Sunday, November 30, 2008

Something more than even the spiritual

A comment has been posted in reference to an article titled: The Path by Sri Aurobindo
Comment posted by: Tusar N. Mohapatra [1:27 PM]

This cryptic "something more" begs elaboration. [TNM]

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The way Sapta Chatushthaya is forced upon the readers of The Synthesis of Yoga is disconcerting

Re: An Entry from Record of Yoga by RY Deshpande
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sat 29 Nov 2008 01:18 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

Many thanks for the clarifications reiterating The Yoga and its Objects and Sapta Chatushthaya as belonging to an early stage. The way Sapta Chatushthaya is forced upon the readers of The Synthesis of Yoga (in its Note on the Text) is disconcerting. [TNM] Reply

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hubris and hegemony

[Thursday, September 07, 2006 Savitri Era is unputdownable
Sri Aurobindo, wrote Prof.
Sisir Kumar Maitra in 1942, has accomplished the “transfer of the leadership in philosophy from the West to India.” But what we witness today in 2006 is something entirely different. Why? The whole scenario is not devoid of politics and what is at issue is not philosophy but hegemony... Sri Aurobindo gave the most full-proof philosophy in the entire human history, but the Westerners are unwilling to accept him at the top... Why? Because Sri Aurobindo is an Indian and American hubris can’t digest this... Why? For Sri Aurobindo, as Dr Maitra decreed, stands tall on merit. Every intellectual, every journal and every University will have to swallow this cruel pill. No amount of racial or colonial resistance can suppress the supremacy of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. The whole world, whether today or tomorrow, must turn to it where all the whys are answered. (TNM696MMYP) Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 11:21 AM]

All kinds of verbal terrorism are being unleashed in an vain attempt to appropriate the legacy of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. American hubris is at its nefarious best right now and needs to be fought against. [TNM]

Thursday, November 27, 2008

V. P. Singh, the visionary passes away

V. P. Singh, the visionary passes away. Savitri Era Party dips its banner in his honour. [TNM]

Spear boomerangs

[The irreverent tenor of the terse sentences Heehs crafts in his books in order to secure his credentials as an unbiased scholar feels like to pierce as if with a spear. Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra 11:55 AM Thursday, December 21, 2006 10:08 AM 1:39 PM]

[The tone of a small number of critical comments is disparaging and may be interpreted by some readers to be disrespectful. -- An examination of the criticism against The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Larry Seidlitz on Wed 26 Nov 2008 12:02 AM PST Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Permanent Link]

[When I first bought this biography (and when I read some of Peter's other books) I did wonder how an Ashramite could take such a skeptical tone. It really did seem a bit odd to me. by ned on Wed 26 Nov 2008 09:46 PM PST Re: Orissa court stays release of book on Sri Aurobindo (the next Satanic Verses -thaindian news) Permanent Link]

The spear boomerangs. [TNM]

Us "religion"; they "political"

[ Re: Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
by David Hutchinson
on Wed 26 Nov 2008 03:06 PM PST
Profile Permanent Link Another aspect to freedom of expression and writing is that religion (which we seem to be involved with here)... But the problem in this situation is that, again, a small group has set themselves up as judges for what needs to be changed, and have engaged in essentially political activities (not spiritual ones). by David Hutchinson on Wed 26 Nov 2008 06:24 AM PST Permanent Link]

Us "religion"; they "political"! [TNM]

If our aim is to reach "countless people"

[Heehs's book is bringing new awareness of Sri Aurobindo to countless people worldwide. -- Setting the Record Straight: An Open Letter from Michael Murphy
26 Nov 2008 03:18 PM PST
Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Permanent Link]

What are the sales figures? If our aim is to reach "countless people" then why not adopt more efficient methods of persuasion? [TNM]

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Democracy, evolution, and progress

[the "democratic" fetish is merely the zealous servant of the banks. Its real name, its technical name, as I have argued for some time, is capitalist-parliamentarianism...But we will resuscitate communism, in its new-found clarity. Badiou on the financial crisis Le Monde. posted by it 3:50 PM]

[David Harvey (whose book on The History of Neoliberalism I actually liked in some ways) asks Naomi “Why aren’t people more angry?” Angry about the bailout, the cronyism, and all the rest?... But in traditional leftist economic thought it’s still really all about managing people from a top-down engineering model. I can’t help but feel the Harveys and Kleins of the world secretly (or maybe not so secretely) are in some perverse way really drawn to people like Greenspan because that is what they wish they could be doing–controlling the great events from the top-down. Bailout Meets Marx
from Indistinct Union by cjsmith]

[What is the American mind, anyway? Tocqueville described Americans as natural Cartesians, even though most have never read Descartes. To consider a contrast, French thought falls under two types — the Cartesian, and the Pascalian. One stands for reason, the other for revelation; one for science, the other for piety; one for clarity, the other for passion. While Europeans have sentiments informed by literary traditions, the American is a man of rational principles. As a result, anybody can be an American; in principle there are no natural outsiders. Our story has been one unbroken, ineluctable progress toward freedom and equality. The Closing of the American Mind
from Thoughts, Books, and Philosophy by jhbowden]

[Sri Aurobindo's yoga is unique in that it integrates certain aspects of the phenomena of the Enlightenment, with its ideals of democracy, evolution, and progress that are Western in origin. Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo: the aggrieved victim Rich]

After a long time this rounded post by Richard Carlson, not uncontaminated though; but he is capable of producing far superior propositions, his skewed political stance notwithstanding. The genealogy he carelessly asserts here is factually inaccurate and Sri Aurobindo himself has dwelt upon at length on these specific points. [TNM]

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A valiant lieutenant of The Mother now serves Modi

[Pay teachers more: Kireet, TOI, 25 Nov 2008, TNN Ahmedabad: Chief Minister Narendra Modi's adviser on education Kireet Joshi believes if teachers are paid more they will perform better.
Joshi has been a member of 1982 and 1985 pay commissions when he recommended that their
salaries be raised. Joshi went to Wilson College, Bombay and did his MA, LLB and PhD at Elphinston college. His father, Maganlal Joshi, was speaker of Saurashtra state Assembly and mother, Mangalaben was standing committee chairperson of Jamnagar municipality. He was chairman of the Auroville Foundation in 80s and of Indian Council for Philosophical Research between 2000-06. Joshi also founded Rashtriya Veda Vidya Prathisthan. At turn of the century, he developed Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Education Research and development, where he experimented with his concepts.]
It is a pity that a valiant lieutenant of The Mother now serves Narendra Modi. [TNM]

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have thought deeply about human life

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have insisted on relying on an intuitive or spiritual solution to various problems besetting the human condition. But they were cautious not to advance the illusion that large masses of people are soon to be uplifted to spiritual heights. Nor they promised that by following their teaching for a few years, one can attain yogic powers and start dispensing spiritual solutions.

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have thought deeply about human life and how to rescue it from the fetters of finitude and inanity. They were engaged in a life long endeavor to discover radical remedial measures despite full play of deficiencies in the disciples with whose collaboration they were exploring. The writings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, for most part, are concerned with practice of various disciplines for spiritual progress; but that, in no way, should create the impression that, they were not much bothered about common human life.

The breakthrough that they conjointly have been able to accomplish in the arcane realm of consciousness is not accessible to verification. Consequently, for this we have to believe, if at all one cares to, in their own words and advices. This is purely a belief system that has crystallized as a Religion over the years. There is, therefore, no reason why this lived-option be questioned, derided, or vilified. [TNM]

Monday, November 24, 2008

Savitri Era Religion has uncontested market space

[A Fractal-model for Change by Pravir Malik
Mirror of Tomorrow on Mon 24 Nov 2008 12:38 PM IST Permanent Link Cosmos
The power to change things lies within us. Presented here are parts of a theory on how shifts in oneself can have profound shifts in corporations, markets, systems, and the world. It has been said - "Become the change you wish to see in the World". But the elaboration of how this is true may remain a mystery.]

[Blue Ocean Strategy is a business strategy book that promotes a systematic approach "for making the competition irrelevant."[1] It contains retrospective case studies and suggests theoretical approaches to creating "blue oceans" of uncontested market space ripe for growth. The book has sold more than a million copies in its first year of publication and is being published in 39 languages.[2] - Blue Ocean Strategy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia # What is BOS? The three key conceptual building blocks of BOS are: value innovation, tipping point leadership, and fair process.]

Savitri Era Religion has "uncontested market space ripe for growth" for "making the competition irrelevant." Let's resolve to march forward and spread the word. Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. [TNM]

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Savitri Era Party loves to believe in the power of now

[The joys of the order, the beauty of a certain transcendental discipline has to be experienced. It has to be felt and dissipated, not communicated. Leela Gandhi’s note on mongrelization of subjectivity and self-exile was amply present. Sadly, her utopian exhortation of fin-de-siecle divine friendship reflects little democratic give and take, not this day at least. Ecstatic Archaisms of Aurobindo Ghose - Prasanta Chakravarty The cultural-political trope of political vedantism must be recognized as a legitimate adversary for radical democratic politics in India.]

[It is in this sense that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother speak of India as "the guru of the world," not as the general people of India today represent it but as a potential which they should be under no illusion that they have reached.
Debashish on Sat 22 Nov 2008 06:24 PM PST Profile Permanent Link Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo: the aggrieved victim]

[At a time of momentous global change and evolutionary crisis, the world needs Sri Aurobindo's insights as never before. It seems to me that neither the Ashram nor India have the right to keep Sri Aurobindo to themselves or to confine the discourse on him within a particular devotional framework decided, as in the religions of the past, by a group of self-proclaimed guardians of the Truth. by Angiras on Sat 22 Nov 2008 09:50 PM PST Profile Permanent Link Re: Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo]

[kaankshe said... I like the dialogue in the movie between Gurubhai and the minister about the petro industry .. listen carefully to the dialogue .. excerpts of the dialogue is given below ...
He says to the minister that I came here not to ask permission but for an opinion ... I have a load ( 500 Crore business ) and you tell me what to do with that .. its huge load that can kill or destroy anybody ..
1:51 AM ... When the history of our recent times is written the inexorable rise of Dhirubhai Ambani will be one of its more memorable chapters... There is no other story in India comparable with Ambani's.
Home page > Articles > The Original Guru Mohan Guruswamy January 25, 2007 Centre for Policy Alternatives - Published in HardNews]

Beware of those who attempt to snatch away the present from our hands. Savitri Era Party loves to believe in the power of now. Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. [TNM]

Skepticism in Sri Aurobindo

[Moral reflections Chandigarh Tribune - Stephen Phillips’s Skepticism in Aurobindo brings the volume to the late 19th century interpretation of the Indian tradition. One associates ‘mysticism’ rather than ‘skepticism’ with Aurobindo. Phillips suggests that his mysticism is a skeptical one (I would have thought the idea of a supramental consciousness was embedded in dogmatic metaphysics rather than skepticism which in Aurobindo is no more than a mildly superficial suspicion of others as authoritative).
Vijay Tankha Sunday, November 23, 2008
Indian Ethics — Classical Traditions and Contemporary Challenges Eds Purushottama Bilimoria, Joseph Prabhu and Renuka Sharma. Oxford.Pages 431. Rs 795.

[Ecstatic Archaisms of Aurobindo Ghose - Prasanta Chakravarty By Aditya Nigam “If hatred is demoralizing, it is also stimulating,” writes Aurobindo Ghose in one of his early essay titled On Nationalism after returning to India from England in 1893. This pithy, striking statement possibly sums up the moral basis of violence as a stimulus among the swadeshi revolutionaries. Kafila - The cultural-political trope of political vedantism must be recognized as a legitimate adversary for radical democratic politics in India. So intense is the attraction of this serene, gory and messianic radicalism that you tend to equate all micro-adversarial particularities in terms of one single enemy: the pluralist, even the culturally rooted one. The turn that Ghose’s Bandemataram took in the early years of the twentieth century effortlessly merged at one level with the political position of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay’s Sandhya, that outspoken radical-conservative magazine of the time in Bengal. So, how does one recoup a radical enough middle ground? For starters, how about celebrating tamas?]

Seems to be a season of Skepticism. [TNM]

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Banerji kow-tows before the same system that he is complaining about

[Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Debashish on Fri 21 Nov 2008 12:19 AM PST Permanent Link Since some of my friends at the Sri Aurobindo ashram have expressed puzzlement at my stand against the "Brahmins of Pondicherry" in the matter of the book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, I am copying here a letter written by me to a senior and respected member of the ashram.]

Having to explain his conduct before another "senior and respected" "Brahmin," Banerji kow-tows before the same system that he is complaining about.

[That the views expressed here are not "popular" is well known. But I am wondering how many others who have read the book share any of these views. I would encourage them to express themselves in the comments following this posting.]

The book is neither available in India, nor Indians are known to be enthusiastic readers. The operative parts, however, have already been commented upon.

[Dear X, When I first heard of the controversy surrounding the book, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, my natural instinct was not to be drawn into it. But over time, I realized that the net effect was that a one-sided and completely false view of the matter was being allowed to authorize itself in the ashram and outside it as the truth.]

But it is still a mystery, being the official book reviewer at SCIY, why Banerji did not come out with his mandatory piece (which is yet to come) and allowed Deshpande a long rope (not a single comment disagreeing with or cautioning him) till he was shunted out unceremoniously.

[A few people who teach Sri Aurobindo texts and have enormous influence in the ashram and outside were using the book as an opportunity to mobilize support for their personal and political agendas in the name of the divine.]

Banerji, the bhadralok could have been more charitable towards his fellow teachers who are famously known to pursue "personal and political agendas" all the time, all over the world.

[Had I even roughly agreed with them about the "danger" of the book or its "blasphemous" character, I would have allowed this show of power and crude fanaticism to proceed without caring.]

He positions himself as the knight in shining armour.

[But I have read the book, now several times over, as a result of this fiasco, and found it impossible to agree with them. This is what made their medieval behavior even more outrageous.]

From a distance he mistakes individual opinions for a mob, and in a quixotic fashion labels it as "medieval."

[I agree that it is possible to construe some instances of cultural insensitivity, dubious interpretation or expression of doubt in the work. But to me, these instances were in most cases, matters of “reader response”]

The reader is advised to ignore his own (ignoramus) response and, instead, be guided by Banerji's views. Birth of the arbitrator!

[and entirely insignificant in a 500 page biography,]

Who decides that?

[which was over-all very positive (if restrained), well researched and shot through with a theoretical argument regarding the need for the rational academic mind to come to serious grip with the life of one whose experiences and activities engaged fully with the context and problems of modernity and yet expanded the scope and horizons of human consciousness far beyond its present definition.]

Agreed, but that is no justification for flogging life long students of the Master.

[I saw it clearly as a work of the author's love for his spiritual teacher (though the quality and expression of this love was very different from some authorized mainstream version). Try as I might to find fault, repeatedly, I only found new things to learn and admire about Sri Aurobindo and never felt that my devotion was being compromised in any way.]

Unadulterated flattery in the (now infamous) hagiographic tradition.

[What the responses of the anti-Lives critics (the term “clerics” is more appropriate than “critics” here), brought home clearly to me was the weakness of their faith, an insecurity which feels frightened to look at the vastness of the divine and see how He may accommodate an infinite number of representations and interpretations (including denial) and still remain the Same.]

Though not in charge of measuring the weakness of faith of a whole lot of people, Banerji illusorily assumes possessing such powers.

[And the other thing it brought home even more powerfully was the bankruptcy of an educational culture where teachers can get away with this kind of distorted and fanatical reading and the masses can swallow it without questioning or even feeling the need to read the book.]

One teacher commenting upon the wisdom of his colleagues in such derogatory terms overlooking their academic freedom is not cricket.

[If there were even a few voices of dissidence to this tyranny of mediocrity and obscurantism, I would have kept quiet. If a healthy debate arose about the values and demerits of the book, or if a dialog between proponents of different perspectives of the book was fielded in the ashram school, even the author invited to explain his approach and the questions he has tried to answer, it would have been at least civilized. But to see Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's ashram subjected to this kind of mob phenomenon, rhetorical propaganda and distortion used to demonize a text without any opportunity for an alternate representation, was the sign of a hurtling descent into the pit of the Dark Ages, with no voice raised even in its protest.]

Banerji and his band can very well scrutinize the exemplary quality of "dialog" and “healthy debate” that they have perpetrated over SCIY during the past two months.

[Are we to conclude then that this is what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother taught? Is this what we would like the world to know? I couldn't allow this to pass without at least leaving a scratch in the ground to show that this is not the only interpretation of how "the avatars" expected their devotees and disciples to behave when another follower of their teaching wrote a biography of one of them. Sincerely, Debashish Banerji]

What Banerji considers a scratch is a deep wound that would take decades to heal. The greatest tragedy is that such misjudgment can come from a person who is so well versed in hermeneutics, both eastern and western. Now we know why even Heidegger erred. [TNM] 5:04 PM

Blog and frog and elephant

[Matsuo Bashô: Frog Haiku
The original Japanese:
Furu ike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto
Old pond — frogs jumped in — sound of water.
Translated by Lafcadio Hearn
pond frog plop!
Translated by James Kirkup]

The beauty of a blog is in its brevity, or so we suppose who prefer to take cover under the Kautilyan dictum of keeping mum being the strength of the unwise and Chaucer's to make virtue of necessity as inspiration dries up after half a line invariably every fine morning.

On the other hand we have RY Deshpande who returns with his Mirror of Tomorrow and Savitri: the Light of the Supreme whose “endless” elephantine essays ever bewilder like the “topless” towers of Ilion. Welcome. [TNM]

Just one book, The Life Divine

[Four Critiques of Badiou’s Ontology: Part 1
from Larval Subjects. I would argue that any and all materialist positions are committed to this thesis: Namely, to the thesis that it is the world, existence, that calls the shot, not thought... – and make no mistake, I believe he has made a profound contribution to ontology – ... Contrary to Badiou’s Platonist orientation of thought, I cannot help but adopt– at least at this point –an Aristotlean orientation of thought… That is, an orientation premised on things, objects, substances, rather than maths. larvalsubjects Says: November 22, 2008 at 12:35 am
One of Badiou’s central moves is to argue that ontology falls outside of philosophy and belongs to the domain of mathematics.
larvalsubjects Says: November 22, 2008 at 12:59 am Badiou’s move is to shift away from questions of access altogether to decision and what follows through a series of entailments from that decision. An axiom is a decision, something performed, not a given that is received. With this he introduces something entirely new into the history of philosophy– at least, to my knowledge –that only Spencer-Brown approaches in his theory of distinctions (i.e., distinctions not as something that are already there in the world, but rather as something drawn thereby allowing a world to come into being)... larvalsubjects Says: November 22, 2008 at 2:56 am (Deleuze, it might be said, is attempting to form an ontology that would both be consistent with the thesis that being is and that avoids this trap) ... I have a difficult time answering your question about Spinoza because his ontology is so wild and wooly. He really doesn’t fit any category. Certainly his position is perfectly consistent with a materialist ontology such as we find in Lucretius.]

Despite all reverence to such an “educational culture,” one feels impelled to recommend just one book, The Life Divine. [TNM]

It is much more profitable to start with a Vedic Yes than a Buddhist No

"Heehs has done a masterful job of pulling aside the veils of myth," writes Ellen Daly in a flattering review (The Lives of Sri Aurobindo review EnlightenNext Magazine). The skeptic is firm in his "belief" that there are "veils of myth" that need to be pulled aside and that is his prime task. Conversely, Sri Aurobindo, in all his works, questions this subversive tendency of the human mind, and pleads for overturning such a perspective. Invoking Pascal, one can safely infer that it is much more profitable to start with a Vedic Yes than a Buddhist No. [TNM]

Friday, November 21, 2008

Debashish Banerji in his explanation adds nothing new save a few invectives

[They are the instruments, nay the embodiments. How could X-da and Y-da and Z-da be wrong? Re: Competing Visions of History Debashish Thu 13 Nov 2008]

[I agree that it is possible to construe some instances of cultural insensitivity, dubious interpretation or expression of doubt in the work. Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Debashish on Fri 21 Nov 2008 12:19 AM PST Permanent Link]

Debashish Banerji in his Explanation adds nothing new save a few invectives. Although Peter Heehs has regrets over his treatment of certain contents in The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, Banerji refuses to see any, and instead is keen to raise it to astronomical heights. He denounces all alternative readings of the book and berates them as “bankruptcy of an educational culture” in a fascist fashion. [TNM] 4:37 PM

Melanin and The Mind of the Cells

[Friday, November 07, 2008 9:48 AM Is "Suntanned" an Ugly Word for Blacks? Keith Josef Adkins
Barack is not suntanned, he's a man of African descent... But is the term "suntanned" an overt dismissal of Obama's African-ness or his blackness? Or is this just a jovial slip from someone who isn't aware of the tough social and political terrain one must journey when the skin is chock-full of melanin as opposed to just being tanned?
Posted By:
Hummingbird (November 9, 2008 at 2:58 AM)
Why is he even referring to his skin color anyway? I could think of tons of other adjectives to describe this awesome man having nothing to do with his skin color.]

Considering Obama's mixed-parentage, his victory would seem a semi-final (to borrow a pet notion of V.P. Singh). But the way this derivative has been leveraged in his brand-building is mind-boggling, for the corporal-actual has been privileged over the empathical with regard to cross-cultural sensitivity. [TNM]

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Unbearable Lightness of Humility

[Home Contatti / Contact us Sezione Italiana Links Notes on Savitri (BLOG) Events Contacts Who we are / What we are not:
The Savitri Study Center (Centro Studi Savitri, CSS) is a very small groups of friends sharing a common love for Savitri, for Sri Aurobindo and for the Mother.
The CSS in no way claims to represent Sri Aurobindo's vision, or to have any correct or complete interpretation of it. In no way it claims to have anything to teach. In no way it should be considered as a guide or an authority.
The CSS also does not claim to represent in any way those who have an interest in Sri Aurobindo's vision. CSS's activities are only intended for those who feel some kind of affinity with them. The web site is managed by Carlo Chiopris and Monica Pirazzoli. English Section]

Humility is deservedly a coveted virtue but if it reaches this level of lightness, then it becomes unbearable. There is no reason why a Center can't "claim to have anything to teach." [TNM]

Rick Lipschutz and Rod Hemsel

[Saturday, May 26, 2007 Fighting fallacies
It is quite stimulating that
Rod Hemsell has broached The problem of textual fallacies in Sri Aurobindo's world. His 2002 essay was instrumental in trouncing Ken Wilber and now he can take this problem head on in collaboration with other veterans. Obviously, spirited fights might ensue, but that will be all in the interest of the posterity and good academics. [TNM] 9:27 PM
Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 6:33 PM 0 comments Links
Thursday, November 09, 2006 Inevitability of Savitri Era religion
July 27 proclamation of the Savitri Era religion is fermenting mixed feelings among the adherents and admirers. After the expected initial resistance more reasoned debate is sprouting. The dialogue between Rod Hemsell and Debashish Banerji is quite illuminating in this context. It seems that both are not averse to the idea of religion and see it an inevitability.
Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 10:24 AM 0 comments Links]

It is curious that we are yet to hear Rod Hemsel on the curent controversy over Heehs' book. Like Rick Lipschutz he should also offer his guidance on the overall situation. [TNM] 8:39 AM 5:50 AM

Spinoza's thorough-going immanent naturalism vs. Sri Aurobindian integral ontology

[Spinoza, Virtue, and American Ideology from Larval Subjects. One by one, Spinoza challenges the root claims of traditional theology and organized religion, showing how these claims are in contradiction with God’s essence. In developing these arguments he institutes a thorough-going immanent naturalism sans any dimension of transcendence or vertical being.
Spinoza is crafty and devious. What makes his arguments so ingenious and devious is that unlike the materialistic atheist that simply denies the existence of God on materialistic grounds, Spinoza works within the theological tradition...
Spinoza takes the familiar concepts of theology, retains them, and completely inverts them in a way that renders them thoroughly unfamiliar, unheimlich, and even a bit terrifying...
11:12 AM]

If Spinoza "inverts" "theology" to manufacture "immanent naturalism," then "logically" it is obviously possible to revert it back. In Sri Aurobindian integral ontology, on the contrary, spirit and matter constitute an immutable unity and are entwined in the cycle of involution and evolution. [TNM]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stopping publication of Heehs’ book in India has no meaning

Tusar N Mohapatra has left a new comment on the post "Mecca and Mantra": 8:15 PM, November 19, 2008

Tusar N Mohapatra said...
A perfect case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted is underway as what is feared has already happened and the situation cannot be changed.

  • Heehs’ book is already in circulation and an online version may be available soon, and hence stopping its publication in India has no meaning.
  • Savitri Era Religion is already a reality and therefore raising objections to it is merely of academic interest.

If both factions recognize these simple facts, then all their quixotic actions could cease. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra to Savitri Era at 8:15 PM, November 19, 2008

Rebuilding a robust intellectual scaffolding as an approach to the eternal Vedic truths

Tusar N Mohapatra has left a new comment on the post "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs, screenp...":

Tusar N Mohapatra said...
Robert would agree that, historically speaking, the first “Sunni and Shia split of the Integral yoga community” was forced upon by the followers of Thea. There should be rethinking on this score and all efforts are welcome in rebuilding a robust intellectual scaffolding as an approach to the “eternal Vedic truths” revealed by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra to Savitri Era at 7:38 PM, November 19, 2008

Three duties and eight ethical principles

[Adam Smith's quote is from The Wealth of Nations: “According to the system of natural liberty, the sovereign has only three duties to attend to; three duties of great importance, indeed, but plain and intelligible to common understandings: first, the duty of protecting the society from violence and invasion of other independent societies; secondly, the duty of protecting, as far as possible, every member of the society from the injustice or oppression of every other member of it, or the duty of establishing an exact administration of justice; and, thirdly, the duty of erecting and maintaining certain public works and certain public institutions which it can never be for the interest of any individual, or small number of individuals, to erect and maintain; because the profit could never repay the expense to any individual or small number of individuals, though it may frequently do much more than repay it to a great society.” Adam Smith... And Marathi Politics
from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik]

[Ethical Principles for the Intellectually Honest Critical Thinker
from Larval Subjects In the spirit of Martin Luther King, I have a dream! I have a dream that my philosophy students and myself might live passionately according to the following eight ethical principles:
Proposition 1: The intellectually honest critical thinker (IHCT) focuses not on the claim a person makes, but the argument by which the claim is supported...
Proposition 3: The IHCT never dismisses a claim as being an “opinion” or “subjective”, but politely asks for an argument in support of the claim...
Proposition 6: The IHCT strives for humility, modesty, and a lack of ego, struggling to separate one’s sense of self-worth from the need to always be right.
Proposition 7: The IHCT is charitable in her interpretation of the claims and arguments of others, striving to give them their most benign possible sense, avoiding the attribution of malicious motives, striving not to speculate about hidden motives, and providing missing premises where reasonable when they are not explicitly formulated...]

Smith's "three duties" and Sinthome's "eight ethical principles" are worth ruminating for the members of Savitri Era Fraternity when discourse in the time of conflict is being muddied with needless rancor. [TNM]

The phobia for religion and politics should melt

[What comes through more and more for me is the necessity for the recreation of civil society. More so than party building although that is a piece of the issue. Habermas and Taylor’s recent work on civic (and civil) reason I think is crucially important in this regard (I’m more Taylorian than Habermasian in some respects). Integral Politics Review from Last Night
Indistinct Union by cjsmith]

[The key is to have an ontology of forces, one in which nonviolence is not a reflection of nature, but rather a construction of nature. If there’s anything intrinsically wrong with Obama’s citation of Niebuhr above, it’s that it claims to reflect nature — certain ideals are of value, but cannot be expected to be actualized (thus Niebuhr on Jesus’s nonviolence). Nonviolence, then, is ontological, but as construction rather than reflection of being. Importantly, the same holds for “rights”. Rights, like nonviolence, do not preexist, they are created. A state must be forced to enforced rights. And this force comes not from natural rights, but from a (cell) politics that makes this force felt by the state. Theological Middle Names: Barack Reinhold Obama
from An und für sich by danbarber]

[If non-violence is a guideline, then who decides when the exceptional case presents? Who decides when violence is necessary? If one argues that each individual has the power to decide, than each individual is sovereign. And we are right back to the individualist anarchism, and we have failed to think an ethical anarchism. The question of decisionism needs to be confronted directly. Some thoughts on Simon Critchley and non-violence
from Critical Animal by Scu]

[Re: Orissa court stays release of book on Sri Aurobindo (the next Satanic Verses -thaindian news) Debashish Sun 16 Nov 2008 Yes, there are two ways - the bewildered way and the enlightened way, but Krishna is at no place saying to Arjuna, wait till you become enlightened and then only enter the battle. He is saying make the battle an occasion for your enlightenment...
the evolution of the divine includes the evolution of Power and this achieves itself through its victory over the falsehood (so long as that exists). This does not mean that one needs to be on the lookout for "cosmic war," or jump to conclusions about truth which needs to be defended. But then Gandhi's logic in his interpretation of the Gita, that Krishna is necessarily speaking to Arjuna about an internal battle only because the divine could not support violence, should also be avoided.
Re: Orissa court Debashish Tue 18 Nov 2008]

The phobia for religion and politics should melt. [TNM]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sri Aurobindo's evolutionary paradigm recommends a dynamic endeavor for surpassing human nature

[The French neoliberal economist Guy Sorman admits that the market is full of irrational behaviour, but is quick to add that ‘it would be preposterous to use behavioral economics to justify restoring excessive state regulations. After all, the state is no more rational than the individual, and its actions can have enormously destructive consequences.’ He goes on: ... The best of all possible economic systems is indeed imperfect. Whatever the truths uncovered by economic science, the free market is finally only the reflection of human nature, itself hardly perfectible. Rarely was the function of ideology described in clearer terms: to defend the existing system against any serious critique, legitimising it as a direct expression of human nature. LRB 14 November 2008 Slavoj Žižek Use Your Illusions 12:39 PM]

[People, real people, feature in all of Adam Smith’s works and their influence on events is, to coin a phrase, highly visible, and without illusions on Smith’s part, he reported that if left to themselves they still have to contend with those among them who interpret their self interest in a manner not allowed for in modern economic models, not out of their ignorance, but precisely driven by their native intelligence. That’s why Adam Smith made such a play about the need for justice in any society, barbarian or opulent. I was at dinner last night with three distinguished economists and I remarked during one conversation that human nature is the one universal constant we can be certain of when contemplating any economy, including its forms of government. Remember Human Nature!
from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy]

[You're right, Tim. I didn't see this coming. And I wasn't alone. People a lot smarter than I am didn't see it coming either. So what happened? I should mention first that the few people who did see it coming were not necessarily any wiser than anyone else. Some of them had predicted nine of the last five recessions. A stopped clock is right twice a day. Even those who claim to have foreseen this mess couldn't make the case well enough to alarm very many other people. Where was I in 2005? (by Russell Roberts) from Cafe Hayek 10:27 AM]

[The clock, for example, acts on the work day and money, assisting in the transformation of labor into a commodity and a unit... What I tried to argue in the paper was that figures such as Žižek and Badiou are led to their particular problems precisely because they exclude the notion of actors (in Latour’s sense) and presuppose a structuralist model of the social where the social is something that both exists and explains, rather than something to be explained through the agency of actors. Between Networks and Structures
from Larval Subjects]

The evolutionary paradigm that The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have presented contests this very assumption, “that human nature is the one universal constant we can be certain of,” and, instead, recommends a dynamic endeavor for surpassing it. [TNM] 7:53 AM

Power-grabbing agenda are valid democratic activities

[this is only a means to their end of ousting the present ashram management and establishing themselves as the official clergy of Aurobindonianity. Re: Competing Visions of History koantum Mon 17 Nov 2008]

[Bijan, Srikant, Bailochan, and you (PPR) are known to be following your own personal power-grabbing agendas. So stop pretending to be saviours of the Ashram, and get down to your respective sadhanas. -- S has left a new comment on your post "They steal other people's ideas and thoughts and..." 8:14 AM 4:12 PM2:05 PM]

[Obama’s victory is not just another shift in the eternal parliamentary struggle for a majority, with all the pragmatic calculations and manipulations that involves. It is a sign of something more... Obama’s victory is a sign of history in the triple Kantian sense of signum rememorativum, demonstrativum, prognosticum. Use Your Illusions Slavoj Žižek LRB 14 November 2008 Slavoj Žižek]

Ousting present managements and power-grabbing agenda are valid democratic activities and there is no reason why one should shiver upon hearing any conversation on this. Investing one's trust in the virtue of status quoism is as much a symptom of inertia as an abiding faith in Perennial Philosophy. [TNM]

Monday, November 17, 2008

Taking up an achievable target initially is also important

from Tusar N. Mohapatra <> to PP Raghavachary <> date17 November 2008 16:59 subject Re: Debate

Dear Raghav,

As regards "change in the Management of the Ashram," I think the matter is embedded in legality. Hence, there is the need of preparing an approach paper first by locating the specific spots and examining their desirability as well as feasibility. Taking up of an achievable target initially is also important, and then it can easily be thrown for eliciting informed opinions. Thanks,

Yours fraternally, Tusar N. Mohapatra [4:12 PM]

Veracity of accuracy or sincerity

[Debashish Sun 16 Nov 2008 Re: Orissa court There is no preventing this struggle... Terms which have been misappropriated (and which will not go away however much one likes to close one's eyes to their existence) need to be reinterpreted. At least that's how I see it. -- Debashish Sat 15 Nov 2008 Re: Orissa court stays release of book on Sri Aurobindo (the next Satanic Verses -taindian news)]

[Without the benefit of advanced education, the writer accurately assessed the situation by virtue of simple sincerity -- Angiras Sun 16 Nov 2008 Re: Competing Visions of History in Internal Islamic Discourse and Islamic-Western Dialogue]

Now how to check the veracity of such magisterial pronouncements? Angiras being a pseudonym further complicates the matter. [TNM]

An enlightened democracy where the hierarchy of ideas prevails over hierarchy of men and women

[A: In the end it is always about ethics and all about personal values. That is why it is very important for every society to create checks and balances... A: Again I am a believer in the adage – performance leads to recognition, recognition leads to respect and respect leads to power... A: Infosys has brought pretty smart people together. Infosys has given opportunity for youngsters to come out with new ideas. Infosys has created a platform where meritocracy has prevailed... A: Infosys has brought pretty smart people together. Infosys has given opportunity for youngsters to come out with new ideas. Infosys has created a platform where meritocracy has prevailed. Infosys has put premium on innovation; we have created incentives for people who are innovative. Infosys has been an enlightened democracy where the hierarchy of ideas prevails over hierarchy of men and women... A: There is only one ingredient for innovation and that is the power of the human mind. As long as a company is able to attract, enable, empower and retain the best of the brightest, it will have a play. -- Narayana Murthy, Tue, Nov 11, 2008, CNBC-TV18 Moneycontrol » News » Murthy feels in the end it is always about ethics and personal values Speaking to Vallabh Bhanshali 5:30 PM]

Savitri Erans too should be "able to attract, enable, empower and retain the best of the brightest" in order to survive and show the way to the world. [TNM]

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Now that A-city has named the Panch-Pyare, one can be inquisitive about the disposition of the rest of the inhabitants of the B-city. Theory, if relates to flesh and blood men (and women, and children), then only can have any meaning; otherwise it’s mere highfalutin talk. [TNM]

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Religion has once again come to the forefront of political and academic controversy

[(title unknown) from Continental Philosophy by Farhang Erfani
Department of Philosophy 5th Annual Philosophy Graduate Student Conference
The Sacred and the Secular: Philosophy and Religion in the 21st Century
February 20-21, 2009 - Keynote Speaker: John D. Caputo, Syracuse University
The 5th annual University of Memphis Philosophy Graduate Student Conference will be held February 20-21, 2009 in Memphis, Tennessee.
The conference will explore the relationship between philosophical and religious thought in the 2
1st century. The question of “religion” has long been central to philosophy; every canonical figure in the history of philosophy—from Plato to Aristotle, Augustine to Ockham, Descartes to Kant, and Hegel to Derrida—has recognized the central significance of questions of faith. This legacy provides the contemporary philosopher with a unique opportunity: the hope of a world unified under “secular reason” is in question and religion has once again come to the forefront of political and academic controversy. Philosophers must now confront these challenges by offering perspectives utilizing the rich resources at our disposal.
We seek philosophical papers investigating and interrogating the difficult terrain of religion, politics, and ethics... For more information, please contact one of the following conference committee members: Michael Burroughs (, Adam Lockridge (, Tim Golden (]
But why the Savitri Eran cream layer dreads discussing religion is perplexing. [TNM]

Conflict is the life line of creativity

[Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's more radical Teachings are very slow to filter through to the rest of the movement, assuming they filter through at all. Instead, much of the New Age/New paradigm/Integral movement is still based on the outmoded "yoga of ascent" (world-negating). At the same time, within the Integral Yoga community itself there is a tendency among many (but not all) to descend into religionism and literalism. A new way of thinking is required
from Integral Transformation by m alan kazlev]

[A religious community is, of course, exactly what the Integral Yoga community was not intended to be. But whether it is or isn't depends on the members of the community, not on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. And it doesn't matter what it is called. The first dogma will be that it is NOT a religion. Re: Competing Visions of History Angiras Fri 14 Nov 2008]

[Even though IMO, the manner of SA's depiction in the book by someone who has lived there for decades is intriguing and puzzling to say the least and while I differ with your defense, these so called "spiritual illuminates" have been belligerent. Their stance seems to be presumptious as though they were the custodians of the truth that SA has brought down. Re: Competing Visions of History Dave Fri 14 Nov 2008]

[As a matter of fact, I share the disciple's faith, but as a faith, a personal truth. I would not dream of declaring it to be an objective truth, let alone of requiring anyone's allegiance to it. That is why I strongly object to suggestions that have been made, to the effect that being a member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram obliges one to accept Sri Aurobindo's avatarhood as an objective truth, along with certain other doctrines. This is where religious dogmatism and bigotry begin. We ought to be keenly aware of this being one of the gravest dangers to Sri Aurobindo's work for the future of humanity (and by this I mean Sri Aurobindo's work, not what anyone does in the name of Sri Aurobindo). Devotion and Avatarhood koantum Tue 28 Oct 2008]

[Collins attempts to expose the principles that govern the birth, maturation, flourishing, and decline of intellectual network all over the world. To do so he poses the following questions: How do network emerge? Why do they emerge at a particular point in time? What is the intellectual identity of founder of a given network and how does it help to explain the orientation of the network? How do members of a given intellectual networks relate to each other? How do intellectual networks interact with each other? What accounts for the creativity of a network and/or its decline? What are the main literary products of network and how have they evolved over time. Through quantitative and qualitative analysis, Collins attempts to outline the laws that govern the rise and fall of intellectual network...How do intellectual networks evolve over time? Collins' analysis of the massive data revolves around three principles: a) the nexus of creativity and conflict; b) the law of small numbers, and c) the material basis of intellectual life. Let me say a few words about each one.
In a good Hegelian fashion, Collins treats intellectual life dialectically: "intellectual creativity is a conflict process." (p. 81). The conflict may emerge within a given network, even in relationship between masters and disciples, or in the relationship between opposing networks. Conflict, competition, debate, polemics are all good, as far as Collins is concerned, since they refine ideas, challenge creators to a higher level of self-awareness, push thinkers to ever more sophisticated abstractions and subtle speculations. Conflict energizes, gives birth to new ideas, and opens up new vistas for further developments. Conflict is the life line of creativity.
Book Review: Randall Collins' The Sociology of Philosophies,
Hava Tirosh-Samuelson]

While we celebrate Collins' "Conflict is the life line of creativity," all are requested to contribute to the discourse to avoid the trap of "the law of small numbers." [TNM]

Friday, November 14, 2008

We urge that liberal civility be restored and individuals not be unfairly targeted

[Rediff Home » India » News » 'Politics of innuendo being carried out against Sonal Shah' - November 13, 2008 12:00 IST
A group of eminent persons have responded to the charge of communal association made against Sonal Shah, the only Indian American named on United States President-elect Barack Obama's transition team. We reproduce their letter below:
We, the undersigned, are dismayed by attempts to draw Sonal Shah's name into needless controversy by questioning her ideological affiliations and to make utterly false accusations against her. We do not want to speculate on the motives behind these stories. We simply want to set the record straight on the following propositions. 1. All of us have known Sonal for considerable periods of time and can affirm this without reservation: She does not in any way support, excuse, condone, justify or do special pleading for political groups that foment hate and/or engage in the kind of violence that was perpetrated in Gujarat. Associating her with the RSS and VHP is an outrageous attempt to insinuate doubt about her commitment to human rights, toleration and the rule of law. There is no reason whatsoever to take these insinuations seriously. You can judge Sonal for yourself. But we urge you not to judge her by false and misleading media reports. 2. There is something dangerous about the politics of innuendo being carried out against Sonal. It unfairly tarnishes her excellent moral reputation, and is therefore a great violation of her rights as an individual. Such projections of guilt by innuendo are deeply corrosive of public discourse. 3. None of the stories we have seen give evidence for thinking that Sonal has any political affiliations or beliefs that will come in the way of discharging the responsibilities of whatever office she may occupy. It would be deeply wrong if participation in collecting earthquake relief, or one invitation to speak at some organisation would be considered enough to disqualify her for office. Yet ill-informed individuals and groups are using these stories to suggest just this. She has expressly distanced herself and criticised ideologies of hate and division, and that is consistent with her professional conduct and outlook. 4. It is ironic that some people who claim to be defending toleration and the rights of all individuals should be engaged in this campaign. It suggests, tragically, that some of them are less interested in these values and more interested in using them to foment needless controversy. 5. We do not have to argue own cause, but all of us have been, in their own way, as deeply committed to the cause of a secular liberal India as any. Some of us have been at the receiving end of the politics of hate the VHP and RSS foment. But we are dismayed when talented individuals like Sonal, with a record of accomplishment, are unfairly targeted by people who allegedly are acting in the name of liberal values. 6. We urge that liberal civility be restored and individuals like Sonal not be unfairly targeted. Sincerely, Pratap Bhanu Mehta
President, Centre for Policy Research Tarun Das Chief Mentor, Confederation of Indian Industry Devesh Kapur Director, Center for Advanced Studies of India, The University of Pennsylvania Dr Jayaprakash Narayan Convenor, Lok Satta Party Ajay G Piramal Chairman, Piramal Enterprises Limited Pankaj Chandra Director, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore Reuben Abraham Professor, Indian School of Business Roopa Purushothaman Head, Future Capital Research Veena Siddharth Vice President, International Division, Planned Parenthood Federation of America Former Asia Division Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch]

A similar initiative is perhaps needed for Peter Heehs' book. [TNM]