Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tomfoolery of Filio & Arindam

Filio & Arindam attempt to entice with their suave syntax. But their arguments are a bundle of holes and full of contempt for the reader’s own perception. [TNM]

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Savitri Era option for Dalits

Dr. Ambedkar’s grouse against Manusmriti, clarified Dr. Bijay Sonkar Shastri in an interview the other day, underwent a drastic modification after a decade when he advanced a fresh thesis that the Dalits are not Shudras. Dr. Shastri reiterated that the Dalit upliftment issue, therefore, is not merely political, economic, or educational, but rather social.

In this context, it is worth recalling that Dr. Ambedkar’s most important doctrinal somersault - just before his untimely death - was conversion to Buddhism. Thus, the panacea is religious (and not merely social) and Savitri Era Religion is the right option. [TNM]     

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo are principal guides of the humanity now

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo are indisputably the principal guides of the humanity at present.  Their ideas have travelled far and wide with a cross section of current thinkers concurring in their recent publications. This is a welcome trend. Intellectual indebtedness is a more abiding relationship than mere devotional acquiescence. Being convinced is a far superior commitment than formal emotionalism.

Sri Aurobindo was adequately educated for formulating a satisfactory ontology. But his hard earned spiritual insights helped him to penetrate the heart of the matter. The Mother’s collaboration brought perfection and collectively their thought constitutes a sterling knowledge system. After many vicissitudes of history and convulsions of socio-political ideologies, today we find their teachings safe, secure, and unruffled.

There are complains, nonetheless, especially relating to tardiness, arising out of impatience and misplaced expectations. Another pitfall is the false hope of a specific habitat transforming itself. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, it's fruitful to remember, never promised any particular time limit. The frustration, therefore, is self-created often derived from one's own existential dilemmas.

As covering the large corpus of their original works and allied exegetical literature is a daunting task, prematurely succumbing to conceptual rigidities and literalism is a likely hazard. A brush with various fallacies and tools of critical thinking including post-modernist perspective, therefore, can go a long way in appreciating the vast canvas that The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have bequeathed. [TNM]

Friday, May 27, 2011

Jatindranath and Jawaharlal

National Book Trust: Book release of “Bagha Jatin: Life and Times of Jatindranath Mukherjee” (authored by Prithwindra Mukherjee), India International Centre, Seminar Hall 1, Gate 1, 40 Max Mueller Marg, 12 p.m.]

Released by Pranab Mukherjee on Jawaharlal Nehru's death anniversary certainly constitutes a tight rope walking on the part of the veteran Congressman. Tathagata Satpathy as one of the speakers, of course, stands for Sri Aurobindo. [TNM]

Usher in Democracy in Ashram

[In a first, Kerala church elects head Indian Express -  May 27, 2011
Fifty-four years after the first Communist government was elected through ballots in Kerala, the Syro-Malabar Roman Catholic Church has democratically elected the next Church head. Mar George Alanchery, now serving as the bishop of Thakkala near ...]

Savitri Era Party has been consistently suggesting that Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry and Auroville should democratically elect their heads in a fair and transparent manner. [TNM]  

Google Yoga

From Tusar N. Mohapatra tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 27 May 2011 09:41 Subject Re: Sent to you by [TNM] via Google Reader: Open Practice: Can Psychopaths Be Enlightened? via ~C4Chaos

Google Reader is a great facility and over the years I have cherry picked nearly 200 feeds, not all of them equally active. Besides, Google Alert keeps on replenishing my inbox on more than a dozen topics. Then, of course, the continual scanning of Google News and conducting sundry searches, squeezing in a few You Tubes in between. All these happen in the normal course powered by sheer curiosity, and we may safely christen it as Google Yoga! [TNM]

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pavitra & Prapatti

[Re: Leaders of the Integral Yoga Posted - Thu May 26, 2011 2:23 am
But naturally one has to at least make the effort to do some kind of practice; mere book reading, visiting holy places and having a Master for the name sake is surely not enough. Dr Alok] [DEATH, DYING AND BEYOND: The Science and Spirituality of Death Alok Pandey (May 1, 2011]

More often than not, “mere book reading” is rubbished as if reading is no practice. Such anti-intellectual stance, decidedly, is impermissible in Integral Yoga. Swabhava and swadhrma are essential levers in steering one’s spatio-temporal trajectory; and, therefore, what was indispensable for Pavitra may not be appropriate for Prapatti. [TNM]

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

27-storey temple

[Quote, unquote - Business Standard -New Delhi - May 24, 2011
Ambani makes a lot of money from his business and he is entitled to spend it as he sees fit. Even so, there is something curiously insensitive to splurging on an over-the-top, 27-storey home that has no redeeming architectural qualities, in a country in which many Indians are homeless— even in Mumbai.]

Some say that he is being too greedy, but Tendulkar is merely cashing in on a mad craze for cricket and cricket luminaries. In India, it is only film personalities and cricket stars who attract the crowds, and, by extension, the advertising big bucks.]

[If you rob the idols, you ruin the temple Stars are key to cricket’s future, don’t knock them out LOKESH SHARMA The Indian Express Thursday, August 15, 2002
A cricket star earns well, lives well and is loved by everyone if he doesn’t lose his balance along the way. These stars are the wheels of an entire economy: administration, advertisers, sports goods manufacturers, marketing agencies, broadcasters, television channels, commentators and journalists and so on. They attract audiences to the benefit of the entire industry.
Yes, cricketers can earn lakhs — a couple of crores, maybe — in match fees. So do many middle-level MNC executives. But they usually don’t set pulses racing, adrenaline flowing across the country and through the world. The cricketers do; they are the reason people support a game. 
Take away the purse of these cricketers and you stand to rob the entire cricket economy. Children are inspired seeing Sachin in a Ferrari; how will they react if he rides a motorcycle? Take away the idols and you ruin the temple. Sachin in a Ferrari November 23, 2005 12:40 PM]

Like spectacle or carnival, celebrities exercise an uncanny attraction over the mass mind. They are the living legends and walking mythologies, besides being the engines of economy. From Britain to Bhutan, royalty is a roaring reality show now. Ergo, no complain if India generates a dozen or so wannabes. [TNM]  

Empowering the Parliament

Who should run the country? Our elected representatives or the students of technical institutions? Matters of public policy are best left to the MPs. That is what the Constitution of India envisages. Street politics may be good Nukkad theatre but it can't be a substitute for the Parliament and its inclusiveness.
It's a shame to see the well-heeled medicos making a spectacle of themselves on the quota-issue. It's high time they should also learn a little bit of sociology and political science. [Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 9:57 PM Friday, May 26, 2006]

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Maa-Mati-Manush, soil- tornadoes-hurricanes

our times, and that we should toil in concert for a theory of the universe and of life, in order that thus we may arrive at a mental disposition which shall make us really and truly civilized men.
... of all the catastrophes and misery of our times, and that we should work together for a theory of the universe and of life, in order that thus we may arrive at a mental disposition which shall make us really and truly civilized men.]

The Council mandate is obsolete in its wording. It is too vast and vague. It deserves to be more accurately formulated. There is a confusion of functions because the Council is asked to act as an executive body implementing decisions, as a judiciary in conflict resolution and as a supreme court of appeal in deciding conflicts between individuals or between individuals and working groups. We need to separate these functions because they have to be independent of each other and because they require people with different profiles and abilities. 12:05 PM]

[Maa Mati Manush 20 May 2011 ... We are humbled. We are thankful. This is a victory for 'Maa Mati Manush'. This will bring joy to Bengal. At this happy moment, let us remember the martyrs who have been part of this struggle for over 3 decades. We salute them." ~Mamata Banerjee.
The road to redemption does not lie in belittling our past, or in blindly imitating a vision and view of life that is alien to our temper and natural mode of being. The question then that we can pose ourselves is: what is it that precisely describes our uniqueness and captures the essence of our Indian-ness? It is that we do not consider our nation, our land of abode as dead matter. We consider it to be a living Being, we consider Her to be “Ma” (maa) - our beloved Mother. And we the people of that land are Her living children.]

[The puritanism of Marxists is intriguing: 22 May 2011 Swapan Dasgupta
Politburo member Brinda Karat has reminded those writing the CPM's obituary ...
In ordinary parlance, 'revisionism' involves the ability to think, re-think, fine-tune, question and even challenge existing beliefs and assumptions. It's because Galileo was a revisionist that the Flat Earth Society is close to extinction. Yet, 500 years ago, the fear of falling off the edge of the earth haunted explorers and even became a deterrent to commerce in some societies. 
To Communists, however, revisionism is about as abhorrent as 'popery' was to Anglicans in 17th century England. The analogy with the abstruse sectarianism that gripped Christian Europe after the Reformation is appropriate. For the fiercely God-fearing Puritans the good life meant rediscovering Biblical fundamentals. Right Angle]

[Social democracy, not communism : Politics : SA Aiyar : TOI Blogs 22 May 2011 SA Aiyar A post-election analysis by Brinda Karat shows how blind the CPM is to why...
This surely shows that the CPM’s future lies in converting itself to a social democratic party, junking its ideological commitment to Lenin, Stalin and Brezhnev. This is what Marxists in Eastern Europe did. Instead, the CPM condemns European Marxists for selling out. It cannot see that the constraints of Indian democracy have actually been a blessing that has given Marxists a better name in West Bengal than in Eastern Europe or the former USSR. The sooner it realizes this, the greater will be its chances of coming back to power.]

[larvalsubjects said on The Materialism of Onticology May 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm
What I’m proposing would require a completely reworking of Marxist thought because it would prohibit us from treating “relations to things as merely disguised relations between men.”. Things would no longer be vehicles for exclusively human dramas.
larvalsubjects said on The Materialism of Onticology May 21, 2011 at 10:02 pm
I see figures like Adorno as betrayals of Marx because they turn away from Marx’s materialism and return to idealism. What is it that Adorno is constantly analyzing? Ideology or cultural content. That is, alienated meanings and concepts projected on to the world. When Marx analyzes things like the factory or resources he remains in the orbit of materialism. What we saw with the Frankfurt school was the increasing retreat from anything pertaining to the material, instead focusing on “spirit” or the cultural alone. The world got reduced to a text to be read or deciphered, treating materiality as a mere carrier of human meanings.
larvalsubjects said on The Materialism of Onticology May 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm
Now as you pointed out in your initial post, Marx has some really stellar moments where he approaches what I’m talking about. Here I’m thinking particularly of his analysis of factories in Capital, where the factory takes on a life of its own with its own aims, introducing its own positive differences, forming us in a variety of ways, etc., in ways that can no longer simply be reduced to dynamics of value and capital. Value and capital play a role, but the factory contributes unique differences of its own.
An object-oriented Marxism would further develop these sorts of instances and similar ones you cite with respect to soil, attending to how things such as natural events (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, epidemics of disease, climactic changes, etc), new technologies, ocean currents, availability of resources, animals, epidemics in animals, etc., play a key role in organizing social relations throughout history. Here we get a series of actors that can’t be simply reduced to dynamics of capital but which certainly get intertwined with capital in all sorts of ways. Insofar as the human alone isn’t the sole participant in these social assemblages the human can’t be treated as the sole explanatory ground of why societies take the form they take. This is a massive project that hasn’t scarcely been thought through. There are some pointers in Marx, but there are also a number of tendencies in Marx that work against this sort of anlaysis.
larvalsubjects said on The Materialism of Onticology May 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm
The implicit subtext of that is the thesis that it’s primarily ideology that holds societies together. I don’t believe that’s the case. Indeed, I believe that substantial changes can be made at the ideological level through debunking and social relations can remain essentially the same. Ideology is only a very small portion of the story.
larvalsubjects said on The Materialism of Onticology May 22, 2011 at 12:43 am
A good materialism, in my view, multiplies agencies and does not advocate a fetishistic anthropocentrism. A good deal of critical and cultural theory, in my view, does not live up to that despite calling itself materialist.]

A robust ontology or “a theory of the universe and of life,” as Albert Schweitzer worded it, eludes us still. Nevertheless, Mamata Banerjee’s interplay of Maa Mati Manush and Levi’s Onticology do not seem to be too dissimilar in this context, and now it is a fertile ground for growing varieties of reworked Marxist world-views. [TNM]  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nandini Satpathy served The Mother

[Why Amma is the odd one out Sify
Then, there's the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. Some people may compare the mentoring of Aurobindo to that of MGR, but then, there are no reports of Jayalalithaa communicating telepathically with him, even in the movie roles they essayed together.]

When the spotlight is on women Chief Ministers, it is pertinent to remember Nandini Satpathy (1931 – 2006), who had a chequered political career. Although she was disliked for a while for the Emergency excesses, her stellar role in pushing the movement of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo forward in Odisha is a signal contribution. She remains a role model for women in Odisha. [TNM] 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Identity, and not fake unity, is the anchor of politics

The Congress Party survives owing to the mythology it inherits and the charisma Sonia Gandhi lends to it. Of late, it has turned thoroughly opportunistic by perfecting the art of choosing and dumping alliance partners. Policy shifts are never questioned and ambivalence is the name of the game. This is not an ideal state of affairs on the part of the largest party of the largest democracy.

Identity, and not fake unity, is the anchor of politics. If the recent election results really help a bipolar polity to evolve, then integrity, and not hypocrisy, will be needed the most. [TNM]  

Knowledge is a whip and Aspiration, the spur

Techniques of Yoga refined by various systems and schools look practical and impressive, but each psycho-physical discipline conceals a propensity for limiting and binding. Our spatio-temporal-corporal existence is susceptible to inertia and skills developed over a period of time tend to lull one into imagined progress. Moreover, once acquired, it is not easy to get rid of the past baggage.

Integral Yoga, on the contrary, constantly goads in the direction of new discoveries. The top-down approach is a powerful proposition and continuous psychological reengineering is a much potent means. “Knowledge is a whip” here and Aspiration, the spur. Savitri and The Life Divine, therefore, are essential companions in the path.

Integral Yoga, as against the popular notion, is not an amalgamation of disparate streams that come from the tradition. Nor is it a hybrid teaching in the search of results. It is an integrated system of self-culture with distinct prescriptions. Any attempt to tinker with it is hence hazardous and impudent. [TNM]    

Saturday, May 14, 2011

This world's a life sentence, Yoga turns it a love affair

Keeping a diary gradually appears as if one lives to write it. Just like the observer turning a participant in the experiment.  "It isn't the man who drinks the tea, it's the tea which drinks the man," quipped Jean Baudrillard. Wrote Larval Subjects recently, “Inverting the way we commonly talk and think about domestication, the book will explore how grasses, grains, various animals such as wolves, cows, cats, goats, and microbes, as well as technologies have conspired to domesticate human beings for their own ends.”

Thus, the contingent and the contextual is always a local event hardly amenable to any generalization or universalization. Empirical observations, therefore, carry the risk of throwing up highly impaired inferences. Practice of yoga, too, is a personalized affair and no two trajectories can be identical. Once one gains an entry into the continent of Integral Yoga, a million paths open for pursuing a life long love affair or even to escape. [TNM]

Religion matters

[Assembly polls: Kerala results show religious polarization Times of India - The voting pattern displayed a communal polarization across the state, with Christians and Muslims consolidating behind Congress-led UDF, and the Hindu areas going with the CPM-led LDF in almost a repeat of the 1987 state polls. … There were a few exceptions, but broadly, the Hindus gravitated towards the Left in reaction to the UDF's aggressive wooing of Christians and Muslims.] 

The victory in Assam and West Bengal too is indebted to Muslim vote. It would be unwise to overlook this prime fault line of Indian democracy. [TNM]

Friday, May 13, 2011

Policy vs. personality

[The people have got freedom: Mamata Indian Express - May 13, 2011 -At the threshold of history, all Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee could find was a mid-high footstool from which she delivered a short, emotional victory speech.]

[Jayalalithaa: Tamil Nadu's iron woman is chief minister once more Economic Times - CHENNAI: Jayaram Jayalalithaa, set to be Tamil Nadu's chief minister for a third time, began life as a small-time movie actress before becoming one ofIndia's most successful woman politicians.]

Liquidation of the Left is surely a fuel for glee, but with such mercurial women returning to power, there is every reason to be cautious and feel alarmed. It is apparent that the voters have no viable alternative, and inculcating personality cult is no balm for grassroots politics. Savitri Era Party reserves its right to disagree with all dominant parties on distinct policy parameters.

The TV channels are showing the picture of jubilation in Alipore Jail from across the river. Time for us to be prayerful and wait for our day with gratitude. [TNM]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Yoga & gender

[Pierre Bourdieu - Google Books Result - Richard Jenkins - 1992 - Social Science - 190 pages
The fundamental binary division, and the model for all others, is that of gender: 'The limit par excellence, that between the sexes, will not brook transgression ...’]

['TV is no longer exciting because I have done all that I had to do' 1 May In this Idea Exchange moderated by Shubhra Gupta, Film Critic, The Indian ... 
Ektaa Kapoor: I was very clear that people must feel that my heroines are one of them. In films, you need glamour dolls because it’s a male medium. On TV, men are the glamour dolls, you want a husband like Ram Kapoor or Ronit Roy; the women have to be one of us and you aspire to be like them.]

The dynamics of aspirants of both sexes living within the same community remains an ill-lit area. The ruthlessness with which gender relations outside are examined under the microscope should be a pointer to the kind of sensitivity and transparency that is expected from exalted organizations and their theoreticians. [TNM] 

All is not well in Auroville

[Dalai Lama at the University of Southern California, 3rd May 2011 posted by Debashish Banerji, Last Activity on May 7, 2011
The Dalai Lama said that practical concerns would give the specific shape, but generally speaking, he favored socialism. He called himself a Marxist, though not a Leninist. He believed in common ownership of resources but not coercive methods through power. The sense of protection for all and basic necessities of food, clothing, shelter, health and education for all was part of the idea of socialism, though he also believed in the positive energetic force which creative free enterprise brought to people.] 

A lot of good work has already been done among feminists, queer theorists, disability theorists, actor-network theorists, critical animal theorists, race theorists, Marxists, etc., in drawing our attention to the variety of actors and agencies that populate the social field, but I think we need to refine our conceptual tools to intensify this sort of research. Lurking in the background of humanist orientations in social and political theory is always the assumption of a particular type of agency that has certain generic shared features. This generic subject, of course, tends to be the white, “middle class”, western, academic male in control of his faculties (in Luhmannian terms, this is the blind spot in the “observing system” of a good deal of social and political thought).]

[Issues of inclusion v exclusion in Auroville posted by Rod, Last Activity on May 8, 2011
Has anyone noticed the long list of contentious problems and the “tortuous process” reported by the AVC last week, concerning the behavior of Aurovilians which is not acceptable, and which in a normal society would be illegal. When issues of illegality cannot be handled adequately by an alternative process, and when issues of social and cultural disharmony cannot be resolved by a community dedicated to Human Unity, do we not see that all is not well in the city of the future?] 

Good intentions alone are definitely not a guarantee for appreciatable outcomes. The current occurrences, therefore, are best tested upon the touchstone of common sense. Nostalgia and rigidity can be damaging to men in a fast changing world. All principles and prejudices, hence, need to be re-worked and re-invented in order to be future ready. Following the example of Dalai Lama in demitting office can certainly be a right step. [TNM]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reason & folklore

Far from being a mystic, Tagore was a man of reason, especially when compared with Gandhi. Tagore admired Gandhi enormously and insisted on calling him the “Mahatma”, stressed Sen, but he felt the latter’s ideas on sex and economics, for example, were downright dotty and even dangerous.]

[About time Indian Express - May 8, 2011
The fifth volume of its official history series, The Congress and the Making of the Indian Nation, deals with the period between 1964 and 1984, arguably the two most complex and troubling decades in its 125-year history. Naturally, Indira Gandhi’s ambiguous legacy dominates the volume.]

[I hate thin people: Ekta Kapoor Times of India - Garima Sharma - May 5, 2011
I used to be a human being earlier and now I am folklore because people think they know me even before they know me. You are going to throw a stone at us, or a mobile, your temper... and I am like, "Guys, there are no mandates! I'm a human being.]

Pen portraits will always be accused of misplaced perspective, and therefore, it won’t be easy to pronounce where history ends and mythology takes over. [TNM]

Friday, May 06, 2011

Karmayogin cadre

Sri Aurobindo came out of the Alipore Jail on May 6, 1909 and the speeches he delivered subsequently demonstrate his resolve to engage with the political and cultural regeneration in the country in a more concerted manner. Launching new journals also shows his long term action plan.

The political situation in India today after over a century is in a very bad shape. Savitri Era Party hopes to be a catalyst for ushering in wide ranging changes. [TNM]

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Human form is a hidden presence of truly mythological proportions

[Reading the paranormal writing us: an interview with Jeffrey Kripal from The Immanent Frame by Nathan Schneider
If there is anything I believe, it is that we are not who we think we are. “Mind” or “consciousness” is not some neurological froth or emergent property of the computer brain, much less some ethnic or religious ego. Rather, it is a non-spatial, non-temporal presence of proportions so vast and so fantastic that there is really no way to exaggerate it, and there is certainly no way to “explain” it with either the absolute contextualist and relativist epistemologies of the humanities or the objectivist epistemologies and na├»ve realisms of the sciences. Basically, I am suggesting that the human form is a hidden presence of truly mythological proportions. A recent dissertation, by Jason Kelly at the University of Ottawa, has attempted to capture my thought under my own early rubric of “mystical humanism.” I accept that. Everything religious can indeed be reduced to the human, but it turns out that the human is not at all what we thought. That is very close to “what I believe.”]

Beyond Natural Selection and Intelligent Design: Sri Aurobindo’s Theory of Evolution Ulrich J Mohrhoff Abstract … An outline of Sri Aurobindo’s theory of spiritual evolution is presented. Ultimate Reality relates to each world (ours need not be the only one) as the substance that constitutes it, as a consciousness that contains it, and as an infinite joy that expresses and experiences itself in it. In our world, Ultimate Reality is “playing Houdini,” enchaining itself as best it can, challenging itself to escape from self-created darkness and inertia, to rediscover its true self and powers, to affirm itself in conditions…]

[Extended Mind and Political Theory from Larval Subjects - Apr 30, 2011
Andy Clark’s central, and surprising thesis, is that mind is not what exists between the ears, but is rather the mesh of brain, body, and world itself. At the beginning of Supersizing the Mind, Clark relates an anecdote from Feynman to illustrate this idea. Charles Wiener had expressed delight in discovering a collection of Feynman’s notes and sketches, indicating how wonderful it was to have a record of Fyenman’s day-to-day work.]

The perennial philosophy crowd would not care to notice the volcanic effect of The Life Divine. The immense contribution of Sri Aurobindo to ontological speculations, therefore, is still outside popular conception. Appreciating his works, of course, needs commitment and application. But, maintaining a devotional approach is no less important. [TNM]

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

No more hiding for Hindi

On a couple of occasions, I remember, Mohan Joshiji might have convinced someone for purchasing Savitri at the Book Fair, and if he insists on the Hindi translation, then the search for the book would begin. But no luck. Dr. Gyanchandra used to hide the copies and was loath to recommend them. 

I'm happy, therefore, to read his eulogy for the recent Hindi transcreation by Dr. K. N. Varma in the current Karmdhara. [TNM]

Cure the rot at the root

Prafulla Mahanta came to power through popular agitation but failed to deliver. Chandrababu Naidu came through the dynasty route and was tech-savvy, but couldn’t be re-elected. The Anna campaign, thankfully, has triggered a rich discourse on the dynamics of Indian democracy, but no one is willing to cure the rot at the root level. We are perhaps not mature enough to handle a UK referendum like move on voting procedures. That’s a long way from lighting candles at India Gate. [TNM]