Saturday, May 30, 2009

Self-organisation & rule-following

[Sri Aurobindo considered the supermind to be an all-organizing and all-coordinating principle of truth-consciousness secretly involved in the material creation and he saw its emergence as the next logical and inevitable step in terrestrial evolution.
Integral yoga - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Categories: Sri Aurobindo Integral thought 3:32 PM]

[But the most significant and influential thinker of self-organisation in the past century was undoubtedly Friedrich Hayek, the intellectual progenitor of neoliberalism. For Hayek, any attempt at social or economic planning was doomed to failure, due to the inherent limitations of human knowledge, and the consequent prevalence of unintended consequences. In contrast, and inspired by both cybernetics and biology, Hayek claimed that the “free market” was an ideal mechanism for coordinating all the disparate bits of knowledge that existed dispersed throughout society, and negotiating it towards an optimal outcome. Self-organization, operating impersonally and beyond the ken of any particular human agent, could accomplish what no degree of planning or willful human rationality ever could. Against Self-Organization from The Pinocchio Theory by Steven Shaviro 7:55 PM]

[Friedrich von Hayek’s insight into the evolution of ethics becomes crucial to any understanding of this natural phenomenon. Hayek, as I have recently blogged, wrote that our ethics lie “between instinct and reason.” What this means is that we have overcome our instinct to plunder – but have not reasoned why. These ethics that we follow in markets have evolved. They have not been objectively designed by anyone. They have been passed down from generation to generation, and learnt by imitation. Let us try and understand the process... Civilisation is artificial. Civilisation is learnt behaviour. And this is how it arose. This is why it persists. Nowhere else does this conclusion ring truer than in India. Here, police stations are all located in cities and towns, never in villages. The majority of the population lives in a “natural order,” far removed from the attention of the police. And, whenever a policeman is seen ambling around an urban market, all the rule-following animals there know that a barbarian is in their midst, someone who will snatch and grab whatever he wants. This natural order is India’s strength. It shows that we are a highly civilised people. We are not a nation of barbarians. We are all rule-followers. We all operate “between instinct and reason.” We possess a deep-rooted “commercial culture.” Thus, liberal democracy is not the “end of history.” There is something higher on the evolutionary scale than democracy. And that is Natural Order. On Ethics, Reason And "Natural Order"
from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik]

Sauvik Chakraverti's forays into ethics and human nature need not stop at Hayek and proceed at least up to Nicolai Hartmann. To understand why "we are a highly civilised people" one should read the Uttarpara Speech of 30 May 1909 by Sri Aurobindo on its centenary day. [TNM]

A titan's strength, a titan's energy

Uttarpara Speech of 30 May 1909 by Sri Aurobindo is a forceful reaffirmation of Vedic certitude over Buddhist suspicion. The Mother's cryptic formula, "Remember and Offer" enjoins upon us to think that there is nothing "secular" anywhere. The Mother and Sri Aurobindo came to reverse and rectify the gigantic intellectual influence that the three "masters of suspicion" had mounted. For the work to be carried forward, we must pray to "give to our heart and mind a titan's strength, a titan's energy, to our soul and intelligence a god's character and knowledge."

Savitri Era Party rededicates itself in the service of the nation and the truth on this auspicious day. [TNM]

Friday, May 29, 2009

We stand by Heehs in his hour of crisis

Thank heavens that the vacation bench of Orissa High Court has stayed the non-bailable warrant issued against Heehs by the Magistrate Court at Cuttack. Courts are as legitimate ways for resolution of conflicts in a democracy as are out-of-court settlements. We stand by the author in his hour of crisis. [TNM]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader in a new paperback reprint

Nobody else can feel precisely the plight of a mother when her young children are sent away barring one who herself has gone through such an ordeal like Sri Aurobindo’s mother. Sachidananda Mohanty's mother too had to undergo more or less an akin circumstance when her kids shifted to the Ashram school in Puducherry. An ardent devotee of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and an accomplished poet, Bidyut Prabha Devi had in Panchanan Mohanty an ideal life partner, the latter being a leading light of the New Light Society that spearheaded the Integral Education movement in Orissa on a mass scale.

Perhaps unmarried, Sachidananda continues to be his celebrity Mama's son as the titles of his books like Early Women's writing in Orissa, 1898-1950: A Lost Tradition (Sage Publications, 2005) and Gender and Cultural Identity in Colonial Orissa (Orient Longman, 2008) imply. Professor and Head of the Department of English at the University of Hyderabad, his Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader (Routledge India, 2008) appeared a few months ahead of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (Columbia University Press, 2008) only to drown in the din of the controversy inflamed by the latter. Interestingly, many contentious issues were already there in the seed form in the pages of Mohanty’s book. Not surprisingly, he had to face the inevitable, although was let off rather lightly.

"The Strange Case of Dr. M and Mr. S Like the main character in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Sachidananda Mohanty seems to have a split personality. There is the academic — let us call him Dr. M — who praised the work of Peter Heehs and warned of the danger of “collective bigotry” in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. And there is the writer of a letter to the Trustees — we may call him Mr. S — who has condemned The Lives of Sri Aurobindo and joined the movement calling for Heehs’s expulsion. The contrast between the two makes an interesting study. Read more"

One more fascinating rendezvous is a speech by Peter Heehs at Hyderabad in 2006 on Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism:

“Now you may well ask, why should I, a non-Hindu, choose to speak about Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism? It may be true, as Dr. Mohanty has noted in his introduction, that I am a writer, a historian, and a member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram; but if I am not a practicing Hindu, is it really possible for me to understand the complex amalgam of thought, feeling and practice that makes up the religious system that we call Hinduism? And if not, is it really possible for me to reach an accurate assessment of Sri Aurobindo's relationship to this religion? I will be the first to admit that there is much about Hinduism that I do not understand. But my aim here is not to describe, defend or detract from the Hindu religion. I speak as a historian: one who uses documentary and other evidence to reconstruct the past in order to understand the present better. A historian generally begins with a problem: an event or line of development that has not been sufficiently studied or is commonly misunderstood. Sri Aurobindo's relationship to Hinduism is such a problem.”

Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader went out of print within a couple of months of its publication, and hence it is a matter of happiness that a paperback reprint under Routledge imprint has come out. The production as well as the price are attractive, to say the least, which makes it an ideal candidate for all those who feel bothered about contemporary socio-political crises to devour. [TNM]

Psychoanalysis is a thing of the past when it comes to psychology

Re: Archetypal Images and Symbols—Paulette's Comment for Posting
by
Tusar N. Mohapatra on Thu 28 May 2009 06:17 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

Our own Pragya in the season of Kasab. [TNM] Reply

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Declaration of the closest and most intimate encounter with god

When we should be celebrating the centenary of Sri Aurobindo’s Uttarpara Speech (1909) with all alacrity, the mood amongst the Savitri Erans is somewhat downcast today. An ostensible biography has set off a factional war that refuses to cease. Seeds of doubt have been cleverly sown such that the relevance his teachings, the veracity of his prophecies, and the efficacy of his yoga system are called into question. A skeptic’s way is being tom-tomed as far superior to the path of a devotee.

However, the utterance at Uttarpara is the declaration of the closest and most intimate encounter with god that has ever happened and evidenced in human history. That it occurs inside the brute environs of a prison adds poignancy to the whole event. The divinity thus announced is unimpeachable and so is the role of India in molding a world that houses harmony. [TNM]

Gods are always in demand

[From China to Chandni Chowk- Hindustan Times Reshma Patil, Hindustan Times
Yiwu, May 23, 2009
The latest products made-in-China include Shivaji on a horse, Mirabai in a red sari and Ganesha in a bathtub. Somewhere among over 62,000 booths in the world’s biggest market in China, sits a middle-aged Chinese woman known to Indian traders as machli mamma (Mother Fish)... Merchant of indian idols From Sai Baba to Shiva to the Nandi Bull, this booth in Yiwu supplies thousands of Indian gods made-in-China at prices as low as Rs 7; ... But the gods are always in demand. In a corner stall, crimson scrolls of Hanuman, Ganesha and Saraswati hang beside Happy Diwali streamers.]

The irony is that the idols of Indian gods are being mass produced in godless China. [TNM]

Monday, May 25, 2009

A craze for correction haunted the grammarians

[Sketchbook Review of Aju Mukhopadhyay's Poems Contact: Aju Mukhopadhyay: ajum24@gmail.com - Book Fair Featured Books of the Month the Book Fair - Aju Mukhopadhyay's Poems on Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. ISBN 978-81-7977-326-0 Prakash Book Depot, Bara Bazar, Bareilly 243 003, India. Contact: Aju Mukhopadhyay: ajum24@gmail.com]

"A craze for correction haunted the grammarians," cries out Aju Mukhopadhyay in his poem, "A Poet Violated" (Poems on Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, 2009) and laments that "In his own house he was beleaguered." Scholars of Savitri should come forward to rectify whatever injustice the past revisions have meted out. [TNM]

Joseph K & Joshist dossiers

[It was this fraught relationship between the symbolic and personal identity that Kafka so effectively investigated in both The Castle and The Trial. In both of those texts Joseph K’s identity– an identity marked only by an initial or an abbreviation –is entirely mysterious and his place within the social system or the symbolic order is entirely inscrutable. Joseph K’s plight is not extraordinary, but is characteristic of all social and cultural life. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? What does it mean to be a professor or a salesman or an engineer or an American or straight or gay or bisexual or a Christian or Muslim, etc., etc., etc. No matter where we look, we find these fraught and precarious identities where the essence of these identities remains in question and where our own performance of these identities perpetually remains fraught. Orientalism
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[The 59-year-old Congressman from Nathdwara is said to have impressed Mr Gandhi with his techno-savvy presentation of data, skill for political analysis and his style of speaking out his mind. Mr Joshi brought in the science of micro-managing elections in Rajasthan Congress. In 2008, he prepared dossiers on each assembly constituency, detailing the caste, gender profiles. Based on these, the Congress crafted its social coalition strategies and devised ways of welding contradictory caste interests. Bharat, India must merge: CP Joshi
Economic Times - 25 May 2009, 0320 hrs IST, Urmi A Goswami, ET Bureau]

Now that P.C. Joshi (1907-1980) is forgotten, C.P. Joshi is the new kid on the block whose "science of micro-managing elections" has worked wonders. The Fascist implications of such a science is frightening, however. [TNM]

Perception of an absence where one misses something

[“Heidegger was one of the first people who thought in post-structuralist terms”. A new paradigm of philosophy, post-structuralism emerged in France in the 1960s, and is broadly understood as a body of distinct elaborations on structuralism, which attempted to explain the world as a neat system of inter-related structures. Structuralism was a manifestation of the culmination of modern thought, which turns the world into a series of mathematically articulated objects – essentially the precondition for technology. Heidegger rebelled at this attempt to control the earth through technology. Instead of setting upon nature in the form of an assault, Heidegger believed we must become like listeners to discover our place on this earth.” (title unknown) from enowning by enowning
In-der-Blog-sein Bert Olivier
profiled in paper.]

[Whether we are speaking of the creation myth in the Bible, the myth of the Demiurge in Plato’s Timaeus, or chaos in Deleuze, Badiou, and any number of phenomenologists, there seems to be a marked tendency of thought to conceive the materiality of matter as a sort of pure chaotic flux without any internal structuring– or as Graham has put it “formatting” –principle within it. Following an Aristotlean protocol– though a protocol already present in the thought of Plato and perhaps even Parmenides –it seems as if matter is ineluctably conceived only in its negative, as the absence of form. This generates the entire problem or question of how form is generated or how matter comes to be “form-atted”. And, of course, because matter has already been conceived as formlessness, as the un-form-atted, as that which is without in-form-ation, the principle of form must come from elsewhere or outside of matter... Matter itself is treated as being without its own structuring principle or as being without its own ordering principle. As Gilbert Simondon observed, this way of thinking most likely arises as a consequence of technocratic thought where humans impose form on a matter that is thought or conceived of as a passive recipient of structuration.
However, it is not difficult to discern this move as already necessitated by the Parmenidean declaration. Here the whole problem emerges in relation to Parmenides’ declaration that being is and non-being is not. Now, if being is and non-being is not, we very quickly run into the problem of difference. For if to differ is to be what something is not, then it follows that differences are not for as we know being is. Yet if differences are not, then it follows as a consequence that entities are not, for to be an entity is to differ.
Perhaps it would be no exaggeration to say that an entire destiny of Western thought already lies within Parmenides’ fateful decision. Here the issue would lie not with the declaration that being is, but rather with the identification of difference with negativity. For in identifying difference with negativity, Parmenides insures that the principle by which being is form-atted requires an exteriority, another agency, another principle through which difference is introduced. We thereby get the interminable story of the Big and Little Demiurge imposing form on the world. However, in identifying difference with the power of negativity, has not Parminedes fallen into what Roy Bhaskar calls the “Epistemic Fallacy” or the conflation of the epistemic and the ontological? Between difference as it functions in representation, recognition, or the cognitive activity of identification and difference as it is ontologically, there is a massive chasm.
Sunday Afternoon Gardening
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[abhava (Indian philosophy) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia
place in Vaisheshika school ( in
Vaisheshika (Indian philosophy) )
To these six was later added abhāva, nonexistence or absence. Though negative in content, the impression it makes is positive; one has a perception of an absence where one misses something. Four such absences are recognized: previous absence, as of a new product; later absence, as of a destroyed object; total absence, as of colour in the wind; and reciprocal absence, as of a jar...]

[Abhava - Indopedia, the Indological knowledgebase The category
1. (
category) [A] Being not an inherence, abhāva is a non-inherence, which means that abhāva is empty of inherence and different from the inherence.1 [B] Different from being, abhāva is the object of a knowledge that is dependent on the knowledge of counterrelatum. [C] According to the followers of Mādhva, abhāva is the object of the adequate knowledge "there is not" (nāsti).
The author of
Nyāya-līlāvatī holds that the category of abhāva is a very useful one. Abhāva is explained as possessing the empirical potential of bhāva due to its being of help in the acquisition of the summum bonum. The usefulness of abhāva is an established tenet because all agree that in the absence of cause, there is no effect.
Types of abhāva
According to
Tarka-saMgraha, there are four types of abhāva: previous non-being, destruction, ultimate non-being, and disjunctive non-being. Others (BhP and TKau) hold that there are two types of abhāva: relational and disjunctive abhāva. The first one is of three kinds: previous non-being, destruction, and ultimate non-being. The second one is only of one kind. The traditional point of view is that the relational non-being is abhāva that has something identical as constituting the idea of counterrelatumness and is delimited by another relation to it (to the selfsame identity).]

The chasm between the Continental and the Oriental wings of philosophy persists despite technological breakthroughs. What is deplorable is that the reasons are political and economic and not academic. [TNM]

Unprecedented vote buying, liquor distribution, & intense caste polarization

[He added, “The perception is widespread that the year 2014 belongs to the Lok Satta, not because it is powerful but because it is articulating people’s aspirations, and emerged as on authentic platform for citizen’s Political parties participation”.
Dr. JP said the 2009 elections were marked by unprecedented vote buying, liquor distribution on a large scale, intense caste polarization and the vicious propaganda that a vote to an ethical party like the Lok Satta would be a wasted vote.” Yet the people by and large displayed extraordinary maturity by not succumbing to caste Talibans, lucrative and irresistible freebies and money and liquor.
Let us restore dignity in politics: Dr. JP
from Jayaprakash Narayan's Blog by JP]

Dr. JP's perception that "an ethical party like the Lok Satta" can prevent "caste polarization" is far fetched. Politics, an aspirational attribute, whips up the irrational facets in people who, in turn, flock for charisma, religion, or a like preference. [TNM]

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Savitri Era for the scheduled castes

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism took place on October 14, 1956 barely two months before he died on December 6, 1956. Had he turned to The Mother & Sri Aurobindo instead, the status of people belonging to the scheduled castes would have been entirely different. Leaders of these communities should wake up to make up for the lost time. [TNM]

Through life and pain and time and will and death

Re: Archetypal Images and Symbols—Yonder to all our ends
by
Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sun 24 May 2009 09:15 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

Errors and omissions should be pointed out with academic austerity without resorting to melodrama or attributing motives. [TNM] Reply

Satprem's writing style is pretentious and dramatic

[I find Satprem's writing style pretentious and dramatic, but so many have reported a beneficial impact from his Adventure of Consciousness bio of Sri Aurobindo. Now some are now reporting benefits from reading the Lives. I have to conclude different people can read and react very differently, especially along the inner/spiritual dimensions. Regards, Kepler Archetypal Images and Symbols—by Paulette
Comment posted by: Kepler mirroroftomorrow.org/blog]

The question of the Mother's Agenda too is germane to this comment. It has become an industry of sorts to quote from it to prove a point or demolish adversaries. [TNM]

The arrow of Savitri Era

Sonia, it seems, would be happy with the one-party rule, Congress being the party of natural governance. Jaitley endorses Advani’s refrain that India’s polity is evolving towards a two-party system. Karat, on the contrary, roots for a third wedge.

From the voter’s point of view, of course, a simple choice between two candidates is the most desirable. But then there should always be some scope for surprises without which life becomes colorless and drab. [TNM]

Congress is by instinct a left-of-centre party

[The Congress is by instinct a left-of-centre party. Foreign investors may think of the Congress as the party that ushered in market-friendly reforms in the early 1990s, but was an exceptional phase after a balance of payments crisis. The collapse of the Soviet Union and success of Deng in China helped change the old socialist mindset, but only grudgingly and gradually. When in 2004 the Left Front made support for Congress conditional on emphasizing rural development, social spending and poverty, Congress agreed out of conviction no less than compulsion.
SWAMINOMICS
Expect continuity, not radical reform
TOI 24 May 2009, 0208 hrs IST, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar]

If Swami's fears hold true, then it is another five years of pretence and doublespeak. [TNM]

Deepak is incapable of bringing light to the world

[Mind set: Why power is sacred
Times of India - 24 May 2009, 0800 hrs IST, Deepak Chopra
Organized religion steadily declines – this is a trend that embraces every developed country. To fill the void, secular spirituality arose outside the church and synagogue. Millions of people accept the validity of following a spiritual path without dogma, priests, rules and the absolute authority of scripture. What does this have to do with India? First, those millions of seekers almost all look to India's spiritual traditions for enlightenment. Second, India herself almost totally ignores this legacy so far as public policy and attitudes go. Third, the religious divisions within India — and with Pakistan across the border — are a flat contradiction of a spiritual legacy... India has the right and obligation to lead, because consciousness is our culture's unique specialty. It is also our culture's common thread over centuries of conquest and constant change. In short, sacred power is the next step that comes after India's founding idea. If the country can demonstrate that little brown people are capable of bringing light to the world, think what that would mean for the greater common good.]

Deepak Chopra has been instrumental in spreading the timeless Indian wisdom in the West for quite some time. But the hitch is that he thought he could do it on his own, through his well cultivated brand. Had he collaborated with The Mother & Sri Aurobindo the outcome of his endeavor would have been considerable. Without Their force his message is mere hollow verbiage. [TNM]

Because Sri Aurobindo is so satisfying

[No need for support of other's convictions
"The Mother’s Agenda: September 7, 1963

I happened to have some philosophical curiosity and to study all kinds of problems, and I came upon Sri Aurobindo’s teaching, and what he “taught”... is by far, among the systems men have formulated, the most satisfying for me, the most complete, and what answers the most satisfactorily all the questions that can be asked; it is the one that helps me the most in life to have the feeling that ‘life is worth living.’ Consequently, I try to conform entirely to his teaching and to live it integrally in order to live as best I can.... I don’t mind at all if others don’t believe in it – whether they believe in it or not is all the same to me; I don’t need the support of others’ conviction, it’s enough if I am myself satisfied."
Precisely because Sri Aurobindo is so satisfying, the danger that his followers or devotees become religious fanatics is great, and so is the danger posed by religious fanatics among Sri Aurobindo's followers or devotees.
iyfundamentalism.info]

Alyque Padamsee once said something to the effect that how can you advertise a bra without being shown to wear it. If "Sri Aurobindo is so satisfying" what's the need to hide it and not talking about it? [TNM]

Kazlevity

[The problem with Religion is that it confuses Time and Space with that which is eternal and transcendent. The result is fundamentalism. This sort of frozen thinking is the very opposite of Truth, which is ever new and creative. And you can be a fundamentalist Aurobindonian as much as fundamentalist Christian or Buddhist or anything else. Just as you can be a spontaneous, non-dogmatic, free and open, Aurobindonian, Christian, Buddhist, or whatever. I remember many years back, i guess in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was very much a fundamentalist Aurobindonian. And the wierd thing is, it was an obsessive thing, you aren't allowed to believe in anything that contradicts this. I guess I knew it was neurotic, but there was nothing I could do about it. I actually remained an Aurobindonian fundamentalist until quite recently. I can't recall when I actually was able to let go of that stuff; i guess it was a gradual process. Personally, I feel it isn't possible to really understand Sri Aurobindo, or any other great sage, if you are fundamentalist about their teachings. I've mentioned in the past my own experiences with the Integral movement, and I was amazed how they were so fundamentalist about Wilber. Well, I can say I have been equally fundamentalist about Aurobindo. This is also part of my story; the meeting with, and growing beyond, fundamentalism and literalism in all its forms. So, in all these ways, and many more I haven't mentioned here, my book will be as much an autobiography about my intellectual journey as it will be a description of esoteric cosmology, transcendent dimensions, cosmic evolution, an dthe Divinization (Supramentalization) of the Earth (although it will be about those things too). The historical and autobiographical approach
from Integral Transformation by m alan kazlev]

Kazlev is candid as always. He will experience what it takes to be "a fundamentalist Aurobindonian" when he completes reading The Life Divine. [TNM]

P.S.: Fake certificates of “Aurobindonian fundamentalist” are liable to be confiscated.

Elephant and The Life Divine

[13. Comment #375385 by njwong on May 11, 2009 at 1:58 pm: This satire didn't work for me. The 4 men are supposed to be blind. Yet at the end of the parody, the 3 scientists are operating as if they are sighted people! E.g. Moe using elephants for war? Isn't fighting wars difficult (if not impossible) to do if you are blind? The satire may have worked if it is implied that all human beings in the story's universe are blind. Then, although we are all blind, the moral of the story is that we should still use scientific methods to learn the truth about the elephant (our universe), instead of imagining what we want the elephant to be. However, the story mentions of photos being taken of the elephant! Photos are only meaningful for sighted people. This jars the analogy badly for me.]

Only a study of The Life Divine can tell us how really to "use scientific methods to learn the truth." [TNM]

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Life Divine for a more enduring self-renewal

[The religions I know are about nothing but doubt and dissent, and the struggles of faith, the dark night of the soul, feelings of unworthiness, serial backsliding, the abyss of despair. Whether it is the book of Job, the Confessions of St. Augustine, Calvin’s Institutes, Bunyan’s “Grace Abounding to The Chief of Sinners,” Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling” and a thousand other texts, the religious life is depicted as one of aspiration within the conviction of frailty. The heart of that life, as Eagleton reminds us, is not a set of propositions about the world (although there is some of that), but an orientation toward perfection by a being that is radically imperfect.
The key event in that life is not the fashioning of some proof of God’s existence but a conversion, like St. Paul’s on the road to Damascus, in which the scales fall from one’s eyes, everything visible becomes a sign of God’s love, and a new man (or woman), eager to tell and live out the good news, is born. “To experience personal transformation that in turn can truly move and shake this world, we must believe in something outside of ourselves” (
Judith Quinton).” The kind of religion that moves me,” says Shannon . . . is the story of hope and love . . . not the idea that any particular story describes concrete historical ‘truth.’” “It isn’t about moral superiority,” says Richard. “It’s about humbly living an examined life held up to the mirror of a higher truth. It certainly does not seem to be about comfort.”
So to sum up, the epistemological critique of religion — it is an inferior way of knowing — is the flip side of a naïve and untenable positivism. And the critique of religion’s content — it’s cotton-candy fluff — is the product of incredible ignorance.
One more thing. A number of readers chided Eagleton and me for daring to enter the lists against the superior intellects of Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.
E.R. Wood predicts that “if Fish debated Dawkins, Fish would lose by KO in every round.”
Opinion Today NYT May 18, 2009 Think Again: Stanley Fish - Stanley Fish is a law professor and author - God Talk, Part 2]

Fish errs in that the "conversion" or the "personal transformation" need not be Christian. An attitudinal overhaul through the study of The Life Divine is a more enduring self-renewal. [TNM]

Religion and politics are entwined since millennia

[The mistrust has a long history. Arabs and Persians enjoy cordial enmity; the cultural rivalry between the Sunni and Shia universes dates back a mere 1.5 millennia or so, to the battle of Karbala in 680 and beyond.
But recent developments have envenomed things to the point that Arab diplomats troop daily into the State Department to warn that the U.S. quest for détente with Tehran is dangerous. By ROGER COHEN Op-Ed Columnist
Iran and Israel NYT: May 17, 2009 Read All Comments (211) »]

Religion and politics are entwined since millennia. The attempt in India to keep them separate is futile. [TNM]

There is a ceiling on how far man can go on his own

[Sunada has left a new comment on the post "Buddhism in the West": Specifically, I am thinking about one key difference between Buddhism and the Judeo-Christian doctrine: Buddhism says that humans have an inborn potential for reaching the ultimate, whereas theistic traditions teach that man and God are separate. The latter implies to me that there is a ceiling on how far man can go on his own. I think that point can have a profound effect on how one views one's own potential, and one's relation to the ultimate (however you happen to define that). Mind you, I'm no expert on theology, so I may be misrepresenting things here. But regardless, the things of which I speak aren't cultural baggage, but a true difference of doctrine that can affect how we view ourselves in relation to our world. I'm not trying to argue that any faith is more "right" than any other. I do believe that all the world religions offer genuine paths to the ultimate. But to reach the highest potential with any one of them, I think we have to specialize and take on the relatively unique perspective that one's chosen faith presents. By analogy, you can't become a virtuoso pianist if you spread your energies around to also learn how to be a wind instrument player. It's up to each of us to determine which of those doctrines are helpful to our own circumstances and life choices, and whether they are helpful to our personal growth. Sunada Takagi www.mindfulpurpose.com Posted by Sunada to Integral Options Cafe at 8:09 AM]

An exquisite dissection of the ontological limitations that the dominant religions perpetrate. [TNM]

Friday, May 22, 2009

Double whammy

[The world economy is headed towards a monetary crisis
False Currency Sauvik Chakraverti The Times of India Thursday, March 9, 2006
The world economy is headed towards a monetary crisis as the lead counterfeiter, the US Fed, becomes unable to cope with its 'twin deficits': A huge fiscal deficit combined with a huge trade deficit. This time, the blame should not fall on markets and speculators, the blame should fall squarely on central bankers. As we inch towards global capitalism, we need to ditch the false ideas that created central banking (and the IMF). Then only can a true capitalism arise and leftists be put permanently in their place. ANTIDOTE
4:49 AM]

This warning has not been addressed adequately although three years have elapsed. China, a few months back, expressed skepticism over the international settlement system, and that needs to be carried to its logical conclusion. The present financial meltdown may prove to be the tip of the iceberg if, as Chakraverti harps on, a switch to sound money with gold as standard does not take place. [TNM]

Vote share vis-à-vis seats won

[There are only three things one can say we can with a degree of certitude. One, regional parties remain a force. Two, the electoral arithmetic can cause the outcome in terms of seats won to diverge significantly from the outcome in terms of vote shares. Three, the only way to combat the anti-incumbency factor is to focus on measures that have a pro-poor and rural orientation. Understanding the results of the 2009 elections
from The Big Picture by T T Ram Mohan]

It is certainly feasible to devise a more dependable paradigm of choosing representatives by using the enormous data that our elections generate for processing via various mathematical models. [TNM]

Temporary workers receive lower pay and fewer benefits

[Analysts say this is because lifetime employment is alive and well in Japan, with the state playing a big role in keeping it so... But Japan’s obsession with keeping workers employed — even those who are not needed — comes at a cost.
Companies slash wages, which reduces consumer spending. Businesses become more reluctant to take on new recruits, shutting young people out of the labor force. And productivity plummets, hurting Japan’s competitiveness in an increasingly aggressive international market.
“By helping to maintain excess employment, you face the risk of keeping alive businesses that are no longer competitive, and perhaps whose productive era is over,” said Hisashi Yamada, an economist at the Japan Research Institute, a private research group in Tokyo. “This could hurt employment in the long run. What you need is more structural change.”
The lifetime employment system, cemented in Japan’s postwar economic boom, bound dutiful workers and paternalistic employers together, producing a mutual loyalty (and labor harmony) rarely seen in the West.
Since Japanese workers are hard to lay off, companies have turned to temporary workers, who receive lower pay and fewer benefits, and can be cut more easily. Such workers now make up a third of Japan’s work force.
In Japan, Secure Jobs Have a Cost By HIROKO TABUCHI
NYT: May 19, 2009
]

This report has much to do with various worker related practices prevailing in Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry. [TNM]

A sigh for SCIY

[So when the early American Vipassana teachers came home from their Asian sojourns in the late 1960s and early 1970s it made perfect sense to them to abstract pure meditation practice from its Asian Buddhist contexts and teach what they saw as a “secular” form of dharma that anyone could participate in, regardless of tradition or circumstances. The idea that Buddhism and Buddhist meditation was nonreligious drew many thousands of Americans to the dharma, in spite of the fact they never had any intention of joining an Asian religion.
This view of Buddhism is considered completely incorrect by most contemporary Buddhist scholars I know and have read. They maintain that there is no way to strip religion from its context, and that without its texts, rituals, customs, and traditions, it isn’t Buddhism at all. Moreover, they maintain that whatever good might come from meditation practice as a so-called secular activity is pretty superficial. It won’t last. Or, if it does last, it will be so watered down, so unmoored from any cultural ballast, from any actual substance, that it will eventually be subsumed into the general American consumerist madness (as, they feel, yoga has been). Why We Need a Plan B
Norman Fischer -
Buddhadharma - posted by WH @ 5:53 AM 7 comments]

The endeavor at SCIY to turn Integral Yoga into something secular like Vipassana will fail. [TNM]

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo for a post-modern world

At 8:19 PM, Tusar N Mohapatra said...
[Too much of the Eastern values (especially those from 2500 years ago) don't hold up in a post-modern world.]

Thanks to The Mother & Sri Aurobindo this time lag has been spectacularly bridged. [TNM]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Savitri Era (centre-right) Party

[EDITORIAL COMMENT Rebooting BJP
TOI 21 May 2009, 0010 hrs IST
To get back on its feet, the party must capture the centre-right space... box. If identity
politics has played itself out by now, how can the BJP reorient itself? It could do so by identifying and filling a gaping lacuna in Indian politics, the lack of a centre-right party which speaks the language of reform and harnesses globalisation to expand the middle class. That would be incompatible with a Hindu Rashtra plank, but Hindu Rashtra could be substituted with a strong nationalist appeal which would have greater resonance across the country. If that requires the BJP to cut its ties with the far right, it should do so with the intention of occupying a moderate conservative space.]

Savitri Era Party is angling precisely for the space outlined by The Times of India edit today. [TNM]

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A puppet Prime Minister is a body blow to the Indian democracy

Sonia Gandhi announced the name of Dr. Manmohan Singh as the next Prime Minister to the media before he was elected the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party. This imperial style is against the letter and spirit of Indian Constitution. Neither Congress nor the UPA has the full mandate to form the Government. A puppet Prime Minister, besides, is a body blow to the Indian democracy. Savitri Era Party calls upon people to open their eyes to the illegitimacy of this quasi-colonial dispensation. [TNM]

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Devotee’s progress

Contrast the "If I were a devotee of Sri Aurobindo" remark by Tony Clifton (a.k.a. Richard Carlson) with Debashish Banerji agreeing with having "profound devotion and the highest regard towards Sri Aurobindo." [TNM]

Monday, May 18, 2009

Conspiracy is not chimera

[6) Is aware that conspiracy and counter-conspiracy theories, along with speculations as to other’s hidden internal motives and supposed malicious intent, are almost always false. Kepler Re: Active Omissions: A Review of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Manoj - Annotated by Debashish Kepler Mon 18 May 2009 09:06 AM PDT]

Sorry to disagree. [TNM]

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mark Edwards is conversant with Sri Aurobindo’s teaching

[from integral praxis by BrightAbyss~May 17, 2009 Organizational Transformation and Integral MetaTheory
Integral theorist and organizational specialist Mark Edwards is scheduled to have his new book publishing by Routledge Press on August 15th 2009. 1 comments:]

Tusar N Mohapatra said...
15th August, by the way, is Sri Aurobindo’s birthday that coincides with India's Independence Day. Mark Edwards is conversant with Sri Aurobindo’s teaching and must have drawn from his insights in the book. Best wishes. [TNM] May 17, 2009 8:22 AM

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Politics, again, needs to be practiced in the spirit of religion

The exit poll tells us that another Government will be scrambled on the basis of arithmetic and not chemistry. All political parties in India today are nonplussed about a sure box-office formula. Such ideological bewilderment never happened before. Single minded pursuit of power and narrow parochialism is taking its toll.

Savitri Era Party, in such a gloomy scenario, stands for ideology, commitment, and dedication. Politics, again, needs to be practiced in the spirit of religion. Savitri Era Party looks forward to solutions to conflictual situations running for centuries.

Fragmentation of the people in India on the basis of caste and ethnicity is a primary target. Establishing solidarity within the Asian countries and resolving the Palestinian crisis is high on agenda. Expanding EU for creating the World Union is the underlying objective. [TNM]

Bhartṛhari, Heidegger, & Sri Aurobindo

Re: Literature and Consciousness—by Shruti Bidwaikar
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Thu 14 May 2009 12:18 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

There is a much broader vista from Bhartṛhari's śabda-advaita (speech monistic) ontology to Heidegger's "Language is the house of Being." [TNM] Reply

Analysand verbalizes thoughts

[On yet another subject you refer to an alleged psychoanalytic thread of interpretation in the book. I agree there is some element of that, and I don’t like it. My impression is it’s not at all in the same league with Kripal’s writings however. Regards, Kepler Re: Types of Readers
by Kepler on Thu 14 May 2009 04:46 AM IST Profile Permanent Link Reply]

[Psychoanalysis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Freudian psychoanalysis refers to a specific type of treatment in which the "analysand" (analytic patient) verbalizes thoughts, including
free associations, fantasies, and dreams, from which the analyst formulates the unconscious conflicts causing the patient's symptoms and character problems, and interprets them for the patient to create insight for resolution of the problems.]

It is a pity that a highly technical term like Psychoanalysis is being bandied about so loosely. [TNM]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New benchmarks of truthfulness

[the preface contains no attack whatever on earlier biographers. Marathe's letter: a clarification
by
koantum on Mon 11 May 2009 10:02 PM PDT Permanent Link 2:04 PM]

[Mohrhoff's response shows the true character of the SCIY editors... Mohrhoff has especially flown under the radar... It is also he who called the work of people like Srinivasa Iyengar's biography "childish" on SCIY and then hastily tried to recant. deepashri said... May 11, 2009 10:27 PM]

[Neither Alok nor I have the competence or the resources to handle court cases. Contrary to IYF’s claims, neither of us is responsible for them, and neither do we have a say in their withdrawal. Sraddhalu's Open Letter to Auroville and Centres dated 1st May 2009 7:45 PM]

New benchmarks of truthfulness. [TNM]

Myths about Indian readers

[Re: Hi! We do Integral Yoga by Vikas on Wed 13 May 2009 10:16 AM IST Profile Permanent Link
I believe this is the style and tone the author has kept throughout the book although a little too critical at places... If the question is about publishing the book in India then naturally the readership there ought to be kept in mind. Thanks to the Tapasya of the ancients, in India the urge and orientation towards spirituality and mysticism is latent and needs little prompting to surface and manifest itself... The Indian reader tacitly, by default, accepts the validity of these experiences. There is also that part of the reader-spectrum that considers it outrageous to even raise the question on the validity of the experiences. In fact we have seen such responses... While the Western psychologist’s skepticism is answered by the book by affirming their (visions etc) validity, it could have just the opposite effect here - a doubt cast in the minds of the Indian readers. If the publication of the book in America is supported by virtue of the readership it appeals to, then by the same yardstick (its appeal and applicability to the Indian readership) it would very likely fail and have a negative impact in India... It would therefore be within safe-harbor to withhold its publication in India or put it in abeyance.]

India today is too vast and diverse a nation to be squeezed into such a narrow and narcissistic notion. [TNM]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Koantuition

["Your attack in the preface on all earlier biographers was unwarranted..." or so states the first bullet. The reason why I, as one of the editors of SCIY, found it a waste of time to read beyond this point is that the preface contains no attack whatever on earlier biographers. Marathe's letter: a clarification by koantum on Mon 11 May 2009 10:02 PM PDT Permanent Link]

Reading skills, eh? [TNM]

Monday, May 11, 2009

Skewed law of Karma

[you have a lot of accumulated karma; and are paying the price for it by getting in turn dismissed, insulted and put down by other Ashramites... For if their attack is based on such motivations, they themselves in turn would accumulate 'karma' of using the stature of Sri Aurobindo for their own ends. Raja Marathe’s Letter to Peter Heehs May 10, 2009]

Raja Marathe’s Letter to Peter Heehs at A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" is a refreshing read. "The law of Karma" thesis, however, sits a bit incongruent with Sri Aurobindian ontology. [TNM]

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vedanta, avatar, & incarnation

[Re: The Post-human, Evolution and the Avatar by Debashish on Sat 25 Nov 2006 12:56 PM PST Permanent Link sciy.org/blog
And where has Sri Aurobindo (or the Mother) said that his work is dependent on the Vedanta? His interpreting the Veda, the Vedanta and the Gita does not make his work dependent on these. Where possible, he has also coined a new language. The Life Divine does not mention avatar or the sacrifice of the Purusha (as far as I know). If other works do, we must take it that these concepts are handy to express what is important to his experience and would have taken many more volumes of words otherwise.
Again, the essence of “incarnation” as understood in Christianity does not find any representation in the Indic idea of avatarhood. But Sri Aurobindo sees some truth in the idea and brings it out in Savitri. It is deatable whether his work can be called Vedantic at all (particularly if one was to take the Mother’s formulation of it).
November 27th, 2006 at 10:06 pm 5:45 PM]

In more halcyon days, there used to be clashes too but over theoretical minutae. The disagreements are yet to be resolved though. [TNM]

Let us open a new chapter

[Ritwick Ghatak makes CPM nervous in Kolkata Subrata Nagchoudhury Posted: Sunday , May 10, 2009
Kolkata: However, the new play comes against the backdrop of a sustained campaign by a section of the city’s artists since the Singur land acquisition and the Nandigram police firing. That campaign now has a new twist timed for the Lok Sabha elections: “Vote for Change.”
Said Shaonli Mitra, a renowned theatre personality: “There is a suffocating pressure from the ruling party in all spheres of life. I have personally toured extensively in the past two years to see the ground reality for myself. It is pathetic. We are not regimented, we do not want to be in anyone’s good books. We want change.”
In fact, this intellectual pressure group even released a poll manifesto with signatories including author Mahasweta Devi, Shaonli Mitra, filmmaker Aparna Sen, playwright Bivash Chakrabarty, academic Sunanda Sanyal, former bureaucrat Debabrata Bandopadhyay, singer Pratul Mukhopadhyay and artists Jogen Chowdhury and Suvaprasanna.
Releasing the manifesto, Mahasweta Devi said: “State terror has been let loose from Keshpur to Nandigram and from Singur to Lalgarh. These people (read the Communists) do not believe in democracy. Decade after decade, they have been running an autocratic single-party rule. They have entangled everything like an octopus... we need to change this. We need to change this for the sake of a healthy society, culture and for humanity. Let us open a new chapter.”]

A regime not too dissimilar in nature runs the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry. We want change. [TNM]

I support the book and its publication in India

from "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 10 May 2009 14:02

As I have not read the book it is difficult to tell whether I support what Heehs has written. But I support the book and its publication in India in a democratic spirit. [TNM] [The Lives of Sri Aurobindo 7:25 AM 1 comment]

The state of society needs to be taken as a given

Evaluating socio-political themes vis-à-vis theory and practice of Integral Yoga is rarely attempted. In this context, Shripati Das (Navajyoti – LII-2 – 24 April 2009) daring to deal with man-woman relationship is surely welcome. While the overall spirit of the write-up is prescriptive and seems to be harmless, the whole analysis is wide off the mark as far as social reality is concerned. A comment by him on the attires of women, for instance, is not politically correct.

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo were eminently eligible to criticize social anomalies more or less magisterially, but the same authority doesn’t pass on to their followers automatically. The state of society needs to be taken as a given, and all effort for reform has to begin at the ground level. Similarly, many solutions posited through the utterances of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo are long term affairs which when whipped up by the followers appears preposterous. [TNM]

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Ideas won't go to jail

[c-67-184-80-209.hsd1.il.comcast.net (Comcast Cable Communications Inc) Illinois, Lombard, United States, goethean said...
"Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas." ---Alfred Whitney, "Essays on Education"
8:20 PM, May 09, 2009]

Tusar N Mohapatra said...
Thanks goethean and welcome. I expect from a person like you a detailed examination of the issue and then it would be easier to draw apposite inferences. [TNM] 8:28 PM, May 09, 2009 Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Their last vain attempt to resuscitate a dying faith

[Messianic Politics: The Real, The Imaginary, and the Symbolic
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects
Much to my surprise and delight, I have been exceedingly pleased by the discussion my post “
The Monstrosity of Christ” has generated. For me, Jesus is an incredibly important political thinker who proposes a new vision of communal relations. What has been so great about this discussion, apart from a few bumps here and there, is the manner in which the religious and the atheist have been able to discuss these issues, without the question being one of debunking the other.]

[(The Rev) Hank Galganowicz // May 6, 2009 at 1:24 pm Why the surprise? the same thing happened to Jesus, and we still have whole bureaucracies and people who are ‘avid’ about his uniqueness as ‘the’ son of God, even tho it’s pretty clear he intended no such thing. 10:42 AM]

[Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate by Terry Eagleton - Product Description - Terry Eagleton's witty and polemical 'Reason, Faith, and Revolution' is bound to cause a stir among scientists, theologians, people of faith and people of no faith, as well as general readers eager to understand the God Debate. On the one hand, Eagleton demolishes what he calls the 'superstitious' view of God held by most atheists and agnostics, and offers in its place a revolutionary account of the Christian Gospel. On the other hand, he launches a stinging assault on the betrayal of this revolution by institutional Christianity. There is little joy here, then, either for the anti-God brigade - Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens in particular - nor for many conventional believers. Instead, Eagleton offers his own vibrant account of religion and politics in a book that ranges from the Holy Spirit to the recent history of the Middle East, from Thomas Aquinas to the Twin Towers. Amazon.co.uk.]

Their last vain attempt to resuscitate a dying faith. Most curious is how both "the religious and the atheist" are collaborating. [TNM]