Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Auroville is sinking into paranoia of insecurity and aloofness

[Guest Post by C.I. Aki: When the Color of Black is Invisible from Per Caritatem by Cynthia R. Nielsen (In his post, Aki gives us a taste of his latest film, The Runner, in which he takes up and translates into the medium of film everything from Homi Bhabha’s discussions on the  “ideology of sight” to Toni Morrison’s insights on the metaphor of race in Playing in the Dark to Graham Ward’s musings on difference.)
One subtext that emerges in the film is our cultural indifference to difference… But for now, it is important again for us to recognize that we do have a narrative of difference in our culture, and we must overcome our cowardice, our selfishness, our squareness, our bigotry, and our insulation to be heroic humans, to effect a heroic human race. This is what we must do; this is what we can do. Who are you running for? 23m Re-election of Barack Obama offers real hope that we will one day live in a post-racial America.]

[Mimicry, mockery or mumukṣutva? A response to Deepak Sarma, by Jeffery D. Long from Love of All Wisdom by Amod Lele (Jeffery Long, a professor of religion and Asian studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, sent me this response after I had written my own piece on the topic. I disagree with a few of Jeff’s ideas, most notably the free employment of the term “Hindu”, but some disagreement is always to be expected among philosophers and humanists.)
The first thing a respondent to Deepak Sarma’s essay, “White Hindu Converts: Mimicry or Mockery?”, needs to do is acknowledge the essential core of experiential truth and the genuine pain at its heart.  Racism against brown-skinned persons is real and pervasive in North America…  Is colonialism a deeply problematic part of the history of how Hindu thought and practice became available to people like myself?  Certainly…
Perhaps what Sarma is really saying is that there is a sacred quality to the experiences of diasporic Hindus that cannot be replicated by white converts, and that he feels offended by what he sees as our attempts at such replication: such mimicry that is really mockery.
What I am saying is that I am not seeking to mimic, much less mock, anyone.  I have my white Hindu convert experience.  Sarma has his diasporic Hindu experience.  Are one of these experiences authentic and the other somehow fraudulent?  Or are they both simply different experiences and expressions of an ancient, diverse, yet emerging and ever new, religious tradition?  I opt for the second of these choices, perhaps for reasons of which I am unaware, but which Sarma can perceive with his hermeneutics of suspicion.  I affirm the sacred character of his experiences and my own.  And I do not apologize for opting for universalism over tribalism, and an affirmation of all our experiences.]

[Oof! Bengali Chauvinism! from Orissa Matters by Saswat Pattanayak - Jul 25, 2012 Hazra is not naive when it comes to understanding racism. After all, he empathizes with Karan Johar’s victimization when it comes to the racist institution that bestows Academy Awards in America. But he is abominably proud of his own Bengali racism…
While Hazra makes a case for “long-pending ethnic-, religious- and gender-based biases being reversed” in this century, he misses the mark in his own racist overtones. And that is a tragedy. HINDUSTAN TIMES HAS BECOME A SANCTUARY OF SCOUNDRELS from Orissa Matters by Subhas Chandra Pattanayak - Aug 10, 2012 “Clarification” of Hindustan Times on the obnoxious “opinion piece” it had published on 24th July under the caption “Oof! Rashtropoti Bhobon!”, makes one suspect that it has become a sanctuary of scoundrels… Criminal vitriol against the Oriyas, sic passim in Hazra’s article, has been authenticated by Hindustan Times]

One has to admire Kejriwal for the boldness of aspiration if not anything else. He is seeking to offer a substantial alternative to both the principal national parties while doing so by transcending regional, caste and identity politics… Also for the first time we had an issue that did not have to appeal to language, religion, caste or region to draw participation… The birth of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party gives us that hope.]

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, in their role in history, stand for human unity. Philosophically, too, they uphold it as the ontological goal via the mechanism of evolution. But when we look around, nothing gives us any assurance of this objective materializing. Rather, overdose of romanticizing the marginalized has given rise to crystallizing of diversity and encouraging further fragmentation. Academic and artistic antidotes would surely continue to play out in the polite domain but the hard reality in the rough outside world is unjust and cruel.

The Ashram itself is grappling with the Heehs imbroglio which is an offshoot of racial polarization. Appointment of an Odia trustee is being resisted tooth and nail. Auroville too is sinking into paranoia of insecurity and aloofness. Deft and bold handling of issues is the need of the hour but what we witness is pusillanimity and ostricharade. Acute political problems must not be pushed under the carpet under the pretext of spirituality. [TNM55]          

Saturday, November 24, 2012

AAP deserves all support and goodwill

Tweets 1h - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty Not appreciating Sri Aurobindo yet is a cause of India's misery. AAP must offer intellectual leadership and not discredited Leftist ideology. 1h Karnad batted for lyrics recently and a play is more about dialogues. AAP must get down to Policy or it'd be Too many cooks spoil the broth. 1h - @indinova @mihirssharma Neither Ayodhya nor Nalanda, Pondicherry shows the way for the future through Sri Aurobindo's #5Dreams #SiddhiDay  View conversation 1h Muted response to AAP on Twitter is understandable. Ground has slipped from under many a feet and most are crestfallen. #SiddhiDay#5Dreams 2h The circuitous route that AAP has traversed before taking birth today is a masterstroke considering how perplexed Congress, BJP & Left were. 2h Thanks to AAP, there is a space now in the national politics to breathe freely beyond dynasties and dystopian fossils. #SiddhiDay#5Dreams 3h So Hisar was no misadventure. With AAP becoming a reality, connecting the dots is easier now. "Mayhem in Meham" too once made Haryana famous. 3h - @rajeerajan Many faces of Indian Democracy: Of the Bharatiya Lok Dal, By the Janata Party, For the Aam Aadmi Party. #SiddhiDay Sri Aurobindo  View conversation 7h What better opportunity than to have an inhouse psephologist for founding AAP who is also an ace theorist and stickler for ethics #SiddhiDay 7h Equally fascinating is AAP's tryst with theatre. All techniques of Asmita were adopted to change the political theatre of India.#SiddhiDay 7h AAP took birth through the midwifery of the old-, new-, and paid-media. Truly a 21st Century party that has tamed technology. #SiddhiDay 7h Machiavelli is the first political thinker to effectively separate politics from religion - by Greg Nyquist: http://selforum.blogspot.in/2007/08/machiavelli-is-first-political-thinker.html … #SiddhiDay 8h Sri Aurobindo drew on Neoplatonism, Hegelianism, and Bergson http://feelphilosophy.blogspot.in/2012/06/sri-aurobindo-drew-on-neoplatonism.html … Yoga Vashishtha and Kashmir Shaivism http://savitriera.blogspot.in/2006/10/integral-adwaita-yoga-vashishtha.html … 8h Knowing the complexities of Indian political scene, it's premature to expect firm policy grooves hewed by AAP. #SiddhiDay of Sri Aurobindo. 8h AAP deserves all support and goodwill as it occupies the crucial non-Congress, non-BJP space as an alternative with a national perspective. 8h Many faces of Indian Democracy: Of the Bharatiya Lok Dal, By the Janata Party, For the Aam Aadmi Party. #SiddhiDay Sri Aurobindo's 5-Dreams. 23h - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty - #SiddhiDay of Sri Aurobindo. Greetings.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Best Wishes to Kejriwal

Tweets 16mSavitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty Our last hope & prayer 12 hours before founding of@ArvindKejriwal7's New Party & First NC meeting: Sri Aurobindo's Five Dreams #SiddhiDay 40m - @ArvindKejriwal7 It's hoped that Sri Aurobindo's ideals finds a mention in New Party's guiding principles tomorrow. Best Wishes. #SiddhiDay  View conversation 1h - @kirankhurana Good sign as 24 November is celebrated as Sri Aurobindo’s #SiddhiDay all over the world. View conversation
5h Yoga is quest for Truth, Good, and Beauty and conquest over Death. Sri Aurobindo synthesizes the sacred and the secular http://savitriera.blogspot.in/2012/09/sri-aurobindo-synthesises-sacred-and.html …
5h Sri Aurobindo gives a collective element to spiritual quest. (24 November is celebrated as Sri Aurobindo’s Siddhi Day) http://selforum.blogspot.com/2012/11/sri-aurobindo-gives-collective-element.html …
16h The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have enjoined upon the people of India & persons of Indian origin to carry their message to all corners of world.
17h The Mother & Sri Aurobindo secured a synthesis of two world cultures aimed towards a mankind of light and might, of concord and sublimity.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo infuse a thought revolution

Tweets 1h - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have inaugurated a new epoch to break free from the shackles of the past and its prohibitions. #SiddhiDay Victory 1h Freedom of thought & intelligence not only fosters Democracy & Markets but also fights superstition & propels emancipatory social practices. 1h The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have a vision for India that embodies Knowledge, Power, Harmony, and Perfection and is worthy of true Leadership. 1h Tailor made careers & doctored aptitude profiles are civilisational hazards the repercussions of which are toxic for the nation. #SiddhiDay 2h Apart from self-management insights, The Mother & Sri Aurobindo infuse a thought revolution in consonance with evolution of consciousness. 2h The Mother & Sri Aurobindo offer the best opportunity to confront our ignorant views and anomalous theoretical undergirdings that we harbour. 2h The Mother & Sri Aurobindo unveil an integral perspective transcending narrow parochial barriers and naive nationalism. Darshan Day on 24th. 2h Calling upon Engineers to allow The Mother & Sri Aurobindo to re-engineer their lives' priorities so that their full potential blossoms. 3h Darshan Day on 24th. May young Indians mobilise motivation to discover The Mother & Sri Aurobindo for transforming their lives and the world. 20 Nov Kejriwal's new party too runs the risk of becoming 'another Hindu Mahasabha or another Congress.' Only Sri Aurobindo gives a new direction. 20 Nov Kasab brings to mind how the Congress ignored Sri Aurobindo's fervent appeal for accepting the Cripps' Proposal in 1942 leading to Partition. 20 Nov On November 24, 1926 Sri Aurobindo had attained Siddhi of realising Overmind truth. Thousands of letters written thereafter is worth reading. 20 Nov It's Sri Aurobindo who uncovers Indian wisdom in its purity and heralds it's world-conquering mission as part of evolution of consciousness. 20 Nov Sir Stafford Cripps immediately replied by a telegram. Sri Aurobindo also appealed to C. Rajgopalachari to “save Indiahttp://selforum.blogspot.in/2012/11/sri-aurobindo-also-appealed-to-c.html …
20 Nov Battle the forces of casteism, illiberalism, and injustice http://selforum.blogspot.in/2012/11/battle-forces-of-casteism-illiberalism.html … Seas inlaid with eloquent gentle wires http://selforum.blogspot.in/2012/11/seas-inlaid-with-eloquent-gentle-wires.html … 19 Nov International conference Are We Postsecular? Contesting Religion & Politics in Comparative Contexts 13–14 December 2012 http://selforum.blogspot.in/2012/11/international-conference-on-contesting.html … 19 Nov Lady Shri Ram College for Women & International Research Network on Religion and Democracy - International conference: ‘Are We Postsecular?’ 18 Nov Sri Aurobindo is still a marginal figure in academia http://selforum.blogspot.in/2012/11/sri-aurobindo-is-still-marginal-figure.html … Sri Aurobindo is neglected as literary critic http://selforum.blogspot.in/2012/11/sri-aurobindo-is-neglected-as-literary.html … 17 Nov McTaggart, Nussbaum, Adorno, Levinas, Laruelle, Heidegger, Wilber, The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. SELF Help Favourites: http://auroramirabilis.blogspot.in/2012/11/self-help-favourites.html …
16 Nov - @iac007 @MovementIAC Time to bring Sri Aurobindo to the front & be guided by his 1947 Five-Dreams broadcast. @sabhlok http://goo.gl/fb/M373I  -  View conversation 15 Nov [Sri Aurobindo's work is untouchable in terms of comprehensiveness. He commands an incredible breadth of knowledge.-BP] http://selforum.blogspot.in/2012/11/sri-aurobindos-work-is-untouchable-in.html …

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Blogs are forever

For a couple of years, Blogs were a rage and hence followed multi-pronged flurry at sabotage. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and sundry social media and networking ventures cropped up to compete. Most mainstream publications also renamed their features as Blogs. The individual voice was drowned amid the surfeit of sites mechanically reproducing news and sales props. However, the utility of Blogs will ensure their longevity albeit with dwindled popularity.   

Another threat is disproportionate flood of videos and photographs which devalue the reading material. Overemphasizing graphics and designing too seduces the eyes elsewhere. Modified version for mobiles or tablets robs the Blogs of their unique charm and some outreach arms. Country-based URL is a prelude to restricted circulation and diminished distribution. But the lure of freedom and free publishing will continue to draw new entrants to etch their speech for future generations. [TNM55]   

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Integral Yoga is no uniform potion

When it comes to The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and Integral Yoga, one feels like Condoleezza Rice remarking “The fact of the matter is I've been black all my life. Nobody needs to tell me how to be black.[125]” Like Socrates’ "examined life,” The Mother’s stress on avoiding the misery of an “aimless life” is perhaps the most basic rule for an aspirant. For a major stretch in life, however, many mistake earning livelihood for the aim although the profession provides the opportunity for flowering of talent, nurturing creativity, and moulding of subjectivity. The resultant individuality, identity, and social mobility, however, do exert a mesmerizing effect whereby the chance of coming face to face with choosing an aim or confronting one’s own real self head on is always deferred. Drawing satisfaction from some substitute as compensation is, of course, forced by subsistence compulsions.

Traditional canons of conduct conveniently contain predominantly direct correspondence between ethical life and action and liberation. But non-linear Integral Yoga Ontology and its spiral evolution paradigm is more prone to post-modernist rapprochement with tentativeness, contingency, and uncertainty of interpretation. This is no logic to condone misconduct (for, the elephant is Brahman and so is the mahut) but the paramountcy of context is never emphasized more elsewhere. The tenet, All life is Yoga, therefore, assumes unprecedented significance against this backdrop. Like the Shatadala or a Sahasra-bahu (called Saas-bahu erroneously in colloquial fashion) temple, the interdependence, interconnection, and economy within a collectivity is thrown into sharp relief. Integral Yoga, thus, is no uniform potion; but rather an arena for experimenting with life along the known tracks and with notions yet unpracticed. [TNM55] 







Saturday, November 17, 2012

Aging can take a toll on yogic practice

From a very early age, McTaggart had what he took to be mystical experiences. These experiences presented the world as being fundamentally unified by the relation of love. Reality as it appeared to him in these experiences consisted fundamentally of immaterial spirits who stand in the relation of love to one another. These experiences provided him with great comfort, but he believed that the fact that he had them did not provide others with a reason to believe in the unity he took them to reveal.[13] Philosophical argument was needed to supply others with a reason. Copyright © 2009 - 9:16 PM]

[Indian religions: a historical reader of spiritual expression and ... - Page 24 - Peter Heehs - 2002 - Preview - If it is true that mystical experience is the source of mystical knowledge, the most decisive way to verify mystical truth-claims is by means of mystical experience. No doubt the experiences of a Buddha or Nanak or Aurobindo are not in the reach ...]

But spirituality has in fact meant many different things to many different cultures and systems of beliefs and so the process of signification as relates to spirituality is a complex one… I am voicing the concern that for the purposes of intersubjective communication, for achieving understanding within a civitas or polity constituted by a population with a multiplicity of beliefs that intersubjective comprehension has to be anchored in a system in which truth claims can be measured by evidence. 8:21 AM]

[Robert E. Wilkinson - 7:01 PM, August 13, 2009 What is most revealing is Tusar’s desire to get away from all formulation, mythic or otherwise which allows him to believe whatever fantasy he likes without the inconvenience of having to deal with proof of his claims and the facts that support them. He does so by putting them “up there” on the Transcendent heights beyond the reach and explanation of mortal man. This is a perfect example of how devotees with no yogic experience and realization attempt to turn this epochal spiritual work into a Religion. What remains are un-provable pronouncements about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother solely derived from Tusar’s subjective devotional fervor. His hopes are pinned on the ‘years to come’ and any fellow disillusioned Aurobindonians who might rally to his flag.]

the atmosphere of chronic boredom, indulgence in frivolous pleasures and slovenliness that characterize conventional living is not conducive to any effort to raise one’s consciousness. The depletion of vital energy and the buildup of subconscious blockages due to aging can also take a toll on yogic practice.]

Sociological interrogation of the legacy of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is definitely an urgency. 1914, 1926, 1956, and 1968 have engendered a plethora of prescriptions with conflicting and confusing signals that are surely burdensome for any individual. Further, surviving institutions are certainly not in the shape that the Masters would have liked them to be for piloting a predominantly collective yoga. And hence, any lifestyle paradigm receiving tacit endorsement may be suspect. One safe guiding principle, however, is that the past and its methods can never be the final touchstone for the pathways of the future. [TNM55] 







Friday, November 16, 2012

What Heehs has not written

[Tweets 13 Nov - Nitin Pai ‏@acorn What's the best, non-hagiographic account of Aurobindo's life?
13 Nov - Monika Halan ‏@monikahalan Banned by some vested interests in India, but here may be the book you are looking for: http://www.amazon.com/Lives-Sri-Aurobindo-Peter-Heehs/dp/0231140983 … @acorn    View summary]

Heehs has made the word “hagiography” famous through his debut in national TV. So, the general assumption is that what is “non-hagiographic” is true, or at least, rational and credible. And if the writer happens to hail from the West, then he must be the most astute and exact while the rest have “vested interests.”

In four long years, we don’t find even four persons among the civil society to have read the book to judge it independently. Writing a review and committing oneself to a distinct view, of course, requires motivation as well as courage. But even then, many are likely to miss the bone of contention that it’s all about what Heehs has not explicitly written in the book. [TNM55] 







Thursday, November 15, 2012

56 years of 1956

The Mother’s proclamation of the descent of the Supramental in 1956 almost coincided with the sweeping post-Independence hopes of building a new India. But what we observe 56 years later is not a very encouraging scene on both the fronts. Despite the democratic pretensions, politics, media, education, and leisure are all hostage to a pervasive feudal culture. Instead of the Marxist angst and alienation, a celebratory engrossing with Heideggerian inauthenticity and trivia seems to be the order of the day. Commerce, of course, propels excellence as well as quality of life. Patronage for arts and creativity, too, are hinged to the invisible hand of market dynamics. Management of human affairs has climbed such macro levels that ordinary human beings have become inconsequential.  

Large scale money making through arms, drugs, vaccines, and trafficking etc. also have turned sophisticated avenues that employ cutthroat liaisoning and spying. Both Corporates and Governments are succumbing to such underworld machinations not to speak of non-State terror and arm-twisting. Even, many respectable ecological campaigns hide behind them murky tales of cooked up economics. Bioethical issues are compounding with the march of technology and media. So, coping up compulsions is perhaps driving people to cheap forms of entertainment and arenas of religious dumbing down. To sense something noble and inspiring within this cacophony, therefore, has surely become a self deluding task. But The Mother & Sri Aurobindo stay as the only fount of light and hope midst such oppressive despair. [TNM55] 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dynasty and nasty personality cults

Tweets 30m - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty The followers of Sri Aurobindo can grow a critical mass to influence the politics of the country provided they forego intellectual hedonism. 58m Che or Hu, a firm commitment to an ideology is the key. 1947 Five Dreams Manifesto provides a futuristic road-map for India and the World. 1h Right moment to get rid of the dynasty and other nasty personality cults. Neither Anna nor Kejriwal, adopting an honest ideology is the way. 1h Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo imparts the right intellectual muscle to judge complex political and economic currents circulating in the world. 1h Sri Aurobindo's teaching constitutes an essential feature today for enduring power and nation building. No other ideological glue is safer. 1h Congress accommodated Leftist scholarship to look respectable but RSS banished Sri Aurobindo's illuminating vision from its curriculum.
4h - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty - @alok_bhatt @rsyashasvi In commentaries on ancient Indian texts, his fidelity is matched by the profundity he furnishes  View conversation 4h Fighting colonialism as well as resisting revivalism was twin challenges before Sri Aurobindo as a writer a century ago. 4h Neither the Nehruvian nor the Hindutva worldview can be counted as appropriate for India at the moment. [TNM55] http://savitriera.blogspot.in/2012/11/the-mother-and-sri-aurobindo-stand-for.html …
[8 Nov - Madhu Kishwar @madhukishwar Kiran segal dancing to soul uplifting poetic compositions of oriya poet Kuntala Kumari. Amazing first time composition pic.twitter.com/LyN7iugd  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party  View photo]
7 Nov - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty @sabhlok Being an ace criminal lawyer, Jethmalani can't make do without criminals.  View conversation
5 Nov Rely on Sri Aurobindo, and not on Naipaul, for "rediscovering and questioning every received wisdom" about Indian history and culture.
4 Nov Sri Aurobindo was a rebel & stayed so till he breathed his last. Savitri Erans are envoys of Unity, Mutuality & Harmony http://savitriera.blogspot.in/2007/10/savitri-erans-are-envoys-of-unity.html …
4 Nov A must read RT "@sabhlok: Sri #Aurobindo – the vocal opponent of #socialism http://goo.gl/fb/M373I "
[2 Nov - B Shantanu @satyamevajayate @prasannavishy @doubtinggaurav Pl do read @sabhlok's recent posts on Aurobindo, Chanakya etc.. We don't hv to rely/copy western paradigms  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party  View conversation]
[1 NovAshísh Gulhatí @an4rky What I meant by Auroville bring socialist was that there's ostensibly no property rights within Auroville. @sabhlok @Getafix2012  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party  View conversation
[1 Nov pvnatarajan @pvnatarajan Sri Aurobindo - the vocal opponent of socialism - Sanjeev Sabhlok's revolutionary blog http://sabhlokcity.com/2012/11/sri-aurobindo-the-vocal-opponent-of-socialism/#.UJMZejZrHJg.twitter …  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party
[1 Nov - Sanjeev Sabhlok @sabhlok @an4rky You are right! This is a mess: http://www.aurovillefoundation.org.in/organisation/the-secretary … @Getafix2012 Why do Aurobindo's followers need IAS officers? Retweeted by Savitri Era Party  View conversation

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo stand for universality

[Perspectives on Sri Aurobindo's poetry, plays, and criticism - Page 85 - Google Books Result - Amrita Paresh Patel, Jaydipsinh Dodiya - 2002: On the basis of a letter written by Sri Aurobindo to his Anglicized brother, Man Mohan Ghose, G.N. Devy an eminent modern critic evaluates him as a poet critic ...]

[Who Milks This Cow? Ramachandra Guha - Outlook – The number and intensity of Hindutva hate mails in my inbox has varied over the past two decades… The third example illustrates the hectoring and bullying typical of a certain strain of Hindutva… The young profess to detest the West too… Apart from thinking in black-and-white, the fundamentalist is convinced that he will, in the end, be victorious. This triumphalist rhetoric, however, is actually a product of paranoia and insecurity.]

Fighting colonialism as well as resisting revivalism was twin challenges before Sri Aurobindo as a writer a century ago. Conscious of his task of fashioning a synthesis, he handled his wide ranging subjects with utmost sympathy. In his commentaries on ancient Indian texts, his fidelity is matched by the profundity he furnishes. Not averse towards modern science and philosophy, he accomplishes a happy harmony of Vedic vision and Evolution.

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo stand for universality. The present political situation in India – howsoever fragmented it may be – can’t afford to evince as provincial or parochial. Neither the Nehruvian nor the Hindutva worldview can be counted as appropriate for India at the moment. Rather, the 1947 Five-Dreams broadcast should be considered as the right saviour. [TNM55] 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Defending Sri

[Millenarian Elements in the Hindu Religious Traditions Hugh B. Urban The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism In the course of suppressive colonial rule, militant nationalism emerged in messianic attire. Spiritual nationalist Sri Aurobindo described it as a religion directly presented by God. The new age came up with lifestyle gurus such as Osho Rajneesh, who asserted a symbolic end of time by surrendering typical lifestyle practices. The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism - Page 375 - Google Books Result - Catherine Wessinger - 2011 - Although Aurobindo Ghose is today best known as a spiritual teacher and philosopher, he was also, in his youth, one of the primary leaders of the revolutionary ...]

Sri Aurobindo’s name underwent many metamorphoses during his lifetime. From stark anonymity to a slew of pseudonyms and acronyms, his experimentation ended with his signing as Sri Aurobindo sans any surname or caste identity. His works, understandably, have been published under that name and, ordinarily, he is referred to as so. But there are certain types of people who are intolerant of his adding Sri to his name and are always eager to geld it. The Sri to them is a canopy of fundamentalism that smacks of unjustified superiority, thus threatening secular sensibilities.

The fact is that no one can help in this matter as Sri Aurobindo is no more and can’t be questioned as to why he wanted to retain his name this way. So, the minimum one can do is not to distort his name by eclipsing Sri. In book indexes too he should appear under the alphabet S and not A or G as Sri is not an honorific here but an integral part of his name. Sri Aurobindo is yet to receive the prestige he deserves as a poet and a thinker and hence the need to resist the snatching away of his Sri. [TNM55]  

Sri Aurobindo refutes Nietzsche

[Nietzsche, Descartes, Lacan and the Death of God Posted by larvalsubjects 11 Comments May 21, 2006
What strikes me as crucial in this passage is Nietzsche’s remark that we have wiped away the horizon, that we now move without direction, that we are suspended in an infinite void and cold, empty space. The death of God therefore seems to signify a world that has lost its coordinates (what else is a horizon if not a way of co-ordinating our movement?) and where the ground has disappeared beneath us. I take it that the term “God” is a generic term for any sort of transcendental term that would fix meaning and identity. It would be a mistake to assume that “God” simply refers to the God of organized religion. Rather God is a generic term referring to anything on the order of a form, essence, transcendence, identity, substance, permanence, ideal, wholeness, totality and so on.]

[April 9, 2007 at 7:46 am Coming across in a hymn of Martin Luther what Hegel described as the cruel words, the harsh utterance, namely, God is dead, the latter was perhaps the first great philosopher to develop the theme of God’s death according to whom, to one form of experience God is dead. Commenting on Kant’s first Critique, Heinrich Heine spoke of a dying God. Heine influenced Nietzsche. Since Heine and Nietzsche the phrase Death of God became popular. (K. Satchidananda Murty, The Realm of Between, IIAS, 1973)]

[The Human Aspiration « Sri Aurobindo Studies 30 Aug 2009 – Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine
The earliest formula of Wisdom promises to be its last,—God, Light, Freedom, Immortality. These persistent ideals of the race are at once the contradiction of its normal experience and the affirmation of higher and deeper experiences which are abnormal to humanity and only to be attained, in their organised entirety, by a revolutionary individual effort or an evolutionary general progression… The greater the apparent disorder…, the stronger is the spur…]

The firmness with which Sri Aurobindo refutes Nietzsche’s playful affirmation is a milestone in the history of human thought. For long, philosophy has been hostage to a science fiction style of writing or abstract painting. Happily, fatigue has set in and that epoch is fast coming to a close. Further, defending Marx, which was considered pivotal to theory, is no longer that sacrosanct. These are welcome developments but without Sri Aurobindo a satisfying ontological framework is difficult to put together. [TNM55]  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Unceasing aspiration is the sure means

It’s not without significance that Sri Aurobindo Ashram came into being in 1926 in the wake of Swarajya Party in 1923 and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Communist Party of India in 1925. Despite all disclaimers, establishment of a commune is a palpable political act by which the inmates, not only stay insulated against unwanted ideological propaganda, but also become example of lived values thereby offering an alternative socio-cultural paradigm. But as we observe at the end of 2012, none of the aforesaid four streams inspire confidence so far as the future of humanity is concerned.

Technological breakthrough has brought about quantum leap in integrating thinking all over the globe but opinions remain as opposed as ever. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, however, have asked for vigilant, constant, and unceasing aspiration for ushering in unity, mutuality, and harmony. [TNM55] 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Karnad clearing cobwebs

[Tweets 2h Nilanjana Roy ‏@nilanjanaroy - @OxbloodRuffin Bait! #Tagore's novels and short stories still hold up, and will last. The plays & poetry are more, shall we say, fragile?
2h - Oxblood Ruffin ‏@OxbloodRuffin - @nilanjanaroy ... as a poet exaggerated compared to Aurobindo, whose subtlety and depth of expression is absolutely sublime. conversation 10:07 PM - 9 Nov 12 · Details]

[A journey to a new world - The Hindu April 4, 2010 by SACHIDANAND MOHANTY
Why is Sri Aurobindo not in the forefront of the nation's attention today? Some contend that it is in the manner in which we frame the national debate in terms of the ‘secular' and the ‘communal' that the third category, the ‘spiritual' must take a back seat: Sri Aurobindo, after all was a philosopher-mystic. Is it because, we as a nation, in our collective self image and self expression seem to have opted for ideals and action that run diametrically opposite to the vision of Sri Aurobindo?
Sri Aurobindo declared that the nation is not the sum total of the parts. But our leaders in all spheres seem to maintain that it is the parts, and only the parts, that make up the nation. Indeed, every part that claims to exist by itself in an insular and atomistic manner, can browbeat, terrorise or blackmail other parts, and the whole, into submission… Sri Aurobindo makes it clear in the Foundations of Indian Culture that he is not interested in the rise of India so that she could play power politics and a hegemonic role in the international arena. She must rise in order to be a world leader in terms of progressive and futuristic ideals. Spirituality for Sri Aurobindo meant precisely that.]

Questioning status quo like Baudelaire, Benjamin, or Baudrillard is a valid means of value discovery. Let’s hope Karnad leads a successful reexamination of all cobwebs hovering over the nation for years. [TNM55]

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Hitch your wagon to evolution

Periodical elections keep the engines of news industry moving which provides a form of entertainment as well as a sense of participation to large sections of people. So much so that local issues are often overshadowed by ideological dichotomies operating at the national level. Anna Hazare and Kejriwal are apt examples of how Jantar Mantar can turn someone a national figure within a short span of time. But the sorry spectacle of splintering of the erstwhile Team Anna is due to lack of a coherent intention or direction.

Against this backdrop, the work of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo in repackaging the civilizational perspective of India for a wider global application procures prominence. Although many of their pet themes such as popularization of Sanskrit and inculcating poetic sensibility are patently impractical at present, some key ideas like the East-West integration or Free-Progress system of education, nevertheless, are doable propositions. Further, their endeavor of embedding all pursuit of excellence within the overall trajectory of evolution echoing the Vedic quest for light and immortality imparts meaning and profundity to ordinary human wants and action.   

This is where spirituality supersedes morality. Morality is surely a force and a chief ingredient of our social capital but has uncertain effectiveness and a high rate of mortality. The spiritual path of hitching the wagon to evolution, on the contrary, is a more dependable and enduring method of ensuring honesty and creating a largely ethical environment. The Science of Living enunciated by The Mother is a potent formulation involving depth psychology that awakens the spiritual dimension in our day to day lives. This shows why and how right pedagogy should find adequate space within the realm of power struggle and politics. [TNM55] 

Monday, November 05, 2012

One hundred years of The Life Divine

I’ve repeatedly returned on this blog to the concepts of Ascent and Descent, derived above all from Ken Wilber’s work and to a lesser extent from Martha Nussbaum’s. I have found that these concepts do a lot to help us understand the differences between philosophical traditions. I have not yet been precise about defining them, however, and I would like to think them through in some more detail. The concept of Ascent has above all to do with transcendence; “transcendence” and “immanence” are close cousins to Ascent and Descent as I understand them.]

Naturalism seems to be whatever LB wants it to be at any one moment. It would be a mistake to see “naturalism” as a concept. The conversion to OOO exonerates you of all that, no more concepts; all you need are key terms of infinite plasticity. You are born again free to talk about everything but never say anything.]

Since the publication of his non-fiction book on India, A Wounded Civilisation, Naipaul has, as Karnad rightly pointed out, ‘never missed a chance to accuse them (the Indian Muslims) of having savaged India for five centuries, brought, among other dreadful things, poverty into it, and destroyed glorious Indian culture.’ In questioning the conferment of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Karnad is not questioning Naipaul’s positions which are fairly well-known to most of us in India; he is in fact questioning the award.]

The Life Divine commenced on July 18, 1912 and hence it’s the Centenary year, in a way. The book has not been sufficiently combed by competent analysts and commentators as yet as it should have been but the ontological ground it defends against sophisticated harking back to dominant and fashionable strands of philosophy is priceless. To that extent, it’s tantamount to a political testament as well. This splendid isolation explains the allergy of the Hindutva brigade for Sri Aurobindo and matching impatience of the Leftists for him.

The West, too, is envious of his magnum opus and strives to ignore and eclipse it. Academicians feel safe by labeling it under religion out of lethargy. Thinking theologians of all hues are jealous of the coherence of its content but fear its hegemony. But the synthetic cosmology that The Life Divine sets forth is a sure guide for unification of mankind and congealing harmony. [TNM55]    

Friday, November 02, 2012

Sri Aurobindo – a serious contender

[Sri Aurobindo - the vocal opponent of socialism - Sanjeev Sabhlok's ... Had Sri Aurobindo lived, Nehru's plans of socialism would have been still-born and India might have escaped from its (ongoing) misery of the past 65 years. Tweets 20h - Sanjeev Sabhlok @sabhlok Sri #Aurobindo – the vocal opponent of #socialism http://goo.gl/fb/M373I  #badideas #india  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party]

[1h - B Shantanu @satyamevajayate @prasannavishy @doubtinggaurav Pl do read @sabhlok's recent posts on Aurobindo, Chanakya etc.. We don't hv to rely/copy western paradigms Retweeted by doubtinggaurav  View conversation]

[Show Dont Tell from Centre Right India by Gaurav: I will like to qualify my humble appeal in which I objected to pretending that right exists in India, in any meaningful way. I will like to note following criteria to admit existence of right. 1. Define right in a broad but coherent way.  (And again no, you can not just import definition of American Right) 2. Identify the set of philosophical/policy positions in Indian context which can be classified as right. 3. Locate in politics a serious faction or movement which identifies with said position. Or, 4. Identify a serious strand among contemporary Indian discourse which can be identified with said position. 5. Note emphasis on “serious”, by which I mean not twitter, or blog, or any other part of web.]

A great day as the focus is on Sri Aurobindo by influential right wing. We agree with Gaurav’s criteria barring the last point in which he sidetracks web based offerings. As one who has been at the receiving end of many rebuffs for urging people to take the socio-political philosophy of Sri Aurobindo seriously, the web is a great empowering tool with vast potentiality of making minds meet. Street politics may be the flavour of the season, but ultimately it's words and opinions which will matter. Savitri Era Party looks forward to the day of such enlightened politics being ushered in. [TNM55]