Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Counting has begun

[Book row: case registered post-scuffle from A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs by General Editor - The Hindu Puducherry, February 29, 2012 Dilip Dutta,  Chandi Prasad Parida] [Actions speak louder than words: political demonstration at Ashram ... by auroleaks - The demonstrators are attempting to oust the Trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Over 100 outside protesters were bussed in from Orissa, and the escalating stridency of the demonstration ended in the elderly Trustees being accosted]

Heehs imbroglio surfaced in 2008 and the conflagration is lately spreading in leaps and bounds. Leading intellectuals spearhead the campaigns on both the sides but have proved to be ineffectual in convincing the other faction. Judiciary, as usual, is in no hurry, and so, the political route has assumed significance. Counting has begun and it will intensify in the days to come. Savitri Era Party, understandably, is happy about this outcome. Let political actions be conducted in a transparent manner and not clandestinely as spiritual endeavour. [TNM55]

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ladder plus Magnet

[better to establish and lay down the facts before engaging in unending debates… But in case there is any information that is to the contrary, you or others are invited to present it here]

Being the host, it’s your privilege to be dismissive or patronizing, but we are dealing with opinions only – be it legal or journalistic, yours or mine – in the absence of self-evident facts. You perhaps prefer “Sri Aurobindo’s and The Mother’s words and actions” as frozen, whereas Paranjape captures the mutation theresince, thus encapsulating the contemporary reality. It is pragmatic therefore, instead of living in a fool’s paradise with symptoms of selective amnesia, we start from square one and seek transformation courtesy the magnet. [TNM55]

When you say that they “are free to do so” it includes the freedom to “make up stories” as well as “to put their words in the mouths of” others. In fact, these are the basic ingredients of all religious mythologies that are recited as revealed texts. As regards imposition, likewise, conversion attempts are as old as the oceans. So, apparently no incongruity here. [TNM55]

Saturday, February 25, 2012

An evening with Manoj Das

Someone asked what is Supramental, and so, its elucidation and the whole background of his turning to Sri Aurobindo and joining the Ashram filled the Constitution Club with a divine atmosphere for a while last evening in the course of a felicitation ceremony for Manoj Das. May he carry The Mother's message forward to more and more people who are yet to hear of her. [TNM55]

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Torpedoing the Hindu Code

[First Full English Translation of One of India's Great Texts from permanent black Hindu Widow Marriage, A Complete Translation with an Introduction and Critical Notes by Brian A. Hatcher  
It makes available to every modern student, for the first time, one of the profoundest classics of India's social reform and gender discourse… Vidyasagar’s strategy involved a rereading of Hindu scripture alongside an emotional plea on behalf of the widow, resulting in the reimagining of Hindu law and custom. He made his case through a two-part publication, Hindu Widow Marriage, a tour de force of logic, erudition, and humanitarian rhetoric.]

[Religion-neutral marriage certificates, why didn't we have them before? from Communalism Watch by c-info From: The Times of India Religion-neutral marriage certificates likely PTI | Feb 21, 2012 NEW DELHI:
The government is working on a proposal to provide religion-neutral marriage certificates to people following demands by minority groups, including Sikhs, who are shown as Hindus in official documents. … The present system of issuing religion-based certificates will continue. According to ministry officials, making registration of marriages religion neutral would also help couples who face social and community pressures for having married according to their wishes.]

['जज साहब! घोषित कीजिए मेरी कोई जाति-धर्म नहीं' Dainik Bhaskar, Feb 21, 2012]

A court in Maharashtra has declined to declare the appellant as without caste or religion. So, religion-neutral marriage certificates will be a boon for all minorities including the Savitri Erans. [TNM55] 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lip-service is the most potent technique

[Introduction (DW) | Auro Truths While lip-service is given to the ideology, it is in reality given a back seat as their personal preferences take over, determine and drive all their actions.]

M.P. Pandit wrote that mechanical repetition of Name may not be fruitful, but Babaji Maharaj (Ramakrishna Das) rationalized that Japa, even if performed mechanically, has a power and an effect. Till his last breath he used to urge his correspondents, through his oblique calligraphic lines on Post Cards, this simple and straight message to surrender at the feet of The Mother like a small child and repeat her name.

So, ideology or no-ideology, lip-service is the most potent technique for the Savitri Erans to take a leap towards the future. [TNM55] Savitri Era: Being an empty vessel 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yoga of integrating Varna categories

[These are all very fine as high spiritual ideals, one might counter, but as long as we remain stuck in our limited human consciousness, tethered to our mental and vital existence, what are we to do about the gross injustices and the destruction of our planet? Are we to sit quietly and meditate while our fellow human beings are abused and the world is destroyed? This is the difficult dilemma in which we find ourselves, and we feel that we must act. Spiritual activist has a double task Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Passivity And Integral Yoga, Larry Seidlitz, Sraddha-Feb'12]

Just as counseling for spiritual living should take into account the age and location of a person, quality or temperament, too, should form a primary parameter. As one grows from one Varna category to another and strives for integration between the same, there are obvious difficulties like alleged trivialization or profanation. Permitting division of labour and specialized skills, therefore, should be the norm instead of promoting puritanistic criticism. [TNM55]

Monday, February 13, 2012

Teleology and Yoga

[more Žižek on Heidegger from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman) - Badiou and Žižek will unashamedly tell you how great Heidegger is, and yet still leave us somewhat in the dark as to the nature of their debt to him.]

[Thill - February 6th, 2012 on 7:17 pm - He may have borrowed this notion from Aurobindo (I think Wilber has not acknowledged the full extent of Aurobindo’s influence on his writings).]

Sri Aurobindo, himself, borrowed from diverse sources and his vast intellectual canvas, without doubt, is a grand narrative. The overall ontological perspective is supra-rational, and so, the reader and his puny intellect matters little. But, towards the end of a page-long paragraph the Master might surprise by telling him either about his appointed role or incorrigibility and insignificance. His opposition to traditional interpretations is quite forceful at places, but deriving a clear picture eludes as he is dealing with multiple texts.

His metaphysical system, however, can be correlated to various past religions, but by anchoring eternity to history and evolution he pulls off a philosophical breakthrough. Whether such a teleological framework needs the leg of Yoga for its fruition may be debatable, but the way technology is embracing artificial intelligence, the levers of human volition are definitely going to influence far more areas than at present in an increasing fashion. Many might dub it as ultra-Materialism or club it with the tentacles of Capitalism, but to insist on mythological examples of supernatural feats might prove as acute anachronism. [TNM55]

Assemblages score over assembly

Canons of spiritual practice flatten space and time and this is a severe methodological error. The notion of Call, of course, is irrespective of age and irreverent of locale, but such non-concern plays spoiler for firm theoretical formulations. The allusion to symphony surely emphasizes the unique role of the individual but, simultaneously, also underscores his dispensability. So, claiming exceptionalism for a particular event or a prominent personality is fraught with serious uncertainty.

The why of history, therefore, though entertaining owing to its dramatic tension and suspense, can’t be a safe guide for future unfoldings. Temperamental assemblages, through thought revolutions, can cause more momentous realignments in the world today than assembly of amorphous crowds in sundry city squares.

The identification of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, in their physical life, to an Ashram of moderate size and their concern for its well-being constitutes a minor facet of their world-vision. Whole of their action was never on the surface then for all to see, and correspondingly, no clue to their intentions at present can be claimed exclusively by certain trustworthies. [TNM55]        

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Mother and music

The Mother playing piano and the genre of music inspired by it has not achieved the popularity it deserves. Fusion music has become a rage since then and India has become a melting pot. But to adhere to the desirable level of music as prescribed by The Mother is not an easy task, especially when the lyrics tend to chase TRP. The chasm between the Southern and the Northern, and the Western and the Eastern seems to be unbridgeable, but the possibility of scores going viral in a matter of hours can’t be dismissed. [TNM55] [TNM55]

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Outgrow poverty-oriented politics

[Not to be Left behind Editorials, Hindustan Times - February 07, 2012
Think global, act global seems to the CPI(M)'s new motto, a variation on the old think global, act local… Of course, the Karatian vision is based on opposing casteism, communalism, gender-based exploitation, and taking into account tribal, regional and ethnic issues as well as the struggle against neo-liberal economic policies pursued by the government. When it comes to simplicity of purpose and language, you really have to hand it to the lads in the CPI(M). We admire people who are consistent.]    

[Medha Patkar for "one family, one elected rep" formula  Hindustan Times - February 09, 2012
Deprecating rise of political dynasties, activist Medha Patkar today suggested the "one family, one elected representative" cap in politics.]

There is no gainsaying the fact (echoing Nikhil Chakravarty) that the Left has some of our most honest politicians. They can’t be faulted for honesty of purpose also. But compulsions of international affairs skew their domestic policies, and as a result, they have not been able to outgrow the poverty-oriented politics. Caste and religion are their Achilles heel, an honest appraisal of which can definitely provide them some headway. [TNM55]

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Savitri Era Religion releases from vacillation

[One can have Multiple Religions - by Choice - by Dilip Kumar Roy Jan 10, 2012 11:55 AM, How about this one - one can adhere to multiple religions, if that synchronises well within your consciousness? I am a Hindu by birth … What is my religion? - a Job Application Form asked me 20 years back.]

[A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs: Prof. Kamal Das's Response to Ramchandra GuhaDilip Kumar Roy - Jan 9, 2012 04:10 PM1:02 PM I am an ordinary devotee, … I claim no rights, I have no vote, no authority. For the Ashram, I am a 'visitor'… Pranams at the Mother's Feet, Dilip Kumar Roy]

[Re: [sbicitizen] Re: The Poetry of Sri Aurobindo I think we could form a smaller group within this discussion group who would be focussed on discussing Sri Aurobindo's works and his yoga. Dilip Kumar Roy Feb 6, 2012 11:55 AM]

India has one Constitution but multiple civil codes. This makes declaring one’s religion a legal prerequisite for each citizen. Religion, thus, is not merely a matter of heart or inner consciousness but a hard fact of social existence (with political implications). Multiple religions is, therefore, an oxymoron.

Legality apart, religion is more or less like monogamy straying outside the boundary of which is promiscuous. Conversion rituals conform to the divorce and remarriage analogy. Further, flattening of all sources of inspiration seems neither objective nor honest. Confusing cultural aspects as the core of religion is another naïveté.

Savitri Era Religion releases one from this life long vacillation. One can boldly dedicate himself to the brass tacks without worrying about the social pressures of camouflaging the secret love. These are the compulsions of floating this new Religion, and not any personal ambition. No ascetic renunciation either of political dividends that accrue in due course. [TNM55] 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Lele, then and now

While I think Hegel was more methodologically sophisticated than Wilber, there is a lot missing from Hegel’s synthesis. Science, especially, has changed a lot, making Hegel’s philosophy of nature difficult to accept; so too, Hegel’s thought has no room for the shining achievement of the 20th century, namely feminism and the liberation of women. And while Hegel at least attempted to include Asian philosophies in his synthesis, in a way that few had before, they were stuck at the earliest and lowest level of his philosophy, making Hegel “strong with respect to time and weak with respect to space”. All of these vast gaps in Hegel’s thought – science, feminism, Asian philosophy – Wilber has tried hard to give a central place in his thought. His attempted synthesis is the widest one I know of – Wilber gives us some vision of what a unified synthesis now could look like.]

[Wilber-and-Aurobindo-on-intelligent-design T.R. Raghunath, a professor in Nevada, gave an interesting talk at the SACP conference explaining Aurobindo Ghose’s theory of the development of consciousness. Feb 6, 2012 08:38 AM]

[Sri Sri Ravi Shankar sri-sris-sutras-on-ego & other-side-ego]

Like Hegel, Sri Aurobindo’s insights have travelled far and wide. Many of his concepts have become so common that no one bothers to notice the original source or credit him. That The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, jointly, have inaugurated the Integral perspective is an indisputable fact. No theoretical formulation can surpass that either on ontological grounds or in their practical translation. Our effort to make them “interesting, constructive and convincing,” however, must continue. [TNM55]   

Monday, February 06, 2012

Sam the carpenter

Like salvation in ancient times, free speech is now an exalted goal in itself

[Caste arithmetic takes centre stage again Medieval battle for Uttar Pradesh»  News» February 6, 2012 Such is the weight of identity here in India's heartland that Rahul Gandhi brought into the UP battleground even Sam Pitroda -- the Chicago native and technocrat -- who says he is proud to be born in a carpenter's family.]

Rooting for rootedness and genealogy in scientific anthropology but denouncing the same within cultural anthropology is a strange paradox. Recognising the hard demographic reality instead of worshipping exalted and imagined goals is what the political parties are perhaps rightly pursuing. [TNM55]

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Emergence of Savitri Era in the national scene is providential

[Creation therefore is not a making of something where nothing existed, but a selection and new formation out of existing material; not a sudden increase, but a continual rearrangement and substitution; not an arbitrary manufacture, but an orderly development…
When man has mastered the physical world and its forces, when the earth is his and the fullness thereof, he must turn his efforts towards mastering the world within himself. Instead of allowing the soul to use the body for its own ends, he must learn to master both soul and body and use them consciously for the purposes of the spirit, that Eternal Will and Wisdom which at present operates in secrecy, veiled with darkness within darkness and seeming even to be blind and hidden from itself. In the end he will be master of spirit, soul and body, a Jivanmukta using them at will for cosmic purposes or transcending them to feel his identity with the Self who is pure and absolute existence, consciousness and bliss. CWSA, Isha Upanishad, The Karmayogin, pp. 226-32 Spiritual Evolution in Brahman—by Sri Aurobindo by RY Deshpande on Sun 05 Feb 2012 03:30 AM IST Permanent Link]

[In search of a true leader: India needs a leader of stature and credibility, one who commands respect and is acceptable to all. As we march past yet another Republic Day, it is time we figured out what is wanting in most of our leaders claiming to fit the bill. Here are a few tips from the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
The first and foremost requirement of a true leader is that he must be able to put aside what he wants, and wishes to know what God wants… He must have faith in the wisdom of divinity.
An important precondition is not to have one’s own personal interest as a goal. The first qualities needed are boldness, courage and perseverance. A true leader must be conscious that he knows nothing compared to what he ought to know, that he can do nothing compared to what he ought to do, that he is nothing compared to what he ought to be. PRAMOD PATHAK, The Pioneer Sunday Edition Agenda SPIRITUALITY Hiddensouls SATURDAY, 04 FEBRUARY 2012]

[A free and natural growth is the condition of genuine development. There are souls which naturally revolt from their surroundings and seems to belong to another age and clime. Let them be free to follow their bent; but the majority languish, become empty, become artificial, if artificially moulded into an alien form. It is God’s arrangement that they should belong to a particular nation, age, society, that they should be children of the past, possessors of the present, creators of the future.
The past is our foundation, the present our material, the future our aim and summit. Each must have its due and natural place in a national system of education. Excerpts from Aurobindo’s writings, The Pioneer Sunday Edition Agenda SPIRITUALITY Educating the mind and soul SRI AUROBINDO SATURDAY, 04 FEBRUARY 2012]

[The power of one - Indian Express Shekhar Gupta: Sat Jul 31 2010
It was something that Justice Verma said, while explaining the challenge of institution-building that should get us all thinking. An institution can rise to its true strength, and truly play the role the founding fathers mandated for it, only if it is led by a person “who has no past, and no expectation (of any reward) from anybody in the future”.
Someone who has no past and no greed for anything in the future? Simple enough, you might think. But it isn’t as simple as that. It is tough enough to find many people with nothing to hide in their pasts, so they are not prone to blackmail, or pressured by IOUs conceded. People who can judge a case, run an election, prosecute a criminal politician, investigate a corrupt bureaucrat effectively and fairly.
But where do you find someone who, in addition to this, would be willing to retire quietly into obscurity? Our system is much too brutal and clever to let such rare people rise anywhere close to the top. That is why it is only providentially, rather than by choice, that one such is put in charge of an institution. And then the institution changes, and rises to its true power.]

Emergence of Savitri Era in the national scene is not only providential but also a Hobson's choice. The Five Dreams are but to unfold in concrete details, and hence, the present chaos can never be an indication of their negation. The trick, however, is to hearken to earnest voices instead of chasing celebrities. [TNM55] 

Friday, February 03, 2012

Interesting, constructive and convincing innovations

[Activism: Why Swamy gets it right and Team Anna wrong Akshaya Mishra - Feb 2, 2012
But what makes Dr Subramanian Swamy so effective as a crusader? ‘Knowledge’, should be the one-word answer. Extended a bit, it is his ability to work out the beguiling nuances in the functioning of institutions correctly and framing the problem areas as legal questions. Feb 3, 2012 12:25 AM]

Thanks for the well-rounded reply. More so, for clarifying that there is room for alternative perceptions and practices as against the implied monolithism of the original post. A more tolerant posture towards this plurality, however, will go a long way in encouraging “interesting, constructive and convincing” innovations. [TNM55]

Reverting to referendum

[A DECLARATION OF SOLIDARITY Or we may decide that now is the time to make our voices heard…
There are vested interests attempting to create the impression that a majority of Ashramites are sympathetic to those filing lawsuits against the Trust, but nothing could be further from the truth. We will not allow this false and dangerous notion to gain further ground. This is  the time to stand firm, stand together in the face of this assault on the core values of our Ashram, to lend our voices in support of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's institution and its appointed representatives against the forces that are out to destabilize our community.]

The Heehs camp has always maintained that the Ashram is beyond democratic principles and what the Trustees utter are inviolable lines of Veda. Hence, it’s good that they are now finding virtue in majority support and raising voices, thus recognizing that each individual vote matters. A referendum, we reiterate, would be the best means to assess and diffuse the present unrest blowing in the Ashram. [TNM55]