Sunday, February 28, 2010

Manoj Das Gupta’s sphinx avatar

[Incidentally, silence can be cruel when a judge hearing a case maintains a monastic silence with the inscrutable face of the sphinx. Counsel has no clue about what the judge is thinking, whether he has understood counsel’s submissions or they have passed him by. Should counsel repeat his or her arguments or keep silent like the judge? A cruel predicament indeed and an instance of subtle judicial cruelty. Matrimonial and judicial cruelty, Soli J. Sorabjee: IE » Sunday , Feb 28, 2010]

Manoj Das Gupta’s sphinx avatar is not only cruelty but also downright uncivil. [TNM]

Friday, February 26, 2010

Straying out of our comfort zone is a strategic priority

What is of further interest here is that this notion of "prototype" occurs in other mystical writings.
1) Blavatsky in the Secret Doctrine states that the astral prototype of man preceded his physical appearance. After the physical form appeared, it became subject to the processes of differentiation (i.e. Darwinian evolution.)
2) And see Carlos Castaneda in his book "Fire from Within" Page 261-269. Here Don Juan talks of the "mold of man" which is the same as the prototype. The native Americans were occult experts !] 

[I can also say the same for Nietzsche's philosophy and for the intriguing possibilities of the "shamanism" described by Carlos Castaneda and his confederates, Taisha Abelar and Florinda Donner-Grau. So, while I am none of these things really, there is also a sense in which I feel I am also all of them and more besides. I am also attracted by "the Eastern Nietzsche" Sri Aurobindo's "Integral Yoga". by longsword on Sat 07 Mar 2009 9:47 AM, 10:23 AM]

Seeking security in the routines of life: In the chaos of life, we seek security by engaging in familiar routines.  We prefer to have lunch, dinner and other social chores at fixed times with fixed people.  There is energy locked up in our routines which has to be unlocked.  The Yogin must learn to adapt and live in the moment.   Carlos Castaneda calls this procedure ‘Disrupting the routines of life’
Seeking security in one’s identity and roots: Faced with a competitive and uncertain world, we take refuge in a superficial identity construct.  (“I am from here, my family has roots there, my brother is like that, my mother is like this, I went to this great school, I belong to this great religion, this is my sun sign, I am from this country, and so on and so forth”).  The Yogin’s sole identity rests in his/her soul and that is what one has to find; all false identities have to discarded.  Carlos Castaneda refers to this as ‘Erasing Personal history’ (Journey to Ixtlan — The Lessons of Don Juan)]

The Jung war ended too soon. Sandeep has brought in Castaneda which should incite a fresh bout. Himanshu Damle probes linkages between Speculative Realism and Sri Aurobindo's thought. Others won’t leave us in peace; that is for certain. Just as self-reliance is unthinkable without trade, persisting with friendly contests is also essential. Ironical as it is, straying out of our comfort zone is a strategic priority, the hazard of distraction or dilution notwithstanding. 

Swatantra Party and several Socialist Parties merged to form Bharatiya Lok Dal, which, in turn, merged with Bharatiya Jana Sangh and other Congress factions to form the Janata Party. If political ideologies can undergo such amalgamation in the real world, disparate ontological formulations too can successfully be shuffled within the panoptic paradise of the thought of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. [TNM]  

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ashramites are requested to elect a new chief

The rot was but to show up; and it did. Clinching evidence was needed; and it arrived on a platter. The crime is out in the open; the conspiracy is no longer an alleged “theory” but a fact fully exposed for everyone to see.

Darshan Day message card is a uniquely tenuous physical link between the Masters and the devotees. Whoever is responsible for the desecration of the message and the sacred occasion must own up and receive reprimand.

Using the message card as a pamphlet for political propaganda is a daringly subversive act. It is a sure sign of a take over attempt of the Ashram administration by devious means. Moreover, demoralizing the devotees by mocking the “theatrical” Darshan is the objective. Exhorting them to exercise their “freedom” (from the queue) is the motive.

Manoj Das Gupta didn’t care to reply to RY Deshpande, but is silently aiding the Banerji brigade to whip up the fundamentalism bogey. The message card episode has unequivocally proved that Das Gupta has become an impotent cipher unable to protect the hallowed institution that he heads.

The book affair concerned academics and hence could garner the benefit of doubt. Whereas, the message card incident appears to be just the tip of a much larger conspiracy. There is every reason to believe that a concerted effort is on to sow the seeds of discord and suspicion in the minds of the devotees of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. That it is being executed at the behest of rival organized religions cannot be ruled out.

Savitri Era Party requests all devotees to intensify vigilance. Ashramites are requested to elect a new chief in a requisitioned meeting. [TNM] 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Even marketing is yoga

Posted on February 19, 2010 by Sandeep
When we become good at some work, we become attached to that success.  The businessman wants to continue building new businesses, the scientist wants to keep inventing new ideas and the sportsman wants to keep competing and winning.   This bond  of attachment has to be broken.  The Yogin must be willing to engage in any activity necessary at the present moment without hesitation and full concentration.
We work with the expectation that the future will be better.  Within our heart, we tie our hopes to some event in the future which will bring us joy and we live in fervent desire of fulfilling that joyful event.   The Yogin has to live in the Timeless!]

[Purpose of business from The Big Picture by T T Ram Mohan
FT columnist, Michael Skapinker, introduces a slight wrinkle to Drucker's definition. He says businesses, no less than people, crave for respect. He says that is what banks lost in the present crisis although here he confuses respect with trust. He says businesses exist in order to make profit and serve customers by doing things they can be proud of…  creating customers and making profit so that people who do these things have a sense of pride and well-being.]

[Individuality cannot be dissociated from the pursuit of a disinterested object, The Promise of American Lives - Heroic Individualism in the Writings of Herbert Croly, Kevin C. Murphy, Columbia University “A man achieves individual distinction, not by the enterprise and vigor with which he accumulates money, but by the zeal and the skill with which he pursues an exclusive interest – an interest usually, but not necessarily connected with his means of livelihood.” 1:12 PM ]

Even marketing is an art form. I’ve created a whole new phenomenon of how to market. And I am not defensive about that. I do market my work… There’s nothing wrong with it! But the substance that I am offering, if it was nothing, then it wouldn’t last even ten years.]

Even marketing is a form of yoga. [TNM]

Dialogue between scholars and faith leaders

[International Seminar on "Hindu Organizations in Education, Health and Development Work" being held on 2nd, 3rd, 4th, March 2010 organized by the Indic Studies Project, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in collaboration with Nehru Memorial Museum and Library at Teen Murti House.
This is perhaps the first of its kind seminar. In addition to academic papers, we have also invited a select group of faith practitioners and spiritual leaders, many of whom are scholars in their own right, to speak about the inspirational philosophy of their respective organizations and faith traditions. We hope that this experiment at creating a space for dialogue between scholars and faith leaders will lead to a fresh approach to study of our faith traditions.
Shankracharya designate, Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati of Jyotirmath will deliver the inaugural address. The term "Hindu" is being used in its broadest sense and we include spiritual teaching in the term "education."  Many of the practitioners speaking in the conference do not identify themselves as "Hindu" but prefer terms like Sanatan Dharma.
Among the scholar practitioners scheduled to make presentations are … Shraddhalu Ranade of Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Auroville 9:12 AM Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Director, Indic Studies Project]

The realization that the religious turn is inevitable now has sunk in, and hence academicians of the secular hue are fast catching up, it appears. [TNM]

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sania, Manoj, and Varadarajan

[The fall of Sania Mirza - into oblivion Times of India - Anil Dharkar - ‎Feb 20, 2010‎
So Sania Mirza lost to Tatjana Malek in the first round of the Pattaya Open recently. Earlier she had been eliminated in the first round of the Australian ...]

[CPM veteran found dead, questions rise in party Calcutta Telegraph - Manini Chatterjee - ‎Feb 21, 2010‎
Given the fact that the party general secretary himself led the demand for action and in the backdrop of the “rectification drive” initiated by the CPM ... To be a comrade one has to be prude! Economic Times - ‎Feb 18, 2010‎
Mr Varadarajan seems to have become the first casualty of CPM's new rectification campaign with the party central committee taking the decision to remove him ...
 Missing CPM leader Varadarajan found dead Express Buzz CPM plans panel to weed out 'vices' Times of India - ‎Feb 3, 2010‎
... with people who have amassed huge assets or flouted party discipline on occasions, though CPM has been pursuing its rectification campaign since 1996. ... CPM sets up body for top-to-bottom cleanup Asian Age Former MP's open letter to Karat: Don't restrict religious freedom Indian Express - ‎Feb 2, 2010‎
Former MP KS Manoj, who had recently quit the CPM in protest against party stand on religion in the rectification document, has asked CPM general secretary ...]

Sania, Manoj, and Varadarajan, have not much in common perhaps apart from the fact that they are all human beings. Their goals have proved illusive and life has changed course. In yoga too one is entirely entitled to such turns in life and attitude. Whole life (and death) is yoga, therefore. [TNM]  

Satprem's twist

The impatience that Satprem infused into his prose and the project of new species imparts a major twist to the teachings of the Mother & Sri Aurobindo. His admirable Adventure of Consciousness, of course, has acquired almost a foundational text status, and is a mandatory read. His post-Agenda publications, however, fail to display the same level of fidelity and fall on the verge of propaganda.

The protagonist role that he played (or so, the impression his books convey) ensued partly from his victimhood (concentration camp as well as eviction from Ashram) which helped accentuate the dramatic appeal of his overall message. The hurry and the fury he rallied for his publishing as well as marketing amidst adversity is, nonetheless, commendable.

Satprem, despite his messianic zeal, is yet to regain the stature that he deserves as the recipient of The Mother’s trust so consistently. Mother’s Agenda too, all said and done, can never recover from the taint that accrued while first coming out of the press. [TNM]

Ask everyone to just unite and not quarrel

[Mr Tusar, I am a follower of the works of Sri Aurobindo and was hoping to visit the ashram soon and learn more about him. But there are so many controversies going on about the ashram on the internet that I am find it hard to feel motivated to go here.
Do you mind getting rid of political discussions like this from your blog?  It shows up on a google search. Could you also please ask everyone to just unite and not quarrel - after all Sri Aurobindo is a high thinker - it reflects badly about the Ashram when you guys take political stances like this.
I don't really care about who Shraddhalu Ranade is or who Heehs is. Thank you
Ashish Pujari] 

I am afraid, I can’t concede to your request of avoiding “political discussions” pertaining to certain individuals involved with the management of the Ashram at the apex level. Visiting the Ashram and Auroville as a devotee has nothing to do with all this. Thanks for writing, and through dialogue, I hope, things will change. [TNM]  

Monday, February 22, 2010

At Savitri Era we rarely quote

Mirror of Tomorrow romanticizes the past while Posthuman Destinies fantasizes about the future. At Savitri Era, however, the present is very much the concern. Poetry is integral to Mirror of Tomorrow, as is post-modernism to Posthuman Destinies. Savitri Era, in contrast, unabashedly flirts with politics. Mirror of Tomorrow borrows the Ashram tag and Posthuman Destinies flaunts the American, whereas Savitri Era stands for the layperson.

For divergent reasons Mirror of Tomorrow and Posthuman Destinies are shy of religion, while Savitri Era gladly wears it on its sleeve. Mirror of Tomorrow is snowed under reams of extracts from the works of the Masters, but at Savitri Era we rarely quote. [TNM]

Sunday, February 21, 2010

At a different pedestal and quality

from Tusar N. Mohapatra date 21 February 2010 23:33

May I draw your attention to a book titled, Ends and Means in Private and Public Life (1989) published by Indian Institute of Advanced Study in association with Indus Pub. co., New Delhi, and edited by Rajendra Prasad  which contains insightful essays such as, Ends Means and Administrative Efficiency, Ends Means and the Art of Life in the Gita, Controversies and Beyond, and Means, Ends and Pictures of the Good Life by outstanding authors.

The Difficulty of Being Good by Gurcharan Das (2009) is also a useful recent publication. [TNM]

Gitanjali JB is not the representative and voice of all devotees

[‘Songs are part of the script, not separate from the film’ - Aamir Khanbut in the end, it is the team that finally ends up making a film. Nobody is above the film, not even an actor.]

“We are,” wrote Gitanjali JB recently to Manoj Das Gupta, “engaged with Columbia University Press (CUP) regarding the withdrawal of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo from all channels of sales and distribution.” As a devotee when she went to court because the book bruised her sentiments, it’s perfectly fair. But her campaigning in public for its withdrawal cannot go uncontested.

Savitri Era Party has been consistent in its demand that the book be allowed to be published in India. The corollary is that it refuses to accept Gitanjali JB as the representative and voice of all devotees and followers of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, which she tacitly attempts to establish through her letter.

Darshan Day Messages are next to sacred to all of us. Debashish Banerji approvingly posting the context of the message at Posthuman Destinies stokes suspicion as it is widely known that Manoj Das Gupta is acting hand in glove with him. [TNM]

Friday, February 19, 2010

Form & force

Product Description: Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the “vital force” inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a “green materialist” ecophilosophy.]

Taming the “vital force” is vital to the philosophy of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and integral to Integral Yoga.  The Western perspective, in contrast, woefully lacks the awareness of its supple action that derives from the realm of the supreme. [TNM] 

Primacy of contingency is the key

from Tusar N. Mohapatra date 19 February 2010 14:04
Thanks for your appreciative and encouraging words. By saying, “I may not be able to reach the goal in my life time,” you might have preferred to stick to an ethical line, but the luxury of an absolute ethics is not available to us human beings; at least, no such example is there either in history or mythology. The best compromise the tradition offers is the higher dharma taking precedence over the lower. This also is not as simple as it sounds, for the ranking is purely a subjective affair tethered as it is to one’s self-interest and self-protection.  

Philosophical writings, both in the east as well as the west, are replete with explications on the question of individual vs. society that remain unresolved to this day. But one thing agreed upon generally is that a single rule can never be valid for all people in all situations. Therefore, the primacy of the contingency becomes the key and holds promise. What you label as realpolitik operates by latching on to that faint ray of hope. The butterfly, after all, is a transformed caterpillar. [TNM] 

Legacy of Golwalkar is a liability for Gadkari

By imitating Rahul’s Dalit act, Gadkari has positioned himself as a contender to the top post. He is entitled to that but the politics-for-development line won’t carry him very far. Ideological dilemma is one front that needs to be addressed urgently with tactful fine tuning. He perhaps understands well that the legacy of Golwalkar is a liability now and must be given a decent burial. The Ambedkar card, on the other hand, appears ambivalent with niggardly yield. 

His option, in such a scenario, is too restricted, and any rescue plan calls for out-of-box thinking. The Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee factor, if resurrected, can open up some rays of hope. Through him BJP can easily claim its genealogy to Sri Aurobindo, and become a candidate to hugely benefit from that. The intellectual resource to accommodate such a changeover, however, is scant in the party. [TNM]   

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ontology down to the level of our cells

[kelamuni said... hi tusar, it's not that i'm unimpressed with aurobindo, or than i am consciously ignoring him. the fact is, i was hoping to deal with aurobindo's more philosophical version of neo-vedanta after having given my account of vivekananda's. for this reason, there have been no detailed descriptions or analyses of aurobindo's thought in my blogs, only cursory references. cheers. 12:59 PM, February 16, 2010]

While I am thrilled at the prospect of expositions on Sri Aurobindo flowing from your keyboard, thinking of him vis-Ć -vis Vivekananda or linking him to Neo-Vedanta alone would be an injustice to his integrality. He along with The Mother has devised an ontology down to the level of our cells that is determining the destiny of the whole humanity. Your able intervention, I am sure, would bring the much needed clarity in the post-Wilber scenario. [TNM] 3:48 PM, February 17, 2010 

Group is anterior

Debashish Banerji in his Auroville Today Interview (February 2010) avers, “Often people pin their sense of self on a group identity.” But the truth is the other way round. A person takes birth into a group, and he simply migrates from one group to another according to his circumstances. Since there can be no fixed normative paradigm in the lived reality, a person’s evolution (not necessarily spiritual) is a unique congealment which also holds a key to the collective destiny.
Banerji misses the flaw in his argument that he is privileging one set of group characteristics against another that he detests. For instance, his current ideas derive from the group that he is clinging to. Such subjective proclivity, therefore, can hardly do the duty for sound theory. [TNM]    

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Opportunity, prosperity, and migration are drawing fresh contours of diversity

Political turmoil in India today displays various facets: Telangana on region, Marathi on language, Terrorism on religion, Maoism on ideology etc. These are legitimate political standpoints that are engaged in a trial of strength within a democracy. The role of mainstream political parties is to question their USP and decimate them by weaning away their supporters. Here we find absolute bankruptcy. Sonia’s foreign tag and Manmohan’s nominated status are serious handicaps to pursue any bold initiative sincerely. Other parties are busy safeguarding their existence and timidity is rampant.

Debate is at jeopardy due to collusion of business with politics as well as media. This in itself is well within the democratic parameters of free trade and cannot be questioned. What is required instead is suitable mechanisms to counter and overpower such debilitating tendencies. The latter, ideally, should generate from the public sphere of a civil society offering a robust resistance. But the general experience is that such efforts are too scattered, feeble and elitist. Examples of noble intentions degenerating into vested interests are also not uncommon.

Savitri Era Party seeks to bridge this gap and remedy such lacuna. Indian politics, before fully recovering from the impact of colonialism, is grappling with multiple dimensions of the perceived menace of globalization. Opportunity, prosperity, and migration are drawing fresh contours of diversity thus confusing and destabilizing old affiliations and affections. Such a scenario stimulates breaking forth from the past and shedding meaningless embellishments yoked to culture and tradition.  Inculcating a modern outlook at the moment, therefore, is the need of the hour, and only Savitri Era Party is equipped with such a perspective. [TNM]

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Savitri Erans fight over a book

Storms and shipworms disrupted the Spanish Armada in 1588 but war and terror perpetrated on religious lines have not declined even in 2010. Fierce conflict among the Savitri Erans over a book has come to acquire such pomposity that it has started looking utterly ridiculous. Religion is certainly about devotion and emotion, but the underlying power play is no less vital. [TNM]

Friday, February 12, 2010

This book is causing anguish to millions of devotees of Sri Aurobindo

[A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... By General Editor 
Sri Aurobindo, whose biography TLOSA masquerades as, is a national hero here in
India and a global spiritual icon. A prominent leader of the Indian freedom movement, Sri Aurobindo has remained a source of great inspiration to millions ...
given the fraud and misrepresentation being perpetrated by Peter Heehs and the anguish that this book is causing to millions of devotees of Sri Aurobindo all over the world. […] Gitanjali J B, 6:36 PM, 2:48 PM, at 6:57 PM,  7:00 PM  The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (TLOSA) authored by Peter Heehs (PH) and published by Columbia University Press (CUP) in 2008

Well written letters drafted/retouched probably by a Westerner like the General Editor. If only such civil actions were systematically executed in 2008 itself! [TNM] 

Monday, February 08, 2010

RYD shield

[IY Fundamentalism - Avcompats exchange re "Diary" let someone who has an authentic version post it on the forum. ... Subject: Re: [Avcompats] Case Regarding Cancellation of Peter Heehs¹ Visa and ...]
[IY Fundamentalism - Savitra questions RYD re "Diary" This reply, which she shared with the AV Compat forum, simply deflects and avoids the issue. Your refusal to respond to our legitimate inquiries is ...]

[A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... Alok Pandey was one of the first to prick the balloon of Heehs's bogus ... After all, it takes guts for a mole to dig a hole in the mighty mountain and ...]

[A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... The Mole and the Mountain -- by Alok Pandey. Researching history the mole-way. A molewas dissatisfied with its own stature. He had heard of the bear and ...]

Heehs imbroglio is unfolding as fascinating episodes of a modern PaƱcatantra but it is puzzling what prevents RYD from disclosing an author’s name. [TNM]

Eschew judgmental approach based on nationalist chauvinism

8. Indians are intrinsically intellectually inferior, incapable of analysing anything, have a poor knowledge of the nuances of English language and are simply a bunch of sentimental fools.] 

[The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. A new biography by Peter Heehs
Rich on Fri 01 Feb 2008 10:24 PM PST Permanent Link
Peter Heehs provides a portrait of Sri Aurobindo that is certainly more complex than so many other accounts and narratives we have of him since his passing in 1950. Some of these read as if they were written in the voice of that much earlier time. This all too authorial disposition to adopt the rhetorical form of the Master, so to argue as if in “his” own voice are the beginning of orthodox accounts of his biography...
From what I have read of Peter's work his style seems fittingly current, and post-structurally critical in seeking to understand its subject from a variety of perspectives, personalities, modalities, enactments, embodiments. 6:24 AM 8:48 AM]

[Rich’s estimate of non-Heehs writings on Sri Aurobindo contains many perceptive pointers, but his uneasiness with their language and style is a bit intriguing. To say that they were all imitating the “rhetorical form of the Master” seems to be unsympathetic, and at variance with the reality. Indian English, with its fascination for the polysyllable and the poetic, has a special flavor of its own as it is concocted through the transcreation of a thought process forged originally in Oriya, or Telugu, etc. Sri Aurobindo too perhaps cultivated this preference, and when V.K. Gokak noticed it, Amal Kiran came down too heavily upon him, and incurred a rare glitch.
Upheavals introduced by Byron and Baudelaire or James and Wolff that modified expressions substantially might have gone too far in contemporary America, and taken many convoluted avatars in academic dissertations but there is no valid reason why everyone should “imitate” the pattern. The problem of language being what it is in a post-structuralist and post-modernist scenario, Rich’s hope that Heehs’ “fittingly current” style, itself, can present an authentic and accurate picture of the “complex phenomena that was Sri Aurobindo's” is far from convincing and suffers from the taint of a false privileging. New rhetoric adopt we must but also retain empathy for the Other, “for the act,” observes Larval Subjects “is a descendant of the scene just as the son is a descendant of the father (and is said to thereby share the father’s characteristics).” TNM 9:57 AM, 8:31 AM]

University syllabi in India are modeled on the West, and dependent on it for content. The touchstone of intellectuality, therefore, cannot be separate, and the unpalatable truth is that majority of Indians would weigh lower. We, as followers of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, however, are seekers of integrality, and hence should eschew judgmental approach based on nationalist chauvinism. [TNM]