Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Twelve years with SELF

After a year of Pre-University in BJB College, Bhubaneswar, I joined Regional College of Education (now RIE, Bhubaneswar) run by NCERT for a Four year Integrated B.Sc.B.Ed course with Botany honours and Agriculture as vocational education, besides Statistics. It was really an integral atmosphere with students from all the Eastern States including undivided Bihar and teachers from all over the country. The library was a blessing which exposed me to a wide range of journals catering to diverse interests.

After one year as a science teacher in the same school in my village in which I had my schooling, I joined Punjab National Bank at Sundargarh as Agricultural clerk. The professional CAIIB exam gave the opportunity to study alien subjects like Commercial Law, Economic Geography, and Accountancy etc. apart from Management lessons imparted through in-house training. After 23 years in various capacities, I opted for VRS in Y2K and then these 12 years steering the SELF has been life-altering.

Since my schooling was in the Odia medium, grappling with English remains a stumbling block to this day. Further, dabbling in philosophy with the kind of educational background I have, would also seem hilarious. Nevertheless, whatever has been possible, thanks to Google and The Mother's Grace, is squarely amazing as well as humbling. [TNM55]

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Savitri Era as alternative identity and religion

[Building New Solidarities | Economic and Political Weekly Editorials. Vol - XLVII No. 44, November 03, 2012. Public religious festivals are a ready resource for reactionary politics. Can they be secularised?
Perhaps precisely because of this, it is necessary to develop a critique – both intellectual as well as political/practical – of the public religious festival. Some earlier attempts, like those of Tagore in Bengal, Gora in Andhra Pradesh and Periyar in Tamil Nadu, to critique them and move away to other, non-religious public festivities, have been unsuccessful, despite their initial promise…
Is it possible for radical and progressive forces to find forms of public festivities which can rival the public religious festival? Is it possible to build a popular culture which does not rely on religion and communal identities? We will not know the answer till the battle is truly joined.]

Not a nation where one cannot badmouth the Bhagwad Gita or disparagingly paint Goddess Sita. India does not need a proactive Hindu vanguard in the Abrahamic mould because this will end up making India more divided and Hinduism less universal. Instead we need to take identity completely out of our policies, our schools, our jobs, our tax code, our personal code – and this must include caste identity politics also over time. 2:31 PM]

Fond hopes, but a more doable option is to precipitate an alternative identity and, thereby, a participative religion. Savitri Era is a pioneering effort in this direction. [TNM55]

Monday, October 29, 2012

Invigorating writings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo

Tweets 11m - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty By debating the ideas of Sri Aurobindo, and not St. Augustine, that one can reach at the right conclusions pertaining to secularism in India.
24h [Amazon: Sonnet-like Passages in Savitri by RY Deshpande 318 pages $9.99 Publication Date: October 18, 2012] … via @amazon -  View summary
28 Oct Quit tweeting and spend the time to study the invigorating writings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. That's the best path for nation building.
28 Oct No firm supporter of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo now in the national scene. All the more reason for clinging to the Manifesto of Five Dreams.
27 Oct [The Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust waiting for a better system of self-governance!] …
27 Oct Huge gap between level of the students and what The Mother & Sri Aurobindo convey. Multilateral conversation needed. …
26 Oct [The image of the chariot becomes therefore a near perfect image of the human being. -Dr. Alok Pandey] …
26 Oct [The first man who inspired the voice of India’s freedom was not a politician or an activist, but a poet Sri Aurobindo] … 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dusting the Dreams

A local popular proverb asks pointedly, “Who has ever seen tomorrow?” thus registering a deep suspicion of the future. Teleology too is a highly contested notion and any hint of design in history is promptly resented. Reading the future from the palm or the forehead sounds esoteric but forays in genetic research confirm certain future events like diseases to be scribbled beforehand. This, when seen in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s theory of rebirth as well as evolution, there remains no confusion. Periods of gestation or hibernation, however, demand a lot of patience and high level of conviction.

Time is a dominant factor in the teaching of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. They were averse to accepting disciples in the Ashram immediately and advised that the aspirants were not yet ready. So, it’s not without significance that Sri Aurobindo termed his 1947 manifesto for the future as a set of dreams.

[Rajesh Ahuja Yesterday 18:55: I visited the Punjab University Library recently. I was searching for Sri Aurobindo's and The Mother's writings. The books had hardly been issued and dust had accumulated on them.]

Tusar N. Mohapatra Yesterday 19:09: That's the reality but there is no denying of the fact that there is a huge gap between the level of the students and what The Mother & Sri Aurobindo actually convey. So, there is a need to bridge this perception of a gap through multilateral conversation. [TNM55]  

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ilion along the Bay of Bengal

Sri Aurobindo builds, but also breaks; synthesizes, but also demolishes. His painstaking attempt in metaphysical system-building and writing elaborate commentaries on ancient philosophical texts is incomparable but he also has a lurking mistrust for pure knowledge and has turned the whole corpus of prevailing motivational theories upside down. By affirming “Nothing can be taught” he throws a bombshell at the normal notions of human cognition and stretches subjectivity to unimagined heights and depths. Man’s proclivity for empiricism sustained a permanent injury when Sri Aurobindo lobbed his “Logic of the Infinite” by exempting all supra-physical phenomena from submitting to scrutiny by the senses. Philosophy will always be indebted to him for the methodological breakthroughs that he has fruitfully introduced so authoritatively.

One must strut through the alien terrain of his Ilion where he recreates Homer to get a feel of what he characterizes as “Knowledge by identity.” The “Ladder of consciousness” in Savitri, similarly, imparts such an intimate sense of reality that one shudders to call them fictional. The very combination of a poet and a philosopher in him is indeed a rare occurrence. But what takes the cake is his enviable third quality of being an astute critic. [TNM55] 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Secret of immortality lies elsewhere

A recent visit to Khajuraho confirmed the might of ancient Indian art and architecture that blended with philosophy and religion so robustly in the public sphere. The temple as a metaphor for physical immortality denotes an invocation as well as inquiry of that secret formula of forms. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, however, tell us the secret lies elsewhere and certainly not in the domain of the gross. Even Japa is only an efficient aid in the endeavour to “Make earth the home of the Wonderful and” “Transform the body of the mortal like a sweet and magical rhyme;” to recall the evocative diction of Rose of God. (Tip: New visitors to Khajuraho must visit the Main (Western) Complex first.) [TNM55] 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The challenge of evolutionary crisis is crucial

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo are recognized the world over as enunciators of a distinct system of Yoga and philosophy. They were pioneers of New-Age outlook and have produced substantial literature apart from founding the Ashram through which countless people have been inspired. Besides, a futuristic aesthetic ecosystem of music, art, & poetry has also taken shape as part of their spirituality. All this, however, remains confined to a very small circle of devotees and admirers. Attempts to spread their messages by establishing educational institutions have met with limited success so far.

India today is suffering from the burden of the past and The Mother & Sri Aurobindo advise unlearning. Religions are responsible for a lot of dumbing down among people and, therefore, The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have exhorted emancipation. As indolence and superstition give rise to ignorance and insolence, they prescribe a system of Yoga that is focused on reading their words and ruminating over them. Collective meditation and group discussion, wherever possible, is also encouraged. The overall emphasis is on the individual leading an ethical life while dedicating his day-to-day work to the all-pervading Divinity.

The most important aspect of the teaching of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is evolution. Since they foresee that the present type of human beings will be replaced by a higher level species, they hasten to prepare us for the same. That, of course, may be a distant possibility but the onus, they remind, is on the number of aspiring individuals to act as catalysts. Many people find fault with the political system or the economy but The Mother & Sri Aurobindo unequivocally characterize it as an evolutionary crisis for which their Integral Yoga is the only enduring solution. This crucial insight, regrettably, has not been duly noticed by the elite in India, however. [TNM55]

Auroville ensouled globalization

Launching of Auroville by The Mother in 1968 was not only a giant leap towards globalization, but also a firm step to put power, wealth, & sex into perspective vis-à-vis Integral Yoga. No elaborate theorization was needed and the idea was that the right recipe of a conscious spirituality would emerge from this lived reality. In fact, there can’t be a more appropriate method or better approach to Yoga than this, especially when juxtaposed to the severe and stifling scenario of the Ashram. In a way, Auroville was The Mother’s concession to human condition, and why not?

Keith Hart of The Memory Bank has a post "The informalization of the world economy (Keynote lecture for the 24th Conference of the Societa’ Italiana di Economia Pubblica: “Informal economy, tax evasion and corruption”, Pavia, 24-25 September 2012)" in which he has attempted “a historical periodization of the last two centuries or more” against the backdrop of which it is interesting to look at the seminal contributions of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo:
[1776-1815           Age of war and revolutions
1815-1848            The industrial revolution
1848-1873           Origins of national capitalism
1873-1914            First age of financial globalization
1914-1945            The second thirty years war
1945-1979            The golden age of national capitalism
1979-2008           Second age of financial globalization
2008-                   Another age of war and revolutions?]

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yoga's a life-sentence

Reaching at the shores of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo’s teaching, though a matter of chance is a precious opportunity. Then comes a long and tortuous period of judging and comparing them (and their words) with other similar seeming entities. That over, the inevitable mischief of pitting them against each other occupies some time. Once that is settled, arrives the most crucial period of the transition from treating them as Guru to The Divine. The final victory, however, is when one leaves behind his old religion and all things associated with it.

This whole process of metamorphosis may take three years or prolong for thirty years. For many, the final thing never arrives and they live peacefully with their multiple allegiances. For some others, the fierce faithfulness and loyalty of the initial years peter out over a period of time to be replaced by a royal inclusive-liberalism of embracing all faiths and mystics. Similarly, certain workaholics gradually become so professional and polished that their shyness in displaying their faith in public stretches precariously to the point of appearing as unbelievers. And, there is no dearth of characters that are needlessly rude and authoritarian even though they are serving organizations dedicated to The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, thus lending a bad name to them.

As with life and education, Yoga is also dependent upon one’s heredity and environment and hence no uniform rules exists. Further, there is no means to prove or disprove as to how much the Divine intervention helps but the basic idea is that being a joint collaboration, it's a life-sentence. [TNM55] 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Need for honest critique

The modernist/liberal protest against the Ashram was simmering from the time of Frederic Spielberg. So the outcry in the wake of Heehs imbroglio is not entirely unexpected as disagreements galore and Heehs camp siding with the Establishment may be a tactical move to incite more anger and acrimony. For, most people are now unanimous that the Ashram, in the present form, has no future. There has to be large scale modifications not only in the rules & regulations or management set up but also in its aims & objectives as well as accountability. If that happens, one can hope for a more proactive and direct role for the Ashram in popularizing the teachings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, the world over.

But, understandably, this is not as easy as it sounds since Heehs imbroglio has also thrown the fault lines of Integral Yoga into sharp relief. And this, when the original stalwarts and pioneering ideologues are no more. Thus, interpretations and projections run the danger of (questionable) identity based mobilization of (false) consensus. Competitive maneuvering to prove more loyal than the king is another despicable byproduct of the conflict.

There is, of course, a limit to conducting critical interrogation by persons attached to various institutions. Besides, many are not intellectually equipped to undertake such an enterprise or recognize its necessity. There is a further category of people carrying multiple allegiances who quickly switch their attention and for them all this doesn't matter. If influential, they can always throw their weighty opinions around, however. So, the task of honest and impartial critique by informed and sympathetic sources has become scarce. [TNM55]  

All life is Yoga is for all

In chapter seven of Heraclitus, Sri Aurobindo writes on the role of philosophy. He praises critical reason for helping to arrive at the truth but calls a halt to it at that point. Thereafter, the dynamics of living the truth should be the guiding force and not philosophy.

The same can be said about the Yoga techniques too. They may help to a point but later prove to be a barrier. So, the formula - All life is Yoga - offered by Sri Aurobindo assumes significance. Not only it takes into account individual difference and destiny but also contains allowances as regards evolutionary possibilities. Unhinged from past formulations and dogma, it also ensures universality as well as integrality.

With such theoretical astuteness, one would imagine a course of spiritual practice that is smooth sailing and assured. But the truth is that for want of any standardization it escapes evaluation and emulation. This, however, must not be looked upon as a drawback but appreciated for its huge advantage. The open ended nature of human aspiration and imagination running in consonance with the Divine perfection is surely an empowering phenomenon.

Apart from the cultural prejudices and geographical bottlenecks, a major factor that restricts this knowledge system from reaching a wide spectrum of world population is the Ashram-centric approach. Monopoly over production of books is erroneously construed as the existence of some sort of supervisory authority or a rating system for granting hierarchy slots. The idea of being forced into membership of an alien community, too, is instantly repulsive for most. [TNM55]  

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Sri Aurobindo as antidote to AQAL, OOO, & New Atheists

[Susheel Mehta • 17 days ago the relation between cultural memes that we carry and their behavioral expression is complex and not very well understood. Random mutations that benefit the society are rare. There is no alternative but to 'incrementally' build upon the set of norms discovered in the process of cultural evolution… Varna system provided religious justification for social stratification and legitimized social hierarchy… Varna system has less to do with hierarchy and more to do with 'separation of power'. And since separation of power is a foundation of liberalism, at least part of liberalism of Indian society can be attributed to Varna system… Brahmins as a class--a set of public intellectuals fiercely protective of their autonomy both from the market and state--have played an important role in the civilizational continuity of India.
I may be wrong about my contentions. But the point is that social theorists have not examined with clarity the strength and challenges of our society and its internal dynamics. Rather the idea is always to look it through western experience… One can adopt a Dharmic/Evolutionary perspective, look for principles that sustain, nourish and hold together society, take stock of native cultural resources and articulate those principles in native moral vocabulary. The difference is not just trivial. It is the difference between Tulasidas, Kabirdas, Tagore and Gandhi on the one hand and Nehru on the other.]

Current crop of theoreticians in India have no use of Sri Aurobindo. Part of the reason is the biographical details of his forty Puducherry years are not very well known. Consequently, the context of the conversations and correspondences that have survived are yet to be understood properly or valued adequately. The concurrent role of The Mother and the ancillary activities of the disciples are further problem areas. No one is willing to enter into such complications what with the present uproar concerning the Ashram embroiled in Court cases.

Sri Aurobindo was in the habit of revising his own works. Many of his writings were waiting for his revision and hence couldn't be published in book form during his life time. However, the concepts he has introduced in seed form constitute a major departure from the traditional interpretations of native wisdom. Obviously, there is resistance and ignorance, and hence the burden of aggressive diffusion of his name as well as the Dreams. His writings, though tough to access, are the only means to counter the constant stream of sophisticated discourse that are paraded from every corner of the world. Be it AQAL or OOO or the New Atheists, Sri Aurobindo offers us a firm ground to stand upon and arms us to disregard them.

The same immunity, however, is not available when it comes to socio-political formulations and fermentations in the 21st Century. Sri Aurobindo has drawn the broad evolutionary brush strokes, but to flesh it out is contingent upon flight and fight of diverse human emotions emanating from different geographical regions, not all of them noble. India, therefore, has a prominent role here. The fate of the country can’t be left in the hands of those who don’t understand Sri Aurobindo or are averse to him. That would be a disaster. So there is an urgent need to educate our young in the intricacies of Humanities soaked in the insights of the Mother & Sri Aurobindo. [TNM55]  

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Integral task of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo

The Constitution of India came into effect in the first month of 1950 and Sri Aurobindo passed away in the last month of the same year. He had fought for securing the freedom of the country and had written extensively adverting to her culture and future. His FIVE DREAMS Manifesto broadcast on August 14, 1947 over AIR, Tiruchirapalli on the eve of India's independence stands testimony to his deep concern and love for the motherland. It’s a challenge now, therefore, to relate his views and vision to contemporary complexities despite the fact that he represents a reservoir of insights at present.

Since the Constitution turned India into a definitive entity for guaranteeing its citizens diverse rights under multiple obligations, civilizational aspirations or allied exhortations, simply, aren’t really adequate. Sociological churning and scientific mutation engineer ceaseless change in our lives and so the dream of a Life Divine descending seems to be as distant as ever. A hard-nosed ethical framework as a plausible agent for ushering in such an ideal, nevertheless, is what Sri Aurobindo proposes. By linking the same to the evolutionary inevitability, he clinches a theoretical uniqueness which none has been able to refute or surpass.

Agreed that this is in the domain of hope and Yoga, palpably, an arcane arena. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, themselves, were wary of occultism, and hence we should strive to steer clear of traces of mysticism sprouting or mythology creeping in. Peddling empty assurances and unproven promises is nothing but quackery and mere textual authority, howsoever ancient or seemingly exalted, must not automatically be deemed as authentic or self-evident. Commentaries and correspondences by The Mother & Sri Aurobindo do privilege certain utterances of the old but their veracity and efficacy are subject to the aptitude and receptivity of the subject and any generalized or regimented administration of the same on collective basis is liable to the hazard of miscarriage.

Fighting against the past is not an easy affair as cultural embeddedness and breathing religious ubiquity is so potent and constant on our part. Hence, we must endeavour to keep away from them “as one separates from a blade of grass its main fibre” with patience and determination. The task of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is something vast and revolutionary and various perspectives that vie for space elsewhere must converge round their ontology. A divorce between religion and politics is a nonstarter and, therefore, an integral understanding without the burden of atheism must propel our pedagogy as well as public policy. [TNM55] 


Tweets 24 Sep Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty Many seem confused about Integral Yoga. First paragraph of The Mother by Sri Aurobindo speaks of the call & the Grace. The latter is all.
24 Sep Savitri Era Religion centres exclusively around the Divine Manifestation of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and their writings. All must welcome.
24 Sep In The Life Divine Sri Aurobindo affirms the inevitability of religion in the opening paragraph. Rest of the human concerns are variables.
24 Sep Savitri Era Religion signifies synthesis & defies comparison by those particular about analysis & base conclusions on superficial diagnosis.
23 Sep [devotees of Sri Maa and Sri Aurobindo have been doing away with all the Hindu customs, rituals, pujas and vratas.] CNM …  View summary 
23 Sep Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty [Comment on: distinction between left-right brain differences Sri Aurobindo made in those remarks in 1909.] by Sandeep: …  View summary 
23 Sep Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty Legitimizing chaos & anarchy in the name of people's agitation may be an easy strategy for attracting attention & popularity but boomerangs.
23 Sep Road rage is abhorred and so too rowdyism in Twitter street. Order, peace, & harmony are the ideals to follow both in religion and politics.
21 Sep Manishankar Prasad @change_thinker Is Social Media curating an Alternate History?   Retweeted by Savitri Era Party  View media 
21 Sep Manvendra Singh Rana @ms_rana @MovementIAC Kejriwal u r on right path. I am with u till end. Regardless of the outcome, I am going to support ur party in 2014 elections:)  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party
21 Sep Manishankar Prasad @change_thinker The fight between Kejriwal n Anna is healthy: new entities in the political discourse r always welcome  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party
21 Sep Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty @krishnarjun108 We draw inspiration from Sri Aurobindo's#5DreamsManifesto at a macro-level but tackling micro-matters is our own prudence.  View conversation 
21 Sep @krishnarjun108 As a free citizen you are entitled to your opinion which I feel is not as certain as you seem to hold. The PM, too, differs.  View conversation 
21 Sep @krishnarjun108 Right. Cartel, Mafia & Information asymmetry undermine free market. But then ours is not a perfect world even as we aspire.  View conversation 
21 Sep @krishnarjun108 Consumer choice is more crucial in business than deep pockets. So, no fear of the Capital as consumer can show him the door.  View conversation 
21 Sep @krishnarjun108 Not easy to estimate as myriad multiplier-effects are involved. So the basic logic is not to put a spanner in free markets.  View conversation 
21 Sep @krishnarjun108 Quality, competition, manpower-training, exposure to intern'l brands & economy of scale. There'd be 1000 invisibles besides.  View conversation 
21 Sep @krishnarjun108 Relatively more secure than FII. Well, risks are there but reward too; so, restricting future scenario to present is unfair.  View conversation 
21 Sep @krishnarjun108 I meant, retail entails much more than kirana & just as we welcome FIIs in Stock Market, we should welcome more secured FDI.  View conversation 
21 Sep @krishnarjun108 Retail, even understood merely as kirana, is a basic step but exhibits huge attitudinal preparedness for engaging outsiders.  View conversation 
21 SepSavitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty @krishnarjun108 Many are surely common but some are unprecedented like technology, bioethics, carbon footprint etc. & warrant a global view.  View conversation 
21 Sep @krishnarjun108 Better desist from hypothetical propositions that we may never prove or disprove. Present maladies warrant present remedies.  View conversation 
21 Sep There are multiple issues to unseat this Govt. but opposing FDI & Reforms is not one of them. Serious misjudgment by Mamata & other parties.
20 Sep Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty @cpings4 With what? My statement or Govt. move on FDI? In the latter case, it's a question of discussing and learning with an open mind.  View conversation 
20 Sep Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty Whatever be the motive or political compulsion the Govt made a great move on FDI but our friends on Twitter are found wanting in supporting.
21 SepPragmatix @RisingIndiawins not for a moment do I forget that whatever good life I have enjoyed is because of reforms unleashed by Dr Manmohan Singh in 1991.  Retweeted by Savitri Era Party
20 Sep Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty@Realist_Indian: I think Kejriwal dear shud join TMC. Mamta is honest, "secular" and leftist :)” Sri Aurobindo & SEP rather a sound option.
20 SepSavitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty Sri Aurobindo is the messenger of the Veda & the carrier of Savitri, the gospel of immortality. India bears the burden of diffusing wisdom.
20 Sep The country at the crossroads and #5DreamsManifesto of Sri Aurobindo broadcast on August 14, 1947 remains a beacon of hope for all Indians.
20 Sep When Left & Right join hands in a pseudo-nationalistic anti-FDA mission and Anna disowns Kejriwal the right Marg is Sri Aurobindo & 5 Dreams.
20 Sep By embracing Sri Aurobindo and #5DreamsManifesto Kejriwal can give the Gandhian Anna as well as the Vivekananda Yatri a run for their money.
20 Sep RSS/SJM, Gandhian & Leftist thinking has kept India backward. Kejriwal must break out from the past moulds & follow Sri Aurobindo's 5 Dreams.
20 Sep SEP's ideological clarity demarcates a distinct electoral space. Once Kejriwal ratify, the potential of Sri Aurobindo's appeal may multiply.
20 Sep We reiterate our suggestion that Kejriwal join SEP and work for the vision of Sri Aurobindo for India moving to the forefront of the world.
20 Sep Only route to follow for an enduring future for @kejriwal_arvind: Forget Anna Hazare; embrace FIVE DREAMS OF Sri Aurobindo and Free Markets.
20 Sep Hazare & Kejriwal have demonstrated the strange propensity of large sections of people in lazily believing in lies & false promises in herds
20 Sep Reigning state satraps may not hold the whole secret of future election results. Acute ideological churning is on and hence expect surprises
20 Sep Call to all those who support Reform and FDI to rally round Sri Aurobindo and his FIVE DREAMS Manifesto now that Anna Hazare has gone kaput.

1m - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty One-stop blog for curing all theoretical confusion and muddled thinking just a click away at Savitri Era Learning Forum - Posted by Tusar N. Mohapatra  Location: Shipra Riviera, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India