Monday, December 31, 2012

Purity and prosperity

The tag, “a realised person” has a great value in India. The person is understood to be acting directly under the light of his Self or Spirit and hence is revered by those who come under his influence. The message travels by word of mouth and followers grow through various crowd gathering methods. Such entrepreneurship is an ancient art which has been perfected by incorporating latest communication technologies. Conveniences of hospitality industry and healing retreats are common now responding to the growing prosperity.

Charitable institutions in sectors like health, education, and ecology are the next step with full scale corporate governance. What Bankim Chandra conceived in Anandamath has undergone modifications beyond recognition. Purity prescribed by The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, therefore, should be our perpetual endeavour. [TNM55] 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A case for Integral Education

Religion is a collective affair with a liberal sprinkling of festivals. Celebrations, obviously, are happy and colourful occasions the visual aspect of which is amply exploited by TV media. The effect of such reinforced endorsement upon the young generation is enormous and, therefore, we observe an enhanced scale of religious and related activity in the society today. How to confront this trend with more cerebral inputs like the teaching of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is an exceedingly challenging task.

Integral Yoga, with its emphasis on personal effort for transformation of human nature is an acute need among the people now. Simultaneous reliance on the Divine force coupled with an ethical anchorage in day-to-day dealings that is voluntarily applied through an inner discipline can form the basis of an enduring reservoir of social capital in the country. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, fortunately, have left behind the entire range of wherewithal for accomplishing such a national resurgence.

Undue dependence upon our past, however, retards any headway in this path. Overlooking the riches from the West, likewise, impoverishes the march. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have painstakingly built a bridge between the two by harnessing whatever is valuable and can be helpful. The need of the hour is to respect their joint wisdom and rely upon their synthetic selection. Inculcating an intellectual milieu to contemplate upon such necessities of life – individually as well as at the collective level – is also of primary importance. Otherwise, we perpetually tend to drift directionless along a-furore-a-day inflicted by the TRP-hungry TV screens. [TNM55]  

Savitri Era entering the tent

Mike is right. “Just put up some pictures of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother in your house” and that’s the first ritual. But wait! Reverse the order; place The Mother’s photograph on the left and that’s the second ritual. Now the magic begins as they ease out all other idols like the proverbial camel. Call it Savitri Era or whatever; this is the scenario Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy sanctified as our fledgling Religion. He refused to look at what The Mother said or Sri Aurobindo wrote and valorized the faith of the follower, his incipient forms of practice and their autonomy occurring at the margin. Triumph of postmodernism!

Georges van Vrekhem “spoke about Sri Aurobindo and The Mother as the Two-in-One, the double-poled Avatar of the Supermind.” His books selling worldwide form a forceful foundation for the new Religion.  In his paper titled, “Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism Peter Heehs snaps the umbilical cord with clinical precision, thus facilitating the birth of a new Religion. M. Alan Kazlev’s clarion call to accept the impetus of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo as central focus of the so-called Integral movement further cemented it on the global stage. Although, disregarding such robust theoretical and factual justifications is not easy for anyone now, the resistance of the older generation is likely to persist for a decade or so.

The fierce Secular-Communal debate in India is a superb springboard for Savitri Era Religion for showcasing its advantages as a potent alternative. Dwelling on the mythology surrounding the pantheon of iconic philosophers of Western thought supplies a brilliant narrative that, as well, constitutes a smart and subversive strategy to circumvent the compulsion or impulsive need to fall back upon Judeo-Christian antecedents. Leveraging Sri Aurobindian Ontology, thus, can disabuse people of bigotry and fanaticism. [TNM55]

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Heehs can easily say to err is human

“The intersection of religion and nationalism remains an unresolved issue,” wrote Mohanty in Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader (Rutledge: 2008 & Rimina’s first assignment) and within a few months all hell broke loose via Heehs imbroglio. Observing the drama unfold over a period of five years leaves one with the impression that Heehs’ original gripe remains unchanged except for the fact that he, himself, is now a confirmed perpetrator of “prejudice and misunderstanding against Sri Aurobindo.” What a fall!

Last month, I stumbled upon Indian Religions: A Historical Reader of Spiritual Expression and Experience in the Sahitya Akademi Library and got it issued. Browsing through the heavy tome leisurely at home evoked the feeling of how its author has really gone through the grind. And yet, the irony of he being charged as an atheist or anti-national! But his enigmatic “dignified silence” is partly to blame, perhaps. [TNM55]

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sri Aurobindo advocates a religious ethos for nationalism

Tweets 23 Dec - @satyamevajayate Reciting Savitri and reading The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo is perhaps the best means for spreading sanity and harmony.  View conversation
23 Dec - Savitri Era Party @SavitriEraParty May the youth of my country follow the words of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo instead of chasing quick-fix solutions in Rajpath and India Gate. 23 Dec Those who are fueling anarchy in the name of securing instant justice through direct democracy are enemies of national interest and harmony 23 Dec The alacrity with which some national level players jump regularly to fish in troubled waters without thought sends shivers down the spine. 23 Dec - @raj393 No instant solutions barring invoking the teaching of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. Halting moral degeneration is a long-term process. 23 Dec - @raj393 Mere security and secularism is not enough for inculcating character. Sri Aurobindo has advocated a religious ethos for nationalism.  View conversation
20 Dec From now on as the search for a new iDom begins, the idiom of Indian politics goes for a toss. Religion and its pseudo version under scanner. 13 Dec [International Research Network on Religion and Democracy presents an international conference ‘Are We Postsecular?’ 13–14 Dec. 2012 at LSR] 10 Dec - @OUPAcademic @philosophybites "Matter, the usual philosophical pariah, is spiritual, and has been treated with due respect" by Sri Aurobindo.  View conversation
5 Dec Neither Ambedkar nor Savarkar, Sri Aurobindo is the true beacon of light for guiding the future of India and the world in the 21st Century. 1 Dec - @SathyaSher @alok_bhatt @kshetragnya Read Sri Aurobindo's Human Cycle and all theoretical confusion will melt away. Ignorance is no glory.  View conversation
29 Nov Give must not spur any give and take ... For to know how to wait is a heroic trait. …
28 Nov The philosophy of Sri Aurobindo has not been accepted on a wide scale till now, but then no other philosophy has been universally accepted. 28 Nov "गो is cow or cattle, no problems there" surmises @bibekdebroy, but no, then what is Goloka or Gaveshana? Sri Aurobindo comes to the rescue. 28 Nov What is the meaning of life? The simple answer is LIFE. L = Light, I = Immortality, F = Freedom, E = Ecstasy or Bliss. …
28 Nov A confluence of myth, history & philosophy, Savitri, like Suez Canal, ensues unhindered East-West commerce of culture. …
28 Nov Admirers of Swami Vivekananda are legion but only a minuscule of them has read the works of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. …
26 Nov - @saliltripathi With a slight modification of course, with Sri Aurobindo and his 1947 Five Dreams as the pivot. @sabhlok -  View conversation

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Greek philosophy is no freak

He does not realise the difference between a historical movement like ancient Greek philosophy (which exists only in textbooks) and the varied Indian ‘darshanas’ which are still practised, because he is cut off from any living tradition except secular science.]

Considering the current agitations against corruption and crime against women, we Indians certainly can’t claim any superior status of practising ‘darshanas’ or deprecating Western philosophy. Heehs imbroglio shouldn't be a pretext to spread prejudice against academics and critical reason. [TNM55]

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Joke, dogma, and nostalgia

[Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Savitri Era Religious Fraternity": Posted to Savitri Era at 12:41 AM, December 15, 2012 Is this a joke?
“. . . I do not care a button … publicity for its own sake desirable." Sri Aurobindo

The aforesaid quotation is a candid expression by Sri Aurobindo as assessed during his own time. It’s certainly no joke but no dogma either. Considering the volatile political situation of the subcontinent which continues to simmer over religious issues since Sri Aurobindo left, current attitudes need to be moulded along pragmatic lines sans any clinging to nostalgia. Not by faceless recitation of the Master’s words but by grappling with the reality now that we can become better instruments of The Mother. [TNM55] [Cf. 7:27 PM]

Monday, December 10, 2012

Value, valence, convenience

[The Memory Bank » The Book The two great memory banks are language and money. Exchange of meanings through language and of objects through money are now converging in a single network of communication, the internet. We must learn how to use this digital revolution to advance the human conversation about a better world. Our political task is to make a world society fit for all humanity… As for our times, the following trio capture something of what I have aimed for in this book: Castells’s The Rise of the Network Society, Latour’s We Have Never Been Modern and Gregory’s Savage Money.]

[Stability and Change by larvalsubjects Dec 10, 2012
Philosophy scarcely has concepts of work and energy due to its idealist tendencies. For philosophy it is always a question of the intelligible, the conceptual, the ideaspirit. Philosophy is largely blind to work and energy because of the relative class position of philosophers. They seldom encounter the issue of building something, maintaining something, coordinating an organization, etc. They thus tend to separate form and matter, treating form (the idea/concept/essence) is the really real, ignoring the energy or work that goes into maintaining a form. As is always the case, there are exceptions to this rule: Leibniz, Nietzsche, Marx, Bergson, Deleuze, etc. But philosophy is nonetheless largely blind to the material work, the energy, required for form. It dreams of a world that is nothing but thought and that can be grasped in a glance by thought.]

[Philosophy East & West - Volume 5 - Page 244 - Project Muse - 1955 - Nonetheless, on the purely theoretical level, Aurobindo made a monumental attempt to bring together Eastern and Western political ideas. Ultimately, all political philosophers involve an element of faith. To a pure materialist, Plato and St. Darshana international - Volume 31 - Page 30 - 1991 - S K. Maitra", matter, which is the usual philosophical pariah, is spiritual, and has. therefore, been treated with due respect, Evolution is a spiritual movement from bottom upwards, the raising of the lower to the higher level. Aurobindo thus thinks...]

The freedom Life had in her own native region is curbed with the entry of mind. In that freedom there could exist extreme possibilities, of the denial of the material world or else the refusal of the ideal-spiritual. All became geometric, well-organized, systematized, as if there was everywhere a digital precision. Things had to be got done following regulations and protocols. Sort of Victorian restrictions governed moods and manners. Life, a young maiden, had to observe fixed etiquettes and social customs. The impetuosity, the vibrancy, the unbridled passion had no place in this world.]

I was putting forth a more nuanced understanding of the topic based on interactions with many people.]

The moral, ethical and spiritual principles originate on a different plane than material substance, and thus, we must be able to eventually identify with and understand the native level of action of the energies operative on these other planes, in order to create a clear sense of the laws that are operative there.]

The dual sense of meaning as well as money conveyed by the term Arth (that sounds so similar as Earth) is verily a pregnant facet since the significance stretches onto Sat-Chit-Ananda. While bracketing Rtam (rhythm or order) with the moral or ethical may not be always free of problems, still an overarching Harmony handling all impetuosity is easily appreciated. Thus, value can as well denote valence ensuing convenience. [TNM55]        

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Economic paradigm of Sri Aurobindo Ashram needs scrutiny

All said and done, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry today represents a lived reality that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Bankim’s Anandamath and the concept of Anushilan through Bhawani Mandir and Prabartak Sangha along with The Mother’s Idea took a concrete shape forsaking the world-negating doctrines of the past. The material basis that The Mother established then has been the bedrock over the years for the lofty ideal of Sri Aurobindo to survive as a possibility. But whether The Ashram has been able to take advantage of the changes during the four decades after The Mother is hugely debatable.

Call it a cult, religion, or spirituality, the Community, indisputably, is an economic reality. There is no escape from consumption as there is no escape from the waves at the sea beach or the sunrise. Further, it’s also true that the consumption profile follows a pattern and thus constitutes a paradigm which has a chance of being perceived as prescriptive. Integral Yoga, by itself, lacks firmness in formulation and avoids rigid characterization. Given the puerile predicament of the Parliament over FDI last week, it’s expected that The Ashram doesn’t remain as a showpiece of discredited manifestoes of the last Century. [TNM55]       

Friday, December 07, 2012

Heilsgeschichte, Enantiodromia, and End of history

Nothing in this world enjoys unmixed bliss. For Continental fare there is Analytic Philosophy and for Correlationism, there is Speculative Realism and OOO. For Capitalism, Socialism is the constant companion and for neo-Darwinism and Evolution there is Intelligent design (ID). As the last landmark date of the Century 12-12-12 is knocking at the door, it really seems like it’s end of history.

Everything has been written, sung, or captured on celluloid. From Armada to World Wars and 9/11, everything has happened. What remains is perhaps only parody and repetition. Nothing has been settled either in theory or in science. The heart cries out, “Why is it all, the labour and the din, … Where leads the march, whither the pilgrimage?” Nevertheless, (55m Savitri Era Party ‏@SavitriEraParty) I learnt about two new words today: Heilsgeschichte & Enantiodromia. … [TNM55] 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Savitri Era Religious Fraternity

It appears that I am the only one so far in favour of Savitri Era Religion. While one faction accuses the other to have created a religion out of the teaching of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and they sheepishly deny the charge, I have been appealing in the open to accept the reality of a new religion and move on. Many have marshaled copious quotations from the writings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo against religion, whereas I have offered ample justifications from time to time on various grounds. It’s understandable that a matter of such grave concern will not be resolved so easily but it’d be in order to elaborate upon my views on this contentious topic.

Not only I consider myself fortunate to have been instrumental in advancing this new orientation, but also am confident that my life’s unique journey has ensured this which, obviously, no one else has traversed and hence is incapable of articulating. By the same logic, without undergoing those particular quests and confronting those exact contradictions, others are less likely to be convinced by the rationale I propose. Needless to mention that these perceptions I draw from postmodernism which – and this needs to be mentioned prominently – has thrown enormous clarity into my comprehension of the writings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo.

Be that as it may, the singular concern that runs through all my expositions is perhaps the practical aspect. Without the burden of an academician’s attentiveness towards textual fidelity or an institution-head’s instinctive sticking to legality, I have been able to spread a viewpoint that is in sync with today’s reality. Regular blogging and combing the net has also enabled me to test those ideas as bounced against a wide range of opinions and speculations. Heehs imbroglio unearthing sordid facts through washing of dirty linen in public has also imparted much maturity to my thinking. The prism of politics, besides, adds perspective to my support for a new religion.

If we look at the world situation in general and the condition of India in particular, it becomes apparent that disdain for poetry and philosophy is on the rise whereas Sri Aurobindo had chosen these genres precisely to deliver his message. So, those of us believe that his thought must reach people in a wider scale watch helplessly how inadequate is the functioning of existing institutions. Thus, setting up an effective mechanism for dissemination of their teachings becomes an urgent task. (The example of Anna Hazare acquiring rapid popularity is an eye opener, in this context). There can be no dispute with the fact that only a new religion can offer a secure institutional framework for such a venture. Thus, building a suitable brand for easy and swift recall is a basic necessity. Besides, harnessing technology for tackling linguistic and cultural barriers is a challenging duty.

There is no gainsaying the fact that we are drawn to The Mother & Sri Aurobindo through our religious sentiments. But the members of this fraternity are so small in number and lay scattered that nothing visible can be spotted. Neglect by the media coupled with ignoring by the academia makes The Mother & Sri Aurobindo almost unknown. As a result, young admirers fail to muster courage to pursue their interest for long and, eventually, defect to more glamorous arena. A political bulwark, therefore, is an essential aid to effective brand building. A religious-political ecosystem also provides the young with a salutary initial firm ground instead of the prospect of encountering skepticism head on.                    

Most political parties in India run on feudal lines with quasi-religious reverence displayed by the followers. Suitable mythologies are also propagated through round the year events and celebrations. The teachings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo also need publicity. If Sri Aurobindo himself had consented for a radio broadcast on August 14, 1947, then there is no reason why we don’t tap all communication avenues to diffuse his message. Those who concentrate on personal Yoga and sadhana may continue to do so but should not discourage this collective aspect of the Masters’ vision and its on-ground execution. Likewise, Ashramites, too, need not be concerned with what happens beyond their secure domains. [TNM55]   

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Founding a new religion is not an easy task

Their recent posts imply that Levi and Harman are no longer as confident about OOO as they were a year ago. RSS has come in for scathing attack even from faithfuls for its functioning as a secret society. AAP seems clueless about its future and no clarity has emerged on policy front. Leftist rhetoric is tottering under the weight of clinging to false hopes but is surviving through polysyllables.

RC is right in catching discrepancies in The Mother's utterances, but he must understand the balancing act she had to perform in the face of multi-pronged resistances. Founding a new religion is not an easy task and sugarcoating the cruel truth is always permitted. The choice is either to have faith or move away but whining all the while and creating nuisance perennially doesn't behove of a person who values diversity. His academic interrogations, however, are welcome. [TNM55]

No online evaluation of experiences

Again, when I pointed out to him how some seekers, not all of them disciples of Sri Aurobindo, had profound spiritual experiences while reading the book, he struggled his shoulders disdainfully with a “may be”… Truth cannot be ascertained by democratic opinion and feeling.  Just because many or even a majority of humanity has a similar feeling does not necessarily mean that it is true. For in our present condition of human evolution only a few can feel or perceive the deeper truth… If truth can be known by democratic feeling, then there is no need of philosophy, science or spirituality and great thinkers, scientists or sages.  A ballot-box is enough to know the truth!]

[Mimicry, mockery or mumukṣutva? A response to Deepak Sarma, by Jeffery D. Long from Love of All Wisdom I have my white Hindu convert experience.  Sarma has his diasporic Hindu experience. Are one of these experiences authentic and the other somehow fraudulent?  Or are they both simply different experiences and expressions of an ancient, diverse, yet emerging and ever new, religious tradition? 9:52 AM]

[“The metaphysical order of the invisible hand” Chris Allsobrook 29 November, 2012 Thought Leader (Mail & Guardian), South Africa HERE. There is no invisible hand guiding the market; just the grubby hands of individuals engaged in transactions. Moreover, the “market”, like “society”, is not a category into which each member identically fits. Offending Markets or the Gods? from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy]  

[R November 14, 2012 Permalink But if one speaks of an immanent experience of Divinity why limit the experience to yogis? Doesn’t everyone have experiences of things sublime or beautiful that are incomprehensible? – and I dont mean just the experience of artist or poets – R+ November 16, 2012 Permalink I certainly do not question the magnitude of experience you have personally had, it was obviously profound and in fact perhaps I have had the same experience myself. But, … my point is not that some people may or may not have had any particular experience including a “spiritual” one but rather, the fact that the very act of labeling the spontaneous experience as “spiritual” is itself an act of faith, namely faith in a signifier to describe what is real.
In this instance one has faith that the culturally or systematically determined signifier “spiritual” in fact signifies ones personal experience. The process entails one matching up ones subjective experience (signified) with its objective social definition (signifier). In this instance the signifier is spirituality. But spirituality has in fact meant many different things to many different cultures and systems of beliefs and so the process of signification as relates to spirituality is a complex one…
I am voicing the concern that for the purposes of intersubjective communication, for achieving understanding within a civitas or polity constituted by a population with a multiplicity of beliefs that intersubjective comprehension has to be anchored in a system in which truth claims can be measured by evidence… But some valuations of standards of competing truths claims are needed for that matter even within a particular community such as a community of sadhaks – as evidenced in the Ashram, where conclusions are reached about text without even reading them- here too there maybe a multiplicity of competing interpretations as to what the spiritual life means.] 

[1h - inpondy ‏@PondyTweets - @Back2Vedas Don't know if it offends him. (Does anything?) But standing rule for disciples was abstain from petty politics. 1h If you don't consider yourself one it doesn't matter. Don't know why it struck me today. Btw I am apolitical and dnt care abt it.]

[Difference between religion and spirituality by Sandeep on January 24, 2010 The spiritual approach to such confusions is to neither believe nor disbelieve the problematic assertions in question but to lay them on the side for later resolution… Truth has to be rediscovered. Until then, everything one reads and receives is second-hand knowledge.]  

Srinivasan, on the one hand, is basing his argument on the experiences of ‘some seekers’ while denouncing the ‘ballot-box’ principle, on the other. Besides, how he authenticates the veracity of others’ experiences – ‘profound’ or otherwise – is also not clear. So, RC’s sympathetic skepticism – to give devil the due – constitutes a more valid benchmark in the circumstances. But how all the Heehs’ hounds so uniformly accede to Das Gupta’s divine right to rule for ever is something beyond comprehension. Even the pre-Glorious Revolution era four centuries back never saw such wholesale mechanical reproduction of acquiescence. The forthcoming 12-12-12 is a landmark date for him to resign, by the way. [TNM55]  

A nice introduction but the object of purging or removal of defects and weaknesses seems to be too reductionistic. The right word, therefore, is Transformation and if the Fifth Chapter of “The Mother” is any guide, a progressive self-offering accomplishes the job acting affirmatively within a constant ontological awareness (of Grace). [TNM55]