Monday, October 31, 2011

Freedom and synthesis

The notion of religion is so strongly instilled into all of us that even the secularists theorise about it in a uniform pattern. The major religions are those which are of ancient origin and have the largest adherents. The fact that around a dozen fit the bill, the plurality of religions is taken for granted. No new religion is recognised as one nor any new book as scripture. The old religions are considered as ensuing from God and new entrants are dismissed as man made. A stiff resistance persists against any future flawless theology.

Then, there is the stipulation that religion = dogma. That a new religion can be free from it is not accepted. Why a new religion should copy all the features of old religions is never explained. This bias against a modern day religion by scholars of repute is a major methodological error.

Savitri Era Religion owes its origin to the divinity of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo with Savitri & The Life Divine as scriptures. No routine or ritual is prescribed signifying practice and devotees are free to devise their own system by following their own inspiration. Besides, no initiation procedure or conversion prevails at present. As a synthesis of Judeo-Vedic legacies, this modern religion is free of obscure mythology but owns a highly sophisticated and scientific ontology. [TNM55]

Restraint and hierarchy

If the Principal of a school run in the name of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo in Kolkata draws a salary of Rs. Three Lakh per month, can it be treated as corruption? Since we support Free Market enterprise, the answer, obviously, is No. Since we defend Property rights and inheritance, we are also not bothered about the intention of the deceased founders. Competition, ultimately, is the cure; and hierarchy can't be dispensed with. Restraint or generosity, if any, should happen voluntarily.

When a community become large, all kinds of people will be there covering diverse professions. It is, therefore, very difficult to enforce a uniform code of ethics or regimented pattern of incentive. But, bypassing of legal compulsions in functioning should be resisted and appropriate supervision modalities instituted. When even the Hazare team is under the searchlight, all of us must strive to keep the sacred names of the Masters above board. [TNM55]

Knowledge as whip

This year has been quite eventful so far and the fermentation observed in the political sphere can lead to radical changes in the next couple of years. Let's hope that it is not the usual wrestling between the UPA and the NDA, and the country gets the glimpse of an altogether new direction.

The ongoing Yatra by Advani is a drab affair as it is bereft of any uplifting inspiration or wisdom. Besides, the pre-Modern outlook of his party is a drag, not to speak of the charge of terrorism that is under probe. His embarrassment at Bengaluru on account of corruption is symptomatic of the rotten state of politics in most of the States in India.

When thinking of morality and modernity, we find elaborate guidance in the norms prescribed by The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. They recommend a flexible and pragmatic paradigm for life with ethical responses run spontaneously and not mechanically. Knowledge is the whip here and not any personal oath or subjective impression. And then we can hope to end corruption and embark upon more crucial journeys involving evolution. [TNM55]

We are seven billion

Seven billion human beings upon our planet is a landmark event. Let's assume that this is part of the overall path of evolution for fulfilment of the Divine will. About one sixth of the race have their home in India where Sri Aurobindo was born on August 15, 1872. He has repeated it several times over that India has the Knowledge and the rest of the world must benefit from it.

Many are used to the glib talk that the academia accredited critical theory is the most integral insight available. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, however, claim otherwise, and hence, we may say for certain that future solutions will ensue from their legacy. Even an iota of receptivity in this regard will be a huge collaboration and a giant leap forward. [TNM55]

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hazare falters

Hazare is clueless about constituting his own team, but insisting to disturb the balance of power between the key Government figures through the JLB. Instead of demanding referendum and forcing the ruling party to pass the bill, the right course is to contest in the elections and come to power. Unwillingness to follow this democratic route is fascist as well as farcical. Flouting norms of decency and FairPlay is also corruption, and not to understand these intricacies is all the more scandalous.

We have been warning against Hazare and his cohorts from the outset and the recent exposes are eye openers. Unprincipled activism and media manipulation cannot bring the needed change. Clarity on policy matters as well as religion is a must for representing the people in this country of great diversity.

Savitri Era Party draws inspiration from The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, and it is pertinent to note that most of the present political parties can trace their lineage to Sri Aurobindo although they hardly acknowledge that. Unity, Mutuality, & Harmony are our aim and pursuit of true Fratenity is the driving force. If India is to lead the world, then it has to be led by Savitri Era Party. [TNM55]

Sri Aurobindo wrote a shelf full of books

Post-1926, we meet a different Sri Aurobindo. The tone of his letters varies depending upon the addressee, autobiographical references slip out at times, and he touches upon several subjects within a blog-length reply. His revisionist and liberal attitude as regards the Indian tradition comes to the fore, so also his irreverence towards his renowned contemporaries. He delves deep into poetry, dismisses scientific psychology, and flirts with politics. Interestingly, he is keen in running of the Ashram as well and never forgets to write out advisories when necessary.

Factional scholastic debates of the past and the Theosophical grandstanding can be said to have dictated the tone of the Arya expositions. Understandably, Sri Aurobindo is cautious and seems to be a conservative as the motivational motive is also in play. Having tried his hand in recreating old themes in plays and poetry, he is attempting to realign more serious themes like philosophy, religion, and yoga in his commentaries. Overall, he establishes himself "as a person who wrote a shelf full of books" so that the likes of Heehs are impressed, the overarching theme of Self notwithstanding.

Sri Aurobindo's distinction from Vivekananda should be seen as the essential contribution of the former and needs to be appreciated threadbare. Any attempt to amalgam the two is a disservice to both, and hence, maintaining an uncompromising attitude is a must. It is also important to note how Sri Aurobindo has introduced several variations after The Mother's arrival in 1920. His letters compiled in the booklets like Bases of Yoga and The Mother stand testimony of this.

The aesthetic aspect of both the prose and poetry of Sri Aurobindo can be an independent pursuit and ennobling experience. As far as intellectual challenge is concerned, they offer unending and multifarious opportunities. Besides, the inspirational and intuitive treasures they harbour is fathomless. So, the interplay of these three aspects can become confusing at times and in the case of Savitri, especially, it can turn intoxicating. A levelheaded approach, therefore, is what The Mother & Sri Aurobindo demand from us. They never recommend to encourage quackery and peddling of therapy or numerology. [TNM55]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Perez and Anderson

During the Symposium on Greece-India in 1996 at IIC, a member of the audience put up a question as regards the psychological significances assigned by Sri Aurobindo to Vedic deities, to which the speaker from Greece replied that Sri Aurobindo is a known creative writer. Such a convincing affirmation, though valid in an academic context, is not the whole truth and hence misleading. This dichotomy is at the root of much misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Sri Aurobindo. Heehs' remark that Savitri is a fictional creation, for instance, rankles many admirers of the poem to this day.

Finding a solution to this problem seems to be impossible. Sri Aurobindo himself has preferred an academic diction for his essays as well as letters. Even his poetry invariably displays intellectual clarity. So, judging his oeuvre with scholarly yardsticks cannot be protested. But to deprecate the profundity of his writings and its extraordinary character is criminal.

The truth is that, the way Internet has facilitated mass publishing, it is difficult to track uninformed comments and write rebuttals. On the other hand, people like Perez and Anderson from the Integral stable are airing very sympathetic appraisals of Sri Aurobindo with the potential of influencing many young minds and helping them find a genuine philosophy of life. An honest quest arriving at Sri Aurobindo is a must. [TNM55]

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ashram's imprint

When the damaging extracts from The Lives of Sri Aurobindo came out in the open, obviously everyone was shocked. Since some people took it upon themselves to defend the book, it was a confusing situation for a while; and even today it is difficult to gauge the extent of harm the book has inflicted or will inflict in the future. There have been widespread protests against the author and the Trustee-in-charge but none has been hostile towards the Ashram.

Helio's Savitri, in contrast, is an anti-Ashram step. Not only it robs the Master's writing of the sanctity of the Ashram's imprint, but also causes financial loss to the Ashram. As devotees, all must think over this matter afresh and be careful in future initiatives. [TNM55]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Freedom is not freely available

[Interest rate on savings bank deposits deregulated - Hindu Business Line - Oct 25, 2011
In the run-up to the deregulation of SB deposit interest rates, the central bank had directed banks to pay interest on these deposits on a daily product basis with effect from April 1, 2010. Banks currently pay 4 per cent interest on SB deposits.]

Fixed rates create a false sense of security among people and diminish risk appetite while in actuality floating returns are the reality considering inflation and non-optimal assets allocation. Inertia, of course, drives (rather, doesn't) substantial savings justifying the rule that no decision too is a decision, but to be a Sarvarambha Parityagi (G.12.16) in matters finance is likely to fetch higher interest in future.

Since exchange transactions are irrational, the need for price discovery is a crucial role discharged by competition. Freedom, in this sense, though desirable, is not always freely available. Finitude is the ontological constraint here, and this basic reality needs to be understood instead of simply blaming the Keynesians. OWS-wallahs too should fresh up on their Whitehead and Hartmann. [TNM55]

RYD lured by red herring.

[31: The Editing of Savitri—This whole Theory of Authentication and Approval by RY Deshpande on Wed 26 Oct 2011 03:30 AM http://www.mirroroftomorrow.org/blog/_archives/2011/10/26/4921410.html#1540252
Here is one which says, Nirodbaran and Amal Kiran had been responsible for “all” the editions of Savitri up to the present Revised Edition. This itself looks strange when we look at the first edition of Savitri that came out in 1950-51. At that time there was absolutely no question of anybody being there to edit Savitri, anybody editing Savitri when the author himself was present.]

RYD, it seems, has exhausted his defence of the new print of the old edition. An old hand and an insider, he can claim a neutral position no longer, however. Looks like Helios is hell bent to play a dirty game in this regard and it's a pity that RYD was lured by the red herring.

Savitri, admittedly, is an incomplete poem as certain portions have not received the needed revision. Hence, to say it is approved by the author appears as window dressing. It is hoped that Savitri will be spared of any further kite flying. [TNM55]

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Filter the past

[In a certain way, we’re against the Enlightenment ideal that the most basic characterisation of us is as autonomous agents who can freely give meaning to our own lives. You can’t make something be meaningful for you just by deciding that it’s going to be meaningful. There’s something psychologically plausible about this. If you’re going to experience certain aspects of your life as mattering more than others, you can’t expect that to happen just by deciding it will be so on your own.
NS: But you can expect it from gods? Are your gods really there in some sense?
SK: It would be silly for us to say, for instance, that Athena really exists. Almost nobody would accept that. But there’s a genuine phenomenon that Homer understood, which is the phenomenon of human excellence taking place in the context of masterly, skillful activity, which, when you perform it, isn’t experienced as having you as its source. ...
SK: The Homeric age was one in which people stood in wonder at the amazing things—and awful things—that could happen to them in their lives. That’s something like the opposite of the nihilistic threat that many say characterizes our contemporary age. This led us to ask what is operating in the background of Homer’s understanding of the world that motivates him to emphasize this mood of wonder. One thing seems especially important for him: that human beings can’t be acting at their best unless they’re in a situation that is drawing them to act, in which the gods are present in their acting.
The shining and the shiny: an interview with Sean Dorrance Kelly - The Immanent Frame by Nathan Schneider on Oct 24, 2011 10:39 PM]

[I tie together the proofs of God in this way because I want to get at the heart of the God question in philosophy – and I think that question ultimately comes down to the problem of bad and the problem of good. It is not that I necessarily buy any of the arguments discussed here, even the more sophisticated ones. The problem of suffering is too intractable – it’s at least as big a problem for those who believe in God as the problem of value is for those who don’t. But perhaps there is some sort of dialectical synthesis to be found in between?
Value as proof of God - Love of All Wisdom by Amod Lele on Oct 24, 2011 2:33 AM]

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have saved us from fruitless discussions on whether the God exists. They have also indicated it clearly that the Divine can't be banished from politics, economics, or education. Enormous energy is conserved by this simple intervention and colossal confusion is avoided.

They have also equipped us with the wherewithal to renounce the old religions. Debate and discussion over their merit or demerit, though entertaining, drains away a lot of initiative and enthusiasm which could have been employed in far more purposeful and positive direction. Once one feels that The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have shown the right path in our own time, then clinging to the past patchworks is illogical as well as delusional.

Hazare hurricane has made it explicit recently as to how the mob mentality works. Old religions, similarly, thrive by peddling spectacle and the fictional. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, conversely, ask us to filter the past in order to take a leap into the future. [TNM55]

Monday, October 24, 2011

Parties are the only lawful means

[In my opinion in a real democracy there is no scope for for Political Parties. In the West the society is divided in Class while Indian society is divided into Castes, Classes, Religions, Sects, Languages, Regions etc. In India the political parties are based on castes, religions, regions etc. Political Parties have lost their philosophical base and as such they have lost credibility with the masses. - Narendra Dubey]

[I’ve noticed this about Egyptians. Their opinions on anything tend to be very personal, idiosyncratic, belonging to themselves alone. In America, despite its reputation as the land of individualism, everyone tends to fall into some sort of cookie cutter “type” when it comes to political opinions. Listen to any American about politics for 15 seconds, and usually you can predict all the rest. I’m not sure why that’s so, but it’s true.
Michel Serres thinks it’s the egalitarian imperative, that in America you have to immediately form an emotional consensus with some interest group and represent all of their views loyally without dissent, whereas according to Serres there is still plenty of room for sharply defined individual opinion in the French Republic. Not sure, but it’s definitely true that political opinions are more unpredictable in almost any country in the world aside from the USA, where you have the typical liberal, the typical radical, the typical moderate, the typical conservative, the typical nut job, etc. I once heard someone call Americans “opinionated,” but that is the exact opposite of the truth.
Americans sometimes talk far too much without any social awareness, but in no way are Americans likely to get in your face with their opinions, or at least not about politics. In France, old friends quite often “break” with each other over political differences, which would happen in the U.S. only under the most extreme circumstances. There’s an almost religious observance of letting everyone be entitled to their own opinions.
today’s taxi driver - Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman) on Oct 23, 2011 11:03 PM]

Dubey is perhaps echoing JP's Partyless Democracy but considering the present world situation, better let it remain a utopian dream. We often forget the fact that India is constituted by law and political parties are the only lawful means to bring about any modification in the polity. Joining a party, therefore, is of crucial importance instead of supporting Hazare's proposed fast.

Harman makes some interesting comments regarding the Americans, but observing Heehs and Carlson has been utterly disappointing on our part. Broad generalisations have their own utility, but there is no escape from the reality of pedigree, varna, guna, karma, swabhav, etc. [TNM55]

Sunday, October 23, 2011

India amended

[NOT EARTH’S GIRL - Post-colonial Kali and the alleged pathology of patriotism - Arindam Chakrabarti, The Telegraph. Sunday, October 23 , 2011
In certain quarters, not only is it ‘cool’ to deride Bankimchandra’s Vande Mataram and Sri Aurobindo’s Motherland obsession but it would be ‘positively uncool’ to be aroused by the part of Tagore’s Janaganamana where the country is hailed as a mother. ...
We have all learnt “the illegitimacy of nationalism” from Rabindranath via Ashis Nandy. We know that patriotism is one thing and nationalism is quite another. Tagore and Gandhi were patriotic, Bipin Chandra Pal and Netaji were nationalistic.]

An evocative piece exposing how deviously distoted history has been harnessed for push-selling ideology and even today the game runs unhindered. As regards Sri Aurobindo, however, it would be in order to record the amendments in his idea of India marked during his later years.

A summing up his socio-political thought clearly tilts more towards internationalism than nationalism. The concept of World Union fits nicely within his overall ontological framework as well as the teleological view of history. Hence, the emphasis on nationalism in his life can be said to be quite minor, not only in duration but also in significance. But to draw inspiration from that eventful episode can be life-changing for many. [TNM55]

Quota & conditionalities

Situating Sri Aurobindo's philosophical interventions in the current scenario can seem far-fetched, or even, utopian, but since it tantamount to simultaneous practice as well, the sense of participation, collaboration, and progress constitutes an enormously satisfying experience. In fact, in The Life Divine, he accomplishes a subtle shift by privileging the Sat-Chit-Ananda version of the Supreme instead of the prevailing Advaita abstraction, suffusing thereby our subjectivity as well as agency with sacred intentionality. Evolution, then, seen in this perspective, might look as absurd, but the unerring vision of the Mahayogi focuses upon the modern editions of the Vritra of Vedic vintage.

Evolution, subsuming the much maligned history, therefore, basically means to overcome. The Sacred will playing it out by negotiating manifold difficulties and possibilities is not merely a play or a sport, but rather an intense endeavour at creating potent prototypes for furthering the future course. The dynamics and economy of Infinite energy subjecting to accountability and sustainability conditionalities is surely a reality especially when seen hinged to the third, Ananda the Vedic counterpart of which is Bhaga symbolising share, or quota.

Being the Supreme is no joke, therefore, and you need all the theories as well as theologies, and a bunch of clowns too, to howl from time to time about and against you. [TNM55]

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Money and how many

[“Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust does not approve and has nothing to do with the book entitled "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" written by Peter Heehs and Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust is not in any way responsible for the contents or the interpretations of the material contained therein....”]

Last year, Ashram notified its disapproval of the book, but didn't clarify regarding the royalties. It must have earned substantial amount during the last three years, and our curiosity is especially for the reason that it can be an indicator of the sales figure. It can give us a sense of how far the targeted readership has actually responded to Heehs' bait and rewarded him. An impressive number can also offset much of the opposition that he encountered at home. It would be nice if someone can make this information public. [TNM55]

Savitri Era Party is opposed to Lokpal

Within the span of a couple of months, Hazare has turned from a hot cake to a hot potato. Hisar misadventure and Kashmir foot in the mouth has put his team on the spot. Hare brained constitutional reforms are being demanded by them without assessing their overall implications. Himself unelected, Hazare's disdain for elected representatives is a dangerous Fascist tendency and recipe for dictatorship.

Savitri Era Party maintains that the proposed Lokpal will disturb the time-tested balance between the top Constitutional authorities and hence opposes the Bill. It also supports the CEC view that Right to Recall is unworkable. Hazare, better, should bring in honest people into electoral politics who can be instrumental in transforming the existing incentive paradigms. [TNM55]

Hiroshima & Osama

[The Imaginative Conservative on why Tocqueville has a better understanding of technology - by enowning on Oct 21, 2011 9:29 PM
Commenting on the sources of poetic imagination in Democracy in America, Tocqueville observed that the European image of America is that of the untouched wilderness. But Americans themselves hardly see the forests before they have felled them to make lumber.
The technological view does not see the forest as a forest before it resolves it into its constituent parts to be unlocked and put to productive use. Where Heidegger would prophesy catastrophe, Americans saw the image of human conquest, and so of human liberation. In the vision of putting nature to our use we see the image of modern liberty.]

From Hiroshima & Nagasaki to Saddam, Osama, and Gaddafi, America has been fighting anti-evolutionary agents with remarkable foresight and considerable sacrifice. Domestic political opinion has not been always appreciative, but the overall bias for democracy has served the nation well. Rupee at Fifty is a substantial fall for us Indians, but it's hard to resist to say three cheers for American innovation. [Posted from my iPhone, TNM55]

Friday, October 21, 2011

Great gospel for the resurgence of India

[The Political Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo by V. P. Varma - 1990 - Philosophy - 494 pages
Aurobindo conceived of nationalism as a pure Sattvic religion and hence he stressed the … By his emphasis on the inward sources of national strength he has provided a great gospel for the resurgence of India.]

Hazare highlights the village level hub of governance and Sri Aurobindo's laudatory references to local administration in ancient India need not be seen as endorsement of the same. Present day solutions can't be imported from the past save the shining values that flow from the Vedic enshrinements. Sri Aurobindo looked upon Sattwa as the bedrock of an ideal society.

His delineation of it (17.296) can be interpreted as encapsulating the four limbs of sagehood contained in a seminal line of the Gita (anapeksha ... 12.16). Thus, Selfless sympathy, a Calm self-possessing peacefulness, Disinterested enlightenment and Dispassionate wisdom are essential characteristics of a good citizenship. Nothing less can save us from the all pervading corruption. [TNM55]

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Specialisation and abstractions

Comment posted by: Tusar N. Mohapatra
http://www.mirroroftomorrow.org/blog/_archives/2011/10/1/4904292.html#1537617
Re: 21: The Editing of Savitri—Was not the 1950-1951 edition of Savitri approved by Sri Aurobindo?

The whole purpose of higher education is specialisation and juggling with abstractions. So lay persons passing stray comments on sophisticated thought is ridiculous. It is better to desist from such practice in public and shun prejudice. Let's not demotivate those who are pursuing their Ph.Ds in Post-modernism and allied fields. [TNM55]

Ideological antipathy shouldn't colour appreciation of communicational idioms and one's own disability or disinclination need not be imposed upon the collectivity. All word smiths are creative artists and responding to the muse is their sole obligation. Thereafter, the author is dead and so too the readers in the long run. [TNM55]

India on its own

Political discourse in the country has intensified in the wake of the Hazare hurricane. But the international situation is so dismal that the earlier habit of finding safety in Western theory appears shaky. Although, nothing outstanding has been written by Indians by way of political theory, the story of the last sixty years has many lessons to offer.

Fortunately, our leaders have been wise enough in avoiding extreme ideological avenues. A pragmatic approach with periodical course correction has served us well. Democracy, though constrained by dynasty and feudal tendency, has survived and matured.

With an advantageous geographical location, free trade can work wonders for the country. Tourism potential too remains almost untapped. The Judeo-Vedic legacy of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo also has much to offer in the field of Philosophy, Religion, & Cosmology. [TNM55]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beware of Leftist lip service

[Redistribution is not inclusion growth
By on Tue, 18 Oct 2011 23:57:28 GMT
Only in India does redistribution, which keeps the poor and marginalised out of the mainstream of the economy, pass for inclusive growth.]

[When Tatas issued shares on 26th August 1907, for the first time in the financial history of the country, the Indian people - the masses, the affluent and the common people -joined hands to put up the first truly Indian enterprise. The Tata family contributed the remaining 11% shares of the Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited.]

Democracy forces the politicians to twist the facts to make it palatable for the public. Even, established economic principles suffer the same fate at the time of elections. However, when the results of a sound economy becomes visible, then even the most unwilling change opinion. India Shining or India Story is firmly on track despite temporary setbacks.

Efforts are on to modify the Basic Structure of the Constitution of India on the basis of street level activism. Experience says that not the Constitution but the persons in office are to blame. By strengthening these institutions much improvement can be expected.

Patriotism is on the wane as a matter of fact and the country is perceived as a huge Corporate house from which each one must derive the maximum benefit. Freedom, in such a situation, is the only regulation for individuals to chase their dreams. The poor in India are not a monolithic block. The number of people who say Goodbye to poverty and backwardness everyday is not insignificant. So beware of Leftist lip service! [TNM55]

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vote for order and stability

[Occupy Wall St's demand? No demands By Sebastian Smith (AFP) – NEW YORK — They brave the elements, the police and uncertainties of life on the street, but probably the hardest thing anyone in the Occupy Wall Street demonstration can do is join something called the "Demands Working Group."
As they enter the second month of a protest that has echoed around the world, the activists of Occupy Wall Street are under fierce pressure from the media and major commentators to do what protest movements usually do: issue demands.]

[Nenon writes that the French Revolution was taken by Kant to directly challenge two of the fundamental beliefs of the Enlightenment. The first belief was that enlightenment is compatible with order, stability, and the gradual reform of political and social institutions. The second was that progress in any one area of human endeavor would be mirrored by progress in other areas. Nenon suggests that there were two chief responses to this challenge. The “romantic view” of Fichte, the early Hegel, and Marx maintained that progress will result in the elimination of the state. The “realist position” of the later Hegel held that the rational state is not only required for progress but is itself an instance of that progress. http://www.continental-philosophy.org/2011/10/17/kant-kantianism-and-idealism-the-origins-of-continental-philosophy-reviews-philosophical-reviews-university-of-notre-dame/]

No one is very sure where it is headed, but it is fairly apparent that OWS is a new edition of WSF jamboree. We don't dispute its entertainment value, but to see it as something leading to a higher purpose is questionable.

Like the Hazare movement, OWS is nothing but way to anarchy. As we have no love for such luxuries, we vote for order and stability instead. Learning to walk along the spirals of evolution warrants perseverance, and hence eschewing mob wisdom is the need of the hour. [TNM55]

Navigating Hazare

The elaboration of Banal Hindutva by Jyotirmaya Sharma (Mail Today, 17 October 2011) reminds of The Bourgeois and the Samurai (On Nationalism, pp.336-354) by Sri Aurobindo. Middle class complacence is a social reality and by enumerating a few characteristics of them is not a safe way to classify their political affiliations. Nor is it prudent to blame the public within a democracy, for the same people also unseat hated rulers.

Rather, the political parties have failed India. They don't stick to any ideological mooring and enter into unholy alliances to win elections. Their opportunist leaders resort to all kinds of populism in order to be in currency. However, these are defects of democracy itself and can't be attributed to people.

Hazare has already happened and hence it is futile to analyse how and why he reached here. The future course is still fluid and with right ideological navigation much good can be earned. People like Sharma would do well to popularise the perspective of Sri Aurobindo as an alternative. [TNM55]

Monday, October 17, 2011

Integralism of Sri Aurobindo ensues from the Veda

[My mistake is that Aurobindo is not a canonical figure in the same way Descartes is. Many feel him to be marginal and unfairly marginalized. Consequently, if you describe the more problematic sides of Aurobindo's contribution (his historicism) without first offering a kowtow to his brilliance as a poet, sage, and political leader, then you have basically shat on his grave. To this day I get criticisms for having an "incomplete understanding" of Aurobindo. ...
Anyway, this aspect of my own immaturity and insensitivity as a thinker has really hindered my ability to express a fundamental critique of integral theory on the basis of how it has sucked Aurobindo's thought right on in to itself. ... - For The Turnstiles
by DGA on Oct 17, 2011 6:15 PM]

Anderson has expressed regrets for the harsh manner he approached Sri Aurobindo, although he said many good things also in his admirable studies. Integralism of Sri Aurobindo ensues from the Vedic vision and as a keen student of Integral Theory Anderson should acquire some acquaintance with The Secret of the Veda. Even, he may find his understanding of Buddhism deepened through this exercise. [TNM55]

Unimpaired Ontology

[I’m going to begin this week not with God, but with Buddhism. Because I think one of the most deep and important elements of Buddhist tradition is precisely its atheism. That atheism is, indeed, a great part of what brought me to Buddhism in the first place. ...
You can be an agnostic or even an atheist and still be a Buddhist, because God or Gods don't figure. I still think this is something remarkable about Buddhism, at least in its Theravāda variant. Unlike Epicureanism, a similarly atheistic tradition which died out within a century or two, Buddhist tradition survived for thousands of years while denying that there were gods out there. And I don’t think it’s just me for whom this is an appealing point: in an atheistic age where we are more aware than ever of the hideous sufferings that befall our fellow human beings, and where Darwin managed to dispense with God as the explanation for life’s diversity, Buddhism provides the kind of wise and enduring tradition that the various theisms provide, without having that God at the core. ...
The Buddhist problem of value - Love of All Wisdom - by Amod Lele on Oct 17, 2011 2:32 AM]

Ontology, when constrained by either religious or ideological considerations, suffers impairment. When Levi, for instance, proclaims that he is a materialist, he ceases to be a diligent ontologist. Thus, honest pursuit of ontology defies preconditions. One's bias can surely be a starting point but reason goads to the right destination.

Sri Aurobindo himself has traversed through a massive bunch of arguments in The Life Divine and Essays on the Gita to arrive at the most logical inferences. Though developed within the ambit of Hindu scriptures, he unveils an ontology that is truly universal and comprehensive. Apart from answering the savants of the old, he successfully counters Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud et al. Even his contemporaries like Husserl, Heidegger, and Whitehead pale before the all encompassing integral vision presented by Sri Aurobindo. [TNM55]

Sri Aurobindo has a say

[Can students tolerate, can teachers cope: Expert on Ramanujan essay - Indian Express
... may not be capable of explaining the context of AK Ramanujan's essay on different tellings of the epic Ramayana to their students, one of the experts ...
Censoring education - The Hindu
The purging of AK Ramanujan's essay on the Ramayana from the syllabus of the University of Delhi (Oct. 15) is reminiscent of last year's deletion of ...]

As we are negotiating with the tussle over various versions of Savitri, Sri Aurobindo's early enthusiasm to purge Mahabharata of the spurious accretions comes to the mind. Modi's speech in Dwarka yesterday was laced with mythology, a common practice among the Hindutva activists. But to bulldoze genuine academic inquiry by mixing history with a favoured version of mythology is unfair and unjust.

Although periodical overhaul of syllabus cannot be faulted as everything, obviously can't be included, both the Marxist and the Hindutva bias permeating our Universities must end. This will happen when the nation accords Sri Aurobindo the place of honour he deserves. [TNM55]

Sunday, October 16, 2011

No reservation about reservations

[http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Anna-stir-is-Brahminical-Agnivesh/articleshow/10371426.cms]

Savitri Era Party firmly supports the principle of reservation that is in operation in the country and endorses the demand for incorporation of the same in the proposed Lokpal as well as Women's Bills. Any attempt to snatch away the hard earned rights of the Dalits must be resisted at all costs. [TNM55]

Safety in plurality

Seems to be an admirable project as you imply but given the fact that most academicians are Marxists, I have my own doubts. Although, they are interrogating Religion for a couple of decades now, their safety is in plurality. Multiculturalism is their mantra and diversity, the watchword. The project, in fact, encourages discovery of new faiths and codification of their practices so that religions grow in number and apply a check upon each other. The scholar, when delves into so many religions as a dispassionate observer, tends to turn a sceptic or areligious. University Departments of Comparative Religion regularly churn out such breed of students.

If someone, conversely, concentrates upon one/own Religion, then he is branded as a fundamentalist. They also prop up people of minority religions as models of inter-faith dialogue and communal amity. All these, indisputably, have their brighter side but the ulterior motive often makes them suspect. The way Sri Aurobindo's philosophy has been sidelined by them, for instance, exposes their true colours. [TNM55]

Return to rationality

Churchill said "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." The same can also be said about rationality since irrational or infra-rational behaviour is hardly dependable and the intuitional or supra-rational is no better. Hazare's flip-flop has caused acute consternation within his team and the nation is watching in bewilderment. Many good people like Gurcharan and Gopinath have endorsed this movement, but their motivation derives from their own thirst for transformation. Hence, to gloss over how the build up of this movement exposed the soft underbelly of our young democracy will be dangerous.

To heal the propensity of our people to succumb to emotional manipulation through media management, therefore, is of primary importance. Return to rationality is essential in order to save this nation from Mandir type mass mobilisations. Hazare, despite his good intentions, has legitimised a Fascist tendency in the country in the 21st Century. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo had fought Hitler during the World War II; and Savitri Era Party rededicates itself to resist his recurring legacy. [TNM55]

Support Savitri Era Party

Hazare hurricane is groping for direction as existing political poles are eager to appropriate it. Obviously, he can't run with the hare and hunt with the hounds for long and the scope for a new political party is also slender.

Savitri Era Party, on the contrary, has a clearcut ideological foundation. It is determined to fight the pre-Modern mindset of Hindutva as well as the anti-Religious stance of the ultra-Secularists. The party is against the Leftist economic principles and refuses to make a fetish of asceticism or pacifism.

As India consolidates its position as a leading nation, a new party devoid of past baggage like Savitri Era Party can ably take charge of the future. Hazare, Ramdev, and what have you are sure to falter sooner or later, and therefore, supporting the right party is crucial at this juncture. [TNM55]

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Adequacy of Devotion

Levi often bemoans that instead of any original philosophy people are mostly engaged with history of philosophy. Books, invariably, are commentaries and little original philosophy is attempted at present. The case of the spiritualist is also largely identical. What begins as an attempt at transformation of one's life tends to change into scholarship, specialisation, or teaching. Life undergoes commensurate modification and the higher objective takes a backseat.

The general notion about Yoga and Ashram etc. in India also poses a difficulty. The instant visualisation of meditation and saffron introduces needless yardsticks. Common people turning their everyday life into conduits of aspiration and inspiration is a remote mentality. The spin that The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have given to the word Yoga, therefore, remains under-appreciated.

The fifth chapter of The Mother book is an excellent How To of Integral Yoga. Bereft of any external paraphernalia, the three steps constitute a volitional progress in conjunction with Grace. Scholarship is also covered as work in this context and classified as Aesthetic Yoga. But aspirants not so equipped would prefer an ordinary devotional approach. [TNM55]

Jug and Clock

[True family and True country - Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother - Comment by Tusar N. Mohapatra on 15/10/2011 3:51 PM
While citing the Master, accuracy should be ensured down not only to a comma, but also to the space succeeding it. - TNM55]

Blank space or absence lends itself to umpteen ontological speculations. Derrida, Sartre, and Heidegger's Jug easily come to the mind. Not to speak of Nagarjuna culminating in Ken Wilber.

Nearer home, the Aphorism: "... Yes, but let me know also the truths which the Avatar cast not forth into speech and the prophet has omitted from his teachings. ..." And, who can forget the story of the wall-clock taking rest twixt two strokes? [TNM55]

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Future Savitri

[Considering all these factors I will go for the 1951-version which has the finality of revisions by the author himself. - RYD]

Personally, RYD is entitled to his own choice and opinion (like, everyone has his version of JLB), but the question is what will be his verdict as the Chairman of a Committee (like, the Standing Committee) on Savitri. He has to take into consideration the views of various quarters (including even the adversaries) and give audience to the most reticent. Drawing out the feelings of the unwilling, the unassuming, and the withdrawn will be an equally challenging task. We must move, as it were, the heaven and the earth, for we are dealing with Savitri, the Savitri for the future - for the following aeons - and any chink left at this juncture can prove too costly.

FIRST edition is the easiest option, but the complications don't vanish, nor are they all irrelevant. Further, none can rob the validity of SABCL edition on account of The Mother's presence. The CWSA edition, similarly, has its own authenticity and admirers. Fortunately for us, all these are products of a pre-cyber era, and this very fact offers us a wealth of opportunity.

Open or not, a site must have all resources relating to Savitri, and let people study and be aware of the complexities involved. A fresh edition will arise from this collective effort, and there is nothing to hurry or worry. This proposal is sure to infuriate those hardliners further who are sentimental about Savitri as mantra. But the CWSA edition, for all practical purposes, is the point of departure as of now and to stick to this much of common sense can save us from much rancour and recrimination. [TNM55]

Model Ashram

Indian professionals, we hear, do well abroad because of their firm grounding in cultural diversity. Some attribute it to the Perennial Philosophy ingrained in growing up in India. Without any acquaintance with non-Indians, it is, of course, difficult to rely upon such generalisations; but The Mother choosing India as her field of work remains a compelling proof.

Cinema, art, poetry, theatre etc. contributed to the task of nation building in their own way. Commerce, industry, and economy also found their feet during these years. What was happening in Puducherry and later initiated in Auroville in a rudimentary form was already happening all over the country, the result of which we find today in a vibrant India.

It is better not to talk about Yoga and Spirituality in view of the controversies and court cases involving the Ashram at present. But as a commune engaged in diverse economic activities including publishing, its performance can be said to be fairly satisfactory. With a bit of fine tuning in its functioning, it can be an example of successful collective living for others to emulate.

The road to perfection is long and winding. Over-promise and under-delivery is nothing but quackery. The key, therefore, is to wade through the mud with the hope to chance upon a pearl. [TNM55]

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grim consequence

[Open Diary… « porinoti
porinoti.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/open-diary/
Pondicherry happens to be a SPIRITUAL Place which is very close to my heart. Recently started reading about the life and ideologies of Sri Aurobindo. I am yet ...]

Yet another blog by Students of Religion, who wish to enforce their textbook definition of God, Saint, Devotee etc. They are so sure of what God or Saint want that they are perplexed at deviations from their own rigid notions. They fail to understand the impropriety of this proprietorial attitude and continue to question others' intelligence. Instead of studying others' behavioural diversity, they wish to codify and dictate them. Colonial hangover and false superiority is a problem they can't get over. God save this species! [TNM55]

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hazare hurricane lacks honesty

['Brand Anna' holds vital lessons for marketers 11 Oct, 2011, 1307 hrs IST, IANS
NEW DELHI: If you have an idea that connects with people, you can make the right impact on large groups, even huge populations. This explains the unprecedented success of Anna Hazare's anti-graft campaign, which helped him morph into a brand, holding vital lessons for marketing and the ad world, says a study by a leading public relations firm. ...
"The Hazare campaign reminds us that simplicity is the key to successful branding," said Shergill.]

The Hazare hurricane is evolving and it is difficult to predict its future course, but its success so far is certainly not based on honesty. Latching on to the JLB one-point programme, the campaign has used emotional blackmail like fasting to arouse public support. Cultural propaganda routes have also been employed by harnessing music, poetry, and theatre. Besides, appropriate slogans have been raised to create a religio-patriotic fervour. If all this lead to Hissar, then the fall is apparent.

Success without integrity is bound to be short-lived. Sincerity (sine-cera = no wax fillings in the marble statue) is rather the most precious ingredient to build something enduring. [TNM55]

Biography or Ideology?

[August 4th, 2008 at 10:43 am
Getting beyond the Conventions of Biography – and Hagiography Too: A Post by Peter Heehs
The following post is by Peter Heehs, author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
There is general agreement among students of religion that Aurobindo was a remarkable mystic, but few are willing to swallow the claim of some of his followers that he was an avatar, like Krishna, Chaitanya or Christ. ...
What about the assertion that Aurobindo was an avatar? I can’t say that the question interests me very much. Aurobindo never claimed the distinction for himself, and I don’t think anyone alive is in a position to say one way or the other.]

The book can surely be improved upon, but the above have been etched indelibly on the blackboard of history and can't be removed. Even today, Heehs and his followers are unwilling to accord the Divine status to The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, and hence the antipathy towards religion. Yoga, like Western Buddhism, is a subversive ploy played by them to the hilt. The agenda is to turn the Ashram into a Research Centre for Students of Religion by banishing all theatrical religious practices performed by the devotees.

It's not inconsequential that these words had appeared during the heyday of pro-Obama campaigns. But the neat division in American politics can't accommodate the multiplicity of Indian reality. Hindutva, and not Religion, needs to be opposed for its pre-Modern worldview. Secularism, like Buddhism, is our adversary on metaphysical grounds. As for the Leftists, our disagreement is on Religion, Economics, and Violence. [TNM55]

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lack of leadership leads to loss of liberty

India and an individual occupy widely separated levels upon a scale of ethics. But they converge considerably within the confines of Integral Yoga. The underlying reason being the concept of Nation Soul that Sri Aurobindo has famously endorsed. This, of course, relates to his First Dream, and as we move further, we encounter larger visualisations.

Politics was forbidden in the Ashram because of some practical reasons. Achieving a kind of intensity was the objective by obviating concern for basic needs in a protected environment. Since the same situation cannot be replicated everywhere, avoiding politics means shirking responsibilities. Lack of leadership traits can mean subjugation and loss of liberty, ultimately. India under foreign rule is an apt example of this with which we are so tragically familiar.

Agreed that temperamental and situational factors may be demotivational for many. But to raise a slogan that politics/religion is inadmissible in Yoga smacks of myopia and literalism. Free opinion is a democratic right but searching for insight is a more valued pursuit. [TNM55]

Karan vs. Kireet

Santosh Desai has ably deconstructed The divine middlemen (TOI, 10 October 2011) by highlighting how politics in India is now eager to engage with religion. Ultra-secular politics in the West is wilting, and hence, the present experiment in India may not be altogether irrelevant. But the all important question is direction. Of our two most recognisable public faces, Dr. Karan Singh serves Sonia and Kireet Joshi serves Modi. The future of the country, on the contrary, is in the need of an independent ideology anchored to The Mother & Sri Aurobindo.

Hazare in Hissar is certainly a turning point and Hindutva chances are on the upswing. Any temptation to align with them, therefore, has serious repercussions and constitutes fall from the path. To walk along Evolution and against it are a binary, and unfortunately for the fence-sitters, there are no vistas of grey between them. [TNM55]

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Hazare and Jobs

The media overdrive relating to Hazare and Jobs are frightening instances of a connected world. The danger of communication being a double-edged sword looms large in Orwellian premonition. A fast or a death is, of course, a potent trigger for whipping up emotional frenzy. But when it spreads to the level of mass hysteria, then it is worthwhile to question the role of the media, the commercial angle, and the political fall outs.

Such occasions are also seen by many as a passing carnival and nothing is taken seriously, the result being cynicism. This way of dumbing down leads to further disempowerment of the ordinary citizen and disillusionment among the young. Orchestrated affirmative action measures, therefore, are a must to counter the overpowering media menace. [TNM55]

Friday, October 07, 2011

Neat & minimalist

[Re: I have never seen such a baby, never—the Mother
by Sandeep on Sat 24 Sep 2011
If he went through the American school system and experienced the fraternities, the binge drinking, the hookup sex and what not, I bet his psychic quality would have receded pretty quickly.]

Steve Jobs' Indian connection has aroused much interest. The East-West synthesis, again, is being talked about. But the economic compulsions are assuming priority over cultural or philosophical angles. The size of the Indian Market is so attractive that everyone is interested to secure a toehold in it.

It is almost a century now since Spengler's The Decline of the West appeared in 1918. Eurozone's current troubles may or may not be an indication of it. But this much is clear that Europe and America will increasingly be dependent upon India for their survival in the years to come. This means not only economic integration but also cultural commerce.

Religion and language are two visible hurdles for the West's reception in India. But already an influential minority among the elite is facilitating this and their number is growing fast. The task at hand, therefore, is to identify the core values that need to be propagated. Neither a blanket condemnation of the West nor an uncritical eulogy of ancient Indian wisdom is going to be of any help. Even, the explicit recommendations of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo need to be sieved to make them acceptable to the modern mind. Like Jobs, we should be able to anticipate what the consumer wants. [TNM55]

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The write choice

The Mother's arrival in Puducherry to meet Sri Aurobindo and consequent establishment of the Ashram subsequently are momentous events of modern history. Their views on diverse subjects and the path they have hewed jointly are a beacon of light amidst the chaos of competing opinions. Many complain of difficulty in understanding their writings, not unjustifiably and unavailability of their books widely is another bottleneck. As a result, the speciality as well as uniqueness of their thought continues to be under-appreciated.

The Ashram ecosystem has produced a large number of quality scholars and communicators but mostly devoid of necessary academic credentials. Commentaries with a critical rigour are a rarity therefore and not many are trained in the craft of writing adequately. Picking up a topic and accumulating arguments for and against it by bouncing the same against diverse contexts necessitates depth as well as wideness in approach. Although, not many are regular in our online forums, the sheer shallowness of participants saying a mere Thank You (by consuming precious URL bandwidth) is surely nauseating.

It is a lazy supposition that those who have the call will turn to the Masters automatically. Writing with a focus on contemporary relevance will always be a challenge, and more so, as we have something infinitely significant to offer to people around us. [TNM55]

The monkey & a pair of horns

[Generosity - Larval Subjects on 06/10/2011
Now, in some respects we all thought that none of us fully understood each other’s positions. So we took the time to explain and clarify our respective positions. In other respects, we were involved in an exploratory dialogue, trying to make sense of things, trying to make sense of the world around us, trying to grow. This wasn’t an adversarial cage match where we were beginning with fixed and pre-established positions and where the last person standing “wins”– indeed, there was no “winning” about it –this was a generous discussion of people trying to navigate their way through the world. None of us wished to demolish the others and all of us were rooting for each other. Each of us gained something through each other and saw things that we couldn’t see through our own lessons. Okay, I admit that I literally pounded the table at one point in the discussion, but in a generous way!]

Miovic, whose diction and position seemed to mimic Kepler's, came up with some outside the box propositions, but beats a hasty retreat. Seidlitz too, on second thoughts, has shrunk in his initial enthusiasm. If anyone, on the basis of online conversations, imagines that Heehs has a pair of horns, then the blame squarely devolves upon Heehs himself. He has studiously maintained a stony silence by marshalling his minions to fight tooth and nail. In the absence of any personal acquaintance and dependent as we are upon the leaks on the web, it has been thoroughly frustrating during the last three years to acquire any inkling of his intentions. This systematic stonewalling has been a major reason for escalation of conflicts as dialogue is a casualty.

Conceding to Carlson's accusation of incoherence, it can still be claimed that the book is not the primary issue is what we have pointed out on several occasions. Resisting religious fundamentalism faction was in operation much earlier of which the book was only one ammunition (their website, of course, surfaced later). This quasi-political ideological divide is definitely not easy to bridge given the political realities obtaining in India and the USA.

The monkey here, who happily gobbles up chunks from both sides, sadly, is Manoj Das Gupta. He has proved beyond any doubt how human greed can inflate to asuric proportions. [TNM55]

Monday, October 03, 2011

Interpreting the present

[In Memoriam Shyamsunder Jhunjhunwala, whom the Mother appointed as the Secretary of Auroville in 1971, passed away in July at his home in Pondicherry. Shyamsunder played a key role in the early days of Matrimandir's construction and the development of Auroville, and throughout his life he remained faithful to his commitment to the Mother to ensure that the Matrimandir was completed. Long after he was no longer secretary, he continued to raise funds for this central work. He will be remembered for his clever wit, his wry sense of humour, and his unwavering fidelity to Matrimandir. He authored several books and continued to churn out the editorials for Sri Aurobindo's Action magazine up to the end, despite his often fragile health. Matrimandir - Newsletter October 2011

Sri Aurobindo's Action, with its emphasis on the socio-political, has been a great inspiration. Along with M.P. Pandit's editorials in World Union, Shyamsunder dwelling on current affairs, in whatever circumvent manner, used to guide and perhaps prepare us for the present task. (Prapatti, of course, was the original energy for recruiting us on a mass scale in Odisha.)

As children are born everyday, communication remains a challenge, always. Passing away of our seniors should wake us up to the responsibility devolving upon us in this regard. In a way, our difficulties are much greater as time and technology enlarge the vista of human civilisation incessantly, in an unprecedented velocity as well as variety.

Interpretation, and not mere quoting, compiling, and paraphrasing, therefore, should be attempted by our green horns. Our vessels must venture out leaving the safety of the harbour behind. And more importantly, it must carry people in real time instead of simply singing a paean for the sublime destiny of man in the course of its sojourn through the high seas. [TNM55]

Sunday, October 02, 2011

One man and a woman

Assembly elections bring about change of guard in the States but Lok Sabha members continue. This is an anomaly and hence a proportional representation system at the Centre is more suitable. This can be implemented for Rajya Sabha without much difficulty. The Women's bill, similarly is hanging fire and a system of electing one man and a woman from each constituency can solve this impasse.

Tussle between the party leader and its President plagues almost all the parties. Ticket distribution is a contentious affair and issuing whip in parliament looks like a bondage. Democracy can be successful only if its operational nitty gritty receives periodical reforms. We sorely lack the statesmanship required at the moment for such clean up jobs. [TNM55]

Packaging mantra

India under Sonia is a shameful episode. The secrecy, servility, and sycophancy that has spawned during her regime easily makes many medieval tyrants seem virtuous. She not only implies a continuation of the colonial monarchy, but also symbolises the missionary expansionism of Christianity. Both are humiliating for ordinary Indians and more so at the sight of meek and anaemic ministers parroting the party line.

The ongoing Ramdev & Hazare movements, on the other hand, bring in chaos and colour to the democracy fair. Untested and undefined, they surely add to the confusion of the electorate. The Hindutva subtext is also a perplexing dimension. Besides, personality cult leading to fascist functioning remains a prime apprehension.

Thanks to the Heehs imbroglio, we have had debates surrounding ideological niceties to a large extent. (The Savitri controversy lacks the same and hence hardly interests.) The task, therefore, is how to present a manageably packaged thesis burnished in the teachings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo before the nation in order to give the Gandhis and Gandhians a run for their money. [TNM55]