Saturday, December 25, 2010

Question of rebirth not irrelevant

[Auromira Yoga: OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE SPIRITUALITY By Dr. Ramesh Bijlani The misplaced curiosity trap
Drifting into spirituality with the relatively simple aims of pursuing something of lasting value, something useful to others, or something better than joining the rat race, some young people get distracted by the futile search for answers to irrelevant questions. They want to know more and more about life after death, rebirth, past life regression, or forecasting the future. They start resolving the apparent discrepancies in the karma theory.] 

In an admirably crafted post Dr. Bijlani spells out negativities and specifically sounds anti-intellectual. Beware! [TNM]

Monday, December 20, 2010

Contract, Honesty & Harmony

Long, long before Christmas, the winter solstice was celebrated as the birth of the pagan god Mithras - the "patron of contracts": the very word means "contract" in Old Persian. And the "Unconquered Sun" lies in that little word:
“Mithras stood for Contract, and therefore for fairness, therefore for Justice, therefore for honesty, therefore for Truth, therefore for light, therefore for The Sun.”
The above quote is from Paul Kriwaczek's In Search of Zarathustra: The First Prophet and the Ideas that Changed the World - a wonderful history intermingled with travelogue written by a former BBC television programme-maker with special interest in Central and South Asian affairs. Kriwaczek is a Jew from Vienna - who successfully fled the Nazis and was raised and schooled in London
Mithra is the "Unconquered Sun" - born during the winter solstice because that is when days start getting longer. This time of the year was celebrated 2000 years before Christ.]

The same Vedic Mitra representing Harmony, the domain of Mahalakshmi. [TNM]

No to non-resident Chairman

[Karan Singh says no to China friendship award Indian Express – Thu Dec 16 2010, 01:12 hrs New Delhi:
Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Karan Singh is learnt to have turned down the honour. It is learnt that he felt it might be inappropriate to receive such an honour lest it betrayed a bias towards any country.]

It looks like a sweet revenge against the comrades in India who prevented his elevation as President. Dr. Karan Singh, however, should also urgently consider stepping down from the Auroville Foundation. [TNM]

Beyond Vanakkam

An Odia official remarked the other day that during his stint in Madurai, he started speaking Tamil after six months. That set me to think how significant the role of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville has been in furthering Tamil speaking among outsiders. This has also given rise to diverse cultural exchanges and prepared the field for wider receptivity of the civilizational legacy allied to this ancient language. [TNM]      

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sri Aurobindo saves

[INTELLECTUAL BIFURCATIONS Jeffrey Bell at Aberrant Monism
In Priest’s book in contradiction, which I discussed here in yesterday’s post, he highlights the early modern bifurcation between the continuous and the discrete (a bifurcation that of course predates early modern thought and is not exclusive to the western tradition). Priest signals Leibniz and Hume as emblematic of this bifurcation.]

Bell refers to a book talking about the early modern birth of a strife between the continuous and the discrete. Fair enough, but I think that’s pretty clearly already the difference between Aristotle’s Physics and Metaphysics. The Physics is an often Bergson-like defense of continua, while the Metaphysics is of course about a world of individual chunks. It is a tension that Aristotle resolves only by apportioning the two sides of the paradox to different portions of the world.]

Sri Aurobindo - 1985 - Philosophy - 1113 pages
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. But it cannot, because behind this dividing action is the saving knowledge of the ... (1.18.180) 12:39 PM]

Sri Aurobindo saves. [TNM]

Deaf to Sri Aurobindo

One thing you can't accuse Ramachandra Guha of is mincing his words. ... “I found the views of Vivekananda and Aurobindo archaic and stiff,” was the reply to a variation of the question that he is asked the most about his book.]

Fresh from the press, Democratic Culture: Philosophical and Historical Essays edited by Akeel Bilgrami also fights shy of Sri Aurobindo. [TNM]

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Savitri Erans should write more

[To Reiterate… by larvalsubjects
Honestly I’m shocked that more of you don’t post and blog. You’re nuts. Yes, I know we’re all assholes and that there are frustrating discussions. Yet through inscription you’re making yourself real in hundreds of brains. Those traces will prove invaluable to you later on so long as you aren’t particularly assholish. You might think that something like blogging is secondary to your academic development, but you’re wrong. It is one of the primary venues through which you make yourself real in this cutthroat world. Don’t be afraid to show others the things you’ve found to be neat.]

[Cyberspace and Postmodern Democracy - Market colonization of the virtual public sphere - XIII International Conference Forum on Contemporary Theory, Baroda in collaboration with Department of English and Cultural Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh
Theme: The Virtual Transformation of the Public Sphere
15-18 December 2010 Venue: Hotel Parkview, ChandigarhIndia]

Savitri Erans too should write more in order to win additional ground in the Public Sphere. [TNM]

Wooing the shoes

Another amazing concession was offering prayers with the ubiquitous Bata slippers on without the punishing stipulation of the head touching the ground. The Mother apparently was empathetic with our being tormented by such tyranny over the youngsters during umpteen religious ceremonies day in and day out.  

Many Centres still shoo away the shoes for reasons of hygiene and decorum and the genuflecting posture is a common sight. But the young ones must be rebelling still. [TNM]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quit quickly

One of The Mother’s many volcanic ideas that shook us in the school days and hooked us to her lasso is that the flowers decorating her photo need not be thrown away daily. Each flower, we were told, has the right to serve the divine as long as it remains fresh through shuffling and sprinkling of water. That was a radical challenge to the traditional canons of pollution consigning the basiphula to the drains round which lyricists have waxed eloquent down the years. 

Das Gupta’s old age, in this context, is eminently defensible especially when juxtaposed with the example of the Prime Minister. But physical agility alone is no assurance for sound brain functioning. Erasure of large chunks of momory is liable to trigger warped decision making. Instead of holding others to ransom, therefore, better he quit with grace and serve the divine by cultivating Saksi Bhava. [TNM]

Monday, December 13, 2010

Seoflower

Spiritual significance of flowers, unfortunately, are not part of The Mother’s collected works, but they constitute the most original of her contributions. They singly make a complete guide to sadhana and successively underline key aims to be pursued in life. To be “open, frank, equal, generous and kind” in online communications is a challenge for all devotees. [TNM]   

Epistemology of the unknown

Just finished reading Adrian and Levi’s most recent posts, and last nite I had a chance to read Steve’s ruminations on the limitations of this format. … However, I think one thing that has gotten really left out of recent discussions is not simply the fact that privacy exists in Whitehead (something I think the OOO tend to want to ignore for some reason), but how it functions. What follows is in my next post is admittedly a mix of Whitehead, contemporary quantum theory, and my own thoughts on this issue, but I think it really does relate to the debate at hand.
One point first, however. Levi has said in recent posts that he thinks I overemphasize the epistemological over the ontological, and he is right, I think that OOO doesn’t deal enough with certain epistemological issues. He is also right when he says I emphasize the human in my critique of OOO. But it shouldn’t be thought that I privilege human epistemology – on the contrary! The only reason why this may seem to be the case is that I think OOO talks in ways that import human ‘semiotic’ categories into the domain of things.]

Sri Aurobindo follows another tack however when he points out that the “Unknowable” from our standpoint is not necessarily unable to be known, but rather, is simply something that falls outside the limits of our mental framework and perceptive capacity; so that upon moving our standpoint to a new framework, or acquiring new powers of knowledge through an evolution of consciousness, for instance, we could gain knowledge of what is currently only able to be expressed as the “unknown” or the “unknowable”.]

Whitehead under vigorous focus; Sri Aurobindo watches amusingly the flurry of juvenility. [TNM]

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dwa Suparna

A mischievous campaign is on proposing takeover of the Ashram by the Govt. That is the only alternative they find to the present management. This is absurd. Why no one else from the two thousand strong community can assume the mantle is never explained. Conversely, two or three leading names are constantly vilified as if rest of the inmates are a bunch of mere impotents.

Such a situation is not only shameful but also pitiable. Manoj Das Gupta’s long tenure must terminate immediately, if not for anything else, for advanced age. His successor can very well be chosen by democratic consultative procedures. This simple step can obviate the legal intervention and usher in peace. Manoj Das, who had once promptly resigned voluntarily from the post of a trustee, should prevail upon his namesake to do a favour in the interest of everyone. [TNM]        

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Everything is falling apart!

A hypothesis: The United States Constitution is the worst-designed constitution in the history of the world. The Founders were not transcendental geniuses, but instead a bunch of short-sighted fools who locked us into an unworkable system with no feasible way out. The “separation of powers” is a recipe for deadlock and inaction, and it was an idea that was dreamed up by people who had no experience of how a modern republic would work, because no such structure had ever existed. Why should their hypothetical arguments for how great it would be trump the fact that it doesn’t work like they said? … In short, the Constitution is basically a suicide pact.]

The same complains can easily be made against the Indian Constitution. Nothing surprising, therefore, that the Ashram has become dysfunctional. [TNM]  

Friday, December 10, 2010

The issue is the wicked insinuations

‘Why go on carping about the book?’ has become a common rebuke. But the book is no longer a stand alone exhibit; reams of discussions are already part of the book’s persona starting from the Kripal endorsement. Wishing away the Cardinal Slur that surfaced in the wake of this nagiographic book is like putting the cream back into the tube. Spreading such rumors is a terrible blow to the divine manifestation of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo aimed at altering fundamentally the dynamics of Integral Yoga.

Another clever ploy is to ask, ‘Where exactly the slur appears?’ and solemnly affirm that Heehs has never denigrated the Master. The juvenility and brazenness employed in this case, however, is matched by charlatanism and arrogance. Lack of a semblance of intellectual integrity in long time followers is a highly disturbing phenomenon.

To praise the book for the colossal research it contains is yet another distracting defense. But whether the book is good or bad is hardly the question. The issue is the wicked insinuations that malign the Masters. The book and its author, therefore, are destined to suffer lifelong censure. ‘[TNM]