Friday, April 25, 2008

I was an activist judge. Now, I have grown wiser

[Home News India North India New Delhi ‘Activist judge to wiser judge’
Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times New Delhi , April 22, 2008
Justice Markandeya Katju, who has been consistent in his stand against judicial over-reach in the recent past, has grown wiser after being elevated to the Supreme Court.
In a candid admission before a crowded courtroom, he said on Monday: “I was an activist judge when in the Allahabad High Court. Now, I have grown wiser
and changed my philosophy.” Justice Katju’s admission came during the hearing of the Mayawati government’s appeal against an Allahabad High Court order restraining the state administration from changing the Lucknow Master Plan to allow construction of Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s memorial in a ‘green belt’.
Responding to the state government’s plea for setting aside the High Court order, senior advocate K.T.S. Tulsi showed him a demolition order passed by him on January 20, 2004 while he was a judge in the Allahabad High Court. Tulsi intended to convince Justice Katju to take an activist role to stop the Mayawati government from going ahead with construction in the ‘green belt’.
Justice Katju, who recently hit the headlines after saying that courts cannot run the government, had then restrained the state government from changing the Lucknow Master Plan to permit commercial and industrial activity in residential areas. The case also relates to an amendment of the Lucknow Master Plan to allow construction of the memorial in Ambedkar Park.
Though Justice Katju admitted being an activist judge in the past, he disagreed with Tulsi’s contention that courts could intervene if a state government brazenly flouted the law. “Is it correct to pass an order restraining Parliament from making laws?” he asked.
Through the 2004 order, Justice Katju had directed removal of illegal encroachments in Lucknow. The judge, who has criticised the Delhi High Court’s activism in demolishing unauthorised constructions and appointing court commissioners, had himself constituted a committee for monitoring implementation of the court orders. Along with another High Court judge, Justice Katju had specifically asked the committee members not to buckle under any kind of pressure, including those from politicians.
He had further stopped illegal construction on several green belts in Lucknow. “Lucknow is the capital of the state. It should look like the capital city with modern infrastructure, modern facilities and amenities,” Justice Katju had said in his order that also dealt with lack of adequate parking facilities in the city.]

The “Now, I have grown wiser” remark by Justice Katju, not only exposes how subjective judicial pronouncements are, but also raises several interconnected issues as regards Ends and Means in Private and Public Life. It also substantiates the old notion that wisdom rises with age, and hence, the young must wait before they are allotted responsible assignments.

Arun Shourie once opined that one need change his profession several times over. Does this mean that age limits be fixed for various vocations depending upon the level of wisdom required? Now, what about the upcoming Advani vs. Rahul Gandhi wrestling episode? And, what about our all-knowing but under-age columnists, analysts, and blog-tenders? [TNM]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In Sri Aurobindian ontology these problems simply don’t arise

Hume’s revolutionary theory of causality echoing Nagarjuna ushered in an era of Emergence and Uncertainty. Husserl’s frustration with Logical Positivism led to the discovery of the Life-world and the Pre-reflective. Making mountains out of molehills have been valid philosophical ventures but in Sri Aurobindian ontology these problems simply don’t arise. [TNM]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Adam Smith was never an ideologue. Justice in society is essential

[The chapter in Wealth Of Nations to which Dani Rodrick refers demonstrates the authentic Adam Smith who was never an ideologue of any kind. What worked was more important than what fitted a ‘theory’ of what ought to work. The problem of bank paper (currency notes) was compounded by the behaviours of individuals – not all expressions of self-interest lead to socially beneficial outcomes, as students of Adam Smith know, but Nobel Prize winners in economics sometimes don’t, let alone legions of ‘top’ academics who pontificate on ‘his’ alleged theories with all the arrogant certainties of what Smith called ‘men of system’. Dani Rodrik exposes the silliness of the so-called libertarian: ‘If my purchase harms me, I have nobody to blame but myself. I cannot plead for a government bailout’. They ignore the fact that a banking crisis does not just harm the individual; it harms many others who were not party to the individual’s transaction. Justice in society, said Adam Smith (and similarly, said David Hume) is essential, otherwise it would ‘crumble into atoms’, and justice is not just about apportioning ‘blame’ to individuals who contribute to the problem, it is also about protecting other individuals who are affected by such actions.
Dani Rodrik Wins April's Lost Legacy Prize
via Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy on 4/22/08]

[Cities still do not matter in their 'politics'. This is how the word 'politics' has lost its meaning. It meant something else in ancient Greece. In means something else in the western world. It means something completely different in contemporary India. And I think it was Confucius who said: "When words lose their meaning, the people will lose their freedom." See my "The Purpose of Politics".
Politics - from Pericles to Rahul Gandhi
via ANTIDOTE by Sauvik on 4/21/08]

If “Justice" is really so crucial to both politics and economics, then a whole new political culture must take root. Savitri Era Party is awake to the urgency and would like to stick its neck out. [TNM]

Savitri Era Party does not subscribe to these views of muscular nationalism

[Why must India kow-tow to China? Rediff Home » India » News » Columnists » Francois Gautier
April 18, 2008: For 60 years, China has humiliated India at every step... India has also to wake up to the plain fact that China needs space and has hegemonic aspirations: It got Tibet, it got Hong Kong, it got part of Ladakh; now it wants Taiwan, Arunachal Pradesh, the Spratly islands and what not!
Fifty years ago, during the Korean war, Sri Aurobindo, had seen clearly in the Chinese game: 'the first move in the Chinese Communist plan of campaign is to dominate and take possession first of these northern parts and then of South East Asia as a preliminary to their manoeuvres with regard to the rest of the continent in passing Tibet as a gate opening to India.' ... Never has India faced a darker hour whatever gurus say. Never has she faced so many enemies at the same time -- and truly China is one of the most dangerous ones. Yet India always bends backwards to please the Chinese.]

[He foresaw the future Claude Arpi, The Pioneer Sunday April 20, 2008: Sri Aurobindo's 'last' letter is a sad reminder that his vision is far from having percolated to our 'contemporary' leaders in the South Block, more addicted to the Bolshevik (now called Marxist) diktats than to national interests. What Sri Aurobindo wrote 58 years ago is still valid today:
"Militarily, China is almost 10-times as strong as we are (this has recently been admitted by Defence Minister AK Antony)... the primary motive of Mao's attack on Tibet is to threaten India as soon as possible."
Though the recent intrusions in Tawang or the planned diversion of Brahmaputra are signs that the danger looms large over India, who realises the relevance of Sri Aurobindo's words? Will India have to go through another traumatic experience? Let us hope not.
1:01 PM]

[Hindus must create a new intelligentsia that has the power to overcome and absorb the alienated and Western dominated intellectuals of India, projecting an intellectual view that is articulate and compelling. They must turn Sanatana Dharma into a world cultural force, not merely a religious curiosity. For a culture that has produced such thinkers as the Vedic seers, Upanishadic sages, Kapila, Buddha, Patanjali and Shankara, and in the modern times Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharshi, this is certainly possible. In fact such great modern figures of India as Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda are good models of intellectual Kshatriyas as well as spiritual masters. Clearly the success of Hindus in such intellectual fields as science and medicine shows that they have the capacity. What is lacking is the motivation, the guidance, and perhaps the inspiration.
This article is taken from the book 'Awaken Bharata: a Call for India's Rebirth', by David Frawley...director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies.
9:06 AM]

Savitri Era Party does not subscribe to these views of muscular nationalism and dissociates itself from such speculative formulation of our foreign policy ostensibly based on Sri Aurobindo's remarks. [TNM]

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Nothing irrational or incredible; nothing abnormal or miraculous

[But there would be nothing supernatural or miraculous in such an evolution, except in so far as it would be a supernature or superior nature to ours just as human nature is a supernature or superior nature to that of animal or plant or material objects... It is not irrational to suppose that at this much higher stage of the evolution a similar but greater progression starting from these rudimentary beginnings might lead to another immense development and departure...

There is nothing in this future evolution of the being which could be regarded as irrational or incredible; there is nothing in it abnormal or miraculous: it would be the necessary course of the evolution of consciousness and its forces in the passage from the mental to the gnostic or supramental formulation of our existence. This action of the forces of Supernature would be a natural, normal and spontaneously simple working of the new higher or greater consciousness into which the being enters in the course of his self-evolution... Page 1043 Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > The Life Divine Volume-19 > The Divine Life]

Words more reassuring that ring of certainty are hard to find even if we scan all the books of the world in all the languages. [TNM]

Geography, Geometry, and the Zodiac

[An Interview with Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet was published in Bhavan's Journal, Volume 54, Issue 1 on the 15th of August in conjunction with India's Independence Day, and Sri Aurobindo's 135th birthday. Part II of the interview was published on August 31st in Volume 54, Issue 2. The Interview is titled 'India's True History is in its Myths'. 'Evergreen Essays' has posted the interview in three segments. Link to Part I, Part II - A, and Part II - B. quantumyoga.org]

Stella Kramrisch concerned herself to the symbolism behind the geometry of temple architecture. Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet is prosecuting an analogous venture at www.quantumyoga.org based on Cosmology & Mythology among other things. Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference by David Harvey also makes compelling reading in this context. [TNM]

“How do you make an economy grow?”...at this point at least, no such answer exists

[The point instead is that Chang is giving us a simple answer to the question “How do you make an economy grow?” when, at this point at least, no such answer exists. There have been innumerable studies, for instance, looking at the relationship between free trade and economic growth, and the only thing that’s clear is that neither free trade nor protectionism is a cure-all. The problem of disentangling all the factors that go into a country’s economic performance in order to isolate the ones that really count is a monumental task, and not one we have accomplished. Bad Samaritans is written with a kind of smug certainty that is, paradoxically, reminiscent of precisely the neoliberal triumphalism that it’s written against. What’s missing is a recognition of how mysterious the secret of economic growth remains, despite all the energy that economists have poured into solving it. Chang may know the answer—the rest of us will have to keep looking.
James Surowiecki writes the Financial Page column for the New Yorker...
bookforum.com Feb/Mar 2008]

An honest engagement with ontology can instill the "recognition of how mysterious the secret of economic growth remains" for which there is no other authentic treatise than The Life Divine. [TNM]

Friday, April 18, 2008

Orissa has the numbers, but lacks clout

Thanks to the persistent efforts of the pioneers like Prapatti, Orissa has the numbers today, but it lacks clout. The quasi-religious quest for an illusive Supramental dream anchored to intellectual-aesthetic sensitivity has spread so far and wide that its effect should have been felt distinctly outside the State in a normal way. But that is not the reality today after sixty glorious years.

Front-ranking intellectuals, politicians, journalists, and technocrats have been part of the movement in the past, and as a result a large number of educational and other institutions are functioning, but not a single has grown to rank as world-class. An identifiable brand is yet to emerge. If the leadership in number is to translate into actual leadership, then several management initiatives are needed.

On the language front, English has to be accorded equal status with Oriya. Seminars and workshops will have to be conducted exclusively in English so that they attract participation from across the globe.

Productive deployment of personnel should be a priority by assessing disguised unemployment, and diversifying into new activities. Similarly, allocation of assets -- real estate and otherwise -- needs periodical overhaul keeping revenue generation as well as wealth creation in mind.

In this entire endeavor, giving up the needless modesty is a necessity. Being media and market savvy is also a prime requisite. As thousands of students pass out from our schools every year, things must change very fast. [TNM]

Finance is like psychology. There are no definite answers, but with the right tools we get an idea

[Dangerous Expansion of the Fed's Power (by Don Boudreaux)
from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux
Bill Shughart has
a second essay published by The Independent Institute, on the unjustified and dangerous recent expansion of the powers of the Federal Reserve. A selection: "And most worrisome, the regulatory reform plan also empowers the Fed to ensure "market stability," watching for threats originating anywhere within the financial system, be it from commercial banks, investment banks, mortgage lenders, hedge funds or insurance companies. As economists have asked: if smart, highly paid Wall Street investment bankers with huge financial positions on the line failed to foresee the risk to which subprime mortgages exposed them, how can one expect a regulatory agency to do so? And, what steps will the central bank take to "stabilize" markets, if it does perceive a threat? Will it continue to bail out institutions who run into financial trouble?"]

[‘There are no business ethics, only naked greed’ ET 18 Apr, 2008, Shishir Prasad & Pravin Palande, TNN. Satyajit Das, author of Traders, Guns and Money, has spent more than 31 years teaching and practising in the exotic financial derivatives industry. "I am not against change if the change is good. But there are no ethics in the business anymore. What we have is naked greed,” he says. ..."This is a clear case of massive information asymmetry between the foreign bank, the Indian bank and the Indian firm...For many of the CFOs, the remuneration is built around ESOPs. This gives all the more reason for the CFO to manufacture earnings than the core product. This is what leads to all the problems... The knowledge is useful. It totally depends on how you use it... Anyway, finance is not as complex as it is made out to be. If I say that my job is simple, I may not be able to justify the amount of money that I make. Hedge fund managers and other financial professionals get the highest fees for their work. Can they justify the fees if their field is simple? The field is deliberately made complex so it can be closed-door and very few people can access it. Secondly, there are sub-industries that survive because the field is apparently complex. People write books and there are training classes which are very lucrative and this is an industry on its own. Finance is like psychology. There are no definite answers, but with the right tools we get an idea. If you understand the basic principles of finance and have some luck, you can end up making a lot of money."]

What better tool than Intuition that is the fodder of The Life Divine? [TNM]

Brits learnt nothing from their engagement with India

[110 Best Books: The Perfect Library from Integral Options Cafe by WH
The Telegraph UK posted an article that attempts to suggest what books in a variety of categories should be included in the perfect library. As always, these things are pretty arbitrary, and this list is British, so an American list might look a bit different. You can tell how British the list is by the fact that Ted Hughes, a minor poet at best, made the list in poetry. Silly, silly Brits. Still, the idea is interesting, as is the list. Here are a couple of the categories -- others include most major genres (sci-fi, romance, literary fiction, crime, and so on), as well as books that changed the world and books that changed your world.]

Evidently, The Life Divine is missing. Pity that the Brits learnt nothing from their engagement with India. [TNM]

Savitri Era Party is against propagation of the nihilistic philosophy of Buddhism

[The signs are clear: Maya is marching on
Vikas Pathak from The Indian Express Friday, April 18, 2008
The replicas of Parliament and India Gate at her recent rally, her slogans, her attack on Rahul-Mayawati makes no attempt to hide her national ambitions... In every Mayawati rally across the country, one finds an innovative social engineering at work. Aware of the deep emotional urge for a political agency among Dalits, her rallies have stuck to the core symbolism of Dalit empowerment and liberation. Before the predictably late arrival of the leader herself, the stage for her arrival is set through folk songs celebrating B.R. Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule, Sri Narayana Guru and Kanshi Ram.]

Savitri Era Party has nothing against Mayawati or any other national leader of SC/ST empowerment except for the propagation of the nihilistic philosophy of Buddhism by B.R. Ambedkar and his cohorts. [TNM] 7:28 AM

Charles Darwin and The Life Divine

[Charles Darwin on-line from Marginal Revolution by Tyler Cowen
Wow. It's supposed to amount to about 90,000 pages; here is an article about the project. Here are a few indicated highlights.]

Without The Life Divine the project is just an ant-hill. [TNM]

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How to fashion that right differential across the level playing field

[On Tibetans in India from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik
While discussing Tibet and Tibetans, it is rarely recognized that they are highly skilled traders...In my book, Tibetans in India should be treated exactly as the kings of Gujarat treated the Parsees when they fled Iran and took refuge there. The Parsees were skilled traders; they immediately struck roots; and even produced a JRD Tata: pioneer aviator and globally respected businessman. If the Tibetans in India are given the same freedoms that the Parsees got those centuries ago, I am confident that very successful businessmen will arise from their ranks too.] 10:43 AM

Admittedly, some people are more "skilled traders" than those belonging to other ethnic groups or castes, and thus, in a free trade scenario more economic advantage continues to accrue to them. Competition, though theoretically envisages equal opportunity for all, fails in effect to repair this skew. Hence, how to fashion that right differential across the level playing field is the crux of the matter. [TNM]

The wonder that is Savitri

[Seshagiri said... 6:39 PM, April 15, 2008
Can I have at any place on web, explanatory notes on Sri Aurobindo's epic poem - SAVITRI.- Please help me. -Seshagiri]

Tusar N Mohapatra said... 9:02 AM, April 16, 2008 Dear Seshagiri-ji

It is nice to see that you have developed an interest in Savitri, but my suggestion will be: Be patient. You need not go by line-by-line at the outset, but be curious and try to read about it wherever the mouse leads you. There is a narrative that runs through the epic, but the more important aspect is the message. So, you can just read a few lines at random, re-read them, contemplate over them, or, may be, write a few lines by way of explanation; that's how you will have the pleasure of discovery.

Yours fraternally, Tusar N. Mohapatra

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sri Aurobindo was dismissed by his contemporaries as a misguided enthusiast

[But history does not follow a predictable linear path, and we may recall an incident from India’s history when at the very beginning of the last century Aurobindo Ghose gave a call for ‘purna swaraj’, or full independence for India. The Indian National Congress was then just a deliberative body and the British Empire sat securely over nearly two-thirds of the globe. Aurobindo was surely dismissed by his contemporaries as a misguided enthusiast. After many turns of fortune both in India and the world, none of which could have been predicted in their detail on the day of that call to freedom, India finally got her full Independence, on the day Sri Aurobindo predicted, his birthday—15th of August 1947. The cultural logic of a nation and a people that has a past and a present is that it will have a future: the current task is to keep the door open for that future to emerge. Organiser Home > 2008 Issues > April 20, 2008
Insight - Tibet and China: Divergent routes to harmony By Madhuri Santanam Sondhi (The writer is director, ML Sondhi Institute for Asia-Pacific Affairs and can be contacted at
mssondhi@hotmail.com)]

A nice portrayal of Sri Aurobindo's vision and its relevance in the present day political maneuvers. However, a small correction is called for: Sri Aurobindo never “predicted” that India will be Independent on August 15, 1947. [TNM]

Flight of talent to USA during the last 60 years is more damaging than two Centuries of British colonialism

Educational infrastructure in India was painstakingly built during the British rule. But after Independence, a significant portion of our Professionals migrated to the USA. The calamity wrought by this flight of talent during the last 60 years has been far more damaging than the ill-effects of two Centuries of British colonialism. This trend is likely to reverse with our economy showing signs of taking off. But this whole phenomenon needs to be looked at not only from the economic angle but from a moral viewpoint too. [TNM]

Free Progress system of education and Free Market economy

The Free Progress system of education enunciated by The Mother is a remarkable innovation. It is interesting to juxtapose its rationale with the philosophy of Free Market economy. The innate instinct of man to acquire, to possess plays out copiously in both instances when no hindrances are applied. Moreover, avenues of free exchange in both the streams lead to aggrandizement and not decimation. [TNM]

Ananda Math to Andaman; Alipur to Life Divine

It is a shame that the saga of Barindra and his band of young lieutenants involved in a rag tag adventure of raging an armed revolution against the English administration hundred years ago has been blacked out from the national memory. When Bankim Chandra decided to include his poem, Bande Mataram in his novel, Ananda Math, perhaps the seed was cast. It sprouted when Bipin Chandra Pal launched the periodical, Bande Mataram with Sri Aurobindo spearheading the editorial. In the Maniktola Garden project can be seen the prelude to Ananda Math materializing. But the patriotic dreams of the passionate hearts would soon be tossed over to Andaman.

Come May 1908, it’s catastrophe for the young revolutionaries. They are all arrested and their wares confiscated. Sri Aurobindo too goes to police custody and would spend a year in the Alipur Jail as an undertrial. The prison liberates him and arms him with the secret of Life Divine, thus unveiling a new vista for him as well as the whole world. [TNM]

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sri Aurobindo's three insightful principles of education are beacons of hope and sapience

Larval Subjects [April 10, 2008 at 12:32 am] laments, "learning gets conceived as a brute transfer of information, where educators function as “senders” and students function as “receivers”, and knowledge amounts to the ability to reproduce..."

Sri Aurobindo's three insightful principles of education, in this context, stand out as beacons of hope and sapience. [TNM] 9:49 AM

Accept Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine as the substratum for all thinking

[Over time my writing became ever more elaborate and lengthy, always striving after that elusive goal. My point is that my writing wasn’t borne out of some set of Grand Ideas that I just had to get on paper– readers of Larval Subjects can attest to the fact that I lack such Ideas –but rather that my writing was undergirded by an entire libidinal economy pertaining to the “pleasures of the text” in the most literal sense of the term… Not the pleasures of content and meaning, but the jouissance of the smell of the paper, a stapled spine, blue ink, the heft of a lengthy paper in your hands, the way a paper opens when you staple long the spine, and so on… An assemblage of impressions without any meaning beyond that. Molar Machines and the Psychology of Bureaucrats– An Incoherent Rant
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects ]

[Now, you wouldn't know it, but these thoughts were prompted by two books I'm currently reading, Creative Tension, by Michael Heller, and another one that shall go unnamed (file it under integral/new age/evolutionary). In the case of Heller, he is an unusual man, in that he is both a first rate physicist with a specialty in cosmology, and a Catholic priest and theologian. However, he is refreshingly cautious about how science and theology relate to one another, and this book, although challenging, is proving to be a sort of psycho-spiritual disinfectant, helping me to clarify certain intuitions of mine and make them more explicit. Beyond that, it is helping me to grapple with the fundamentals of my worldview, which is always healthy. In my mind, there is still this painful dichotomy or tension between the anti-evolutionary worldview of Schuon and the cosmic-evolutionary view, not just of science, but of esteemed pneumanauts such as Teilhard de Chardin and Sri Aurobindo. Second Thoughts About First Causes
from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob]

Disturbing confessions by two stalwarts of the Blogosphere! While it is debatable whether Larval Subjects really "lacks" (Lacanian that he is) "Grand Ideas" or it just suits and subserves his latent subversive socio-political construct, Gagdad Bob is genuinely torn between two (or, three? Genesis?) "worldviews." One is reminded of Heidegger's comment on Lacan's Écrits: “It seems to me that the psychiatrist needs a psychiatrist” [enowning].

More seriously, vacillation, by itself, may be a delightful pastime, but stealthily guzzles enormous time and energy. The prudent course, therefore, is to forsake the vain insistence that the right Ontology has to be from a Westerner, and accept Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine as the substratum for all thinking by disregarding the nagging suggestion of “missing something precious elsewhere.” [TNM]

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sri Aurobindo's magic formula -- Unity, Mutuality, and Harmony -- points the way

[The deeper question your essay implicitly raises is why humanity has so profoundly forsaken the obvious benefits of mutualism in favor of an extreme form of dominance over all other species. The short term benefits of this dominance are clearly at odds with the evolutionary catastrophe we are in the process of precipitating. Let us hope that one day you will focus your theoretical prowess on that tragic paradox, and maybe even point the way toward a solution to it. — Posted by David Moody April 8th, 2008 10:23 pm NYT April 8, 2008,
A Mutual Affair
11:20 AM]

Sri Aurobindo has already dwelt on the magic formula -- Unity, Mutuality, and Harmony -- extensively in his magnum opus, The Life Divine. [TNM]

Sri Aurobindo’s unparalleled contributions to esoteric philosophy and poetry

[The perspective in which the truth of poetry is placed by Sri Aurobindo is the infinite potential of man and the infinite possibility of his innate evolutive urge. The man who creates is not merely a maker of beautiful words and pharases but really a spokesman of the eternal spirit of beauty and delight... Imagination gets a new dimension in Sri Aurobindo’s mantric organization of poetic material, which is the revival of a primitive phenomenon. Archetype is the formal cause. Life can be divinized by assimilating all that is around us... The lever of Sri Aurobindo’s poetic philosophy is evolution (like Emerson’s ascension’) or the passage of soul into higher forms. The process of the evolution of soul or the poetic creativity is not only after the nature of myth --quest myth—but also vibrantly alive in the recreation of the conscience of human race... The Poetics Of Sri Aurobindo
Sri Aurobindo’s Poetics R. K. SINGH]

[The whole task of spirituality is to help us deal with our relative knowledge, our attachment to both pain and fleeting pleasures, and the limited, imperfect perception that we have, while showing us a way out of all these limitations.
And as far as analytical, painful precision goes, one only has to read Sri Aurobindo’s
Record of Yoga to see how precisely he records his spiritual experiences and maps out what he is “seeing”. The precision with which mystics train their attention and learn to control it is quite frankly superhuman, and is no different from a scientist studying a quark with a microscope in a laboratory. The only difference is that mystics turn that microscope inward, and observe themselves with an attention and precision that is perhaps even more intense (and certainly far more painful — for who can honestly look within and face their limitations for a sustained period without going crazy?) than that of the scientist... Preliminary Notes on Taner Edis’s Book ... Very conveniently, he would much rather mention UFOs and Space Brothers and what-not, rather than the poetry of William Blake, the literature of Marcel Proust, Sri Aurobindo’s unparalleled contributions to esoteric philosophy and poetry...
from
The Stumbling Mystic by ned]

Three years after Frederick W. Taylor published his famous book, The Principles of Scientific Management in 1911, The Life Divine rolled out of Sri Aurobindo's pen in the Arya periodical heralding a new paradigm of managing the human affairs. These can be said to be the two different approaches espoused by the West and the East. It is not yet clear as to who wins; but the tussle is on. [TNM] 11:46 AM

What is needed is economic freedom for people to best use their skills in productive activities and a functioning market for voluntary trades

[Get Involved By Avoiding Politics (by Don Boudreaux)
from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux
Get involved! And the best way to do so is to avoid politics. I elaborate in
my column appearing in today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Here are a few paragraphs:
It's a mistake to applaud greater involvement in politics as if such involvement is by its very nature the best use of people's time and effort. A more serious delusion is that politics is the only -- or, at least, the most noble -- venue for each of us to get "involved" with our fellow humans.
In fact, though, we are involved even when we pay no attention to politics. We care for our families, support our friends, work at jobs that produce goods and services for millions of people and are active members of churches and clubs. Each of us is intensely involved, daily.
Indeed, we are involved better and more fully when we act privately (that is, outside of government) than when we act politically.]

[Adam Smith described his fourth age of man as ‘commerce’, which he didn’t ‘invent’. It operated thousands of years before the fall of Rome in the 5th century, and Adam Smith noted how commerce revived in Western Europe from the 15th century onwards from observing its effects in gradually widening social choice and promoting technological change.Smith saw the revival of commerce as contributing to the spread of opulence in Britain which would have a dramatic effect on the living standards, health and education of the labouring poor...But be clear, nobody ‘invented’ any of the ages of the four subsistence, least of all an observer like Adam Smith, talented as he was. They emerged, slowly and gradually, from the inter-actions of unknown individuals learning how to ‘better themselves’ (as Smith put it) through experimentation, the application of retained and new knowledge about the physical world, the creation of appropriate institutions and social norms, regimes of law and justice, and, additionally, by the invention of new technologies, and the emergence of markets.]

[Orissa or Kalinga as it was then called... was a formidable maritime empire with trading routes stretching up to Bali, Sumatra, Indonesia and Java. The key to international trade and immense wealth, it was coveted by many rulers. india-tourism.com]

[Home > Op-Ed > Lessons from a poor little VIP constituency
Siddharth Dube Indian Express: Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Rural India is in crisis because its needs have been grossly neglected by government after government, writes Siddharth Dube. Consider Ganjam district. Ganjam derives from the Persian for ‘granary of the world’. At independence, the district began with the advantages of the ryotwari system of land tenure, rather than the burdens of zamindari. But today, agriculture is so poor here that the majority of farmers get just one rain-fed paddy crop and a meagre second crop of dal. The failure to expand irrigation — and to preserve the abundance of existing tanks and local canals — is to blame. Equally to blame is the utter neglect of efforts to modernise agriculture through diversifying crops, boosting yields, or storage and marketing.
The tragic upshot in Ganjam is that there is virtually no work to be had locally. Agricultural labourers can find employment for just two months or so, earning only about Rs 25 for a long day. Families with unirrigated land have roughly four months of income. There are few jobs in the towns even for young people who have completed secondary school. Not surprisingly, child labour is common.
The primary means for survival for Ganjam’s people has been migration.]

[Compare and contrast the two distinct cases of colonialism in the 18th century: Bengal in India and Massachusetts in North America.
Massachusetts had land and other natural resources but had very few people. To translate the resources into wealth that you could later extract, you had to first get people to settle there. To attract people and for them to create wealth, the policies had to be development oriented. In other words, the policies gave settlers economic freedom, the freedom to create wealth.
Bengal, in contrast, already had people who were creating wealth. The policies for colonial Bengal were therefore designed to extract and exploit that already existing wealth. Therefore controlling economic activity through the denial of economic freedom was required. Command and control of the economy was a more direct route to exploitation. Doubtless, the consequence was similar to that of killing the goose that lays golden eggs. It is a short-term policy since by denying economic freedom, eventually wealth creation comes to a halt. When all the existing wealth is extracted, it is time to move out. Colonialism ended in India when the cost of extracting wealth became greater than the value extracted... Atanu Dey has a
fantastic conversation with the spirit of Adam Smith 2:04 PM]

Given the fact that "independent India inherited the entire institutional, administrative, and organizational structure of colonial India" it is not easy to dismantle them nor the culture they spawn. In this circumstance, “greater involvement in politics” is an imperative, and Savitri Era Party will perform its role of a change agent. [TNM]

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Sri Aurobindo’s attitude is summarized in his saying, “Reason was the helper; Reason is the bar”

[The genesis of Just War within the overall rubric of Hinduism as a philosophy can be traced back to the oldest religious and philosophical books of mankind, the Vedas. Take for example, the Rig-Veda, the oldest written book. It is but a collection of hymns, to a variety of old Hindu Gods, and therein you will find a very large collection of hymns which pray to various God(s) to intercede in times of war and help in winning battles. So whether one is praying to Indra, the Lord of Heavens or Agni, the Lord of Fire, it is your basic prayer before war...But the knowledge of the Vedas and Upanishads was distilled into the Mahabharata, the gigantic and profound Hindu epic and one can legitimately claim that the Mahabharata was itself distilled into the Srimad Bhagwat Gita... Just War - Theory and Practice
from Desicritics by Dr Bhaskar Dasgupta]

This ably accomplished round-up of war and non-violence misses the evolutionary angle that has been envisaged by Sri Aurobindo. The touchstone for judging any action is whether it supports the future evolution of humanity or tends to hinder it. This teleological demand is often disregarded by superficial views. Sri Aurobindo’s attitude is summarized in his saying, “Reason was the helper; Reason is the bar.” Gandhi’s non-violence was moralistic and rational but at some point its rigidity turned out to be fetters.

Further clarity in the matter can be deduced from the three positions vis-à-vis Hitler. Netaji Subhash colluded with him; Savarkar supported his policies. The Congress bargained with the British using him as an alibi. But Sri Aurobindo was forthright in his opposition because Hitler, he thought, represented a roadblock to evolution. It is not difficult to locate similar contradictions marauding the present day hot spots upon the Globe. [TNM]

Deleuze’s solidary architectonic can't be studied in isolation by decoupling it from the fundament

[The growing interest in Deleuze has undoubtedly revitalized many aspects of philosophy that were neglected by mainstream Continental philosophy. The most exciting of which may be the resurgent interest in metaphysics on the level of those systems in the early 20th Centurty that built upon and challenged the scientific understanding of reality (I’m thinking, of course, of Bergson, James, and Whitehead)... Continental philosophy of religion is largely inseparable from Continental philosophy more generally as it begins in recognizing that modern reason has been constructed through a critique of religious thought and practice. The Kantian project then brought pure reason under the critical reflection “in order to make room for faith” before then finding a place for religion within the limits of this reconstructed critical reason itself. Skipping ahead to Kierkegaard’s philosophy we can see that his influential philosophy of truth as subjectivity bound critical reason to the life of the individual. To learn the truth one had to practice and live through reason embodied in a particular mood towards reality. This Kantian and Kierkegaardian spirit, though perhaps not the word, continued in Europe under the auspices of Husserlian phenomenology.
Most primary and secondary work in Continental philosophy of religion are within the phenomenological tradition, either through Marion’s explicitly Catholic and theological mode or in Derrida’s secular deconstruction of religion...This is where Deleuze’s philosophy enters the contemporary scene like a breath of fresh air.
Believing in this World: Towards a Philosophy of Religion after Deleuze I
from An und für sich by Anthony Paul Smith]
The Blaise Pascal quote, “The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing" erects an unnecessary partition that unfortunately lingers till this day. Sri Aurobindo affirms that the physical, the vital, and the mental are all different grades of the same constituting stuff called, consciousness. In fact, its further possibilities extend into the realm of the supramental. Hence, there is no reason to be suspicious of reason, or being wary of matter.
In this context, we need to see Deleuze’s delving into the heart of the matter or for that matter his later explorations into the vital along with Guattari as no less religious. The delusional belief that his solidary architectonic can be studied in isolation by decoupling it from the fundament as well as the transcendent is nothing but intransigent vanity. [TNM]

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The book is a "thriller"

["It is safer to read the original works of The Mother...":2 comments: Anonymous said...
By and large, yes, it is better to read the original. Nonetheless, Vrekhem's 'Beyond man' does present a coherent and interesting view of what The Mother had achived in terms of transfiguring and supramentalising Her body.
7:09 PM, April 06, 2008]

Tusar N Mohapatra said... 8:07 AM, April 08, 2008 11:52 PM
I agree. But there is no gainsaying of the fact that there is a grain of truth in this comment over Amazon.com:

[Exciting, but does it need to be?, February 16, 2005 By Thinking (USA) - See all my reviews A very exciting book indeed. But does it really need to be so? I do understand that the author must have put in a great deal of time into researching the material for this book. I do believe that that it was written with much sincerity. And for those who already know of the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, this book could serve as an inspiration. But frankly, as far as introducing someone else to their way of thought, I think it might actually be doing some harm. The book is a "thriller". A very great portion of the book focuses on the role played by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in World War II. In fact, there is the suggestion that Hitler made his wrong decisions because he was misled by the Mother. I am not sure if the author realizes how disturbing such a claim might be to a critical outsider. There are thousands of "spiritual gurus" with such fantastic claims. And such a story seems to put Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in their ranks. But that is NOT what they were. Sri Aurobindo never made public statements about his "miracles". In fact, most of such stories seem to have sprouted from rumours circulating among his disciples. I am NOT suggesting that they are lies. Maybe there is some truth to them. Maybe Sri Aurobindo and the Mother did influence the course of history a great deal during that period. But that is not what we need to know about. There is perhaps a reason why they did not make public statements about their role in such things. It was because they did not want to establish a new religion or a cult. They did not want to attract people by such things. Whether the practice of Yoga has any value at all is for each individual to find out. But if I were to do so, such stories of miracles are the last thing I would choose to think about. They may entice you and fill you with hope and inspiration when you are depressed. But I am not sure if they lead you in the right direction. So to summarize: It is a nice book. I think it might give a good notion of the kind of the ideals that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother established. It is a very inspiring book, but perhaps best taken with a pinch of salt. Comments (2) Permalink]

Monday, April 07, 2008

We all can come together to create a good site

[The Mother told on her other births Comments 1. pradip bhattacharya kanakpradip@gmail.com April 7, 2008 at 3:30 pm > I am not aware of any record by the Mother relating her previous lives specifically–certainly not Tiy and Hatshepsut. It is Amal Kiran who deduced the latter and wrote this in his book on The Mother. Please provide chapter and verse for the statement you have made.]

2. tusarnmohapatra April 7, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Thanks Pradip-ji for locating the goof up committed by the Russian portal which contains many other inaccuracies. As long as The Ashram and its Archives don’t make authentic information online, hapless readers are but to depend upon whatever is available over the Net. Alternatively, we all can come together to create a good site. [TNM] 4:25 PM

Note on the Text of even The Life Divine betrays a slant

[Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "It is safer to read the original works of The Moth...":
By and large, yes, it is better to read the original. Nonetheless, Vrekhem's 'Beyond man' does present a coherent and interesting view of what The Mother had achived in terms of transfiguring and supramentalising Her body. Posted by Anonymous to
Savitri Era at 7:09 PM, April 06, 2008 6:35 AM]

[Column -The Obama effect by Pratap Bhanu Mehta
Posted online: Monday, April 07, 2008 at 2303 hrs Print Email
Just try and recall the last time an Indian leader deigned to have a frank talk about caste
"Come now and let us reason together.” Whether or not one believes in a Lord or His words, this simple biblical injunction from the book of Isaiah, with its reference to both reason and reciprocity, is as good as any a description of what genuine leadership in democracy should seek to inculcate...It is corrosive for democratic politics to assume that it can, in the long run, do without a culture of articulacy. Our politics is now beset by two corrosive sins: a culture of avoidance, where those in leadership positions shy away from confronting difficult issues; and a culture of simple-mindedness, where attributing blame passes off as causal analysis, no matter what the issue: communalism, caste, foreign policy, inflation. Both sides of the biblical injunction, reason and togetherness, are important for democratic politics. Reason, because a politics that resists an understanding of the complex forces that shape society is a politics bound for self-destruction. Being argumentative is not the same thing as engaging in reason. Togetherness, because, in a society devoid of any sense of itself as sharing the same fate, citizens will not think it important to care for or justify their positions to each other.
There is a growing distrust of politicians, not simply because they are venial or small-minded. It stems from the fact that they are increasingly heaping the worst indignity on the citizens by infantilising them, as if what we deserve is not reasoned argument, but silence, baby talk, amusing diversions with occasional dollops of noblesse oblige on part of politicians. Politicians and administrators will unconsciously still invoke the thought that the people do not have the capacity to understand; or that people are interested more in spectacle than debate, or that people are so trapped by their identities that they cannot move beyond them. A politics where politicians infantilise the public on principle will produce a citizenry that is insolent in practice. The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi
pratapbmehta@gmail.com Home > Edits & Columns]

Savitri Erans too should brace for "engaging in reason" and resist attempts at "infantilising them." Books and their authors need to be questioned as regards content. Editors must spell out their policies from time to time and usher in transparency. Speakers at seminars should be subjected to rigorous scrutiny.

Note on the Text of even The Life Divine betrays a slant. Mindsets, instead of operating clandestinely, must come out in the open and be discussed. It is only by avoiding "a culture of avoidance," and "a culture of simple-mindedness" can true “togetherness” of Savitri Era Religious Fraternity emerge. [TNM]

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy reconciles Nietzsche and William James

At the very basis of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy can be seen an attempt to reconcile Nietzsche and William James. Although Nietzsche had glimpsed the weathercock of evolution, an agnostic blemish dragged it. James’ privileging of religion, on the other hand, was a valiant fin de siècle grandstand. James died of heart failure in 1910, but his mission received a boost four years later when The Mother and Sri Aurobindo along with Paul Richard concurred to launch the Arya for “A systematic study of the highest problems of existence.” [TNM] 11:22 AM  

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Stick to Sri Aurobindo Marg

[New Delhi Seminar on social, economic thought The Hindu Saturday, Apr 05, 2008
NEW DELHI: Proutist Universal is organising a symposium on socio-economic thought, “Progressive Utilisation Theory” (PROUT), at Sri Aurobindo Society near the Adhchini crossing here on Sunday. Several speakers will deliver lectures on different topics related to PROUT, a socio-economic system propounded by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar.]

Sri Aurobindo Society, New Delhi Centre is situated off Sri Aurobindo Marg, and many of its activities (like promoting Pranic Healing etc.) often go off-track. But nobody had imagined that it will start collaborating with the notorious Ananda Marga. [TNM]

The Life Divine is the repository of all attitudinal re-engineering that we need to internalize

[But both the Lurianic tradition of Kabbalah, and Integral Yoga, teach that humanity is able to participate in the transformation of the world. In Kabbalah this is only described in metaphoric and religious language, and there is also no concept of the divinisation of the body. In Sri Aurobindo's teachings it is described in a clear and practical way. This involves not just conventional Enlightenment, also spiritual stages of the evolution of consciousness beyond even enlightenment... by M. Alan Tagged with: Integral, metaphysics 6:07 PM]

[In my view, an 'Integral' perspective, if it is to really live up to the essence of that word, must encompass the Earth's actual patterns of growth, geography, cycles of time, historical movements, mythologies and such.
In The Human Cycle, Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) - a forefather of all things INTEGRAL - writes about the typical mental use of words as a spinning of fiction, as opposed to the words used by Vedic Seers some 5,000 years ago…
In reading the Rig Veda and Sri Aurobindo’s The Secret of the Veda, it is revealed that understanding the cycle of the Earth's year in twelve months and 365 days (360 degrees) plays a huge part in developing a truly vast consciousness and perspective of how all things move and breath. Yet so many people in the Integral World seem to have no understanding of Time or the living/divine significance of the year and other cycles in time. -- Lori Tompkins
8:01 PM]

[Sri Aurobindo however, is not referencing technology or electronic bodies built by human design but rather the continuation of a biological mode of existence which is privileged by virtue of its very naturalness, or rather by a certain conception of what natural is. What he seems to be doing here is to extrapolate a perspective of nature formulated early in the 20th century to its perfected culmination in a future body. But in the 21st century, after the advent of information and biological technologies, can we still rely on conceptions of nature from a century ago to govern our vision of a future body?
Ironically, if the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan is correct, the passage of time and the advent of certain technologies may actual result in the atrophy of the body rather than its progress. One of McLuhan's well known aphorisms puts the issue as follows: “Every technological extension is a -biologcal- self-amputation”(1964 p45) When we develop machines to perform work for us those parts of our anatomy which were once involved in those physical task become inactive and begin to atrophy.
Goodbye To All That: nature and the future body in Sri Aurobindo by Rich on Fri 04 Apr 2008 02:08 PM PDT Permanent Link Goodbye To All That (Nature and the Future Body in Sri Aurobindo) Richard Carlson] 7:30 AM 7:45 PM

[Sapta Chatusthaya, or Yoganga as it is called, could be briefly presented in its revised order as follows... Sri Aurobindo has incorporated many of these features in The Synthesis of Yoga dealing with the Yoga of Self-Perfection. Let us, however, take just one entry from his Record by way of an illustration, showing how meticulously and scientifically Sri Aurobindo was carrying out his yoga-tapasya, about which we have otherwise the least idea. Even with our best minds and our best faculties, we will simply stand aghast at the kind of things that are involved in this remarkable Yoga of his. The Mother’s Agenda is the only other thing that can stand together in this wonderment. What, then, about our little talk regarding the human potential and the technology promoting spiritual prospects! It looks such a small curious thing in comparison, perhaps no more than queer inquisitiveness! ... by RY Deshpande on Sat 02 Jun 2007 07:16 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link 8:53 AM] 3:30 PM 7:34 AM 1:20 PM 9:05 PM

Note on the Text of The Synthesis of Yoga links it to Sapta Chatusthaya. We seem to be perpetually in search of a process, a method, a system of practice. Therefore, Record of Yoga or Mother’s Agenda assumes disproportionate importance for some people. It is an attitude that finds ready reception in the people of Western origin. But The Mother and Sri Aurobindo always insisted on steering clear of such grooves for "mind determines body." The Life Divine is the repository of all attitudinal re-engineering that we need to internalize. [TNM] 7:40 AM

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sri Aurobindo, even with his Vedic inspiration, would not support any such Natural Social Order

[The essence of democracy, instantiated so perfectly in Bush's neoconservative administration, is Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "general will," a "national purpose" that ought to be implemented by an all-powerful state. Voltaire, a rather cleverer Frenchman, said that Rousseau is as to the philosopher as the ape is to man. Still, that ape's idea animated the blood-drenched French and Russian revolutions. And sadly, it wafted over the Atlantic, took root in the republic's soil, and flourished like kudzu.
Over time, this foreign weed began to choke the Founder's Republic. As Felix Morley observed in Freedom and Federalism, earlier Americans were undeniably influenced by Rousseau, harboring a considerable admiration for the manner in which the common democratic will found expression in revolutionary France. The later infestation of Marxist ideas completed Rousseau's work...
Democratic Despotism Daily Article Posted on 9/16/2004 by 4:46 PM]

[The problem, then, is over-centralization – a problem that both India as well as the US suffer from. Powerful central governments make a nonsense out of “democracy” because the democratic ideal is to diffuse power, not concentrate it... Against Centralized Democracy from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik 1:26 PM ]

[The true social science, therefore, proceeds with the rule-following individual and thereafter attempts to derive theorems applicable to the whole. A true science of society must be based on individualism as well as subjectivism: that is, the mind of the thinking, acting human being. Once the individual is understood, then only can we begin to understand the big picture: society... The false social science applies ‘polylogic’ and conjures up conflicts between groups, which are then used to foment strife: fascism, racism, socialism, communism, trade unionism and Keynesianism are all examples of polylogic, false ideas of society based on group-think and aggregation. In reality, the very factual existence of the natural order is proof that the elements co-exist in harmony; and that just as God has made the movements of the celestial spheres harmonious, so also He has made the social world one in which individuals interact harmoniously through market exchanges.
Columns Antidote
A natural social order Newindpress on Sunday Thursday August 16 2007 Sauvik Chakraverti]

[Why should we study the rhetoric of right? Of what importance is it inthe attempt to understand the political world? Understanding the rhetoric of right gives us insight into an old maxim that has regained favor over the past few decades: that to act politically, people must first understand the world.1 Brute facts and bare economic conditions do not provide a sufficient framework for action. They may provide reasons for acting, but crucial questions remain unanswered: How do we act? What is to be done? Where do we start, with which problem? How do we solve problems? How can we be effective? What do we want to achieve? People must first interpret the world in order to know what action to take. Tradition and the Rhetoric of Right: Popular Political Argument in the Aurobindo Movement by David J. Lorenzo 12:08 PM]

"A natural social order" should come to us naturally "just as God has made the movements of the celestial spheres harmonious." If not, it is erroneous to call such theoretical constructs "natural."

Sri Aurobindo, even with his Vedic inspiration, would not support any such Natural Social Order. Not because he is against individual freedom, but because it does not reconcile with his big picture, the ontology. For him even "the celestial spheres" are in "conflict" and "strife" because of evolutionary necessity. [TNM]