Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ambivalence about getting inspiration from other paths

1. I had heard of Cinderella but was not aware of the whole narrative. Watched the movie on TV three days back and it turned out to be a tale of Divine intervention consummating human aspiration. Very much like our concept of Integral Yoga!

2. The West never ceases to surprise and today I learnt of Swedenborg (via Žižek vs. Harman). A Google search brought forward the following gem:

Introducing the Life Divine: M.P. Pandit - ‎Preview - ‎[The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have gone into complete details of this phenomenon of afterdeath. Even Swedenborg, who has written more than others, is only playing about on the surface. It is only the Mother and Sri Aurobindo who have exposed the facts in their full range.]

3. The clash beteween faith and reason, however, has been a recurrent theme through the ages and the four extracts below serve well to bring it into sharp relief.

[Arnold's twofold search for knowledge of himself and of the world was from the beginning philosophical in nature... To achieve understanding by embracing or surrendering to experience was for Arnold a dangerous course, for it involved risking the sacrifice of the reason to the senses and feelings. Yet any answer arrived at without the sanction of emotion was, he said, arid and incomplete. This conflict runs through much of Arnold's poetry, with his deepest feelings attaching to the unresolved debate, to the anxious questions and the ambiguous or dusty answers.]

[reading and discussion of rich literature gave students a platform for exploring alternatives and thinking about their own dilemmas... Conflicts between good and evil presented in stories and poems can be applied to personal and ethical choices in a student’s life, and the conversations surrounding them can lead students to moments of insight, of truth... Through the reading and discussion of literature, students develop a deeper sense of their potential and begin the long process of discovering their personal identities. Literature also allows students and adults to connect with their larger cultural identities, a process that requires the exercise of empathy and understanding, particularly when cultural assumptions are challenged.]

The Indian Philosophy Blog - Analytical Philosophy of Religion with Indian categories - [“God” is an ambiguous term, in fact so ambiguous that I wonder why does not each study about philosophy of religion start with a discussion of what the author means by this word.]

The Immanent Frame - Race, secularism, and the public intellectual - [But intellectual work is different from the role of the intellectual. The latter suggests second-order reflection: not just changing the way others see the world but explicitly addressing the ideas and perspectives that are to be changed and how they are to be changed.]

4. A fine essay on how the West has been tenacious in espousing the cause of scientific revolution, in this context: 

[They were also concerned with whether we humans have the capacity to discover the answers to those questions, and if not, what limits to our knowledge are imposed by our finite human faculties. The advances of the scientific revolution gave these problems a new form.]

5. Science, of course, seems to be squarely confused when it comes to Consciousness. Six extracts below examine this phenomenon from various perspectives:

[Despite fanciful theories by psychologists, physicists, neuroscientists and computer scientists, consciousness remains an abiding mystery.]

[How we think about who we are shapes not only how we relate to the world but also our definition of consciousness]

[Ironically, this modern neo-scholasticism that is being peddled in the Vedanta world is actually of recent origin (Dayananda has a huge part to play in its formation) prior major Hindus gurus like Yogananda, Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Muktananda and Prabhat Sarkar saw science and religion as complimentary not in opposition, in fact they predicted science and religion would merge into 'global spirituality' we have today.]

Sri Aurobindo Studies - Manas: the Basic Sense Mind and Its Action - [Western psychology, starting from the external senses, has at times believed that the physical senses are primary and determinative, but as the science developed it began to recognize that mechanical “seeing” is not the same as observation. It takes the interpreting mind to observe.]

Veda of the Body – Preface Dr Alok Pandey - [Indeed we can see today how certain meditative practices have come into mainstream modern medicine due to the stress disorders.] 2.2 The Human Body: A Mystery’s Workshop - [The body consciousness has first to be awakened out of its animal sleep and next opened to the spiritual influences from above.]

Integral Yoga and the Buddhist Stages of the Path - [I was just studying John Yates’ (also known as Culadasa) marvelous book on the “stages of the path” in traditional Buddhism... Sri Aurobindo has many times written that it is in the silent mind that one finds the conditions most favorable for surrender, which speaks to me of the vital importance of the understanding of the (non linear, of course) “progression” from the quiet to the silent mind. I know there’s a lot of ambivalence about getting inspiration from “other paths,” (though Mother herself found the Dhammapada useful enough to offer commentary on it in the early 1960s), but being rooted in integral yoga, I find that it can be extraordinarily helpful to get insights like this that have very down-to-earth, practical ramifications. Here’s Alan Wallace’s description of the first 4 stages]

6. Finally, six other references for broadening intellectual horizon and grappling with the challenges they bring to the fore. [TNM55]

November 24, an important day in the spiritual life of Sri Aurobindo—

A Literary Guide to Understanding Tyrannies and Dictatorships

All great civilizations eventually collapse. So what are the signs of their demise? -

#Auroville Today September Issue 2016: #Brexit in the light of Sri #Aurobindo’s views on human unity


The rural subaltern remains as distant and anonymous as the ‘Third World’ from the West | @ts_cattiot

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