Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sri Aurobindo is not a mere Hindu revivalist

Pondicherry has been renamed as Puducherry. But the pet name Pondy is likely to linger in popular conversation. Sri Aurobindo arrived in Pondy on April 4, 1910 and The Mother on March 29, 1914. Together, they launched a monthly philosophical journal called, Arya on August 15, 1914. Gradually, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram also took shape. And that is how a tiny port-town like Pondy became world famous.
The major and mature writings of Sri Aurobindo were serialized in Arya that appeared regularly till January 15, 1921. Of course, many of those thoughts in seed-form can be traced in the writings of pre-Pondy days. Many present day writers liberally use extracts from his writings of the pre-Pondy days to show that he was a Hindu nationalist leader. That the context was to fight the Britishers by mobilizing and motivating the public is easily forgotten.
Sri Aurobindo remained aloof from active politics during the last 40 years of his life spent in Pondy. In this period, along with The Mother, he created an integral vision for the future of humanity. His words have spread to every corner of the world and he is counted among the top-rung philosophers. So, to show him as a mere Hindu revivalist is truancy to his true legacy. It is hoped that the present-day scholars and writers would desist from such intellectual dishonesty.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Integral minus Veda

Joint venture of two of top minds of our times has shortlisted certain "spiritual lines" in quest of creating "an integral spirituality." The list is appended, but surprisingly, Veda, the fountainhead of all spiritual aspirations is not mentioned.
Marko Rinck Says: July 27th, 2006 at 2:29 pm
  1. Identity- Advaita
  2. Space or emptiness- Buddhists
  3. Pearl/Soul- Sufism, Gnostics, Daoism
  4. Love- Sufism, Christianity
  5. Compassion- Buddhism
  6. Energy- Yoga, Daoism, Kashmir Shaivism
  7. Will- Gurdijeff
  8. Peace- Christianity
  9. Consciousness- Advaita, Yoga
  10. Strength- Shao-lin, Shamanism
  11. Awareness- Buddhism, Krishnamurti
  12. Dynamism and creativity- Shaivism
  13. Knowingness- Gnostics, Ancient Greeks, Jnana Yoga
alan kazlev Says: July 27th, 2006 at 5:57 pm
  1. Interaction with Nature Kingdoms- Neopaganism, Shamanism, some New Age
  2. Interaction with Subtle Realms- Tantra, Hermetic occultism, Shamanism, etc
  3. Pleasure / Ananda- Tantra, Taoist sexual yoga
  4. Transformation of Matter- Lurianic Kabbalah, Aurobindo and the Mother

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The integralism achieved by the yogic vision of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo cannot be bettered

M. Alan Kazlev from Australia of fame, in a series of essays published in the Integral world, has given a clarion call to the New Agers not to remain fettered by the intellectual exhortations of Ken Wilber and his ilk, and instead, be anchored to the spiritually elevating transformational synthesis accomplished by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. This firm stand, coming from a sincere seeker who has all along endeavoured to compare and contrast various esoteric and spiritual systems, must undoubtedly be seen as a major milestone in the meandering course of the integral movement.

Large-scale publishing of innumerable self-help books, both fiction and non-fiction, in the past fifty years has created a readership which requires to be fed with a continuous supply of novelty. Just like the latest movie, new authors are being lapped up in the manner people fall for the reigning fashion. Of course, there is no other way to know the worth of a book than to read it, but the choices are being made more on the basis of some uncanny affinity and endorsement rather than any considered rationality.

Obviously, it is too much to expect that a democracy of readers, so constituted, would choose to vote for the worn out names of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Nor, is it an easy prospect that the vast masses owing allegiance to established religions would allow the right of way to the vision of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. The intelligentsia is still less dependable, engrossed as they are in contemporary nit-pickings.

Alan has rightly reminded that the teachings, personality, and spiritual presence of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo as charismatic teachers is already there. Further, sincere work conforming to their ideals are being carried out across the globe in fields as divers as education and environment. One can surmise that it would grow in a slow but steady pace. Nonetheless, there can certainly be some catalytic action to shore up momentum.

Alan has called for a fresh start for the integral movement with The Mother and Sri Aurobindo as the central focus. But the call of the day is perhaps to leap forth to the next level, call it orthodox or foundational. Many are under the illusion that they can dish out a new synthesis by integrating the different established systems like Sri Aurobindo’s. How easily it is forgotten that, the integralism achieved by the yogic vision of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo cannot be bettered. In fact, no egghead should venture to tinker with their teachings.

And, finally, let’s call a spade a spade. How long would we dither to call the grace of our beloved Masters and their teachings, a religion? It is a religion, make no mistake about it, and the adherents need to put their act together to help it take root. No myths or legends, ours is a stark 20th century faith based on the most comprehensive philosophy. This is a grand testament of universality, take it or leave it. And, this is the greatest ever manifesto for man; seekers of the world unite!

The word, integral has already been besmirched. So, should we call our religion Savitri Era, instead? [SE-MMYP, TNM: July 27, 2006]

Monday, July 24, 2006

The contingency, the contextuality and the historicity

Tusar N Mohapatra said... One very unique and significant aspect of Sri Aurobindo's insights is the concept that our core and causal personality, what he calls the Psychic Being, is the arbiter of our life and destiny, In fact, he goes on to add that the Psychic Being decides on the broad formulations of the life's tenor and texture before the birth. Our life then becomes the opportunity to unfold the secret manifesto with a large proportion of distinctness.
Sri Aurobindo, therefore, emphasizes upon the Swabhava and Swadharma, one's own specific manner of perceiving the reality and partaking of it. The contingency, the contextuality and the historicity, accordingly, form the great adventure in hermeneutics of the book of Nature, of which our life is but a leaf.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Sri Aurobindo denied admission to Delhi University

The greatest philosopher of modern India, Sri Aurobindo, does not find a place in the Philosophy syllabus of Delhi University. Many great scholars of the country and from abroad have already authored several treatises on the philosophy as well as the metaphysical poetry of Sri Aurobindo. Many comparative works, too, have been brought out by established publishing houses and top academic institutes. But Sri Aurobindo has yet to pass a test by our pedantic Professors of the University of Delhi.
Sri Aurobindo's extensive mapping of consciousness and his life-long endeavour to fathom the overhead regions through poetry and yoga are seminal contributions. His emphasis on attainability of highest possible perfection through sheer human efforts and by mere aspiration is a great message of hope. Further, the adventure of consciousness is not aimed at isolated spiritual salvation. Rather, a harmonious collective living is the ultimate destination. By translating this ideal to practical terms, Sri Aurobindo draws an elaborate blueprint concerning the ideal of human unity leading to the establishment of a World-Union.