Sunday, February 13, 2011

Savitri Era Religion's advantage as regards ontology

[RK said... Dear Govind, 
I like your honesty. You might find this surprising, but I also agree with the points you mention, about subtexts and contexts. 
Yes, I have read the book, in full. The contentious portions I have read and reread numerous times - casting myself in various roles, as a so-called devotee, an aspiring yogi, an intellectual, a lay-reader, an Easterner, a Westerner, and finally just as myself, the composite mix of all these personalities. 
And now I will surprise you once again. I don't find the book particularly outstanding. There are even statements in it I disagree with, strongly. There are portions, long passages, I find inspired and beautiful, at times even revelatory. I am impressed with the quantum of research, and the scope of his attempt, though at times I wished Peter would let down his intellectual guard, and speak about Sri Aurobindo with more open admiration and love. But this is his book, and not mine. So I am not enamoured of TLOSA. But really, Govind, even after reading it as many times as I did, I failed to find the "denigration". There is nothing in the book that 'cancels out' what is good, turns all the rest into 'poison'. Utter nonsense to say these things…
I am well-read in Sri Aurobindo, consider myself a disciple, and have been trying to practice the Integral Yoga for a good many decades now. I am also well-aware of the mire that is Hindu studies in America… RK 12:04 AM, November 23, 2010]

Taking theology as a figurative aid to mystical experience sounds pretty good to me. I didn’t follow why that necessarily becomes a secret doctrine maintained through power… Describing the “life of feelings in religion” solely as mythologies we become willing to kill and die for, seems out of balance.
The devotional elements of world religions have also spawned some uplifting and refining influences, and have always led some individuals into genuine mystical experience… Bhakti and the experience of personal relations with the Divine as a Being, is a significant component in the broader range of mystical experience. Sri Aurobindo gives it its due in the “Yoga of Divine Love” section of the Synthesis, also in many letters, and his general post-Arya emphasis on the psychic being and its characteristic experiences.]

Our world of devotees is a very, very small one. Sri Aurobindo’s message is for all humanity. In the years ahead many will open to him through the mind and not at first through devotion. These seekers too have legitimate questions and needs, and must be approached in a manner that is very different from the majority of us engaging in this debate, who have been privileged to have our eyes opened to Their Light and Grace from a young age. To believe otherwise is myopic.
Yet we have seen some extreme expressions of this tendency of our community’s sense of collective identity expanding to swallow the whole world, e.g. as seen in allegations of a vast and sinister conspiracy behind the work of some elements in the Archives Dept, even suspecting the CIA or the Vatican! All one can say about those who propound this utterly laughable theory is that they think like ostriches – our institution simply does not yet have that kind of visibility on the world stage to provoke operations of such scale and scope.]

Size-wise we lack visibility. True, but not in terms of significance. Savitri Era Religion possesses an unmistakable advantage as regards ontology that has potential of swaying the young minds in less than 18 days. Established players, therefore, stand threatened, and there is no reason to discount the subversion angle, especially when willing ones are eager to work for an ounce of fame. [TNM]  

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