Saturday, February 16, 2013

Spirituality and repression revisited

Swagato Ganguly asks in the Times of India today Can we be adults, please? and explains with examples how banning “booze, markets, sex and hate” “through moral policing will backfire.” He adds that “Laws and government must, in general, neither infantilise us nor place us in the category of saints. They need to make some allowance for our being human. Else, they will be not just ineffective but even counterproductive.

The Mother, too, had banned certain activities in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, but that shouldn't be seen as a general rule. The disciples, then, were under the direct supervision of the Masters and what experiments were conducted through them individually is part of The Mother’s mythology now. Passively continuing with the same rules with some aged persons wielding the rod sadistically is absurd. Yoga has to be voluntary and in consonance with each one’s conscience. Coercion or economic compulsion should not be the decisive factor which causes pretence and concealing of facts. Freedom and choice must be more mature ways of dealing with human emotions.

Faramerz Dabhoiwala's book The Origins of Sex may be ahead of its time in India but the barrage of anti-male rhetoric heard in the past weeks is disquieting. No one has ever revealed the whole secret of sex as its various forms are forced through the evolutionary necessity of procreation and preservation of the species. So, tinkering with its dynamics amounts to impudent interfering with the unending chain of human drama. Posturing of virtuousness in this regard in the pretext of spirituality by impostors can have disturbing consequences. Prevalence of gender segregation and lack of mature interpersonal reaction is producing avoidable hatred in India. Nothing is more distressing that mere hormonal stress can lead to one’s hanging! Surely there are better solutions but honest discussion in this respect is sorely missing.

Democracy and modernity has introduced too many futuristic notions for which the populace in India is certainly not ready. Traditional love and dependence within the family structure is in peril in urban environment whereas rural areas are still ruled by the age-old kinship equations with attendant unquestioned hierarchy. Besides, language barrier serves as a salutary filter for the unwanted Westernized culture.  So, imposing equality as a politically correct principle on everyone is also politically incorrect. TV soaps, however, have been instrumental in disseminating claim for justice and empowerment. But the dubious role of a dominant political party and its countless tentacles is a great misfortune. [TNM55]

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