Saturday, February 28, 2009

Zorba the Vega

You can love him or hate him but can't ignore him: Richard Carlson, L'enfant terrible. As he claims expertise in ever newer pastures, he should have called himself Zorba the Vega instead of Tony Clifton. [TNM]

Friday, February 27, 2009

The J-card

[“What devalued this prime minister’s position is that he was not in control of the UPA regime. 10 Janpath, and not 7 Race Course, was the true seat of power. The latter held office but no authority; the former had authority but no accountability to Parliament.” - UPA devalued office of PM, says Advani Economic Times
PM should be a LS member: Advani Government failed on all fronts: Advani Hindu
India concerned over developments in Pak: Advani Daily Times]

Advani simply seeks to substitute Jhandewalan for 10 Janpath. [TNM]

Once Ashramite, always Ashramite

[Communism not anybody's monopoly: Somnath Chatterjee
Times of India - 27 Feb 2009, 1516 hrs IST, PTI NEW DELHI: Apparently hitting out at CPM which had expelled him, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Friday said he remains a "Communist" as Communism is not "anybody's monopoly".
Retiring Somnath says communism no party's monopoly Economic Times]

Heehs may take solace. [TNM]

Emotional anachar

Heehs' choreography of a biography should inspire further reinterpretations. [TNM]

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Genealogy of justice in Sanskrit texts

[Nicholas Wolterstorff: February 23rd, 2009 at 2:26 pm I don’t really have anything more to say about the role of justice in the New Testament than I said in the book. 10:53 AM 10:43 AM]

For a more rounded picture, it would be appropriate if the genealogy of justice is sought in Sanskrit texts predating the New Testament. [TNM]

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ritam = justice

[Justice: Rehabilitating religious rights talk posted by John Schmalzbauer
Justice: Rights and Wrongs, Yale University philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff offers a devastating critique of the historical narrative employed by my professor. Drawing on the work of historians Brian Tierney and John Witte, Jr., Wolterstorff argues that the “conception of justice as inherent rights was not born in the fourteenth century or the seventeenth century.” Debunking the notion that natural rights are the outgrowth of philosophical nominalism and the European Enlightenment, he pronounces this narrative “indisputably false.”
Along the way, Wolterstorff critiques the notion that rights talk is an offshoot of modern individualism. Questioning Stanley Hauerwas’ claim that the language of rights “underwrites a view of human relations as exchanges,” he presents an account of justice that is irreducibly communal. Wolterstorff also takes on those philosophers who would ground their accounts of justice in the classical Greek and Roman descriptions of the well-lived life. In his judgment, such approaches fail to take into account the inherent worth of human beings.Rather than treating rights as a modern invention, Wolterstorff traces them back to the early church fathers and the Bible itself.
10:25 PM]

[Feb 20, 2009 Justice and theism from The Immanent Frame by David Johnston
The central claim of Nicholas Wolsterstorff's
Justice: Rights and Wrongs is that justice is based on natural human rights that inhere in the worth of human beings, a worth that is bestowed on each and every human being through God's love. He contrasts this view of "justice as inherent rights" with an alternative notion of "justice as right order," the view that was espoused by pagan philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle and dominated philosophical thinking until relatively recent times.]

[Ritam Indian philosophy Indian ethics (in ethics (philosophy): India) Encyclopædia Britannica
In the Vedic philosophy, the basic principle of the universe, the ultimate reality on which the cosmos exists, is the principle of Ritam, which is the word from which the Western notion of right is derived. There is thus a belief in a right moral order somehow built into the universe itself. Hence, truth and right]

Ritam = justice. [TNM]

Right to express one's convictions in religious terms

[Nicholas Wolterstorff’s fear of the secular from The Immanent Frame by Jonathon Kahn
The truly dynamic discussion in America today about religion and politics is not between "wall of separation" secularists and Christian political theologians attempting to turn American into a theocracy. Instead, the promising but fledgling discussion is between religious and non-religious democrats who are acutely aware of the two horns of this essential American dilemma. First, one has a right to express one's convictions in whatever terms one holds them, including religious terms; second, one cannot assume that one's fellow citizens' convictions are shaped by the same terms. For Jeffrey Stout in
Democracy and Tradition, this is the “sense in which the ethical discourse of most modern democracies is secularized.” Stout’s latest work can be read as an attempt to revalue the ideas of secularity and secularization by sharply distinguishing them from secularism, which entails the policing of religious commitments from the public square. Secularization is not secularism. Under secularization, it is reasonable to be religious, and it is in this sense that John Milbank is right in claiming that the “logic of secularism is imploding.”]

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Debashish Thu 19 Feb 2009 05:19 AM PST. It seems darshan only made sense as part of a lifestyle summed up by the slogan "All life is yoga." But he regretted that few people read anything these days and those who did read had little clarity of mind or training in reading to understand what was being said. Moreover many who even professed that "all life is yoga" found it more convenient to adulate since it absolved them of their own need to realize. Sort of like Jesus Christ has done it for us all so mankind needn't do anything except pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ and persuade or coerce more and more people to do the same.]

Toeing a democratic line of action is the right course. [TNM]

The intimate outsider

[Victor falls more and more under the spell of René. It seems that the Belgian youth has achieved everything that Victor wants. He is a member of the palace's Secret Police; the Regent grants him a young concubine in the palace; he has even won to the heart and bed of the Dowager Empress (not the same one that contributed to the Boxer Rebellion, who was by now dead). The novel grows ever more feverish as young René appears to be more tightly wrapped up in the life of the Forbidden City even as Victor grows more dispirited about his own efforts. Or is he? This question is at the heart of Segalen's novel. The story grows ever more feverish as Victor's desires to be admitted to the Celestial Presence are foiled, even as René ascends ever higher in the Imperial hierarchy. [...] Many readers of this book will end up puzzled or frustrated, because Segalen does not choose to wrap the story up neatly. The desire he has to become part of what seems so patently unknowable gives rise to a nightmarish atmosphere and a growing sense of unreality that reaches a climax at the end of the novel. I for one was enthralled the whole way through. So what if RENE LEYS is a mystery wrapped inside an enigma (which also pretty much describes its author's life). The Impenetrability of the Forbidden City, January 19, 2006 By James Paris "Tarnmoor" (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews Permalink]

There Victor, here Peter; a sad tinge of resemblance. [TNM]

Sunday, February 22, 2009

C for cloud

[I credit Daniel Ingram for reminding me the importance of correct practice (see my review of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha), Shinzen Young for secularizing the dharma and developing user-friendly and uber-scientific techniques (see my review of The Science of Enlightenment), Ken Wilber for his lucid articulation and development of Integral Philosophy, and my fellow dharma geeks over at Buddhist Geeks and Dharma Overground for their encouragement and open-sharing of knowledge. Open Practice: Demystifying and Secularizing the Path to Enlightenment
from ~C4Chaos by c4chaos]

[Feb 3, 2009 Less is More: The League and Blogging
from Indistinct Union by Chris Dierkes
Sorry for the lack of posting around here of late. I promise to get back to it when I get some more time. This week and next are really nutso, so no guarantees. Moreover, I’m spending what precious little blogging time I have available now over at
The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.]

One by one, ardent affiliates of the integral brigade are either streaming out or losing steam. End of a dream. [TNM]

Lay the blame at the door of human nature

[Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Machiavelli, Tocqueville, Mussolini":
These two paragraphs sum up what the AEI, and ALL the other right-wing think-tanks, really represent in the world altogether, and what they thus loudly champion.
"The entire pattern and trend of current human culture, including scientific materialism, all modes of false philosophy, and everything relating to the current domain of consumer based politics, competitive social systems, tribal national systems, un-regulated economics, and archaic tribalistic conventional religiosity---is abouth death and the "culture" of death."
Plus a quote from Jules Henry from his Culture Against Man (1963).
"In Western Culture today one must make a distinction between the culture of life and the culture of death. In the minds of most people science has become synonymous with destructive weapons, i.e. with death....Where is the culture of life? The culture of life resides in all those people who, inarticulate, frightened and confused, are wondering where it will all end. Thus the forces of death are confident and organized while the forces of life--the people who long for peace---are, for the most part, scattered, inarticulate, and wooly-minded, overwhelmed by their own impotence. DEATH struts about the house while LIFE cowers in the corners." Posted by Anonymous to
Marketime at 5:53 AM, February 17, 2009]

The blame, instead of being directed at some abstract "right-wing think-tanks," should ideally lay at the door of human nature, with the admission that we are all complicit; we are all guilty in one form or the other. [TNM]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

At Savitri Era we are passionate about World Union, the Third Dream

[Wednesday, May 23, 2007 Spiritual experiences cannot be exhibited in blog-postings
It seems to be flogging season for the mind and the intellect, and obviously, the poor blogger is at the receiving end. Insisting on experience is fine, but then it begs the question, whose experience? Which experience? Is experience so universal? And how to distinguish those who peddle fakes? At
SELF we are rather wary of experience. Ours is a limited objective of creating a manageable syllabus to learn the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, say, at the undergraduate level. That entails a lot of narrowcasting and hammering out conformity on core questions. Blogging is forcing people to come out of the cover of ambivalence and pledge support for some theoretical school.
Endlessly parroting the word, spirituality is also anathema to us. Spiritual experiences can neither be dispensed from nor exhibited in blog-postings. Reading and writing as mental/intellectual activities are desirable and it is up to the individual how to turn it religious/yoga. Let’s not discourage young people to read philosophical writings that help them in their self-culture as well as mapping the future. TNM
Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 10:03 AM 0 comments Links]

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Debashish Thu 19 Feb 2009 05:19 AM PST. It seems darshan only made sense as part of a lifestyle summed up by the slogan "All life is yoga." But he regretted that few people read anything these days and those who did read had little clarity of mind or training in reading to understand what was being said. Moreover many who even professed that "all life is yoga" found it more convenient to adulate since it absolved them of their own need to realize. Sort of like Jesus Christ has done it for us all so mankind needn't do anything except pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ and persuade or coerce more and more people to do the same.]

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
Debashish on Fri 20 Feb 2009 12:37 PM PST Profile Permanent Link: It is a given that Sri Aurobindo and/or the Mother are the last authority on "what the Integral Yoga demands" at any time and place.]

Hinging the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo to Integral Yoga alone is too reductionist, and let it be known that at Savitri Era we are more passionate about World Union, the Third Dream. As it partly 'absolves us of the need to realize,' may we call upon others to double up their sadhana so that the overall deficit is compensated. It is just a request, and not sermon or instruction which some are of wont throwing. [TNM]

Defending everyone’s right to present a different than “the only correct opinion”

[At this moment in time, the most important task is to make sure that free discussion about these problems is not silenced as an attack on the very idea of European integration. We have always believed that being allowed to discuss such serious issues, being heard, defending everyone’s right to present a different than “the only correct opinion” – no matter how much we may disagree with it – is at the very core of the democracy we were denied for over four decades. We, who went through the involuntary experience that taught us that a free exchange of opinions and ideas is the basic condition for a healthy democracy, do hope, that this condition will be met and respected also in the future. This is the opportunity and the only method for making the European Union more free, more democratic and more prosperous. Václav Klaus, European Parliament, Brussels, 19 February 2009 Speech of the President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus in the European Parliament//12:35 PM 12:55 PM1:56 PM]

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Debashish Fri 20 Feb 2009 10:51 AM PST. This is the sector of "devotees" who have a narrow understanding of the integral yoga. It is not that this sector was any less numerous during the time Sri Aurobindo and/or the Mother were in the body, but they were given their place and did not have the "voice" they now do in the absence of the gurus. This is what has created a dangerous situation with regard to the wider possibilties of the yoga.]

Voice is the cornerstone of civil society. Knocking the doors of a law court for conflict resolution too is another fundamental attribute. Hence, why these basic rights and prerogatives are being called into question is incomprehensible. [TNM]

With no opposition, there is no freedom

[The present decision making system of the European Union is different from a classic parliamentary democracy, tested and proven by history. In a normal parliamentary system, part of the MPs support the government and part support the opposition. In the European parliament, this arrangement has been missing. Here, only one single alternative is being promoted and those who dare thinking about a different option are labelled as enemies of the European integration. Not so long ago, in our part of Europe we lived in a political system that permitted no alternatives and therefore also no parliamentary opposition. It was through this experience that we learned the bitter lesson that with no opposition, there is no freedom. That is why political alternatives must exist. And not only that. The relationship between a citizen of one or another member state and a representative of the Union is not a standard relationship between a voter and a politician, representing him or her. Václav Klaus, European Parliament, Brussels, 19 February 2009
Speech of the President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus in the European Parliament 12:35 PM 12:55 PM]

Václav’s fears are likely to have a strong bearing on the shape of the world union envisaged by Sri Aurobindo. However, we may treat it as a welcome development that at least the principle "with no opposition, there is no freedom" has now been firmly instituted amongst the Savitri Erans. [TNM]

Friday, February 20, 2009

How much plurality is enough?

[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy Debashish Thu 19 Feb 2009 03:08 PM PST - Sri Auorbindo's yoga is not a traditional yoga and his ashram was not meant by him to be a traditional ashram... An individual disciple's attitude towards the guru is entirely between the indvidual and the guru... Thus appraising the nature of one's guru is a personal matter and need have nothing to do with surrendering to the divine in him for yoga sadhana... In fact, "the Sri Aurobindo Ashram" defines itself as a laboratory for world transformation, hence in terms of a plurality of representations of the yoga and its founders... Once again, whatever a traditional yoga ashram is obliged to do or not does not apply to the Sri Auorbindo Ashram... All individual views arising within the matrix of sadhana are legitimate here and should be given their value, whether one agrees with them or not... Those who have acted against the author of The Lives have done so clearly against the spirit of the Integral Yoga and the ashram founded on the principles of this yoga. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they represent a great danger to the collective manifestation of the yoga - its transformation into a controlled and narrowly authorized religion.]
Banerji's sympathy for plurality cannot be contested, but the point is, institutional flexibility for managing diversity always has its own limits. The hurdles here are not only temperamental or ideological, but also political and practical. These aspects need to be spelled out and deliberated separately instead of pegging everything to the book imbroglio. Wanted a bit of sagacity in approach. [TNM]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Faith/metaphysics is dynamic and differs from person to person

[Husserl begins with an obvious thesis – “look at the things themselves!” – yet in executing this project he unsettles our assumptions about what it is to experience the world and objects, opening a vast domain that continues to challenge central assumptions in cognitive science, psychology, the social sciences, etc.
Teaching is as and the pedagogy of alienation from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects 5:27 AM]
[Feb 18, 2009 In Praise of Materialism from Larval Subjects . by larvalsubjects
Having picked up Brassier’s dissertation once again, I find myself thoroughly delighted and exhilarated by the hymn he sings to modern science in contrast to reactionary correlationism and phenomenology. This remark by Husserl sums up the entire problem and underlines just why phenomenology is so reactionary: “The existence of Nature cannot be the condition for the existence of consciousness since Nature itself turns out to be a correlate of consciousness: Nature is only as being constituted in regular concatenations of consciousness" (Ideas I, 116). Such, in a nutshell is the entire problem with correlationism. Read pages 10 - 22 of Ray’s
dissertation ... and see if you don’t find yourself electrified.]
[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by koantum on Thu 12 Feb 2009 10:17 PM PST
Profile Permanent Link
You either believe in metaphysical explanations or you do not. Do you actually believe that you can do without metaphysics? For instance, can you explain without metaphysics what you mean by "existential praxis"? The need for a metaphysics — if so you want to call it — is well explained by Sri Aurobindo in "Faith and Shakti" (a chapter of The Synthesis of Yoga). Faith/metaphysics is dynamic and differs from person to person.]
[Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by Tony Clifton on Sat 14 Feb 2009 04:40 PM PST
Profile Permanent Link
I am reluctant to quote from these aphorisms, because (not unlike some of Nietzsche's) - removed from the particular contextual inspiration in which they were jotted down- sometimes they just defy common sense. And I do agree that common sense is the last thing one should throw away when they begin yoga. At any rate we have strayed far from the topic from which this comment train was begun. And I dont think any yogi-scientist or priest of the physical types are going coming forward anytime soon to help us around this impasse;) Better to focus on the "larger issues" at stake here.]
[So let me make haste to come back quickly to the original question of “rationalistic approach bearing fruit” while expounding the spiritual experience. But then possibly we have kind of built faith in the rationalistic approach, simply because it has borne fruits elsewhere. There is no theory based on empirical facts that the methods applicable in the domain of physics could also be meaningfully rewarding in the mystical-occult-spiritual fields. Even in lesser sciences, like the biological, there are serious doubts. In fact rationalism taken to extremes has attracted critics.... There can be hardly any doubt that the scientific account of evolution has to be considerably changed or dropped altogether, says David Berlinski. That’s a scientist’s testimony. Re: A Question of Hagiography and Biography--Empirical Rationalism
by RY Deshpande on Thu 19 Feb 2009 08:33 PM IST
Profile Permanent Link]
Ontological impasse is as much an essential feature of our finitude as socio-political problems are intractable. An emergent/contingent stance therefore is the most prudent/pragmatic approach that shields us from self-delusion. [TNM]


[Kepler: …what if one did want to know, as objectively as possible, all that could be documented about Sri Aurobindo’s external life …? Re: A Question of Hagiography and Biography
by RY Deshpande on Wed 18 Feb 2009 11:33 AM IST
Profile Permanent Link
But this is a natural in fact a perfectly legitimate curiosity and it need not be hastily dismissed. ~ RYD
Reply] Re: A Question of Hagiography and Biography
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Thu 19 Feb 2009 05:16 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

An attempt to write such a biography can be made here itself in the Wikipedia style by collective contribution. By writing and rewriting say, seven sentences everyday, one chapter can be covered in one month. [TNM] Reply

[Re: A Question of Hagiography and Biography
by RY Deshpande on Thu 19 Feb 2009 08:38 PM IST
Profile Permanent Link
That's an inspired suggestion, and thanks. May I request volunteers to come forward? We can set aside a category for both the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. ~RYD Reply]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hegemonic fallacy

Re: A Question of Hagiography and Biography
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Tue 17 Feb 2009 09:21 AM IST Profile Permanent Link

Questions that further arise from Kepler’s question:

  1. Methodologically whether such a project is possible?
  2. Whether any precedent or a model exists?
  3. Whether such a reader (with a tabula rasa mind) is just a theoretical construct?

[TNM] Reply

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sampatti = serendipity

[Home > Library > Literature & Language > Dictionary: serendipity
The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries. An instance of making such a discovery.
From the characters in the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, who made such discoveries, from Persian Sarandīp, Sri Lanka, from Arabic sarandīb. WORD HISTORY We are indebted to the English author Horace Walpole for the word serendipity... Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of “a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.”]

[These ritual and symbolic identifications, not only between man and god but between the various objects in the system of correspondences, are known collectively as "sampatti," which primitively means to "fall into" (as in good luck) and derivatively means to obtain, to attain, or to partake in, or unite with. The idea of sampatti as "union" or identification is the metaphysical idea underlying the system of ritual equivalences; the idea of union with deities; and the idea in meditative theory that identification with a structure of being can be attained through the mental effort of concentration. A Geneological Commentary on The Play of Consciousness from Gaia Community: kelamuni's Blog 5:16 PM 8:53 AM]

Sampatti = serendipity [TNM]

Friday, February 13, 2009

Time is now ripe for mankind to step upward

[from Prithwin Mukherjee to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" date 13 Feb 2009 19:44 subject Hello!
Bhâi Tusar, Pleased to read your
Amazon reviews, this is what I wrote in their site: It is a pleasure to go through these reviews of books by and on Sri Aurobindo that Tusar N. Mohapatra has penned for the Amazon site. The most exceptionally consistent and centripetal vision behind the LIFE DIVINE animated whatever Sri Aurobindo has practised and published. The time is now ripe for mankind to step upward in the direction of its transformed reality. Dr Prithwindra Mukherjee Research Scholar. But having no prior code, I had to withdraw it. This appreciation may, however, serve you. Kind regards. Prithwindra]

[from "Tusar N. Mohapatra" to date 26 Dec 2008 13:12 subject New Metaphysics series
Dear Dr. Weiss
Thanks for your note. Would it be possible to find place for
Sri Aurobindian Ontology in this "New Metaphysics series"? I think, your work has produced enough background for such a breakthrough.
Yours fraternally, Tusar N. Mohapatra
from Eric Weiss to "Tusar N. Mohapatra"
date 12 February 2009 04:50 subject Re:
New Metaphysics series Dear Mr. Mohapatra -
Thank you for this idea. I wrote to them, and it turns out that they are at very early stage of setting this up, but I'm now on their radar, thanks to you.
Yours, Dr. Eric Weiss]

[Because the individuals entering into an assemblage are autonomous, assemblages constantly face the risk of falling apart or dissipating into thin air like so much mist. Anyone who’s formed groups and organizations is aware of just how precarious and fleeting these assemblages can be; or how much work these assemblages require to be maintained. Object-Oriented Philosophy: What is it Good For? from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

["We must hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately." -- Benjamin Franklin]

The choice is ours. [TNM]

Savitri Era Religion at the right point of history

[As I have noted, in many Asian societies, including China, the immanent and transcendent are much more mixed up in various hybrid combinations. In accord with widespread traditions of syncretism, many people believe and practice many things at once. But modern conditions of belief also impel some believers to purified forms of religious practice. This is something like what happened in Europe during the Reformation, as Taylor describes it. When it happens in the unsteady world of Asia today, this is not necessarily a good thing—at least for those who love peace, predictability, and order.
A purification of practice usually involves an attempt to recover the axial age roots of local traditions. (The term “axial age” was
coined by Karl Jaspers to refer to the period in the first millennium B.C.E. when visions of a universally transcendent reality were created in Israel, Greece, India, and China.) Buddhists, Daoists, Muslims, and Christians seek purified versions of their practice. This means rejecting the accretions of tradition and of all those practices that embed religion in local communities with particularistic loyalties. Rituals are deemed to be efficacious not ex opere operato, but on the strength of the interior conviction that they express. Religious practice gets transformed into religious faith—a personal belief in world transcending ideals that demand universal loyalties.
These purified faiths grow up parallel with older, community embedded practices, but they often claim continuity with them. Often they gain inspiration and energy through connection with global religious movements. At least when they are appropriated by ordinary people, these forms are never purely universalistic. Under conditions of belief where one can never take one’s religious practices for granted, religious believers yearn for signs that their beliefs are on the right track. One important sign is that their kind of faith is expanding. There is thus a strong missionary impulse in all of these new universalizing movements.
Fearing that such faiths could inspire independent social movements, most Asian governments used some combination of suppression or co-optation to prevent such universalizing faiths from flourishing and to keep them firmly within bounds. The collapse of such political structures after the Cold War has given a new impetus to such globalizing faiths. They were attractive at least partly because they were once forbidden fruit. With the crumbling of political barriers that once confined universalizing, missionizing religions in place, there is now a global scramble for souls.
Depending on the particular contexts in which they develop, new expansionist religious movements can lead to serious social and political conflict or can provide resources for reconciliation and healing. In China, the scramble for souls leads to relatively more conflict. [...]
Internationally, the new scramble for souls can lead to intensified conflict, especially since the universalistic, world transcending impulses often get submerged quickly into worldly nationalisms, enlarged, ambitious communities created by expanded imaginations. The newly universalizing impulses do not have to lead to conflict, however. As we have seen, much depends on the content of the traditions out of which they arise and the specific context in which they evolve.
The Immanent Frame
A Secular Age: Hybrid consciousness or purified religion posted by Richard Madsen
Editor's note: This post draws from a draft chapter for the SSRC's forthcoming publication,
Rethinking Secularism, co-edited by Mark Juergensmeyer, Craig Calhoun, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen.] 8:40 AM 9:04 AM
Savitri Era Religion seems to be at the right point of history to claim its share of souls. [TNM]

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Harmony vs. hermeneutics

[The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. English To call a spade a spade.]

[Confucius 54 The disciple Tsze-lu said, “The duke of Wei [who had usurped the title of his father] has been waiting for you to assist in administering the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?” The Master replied, “What is necessary is to call things by their right names.” “So, indeed!” said Tsze-lu [who had assisted the duke in administration for many years]. “You are wide of the mark. Why must the names of things be corrected?” Confucius responded, “How uncultivated you are, Yu. A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve. “If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. “When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and harmony will not flourish. When proprieties and harmony do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. “Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires, is that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.”]

From Confucius to Baudrillard's Le Système des objets via Kierkegaard's Enten-Eller (Either/Or) , Saussure's signifier/signified, Barthes' S/Z, and Foucault's Les Motes et les Choses, is a long journey. Ignorance of traffic rules is no excuse, and hence, wordsmiths of all hues may take cue. [TNM]

Unmasking religion

[The word larva referring to the newly hatched form of insects before they undergo metamorphosis comes from the Latin word lārva, meaning “evil spirit, demon, devil.” To understand why this should be so, first we need to know that the Latin word also was used for a terrifying mask, and in Medieval Latin it could mean “mask or visor.” Larva is therefore an appropriate term for that stage of an insect's life during which its final form is still hidden or masked, and New Latin lārva was thus applied in 1691 by Carolus Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who originated our system of classifying plants and animals. The word larva is first recorded in English in its scientific sense in 1768, although it had been used in its “spirit” sense in 1651 in a way that foreshadowed the usage by Linnaeus. Home > Library > Literature & Language > Dictionary]

Decoupling religion and spirituality is not a rational act in the sense that the former is a larval condition of the latter. [TNM]

Monday, February 09, 2009

World Union vis-à-vis globalization

[A Secular Age: Discerning the religious spirit of secular states in Asia posted by Richard Madsen
In his monumental book,
A Secular Age, Charles Taylor distinguishes three meanings of secularism... Editor's note: This post draws from a draft chapter for the SSRC's forthcoming publication, Rethinking Secularism, co-edited by Mark Juergensmeyer, Craig Calhoun, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen. 1:02 PM]


[Re: Religious Nationalism and Transnationalism in a Global World by Mark Juergensmeyer by Angiras on Sun 30 Nov 2008 12:42 AM PST Profile Permanent Link The present situation in Pondicherry clearly reflects a much larger problem of which Juergensmeyer clarifies some important aspects. We should recall the Mother's statement that the Ashram "is a reduced image of life." (CWM 13:149)]

One tends to agree.

[It may be helpful to realize that the uproar in India against an American biography of Sri Aurobindo is in a certain sense an anti-globalization protest - as was, much more dramatically, an event such as the destruction of the World Trade Center. The WTC was targeted as a symbol of the global economic system. The Lives presents Sri Aurobindo in terms that are acceptable to the worldwide intellectual community, thus antagonizing those to whom cultural globalization is threatening. Strangely enough, the attack on The Lives of Sri Aurobindo really got under way when misleading, decontextualized extracts were sent to dozens of people on September 11, 2008.]

Generally, the sponsors of anti-globalization protests are leftists, but here, ironically, they are on the opposite side.

[The irony of seeing this as an anti-globalization movement is that Sri Aurobindo was one of the earliest and most far-seeing writers on globalization, though his work is as yet unknown to theorists in this field. His major work on globalization - focusing on its political aspect - is, of course, The Ideal of Human Unity, but this is also an important theme of his essays on Indian culture.]

Kant spoke of Federation of Free States over a century earlier, and many others after him. Bipin Chandra Pal too was a staunch votary.

[Perhaps more surprisingly, long-term processes of globalization, which have been under way for thousands of years, form much of the subject of his unfinished epic Ilion. Ilion deals with an early phase of what Huntington, borrowing a provocative phrase from Bernard Lewis, has more recently called "the clash of civilizations": Europe and Asia, met on their borders, clashed in the Troad.]

There was no Asia then, nor Europe; they are mere metaphors.

[This is the "cultural struggle" of which Sri Aurobindo wrote in "Is India Civilised?" There, without using the current term "globalization," he speaks of "a compelling physical oneness forced on us by scientific inventions and modern circumstances."]

It would be profitable to remember the concept of World Union vis-à-vis globalization. [TNM]

Your words have shone like a sun

from Tusar N. Mohapatra <> to Rick Lipschutz <> date 9 February 2009 10:26 subject My sympathies [Re: A Cultural Misunderstanding Rick]

Your words have shone like a sun in this hour of gloom.
My sympathies for braving the personal crisis that has befallen. [TNM]

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Panch Shepherds

[What is Wrong with Religion
by Debashish on Mon 27 Oct 2008 09:35 PM PDT
Profile Permanent Link
What has been offended here is not "the psychic being," but the norms of orthodox religious representation. And the high priests of this orthodoxy will not allow any other kind of representation to stake its claim to approach the Truth. At a time when, more than ever before, the world needs the unfettered light of consciousness which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have gifted to humankind, a bunch of aggressive churchmen will make sure to smother it into insignificance. I marvel also at how little opposition there is to them and how well organized they are with their weapons. The principal weapons of the orthodox are the varieties of verbal propaganda and such efficiency of means I have rarely seen, a truly exemplary division of labor. There is one with a heavy-handed threatening didacticism, another who deals in social paranoia, a third with his lachrymose devotional pieties, a fourth who is a merchant in theological disputation and a fifth who poses as a fair-minded reformist. What more or else do we need? The good shepherds are all here. Be comforted in that they will not spare the rod to keep you snug in the fold in spite of yourself. DB Reply]

Deciphering allusions or pseudonyms has turned an absorbing guessing game, but the Panch Shepherds puzzle is too intriguing to solve. [TNM]

Cuttack calling

April 2009 Conference from 4th to 7th April 2009

All are cordially invited to attend the April 2009 Conference at Matrubhaban, Cuttack

This annual Mahakumbh is the largest congregation outside Puducherry where the Savitri Erans from different states of India and abroad meet to be united in their aspirations. All are cordially invited to attend. [TNM] 5:35 PM

Politics is neither futile nor perverse

[And that is partly because we have a different picture of politics. We think that politics is more than an unfortunate necessity required by our inability to live together without killing each other. We think it is, can be anyway, an arena in which we work out and pursue, sometimes with notable success, large and constructive purposes. When I think about the history of democracy in the past century, and think about its greatest achievements of domestic policy, the areas of real moral progress, I think of civil rights, women’s equality, and the halting fight against a class society. With respect, classical liberals were in the rearguard in every one of these struggles. And for a simple reason: in each case, the struggle depended on a willingness to fight against inequality, subordination, exclusion through political means, through the dread state. And if you mix your classical liberal values with the classically conservative predisposition to think that politics is at best futile, at bad perverse, at worst risks what is most fundamental, then you will always celebrate these gains when the fight is over: always at the after party, inconspicuous at the main event, and never on the planning committee. - Joshua Cohen Always at the After Party Boston Review Online Jan. 27, 2009]

Savitri Era Party insists on spreading the word that politics is neither futile nor perverse. [TNM]

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Tony Clifton speaks the same language as Richard Carlson

[K:--The need to proclaim Sri Aurobindo’s divinity. Quite agree here. Sri Aurobindo and Mother never proclaimed such things . TC: Well I am not sure about that, even if it can be argued that they never proclaimed themselves as divine they both did refer to one another as Divine and there were formal darshans of adoration. Was this consistent with a yoga of no religion? Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by Tony Clifton on Fri 06 Feb 2009 06:58 PM PST Profile Permanent Link]

Tony Clifton speaks the same language as Richard Carlson. [TNM]


[Of course Hrdayananda is going to say what he said, he has to say that if he wants to remain in ISKCON as a leader. At this time no one can openly challenge Prabhupada and remain a leader in ISKCON for long because there are many power seekers looking to take them all down so they can also take advantage of all the perks of slave labor and donations. In the past Hrdayananda has claimed that you can disagree on certain topics with Prabhupada because Prabhupada wasn’t “omniscient”, and therefore when it came to “mundane” topics Prabhupada wasn’t necessarily automatically perfect in his knowledge of those topics. I guess for Hrdayananda, Prabhupada’s teachings on sexual morality are mundane, similar to his racist and sexist teachings. Hare Krishna Women Unveiling the sexism, misogyny, deceptions, fascism, and racism taught by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness It’s Raining Men February 7, 2009 by Vrajabhumi
Well, once again the self-appointed Prabhupada fanatic morality police (
like that ex-GHQ loudmouth/pasty looking doughboy Krishna Kirti Das) are all up in arms over something Hrdayananda Swami wrote recently to be read at a gay couple’s commitment ceremony. It wasn’t what he wrote that got the lunatic fringe’s panties in a twist, it was that he gave them his blessings, thereby seemingly giving the imprimatur of ISKCON/Prabhupada to homosexuality. Continue Reading » Posted in blind faith Tagged , , , , , , No Comments »]

Someday we hope to graduate to dealing with such discourse. [TNM]

Why Merleau-Ponty continues to be ignored

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: February 7, 2009 at 5:05 am

I as a non-specialist disagree with Mikhail’s verdict regarding Levi’s prose. The clarity, courage, and honesty with which he conducts his ontological quest is really commendable. May I take this opportunity to ask, why Merleau-Ponty continues to be ignored by him. [TNM]

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Altered fate of subaltern

[Narrowing the Integral Yoga to a devotionalist approach
The attempt at an appropriation of Sri Aurobindo by an exclusive devotional tradition threatens to undermine the integrality of his Yoga and divide his followers along cultural and temperamental lines. While bhakti is an essential component of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga, the attempt to limit its modes of expression to those of a specific tradition, let alone to narrow, intolerant forms, is a violation of the Yoga's integrality. It tends to exclude or marginalize those who are not raised in this tradition or are as yet incapable of distinguishing genuine bhakti from the superficial manifestations of devotionalism. This imperils the universality of Sri Aurobindo’s work and legacy and its continued relevance to a changing, globalized world.
Re: Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy
by koantum on Thu 05 Feb 2009 12:34 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
The apparent attempt at an appropriation of Sri Aurobindo by the Indian bhakti tradition...Please note that we have changed this paragraph. Reply]

The bhakti tradition in India is much feted for empowering the subaltern, but the irony is now it is accused of being hegemonic and predatory. [TNM]

Tertium quid

[Soloviev established a connection between "true religion and sensible politics" more convincingly in his commentary on current affairs than in his formal philosophy... In an essay titled "Plato's Life-Drama" (1898),(18) which on the surface presented itself as concerned with the origins of Platonic philosophy, Soloviev provided a key to understanding how he resolved this tension in his biblically-based worldview between the antithetical demands of respect for authority(19) and the moral imperative to defend and promote human rights, including, most importantly, what he understood to be the divinely-bestowed, unqualified sanctity of human life. This essay cast Socrates--the first "philosopher" recorded as questioning the authority of those who would lead others--in the role of tertium quid, a mediating force attempting to save his beloved Athenian civilization, the foundations of which were being eroded on the one hand by the nihilistic forces of relativistic sophism, and on the other by arch-conservative forces bent on preserving at all costs their prerogatives of power in the name of "blind" religious tradition.(20)
Vladimir S. Soloviev and the politics of human rights
Journal of Church and State: 01-JAN-99 Author: Wozniuk, Vladimir]

[Object-Oriented Philosophy: What is it Good For?
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects: I contend that, in one way or another, all of these solutions result from the Hegemonic Fallacy where it is held that culture overdetermines everything else, or rather that all entities (persons, objects in the world) are merely vehicles of cultural significations.
These are substantial ontological claims. As K-Punk recently
noted, it is not that disputes over ontology are disputes over politics, but rather that disputes over politics are disputes over differing ontologies.
"My instinct would be to reverse this, i.e. it’s not that ontology is always constructed through a political battle, but that politics is always constructed through an ontological battle. Politics certainly presuppose ontology - to take a glaring example, the key slogans of Thatcherite capitalist realism, for instance (”There is no such thing as society, only individuals and their families” and “There is no alternative”) were explicitly ontological claims, claims about what sort of entities can be said to exist in the world. But that isn’t to say that all ontologies presuppose a politics."]

The present divide between our A city and B city ideologues is not devoid of politics emanating out of distinct ontological stands. Eramenical Congresses need to be convened to thrash out differing perceptions on The Life Divine and allied texts. [TNM]

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Lantana camara

[Why We Use Botanical Names for Identifying Plants You don't have to learn Latin to grow beautiful plants. However, knowing a little bit about how and why plants are given their names, can be valuable knowledge when you are looking for growing advice or when you are shopping for a plant.
Plants are given
botanical names based on an international system for naming each individual plant... Plants are given a first name called the "genus," and a second name called the "species". Additional words may be added to the name to describe further subdivisions. This system provides people from throughout the world a universally accepted name for each single plant. The words used are a mixture of Latin, Greek, and native names.]

If only human beings consent to signify themselves always by a "universally accepted name" consisting of two or three parts! [TNM]