Thursday, January 29, 2009

Abolishing provincialism and parochialism in knowledge gathering

[mass production of copper tools, which was beginning to be widespread in the Andes in the centuries before 1492, was already spreading in parts of Eurasia 5,000 years before that. The stone technology of the Tasmanians, when first encountered by literate observers in 1642, was simpler than that of Upper Paleolithic Europe tens of thousands of years earlier. Geography and Emergence The Broadest Pattern of Human History By Jared Diamond January 27, 2009: JARED DIAMOND is Professor of Geography at UCLA. He is the author of the recently published Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies. 9:04 PM]

[A short history of economic anthropology from The Memory Bank by keith
In The Great Transformation (1944), Polanyi brought a radical critique of modern capitalism to bear on his moment in history. We too must start from the world we live in, if we are to apply the vast, but inchoate intellectual resources of anthropology to a subject that is of vital concern to everyone. Ours is a very different world from when Polanyi so confidently predicted the demise of the market model of economy. Yet the revival of market capitalism and dismantling of state provision since the 1980s furnishes plentiful material for Polanyi’s thesis that the neglect of social interests must eventually generate a political backlash and a retreat from market fundamentalism.
7:47 PM ]

[Wake-up call: Of the rest of the world, we remember next to nothing The first striking impression I must comment upon as someone brought up solely in the Western intellectual tradition is that Power and Plenty is what we describe nowadays as a ‘wake-up call’. There is and always has been a much wider world out there than the nearer, though highly significant, horizons we normally contain ourselves within. I do not mean to imply that educated people in the West are unaware of the rest of the world – how could we be in the electronic times we live in? I am thinking more of our historical vision than today’s global reality. If our knowledge of history is lit up today, as we go back in time the darkness of ignorance about what was happening outside of Europe gradually closes in the further back in time we go. -- Ronald Findlay and Kevin O'Rourke on Power and Plenty from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy 4:59 PM 7:58 AM]

[ Cynthia R. Nielsen Jan 26th, 2009 at 9:06 am
Thank you, Tusar, for your comment. I agree that the discussion should be broadened beyond the black/white horizon.]

[Sanskrit Texts: A Window on Indian Scientific Tradition Prema Prakash
In the popular perception, India's contribution to the development of science and technology often appears limited to those achieved over the last century or so. However, the wealth of Sanskrit texts provides evidence that such contributions have existed over the millennia.
6:12 PM]

[Chanakya and Chandrayaan are two significant signposts nearly 2,400 years apart between which flourished a great civilisation called Bharat or India. Chanakya was the epitome of the grand Indian vision of politics and economics, which he described in a single word Arth Shastra. Home > 2009 Issues > February 01, 2009
Chanakya to Chandrayaan: India’s global vision By Ram Madhav]

[Our economic and technological processes have produced the first genuinely global form of social organization, yet we rely on political models unconsciously premised on social relations organized around rather small populations. Thinking the Present from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

Abolishing provincialism and parochialism in knowledge gathering is the primary methodological upheaval that is urgent. [TNM]

The greatest fraud perpetrated on the mankind ever

For over a year we witnessed a mass hysteria gripping a huge population across the globe who came to believe that a flesh and blood human being called Obama can bring redemption. The issues at hand dwarfed before the man. It was absurd and clearly the hope was untenable. The tragic part of the whole hype was that a considerable number of leaders of thought joined this campaign to delude themselves as well as others. All sorts of theoretical devices and persuading tools encompassing all media were employed to commit this deceit. This can as well be described as the greatest fraud perpetrated on the mankind ever.

The most significant question that emerges from this sad episode is that how misleading many academicians can be. This poses grave dangers for the society and its future especially when they act in unison to sway public opinion. Expecting good things is one thing, but to hope to see them by waving of someone’s magic wand is illusory. Human nature is too complex and mechanical to be amenable to such overnight miracles. The prescriptions of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, on the other hand, offer a more pragmatic approach as to what, how, and where the changes can be ushered in. [TNM] 8:08 PM 10:17 AM

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Destiny and becoming

[Thinking the Present from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects
One of the things I like most about Badiou is his thesis that the goal of philosophy is to think the present, or to grasp the compossibility of those truths that are both eternal but are the essence of the present... Evolutionary theory has overturned the idea of fixed and eternal species, instead producing a picture of the world characterized by endless variation and the production of classes through the accumulation of individual differences, yet philosophers still seem to think in terms of essences and individuals... The issue is not one of abandoning the tradition or ignoring philosophy that has come before, but of doing philosophy in a way that is directed at the present.]

[Alain Badiou: Figures of Subjective Destiny: Samuel Beckett
Why there is a close relationship between poetry and philosophy, or more generally between literature and philosophy? It’s because philosophy finds in literature some examples of completely new forms of the destiny of the human subject. And precisely new forms of the concrete becoming of the human subject when this subject is confronted to its proper truth. Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou on Samuel Beckett
from Continental Philosophy by Farhang Erfani]

Such a description fits Savitri most uniquely. [TNM]


[Malegaon to Mangalore Interest is again revived in that pathetic band of lumpens who claim to be upholding Hindu honour. Swapan Dasgupta Indian Express: Jan 28, 2009]

A timely warning for those who are hobnobbing with the Hindutva elements. [TNM]

Learn to obey

Fragmentation of political parties serves no great purpose. From SVD to Mahajot, various brands of coalitions have been tried out in India while the two-party system is going strong in USA. Democracy is about not only expressing free opinion, but also submitting to the party line. Indians famously love to argue, but should learn to obey too. [TNM]

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Healing the division between two cultures

[A Cultural Misunderstanding by Angiras
An understanding of the cultural factors underlying these varying responses might contribute to healing the division that has recently arisen in the international Sri Aurobindo community.]

It would be still better to apportion the religious component within the cultural. [TNM]

Monday, January 26, 2009


[larvalsubjects Says: January 26, 2009 at 2:10 am
In a rather ridiculous moment, someone suggested that speculative theory was somehow responsible for the holocaust, the atrocities of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Stalin, etc; claiming that the speculative realists and object-oriented philosophers might become guilty of these things in the future. In a way I somewhat agree with the thesis that a certain form of theorizing played a role in these things, but these things were products of this sort of essentialist thinking that failed to analyze the unique organization of various social assemblages logoi, instead assuming the existence of a social essence (logos) across all social assemblages.]

[Structuralism and finitude
from The Joyful Knowing by Mike Johnduff
A good understanding of structuralism is something I think we are regaining in the United States, after our flings with certain "post-structuralist" modes of understanding things: there is a return to structuralism that is going on. That is, unless it is a discovery of structuralism, a return to something that was never really understood well in the first place.]

[Re: Religious Nationalism and Transnationalism in a Global World by Mark Juergensmeyer Debashish
Sun 25 Jan 2009 04:17 PM PST: I must admit that I cannot share your optimism... contemporary crisis in world history and the urgency of human participation in consciousness towards its solution... All we can see is "a play of forces" and our part in it, a part we must play by discerning the trajectories of these forces.]

Sane theorizing remains the sole potential savior and hence it is imperative to return to sources of wisdom instead of turning up noses. [TNM]

Varna vs. race

1 Responses toOther-Reification and RacismFeed for this Entry Trackback Address
1 Tusar N. Mohapatra Jan 25th, 2009 at 9:28 pm

This significant exploration can be extended to a broader horizon if instead of confining it within the black/white binary, the Indian conception of the fourfold “Varnas” (literally, colours: white, red, yellow, and black) is also considered. [TNM]

Friday, January 23, 2009

S.S. Gill of "Gandhi: A Sublime Failure" fame

Tusar N Mohapatra said...

S.S. Gill of the "Gandhi: A Sublime Failure" fame was the CEO of Prasar Bharati. January 23, 2009 12:12 AM

Subject, world, & woh

[Absolute Correlationism, as exemplified by Hegel, could possibly accord with my position insofar as Hegel demonstrates the identity of identity and difference, the identity of substance and subject, etc. Under Hegel’s view we can’t speak of one thing, subject, and another thing, world, but rather must see them in constant relation to one another such that there is nothing other than these relations. Since my own position holds that not all things are related and therefore there are no totalities ... Correlationism from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects 10:39 AM 12:12 PM]

[Let there be more of navel gazing so that Hegel once again become a rage and from there Sri Aurobindo is just a stone’s throw away. 4:53 PM Monday, October 16, 2006 Salvation via Hegel > "Reading Hegel: The Introductions by G.W.F. Hegel (edited and introduced by Aakash Singh and Rimina Mohapatra) 3:16 PM]

Join the great ontology quest. [TNM]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The curious critical/dogmatic divide from Kant to Ken

[The real target of this little satire is not so much Kant as the critical/dogmatic divide. We are told that one approach to philosophy is critical while another is pre-critical dogmatism. The curious thing is that nearly anything can be treated as the ultimate condition or the fundamental condition required for a philosophy to count as critical. Thus you get the Kantians talking about the constitutive role that mind plays, such that any philosophy that does not take this role into account is dogmatic. The Gadamerians and Foucaultians respond by making history the constitutive condition, denouncing the Kantians as dogmatically ignoring our fundamental historicity. The Kantian retorts that history wouldn’t be possible without these constitutive structures of mind. The Marxist Critical Theorist intervenes by showing how the Kantian categories are actually generated from economics. Derrida leaps in showing how all these folks are wrong because the role that Arche-Writing plays has not been taken into account. Every one of these positions is able to one-up and explain the other position in terms of what it has located as the transcendental, and every position being denounced as dogmatic is able, in its own turn, to respond by showing how the allegedly critique is in fact dogmatic by the lights of its own critical structure. For example, the Husserlian denounces the Marxist for failing to carry out the reduction and engage in a phenomenological analysis of intentionality, while the Marxist turns around and denounces the Husserlian for failing to carry out a historical and economic investigation into the origins of his very conception of the world (i.e., the Marxist denounces the Husserlian for bourgeois individualism). First Draw a Distinction!
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[Habermas's Postmetaphysical thinking (Polity Press, 1998)
This book was originally published in German in 1988 and subsequently published, with the ommission of a few essays, in English 4 years later.
Postmetaphysical thinking appears to coincide with the movement away from metaphysical philosophies of reflection of which Hegel is understood to be the final innovator. Hence both Kierkegaard and Marx are seen as paths away from this type of thought and stepping stones on the way to functional sociologies and psychologies that set in motion the procedures of communication theory. Habermas draws heavily on Mead to develop a theory of social interaction that is not dependent upon idealist notions of the self positing of the ego which, upto Fichte, depended upon the I as the original source of consciousness. In developing Mead's idea of the social ego Habermas puts forward that consciousness is not a originary act of the ego, but an external force that encroaches inwardly and forms the ego within a set of responses to stimuli from the other, wherein the I through being refered to by another can gain knowledge of himself in seeing how a second actor organises his interlocutionary demands. In developing communication theory, Habermas is, in our terms, developing a theory of society that is not reducible to a simple totality but has social complexity as its ground i.e. a number of plural language games, different orders of power, different structures of politics in play at anyone time. He is thus concerned with developing a theory of individuation within a discourse of social differentiation.
Note by EE ¦¦ Index ¦¦ Reference ¦¦ Wiki ¦¦ Translations ¦¦ Habermas ¦¦ Recent Additions ¦¦]

[As Wilber writes, modernity and postmodernity have both attacked the practice of metaphysics (from Greek; meta, after and physika, physical). (Metaphysics was the name that the editors of Aristotle's work attached to Aristotle's writings that followed after his chapters on physics. Aristotle's metaphysics dealt with what he called "first philosophy", that is, the study of being, the study of God, and the study of first principles.) According to Immanuel Kant, for example, metaphysics consists in the unwarranted speculation in matters that lie outside the scope of experience (e.g. "Is the soul immortal or not?") and therefore, metaphysics cannot be science; it is the work of untamed Reason. However, in Wilber's eyes it is possible to talk about and work with spiritual realities even though we are not justified in doing metaphysics: integral post-metaphysics is the answer. Wilber's post-metaphysics is based on three principles: Minimalist Metaphysics? Comments on Ken Wilber's Post-Metaphysical Relativism
Magnus Riisager]

Then, Ken Wilber borrowing a term from Habermas calls it integral post-metaphysics. [TNM]


Satyam is Indra and Maytas (the spelling reversed - its negation, Sublation, Aufhebung) Vritra (the Python into which funds reportedly syphoned off) out to devour it. And the age-old tug of war continues. [TNM]

[Something that comes close to implicating us all Pole star and hyperbole System, Satyam, & the Ashram Their Enron, our Satyam the surat split led to the partition of the country; the politics]

Oaths will be administered by placing hand on Savitri

[And it is likely to be said that there is nothing in Christianity that was not there before, either in Judaism (the root of all Abrahamic religions) or Hinduism (the root of all Dharmic religions) Many state that one of these cannot be original as there are some weird, sometimes eerie but random, similarities (however slight the similarities may be) that may have suggested some sort of Judeo-Vedic link. Hinduism has so far been proven to be the older one of the two, though the debate goes on. By AC on Dec 30, 2007 Reply]

The grand Judeo-Vedic grafting effectuated by The Mother & Sri Aurobindo has blossomed into Savitri Era Religion. It is the Religion of the future and for the whole mankind. The day is not far off when oaths will be administered by placing hand on Savitri. [TNM]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Golconde goals

[Golconde is also "a dormitory for the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India...designed by architects George Nakashima and Antonin Raymond," completed in 1945... The building is notable for being "the first reinforced, cast-in-place concrete building in India," though Gupta and Mueller view it as "one of the earliest works of sustainable modern architecture in the world, [espousing] the virtue of radical economy and uncompromising construction standards"... These images from the AIA report illustrate the amazing quality of the architecture, its detailing and craftsmanship, and its site integration. When Gupta and Mueller say, "[Golconde] proposes a mode of architectural practice where issues of technology and environment dictate the conception and tenor of the design process," it's clear the building is as timely today as it was when it was completed over sixty years ago. posted by John at 2:00 PM]

[Auroville Charter
Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity.]

Of the many facets of Integral Yoga, The Mother's eye for "detailing and craftsmanship" as represented by Golconde should never be lost sight of. [TNM]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ken's depiction of Sri Aurobindo is highly flawed

It is no secret that Ken's depiction of Sri Aurobindo is highly flawed. Readers are therefore requested to look for authentic appraisals elsewhere. [TNM]

Entire humanities on a small scale

[Fish focuses on the almost certain decline of humanistic learning, which leads me to ask a question: might schools of theology wind up being one of the last holdouts? Their advantage is that they are in some sense professional schools, designed to train ministers, yet that very training requires a broad, if selective, education — to understand the Bible, you need to understand ancient cultures and languages; to understand theology, you need to understand philosophy; to preach effectively, you need to understand contemporary culture, and many of the kind of ministers who go to seminary would agree that this includes its “high art” manifestations. Clearly there are blindspots, but the traditional disciplines within the divinity school curriculum seem to me to be among the most “inherently” interdisciplinary — meaning in practice that in many schools of theology, the entire university, at least the humanities side, is reproduced on a small scale. The last holdouts?
from An und für sich by Adam Kotsko]

[The thing is, as I said, I am bound and determined to make my way through Balthasar's sprawling -- and I do mean sprawling -- 15 volume systematics. I've almost breezed through volume one, and I have volumes two and three on deck. It's probably -- no, it is -- the most challenging thing I've ever attempted to assimilate, although I suppose truly assimilating Aurobindo would be equally, if not more, daunting, since he was less systematic to begin with. In reading his most recent biography, it seems that the majority of Aurobindo's writings, regardless of how public, were more like a running journal of his own experiences -- as if his attitude was, "If you want to climb aboard, fine, if not, feel free to stay down on the tarmac, but I'm not slowing down." I'm sure that on a certain level, Balthasar's writings may be seen in the same way, except that he at least attempted with all his heart, soul, and mind to fit his expansive vision into the pre-existing archetypes of Christian dogma, whereas Aurobindo was constantly inventing new terms and categories for his. Here we can appreciate the virtue of dogma, as it is again analogous to, say, a system of musical theory and notation that allows us to produce music... //as well wrap up Bolton. Drinking Diamonds From the Firehose and Swallowing the Mine
from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob]

[Anonymous has left a new comment on your post ""Experience" is ambiguous and it implies two sense...": I do not agree with you equating spirituality as being mere experiences. Take music as a very crude analogy. A casual listener can 'experience' music and be a great fan of certain musics or artists. A music fan can use all sorts of flowery language to describe what he/she experienced in music. But for the virtuoso itself it is a completely different matter. It entails years or even decades of concentrated training. It is not just about learning some techniques, but involves apprenticeship under a master and the transformation of the being to coincide with the subtle realm where music originates.Such is the different between a talking school music fan and a practicing school musician. It is true of most human endeavors that requires years of dedications. It is definitely true about spiritual endeavors.
Posted by Anonymous to
Feel Philosophy at 6:52 AM, January 19, 2009]

[Religion would be recomposed in new forms that meet the new situation December 23rd, 2008 Akbar Ganji in conversation with Charles Taylor posted by Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel
Charles Taylor: If the human relation to religion and to God is not as shallow as the mainstream theory thinks, then what would happen in many cases is religion would be recomposed in new forms that meet the new situation. And that is in fact what I would argue has happened in the West. So this is a much more adequate theory to understand this historical and sociological reality, but what it required is a deep understanding of the place of religion in human life.
So I would claim that there’s a single discourse and it’s made up of elements that look as though they are drawn from three disciplines, but in fact they cohere together as a single discourse. The three discourses would be philosophy, history and sociology. You can’t do sociology without history, history without sociology, and you can’t do either without a proper philosophical understanding of human motivation. So the whole thing hangs together from those three sources.]
6:46 AM

[Stephen Batchelor’s “Letting daylight into magic.” // As I’ve mentioned before, I was an initiate into a western esoteric and hermetic tradition that believed in the various planes of existence and that real, autonomous beings inhabited those planes. By the practice of theurgy one could not just communicate with such beings but actually let them inhabit oneself during ritual ceremony. By rotating roles in various rituals one makes the rounds of these beings, thereby becoming more in touch with the various invisible powers that shape and influence our visible world. A (post)modern mind would naturally say that the beings were not really real, that they were metaphors for the various psychological aspects that make up the human being, both conscious and unconscious. And there were those of us who chose to interpret it that way. But by far the majority of practitioners, including the leaders, interpreted this quite literally, and consequently got caught up in serious dogma, both political and religious. It was for this reason that I eventually resigned from the Order. Now we know that due to Wilber’s influence many so-called integralites are Buddhist in belief and practice. And we know that Buddhism is the predominant religious system used in W’s books. Hence I know it is a very sensitive issue to bring up how this religion still maintains such magico-mythic-rational beliefs and practices. When I did so a couple of years ago in the I-I pod I was nearly crucified. This pod though is a different environment so it’s more likely to yield more productive results on the road to a postmetaphyical spirituality. Letting daylight into magic
from Open Integral by Edward Berge]

[Part of the problem, of course, may be the lack of an intellectual culture in the Hindu right. The shakha, constituting the basic building block of the RSS, (and by corollary, the BJP), which encourages “absolute compliance” towards building of the “sangathan” (organisation) militates against critical thinking. This prohibition manifests itself at various levels — the RSS is afraid of “outsiders”; it disbanded the position of “spokesperson” last year; when it invited a select group of journalists to its Jhandewalan headquarters last month, the ones who turned up uninvited were shooed away. Without a history > Indian Express > Edits & Columns > Tuesday , 20 January '09 Suman K Jha]

[We need to strengthen the academic/intellectual side of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH > UNIVERSITY OF HYDERABAD > HYDERABAD 500 046, (A.P.) INDIA > Dr. Sachidananda Mohanty Professor and Head, 17 September 2008 The Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry 605 002 Sub: Peter Heehs’ book: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, Columbia University Press, 2008...
What are the lessons?
First, we need to strengthen the academic/intellectual side of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education. We must fashion out a way of intellectual training of the young students and critics that fits into Sri Aurobindo’s injunction about the office and limitation of Reason, expounded in Human Cycle and elsewhere. The Mind, Sri Aurobindo says, most emphatically, has to be developed as an instrument, and open itself to higher Truths of Life. If we do not do this, we cannot blame others who are not attuned to this approach, from taking over and filling the void, as it has regrettably happened now. 6:56 PM]

[Reply Re: The Genesis of a Controversy
by Rick on Sun 18 Jan 2009 11:17 AM PST
Profile Permanent Link
I tend to see the SCIY site partly as a tool to try to connect Sri Aurobindo’s action to the academic, scientific, intellectual communities. It’s a difficult task as these communities seem often stuck in and with their faith in reason, wanting perhaps to go beyond it but not finding acceptable means. It’s not made any easier also because reason can be and is so much or so often a tool of vital preferences we’re barely conscious of. That’s partly why some of the developments in the controversy surrounding Peter’s latest book are so disconcerting: here’s a person, unusually rational himself, who is trying to reach out to these communities and like all of us facing his own internal conflicts.]

Assimilating the teachings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is undoubtedly daunting, but adopting a systematic approach is unavoidable now in order to quell the prevailing anarchy. [TNM]

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Life Divine sans community

[a community that cannot be defined doesn't even exist. Re: The Genesis of a Controversy koantum, Fri 16 Jan 2009 09:44 PM PST]

Strange that those who are against coagulation of a community, complain of ex-communication. [TNM]

Friday, January 16, 2009

Something that comes close to implicating us all

[Individuals have to bear responsibility. But equally, those individuals are also mirrors to what society values and permits; Raju’s tragedy is not simply that he lied; it is that in doing so he has exposed several of the lies we are living. Indian Express > Edits & Columns > Thursday , 15 January '09
But there is something deeper in the sense of regret; something that comes close to implicating us all. While in no way taking away from the enormity of the crimes that have been committed, there is a sense in which Raju is seen by many as a victim of the system, a system that raises serious questions about the pattern of our economic growth.
The truth in the mirror Raju’s fall reveals the dangers of our willingness to suspend disbelief about success. Pratap Bhanu Mehta The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi]

A bailout package may salvage Satyam, but not its reputation. Similarly, the erosion of trust that the Ashram has suffered by Heehs' book can never be restored. [TNM]

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pole star and hyperbole

[Raju confesses: Why and how of the Satyam con
Since about seven years, we wanted to show more income in the account to avoid others from involving in company affairs and any other possible hostile takeover situation, and hence, manipulated the balance sheet to attract more business and show unavailable amount as available cash in hand.
This process continued for the last seven years and margin amount shown got increased much more year after year. Moneycontrol » News » Business]

[Somewhere or other, if memory serves me correctly, Whitehead remarks that philosophies do not fail by dint of being false but by virtue of hyperbole. That is, they raise one principle to the principle of everything, effectively erasing the rest. Kant gets something right but then shackles all of being to mind. Object-ions from Larval Subjects]

[The problem is that if everything is nature, then "nature" becomes meaningless. The more a term denotes, the less it connotes. If it denotes everything, it connotes nothing.
Reply Re: The Incorrigible Dr. Berlinski
by koantum on Sun 11 Jan 2009 04:24 AM PST
Profile Permanent Link]

A Pole star as a dependable indicator for navigation is a sine qua non today to act as an antidote against hyperbole. [TNM]

Mahayogi by R.R. Diwakar

[ Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo: Life, sadhana and teachings of Sri Aurobindo: Ranganath Ramchandra Diwakar, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan]

An outstanding biography by R.R. Diwakar, whose name often escapes attention because the book is not published by the Ashram. [TNM]

Puducherry to China

Chandni Chowk to China promos are inundating us right now. And they alert us to our challenging task of from Puducherry to China. [TNM]

System, Satyam, & the Ashram

[Does one bite the hand that feeds it? It’s a time tested phrase that lies at the very heart of the Satyam scam and the systemic flaws that allow such frauds to be carried out, undetected... All independent directors or auditors are not unscrupulous. But there is an obvious conflict. Perhaps these things aren’t spoken about as it is a system that works mostly, with the odd scam here and there. But for my money, a new system needs to be thought about. Else, you’ll simply be hoping that those you trust are not crooked. And that isn’t good enough. These bodies must get their bread buttered by the people they are trying to protect against fraud. Investors, not company managements or promoters. Is it so difficult to devise a system where auditors and rating agencies are paid by the ‘users’ of the information they dish out? I doubt it. Leaps of faith HT 11 Jan 2009 Udayan Mukherjee is Managing Editor, CNBC TV18]

So the truth is that it is the system -- and not Satyam -- who is to be blamed. Many are clamoring that the Ashram can't be at fault, but should we believe that? It will be in order, therefore, to probe whether any conflict of interest exists. [TNM]

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Prevent misrepresentation of the views of Sri Aurobindo

[Mamata calls for boycott of tirtha tax, India - Kolkata - Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has called for a boycott of tirtha kar (pilgrim tax) that over 5 lakh pilgrims going to the Gangasagar mela ... She claimed that an organisation has been distributing pamphlets which allegedly contained some derogatory remarks against Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi. She said it might lead to communal tension and the Trinamool has filed an FIR with the Park Street police station against it.
“We have been simply distributing handouts quoting Swamiji, Gandhi, Guru Nanak, Rishi Aurobindo and Ambedkar’s remarks on Islam,” said Rana Pratap Ray, general secretary of the NGO Save India Mission. “Let the TMC file 2,000 cases. We know how to fight a case in the court,” said Ray.]

Savitri Erans must gear up for preventing such misrepresentation of the views of Sri Aurobindo and see that his name is not misappropriated by vested interests. [TNM]

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ours is a yoga of Knowledge

[Re: The Incorrigible Dr. Berlinski
by koantum on Thu 08 Jan 2009 07:48 PM PST
Profile Permanent Link
I welcome any criticism of materialistic thought, no matter from which quarter it comes. And Berlinski (a Jew) is perhaps the most intelligent critique of the materialistic "theory" of evolution. Would Sri Aurobindo say that the universe was intelligently designed? Of course he would...I took a look at but I'm afraid that much of what I wrote in my review of Kauffman's book would apply to some of this material as well. Reply]

[Re: Some Traditions Associated with the Five Elements of Matter
by RY Deshpande on Fri 09 Jan 2009 06:07 AM IST
Profile Permanent Link
No, my book doesn't have a reference to Blavatsy's Secret Doctrine, though I'm aware of it. She also talks about chemistry in great detail, of course in an occult way. It kind of looks scary to me. I'd prefer to be somewhat cautious about these matters. ~ RYD Reply]

[Ours is a yoga of Knowledge. Read her books and make up your own minds. You can begin with her article, India’s 9/11 becomes 26/11. In this four part analysis, Thea reveals the fulfillment of Sri Aurobindo’s work and mission and his realization of Immortality on the date announced some 82 years ago as Immortality Day... In the Service of Truth, Robert E. Wilkinson date 1 Jan 2009 2:08 PM]

2009, and it is difficult to elicit any firm approach from the cited expert opinions. [TNM]

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The captivating tale of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo and their sublime teachings

Re: Sri Aurobindo and the Future of Humanity—a Comment
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Wed 07 Jan 2009 08:12 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

The notion of nationhood seems really to be in peril. In this scenario, religion is emerging as an enduring glue at super-national levels. The task of Savitri Era Religion as the Judeo-Vedic joint-venture, therefore, is undoubtedly onerous.

Savitri Era Religion is the most appropriate choice of the modern generation and a Global force. Its Judeo-Vedic roots constitute the most universal values that the humanity needs for a luminous future. Through his Judeo-Vedic synthetic cosmology as delineated in The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo was successful in refuting the hegemony of the Buddhist-Advaitic worldview.

We should further go back in time to probe how the ancient Greek and Roman thought had their roots in the Vedic utterances. Savitri Era Religion is the leading edge enterprise at present to integrate the Judeo-Vedic legacy. All noble-minded persons are invited to join it shedding their mistaken notions.

There are any number of people who are born of parents belonging to different religions, nationalities, and ethnicity. Deciphering the identity and affection of their children and grand-children is still complicated. Globalization is riding roughshod, not only over geographical terrain, but also in the emotional landscape. Savitri Era, with its Judeo-Vedic hybridity and a modern metaphysics, is the appropriate religion for such a generation.

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have not only created a Judeo-Vedic alliance, but also fought against Hitler through their spiritual force. The hostilities between the Israelis and the Palestinians too will be resolved one day through the Savitri Era Religion.

It is upon us, the Savitri Erans, to make our religion a recognizable force. People of other religions will not do it for us. We have to employ all means at our disposal to make a swift headway. No point in just waiting and waiting. Let's get rid of all confusion, hesitation or inhibition. We have to come out openly and forcefully to inform the people at large of the captivating tale of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo and their sublime teachings.

We are not forcing our ideas upon anybody; we are not imposing our religion on anyone. Rather, we must help the public to make informed choices about what to do with the rest of their lives. Whether to carry the yoke of the past burdens or march forward towards the future freedom.

Judeo-Vedic underpinnings of our religion make it the most universalistic and futurist one. Countless quacks are operating with formidable resources to shell out fakes to the gullible. Savitri Erans, wherever they are, are the only tribe who can stop this rot. All this is logistics and has to be attempted at the material level.

So, simple prayer and aspiration is not enough; we have to extend our hands, and our fingers, to physically carry forward the movement. This is the greatest opportunity to which to dedicate all our competence and capabilities. The final freedom and fulfillment lies in the Judeo-Vedic Savitri Era Religion. The veil will be lifted from the eyes of everyone. [TNM]

Tusar N. Mohapatra,
Director, Savitri Era Learning Forum [SELF] Reply

Politics without party

[Even more significant is the political expression the Freudo-Marxist experiment took with these representative figures. Fromm rejected the working class and became a petty-bourgeois liberal. Marcuse rejected the working class and became an advocate of "third-world" guerrillaism and terrorism. Zizek rejects the working class and occasionally echoes the views of the post-Maoist French philosopher Alain Badiou, who espouses the empty concept of "politics without party." All of them reject Lenin's conception of the revolutionary party, the leader of the socialist movement and political training center of the international working class. Adam Haig responds to Alex Steiner’s burst of outrage 6 January 2009]

It appears that Peter Heehs clones are everywhere. [TNM]

Irresponsible dissemination of information

[Update (Re: The plot thickens) by koantum on Tue 06 Jan 2009 06:54 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Aurofilio to Surendra Gupta via
The issue is precisely about determining responsibility and establishing ownership. I don’t think that it’s a responsible act for inmates of the Ashram and SAICE ex-students to disseminate whatever information they want, especially when it concerns The Mother, Sri Aurobindo the Ashram or the devotees. The irresponsible dissemination of information that we are witnessing is deliberately undertaken by miscreants who actually thrive on controversies and therefore create them.]

It is heartening to note that new persons and groups are entering the Net even while they condemn expression of free opinion. [TNM]

The Judeo-Vedic pact that The Mother accomplishes has not received due attention

Re: Sri Aurobindo and the Future of Humanity—a Comment
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Wed 07 Jan 2009 10:29 AM IST Profile Permanent Link

"Melding of East and West" happens in 1933 or thereabout when Sri Aurobindo’s Symbol is heralded. The genealogy of the Symbol and The Mother’s birth are matters which we ordinarily keep away from on various grounds such as religious provincialism, misplaced nationalism, and anti-colonial sentiments. Such parochialism, unfortunately, is a disservice to the very task to which we have been called upon.

The primacy of The Mother in our path is not unknown, but the Judeo-Vedic pact that she accomplishes has not received due attention. The “Third dream” consists of carrying the message and means of this pact back to its home, to the “Mediterranean” as it were. [TNM] Reply 11:38 AM 12:15 PM 12:28 PM

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sociological dimensions of opting for a life of spiritual quest

Re: In Defence of the “Extracts from The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs”—Raman Reddy
Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sun 04 Jan 2009 07:18 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

Extremely important issues indeed, though this is not the right time to say something objectively without antagonizing one section or the other. But the willingness to discuss the sociological dimensions of opting for a life of spiritual quest is by itself a welcome feature. For, a plethora of interconnected concerns cry for attention but in vain.

Modern research in humanities has brought out multiple layers of inter-disciplinary insights, to lose sight of which is nothing short of suicidal. The ability and the courage to look at these challenges on their face is an added facet of yoga today as partaking of a communicative action while remaining alert to media decoding the market as well as technology.

East and West meld here, in the common future, in seeking a common sublime destiny. Proprietorial attitudes need a modification therefore, and let multiple interpretations and receptions emerge. [TNM] Reply

Heehs imbroglio owes its exacerbation to tendentious discourse

[Re: Rationalism and the yogic life
by Debashish on Sun 19 Oct 2008 10:10 AM PDT
Profile Permanent Link The analysis hardly merits consideration, but given the surprising group conformity, it would be good to pay some attention to it. In the passage quoted above, the author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo presents Sri Aurobindo's claims as "the result of psychological instabilities"!? He "force us to accept his rational and Freudian explanation of imbalance"!? What kind of reading skill does this imply?]

[Re: Auroville Today Interview with Peter Heehs
by Debashish on Fri 17 Oct 2008 11:13 AM PDT
Profile Permanent Link SCIY requires a minimum standard of reading and writing skills from its posters. Posts which are unintelligible or incoherent will be automatically deleted. There is also a requirement of civil speech. Using the forum as a pulpit to hurl insults ("He is an upstart..") is not premitted here. If there are any more posts which violate these criteria, they will be deleted.]

[Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo: the aggrieved victim
by Debashish on Fri 31 Oct 2008 11:05 AM PDT
Profile Permanent Link SCIY is not interested in opening up these cans of worms because they serve no purpose of further illumination of the issues involved. If anyone wants to slug it out about these specific issues, please consider posting a private email address to which all further inquiries or views regarding "changes of text of Sri Aurobindo's original writing" or "accessibility of archival materials" or "incompetency of the trust" or "greater wisdom of some people of Pondy" can be addressed. SCIY cannot offer itself as a forum for these issues. Those who wish to believe these statements are free to do so. Those who wish to find out more and come to their own conclusions and those who wish to contest these issues, need to find other forums for their address. DB Reply]

[Re: In Defence of the “Extracts from The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs”—Raman Reddy
by RY Deshpande on Sat 03 Jan 2009 05:43 PM IST
Profile Permanent Link
If there are any further comments on this post, let these be issue-based, and not individual- or institution-based. RYD Reply]

Much of the Heehs imbroglio owes its exacerbation to tendentious discourse. The greatest pragmatic challenge before Integral Yoga presently is to evolve an attitude for sticking to honest expression. [TNM]

Saturday, January 03, 2009

It is not entirely clear whether he is writing as a critic or a historian

[Jan 2, 2009 (title unknown) from enowning by enowning
reviews Michael Fried's Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before: UNTIL THE VERY END of the book, Fried’s argument remains curiously indeterminate in two respects. First, it is not entirely clear whether he is writing as a critic or a historian. This matters because he has admonished readers not to confuse the two. Indeed, as he asserted in the introduction to his volume of collected essays from 1998, “between myself as historian of the French antitheatrical tradition and the critic who wrote ‘Art and Objecthood’ there looms an unbridgeable gulf.” Is the present book, then, a continuation of his “genealogy” of art and theatricality, or is it criticism of contemporary art? Because he occasionally renders judgments on particular pictures or practices]

After Heehs alerted us to photographic manipulations, this can be studied as a subject in itself. [TNM]

Three biological humors or psychophysiological energies called doshas

Re: A Talk with Sri Aurobindo—Noted down by Pavitra
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sat 03 Jan 2009 02:08 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

[According to ayurveda, the five fundamental elements that make up the universe--space (akasha), air (vayu), fire (agni), water (apu) and earth (prithvi)--also make up the human physiology. How do these elements work within us? Looking at the elements from the point of view of what they do in the physiology, rather than what they are, ayurveda describes three biological humors or psychophysiological energies called doshas. There are three doshas, called Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and each is mainly a combination of two elements. Vata dosha is made up of space and air. Pitta dosha is a combination of fire and water. Kapha dosha is made up of water and earth. Each of these doshas is further divided into five sub-doshas. Together, the doshas orchestrate all the activities that occur within us.]

[Description of Triguna by Lakhwinder Singh and Desh Raj Sirswal • Sattva is that element of prakrti which is of the nature of pleasure, and is buoyant of light (laghu), and bright or illuminating (prakasaka). Pleasure in its various forms ,such as satisfaction, joy, happiness, bliss, contentment, etc. is produced by things in our minds through the operation of the power of sattva inhering in them both. • Rajas is the principle of activity in things. It always moves and makes other things move.It is of the nature of pain, and is mobile and stimulating. It helps the elements of sattva and tamas which are inactive and motionless in themselves, to perform their functions. • Tamas is the principle of passivity and negativity in things. It is opposed to sattva in being heavy (guru) and in obstructing the manifestation of objects. By obstructing the principle of activity in usit induces sleep, drowsiness, and laziness. It also produces the state of apathy or indifference (visada). Hence it is that sattva, rajas and tamas have been compared respectively to whiteness, redness, and darkness... Posted by देशराज सिरसवाल]

Exploring such linkages in greater detail can be educative. [TNM] Reply

Friday, January 02, 2009


[Re: In Defence of the “Extracts from The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs”—Raman Reddy
Raman Reddy
on Fri 02 Jan 2009 03:32 PM IST Profile Permanent Link > Permanent Link
Secondly, the court cases have not been filed by us at the Ashram. They have been filed by ex-students of the Ashram school and devotees in Orissa. If some people have wrongly given you the impression that we have filed them, then please do not believe them.]

That someone representing the Ashram is interacting with the Netizens, clarifying things and assuaging feelings is a matter of great relief. The iron curtain has breached at last; better late than never. [TNM]

The "doctrinal uniformity" that was forged on March 29, 1914

[Aurobindonians in the twenty-first century are experiencing a need for doctrinal uniformity (for instance, unanimity on a particular conception of Avatarhood, which does not even agree very well with Sri Aurobindo's own statements on the subject) and suppression of differing views. This resembles the need for religious uniformity felt by Christians in the sixteenth century and earlier which gave rise to the infamous inquisitions. Parallels with other religions such as Islam could equally be made. But then what becomes of the claim that what is practised in the name of Sri Aurobindo is not a religion? Reply Re: An examination of the criticism against The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Larry Seidlitz
by Angiras on Thu 01 Jan 2009 05:03 AM PST
Profile Permanent Link >Permanent Link > Permanent Link]

At Savitri Era, we hate to escape by leaving question marks. A time will come when even the most unwilling will be forced to see the "doctrinal uniformity" that was forged on March 29, 1914. [TNM]

Thanks to SAABA, loads of correspondence are now online

Thanks to SAABA, loads of correspondence pertaining to the Peter Heehs imbroglio is now available online and SCIY promises to add further shortly. Besides, fresh postings are accruing almost everyday that have become an inevitable part of our reading list.

The matter is sub judice, and hence, conflicting estimates as regards the outcome are bound to appear, as also contradictory claims concerning aptness of respective standpoints. This, unfortunately, makes any sane assessment impossible as sponsored polemics has taken over the civil discourse and orchestrated media interventions spray miasma periodically. Not surprisingly, the spies are out and any sort of murky unfolding is expected.

Polarized positions on the book as well as the author have atrophied by now and everyone is just defending his or her stand. Consequently, several niceties are casualty in this zealous safeguarding of interests. Turning a black and white binary of such an unprecedented complex affair is the most despicable sacrilege. It would be fitting, therefore, if intertwined strands are untangled and evaluated severally.

First the author:

  1. Peter Heehs is a bona fide Ashramite (i.e., sadhak, purported to be engaged in the pursuit of self-fulfillment or yoga) for about four decades.
  2. He heads the Archives and is involved in releasing various Ashram publications (not without being embroiled in controversies, though).
  3. Blending his own research (assisted by his colleagues in the ashram) with subjects of general interest, he has managed to author several titles published by outside publishing houses.
  4. His articles have also appeared in peer-reviewed professional journals (despite his reported lack of adequate educational qualifications) presumably on the strength of his position in the Ashram.
  5. Crisp prose coupled with a critical approach is his forte. Being American too is another possible reason for his earning a privileged status with the Indian publishers and elsewhere.
  6. Barring his subjects, writings on his personal predilections as a scholar are few and far between thus contributing to much speculation and conjecture.
  7. Opinion about him among his fellow inmates and acquaintances is divided.

Now the book:

  1. The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, as the title suggests, is a biography of the founder of the Ashram of which the author is a member... [TNM]

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Purity is the cornerstone of our core competence

[You must keep the temple clean if you wish to install there a living Presence... Do not imagine that truth and falsehood, light and darkness, surrender and selfishness can be allowed to dwell together in the house consecrated to the Divine. --The Mother by Sri Aurobindo]

Purity is the cornerstone of our core competence, and hence the challenge to come clean and eschew any conspiracy of silence. [TNM]