Sunday, August 09, 2009

Decoupling aesthetics from theatricality is cruelty

[The Integral Yoga and Religion — An Historical Overview
Sri Aurobindo made it clear on many occasions that it was not his intention to found a new religion or to revive an old one... As the Ashram took form during the 1930s, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother encouraged their disciples to leave aside conventional religious practices or to fill them with a larger yogic significance. Practices which could become vehicles of bhakti or devotion were permitted, even promoted, for bhakti is a primary component of the Integral Yoga. Sri Aurobindo distinguished practices like pranam, which had “living value”, from “old forms” like sraddha for the dead or namaz, which he believed might eventually fall away (Letters on Yoga, p. 850). At the same time he and the Mother did not rule out all external forms of worship: “There is no restriction in this Yoga to inward worship and meditation only," he wrote in a letter. "As it is a Yoga for the whole being, not for the inner being only, no such restriction could be intended” (Letters on Yoga, p. 777).
As the years passed, various forms of outward worship developed in the Ashram, and it became generally understood that an overt devotional attitude differing little from conventional religion was the one right way of approaching Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. For a while, this attitude remained a matter of personal choice; but in recent years it has become more and more obligatory. Anyone who did not follow the dictates of the crowd in what they said and did risked general condemnation.
An Outbreak of Fundamentalism?Larger Issues of the Lives of Sri Aurobindo ControversySri Aurobindo on religion]

[Distributed Extracts from The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
Most visitors had similar positive experiences. But some, particularly from the West, were distracted by the theatricality of the setting and the religiosity of the pageantry. Vincent Sheean, a well-...]

[Tradition and the rhetoric of right: popular political argument in ... - Google Books Result
by David J. Lorenzo - 1999 - this artistic experience seems to have been the most formative of her life before she met Aurobindo... Even more than Aurobindo, she came to look at the project of reconstructing India and the earth through yogic techniques in terms of applied aesthetics... she had set to work organizing her principles of context and beauty.]

Decoupling aesthetics from theatricality is cruelty. [TNM]

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