Monday, January 30, 2012

Sri Aurobindo Ashram: now a battle ground

[Manoj Das Gupta (the Managing Trustee of the Ashram Trust) declared in his letters dated 5.10.2008, 8.10.2008 and 5.8.2009 that the book had “crossed all limits of simple decency!” He acknowledged that the book does in fact “denigrate Sri Aurobindo” and warned of its “potential danger” and the need to ensure that it “should reach as few readers as possible”. He claimed that he had “initiated” “a few corrective measures” with “more on the anvil”. Among them he claimed that “Legal aspects are being looked into as to whether the Indian publication may be at least modified if not stalled.” He acknowledged that the book involved theft and misuse of “access to privileged material” and recognised the publisher’s malafide motives saying “the publisher would be only too eager to exploit the situation in order to promote its sales!” In response to pleas for legal action to stop the book he wrote “if you feel that some legal action is the need of the hour, I am game for it.” From: Sraddhalu Ranade, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry To: Dr Karan Singh, Chairman, Auroville Foundation, Auroville. 23 January 2012 Sub: Letter from SAIER dated December 12, 2011 and delivered on January 14, 2012.]

Guided by survival instinct and expediency, Manoj Das Gupta has turned the Sri Aurobindo Ashram (Puducherry) into a battle ground. Since, he is neither the sole claimant to be the head nor has inheritance rights over the post, his personal career is none of our concern. Others, too, have aspirations and the required talent, and so, fairness demands that there should be rotation with fixed tenures. And, in fact, this is the method mankind has adopted the world over in order to avoid dictatorship and tyranny. But, it is a pity that Das Gupta has succumbed to incurable addiction to power and been blundering around in arrogance. [TNM55] 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Manoj Das Gupta should resign on the age criterion

The Lives camp seems to be in an overdrive and Kittu Reddy and others have been served show cause notices. SAIIER of Auroville Foundation has also issued letters to Anand Reddy and others. They are securing approving letters from sympathetic sources like Sabda functionaries and also approached the judiciary for revoking the ban on the book. Overall, fresh enthusiasm seems to have been infused, may be, due to firm assurances from the high ups in the political circle.

The root cause of all this is the continuation of Manoj Das Gupta as in-charge. He should resign on the age criterion so that the Ashram recovers its reputation and sense of direction. [TNM55]  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stop worrying and start Erasing

[Jehangir N. Chubb (1972) Sri Aurobindo as the Fulfillment of Hinduism. International Philosophical Quarterly 12 (2):234-242]

[Heehs on Sri Aurobindo and Indian Communalism by M Kvassay -  “Among Hindu leaders,” writes Heehs, “those most often mentioned as proponents of religious nationalism are Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, ...]

["Sri Aurobindo on Hinduism" by Peter Heehs ... - A critique of the book 12 Aug 2010 – The following paragraph is from a booklet by Peter Heehs entitled Sri Aurobindo on Hinduism and published by the Sri Aurobindo Society, ...]

Worrying about the old religions is sheer wastage of energy. Many devotees of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, on the other hand, consider a new religion as shameful or blasphemous. Instead of dwelling in this twilight zone, Savitri Erans proudly march forward towards their destination for fruition of their intention. [TNM55]

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ambition and ambivalence at Fifty six

A blog, by definition, is personal and informal, and so, it is no surprise that my personal views and opinions reflecting my hopes and ambitions find expression in it. These, I think, are quite valid activities for an individual under the Constitution of India, and hence, I fail to understand why I shouldn’t be entitled to any higher ambition at the age of 56. 

It is also no secret that my posts harbour ample ambivalence and incoherence which I attribute to my modest education, average intelligence, and limited memory. This, obviously, is normal of human condition and finitude as theoretical finality has not been achieved in any sphere of knowledge, as of yet. Interrogating the teachings as percolated through my own course of life and permeated into the intellectual itinerary, therefore, has been a priority rather than an anodyne parroting pastime.

While being thankful for the attention showered (by devoting so many pages after as many years), I’d like to emphasize once again that the ivory tower approach is pathetically outmoded. Pretence of superior perception and prognosis by barely a handful of people is absolutely unbecoming of the needed humility, dignity and soberness. [TNM55]

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A new Constitution and a new Manifesto

Prakash Karat performed a yeoman’s service to the nation by forcing the 'historic blunder' leading to the Left collapsing under its own weight. Manoj Das Gupta, however, seems to be lucky but his props are bound to come down very soon. The argument that The Mother has irrevocably designed the grids of administration for all time to come is utterly fallacious, and Sri Aurobindo Ashram is definitely in the dire need of a new Constitution and a new Manifesto.

Limiting Sri Aurobindo’s action and relevance to the Ashram and Auroville alone is another canard. It is illogical to delink agency from history, therefore; and repeating the mistake of disregarding the ripples at the margins. [TNM55] 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Living in a religiously plural society

[Religion takes a back seat to rights in court, says theologian -  By Andrew Hough 6:30AM GMT 25 Jan 2012 The courts are endangering religious freedom because the judiciary are giving it a lower priority than equality, a leading philosopher has claimed.
Prof Trigg, the founding President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Religion, said that as a result the courts were “limiting human freedom itself”.
“Religious freedom and the right to manifest religious belief is a central part of every charter of human rights,” he said on the eve of the launch of his book on Wednesday.]

[Religious freedom under threat from courts, professor warns The Guardian David Shariatmadari Oxford academic Roger Trigg points to 'clear trend' privileging secular values over religious conviction The Guardian, Wednesday 25 January 2012
Religious freedom in the US and Europe is under threat from the courts, an Oxford professor has warned. In his latest book, Equality, Freedom and ReligionRoger Trigg, who runs the Centre for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Kellogg College, argues: "There has been a clear trend for courts in Europe and North America to prioritise equality and non-discrimination above religion, placing the right to religious freedom in danger." … The academic, a former president of the European Society for Philosophy of Religion, complains that courts are attempting to determine the nature of religious faith for themselves.]

[Secularism: Its content and context - The Immanent Frame by Akeel Bilgrami on Oct 20, 2011 1:06 PM I propose, then, something like the following non-arbitrary stipulation as a characterization of secularism that contains all of the three features I had mentioned at the outset.
(S): Should we be living in a religiously plural society, secularism requires that all religions should have the privilege of free exercise and be evenhandedly treated except when a religion’s practices are inconsistent with the ideals that a polity seeks to achieve (ideals, often, though not always, enshrined in stated fundamental rights and other constitutional commitments) in which case there is a lexical ordering in which the political ideals are placed first. Much commentary is needed on this minimal and basic characterization.]

[Tusar N. Mohapatra has left a new comment on your post "Welcome Auro Truths": Posted to Savitri Era at 6:17 PM, January 25, 2012
Religion being a tangible form of spirituality runs as an amalgamation of politics and culture. The teachings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo aim at transformation in all these spheres and hence should be perceived as revolutionary. TNM55] 

A self-proclaimed authentic voice of the so called the Aurobindonian collective imagines a world without religion and politics. Cushioned living in the Ashram may be the reason for such hallucination, but imposing the same on others is certainly not cricket. [TNM55]

Six degrees (and a third) of separation from Fakir Mohan

[Salman Rushdie is poor, substandard writer: Juctice Katju Times of India PTI | Jan 25, 2012
Referring to the Jaipur festival, Katju said one would have expected "serious discussion on literature, particularly indigenous literature" of the likes of Kabir, Premchand, Sharat Chandra, Manto, Ghalib, Faiz, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Subramania Bharti. … Katju maintained that the whole history of the great Indian literature, rich in its variety, from Valmiki and Vyas to modern times should have been discussed. There could also have been a discussion on foreign writers like Dickens, Shaw, Victor Hugo, Balzac, Flaubert, Upton Sinclair, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gorki and Pablo Neruda, he said. …
He said India is facing massive socio-economic problems today and literature should address these. "The struggle which Kabir waged against narrow sectarianism, which Sharat Chandra waged against the caste system and women's oppression, which Faiz waged against despotism, which Subramania Bharti waged for nationalism and women's emancipation, which Dickens and Gorki waged against exploitation and social injustice - these are the matters which should have been discussed at Jaipur. Instead, Rushdie dominated most of the show," he said.]

Oriya writer Fakir Mohan Senapati’s limber and anarchic Six Acres and a Third, every bit as powerful today as it was when first published in 1902. Other great books of an Indian pantheon might include UR Ananthamurthy’s Samskara and Bharathipura (Kannada), Salma’s The Hour Past Midnight (Tamil), and the Bengali novels of Mahasweta]

Oriya writer Fakir Mohan Senapati appears to have asked himself: “Is there an Indian way of writing a novel?” Ramanujan had to identify or isolate his answer; Senapati had to invent his. Senapati poured his idiosyncratic novelistic awareness into a story called Chha Mana Atha Guntha, published in serial form in an Oriya magazine from 1895-97, then as a book in 1902, and at long last in an English translation adequate to its linguistic energy and narrative agility as late as 2006.]

Katju is unaware of Fakir Mohan Senapati, it seems. Odisha Peoples’ Unity Council is organizing 2nd Fakir Mohan Memorial Lecture and Award Presentation ceremony on January 31, 2012 at 5.3o pm in the Constitution Club, New Delhi. [TNM55]

Farce of the dwarf-JP

P.C. Joshi, the General Secretary of the CPI from 1935 to 1947, left an indelible mark on the modern cultural history of India, in both the pre- and post-independence periods. And this is an extraordinary event of history. … The first All India Progressive Writers’ Conference was held on April 10, 1936 (in Lucknow). … P. C. Joshi mobilised a great many writers and artists prior to and in the course of the formation and growth of the PWA and IPTA. …
The foundation conference of the IPTA coincided with the First Congress of the CPI (May 23 to June 1, 1943). The first CPI Congress was a great political event. But it was also a great cultural event, which is equally important. … THE foundation Conference of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) was held on May 25, 1943 in Marwari Vidyalaya, Bombay (now Mumbai).
The Conference was preceded by several preparatory events culminating in the IPTA—formation of the PWA (1936), foundation of the Youth Cultural Institute in Calcutta in 1940, creation of the People’s Theatre in Bangalore in 1941 by Anil de Silva, a lady of Ceylonese origin, formation of the Bombay IPTA in 1942 with herself (Anil de Silva) at the centre and other events.]

Through linguistic diversification, IPTA artists used the theater as a vehicle for awakening a spirit of protest among "the people" that would merge into a collective antifascist and anti-imperialist consciousness. Similarly, joint authorship of plays indicates a collective political undertaking …]

THE use of music as a mode of expressing protest has historically involved the adoption of diverse forms from across cultures, ranging from the traditional to the new. … The formation of the Indian People’s Theatre Association in 1943 marked a formal adoption of the idea that music and theatre would be used for the conscious articulation of protest. In India, this was one of the early, if not the first, attempts to use music, dance, theatre and art for the systematic articulation of protest against oppression, particularly class based. Across the country, a large number of the best-known artists of the time became part of the IPTA, attempting to create alternative aesthetic products. Regional and provincial branches of the IPTA were formed, all engaged in the creation of this alternative aesthetic… Notes from the revolution - Times Of India 27 Dec 2010 – (Crooning glory: The IPTA choir in K A Abbas's film 'Dharti Ke Lal'.) And protest music from the first half of the 20th century.]

The Left turn of culture has paid rich dividends in the pre-tv age, but now they look like fossils. The Hindutva brigade, unfortunately, prefers the safety of mythology instinctively and plays defensively against cultural imperialism. The present chaos involving language and creativity in India may be a fine tension for throwing up inspired works with the potential of electrifying the whole nation, but the kind of receptivity required for such galvanization is sadly absent.

The rise and fall of Anna Hazare is illustrative of all that is detrimental in the Indian society today. The appeal of this dwarf-JP has rather more affinity with the Advani-led Mandir movement. And the most devastating aspect is the colossal intellectual and cultural vacuum within which he and his cohorts operate. [TNM55]

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Savitri Era is a distinct religion

[Puja in govt offices won't hurt secularism: HC Timesof India - A Subramani, TNN Jan 18, 2012, CHENNAI: Is conducting Ayudha Puja or Saraswathi Puja in government offices a non-secular activity deserving to be banned? 'No', the Madras high court has ruled. 
"Showing respect to the place of work and the objects of work will in no way offend the feelings of others or affect secularism. Ayudha Puja is referable to prayer, reverence or respect given to objects through which an individual performs his profession or occupation. Ayudha Puja in its real terms transcends all religion," a division bench of Justice R Sudhakar and Justice Aruna Jagadeesan has said.]

[Delhi High Court issues orders to turn volume of loudspeakers at ... India Today - 8 Jan 2012 Here's some music for the ears of those looking for a respite from the "noisy" loudspeakers at temples, mosques and other religious institutions in Delhi… Turn down the volume: HC on loudspeakers for prayers - Indian Express 11 Jan 2012 – “Such acts are likely to lead to simmering of ill-will and grievances, which, in turn, leads to communal tension. Therefore, such practices and ...]

[UPSCStudy Notes: Uniform civil code vs. Right to Religion 17 Feb 2010 – S.P. Mittalvs. Union of India: The Majority in this case taking a very restricted view of religion held that the teachings of Sri Aurobindo constituted a philosophy and not religion even if their followers claimed them to be their religion.
Chinnappa Reddy, J: In a dissenting opinion said "the question is not whether Sri Aurobindo refused to claim or denied that he was founding a new religion or a new school of religious thought but whether his disciples and community thought so because religion is a matter of belief and doctrine, concerning the human spirit, expressed overtly in the form of ritual and worship and since Aurobindo's disciples took Aurobindo's teachings in that spirit the teachings constituted a distinct religion.]

Courts in India continue to deliver conflicting verdicts regarding matters related to religion. The fight for securing the status of a “distinct religion” (as adjudicated by Justice Reddy), however, is long for the Savitri Erans. [TNM55]

18 minus

A home-tutor once commented that the school-goer is his employer. The ubiquity of children appearing in tv-ads also tells how they are crucial to sales. Since the shape of the future society leans upon the young of today, passing on the ethical values and the rationale thereof onto them assumes importance. It is, of course, debatable whether the human goodness is intrinsic and unfolds from the beginning or socially useful skills need to be inculcated in children in a structured manner. Be that as it may, the thought that our fate lies in the hands of the youngsters strikes as a bit disconcerting.
Bulk of political thought, ordinarily, leave out the ambition of women and children from its ambit. While men blame the Government or God for the ills of society, women blame men, and the children their elders. The dynamics of empowerment, therefore, is a much more complex affair than what is understood superficially. Monochromatic political ideals may be surviving due to university sponsorship, but the social reality is otherwise. The age of majority, too, needs lowering in view of inescapable exposure to visual media and social networking avenues. [TNM55] 

Five dreams and seven facets

[Even those who reject my ascription of R1 noumenato Heidegger will probably concede that they are defended by Kant. What this means is that all six realist doctrines in Braver’s matrix have been upheld by at least one of his anti-realist heroes. Hence, there would seem to be no central anti-realist thread in his story. This is why I proposed an additional A7 doctrine of Privileged Human-World relation; surely A7 is the one common thread leading through continental anti-realism from Kant to Derrida. A FESTIVAL OFANTI-REALISM 203 Graham Harman PHILOSOPHY TODAY SUMMER 2008 10:26 AM]

[Whorf also discusses the planes of linguistics: “But in the science of linguistics, the facts of the linguistic domain compel recognition of serial planes, each explicitly given by an order of patterning observed…First, the plane “below” the strictly linguistic phenomena is a physical, acoustic one, phenomena wrought of sound waves; then comes a level of patterning in rippling muscles and speech organs, the physiological-phonetic plane; then the phonemic plane, patterning that makes a systematic set of consonants, vowels, accents, tones, etc. for each language; then the morphophonemic plane…then the plane of morphology…then the further planes still…” (p 248) The book is available onlineComment on Linguistic abilities of babies by Sandeep from Comments for Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother by Sandeep]

Approaching Sri Aurobindo is an enormous challenge and perhaps the best course is to proceed like a blind man encountering an elephant. The possible seven facets can be like the following and still the fear of missing his essence remains. [TNM55] 
  1. Indian culture and literary criticism
  2. Savitri and other creative output
  3. Vedic and scriptural commentaries
  4. Yoga psychology and transformation
  5. Education, ethics, and the evolutionary imperative
  6. Philosophy and integralism
  7. Political thought and the five dreams

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sadhaks carry their biases

[Google Reader (47): 'via Blog this' I hate to admit there isn’t much love lost between most senior journalists. Over the years, journalism has become divided along ideological lines. Like most humans, journalists also carry their predilections, preferences and biases around. In spite of our best efforts, we try to impose our choices... Prabhu Chawla, editorial director of The New Indian Express and Sunday Standard]

We can say the same about our senior sadhaks. [TNM55]

Anchoring power to ethics is a tall order

Accommodating maximum participants in cultural programs put up by schools is a common phenomenon. Proliferation of civil society organizations, also, is indicative of rewarding more and more people with positions of power or recognition. The Democracy machinery, similarly, employs too many people. Election campaigns and the media vigil multiply it manifold. Thus, while this participatory nature is a welcome feature, wide asymmetry in incentives and risk of rejection make it a virtual minefield.

Further, anchoring power to ethics is a tall order for the players in a democracy (while in monarchy the ruler used to enjoy liberties of various forms). Besides, the multiple tasks that are expected of an elected representative is simply Herculean. Thus, a major cause of the ills of democracy is this imagined version of a human being turning an ideal community leader as well as a skilled law maker. This, of course, can happen by transformation of human nature. [TNM55] 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

SEOF & SEO techniques

Thanks for your kind words and the overall sentiment, but as visible actors in the public sphere we can’t avoid criticism. Rather, by joining issue we might facilitate segregating disinformation and unmask their architects. Cross-linking to sundry sites is a standard SEO technique and hence has its merit as well as benefits. Further, transparency has been a consistent policy of SEOF from which it won’t be wise to baulk. [TNM55]

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Welcome Auro Truths

Unlike Posthuman Destinies and IY Fundamentalism, Auro Truths has taken upon itself the difficult task of fighting falsehood and we welcome this ombudsman spirit. Other ventures like Mirror of Day After Tomorrow, True Prof. Kamal Das, and Auroleaks, however, spew polemics and hence have low credibility.
The dangerous cocktail of religion and politics, admittedly, is a concern for many and the same can be discussed in an environment of goodwill. But talking to masks is an unappetizing proposition. [TNM55]

Friday, January 20, 2012

Unethical ambush marketing

[धूमधाम से की सांई बाबा की मूर्ति स्थापित दैनिक जागरण - गाजियाबाद, जासंकें : जयकारे के साथ प्रताप विहार के सिद्धेश्वरनाथ मंदिर में साईं बाबा की मूर्ति को प्राण प्रतिष्ठा के साथ स्थापित किया गया। ]

Adopting an unethical ambush marketing strategy, the followers of Sai Baba are encroaching many established Hindu temples to install his idol through sheer money power. As a synthetic and hybrid sect, it is unfair on their part to infringe upon the sanctity of traditional forms of worship, when they have the wherewithal to separately build their own places of worship. [TNM55]

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Savitri Era identity is separate

Search engines and aggregators alert us to Sri Aurobindo’s name flashing over the web in view of Swami Vivekananda's 150th birth anniversary celebrations. This association, however, is most misleading as Sri Aurobindo’s distinct contributions remain in the background. Since, Sri Aurobindo’s writings are vast and ideas complex, people, ordinarily, adopt the easy way and avoid him. Those who prefer to refer his name, ultimately, misrepresent him. Savitri Erans, therefore, should take care to keep their identity separate and uniqueness aloft. That is the best means to collaborate with the evolution and avoid confusion. 

Problematizing Sri Aurobindo is certainly a worthwhile project; more so, because of the Ashram created by him with the assistance of The Mother. The tangible nature of the Ashram and Auroville, obviously, overshadows their writings, and impressions of visiting Puducherry don’t change easily. Thus, it is not unusual to find many sensible and well-meaning persons being ambivalent regarding Sri Aurobindo and what exactly he stands for. For others, his multiple “lives” pose a formidable difficulty for zeroing on any definite image of him. Further, when examined against the backdrop of the Hindu religion, a lot of opacity surfaces. All these are quite valid reasons for the neglect of his teachings and an honest re-evaluation can help present a clearer picture.

Sri Aurobindo’s message emerges from the deep wombs of the past, both of East and the West, but charts a new path towards the future. Thus, to call it a synthesis alone is insufficient; it’s verily a prophecy. In his writings, he has delved deep into the question of man securing a harmonious living and the solution he hammers out integrates philosophy and religion with politics and economics. Such an interdisciplinary approach is surely a tall order for most people especially when not many are willing to relinquish their old outdated notions and narrow nationalist sentiments. Sri Aurobindo’s option, basically, is to bid farewell to the past and make a foray into the future. [TNM55]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sri Aurobindo and secularism

[Sukumar Muralidharan: Redefining the Secular in Indian Society: It was “logical” to have accorded a degree of priority to religious harmony, given the reality of Indian society, where multiple religious traditions had at various times sprouted and flourished. But the notion was not sufficient to achieve a truly inclusive social order. “For realizing inclusiveness, cultural plurality is not sufficient”, said Panikkar: “what is essential is cultural equality”. 12:55 PM 1:06 PM]

Setting liberty and equality against each other serves well as fodder for endless seminars while the society runs in its own manner. Concerns, though legitimate, can hardly be said to be anywhere near being achieved and hence seem purely utopian. Sri Aurobindo, however, offers the golden mean and assimilating his insights is what is sorely needed. [TNM55]

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hour of prudence

[There are so many imponderables in life, aren’t there? ... Why is abbreviation such a long word? Come to think of it, why does the word monosyllabic have 5 syllables? And shouldn’t “phonetics” be spelt the way it sounds?!]

Human devised solutions to the issues such as currency, morality, rights etc., will always be unequal. This is not an opinion, it is His (nature/universe) law. He has designed us differently (similar only in race), this universe is uniquely dual and its chaos are loaded with benefits... He has given His creation the adaptability to adjust to the realities of their situation. Fake bleeding hearts and false hope generating exploiters remain the only constant impediment. Nirmal S. Nilvi, Texas]

Democracy is a work in progress and serves as a good sounding board for various hopes and aspirations of people. But chasing achievable goals is a much more prudent option than promising chimera. The same is the case with the so called spirituality. Many print and video publicity materials relating to Integral yoga use the pictures of galaxies and other geographical complexities which intimidate people. Thus, humanising the principles of yoga is more important than describing weird experiences that convey impressions of neurosis. [TNM55]

Friday, January 13, 2012

Savitri Era Religion has the potential of attracting the young Indians

Other than Ramayana, Mahabharata, Gita and Gandhi, I read Sri Aurobindo whom I think should be popularized more. I read Shakespeare of course, the entire works four and half times, with copious notes.]

Sri Aurobindo used to smoke while he was being educated in England in the latter half of the nineteenth century[1]. This was not unusual considering the fact ...]

[Lakshmi Chaudhry Jan 12, 2012 Over the past thirty years, Christian conservatives have slowly, relentlessly, inexorably pushed America to the right. From electing presidents to restricting abortion rights to shaping school curriculum, they have been the most powerful and enduringly successful grassroots movement in modern US history.]

Savitri Era Religion, too, has the potential of attracting the young Indians by ushering in curiosity and free thinking among them. As a knowledge based modern religion with a global perspective, it is aptly the religion of the future. [TNM55] 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Savitri Era Party offers a genuine and transparent option

[Yes, I am writing to you in support of Congress, coz its time we bring a change in the Congress and not try to bring new party all together.]

Thanks JBG for disclosing and justifying your political preference. But I have no clue as to how I can "bring a change" in a party of which I am not even a member.

Savitri Era Party took birth in 2007, and it is not without significance as it was the Centenary year of the famous Surat Split. Further, the party has its own distinct ideology and objectives. So, I think, there is no harm in offering a fresh option to the people as long as it is genuine and transparent. The ultimate judge in a democracy, however, are those who take the trouble to vote. [TNM55]

West forgets; Sri Aurobindo preserves

[And of course, it doesn’t help that Neoplatonism was given form by Plotinus and his successors (ie: Porphyry, Proclus), reshaping other crucial precursor movements such as Epicureanism and Stoicism, yet its center soon transfered to a ‘non-western’ culture, namely, the Arabic speaking world. No wonder the ‘west’ wants to forget this! But this Neoplatonic synthesis is in fact where ‘the west’ came from. For it was this networkological worldview that built the raw materials which mutated in Jewish thinkers of the medieval period, and the early Christian scholastics. Reading ‘The History of Philosophy’ Symptomatically, Or, Thoughts on a Networkological Historiography of Philosophy - Networkologies by chris on Jan 11, 2012 6:08 AM]

[I hero worshipped Aurobindo in my college days; but now half a century later, I am terribly disappointed. His discussion of time and eternity is wholly derived from that of Boethius; Page after page in Life Divine is watered down Plotinus. -Krishna Chaitanya (Dr. K.K. Nair) 12:55 AM]

From this viewpoint, Sri Aurobindo can be said to have preserved the original treasures of wisdom (which the West has preferred to forget) and synthesised the same with the Vedic pronouncements, thus presenting a truely global perspective suitable for the modern times as well as the future. [TNM55]

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Evolution and socio-political vision of Sri Aurobindo

The campaign against corruption led by Anna Hazare has exposed the soft underbelly of Indian polity. That a large chunk of the informed section of the public can exhibit such gullibility and kowtow before publicity is an alarming eventuality. Mobilising civil society for a noble cause is, in essence, an admirable job; but forcing others to sign on the dotted line is Fascist. This distinction is quite clear and glaring; but his supporters are blind to it.

Evolution, basically, is an ongoing war against ignorance and falsehood (symbolised by the Vedic Vritra). Hitler, too, began with good intentions but later turned a plaything in the hands of the evil. Thus, mistaking success for goodness or benevolence can be misleading, illusory, and hazardous.

We are aware that many are incensed at the attempt to rescue the socio-political vision of Sri Aurobindo from its forced samadhised tranquility. But in the absence of any supernatural powers of perception, the best course to judge the world as well as events is through the writings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. Irrigating their insights, however, need not be construed as arrogating. [TNM55]

Katju quoting mythology

Katju quoting mythology for justifying current social phenomena might be part of his penchant for culture, but valorising the past is not a value neutral exercise. Superstitions and suppression of critical reasoning also come with the bargain which is injurious for the younger generation at an impressionable stage.

Further, appreciating the distinction between history and literature is an important parameter for applying ethical yardsticks and preventing anomalous inferences such as the word Oedipal has wrought to modern theory. Wild and colourful imaginations as regards the dialectical stance with the progeny has polluted the philosophy of religion and allied fields. Tedious and painstaking anthropological studies are often used as authority for such speculative enterprises. Caution, therefore, is the only recourse and discretion the better part of valour. [TNM55]

Perennialist argument spreads confusion

We wouldn't have known otherwise, had The Mother not told us specifically, who was Hitler, or who is Sri Aurobindo, for that matter. She thus is the saviour, she the standard bearer, and she the usher of the next evolution. Simply to follow her is all that is asked of us. Analysing and judging this invitation is, however, beyond human intellect.

The perennialist argument, in this context, poses the most dangerous confusion. All religions of the past are sacred for them but a new one is suspect. Words of all teachers are welcome and their cocktail is valued more than the solitary. A pantheon of gods and gurus is what they long for and in whose company they derive the maximum solace.

Spending time in a joyful state and working willingly for facilitating evolution are, however, two separate attitudes. The Yoga of Transformation warrants dynamic meditation and voluntary collaboration. This planet and one's environment is the lucus of action and our means is not mere contemplation. Understanding this basic difference is important as the cumulative value that accrues is crucial for moving forward. [TNM55]

Elephants under erasure in UP

Elephants under erasure is the latest conundrum unleashed into the political circus of UP. The trace, however, persists and the semiological implications of statues being covered has bypassed the mind of the thoughtful bureaucrats at the Election Commission. That meanings are manufactured in the mind and the covering might magnify the significance and attract more attention and discussion has been conveniently lost sight of. The EC rather has helped mounting an effective ambush marketing on behalf of the BSP through its order as the statues have been transported from the far flung public parks to the TV screens.

Lakshman Sharma, however, has another take. He attributed the covering to the cold wave currently sweeping North India. [TNM55]

Second rung should take over

A lot of dedication and sacrifice by a handful of people goes into the the opening of a centre but once it stabilises, its activities are seen as definitive of the ideals of The Morher & Sri Aurobindo. An image is created among the people of that city or town as if the centre owns Sri Aurobindo and any other activity concerning him is compared with the scales of real estate.

Thus, although the role of the local centres in popularising the message of the Masters can't be belittled, it can certainly be said at the same time that they have a hand in limiting or filtering it. This, of course, is inevitable and even the Ashram has been squeezed by the present trustees into a caricature of what it should have become over the years. The initiative, nevertheless, should be to transcend the organisational barriers and institutional restrictions and this calls for a multiple players approach.

Since no human action can be kept out of the purview of Yoga, establishing our presence in almost all spheres of life is crucial for the sake of evolution. Brick and mortar becomes a bar in this venture and hence an attitudinal reversal is necessary to tap the world of opportunities opened up by the cyber age. In fact, the same old teachers and speakers are also responsible for applying a brake, and so it is high time that the second rung takes over. [TNM55]

Monday, January 09, 2012

Subverting caste system with kindness

The Communists in India chose to suffer setback and cede political space to the Socialists by not recognising the castes. Their principled stand, though sounds laudatory, is, however, devoid of sound metaphysical undergirding. Castes, as division of labour mechanism, may not be that harmful and rather serve as carrier of skills over generations. It is only when they are harnessed for political mobilisation and become a basis for favouritism or discrimination that the problem starts and the age old system seems abhorrent.

Be that as it may, caste divisions are so ineluctably imbricated with the Indian psyche that it is futile to banish them. Come elections, and hard nosed arithmetic of caste equations do the rounds and drive strategy. The same is the case with matrimonial advertisements that are printed in the most modern presses. The Dalit factor, however, is a much more complex affair than mere demographic taxonomy, and hence, deserves ICU treatment (EC order for covering elephant statues, therefore, looks a bit odd).

Overall, instead of being outraged and endeavouring to do away with the entire system, it is preferable to subvert it through asymmetrical repairs and nonlinear patronage. In addition, the insights offered by Sri Aurobindo on this score can, fruitfully, be assimilated into a compassionate theoretical framework admissible to any universalist manifesto. [TNM55]

Savitri Era Party opposes dynasty

India as an economic might has a secured place now in the comity of nations. But, that might not be a sufficient reason for its inhabitants to be proud of or gloat over. The political reality prevailing in the country is immensely alarming and there is always the danger of the tenuous sinews of its democratic framework being snapped.

The foremost cause of such a dismal scenario is an anchorage to history. The lineage of almost all political parties operating in the country today can be traced to the colonial period when the priorities were understandably different as well as conflicting. The baggage of history and the memories of leaders long gone still drive the emotions of cadre and thus the future vision remains a subordinate concern. Worn out ideologies and discredited slogans still rule the roost even in many movements.

Dynastic leadership and hero worship is fast turning India into a nation governed by feudal lords and regional satraps. The democratic instinct is further getting blunted by the coercive ultra-left mafia rule. Savitri Era Party, against such apprensions, resolves to uplift genuine democratic spirit and discourage pernicious herd mentality. [TNM55]

The Mother's devotees worldwide

Visiting Puducherry and Auroville hold priority for the Savitri Erans like any other religious group's inclination for pilgrimage. Unfortunately, the Ashram is going through a phase of turmoil at present, and consequently, many feel recoiled by such an atmosphere.

The teaching of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, however, has nothing much to do with the Ashram itself. The mythology surrounding The Mother and the direct disciples, surely, are fodder for inspiration, but sole rumination of nostalgia can be retarding and regressive too. Besides, by privileging the Ashram life in undue proportion, we do an injustice to countless devotees outside who have and are fighting for the sake of The Mother in the face of stiff resistance and social pressure.

Propagation of a new philosophy and a new religion is always a challenging job and those who are engaged in this noble task are, in a sense, pioneers. Our masters, thankfully, have armed us with an invincible metaphysics, and so, it is not a vain hope that we can win the world by simply leveraging the same. [TNM55]

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Protein for intellect

Had you read the article 20 years back, your intellectual journey would have been certainly different. This emphasises the role of right reading material at appropriate points in life, and hence, a sort of syllabus indicating essential reading needs to be endorsed. [TNM55]

Why this worship of obsolescence

The great perplexity pertaining to form and formlessness dividing various religions was settled by Sri Aurobindo by The Mother's presence. All theological taxonomies and mythological hierarchies were amended thereby by abandoning copious cobwebs. A simple consent for surrender to her with the will for transformation is all that he prescribed as Sadhana or Yoga.

But the human propensity for chasing complexity and digging into the past is a severe drawback in this context. Worshipping obsolescence and ancient relics in the name of culture and tradition is nothing but a bondage. Commodification or political exploitation of the same might be paying decent dividends to those with vested interests, but to impose it upon the younger generation is, apparently, an injustice.

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo prod us to think anew and eschew the skewed rhymes and reasons of the old. No mediation is needed to commune with them nor any contraption or technicality; and, humanity heaves a sigh of relief. [TNM55]

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Savitri Era Learning Forum (SELF)

As you know, running a group is not easy these days because people run away. I am available for discussions and there is space. If you come, it will be nice and perhaps we may be able to enlarge the group. Thanks. [TNM55]

Right now, there is no such group nor any regular meetings. Further, a group tends to be heterogenous, and hence, it's better we meet and discuss as to how to invite other people and make them interested in these subjects. No fee is expected, btw.

Satprem's books focus on the target and surely are motivating, but the challenge is how to begin from the present level (pertaining to each individual). All the best. [TNM55]

Reading the works of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is a life long task and to discover their effect upon oneself is a unique endeavour. Sharing of ideas, of course, do help in identifying commonalities and inculcating a sense of solidarity and mutuality. How to translate our life's journey into an adventure in yoga, however, is the primary concern. [TNM55]

1. The Mother herself represents women's empowerment.
2. Her way is against superstitions and meaningless religious rituals.
3. She is for human unity and nobility needed for good citizenship. [TNM55]

Who by Sri Aurobindo

(Song in Odia)

Seamless flow of life, learning, religion, & politics

[Social Constructions of Religiosity and Corruption By: Vinod Pavarala, Kanchan K Malik XLVII No.1 January 07, 2012
Religion coexists with what may be described as a liberalised, cosmopolitan and global outlook among Indians and remains an indispensable part of the cultural ethos and social fabric of Indian society. However, interpretations of both religion and corruption are extremely diverse. Notwithstanding the existence of deep-seated faith with strong moral values, religion is not seen as contributing to the moral or spiritual fabric of the nation in present times, while corruption is regarded as pervasive. Very few of the respondents canvassed in this study thought that we should count on religion to make a difference in people’s general attitudes towards corruption. Respondents indicated that their confidence in the accountability of religious organisations is low, and it is therefore problematic to assume that religious organisations are likely to be either appropriate or effective vehicles for fighting corruption. In fact, religion is looked upon as a discredited entity by many, largely due to a sense of popular disillusionment with its “caretakers”.]

All life is yoga, as an axiom, can be said to have assumed tremendous significance in this context. The overpowering consumerist impetus on the one hand and the aggressive Dawkinsian opposition by science on the other has turned religion into an apology and old fashioned. The stigma of corruption corrodes it further, and thus, rescuing it is not an easy task.

Yoga, surely, is like a new bottle, but the term has been so contorted that it is futile to blow fresh meaning to it. Savitri Era, by contrast, conjures up an aura of seamless flow of life, learning, religion, and politics in a common space for the collectivity to evolve. [TNM55]

Saussure, Derrida, Chomsky, & Chalmers

One Response to My words will remain imprinted on your soul

  1. Thankfully, Derrida seems to be on a welcome pitch here instead of being derided. Since, Saussure derived his famous principles from Sanskrit, the sound-object linkage, too, is significant in this context. That would lead one to Chomsky and Chalmers, however. [TNM55]