much the same way.
What we are seeing is in effect a tacit surrender of independent will to the presumed forces of packaging and marketing... we reveal our susceptibility to news that comes to us in a pre-packaged form... Even devastating tragedies need to come to us in a form that we can easily consume.
Continue reading... 13 Comments]
Knowable or consumable? [TNM]

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Andhra-Telangana chaos

[Andhra political chaos: 92 legislators, many MPs to quit
Times of India - Thursday, December 10, 2009
Mutiny or staged protest in Cong?
Cong finally gives in, Telangana on its way Daily Pioneer‎
Telangana shock: Andhra MLAs resign Amarnath K. Menon Hyderabad
A constitutional crisis looms large following the spate of resignations.
A hasty decision: TDP chief Telangana to become the 29th state]

Mother India, December 2009 arrived today which coincidentally features Sri Aurobindo's "On Linguistic Provinces" (Message to Andhra University, 1948) and related articles. [TNM]

Idealism & a commitment to a bigger something

[10 Dec 2009 Remembering Peter Drucker from The Big Picture by T T Ram Mohan
Drucker laid down the key principles of management some fifty years ago. They remain relevant because nobody bothers to practise them. And they are not practised because they do require an element of idealism, a commitment to a bigger something. That, alas, is not something you associate with business managers. I highlight some striking ideas of Drucker's in my ET column,
Peter Drucker lives on.]

Where management turns into yoga. [TNM]

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Monogamy and monism

[Psychologies of the East -- because of their blanket condemnation of the ego -- tend to be naive and mythological... Quacks in the Foundation of the West from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob 8:50 AM
Nondualism and materialism share the commonality of being intrinsically monistic, whereas Christianity is intrinsically dualistic (and actually trinitarian, but we'll get to that later). In a way, nondualism is a mirror image of materialism, for neither has a place for the individual human soul as a truly real reality. Gastrocosmology and Theophagy: Eat, Drink, and be Mary from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob 12:21 PM]

[Married (Happily) With Issues Elizabeth Weil NYTimes: December 1, 2009
Monogamy is one of the most basic concepts of modern marriage. It is also its most confounding. In psychoanalytic thought, the template for monogamy is forged in infancy, a baby with its mother. Marriage is considered to be a mainline back to this relationship, its direct heir... “So when we think about monogamy, we think about it as though we are still children and not adults as well,” Adam Phillips notes.

[Since history itself, in Vico's view, is the manifestation of Providence in the world, the transition from one stage to the next and the steady ascendance of reason over imagination represent a gradual progress of civilization, a qualitative improvement from simpler to more complex forms of social organization. Giambattista Vico (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)]

[Although not opposed to business, the major faith traditions have tried to counterbalance some of the abuses of capitalism. Eastern religions, such as Buddhism, by means of yoga and other disciplines, try to moderate the aggressive acquisitiveness of the human psyche. The three monotheistic faiths have inveighed against the injustice of unevenly distributed wealth -- a critique that speaks directly to the gap between rich and poor in our society. Integral Options Cafe: Karen Armstrong - Think Again: God By WH]