Thursday, February 14, 2013

Indian Constitution and Integral Yoga

There are many complains against Integral Yoga and there is no gainsaying that it’s complex and unwieldy lacking in easy formulation. The vast and wide-ranging resource material spanning over several generations also pose a quandary. There used to be murmurs always as regards the results but the present shape of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry has made it amply clear with nothing left to imagination or mystification. Further, it has become fashionable to say that the utterances of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo are synthetic and universal whereas the truth is that the bulk of their teachings arose out of personalized guidance to specific disciples in the restricted Ashram situation. That said it would be apt to conclude that the shortcomings notwithstanding, Integral Yoga, definitely, remains the foremost aspirational and normative avenue available to the humanity today.

The evolution of Integral Yoga and its intellectual genealogy right from the time of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment is a compelling and captivating tale. The Constitution of India, too, shares a similar trajectory and, interestingly, an identical timeline. The consequences of the Indian Constitution, however, are subject to observation and inductive interpretation and there is no dearth of empirical data for critical scrutiny. Proliferation of media, moreover, is churning out an overload of commentary scarcely amenable to leisurely theory. A more dominant facet, however, is the general life of over a billion people goes on without being remotely aware of the Constitution and its aspiration.

Be that as it may, the first and foremost defect of the Constitution is that it has not been able to throw a proper Prime Minister and to that extent it’s a major failure. It would be in order to clarify at the outset that there is no blame-game involved here. Rather, the ambitious but defective theoretical construct of the Prime Minister without adequate allowances for human nature is the real culprit. Literature teaches us to fall for such seductive, sanitized heroes, but unfortunately, real life is dissimilar, asymmetrical. While chasing the “ought” can surely be equated with the pursuit of the Divine, the implications of the same in the short run – during the short span of the rest of our lives (for, In the long run we are all dead: Keynes quote) exercised in hurry and desperation – is fraught with horrid hazards. How even the sagely Heidegger erred so catastrophically is a not-to-be-forgotten instance in recent history.

But for the Agenda many human aspects of The Mother would have remained hidden behind the labyrinths of ever vigilant devotional censor. Having banned certain activities in the Ashram, The Mother must have factored in the experiences of that experiment before deciding on the establishment of Auroville which she so ceremonially blessed. Thankfully, the Heehs Imbroglio has uncorked myriad human frailties to the fore for our mature examination without the burden of the hegemony of a Pranab or a sermonizing Pandit. The approach, however, must steer clear of pusillanimity so as to think thoroughly and not like naïve gender accusations that even detests certain words. Those who tremble at mere hearing the name of Freud, obviously, are not suited for this project. Others who hate the West and harbour an oversized amour for the exclusivity and exceptionalism of Indian wisdom, similarly, can be said to be too conceited, fatal or not.

The Indian Constitution expects too much from its citizens. There are no incentives offered for such ethical performance nor there are prescriptions for suitable behavioural transformation. There is no means before the Prime Minister for reaching his chair without resorting to questionable methods. Why and how people shall rally round him has no rational answers. The Constitution is a humongous moral leviathan that the Indian population is unmindfully carrying upon their shoulders over the past decades. No one has any clue as to how to remedy the rot that the country is fast slipping into. The disproportionate grip of Marxists over education, though an able bulwark against the obscurantists, has robbed us of the intrinsic confidence and conviction.

Many are prone to loll themselves with the perennialist posturing of Dharma as the panacea. For them the mythological prescriptions and their fictional approximations are the formula for all seasons. But, unfortunately, they fail to explain why nothing much has changed although the stories have existed for Millennnia. Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram have earned their new connotations now in the all-time classic Satyam hi-tech scandal. Such examples can be discounted as aberrations, but to stipulate that the jails and the justice system are the only recourse for such indiscretions is a civilizational challenge. Stepping outside the political tools and legal deterrents is certainly a feasible option.

The new consciousness and the creative force that The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have augmented the Evolution with exert fresh demands upon human aspiration. Romanticizing the past, though has its own merit and utility, is just not sufficient enough. Savitri is not a mere piece of literature but hides codes of evolutionary triggers like a capsule of extended release. The Life Divine, similarly, is not exhausted by the overt metaphysical arguments it presents. Rather, vast undulating expanses of distant future lie embedded there beneath the mantric prose chiseled from ambrosia. Many of the unused elements of the past need to be reendowed with that collaborative calibration so as to make them vehicles of Evolution. If we repose our faith upon anyone other than The Mother & Sri Aurobindo for this task at this juncture, then that would definitely be not only foolish but also patently absurd.

The Five Dreams articulated by Sri Aurobindo constitute an ideological anchor where the ideals of the Constitution of India and the imperatives of Integral Yoga converge in a concrete manner. The profoundest – and the safest at the same time – vision for man and the country and the world are here, also with enough hints of warnings. India will surely show the way to the whole humanity but not through any outmoded agency. This is the hour of the unexpected to spot the most unlikely. An iota of error in right discrimination can derail the emancipatory Dreams by Centuries. A nucleus of patriotic aspirants to compass the future journey, therefore, is the need of the hour. Deliberational constraints have been prominent in preventing reaching common ground by scattered elements in the past but facilitating creation of a discursive environment is now incumbent upon all. [TNM55]    

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