Thursday, March 29, 2012

Intellectual culture facilitates East-West dialogue

Kepler apparently wins, but in order to corner his opponents he forges several propositions which appear to be too abstract. One is his conception of Yoga with the emphasis on inner life. The second is his deep reverence for past accounts of experience. Thirdly, he almost dismisses intellectual culture as having any role. And finally, the necessity of East-West dialogue is hardly stressed.

The postmodern discourse, on the other hand, ferments intellectual culture facilitating the East-West dialogue. Both these aspects are of immense significance as far as Integral Yoga is concerned. Deleuze, for instance, not only epitomizes the thought of the past 3000 years, but also conquers further territory and sharpens human perception of his environment. The sheer linguistic prowess entitles him to be seen as a seer, and the rest rests upon one's level of appreciation.

Talking about the Yoga principles is all right, but in the absence of any flesh and blood examples of practitioners, nothing seems credible. Text book accounts of Yoga are dished out everywhere, but no one discloses his own progress. In this context, believing the stories of the mystics of the yore becomes further difficult. The Five Dreams Manifesto (FDM) warrants multilateral engagement with the world in all its diversity. In this round, however, Kepler seemed to sound too reductive. [TNM55]

New Year’s Day for the Savitri Erans

[Savitri Era: March 29 as the Day of Joy and Hope 24 Dec 2007 by Tusar N Mohapatra
We too want a festival, not only for prayer and meditation but also for merrymaking. There is no better date than 29th March, the day when The Mother met Sri Aurobindo. 8:35 AM]

Today is like the New Year’s Day for the Savitri Erans. It is heartening to learn that Mirror of Tomorrow metamorphoses for “a broader scope with a larger coverage of topics and issues” from today. Our congratulations. Banerji clarifying that “my interest does not lie in fighting on one side or other of that debate” too brings relief.

The most important point which needs to be remembered regarding our path is that it is uncharted and privileges emergence. Old texts and past examples are of little help, and hence, “This is how it works” doesn’t apply. Besides, the collective aspect is much more crucial here than the personal progress. And just because The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have established an Ashram, all other Ashram-founders do not become their equivalents. It is essential, therefore, that such aggressive pollution is filtered out, and we expect course correction by those concerned.
The Cuttack Conference begins on April 4. All are requested to explore the possibility of visiting and savour the unique feel of immersing in The Mother’s Mahakumbh by merging among the thousands. [TNM55]   

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Current lens is OOO

K: But I presume your talking about a conceptual similarity and not that you are claiming Deleuze was actually experiencing the Supermind or converting all his experience to Ananda.
DB: Yes. He arrived philosophically at “virtual” ontologies and empirical practices aimed at “actualizing” them. 11:53 AM  8:00 PM 12:45 PM]

[Reviews - Sri Aurobindo Mandir Annual Published on the occasion of the 70th Birthday of Sri Aurobindo (15-8-1942), by Sri Aurobindo Patha Mandir, Calcutta. Price Rs. 3-8.
Sri Aurobindo’s teachings and message have profound significance as at once a masterly and magnificent presentation of ancient Indian wisdom and a challenging metaphysical contribution, both as speculation and as sadhana. It must be admitted, however, that the appeal of Sri Aurobindo’s writings has been limited to but a small number, the cultured and philosophical elite of India and abroad. Any work, like the one under review, which may make the thoughts of Sri Aurobindo better known to the world is therefore welcome… Dr. S. K. Maitra’s, "Sri Aurobindo and Bergson" shows how Sri Aurobindo is "a more uncompromising opponent of all respectability and convention and an even greater volcanic thinker" than Bergson himself. KASYAPA 4:19 AM]

What Maitra ventured in 1942, Banerji, quite enticingly, continues in 2012. Heehs imbroglio, however, has clouded his reputation, and hence, he will have to take extra pains to establish his commitment to ontology instead of ideology. Deleuze, by the way, is passé, and the current lens is OOO. Graham Harman is at the forefront in the web in overturning the previous readings of old schools. Fierce ontological battles are being fought in which qualified people should take part. At least, keeping abreast is a must in order to pass on the thought. [TNM55]

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunlit Path for weeding out ignorance

[What Badiou Meant to Us Posted by larvalsubjects March 24, 2012 7 Comments 
Badiou’s theory of Truth was really a theory of commitment. A truth was, for him, not a representation or correspondence, but an activity that transforms the world. It is not so much the details of his thought that mattered. No, what mattered was the message. What Badiou was daring us to do was commit and commit passionately. Commit passionately to rapturous love even if it leads to your ruin. Commit passionately to scientific discovery, even if it departs from dominant paradigms. Commit passionately to artistic invention, even if it departs from tradition. Commit passionately to political transformation, even if that work seems unrealistic and to desire impossible outcomes. Badiou said commit, live passionately, and continue. Badiou said risk, risk everything for a Truth. Badiou said wager. What dominated Continental thought at the time was a series of meditations on why it is unreasonable to wager, risk, and commit. Badiou said commit and continue. Suddenly the air felt very different.]

Badiou did the most explicit work to reactivate truth by bluntly invoking the rights to philosophy. For even Deleuze had to frame his struggle in much the same way as the great phenomenologists and vitalists: a struggle against the horizon that philosophy had set for itself…
The sad consequence is that a lot of people have used Badiou as a platform for a very fashionable, inane pseudo-Marxism, which is often composed of the same people that enlisted in the ranks of deconstructive apathy. Being a 'leftist' has become a trendy moniker for hipsters and graduate students to play revolutionary under extremely elitist circumstances. You have these pseudo-leftists go brag about Marx and then hit the pubs for their weekly dose of booze and Deerhunter. This is not at all a new phenomenon: it is a variant of the 60's hippie, New age liberal motif. But in its current 'commie' version, I think it borrows more from what has been happening in South America for the past decade or so.]

Our worth lies only in the measure of our effort to exceed ourselves, and to exceed ourselves is to attain the Divine. -The Mother (1973)]

I say there that a great variety of subjects should be studied. I believe that is it. For instance, if you are at school, to study all the subjects possible. If you are reading at home, not to read just one kind of thing, read all sorts of different things… 
I believe there are general faculties and that it is much more important to acquire these than to specialise – unless, naturally, it be like M. and Mme. Curie who wanted to develop a certain science, find something new, then of course they were compelled to concentrate on that science. But still that was only till they had discovered it; once they had found it, nothing stopped them from widening their mind.]

Some people, by a special culture and training, are even able to become and remain conscious of the deeper activities of their inner being, independently of their own cerebral transcription, and thus to evoke them and know them in the waking state with the full range of their faculties… Uncultivated lands produce weeds. We do not want any weeds in ourselves, so let us cultivate the vast field of our nights… If our night has enabled us to gain some new knowledge – the solution of a problem, a contact of our inner being with some centre of life or light, or even the accomplishment of some useful task – we shall always wake up with a feeling of strength and well-being. The hours that are wasted in doing nothing good or useful are the most tiring. 25 March 1912]  

Much before any Deleuze, Bourdieu, or Badiou, the Sunlit Path laid out by The Mother guided our thought and action. The integrality of her ideas scattered over 30 volumes will continue to be a fount of inspiration for years to come. [TNM55]  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Barin’s many mothers

The gender duality is at the heart of umpteen socio-political problems faced by the humanity. Biologically wired for divergent evolutionary roles, their difference far supersedes the commonality or complementarity. City-based societies pretend to establish some kind of equality through role-reversal in relatively polite environments but such a scenario often hides gargantuan hypocrisy and double-speak. Academic scrutiny, unfortunately, follows an imagined status as the standard instead of the given. Consequently, warped inferences galore the otherwise vibrant feminist debate. Thus, if the present is not a safe guide, the past happens to be still more perilous. Mythological norms and superstitious pretexts rule the group-thinking and any deviation is looked upon as either subversive or adversarial. Be that as it may, an ontological certainty governing this fundamental divide is definitely not to be had.  

Barin’s semi-journalistic accounts transport us to a wealth of anthropological concerns including gender. Judged juxtaposed the integrality of Sri Aurobindo’s literature, they offer countless intersections for introspection which implicitly demand integrity. Heehs imbroglio, perhaps, has prepared us for bolder probes and honest assessments in the realm of the socio-political. [TNM]         

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sri Aurobindo's volcanic key to the Veda

Kala Tattva Kosha published by IGNCA lists nearly 500 Sanskrit texts in comparison to which The Seven Quartets is like a drop in the ocean. All its terms come from the tradition and there is nothing so spectacular about the formulations. Sri Aurobindo unraveling the secret of the Veda rather constitutes a volcanic event before which rest of his output pale. Those who are unable to accept the divine manifestation of Sri Aurobindo and are eager to present a rags-to-riches story may carry on their project. But since the divinity of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is an unimpeachable fact for the devotees, this talk of their progressive sadhana etc. is nothing but amusing juvenile curiosity.

That said, it also seems riddle-some why the triple transformation only be accorded such primacy. There are various other formulae such as the five psychological perfections, twelve powers of The Mother, or even Nama-Japa. Considering their accessibility, they should receive more attention than high ontological taxonomy of consciousness. [TNM55]    

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Divine right to rule till last breath

The euphoria of a new party being born is still fresh in my mind having attended the convention of the Bharatiya Lok Dal in Bhubaneswar in 1974. The chaotic political situation in the country today, however, is no better 38 years later. Not a single party has a dominant all India presence and most of the parties are devoid of any ideological anchorage. Furthermore, the most paradoxical aspect is that no party runs in a democratic manner. For this, we can easily blame the blemishes of human nature. But the systemic aspects are also equally to blame.  

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Puducherry, of course, has elevated itself from any kind of democratic functioning or questioning. Das Gupta, by his mysterious dignified silence, has surpassed all norms of civility and accountability. By claiming tacitly the divine right to rule till his last breath, he is now the monarch of all he surveys. None disputes that, but it’s difficult to rule out the questions of propriety. Hence, it devolves upon the aspirants of life divine to put in place appropriate modalities of good internal governance. [TNM55]  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chronology and genealogy

After the passing away of the stalwarts from Nolini to Amal, it is extremely significant that the intellectual side of my work for the world of Sri Aurobindo is being re-examined by Banerji and Kepler and many strains of his my theory of the ideal life towards which humanity must move are likely to be articulated in a forthright manner. This is an admirable intellectual exercise and need not be hijacked by tangential controversies or frivolousness.

Scholarship was constrained by publishing earlier which the web has alleviated, thus facilitating exchange of ideas at a scale and speed seen never before. There is, no doubt, a sequence in what Sri Aurobindo wrote or revised. This chronology, in fact, forms the basis of his authorized oeuvre published so far. Hence, disregarding the author’s intention, in the long run, might prove as a minefield. The academic quest for genealogy, however, must never cease. [TNM55]      

Stoop to conquer

Why Ramdev and Hazare didn’t succeed? For the simple reason that their priorities were manipulated in an ad hoc fashion without any sense of a definite direction. On the other hand, Akhilesh snatched victory from the jaws of a chaotic electoral scene in UP. Management consultants are everywhere, behind every success story, these days.

We have pointed out from the very outset that the anti-Heehs team in Puducherry is following an evident defective strategy. Their warfare, so far, gives the impression of an amateur as assessing the efficacy of weapons employed has come a cropper. To be fair to them, they have just reacted to latest events within severe constraints, but some of their steps can surely be seen as jumping the gun.

For instance, the normal course should have followed civil discourse, then political action, and finally, the legal recourse. But, a bit of hubris took over a few, and after three long years they have achieved practically nothing. Rather, those who were drawn to the forefront of the campaign (or, brought from Odisha) are facing the music. The role of the leader in restricting casualties is most sacrosanct, and the team must ponder over the same. [TNM55]      

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Glorifying Gandhi unfairly

[Why Tagore was right and Gandhi was not from churumuri Author, illustrator and mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik in Star of Mysore:
The British were convinced that this was proof of ‘Hindoo’ decadence. Many of our nation’s founding fathers felt ashamed. A group of overzealous social reformers once planned to raze or deface or bury such temple carvings. It is said that Gandhiji supported such action. But then Rabindranath Tagore wrote an impassioned plea that, good or bad, moral or immoral, this was a national treasure that we could not wish away. We had to preserve it. And so it has survived, continuing to baffle us as they have baffled onlookers for hundreds of years.

Mahatma Gandhi, at the height of colonial rule in India, had the audacity to assert his dharmic differences firmly but without chauvinism.  He was steeped in Indian cultural habits and experimented with dharma all his life… As the leader of India’s freedom movement, Gandhi relied greatly on the use of Sanskrit words to give voice to India’s struggle and demands… Gandhi’s life illustrates many key points that I make in my book and in my own personal journey. I continue to draw great inspiration from him.]

Rajiv Malhotra, happily, has migrated from books to blogs, but in his enthusiasm in glorifying Gandhi he has unfairly devalued the contribution of his predecessors in the freedom struggle. [TNM55 Pre-Gandhian Indian revolutionary movement (1893-1918)]

Ultra-democratic anomalies in UP

With 30% vote share, a 38 year-old took over as the CM of UP's 20 crore people by winning 55% of the seats. Multiple anomalies show up in this ultra-democratic outcome, and hence, the role of various regulatory mechanisms encouraging rationality and maturity needs to be stressed. While conforming to the rules of the game is important, periodical review of the rules also is a priority. Sri Aurobindo’s Five Dreams Manifesto (FDM) is based on truth and knowledge and the choice is ours. [TNM55] 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

FDM precedes TWD

[Regional bosses rising TOI SWAPAN DASGUPTA Mar 14, 2012 
Hindu solidarity has proved an ephemeral binding force for disparate castes and communities… However, with economic decision-making devolving increasingly to the states, the disjuncture in political choice between the national and the state level may not be so marked. The time may have indeed come for another Tirupati-style conclave of the regional bosses to prepare for a time they could decide India's next prime minister.]

The BJP is also in its own delusions. It keeps trying to reach out to the Muslim voters, and in the process loses its Hindu identity, which alone separates it from the Congress. But the truth is that Muslims will never vote for the BJP… This is a tragic mistake; for not only it is at the cost of the large silent majority of India, the Hindus, but this cynical calculation has never benefited the Muslim community economically… The truth is that the Muslim population keeps growing and thus its electoral clout keeps increasing.] 

Those who were quick to provide intellectual bulwark when NDA ruled have gradually turned disillusioned with BJP. The reason is not far to seek, but they still fear to spell it out clearly. The vision of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, alone, has the power to lift this country from the present rot, and the Five Dreams Manifesto (FDM) of Sri Aurobindo, broadcast a few hours before Nehru delivered his Tryst With Destiny (TWD) speech on August 14, 1947, holds the key. [TNM55 2:31 PM]

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Synthesis is ontology

Consternation as regards publication of Record of Yoga has been expressed from time to time and Kepler has put it quite succinctly. The way Agenda became mainstream, Record, too, is likely to follow the same route. Like Lives, it has already been published, and hence, instead of questioning it, better to accept it as a part of The Mother’s mythology.  

Sri Aurobindo’s extensive explications on Yoga (including Savitri) are, basically, ontological in nature. The merit of their study lies more in producing suppleness of intellect and expansion of consciousness. This outcome, verily, is Yoga and not the actual techniques or sequences that are elaborated in the text. No one’s personal growth proceeds exactly in the same lines as propounded in the successive chapters.

But the fact that a mosaic of meta-narratives inhabits the compass of Integral Yoga has a great utility in terms of offering multiple options at various stages of life. My Y2K tryst with post-modernism, for instance, has been a life-changing experience that helped me to see the writings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo not as frozen in time. It is quite possible that after one amasses and archives all possible instructions on practice of yoga, one will return to the bare minimum: remember and offer. [TNM55]       

Savitri Era Party opposes the Secular and Socialist framework

BSP emerged from Kanshi Ram promoting the interests of Scheduled Caste Govt. employees, but has failed to establish a national presence. The present euphoria surrounding Akhilesh and the talk of a Third Front, too, will die before long. The Left has become inconsequential and the ideological thrust of all State level parties is dictated by the local rivals. Alliances are opportunistic strategy of enjoying power by leveraging limited support. Thus, the task of sewing a pan-Indian network on the basis of a credible ideal has been abdicated by all political parties.

Savitri Era Party opposes the Secular and Socialist framework by positing the Five Dreams Manifesto (FDM) of Sri Aurobindo broadcast on August 14, 1947. Those who feel strongly about India leading the world are invited to join and work for the party. [TNM55]    

Monday, March 12, 2012

Five Dreams Manifesto (FDM)

[Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines (by Rajiv Malhotra, Aravindan Neelakandan) 7 Apr 2011 – Book Review by Dr. Prema Nandakumar
The Partition of 1947 was only the despicable act of a handful of political careerists.  Even as it was being implemented, the Tiruchirapalli Radio broadcast Sri Aurobindo’s message on 15th August, 1947. He did not find it to be a solution at all.  Rather, it was an opening for a dangerous future when civil strife would always remain possible…
Unfortunately for India, the Western style of democracy with its universal suffrage has proved a bane to its unity.  Where illiteracy is still widely prevalent and symbols are a must for electoral candidates, the ruthless politicians have divided the people in terms of vote banks.  Caste that seemed to be waning, has now become stronger than ever with hundreds of caste-based associations and political parties proliferating all over India as the Yadava vote, the Dalit vote or the Minority vote.  With a visionless Parliament still adhering to the Reservation Policy even after sixty years of overprotection, the self-serving politicians have tasted blood.] 

[Bigger battles ahead for Samajwadi Party Economic Times - 12 MAR, 2012 By Chandra Bhan Prasad 
Mulayam's socialist agitation anchored by Ram Manohar Lohia was a single-track narrow gauge line. While Ambedkar told Dalits that English was the milk of a lioness and encouraged them to go for it, Lohia told Yadavs that English was a linguistic evil and launched an agitation against it. As violence threatens to bring disgrace to the young Akhilesh who seems so promising, Mulayam needs to unlearn what he has learnt during his political life. He needs to reinvent himself and turn into a social reformer.]

More than social reform, a transformation of consciousness is what Sri Aurobindo underlines in his Five Dreams Manifesto (FDM). Savitri Era Party aims at this prophecy winning more and more attention space, so that an important but dormant piece of thought becomes dominant. [TNM55]

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Yantra and wedge

A yantra depicts both macrocosmic and microcosmic forces acting together, and the photographs of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo kept together can be said to constitute one. It is difficult to understand the occult significance and efficacy, and so, tinkering with this arrangement is not at all advisable. But strangely, in this photograph relating to International Women’s Day Meeting, we find the photograph of Dalai Lama, a Buddhist, prominently occupying the middle space between the photographs of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. Personally, one may experiment with any fantasy, but to resort to such liberty at the institutional level is a gross anomaly. [TNM55]

Hypocrisy of parodying The Mother

The Mother suggested: “When you have nothing pleasant to say about something or somebody in the Ashram, keep silent. You must know that this silence is faithfulness to the Divine’s work.”]

[The Anti-Hindi Riot of Pondicherry by Togo Mukherjee from Overman Foundation Anurag Banerjee said, February 11, 2012 at 6:13 am
On 16 February 1965 the Mother issued the following declaration on the occasion of the events of 11 February: “We do not fight against any creed, any religion. We do not fight against any form of government. We do not fight against any caste, any social class. We do not fight against any nation or civilisation. We are fighting division, unconsciousness, ignorance, inertia and falsehood. We are endeavouring to establish upon earth union, knowledge, consciousness, truth; and we fight whatever opposes the advent of this new creation of Light, Peace, Truth and Love.”]

Hypocrisy in quoting the words of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is spreading like an epidemic. What The Mother said then, obviously, may not be applicable now. How she dealt with a particular individual then can’t be a rule for all time to come. Keeping the context in mind and her own unique way of resolving day to day problems, the present situation demands that we apply the current norms in a transparent manner. [TNM55]   

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Religious façade is indispensable

Patrice was managing the Mira Aditi stall and came to visit us. Pointing towards a quote printed on a poster he remarked to Dr. Gyanchandra that as “The Mother” is not written, those words lack force, and we immediately realized the gravity of the omission. Similarly, a recent proposal to organize chanting sessions without The Mother’s picture in the room appeared odd to me. For, the secret of Integral Yoga is just the skill of invoking The Mother in all situations. There is no other means and this religious façade is indispensable. [TNM55]    

Savitri Era Religion offers a modern and liberal choice

[Who is a Hindu? The credal definitions – Koenraad Elst « Bharata ... bharatabharati Posted on March 10, 2012 by IS. Who is a Hindu 18 Oct 2008 Sri Aurobindo on caste: The difficult relation between caste in Hindu history and modern anti-caste reform was perhaps best articulated by Sri Aurobindo. First of all, he emphasizes the confinement of caste to purely worldly affairs: 11:31 AM]

[Review of Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism by Rajiv Malhotra (Reviewed by Prof. Indra Nath Choudhuri, Former Director, Sahitya Academy) It has become all the more necessary to respond with renewed efforts to replace the clash of civilizations with a dialogue among civilizations.]

[Ever Irrational Indian National Congress – Folks Magazine By Team Folks Columns - N S Rajaram The Congress party that was founded by an Englishman may be ended by an Italian woman… ‘charisma’ is no longer working. Navaratna Rajaram.
As far back as 1926 Sri Aurobindo observed: “Gandhi is a European— truly, a Russian Christian in an Indian body.” … Almost ten years before Gandhi arrived on the Indian scene Sri Aurobindo had noted (1906): “…the Congress started from the beginning with a misconception of the most elementary facts of politics and with its eyes turned towards the British Government and away from the Indians.” Note: Some of this is discussed in more detail in the author’s book Gandhi, Khilafat and the National Movement]

[Adieu to fiats of high commands - The Times of India › Opinion Dileep Padgaonkar Mar 10, 2012. All the same, with the exception of the Left, no political party today clamours for a return to statist policies… There is no demand from any quarter to jettison them root and branch. Here then is the Indian way forward - one that seeks to avoid the debilitating pitfalls of unfettered capitalism and statist policies alike.
Some such movement forward is now needed in the political arena as well. The two national parties have been loath to acknowledge the writing on the wall. It says, in substance, that political choices are made on the basis of interests and concerns perceived and articulated at regional, sub-regional and, indeed, local levels. What matters more and more is performance, not rhetoric, substance, not charisma or hollow appeals for caste or religious solidarity… The leaders of all the three parties, rooted in the soil, shied away from caste or religious appeals and focussed instead on development, transparency and good governance.]

Padgaonkar is almost toeing the End of History line, but we disagree with his take on religion. Faith will continue to sway political affiliation, and therefore, Savitri Era Religion offers a modern and liberal choice to the new generation. [TNM55]  

Friday, March 09, 2012

Sundargarh, Odisha - January 20, 1982

“The Sun doesn’t speak. It shines, it illumines, it radiates, it transforms.” - Prof. V. Madhusudan Reddy (1925-1996) apropos of Champaklal (February 2, 1903 - May 9, 1992) visiting Sundargarh, Odisha on January 20, 1982 along with Prapatti (April 30, 1924 - June 28, 1989). [TNM55]

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Hazare mirage

There was a lot of hype about the Anna effect in this election and BJP was sure that the undercurrent is in its favour. But the results show nothing of the sort has happened and BJP has been shown the place it deserves. Mayawati lost because of the statues, and Congress, for its imperial style. SP is likely to become a new rallying point at the national level thus triggering tremors prior to 2014. On the whole, UP voting for a single party majority is a big respite. [TNM55]

Collaboration with evolution

As discussed in this book, Aurobindo Ghose, a Hindu terrorist, advocated the former at the same time that Gandhi developed the latter (see pages 37–40). Gandhi's theory of power, as excluding every form of violence, physical and psychological, would seem to disqualify him and King as models for terrorists (in King's words, satyagraha must act never in anger or hatred “to defeat or humiliate the opponent”). If Muslim extremists want a philosopher of terrorism in South Asia, complete with a full dose of religious martyrdom, then Aurobindo might be their man. After all, Aurobindo, an exquisite writer, excelled Gandhi in his eloquent espousal of humanitarianism in the cause of Indian liberation, and no Hindu theorist formulated a loftier spiritual vision of global unity.]

Such estimates of Sri Aurobindo abound and speculations flourish around his political role, but the essential thrust of his mission is often missed. Since we see him and The Mother as divine, their writings cease to be the only defining elements. A worldwide following who are silently engaged in bringing change in their environment in whatever little way is what The Mother & Sri Aurobindo represent today in a living form as against the disjointed sepia-tinged profile that the history books paint. Comparing them with their contemporaries may be the common method for the academicians, but for us no one comes anywhere near them and they occupy all the top ten slots in any ranking scale.

This might sound as passionate eulogizing, but the fact is that apart from their divine manifestation, the profundity of their intellectual output justifies this. Further, not only mere theorizing, an actual collaborative endeavour with the evolutionary process is what their major contribution is, and hence, spreading of their message constitutes such an urgent task. Savitri Era Party is engaged in popularizing this more important facet of Sri Aurobindo in place of the image of a mere yoga-guru. [TNM55]   

Monday, March 05, 2012

Unlearning is a prime requisite

Many young people are put off by esoteric idioms of yogic practice, and fortunately, The Mother & Sri Aurobindo offer a very simplified system adaptable to personal needs and aptitude. More than any individual achievement, they ask for collective participation in the aspiration of the earth consciousness for the next evolution. This voluntary collaboration, they underline, is crucial, and in this sense, we may well appreciate the vital role of an individual.

Those who love to pontificate and add gravitas to their articles may be obsessed with Chakras and Nadis and what not, but in Integral Yoga the key is this aspiration. An ontological perspective, therefore, is an important factor instead of the usual egoistic motivation of attaining self-realization or accumulating power. The New Age objectives like success or well-being also present a distorted picture. Hence, a lot of unlearning is a prime requisite for being co-opted into the wavelength of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother.

A certain section is against any public display of faith, but the truth is that many are dependent upon a like-minded crowd for sustaining their level of conviction and its periodical ratification. Human congregation certainly has a much wider effect than the rational. Thus, a political or religious route of getting affiliated to an otherwise noble goal may not be all that unwelcome. [TNM55]         

Sri Aurobindo never wrote a book

Internet solved many things. Ready availability of diverse reference materials as well as critical appraisals enables one to judge many intellectual formulations instantly. Propaganda proliferates, but it isn’t difficult to identify them and stay alert. The kind of sensation that A Brief History of Time or The End of History and the Last Man had generated is no longer possible. Even the giant wave of Ken Wilber succumbed to cyber-scrutiny and survives in a pitiable state. New Atheists bit dust.

The stature of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, on the contrary, has seen a steady rise and the authenticity of their teachings is being recognized. Their genuine attempt in bridging the East-West divide is also being appreciated in a globalised scenario. The huge corpus of their writings is surely a dampener; their message in various contexts is percolating gradually, nevertheless. If this momentum is maintained, then their philosophy can become mainstream in a matter of a few years.

A major danger is to imagine that various writings of Sri Aurobindo form his firm opinion on the matter instead of studying them as part of intellectual culture and training. The context of his essays and correspondences needs to be kept in mind, otherwise it is very easy to be confused and misled by randomly selected quotations. It is also important to remember that he never wrote a book, and the volumes available today are either compilations or revisions. [TNM55]   

Demanding the best

[Cato and the Kochs from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux
Like many in the liberty movement, I’m disheartened by the current goings-on involving the Cato Institute, namely, the power struggle between, on one side, Cato’s co-founder and President Ed Crane, and on the other side Charles and David Koch…  What matters mostly – overwhelmingly – is the climate of opinion.  And so affecting the climate of opinion for the better seems to me to be, by far, the only long-term means of ensuring the stability of a free society… I have little doubt that Cato, since its founding in 1977 until today, has had as significant an effect as any thinktank can possibly have on the climate of ideas… There is, no doubt, some wiggle room within any culture and climate of ideas... 
In a healthy society, there must be action on many different fronts.  Although I have no taste for it, I applaud my pro-liberty friends who seek to affect political outcomes today.  But I plead with them to understand that their success at any point in time depends on how well or how poorly other people who are devoted to changing culture and ideas succeed in this longer-run effort.  It’s tempting to get excited about candiate Jones’s rhetoric or candidate Smith’s policy proposals.  But if the prevailing culture and climate of ideas will not support what Jones and Smith seek to achieve, Jones and Smith will fail even if they succeed in being elected to office. I applaud, loudly, the work that Cato has done during its 35-year history. And I sincerely hope that it will continue to operate under Ed Crane’s principled leadership to further this work.]

In the early years of what is today called the “European enlightenment”, the political philosopher Montesquie famously identified “virtue” – or respect for the law – as the widely shared spirit within a society that made democracy as a system of governance possible. Even if widely shared, virtue is a frail and delicate attribute, which needs to be securely enshrined in institutions that would be]

[A tale of two artists ARAVIND ADIGA Times of India - Mar 3, 2012
Dickens is such a master of rhythm, image, and sound that his sentences stay with you for years. To be Dickensian is to be minutely attentive to your craft, and this is why a film like Deewar - despite its emotional punch - does not merit the label. There is a silken perfection to Awara, and to much of Shree 420, and to the song sequences in Barsaat, that makes you want to watch them over and over, just as you want to read and re-read Great Expectations.]

The Mother was affecting the climate of opinion till 1973 with unheard of ideas. Her certitude still holds promise for the humanity drowned in cacophony at present. Demanding the best is not always a normal consumer preference, and therefore, persuasion and endorsement must continue vigorously. [TNM55]

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Evolving common meeting grounds

Namwar Singh, eminent Hindi critic was the chief guest. He requested the politicians not to politicise literary events, making a special reference to Jaipur Literary festival which was held recently. He warned the goverment not to take over the Sahitya Academy by appointing its own representatives to govern it. "If it does so, Sahitya Academy will lose all its importance," he said referring to the fate of other similar akademies.]

['आज के साहित्यकारों को राजनेताओं से ... - Hindi News › New Delhi - 23 फ़र 2012 –  समालोचक डॉ नामवर सिंह ने कहा कि आज के साहित्यकारों को राजनेताओं से सबक लेने की जरूरत है। उनकी यह खासियत है कि वे भले ही विचारधाराओं और पार्टी को लेकर संसद में एक-दूसरे पर आरोप-प्रत्यारोप लगाएं, पर किसी जलसे में उन्हें एक साथ चाय की चुस्की लेते आसानी से देखा जा सकता है। मगर, हिंदी साहित्यकार विचारधाराओं के एकमत होने पर उभरते रचनाकार को सिरे से नकारने में लग जाते हैं। वह बुधवार को गांधी शांति प्रतिष्ठान में आयोजित किताबों के लोकार्पण कार्यक्रम विचार गोष्ठी के अवसर पर बोल रहे थे। उन्होंने कहा कि हाशिए पर खड़े साहित्यकारों के प्रति सौहार्द कायम रखने की जरूरत है, भले ही उस लेखक के साहित्य सृजन की भाषा, शैली और विचार में कितना भी मदभेद हो।]

When there is a conflict between individual right on homosexuality and societal interest in morality, the latter will prevail, counsel Harshvir Pratap Sharma argued in the Supreme Court strongly opposing the Delhi High Court judgment de-criminalising homosexuality between two consenting adults.
Arguing that Mahatma Gandhi had considered homosexuality a vice and immoral, counsel said the word ‘unnatural' would mean immoral, irrational and against public policy, and any unnatural act would be an offence. India’s prejudice and pride: Govt in gay knot Samanwaya Rautray Friday, 24 February 2012
Malhotra claimed that every society had different cultural standards. The law, he said, only reflected standards of public morality. “The UoI (Union of India) submits that law does not run separate from but along public perceptions,” he said.]

[Karmapa, Pope and the emerging morality of money Hindustan Times Gautam Chikermane, New Delhi, March 04, 2012
But even now, religious leaders are missing the point. They are attempting to fix the symptom, not comprehend the cause. To understand the cause, we will need to recognise money for what it is - and step outside morality and religion altogether. The outer manifestations of money (coins, notes, digits and or even the toil of man) may help but will be incomplete. We need to see money for what it is. Here, Sri Aurobindo provides a grand solution, defining it as a force, not unlike winds, rivers, fires that have the power to help us breathe, quench our thirst, warm our homes.]

The triple principles of French Revolution are political in nature as also the reigning values of the Life Divine that we aspire for. At the practical level, politics constitutes erecting suitable infrastructure for implementation and maintenance of public policies as amended from time to time through moulding of opinion and consensus building. Evolving common meeting grounds and minimum agreed action points are much desirable roles, and therefore, shrinking away from politics should end. [TNM55]