Saturday, August 27, 2011

Surrender, tapasya, & ipad

[Saintliness In politics cuts both ways Dileep Padgaonkar, TOI, Aug 27, 2011
The exertions of Anna Hazare might well fetch the nation a robust Lokpal Bill soon. In the bargain, however, we may have to contend with a lethal danger: saintliness in our public life. … Such trappings of saintliness have a wide and instant appeal in a country where religiosity has struck deep roots. …
Ambedkar approvingly quoted John Stuart Mill’s caution to all those who are interested in safeguarding democracy: not to "lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man, or to trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions". Ambedkar then went on to assert that this caution is especially relevant in India where the "path of bhakti (devotion) or hero-worship plays a part in politics that is unequalled in magnitude to the part it plays in the politics of any other country in the world". In our country, he concluded, "bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship".]

[Time to step back Indian Express Tue Aug 16 2011, Pratap Bhanu Mehta 
The Anna Hazare movement meanwhile continues to propagate the tyranny of virtue. It has elided the distinction between protest and fast-unto-death. The former is legitimate. The latter is blackmail. Second, it has elided the fact that this is not just a contest between two players, the state and the knights in shining armour of the movement. There are many other actors in civil society who disagree with their institutional proposals. By threatening a fast-unto-death, they are violating two norms of democratic society. First, they are not acknowledging that there can be legitimate differences in a democracy. And to insist that only one proposal is correct is to slight not the state but other citizens. Second, they are violating the norms of reciprocity. Their sense of virtue cannot entitle them to deny that other citizens are also making good-faith arguments to better our democracy. And in the case of a disagreement, we have to resort to the only adjudicative mechanism we have agreed on: our representative democracy.] 

The most comprehensive biography of Sri Aurobindo, November 25, 2010 By Richard Carlson "abdul lateef" (port angeles wa) - See all my reviews - (REAL NAME) -  Permalink  
This book has been the target of Hindu fundamentalist wrath because it refuses to conform to hagiography but rather attempts a biography of the subject as a work of critical scholarship. Thank goodness we have a straightforward account of the biography of Sri Aurobindo, that recognizes the subject's humanity instead of the traditional accounts by devotees that make him into a object for guru worship and a mascot of the Hindu Right. Both statuses would have been rejected by Sri Aurobindo himself outright. Heehs has done a necessary service for the cause of keeping Sri Aurobindo relevant for the contemporary reader. An important book for anyone interested in this important figure in world spirituality.]

[A groundbreaking book, October 22, 2008 By Richard Hartz - See all my reviews - (REAL NAME) - Permalink
Sri Aurobindo's life and works are of considerable historical importance and immense intellectual interest even apart from his stature as a mystic. No writer has come anywhere close to Heehs in covering some aspects of his life, such as his political career. But in the end, the most important thing that many readers are likely to gain from the book is a sense of the limitless possibilities of inner transformation and expansion of consciousness to which they themselves can aspire.
In India this book has aroused controversy in certain circles because of a misunderstanding of the author's intention. Heehs has tried to present Sri Aurobindo to Western or Westernized readers who would not have been interested in a more traditional approach. In the later part of his life, Sri Aurobindo became a revered spiritual teacher. As a result, he has followers who demand a devotional approach from anyone who writes about him - even about his early life before he became a yogi - though bhakti (love for the Divine) is only one element of the Integral Yoga he exemplified and taught. Such devotionally minded readers may find that this book does not fulfil their expectations. To others it is highly recommended.]

[The KMHH Axis of Evil August 22, 2011 auroleaks 1 comment A post by Richard Hartz to the Auroconf list auroleaks
The problem seems to have something to do with what Sri Aurobindo calls the “snag in the worship of Guru or Avatar,” a result of the human mind’s “penchant for taking Truth by the wrong end and arriving at falsehood” (Letters on Yoga, p. 429). He also spoke of “that exclusive tendency of egoistic mind which cries, ‘My God, my Incarnation, my Prophet, my Guru’ ” (The Synthesis of Yoga, 1999 ed., p. 66). Thus the unifying and harmonizing power of spirituality is subverted and replaced by the divisiveness that throughout history has been tragically associated with religion.
The situation as I see it is simple. The problem is the Aurobindonian religion, which has no right to exist since it was unequivocally repudiated by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The solution is the Integral Yoga with its unparalleled resources for solving all problems. It only needs to be practised.]

It is certainly not a rhetorical sweep when Hartz harks back to the “limitless possibilities of inner transformation and expansion of consciousness” in “Integral Yoga with its unparalleled resources for solving all problems.” But, a subtle twist can surely be sensed in his other innocuous seeming statement, “bhakti (love for the Divine) is only one element of the Integral Yoga he exemplified and taught.” It’s like Steve Jobs gifting us the ipad which can be used by us in numerous ways without any feeling of gratitude towards him.  

In the socio-political arena, obviously, personal charisma has its downside, and therefore, democratic means is the most preferred avenue. But we can’t impose the same yardsticks upon the teachings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo of which surrender happens to be sine qua non and can't be equated with “bhakti (love for the Divine)” alone. That said, the problem of interpretation remains especially in view of the short life span of both man and meaning. And hence, discerning how wave function collapses or zeitgeist derives the mean is an intricate choreography of reflexivity where each drop of ink counts. [TNM55] 

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