Friday, June 19, 2009

Kelamuni unimpressed by Sri Aurobindo

[Da is not the only person to note the "logic" of this kind of movement. This "movement" is also described by the Japanese Buddhist scholar Nagao in his various articles on Madhyamika and Yogachara. This emphasis upon immanence is taken over by the Tantric schools such as the Vajrayana and Kashmiri Shaivism, both of which were heavily indebted to the Yogachara, and melded with the generally "world-centric" orientation of Tantrism. Historically, what the Vajrayana does is take the "three-fold turning" over from the Yogachara and apply it to a kind of "pseudo-historigraphy" so as to justify Tibetan Buddhism. There, inn the self-understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, we find the three "yanas," Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana, where we once found the three "turnings."Something very similar could be done with the Hindu traditions of Samkhya, classical Advaita Vedanta, and Kashmiri Shaivism. One could probably extract just such a conception from the works of Abhivanagupta, who speaks of the Shaiva Kaula dharma as "transcending and including" all other traditions, including classical advaita vedanta, just as the elephant's footprint obliterates the tracks of all other animals. Wilber, Nirvanasara, and Teleology in Indian History
from Gaia Community: kelamuni's Blog by kelamuni]

[The Question of the Status of the World in Advaita Vedanta
from Gaia Community: kelamuni's Blog by kelamuni
The question of the status of the world is one of the basic questions on the menu of Indian philosophical topics. It is a question that is particularly associated with the so-called "illusionistic" or "idealist" schools (Madhyamika, Yogachara, Advaita Vedanta) but it is also important for those "realist" schools that oppose them. The terms "maya-vada," "vijnana-vada," and "shunya-vada" all reflect the priority of the question of the nature of the world for these schools, since each term is an expression of their respective answers to the question (illusory; of the nature of consciousness; empty).]

[This same Socratic theme of knowing one's limitations reappears in the works of Kierkegaard, and here we find the other dominant "figure" in the West: that of Jesus. Here, the issue becomes not so much whether or not Kierkegaard's contemporaries are sages, but the degree to which they can be called "Christians". Kierkegaard sets an almost impossible standard here; indeed in his version of the "imitation of Christ" the only true Christian can be Christ himself. Just as Socrates finds no true sages among his peers, Kierkegaard finds no true "Christians". We might say that for the ancients, the image of the "sage" functions entirely as a kind of "transcendent norm". Sage-hood lies beyond the grasp of the mere mortal, but it is something that should be striven after nonetheless. While sage-hood functions as a kind of transcendent norm that can only ever be approached asymptotically, the practical paradigm becomes that of the lover of wisdom, represented by the figure of Socrates (and other figures such as Pyrrho, Diogenes, Epicurus, and so on). Two of the characteristic features of this general teaching of the ancients can be said to be the teaching that the lover of wisdom is a composite of both wisdom/knowledge and folly/ignorance, and that the lover of wisdom unceasingly engages in enquiry (zetesis; skepsis)... This "pedagogic" virtue is an expression of his "care" or "compassion" (karuna) for other beings. In the Mahayana, this "compassion" appears as a kind of sister virtue alongside that of "wisdom" (prajna). The entire practical edifice here is designed to efface the individual practitioner's conception of himself as a "sage" or "buddha", and to replace that conception with the idea that one can only ever be "on the way" to Buddha-hood. In this sense, the "bodhi-sattva" can be said to be analogous to the classical Western ideal of the "lover of wisdom". Is there an analogue to the ideal of the "love of wisdom" in the Upanishadic traditions? The approximate semantic equivalent of "jijnasa" may be loosely analogous. This term means the "desire to know" - the prefix "ji-" denoting the so-called "desiderative" case. This important term appears at the beginning of both the Brahma Sutras and the Samkhya Karikas, and it would appear to be an indicator of the so called "path of knowledge" (jnana-marga). On Sagehood and the Love of Wisdom
from Gaia Community: kelamuni's Blog by kelamuni]

In the seamless narrative of Kelamuni the contribution of Sri Aurobindo, it seems, is either negligible or dispensable. [TNM]


  1. hi tusar,
    it's not that i'm unimpressed with aurobindo, or than i am consciously ignoring him. the fact is, i was hoping to deal with aurobindo's more philosophical version of neo-vedanta after having given my account of vivekananda's. for this reason, there have been no detailed descriptions or analyses of aurobindo's thought in my blogs, only cursory references.

  2. While I am thrilled at the prospect of expositions on Sri Aurobindo flowing from your keyboard, thinking of him vis-à-vis Vivekananda or linking him to Neo-Vedanta alone would be an injustice to his integrality. He along with The Mother has devised an ontology down to the level of our cells that is determining the destiny of the whole humanity. Your able intervention, I am sure, would bring the much needed clarity in the post-Wilber scenario. [TNM]