Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Merleau-Ponty takes the tradition of Western philosophy to its limits

Maurice Merleau-Ponty [1907-1961], the French phenomenologist, is known for formulating a fresh notion of perception anchored on our embodied existence. In a clear departure from Brentano, Husserl and Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty brings in the idea of gestalt and dares to interrogate the lived-body. Far from offering a conclusive philosophy, his explorations into the seamless mind-body whole remains a testimony to limits of intellectual autonomy, even as his books remain incomplete.
The question of man, the world and the Being engages him to the point of despair. In the manner of a physical scientist, he searches for the ultimate building-block and calls our constitutional element, the flesh. The earth, as a similar abstraction, is for him a holistic endeavour for harmonious living, the function of philosophy being tilted in favour of feeling and practice. It has been aptly commented that the questions emanating from this deep analysis have spiritual overtones. It can, therefore, be safely asserted that Merleau-Ponty takes the tradition of western philosophy to its limits beyond which it is the realm of intuition and mysticism.
It is interesting to recall that Heidegger, too, arrives in analogous environs, albeit through a separate route. At this point, it is important to bear in mind that it is not proper to club Merleau-Ponty along with the dominant tradition of biology, vitalism, feeling, will-to-live, Eros or libido. His scrutiny of the body-mind-continuum, in contrast, is an honest endeavour to undo the damages wrought by earlier one-sided over-emphasis.
It would be too far-fetched to find links in the work of this fellow French contemporary with the elaborate investigations on the body that The Mother was busy with. Nevertheless, there are commonalities of much significance and interesting possibilities. Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 10:52 PM , Friday, October 14, 2005

Monday, February 26, 2007

Is religion optional?

Lit-blogger Chandrahas, [9:22 AM, February 25, 2007] avers himself "Not being overly religious" while commenting on the state of classical Sanskrit texts [Mint]. He is writing for the papers since he was a toddler and to wear the secular badge is so fashionable among our youngsters. Perhaps it is a professional enabler too. But writers exert an influence upon others and hence to see aright and say the right thing is a big responsibility.

The larger question, however, is, ‘is religion optional?’ Sri Aurobindo settles the matter in the very opening paragraph itself of The Life Divine. Pascal's wager too votes in favour of religion. [TNM]
[Belief-o-Matic: Even if YOU don't know what faith you are, Belief-O-Matic™ knows. Answer 20 questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, and more, and Belief-O-Matic™ will tell you what religion (if any) you practice...or ought to consider practicing...]

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hitch your wagon to the dreams elaborated by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo

[The future will not be an extension of the past, but will mark a departure from much of our activities since the start of civilization 5000 years ago. Nature]
Surely a commonplace assertion but pregnant with unimaginable possibilities if read in the light of the dreams elaborated by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Momentum in technology is indeed something momentous that is happening right now but when accentuated with interventions of elevated consciousness, the resulting permutation can be altogether overwhelming to our present standard of prudence and speculation. At least, all our crocodile tears for the climate change or nuclear arms etc. would no longer seem respectable. [TNM]

Som Pal has translated Savitri into Urdu

Anirvan, who described himself as a simple baul, had received the permission and blessings of Sri Aurobindo to translate The Life Divine into Bengali. The translation of the works of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo plus his disciples into various languages now constitutes a huge corpus. Many scholars and devotees dedicate their lives to this project but surprisingly they remain unsung and unknown. Som Pal who has translated Savitri into Urdu is one such instance. [TNM]

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sorry, Shankara's advaita is not the last word

Kailash Vajpeyi perhaps signals his own projections when he so approvingly recounts, "Sham Lal intervened and said that it is basically pointless to give any kind of comment on Shankara's philosophy" [for] "Shankara's advaita was the last word" in THE SPEAKING TREE: The Times of India 24 Feb, 2007.
Here is another attempt to sidetrack the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo by a respected contemporary commentator. So sad! [TNM]

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Why should we compromise? Say with pride that we are the Savitri Erans

No more referring to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo as mere Avatar or just Guru. No concealing of our faith anymore while docilely participating in other religious ceremonies and rituals. No need to play an underdog forever by keeping on visiting sundry places of worship. No longer contriving pretexts for a pilgrimage to Puducherry. Say with pride that we are the Savitri Erans. Why to cling pathetically to some other’s tail? Why should we compromise? [TNM]

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A new religion and a new vision for action

[A 42-page statement prepared by an international commission of both churches, urges Anglicans and Roman Catholics to explore how they might reunite under the Pope. The statement, leaked to The Times, is being considered by the Vatican, where Catholic bishops are preparing a formal response. From Times Online February 19, 2007]
[The best thing that all these churches can do is quietly disband, and pour their energies into something more constructive. It is amazing that people still believe in this superstitious nonsense well into the 21st century. The problem isn't whether a mediaeval monarch wanted to divorce his wife or not - the problem is the irrational religious beliefs themselves. COMMENT Join the Debate James Burnie, Barcelona, Spain]
While our rivals are conspiring to join hands, it is high time that the Savitri Erans got their act together. Holding The Life divine in one hand and Savitri in another we can march forward to offer the people of the whole world a new religion and a new vision for action. Come one, come all! [TNM]

Monday, February 19, 2007

Slow and steady

The Hare and The Tortoise directed by Veenapani Chawla, the Managing Trustee and Director of Adishakti was staged on January 18 in Delhi as part of the annual Bharat Rang Mahotsav organized by National School of Drama. Her earlier work A Greater Dawn based on Sri Aurobindo's immortal work Savitri with Mita Vashisht in the lead and elements of Koodiyattam had received rave reviews in 1992.
Shiva's 4th Dimension film based on Savitri is also under preparation. [TNM]

Saturday, February 17, 2007

We are a religion revolving around the Matrimandir

While religious enthusiasts are trying to resurrect worship of the ancient Greek gods and the growth of Islam in Europe is making waves, Savitri Erans are twiddling and quibbling over the obvious: that we are a religion revolving around the Matrimandir.

Savitri Era is the religion the world needs. And, in fact, there is not much time to lose. Where are the action plans, the strategy papers, or the setting up of goals? Where is the spirit of 1972? [TNM]

Our man in the Cabinet

While speaking at the two-day annual conference of the Sri Aurobindo Society held in the Sri Aurobindo Bhawan, Noida (UP) on Saturday, October 07, 2006, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil praised the organizers for periodically arranging such meetings which, he hoped should multiply, especially in today's troubled times. Because of the limited reach of this kind of gatherings, he expressed his wish that the message of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo be disseminated over the Electronic media and left it upon the organizers to see how this can materialize.

Among the public figures and the celebrities who are admirers of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, it is very difficult to spot a genuine Savitri Eran because of their chameleon-like behaviour. But Shivraj Patil seemed to be speaking out of a sincere concern. He also visited the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry, recently on January 20. [TNM]

Friday, February 16, 2007

Come out of the elitist trap

Old war horse, Sagarika Ghose offers a slew of advices to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee “to create a new, homegrown ‘Leftism’, a Leftism of democratic, market-friendly rootedness” [HindustanTimes.com Friday, February 16, 2007 10:05 AM]. Savitri Erans may take cue in order to come out of their severe elitist trap. [TNM]

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sri Aurobindo is the greatest

Robert W. Godwin, the celebrity author of One Cosmos Under God, recently noted in his highly popular blog One Cosmos, "Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998), arguably the greatest religious metaphysician who ever lived" while comparing him with Sri Aurobindo. But Godwin (Gagdad Bob) has not read The Life Divine and has acquired his impression of Sri Aurobindo from several secondary sources.
H. Allen Orr says in his reply to Daniel C. Dennett (in response to A Mission to Convert) "In his popular works on evolution, and especially in The Selfish Gene, Dawkins wrestled with the best evolutionary thinkers —Darwin, Hamilton, and Trivers," but forgets about The Life Divine. How all these people are talking about God, Man and Nature without reading or referring to the great work of Sri Aurobindo is incomprehensible. [TNM]

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Delink from the Hindu-legacy

[VHP chief for a Hindu political party Feb 11, 2007, 16:15 GMT Allahabad, Feb 11 (IANS) Vishwa Hindu Parishad chief Ashok Singhal Sunday gave a call for forming a Hindu political front even as he claimed his organisation had supporters cutting across party lines. 'Our objective is to form a Hindu political front through the mobilisation of a strong army of the Hindu voters,' Singhal told a press conference here on the eve of the VHP-sponsored three-day global Hindu meet.]
[HindustanTimes.com » VHP to create 5-cr Hindu votebank to seize power BK Singh Allahabad, February 13, 2007: The three-day World Hindu Conference had a political ending. A clarion call to build at least five-crore Hindu vote bank to seize political power was made on the concluding day of the meet on Tuesday. Calling upon the Hindus to carry out cent percent voting in favour of the party, which suits their agenda, VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia made the crowd repeat his words of ensuring that they would see that they come out in large numbers to vote in favour of the party, which does not favour the minority community.]
Savitri Erans should resist the temptation of joining such mobilizations by delinking from the Hindu-legacy and proceed with the clarity of thought offered by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. [TNM]

India - Freedom and Beyond

Smartly produced first two issues of the Bulletin of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture, Kolkata dated 15th august 2006 and 1st December 2006 on the theme, India - Freedom and Beyond, have been received. Remembering the pioneering efforts of Pradyot Kumar Bhattacharya and Joya Mitter in his inaugural editorial, Ranjan Mitter, Secretary, informs that the Bulletin will be published once in two months and calls for requests for receiving a copy. [TNM]

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A simple mention can create a slant as an omission a fork

The large corpus of the writings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo along with that of their disciples and admirers pose a lofty challenge to anyone who wishes to be acquainted with them. Expository essays and articles by scholars and journalists are being added on an ongoing basis so also critical opinions, although oftentimes ill-informed. Hagiographic book-reviews, obituaries and anecdotes are proliferating. Quasi-fictional literature too is sprouting. All these are bound to grow manifold as the popularity of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo increases. In the absence of any reliable documentation system, it is likely to turn into a sort of tower of Babel within a decade or so.

The problem gets accentuated when confronted with the questions of semiology, hermeneutics and deconstruction. A simple mention can create a slant as an omission a fork. Since it is impossible to think of any accurate history or purity of thought, there can at least be some kind of institutionalized mechanism to react to misinformation and scan exaggerations. All religious and political formations maintain it and the Savitri Erans should not lag behind. [TNM]

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Life Divine and Savitri should trigger our imagination

Shiv Visvanathan speculates on Alternative Futures in THE TIMES OF INDIA of 10 Feb, 2007. What better science fiction than The Life Divine and Savitri duo to trigger our imagination? [TNM]

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Biography, the greatest of its kind

C.D. Narasimhaiah in The Function of Criticism in India notes, “Nehru’s Autobiography is probably the greatest of its kind written or translated in English.” Perhaps the same words can be repeated about the book, Sri Aurobindo – a Biography and a History by K R Srinivasa Iyengar that few have managed to read from cover to cover. One another gem in this genre is Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo by R.R. Diwakar (Bhavan's book university). 9:51 AM [TNM]

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The real Savitri Era ideology and loyalty

Sri Aurobindo's Action has published a daring piece captioned, The Importance of Worshipping God: An Integral View Point by Aju Mukhopadhyay [ajum24@yahoo.co.in] in its February 2007 issue. While others are wary of religious ideology creeping into the Integral Yoga, Mukhopadhyay has attempted to put it firmly within the confines of Hindu tradition and culture. It is hoped that more of such bold propositions come out.

For, it is out of such an open communicative environment that the real Savitri Era ideology and loyalty can emerge. No more taking cover behind nebulous jargons or long citations. No more spacious arguments justifying fence-sitting. Say your stance. [TNM] 9:32 AM

Monday, February 05, 2007

All knowledge, all strengths, all triumph and victory, all skill and works are in her hands

The Mother returned in April 1920 and the Chapter: Faith and Shakti was published in June 1920. The Life Divine that appeared in the Arya between August 1914 and January 1919 could not feature this new incantatory revelation regarding Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, and Mahasaraswati. Later elaborated in the letter to TVKS is, of course, the soul of the now famous "The Mother" booklet forming the core of the Integral Yoga. [TNM] 1:56 PM

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Savitri Era brand equity

[Aravind Eye Hospitals began in 1976 with just 11 beds. Today, in addition to the hospital in Madurai, there are four other Aravind Eye Hospitals in Theni, Tirunelveli Coimbatore, and Pondicherry with a combined total of nearly 3,590 beds.]
[Aurobindo Pharma has identified international operations as a major engine of growth and has hence expanded its global network of marketing and manufacturing operations...Over a period, Aurobindo Pharma has become a knowledge company with strong intellectual property. It is now positioned to ride the challenges with strengthened fundamentals.]
The formidable reputation built up by these companies should have made our Brand managers sit up and take notice. The names of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have hardly been used in a vast country like India. In Delhi, of course, The Mother's International School ranks as the best. [TNM]

Thursday, February 01, 2007

No dil in Delhi

Indian Silk House, founded by Rishabhchand, inserts newspaper advertisements in Kolkata to pay homage to The Mother on her birthday on February 21 every year. No Company or business house cares to do the same in Delhi. So heartless!