Saturday, December 25, 2010

Question of rebirth not irrelevant

[Auromira Yoga: OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE SPIRITUALITY By Dr. Ramesh Bijlani The misplaced curiosity trap
Drifting into spirituality with the relatively simple aims of pursuing something of lasting value, something useful to others, or something better than joining the rat race, some young people get distracted by the futile search for answers to irrelevant questions. They want to know more and more about life after death, rebirth, past life regression, or forecasting the future. They start resolving the apparent discrepancies in the karma theory.] 

In an admirably crafted post Dr. Bijlani spells out negativities and specifically sounds anti-intellectual. Beware! [TNM]

Monday, December 20, 2010

Contract, Honesty & Harmony

Long, long before Christmas, the winter solstice was celebrated as the birth of the pagan god Mithras - the "patron of contracts": the very word means "contract" in Old Persian. And the "Unconquered Sun" lies in that little word:
“Mithras stood for Contract, and therefore for fairness, therefore for Justice, therefore for honesty, therefore for Truth, therefore for light, therefore for The Sun.”
The above quote is from Paul Kriwaczek's In Search of Zarathustra: The First Prophet and the Ideas that Changed the World - a wonderful history intermingled with travelogue written by a former BBC television programme-maker with special interest in Central and South Asian affairs. Kriwaczek is a Jew from Vienna - who successfully fled the Nazis and was raised and schooled in London
Mithra is the "Unconquered Sun" - born during the winter solstice because that is when days start getting longer. This time of the year was celebrated 2000 years before Christ.]

The same Vedic Mitra representing Harmony, the domain of Mahalakshmi. [TNM]

No to non-resident Chairman

[Karan Singh says no to China friendship award Indian Express – Thu Dec 16 2010, 01:12 hrs New Delhi:
Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Karan Singh is learnt to have turned down the honour. It is learnt that he felt it might be inappropriate to receive such an honour lest it betrayed a bias towards any country.]

It looks like a sweet revenge against the comrades in India who prevented his elevation as President. Dr. Karan Singh, however, should also urgently consider stepping down from the Auroville Foundation. [TNM]

Beyond Vanakkam

An Odia official remarked the other day that during his stint in Madurai, he started speaking Tamil after six months. That set me to think how significant the role of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville has been in furthering Tamil speaking among outsiders. This has also given rise to diverse cultural exchanges and prepared the field for wider receptivity of the civilizational legacy allied to this ancient language. [TNM]      

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sri Aurobindo saves

[INTELLECTUAL BIFURCATIONS Jeffrey Bell at Aberrant Monism
In Priest’s book in contradiction, which I discussed here in yesterday’s post, he highlights the early modern bifurcation between the continuous and the discrete (a bifurcation that of course predates early modern thought and is not exclusive to the western tradition). Priest signals Leibniz and Hume as emblematic of this bifurcation.]

Bell refers to a book talking about the early modern birth of a strife between the continuous and the discrete. Fair enough, but I think that’s pretty clearly already the difference between Aristotle’s Physics and Metaphysics. The Physics is an often Bergson-like defense of continua, while the Metaphysics is of course about a world of individual chunks. It is a tension that Aristotle resolves only by apportioning the two sides of the paradox to different portions of the world.]

Sri Aurobindo - 1985 - Philosophy - 1113 pages
Mind, being an action of the Infinite, depieces as well as aggregates ad infinitum. It cuts up being into wholes, into ever smaller wholes, into atoms and those atoms into primal atoms, until it would, if it could, dissolve the primal atom into nothingness. But it cannot, because behind this dividing action is the saving knowledge of the ... (1.18.180) 12:39 PM]

Sri Aurobindo saves. [TNM]

Deaf to Sri Aurobindo

One thing you can't accuse Ramachandra Guha of is mincing his words. ... “I found the views of Vivekananda and Aurobindo archaic and stiff,” was the reply to a variation of the question that he is asked the most about his book.]

Fresh from the press, Democratic Culture: Philosophical and Historical Essays edited by Akeel Bilgrami also fights shy of Sri Aurobindo. [TNM]

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Savitri Erans should write more

[To Reiterate… by larvalsubjects
Honestly I’m shocked that more of you don’t post and blog. You’re nuts. Yes, I know we’re all assholes and that there are frustrating discussions. Yet through inscription you’re making yourself real in hundreds of brains. Those traces will prove invaluable to you later on so long as you aren’t particularly assholish. You might think that something like blogging is secondary to your academic development, but you’re wrong. It is one of the primary venues through which you make yourself real in this cutthroat world. Don’t be afraid to show others the things you’ve found to be neat.]

[Cyberspace and Postmodern Democracy - Market colonization of the virtual public sphere - XIII International Conference Forum on Contemporary Theory, Baroda in collaboration with Department of English and Cultural Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh
Theme: The Virtual Transformation of the Public Sphere
15-18 December 2010 Venue: Hotel Parkview, ChandigarhIndia]

Savitri Erans too should write more in order to win additional ground in the Public Sphere. [TNM]

Wooing the shoes

Another amazing concession was offering prayers with the ubiquitous Bata slippers on without the punishing stipulation of the head touching the ground. The Mother apparently was empathetic with our being tormented by such tyranny over the youngsters during umpteen religious ceremonies day in and day out.  

Many Centres still shoo away the shoes for reasons of hygiene and decorum and the genuflecting posture is a common sight. But the young ones must be rebelling still. [TNM]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quit quickly

One of The Mother’s many volcanic ideas that shook us in the school days and hooked us to her lasso is that the flowers decorating her photo need not be thrown away daily. Each flower, we were told, has the right to serve the divine as long as it remains fresh through shuffling and sprinkling of water. That was a radical challenge to the traditional canons of pollution consigning the basiphula to the drains round which lyricists have waxed eloquent down the years. 

Das Gupta’s old age, in this context, is eminently defensible especially when juxtaposed with the example of the Prime Minister. But physical agility alone is no assurance for sound brain functioning. Erasure of large chunks of momory is liable to trigger warped decision making. Instead of holding others to ransom, therefore, better he quit with grace and serve the divine by cultivating Saksi Bhava. [TNM]

Monday, December 13, 2010

Seoflower

Spiritual significance of flowers, unfortunately, are not part of The Mother’s collected works, but they constitute the most original of her contributions. They singly make a complete guide to sadhana and successively underline key aims to be pursued in life. To be “open, frank, equal, generous and kind” in online communications is a challenge for all devotees. [TNM]   

Epistemology of the unknown

Just finished reading Adrian and Levi’s most recent posts, and last nite I had a chance to read Steve’s ruminations on the limitations of this format. … However, I think one thing that has gotten really left out of recent discussions is not simply the fact that privacy exists in Whitehead (something I think the OOO tend to want to ignore for some reason), but how it functions. What follows is in my next post is admittedly a mix of Whitehead, contemporary quantum theory, and my own thoughts on this issue, but I think it really does relate to the debate at hand.
One point first, however. Levi has said in recent posts that he thinks I overemphasize the epistemological over the ontological, and he is right, I think that OOO doesn’t deal enough with certain epistemological issues. He is also right when he says I emphasize the human in my critique of OOO. But it shouldn’t be thought that I privilege human epistemology – on the contrary! The only reason why this may seem to be the case is that I think OOO talks in ways that import human ‘semiotic’ categories into the domain of things.]

Sri Aurobindo follows another tack however when he points out that the “Unknowable” from our standpoint is not necessarily unable to be known, but rather, is simply something that falls outside the limits of our mental framework and perceptive capacity; so that upon moving our standpoint to a new framework, or acquiring new powers of knowledge through an evolution of consciousness, for instance, we could gain knowledge of what is currently only able to be expressed as the “unknown” or the “unknowable”.]

Whitehead under vigorous focus; Sri Aurobindo watches amusingly the flurry of juvenility. [TNM]

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dwa Suparna

A mischievous campaign is on proposing takeover of the Ashram by the Govt. That is the only alternative they find to the present management. This is absurd. Why no one else from the two thousand strong community can assume the mantle is never explained. Conversely, two or three leading names are constantly vilified as if rest of the inmates are a bunch of mere impotents.

Such a situation is not only shameful but also pitiable. Manoj Das Gupta’s long tenure must terminate immediately, if not for anything else, for advanced age. His successor can very well be chosen by democratic consultative procedures. This simple step can obviate the legal intervention and usher in peace. Manoj Das, who had once promptly resigned voluntarily from the post of a trustee, should prevail upon his namesake to do a favour in the interest of everyone. [TNM]        

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Everything is falling apart!

A hypothesis: The United States Constitution is the worst-designed constitution in the history of the world. The Founders were not transcendental geniuses, but instead a bunch of short-sighted fools who locked us into an unworkable system with no feasible way out. The “separation of powers” is a recipe for deadlock and inaction, and it was an idea that was dreamed up by people who had no experience of how a modern republic would work, because no such structure had ever existed. Why should their hypothetical arguments for how great it would be trump the fact that it doesn’t work like they said? … In short, the Constitution is basically a suicide pact.]

The same complains can easily be made against the Indian Constitution. Nothing surprising, therefore, that the Ashram has become dysfunctional. [TNM]  

Friday, December 10, 2010

The issue is the wicked insinuations

‘Why go on carping about the book?’ has become a common rebuke. But the book is no longer a stand alone exhibit; reams of discussions are already part of the book’s persona starting from the Kripal endorsement. Wishing away the Cardinal Slur that surfaced in the wake of this nagiographic book is like putting the cream back into the tube. Spreading such rumors is a terrible blow to the divine manifestation of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo aimed at altering fundamentally the dynamics of Integral Yoga.

Another clever ploy is to ask, ‘Where exactly the slur appears?’ and solemnly affirm that Heehs has never denigrated the Master. The juvenility and brazenness employed in this case, however, is matched by charlatanism and arrogance. Lack of a semblance of intellectual integrity in long time followers is a highly disturbing phenomenon.

To praise the book for the colossal research it contains is yet another distracting defense. But whether the book is good or bad is hardly the question. The issue is the wicked insinuations that malign the Masters. The book and its author, therefore, are destined to suffer lifelong censure. ‘[TNM]

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bid farewell to guerrilla warfare

Democracy/Enlightenment/Modernity ushered in the system of authorization or the representative and it has become the cornerstone of civil society. This also acknowledges the existence of diverse voices and encourages tolerance. Respect for the minority opinion, howsoever feeble it may be, is another characteristic. The representative, apparently, will have several personal shortcomings; but that is generally overlooked and what he says is addressed.

The Heehs imbroglio, conversely, takes the person as the target. Fairly educated individuals who are uncomfortable with the book are being attacked in a savage manner. All kinds of tactics are being adopted to silence them. This may succeed in the short run but not without denting severely the discursive environment. Therefore the need is to bid farewell to guerrilla warfare and sit across tables. [TNM]    

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oust Peter Heehs from Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry

It is a matter of great anguish for The Mother’s devotees that in the centenary year of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival in Puducherry, the Ashram is in a terribly sorry state. A hostile book on the Master has raised hackles and its author continues to be unrepentant. Consequently, two factions are fighting in the court instead of settling the matter through mutual negotiations.  The high ideals of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have thus been turned into ridicule. Their admirers the world over are aghast at this intransigence and bankruptcy of prudence.

The Ashram at present is not without its share of poets, scholars, and philosophers, but this controversy has exposed their true colours. Some have turned so partisan that they blindly follow the few who are authorized to sign the cheque books. Power and greed have turned the administrators into veritable monsters. Chicanery and trickery have become staple fare, so also snobbery and high handedness. Unfortunately, the very same people are also invited to lecture on love and ethics.

Heehs has insulted the memory of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo in a daring act of betrayal. This can never ever be tolerated by their countless devotees. The present head of the Ashram has committed a grievous error in sheltering him for the last two years despite widespread protests. Those who are assisting him in this gamble are merchants of sinister designs and not purveyors of justice and morality. Savitri Era Party reiterates its demand to oust Peter Heehs from Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry. [TNM]  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Integral Yoga sans geographical baggage

Apart from the historical baggage, Integral Yoga is also anchored to a geographical baggage. The location of the Ashram and Auroville in India, in south India to be specific, assigns certain characteristics to it and imposes quite a few compulsions on the followers. These are, obviously, extraneous factors and need not influence the practitioners in their sadhana.

But for foreigners who live here, the feeling of being alien never evaporates. Cultural and racial difference plays a predominant role in their dealings with the Indians and invariably in unequal terms. And mostly they act as war correspondents thus molding the attitude of fellow followers residing faraway in their respective countries. This apart from their usual role as cultural ambassadors and spokespersons for their nation/ideology/product.

Postmodernism and globalization has unleashed an unprecedented impetus for aggrandizement of the local. The foreigner followers thus find them in an irreparable disadvantageous position in India. The fallout can be in two ways: some accept it and others protest. The protest, at the extreme, can take the form of subversion and disruption. Unfortunately, we are passing through this period of transition right now, and therefore, the need for vigilance and resistance. [TNM]  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Reforms like a fixed tenure are an urgency

It is fairly understandable if Heehs defends CWSA including Savitri as he was the editor. The same is true for the books he has authored including The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. But when he supports the Managing Trustee with equal zeal, then suspicion arouses. So much so that, his followers are busy trumpeting almost divine status for the trustees overlooking all their faults.

This sort of blind mobilization must stop. Reforms like a fixed tenure are an urgency to save the Ashram from the pitfalls of aging and senility. This requires courage and goodwill in place of the shameful servility. [TNM] 

Proof of Yoga is in cursing

By creating the Ashram, The Mother & Sri Aurobindo gave an opportunity to people to practice Yoga collectively. But long years of living in a protected environment is liable to make the inmates callous and complacent. Given the complex nature of Integral Yoga, no one is demanding any empirical proof of their productivity, but when a senior member starts cursing others left and right, then serious doubts arise about their ability and intention. [TNM]

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Prof. Manoj Das & Prof Kamal Das

From Tusar N. Mohapatra tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com to Manoj Das prof.manojdas@gmail.com date 18 November 2010 21:19 subject Re:
Dear Manoj babu,
Namaskar. Since I felt that the issues raised in your letter are of vital importance to the ongoing debate, I published it. As regards the “lie” against you, it seems to be a minor prank considering the slew of slanders that are circulating about you. Being in the public life, better to take it in your stride, therefore.   

The point pertaining to Manoj Das Gupta, however, is a bit complex as the author has skillfully woven it within a hypothetical scenario. Let’s expect more clarity on the matter from comments by other contributors. [TNM]

Safety nets in Savitri Era Religion

Yoga and Sadhana matters are not particularly socially palatable, although the ethical component can be said to be the cornerstone of a vibrant social order. Further, in the absence of appropriate yardsticks for evaluation, practice of yoga runs the risk of slipping into an anarchic course. Lack of authorized elders also leads to disastrous results in many instances.

Religion, on the other hand, incorporates many safety nets. Socially embedded and legally imbricated, it caters to man’s emotional necessities at various stages of life. If nurtured adequately, this aesthetic aspect carries the potential of storming the spiritual domains. Moreover, the way it glues a collectivity and fosters co-operation becomes a training ground for leadership and adventure.

Past religions, admittedly, have gathered rust and accumulated dross. There is practically no means to repair them. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, therefore, have created this new shelter for the people from all continents. We can safely call ourselves Savitri Erans by forgetting our old identities. [TNM] 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Integral Yoga without the historical baggage

Sri Aurobindo has written outstanding commentaries on various religious texts but the spiritual path he recommends is never wholly dependent on them. He draws most of the principles of Integral Yoga from the tradition without relying exclusively upon any particular book. This in the backdrop of his warnings against past religions is a crucial distinction. Further, the way he disengages spirituality from the grooves of ritualistic rigor is in line with the demands of modernity that valorizes individual freedom.

The genesis of Integral Yoga from within the tumultuous Indian freedom struggle, however, is an intriguing aspect. Whether that was required as a preparation for the needed austerity and intensity in Yoga is hard to surmise, but is a historical fact. The present generation, understandably, has forgotten those circumstances, but the relevance of Integral Yoga in the modern life has rather heightened. Dissemination of Integral Yoga without the historical baggage, therefore, looks like a good strategy.

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo were pioneers of the next evolutionary step for the earth. What they ask from us is simply receptivity and collaboration but remembering them in this context becomes religion. History comes into play here as also hagiography which ultimately blend into mythology. Shifting facts from fiction will be a concurrent vocation but that will never deter some from turning a Sudarshan. [TNM]  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hang separately

In this post I will offer a short overview of some aspects of Michael Tomasello’s latest book „Why We Cooperate,” which is based on his 2008 Tanner Lectures on Human Values
But according to Tomasello, there are two aspects that also make human culture also qualitatively different from all others:
1. human culture is cumulative. That is, artefacts and behavioural practices often become more complex over time. Every improvement or accepted change will be transferred to the next generation and so forth.
2. human culture is unique in that there are social institutions, which create and enforce culture norms and practices… (Tomasello 2009: XIII)]

[Bats Gauge Sounds With Neural Teamwork New York Times - Sindya N. Bhanoo -  November 15, 2010
One of the keys to the keen ability of bats to process sound is that the neurons in a bat’s brain work as a team to convey the importance of certain signals — like an anger call or a distress call — while diminishing the effect of less-important sounds, researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center reported this past weekend in San Diego at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.]

It needs to be studied why practitioners of Integral Yoga can’t work as a team.

Marx was peeved about surplus value and it also applies to the Ashram as a beneficiary of cheap and loyal labour. But as is well known, nothing comes cheap and there's no such thing as a free lunch. The inmates, therefore, tend to compensate themselves in various other ways and chasing fame is one of them.

Intellectual accomplishments duly circulated through writings and lectures became synonymous with spiritual achievement over the years, thus establishing a false generalization. Difference of opinion on various modalities and other mechanisms of power play have been in existence since inception. Specific instances like Dipti and Vak have many more stories to tell that are not altogether unrelated to the current controversy.

All this therefore calls for a paradigm change. But it is possible only through honest discussions and frank debates. If the laboratory faces a logjam today, there is no reason why the experiment should not be re-routed and re-engineered. [TNM]       

Postmodern aesthetics

[Comment posted by Sandeep Re: Sanatana Dharma LXXVI—The Hour of God
Sometimes I don't understand myself either(!), but in this case I was applying post-modernism vocab in a spiritual context to create conceptual chaos and problematize Sri Aurobindo.]

Sandeep has again ridiculed the pomo lingo, and it hurts. Each language has scores of dialects and if one more has been honed for academic communication pertaining to postmodern discourse, then there should be no scope for any complain. Localized as we are, our turfs are varied and scattered and the world, in any case, is not all about sausages for gaggles of geese and ganders.

We can always protest against the content and its creator, but to resist his medium would be akin to killing the messenger. A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze & Guattari, for instance, features in the desert island reading list of countless persons for sheer aesthetic reasons and that needs to be respected. [TNM]           

Monday, November 15, 2010

Prof Kamal Das emits a Kafkaesque chill

Prof Kamal Das is the latest angel to scavenge upon Heehs imbroglio. But hiding one’s past and identity is not enough to conceal one’s feet of clay. As human players in this whole drama, each one of us has his strengths and weaknesses. And what is wanted right now is credentials and the willingness to shoulder responsibilities.    

Obviously, Prof Kamal Das has none. And the same is the case with other pseudonym swordsmen. If Paulette sounds incoherent and clownish at times, it is because she is a flesh and blood human person, and we are all gloriously endowed with plenty of foibles and frailties. On the other hand, the impeccable prose of Prof Kamal Das or Barun Subudhi emits a Kafkaesque chill.

Anonymous entities attacking known persons is thus an anomaly. This practice is unethical, unfair, and absolutely uncalled for. To indulge in such a misdeed in the name of fighting for The Mother is doubly detrimental. The next generation is learning so many new principles of spirituality from the current animosity and let this not be one more. [TNM]

Sri Aurobindo Society's official stand

Sri Aurobindo Society was a lead player in the war over Auroville but it has mostly been silent in the Heehs imbroglio. Having a large network of Centres and devotees, not to publicize its position from time to time is really surprising. Now that a section of the Ashram inmates are seeking to unseat the current trustees, the Society must come forward with its official stand.

Lack of credible institutions has been a major cause of exacerbation of the present conflict. Individual voices are generally camouflaged by the institution and turn impersonal thus facilitating negotiations. [TNM]  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Amal outlives Lal

[Prof P Lal, in memoriam from Agent Provocateur by Kanchan Gupta
He inspired me to seek a living from the written word
Poet-translator-teacher. That’s how newspapers described Professor Purushottam Lal — better known as Professor P Lal — who died in his beloved city, Kolkata, on November 3. Readers were also informed he was 81…
Kolkata will miss an intellectual who made the city his home, far away from Kapurthala where he was born. While others, including his students, left Kolkata looking for greener pastures, Prof Lal stayed on, resolute in his belief that this was his karmabhumi. In his death, I have lost an affectionate teacher and someone who inspired me to seek a living from the written word. Meanwhile, the queue ahead gets shorter. This appears as my Sunday column, Coffee Break, in The Pioneer on November 14, 2010.]

Amal had fought epic battles with Lal and now outlives him. [TNM]

Ambedkar and Heehs

The Draft was the result of collective labours of many persons. Several parts of it went through many versions. Several Articles were adopted, only to be overturned at the next stage. The Assembly itself reopened and revised, and sometimes completely overhauled several provisions -- many of them key provisions on which the very nature of the system of governance turned.
Not only did Ambedkar himself not claim authorship of the Draft. He did not even claim any great degree of originality for the Draft which emerged from these iterations and which he formally tabled. …
The overwhelming proportion of provisions were based on the Government of India Act of 1935 … On that count, not half but almost four-fifths of the Constitution was from the 1935 Act … How mere designations father myths! …
But now suddenly the Constitution is presented as something that sprung -- whole and complete, pristine and virginal -- from the mind and genius of Ambedkar.] 

Bulk of data in the book Heehs borrows from the previous biographies (which he magisterially disparages as hagiographies) and the rest from collective labours of his colleagues in the Archives. So there is nothing “whole and complete, pristine and virginal” about The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. [TNM]

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kiss Das Gupta Goodbye

“The markets hate uncertainty.” … The problem with these supposed truisms is they are no more accurate than the flip of a coin. A closer look at this uncertainty meme reveals it to be a false-ism -- one of those emotionally appealing phrases that ping around trading desks… To recognize how meaningless these statements are, consider the opposite:
Could markets function without uncertainty? It takes only a little thought to realize that markets actually thrive on doubt, imperfect information and a lack of consensus. Uncertainty drives the market’s price-discovery mechanism. Investing requires there to be differences of opinion. When there is broad agreement as to an asset’s fair value, trading volume falls. Without any uncertainty, who would take the opposite side of your trade?
History teaches that whenever the opposite occurs -- when certainty overwhelms uncertainty -- the herd tends to be wrong. In rare instances, when there is a near-total lack of uncertainty in the market, the outcome is usually a spectacular disaster…
When we discuss uncertainty, what we are really discussing is risk. All unknown outcomes contain risk, and therein lies the possibility of loss. Risk is inherent in the concept of uncertainty. However, anyone looking for performance must embrace risk, for without it, there can be no reward.
Uncertainty is what makes alpha, or market-beating gains, possible. Smart traders know that uncertainty is where the money is. No uncertainty, no risk; no risk, no possibility of outperformance…
The future, by definition, is unknowable. Investing involves making our best guesses about the value of an asset at some point after this moment in time. There will always be an element of uncertainty involved. We can discount various outcomes, engage in probabilistic analysis, but no one knows for certain what tomorrow will bring. Those who claim to know fail to understand the most basic workings of markets…
Pundits may hate uncertainty -- it tends to makes them look foolish -- but markets harbor no such bias. In fact, markets thrive on uncertainty. It is their reason for being. (Barry Ritholtz, author of the book “Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy,” is the chief executive officer of Fusion IQ, and blogs at The Big Picture. The opinions expressed are his own.) britholtz@fusioninvest.com]

Spotting leaders is much like stock picking. Group Discussions are an age old technique to bring out leadership quality to the fore. Uncertainty, not only drives price discovery, but also facilitates leader discovery. High time to dump Das Gupta and “embrace risk.” [TNM]

Friday, November 12, 2010

Museum Das Gupta

[RSS says sorry to Sonia on former chief's rant Indian Express -  Fri Nov 12 2010
The RSS on Friday expressed regret over the controversial statements of its former chief KS Sudarshan against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and again made it clear that it does not represent the views of the organisation…
In a statement issued yesterday, RSS leader Manmohan Vaidhya had said that Sudarshan's views were not that of the organisation…
In a scathing attack on Thursday, the Congress called Sudarshan a “fossil from the archaeological museum”.]

Someone has to issue a slew of regrets for what Das Gupta is perpetrating today. [TNM]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wait for the SC verdict

The past decades have seen a high tide of history distortion by the dominant Leftist school of historians in India
In the meantime, my position has been endorsed by the Allahabad High Court, the one reasonably impartisan institution that has held both argumentations against the light. After availing itself of the best archaeological expertise, it has ruled in favour of the old consensus, upheld until 1989 by all sources but denied since then by Guha’s circles, viz. that Ayodhya is indeed a case of Hindu victimization by Muslims through the imposition of a mosque on a Hindu sacred site in forcible replacement of a temple. In its verdict, the Court has also given a most unfavourable judgment of the historical “method” of the anti-temple academics. POSTED BY KOENRAAD ELST AT 12:29 AM WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2010]

Elst, alas, is precariously perched. [TNM]

Directed trade

[With Apologies to Debbie from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux
If you’re really interested in understanding international economics, you should instead read such books as Russell Roberts’s The Choice, Johan Norberg’s In Defense of Global Capitalism, Martin Wolf’s Why Globalization Works, Jagdish Bhagwati’s In Defense of Globalization, Paul Krugman’s Pop Internationalism, and Douglas Irwin’s Free Trade Under Fire. Sincerely, Don Boudreaux]

In our own country, this is precisely what led to the development of mighty cities like Bombay, Madras and Calcutta - built and administered by a private company. Trade was free - and the East India Company traded in opium, too…
In India, during British times, it must be remembered that there were over 650 "princely states" - and most of these were nothing more than small cities, as in Rajasthan. Gujarat was composed of over 150 of these - and there was perfect communal harmony, even during the Partition.] 

But the most operative wisdom in this respect comes from Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference by David Harvey. A trading transaction is a unique moment involving the triple players: space-time-person and hence nursing a wish for the same is only a feeble propeller. [TNM]      

Reinventing Integral Yoga

[I have learned the hard way not to trust anyone's "truth", starting from an Aurobindonian scholar like him. paulette has left a new comment on your post "Questions about Sudha Sinha and Ramanathan": Savitri Era Open Forum, November 11, 2010]

[I don’t know I am learning so many new things about the yoga these days. 
But here as I said I am learning new things! From alok pandey11:50 AM]

The Heehs imbroglio has brought home the futility of seeking peace and tranquility prematurely. The sage as a theoretical construct can be hugely misleading and so are neat instructions on intricacies of practice. Yoga as abstraction or in isolation can be a perilous addiction. More so for the facilitators, for common flaws like transference don’t vanish.

Thematic compilation of Sri Aurobindo’s letters excising out the personal references and chronology is the most worrying aspect on this score. The all-life-is-yoga matrix surely involves much unlearning and scales falling from the eyes. [TNM]    

Heehs has dug his heels in ill-advisedly

Express News Service 11 Nov 2010
PATNA: Bihar politics has long been dominated by caste equations. But this time the state is witnessing significant changes going by the indications at the hustings. And Nitish Kumar is set to reap the benefits of the changing paradigm of the value of a vote.
He today stands tall over Bihar; a personality on whom the very fate of elections rest. It seems the people agree that the state is a better place today. Even his political opponents may not dispute this fact. It is this feel that has given Nitish the image of Bihar’s new messiah, and he seems all set to storm back into power.]

Nitish Kumar is likely to win convincingly and with Sushma Swaraj’s eminence in the BJP, JP’s unfinished agenda can come true some day. Modi, unfortunately, can’t bury his past, and consequently, will fade out.

Heehs, likewise, has dug his heels in quite ill-advisedly and has remote chance of reviving his career. [TNM]