Friday, April 30, 2010

Vedic challenge of reclaiming the deathless state

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - Are today's youth losing their religion? A new study suggests they are. A group called Lifeway Christian Resources
A recent front-page story in USA Today caught my eye: "Survey: 72% of Millennials 'more spiritual than religious.'" According to a survey produced by
'Mushy' millennials in the news GetReligion (blog)‎
Honk if you've heard the phrase “more spiritual than religious.” That, not “WWJD,” appears to be the mantra of today's young people, even those who call]

I still want to argue for promiscuous interrelations among objects, rather than seeing them all as vacuum-sealed; but here, my only qualification would be that I think that every entity makes a “decision,” as Whitehead puts it, as to which “relation partners” (Harman’s phrase, not Whitehead’s) it responds to, and which it ignores. In Whitehead’s parlance, this ignoring another entity could take the form either of what he calls a “negative prehension” (which is a decided refusal) or of the fact that the other entity has only a “negligible” influence on the entity that is making a decision. So, while I think that “to be affected by something outside us” is the general case, rather than a special one, in practice the degree to which an entity is affected is fairly minimal…
I still differ with Harman in thinking, following Whitehead (who in this case is himself following William James), that the existence of an entity is punctual, and that the endurance of an object through time needs to be understood as a succession of entities, with a large measure of inheritance accounting for the continuity. This is why (as I said at the OOO conference last week — but this part of my talk still needs some revision) the question of whether an entity remains “the same” over time is a relative one, a matter of degree.]

Savitri Era Religion is intimately connected with the history of the 20th century. As an antidote to dominant intellectual waves and widespread cultural upheavals sweeping from time to time, it has proved its worth. Metaphysical inquiry, the world over, wallowed in the luxury of rhetorical ostentation and forgot the original objective, but Savitri Era Religion never lost sight of its goal. The Vedic challenge of reclaiming the deathless state is still the foremost priority for man today. [TNM]

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Without a central core, doctrine can wander

[Why Christianity Must Adapt -- Or Perish Huffington Post (blog) - ‎Apr 26, 2010
Alex Wilhelm is it better to fit the church and Christianity to the world, thus keeping the faith relevant, or is it better to mold the world to the faith? … whether the religion should fit the culture or the other way about… This, of course, is why Brian D. McLaren is on the right path in his most recent work A New Kind of Christianity
Freedom to practice religion as one wishes implies less central homogeneity among Christians. Without a central core, doctrine can wander. Once you have the freedom to leave to find a better-fitting sect, start your own, or just stop practicing all together, it becomes much more difficult to corral a society… 
If the number of non-believers doubles again in 50 years, then by around 2050, the United States will be a majority non-religious country. Clearly, if Christianity seeks to not only stay relevant but viable, it must adapt. The proof is in the numbers; Christianity is suffering.]

So, expect rise in the number of Savitri Erans. [TNM]

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grace holds the key

A next time a stronger emphasis has to be put on the experiential work. Although this is a very delicate matter and can not really be “organized”. Sri Aurobindo writes (as quoted by Kailash in her important text on ‘Auroville and Education’ approved by The Mother) :  “Spirituality respects the freedom of the human soul, because it is itself fulfilled by freedom; and the deepest meaning of freedom is the power to expand and grow towards perfection by the law of one's nature.”] 

But Sri Aurobindo's theory of mantra, the text of Savitri itself, and our experience, seem to support rather emphatically the notion that it is the audible sound, with its dynamics of pitch, rhythm, image, and conceptual spiritual content that has a unique potential and power to effect in the fit outward hearer the experience of which it speaks, and of which it is the living symbol.
It is to demonstrate the truth of this hypothesis, at least in part, that we have undertaken the Savitri/Agenda experiment--a series of immersion workshops in which we simply allow the Word to be heard and absorbed, in as clear and deep a manner as we can manage at the present time. And in the context and atmosphere thus created by Savitri, we turn to the Mother's Agenda with the aspiration to hear and know as profoundly and intimately as possible her experience of transformation. The effect of this attempt thus far has been overwhelmingly gratifying. And it has made dramatically clear the fact that the experience of transformation narrated by Sri Aurobindo in Savitri and by the Mother in her Agenda are one and the same. The two together create a resonance that seems to literally dissolve the membrane that separates our worlds and unite us with them in a remarkably vivid and tangible sense. Savitri (book) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia] 

The second flaw of postmodernism with regard to religion was not having a sufficiently grounded yoga or practice—or spiritual technology—to help illuminate the transcendent in the immanent in a profound and really transformative way…
As such, postmodernity became a “talking school” of spirituality and religion.  It was still all too identified with the eye of mind.  All of the postmodern writers above, though they write beautifully and at times transcendentally, have no real way of teaching how they got to the point of view that they did that offered them such a majestic vista on the life process.
Without a mature intellectual understanding of the spiritual nor a practice to help reveal and deepen it in one’s life, postmodernism floundered. 6:20 PM   9:26 AM]

Privileging the experiential/immersion/practice aspect is a common ploy but the real key is with "a supreme Grace from above that answers.” [TNM]

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bring philosophy to the marketplace

[Whatever Indians may say about the depredations of British rule, the legal system is one gift the nation has taken to its heart. Indians are litigious like no other people that I have seen…
Some day India may have a political class with some semblance of morality. In a world like that, politicians will not be heading sports bodies but doing the job they have opted to do in the government or in the opposition. They may even live within the income they receive as parliamentarians. Think of that! Meghnad Desai Sunday, Apr 25, 2010 IE » Politics in command]

['Indian mathematics loved numbers'-ET Cetera 23 Apr 2010, Amrith Lal, ET Bureau
The Kerala School, as Joseph calls them, marks a continuity of scholarship in mathematics in India, which was believed to have declined after Bhaskara II in the 12th century. Joseph, who holds honorary appointments at University of Manchester, UK and University of Toronto, Canada, argues that the knowledge of the Kerala School travelled from India to Europe via Jesuit scholars and influenced European mathematics. In an interview with Amrith Lal, Joseph talks about the pluralistic origins of mathematics and how this science was practised in India, especially in Kerala. Excerpts: 
The Crest of the Peacock looked at knowledge traditions across the world. In A Passage to Infinity, you have focused on what you call the Kerala School of mathematics.

[The Crisis of Philosophy Inside Higher Ed - Jason Stanley - 5 Apr 2010

Philosophy stands apart from this emerging consensus about the purpose of the humanities. Its questions – which concern the nature and scope of concepts like knowledge, representation, free will, rational agency, goodness, justice, laws, evidence and truth – seem antiquated and baroque. Its central debates seem disconnected from the issues of identity that plague and inspire the contemporary world. Its pedantic methodology seems designed to alienate rather than absorb. Whereas humanists have transformed into actors, using their teaching and research as political tools, philosophers have withdrawn ever more to positions as removed spectators, and not of life, but of some abstracted and disconnected realm of Grand Concepts…
Logical Positivists prized the deliverances of mathematics and science (as did Aristotle, Descartes, Leibniz, and Kant). But nothing follows about a lack of political and cultural presence.] 

Philosophy and mathematics have umbilical links with law and justice, thus with a bearing on politics and culture. Savitri Era Party seeks to bring philosophy to the marketplace for an integral sociology to take off. [TNM] 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Educated, creative, and diverse

[Obama-ism posits that we are now in a hypercompetitive global economy, where the country that thrives will be the one that brings together the most educated, creative and diverse work force with the best infrastructure — bandwidth, ports, airports, high-speed rail and good governance…E.T. — energy technology — is going to be the next great global industry. Who’s Up for Building Bridges? Thomas Friedman, New York Times, April 6, 2010]

Savitri Erans will have to pool all their energy and imagination to have a place in the sun and survive. 

Faith in the unity of religions is just that—faith, and perhaps even a kind of fundamentalism” and “A Dangerous Belief” stresses Stephen Prothero, the author of God Is Not One. Savitri Erans must wake to the significance of this timely reminder and firmly orient themselves of the salience as well as the essential superiority of their religion. [TNM] 1:56 PM

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A thorough inquiry is a top priority

The Heehs imbroglio, basically, is a battle between two groups of Ashramites that spilled over among the devotees outside. It also concerns the kind of exit policy that the Ashram should ideally follow and reviewing other administrative stipulations. Apart from a few ad hoc steps, the Ashram is probably firm on the premise that the controversy will fizzle out. This, lamentably, is high on optimism and low on substance.

When a top functionary after three and half decades of stay says, “I decided to write about Sri Aurobindo, first, because I find him tremendously interesting,” it’s like the compulsion of telling one’s spouse “I love you” every day. A thorough inquiry about the whole genesis of the book and the complicity of the present Ashram officials in it, therefore, is a top priority. The public is eager to know to what extent Satyam/IPL like scams are camouflaged. [TNM] 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Anonymity doesn't necessarily produce bad behaviour

[Historian's wife and her poison pen expose dark side of literary criticism Independent - The use of libel law by academics to threaten the press has been condemned by a leading literary figure. Sir Peter Stothard, editor of the Times Literary ... Are there victims of Amazon's killer reviews? Los Angeles Times (blog) Is Amazon's literary whodunnit really a scandal? The Guardian (blog)]

Angiras’ siblings, let’s hope, won't indulge in such lowly tactic. [TNM] 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kumbha uncovering

[25 September 2008 Dear Manoj-da,
I decided to write about Sri Aurobindo, first, because I find him tremendously interesting. I won’t go any farther than this. You will recall that I explained to you once that I find it difficult if not impossible to proclaim from the housetops my feelings about things that mean a lot to me. I’ve always been amazed to find that others do not have this problem, and that they talk with perfect strangers about things that are deeply important to them. IY Fundamentalism - Letter to the Managing Trustee, from Peter Heehs]

[From aurosatya vrata satyavrata54@gmail.com to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 10 April 2010 13:11 subject Re: Reg. ongoing discussion on Sri Aurobindo's Savitri
Dear Mr. Mohapatra,
I agree with you that the Divinity of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo comes first and foremost. But I believe that this is something that is so personal and subjective that it is best if it is not unnecessarily talked about or analyzed…  S. 2:22 PM] 

There are all kinds of people. By temperament, some may be reticent about their faith and avoid any public display of devotion. There are others who harbour no such inhibitions and go on talking about all that they think, guess, or intuit. Neither of the dispositions is a virtue in itself and, therefore, imposing one’s preference on others in this respect appears incongruous. [TNM]

Politics of faith communities

D.L. Sheth (pace Rajni Kothari) argues that “collectivities have to acquire new, democratic habits of handling political power, to ensure that the power of the group becomes politically (i.e., electorally) viable." (Political Communalization of Religions and the Crisis of Secularism, Religion, Community and Development: Changing Contours of Politics and Policy in India, Gurpreet Mahajan and Surinder Jodhka, eds., Routledge India: 2010)

Savitri Erans of all hues need to ponder over such social realities. [TNM]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

SABCL & Le Corbusier

Ever since SABCL was conceived more or less in the Le Corbusier’s “all conform to a uniform code” mode, certain distortions and disadvantages endemic to all mapping exercises continue to pester us. The thirty volume set adorn the shelves of many libraries in royal grandeur, though often forlorn in splendid isolation for months together.

Many inconvenient questions arise which unless addressed popular reception of Sri Aurobindo’s writings will remain a distant dream. The intimidating heavy tomes need to be published in more inviting formats with adequate blurbs and extracts featured on the covers. [TNM]  


Our soft power is unmatchable in utility and value

A carnival or any celebration is about a crowd. The more the merrier. Nation, army, politics, religion, culture etc. are also about numbers. The more the number, the greater the standing. Number overshadows all blemishes and assigns legitimacy to even disagreeable propositions.

Quantity, thus, may be paramount, but quality, too, matters. Quality, in most cases, makes up for lack of quantity. Nourishing quality, therefore, is far more desirable than chasing quantity all the while. Quantity-based ventures face the risk of collapsing for the want of quality critical mass. At the moment, as Savitri Erans we lack the numbers. But quality wise we are far ahead.

This core competence needs to be harnessed for an efficient brand building exercise with an eye to seek quantity. The soft power we are in possession of is unmatchable in utility and value. A vast section of the Indian population suddenly waking up to its worth is very much on the anvil. Sharpening our wit and eloquence within ourselves must continue; but the real emphasis is better directed at the public outside. [TNM]      

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Elections for a new board of trustees

As anniversaries go, this does not quite compete with the birth of demigods or emperors, but it does demand something more than indifference. 2010 has a legitimate claim to being the 100th anniversary of Indian democracy. In January 1910, following the Minto-Morley reforms, 27 members, elected on the basis of limited franchise and separate electorates, took their seats in the 60-member Imperial Legislative Council, housed in Calcutta. The elective principle had to be reformed and refined periodically but was never, in India, abandoned.]

Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust should celebrate this other centenary by holding elections for a new board of trustees. [TNM]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Music from the Black Piano

My remarks or observations against some individuals might appear unsavoury, or might even hurt certain feelings; but the intention will be to be truthful,” promises RYD. We are already salivating at the prospect of a ring side view of such fireworks and hope that his memoir stretchs to cover the entire Ashram life rather than being confined merely to Savitri editing. [TNM] 

Take full responsibility for what you write in public

from Tusar N. Mohapatra tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com to aurosatya vrata satyavrata54@gmail.com date 14 April 2010 14:39 subject Re: Reg. ongoing discussion on Sri Aurobindo's Savitri
Dear S,

If you expect open and democratic arguments on this issue, or any other issue, for that matter, then you are mistaken. Each individual toes the party line according to what suits to his self-interest. There is no reason why he would act otherwise. After all survival, security and sustenance of his embodied existence is his foremost responsibility and submitting to a herd largely ensures that. You, too, are doing just that.

You should take full responsibility for what you write in public. Please disclose your postal address, profession, contact no. etc. to earn credibility. [TNM]  

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Life Divine upon earth is a political objective

From Tusar N. Mohapatra tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com to August Timmermans augusttimmermans@yahoo.com date 13 April 2010 09:07 subject Re: conflict madness
Dear AT,

To say that a human collective is diverse is to say nothing—or at very least, to say nothing new. Sri Aurobindo often refers to Unity, Mutuality, & Harmony. Instead of diversity we can use the word mutuality that leads to unity. This gives diversity a teleological target instead of celebrating diversity for its own sake.

Democracy is a participative means of managing collective affairs that keeps on repairing itself. Fundamentalism is for safeguarding and giving voice to specific interests. Democratically elected Ashram functionaries will certainly be more sensitive towards the sentiments of its residents.  Ashram, itself, can then be an effective actor within the larger democracy (Nation, World Union).

Yoga is religious experience (James), and collective yoga is politics. Life Divine upon earth is a political objective. Integral Yoga is yoked to remembering The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and hence fundamentalist, as no other option is available.  [TNM]  

Monday, April 12, 2010

Common sense has no ontological commitment to any divinity

From Tusar N. Mohapatra tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com to August Timmermans augusttimmermans@yahoo.com date 12 April 2010 21:12 subject Re: conflict madness
Dear AT,

Thanks for your appreciative words, but I am a bit puzzled whether to take your phrase “open-minded” as a compliment. For, in the past I have maintained that I am a fundamentalist engaged in the propaganda of religion and politics. Being “open-minded,” I am aware, is politically correct, but that runs contrary to my present profession and devotion.

Your other expression, “complex diversity,” similarly, is a darling of the Leftists. If pursued in the real world, you end up with nothing but skepticism, cynicism, and nihilism.

S wrote, “I believe that common sense, a good sense of discernment and a sincere an unbiased approach, among other things, will help to rest one's doubts and suspicions.” This is also an enticing proposition, but a secularist trap too. Because “common sense” has no ontological commitment to any divinity, while I am burdened with one (rather, two-in one). [TNM]

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Forcibly removing Tilak and Sri Aurobindo

Radha Rajan has not exactly covered herself with glory by twisting history that “The British manoeuvred Gandhi into India as leader of the INC after forcibly removing Tilak and Aurobindo from public life.” Academicians, however, have the license to compress the events spanning a couple of decades into just a single slanted sentence. And the hapless reader has to equip himself with several lenses in order to filter down the essence.

Seva, Sangathanas and Gurus: Service and the Making of the Hindu Nation by Sujata Patel in Religion, Community and Development: Changing Contours of Politics and Policy in India (Eds. Gurpreet Mahajan and Surinder S. Jodhka, Routledge India, 2010)  brings out some interesting comparative facets of Patit Pawan Sanghathana (PPS) and Sadhu Vaswani Mission (SVM). None of the 15 authors featured in the book has found it worthwhile to remember Sri Aurobindo though.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Keep quackery at bay

The word spiritual is now more associated with spa and similar somatic services. New Age literature abound which easily displace the writings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. The foremost challenge, therefore, is how to attract attention space without compromising on quality and authenticity. Simultaneously, utmost vigilance needs be exercised for not to be seen as peddling quackery.  

The elaborate cosmological system that The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have built in course of their extensive writings is not easy to grasp on the part of the youth. Similarly, the sophisticated psychological framework that they lay bare might appear too perplexing for many. May be the charisma helps here and more and more people are turning to their immortal message.

A positivist approach in sending out the impression that the higher planes of spiritual light and power as delineated by The Mother & Sri Aurobindo are speculative probabilities would deter many from harboring romanticized allurement. Mutation of the cells and leaping forth to the next species, likewise, should not be tom-tomed as our USP. [TNM]

Heehs is too emotionally involved with the 1993 edition

When five different preferences for Savitri were expressed, it was easy on the part of Angiras’ siblings to pick up the lack of unanimity and play it up. Obviously, the campaign against the 1993 edition poses a greater challenge to Heehs’ standing than what happened due to The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. Further, Heehs is too emotionally involved with the 1993 edition having been completely satisfied to see Savitri the way he intended after long years of strenuous negotiations. Apart from endorsement from Amal Kiran and Nirodbaran as well as the Ashram Trust, the edition had also secured judicial sanction.

It is certainly hard for him, therefore, to endure the sight of all those seals of authority melting in the heat of the blogosphere. Used as he is being at the top of the ladder, he can’t stomach the hoi polloi languorously discussing linguistic intricacies and raring to dotting the i's and crossing the t's.  'No one can equal Amal Kiran and Nirodbaran,' is his refrain, let alone surpassing them. Honour and nostalgia torment him and he cringes at the thought of disrobing of Savitri.

The tides of time, however, have more surprises in store. The see-saw game will not let one at the top forever. [TNM]

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Exchanging compromise formulas and negotiating them online

Angiras’ siblings have put up a formidable defence of Amal Kiran and Norodbaran with admirable meticulousness and precision. But the issue of 1993 revised edition has now been so entangled with the ire against The Lives of Sri Aurobindo and hostility towards the present Ashram management that it is difficult to expect any reasoned outcome. Court cases, further, make the matter worse. The chance of any climb down from either side seems to be next to remote.

In such a charged atmosphere, personal accusations harden the already hurt feelings. The attempt to delink the revision issue, hence, will hardly succeed. Two years’ acrimony notwithstanding, a rapprochement, I am confident, is still possible. Exchanging compromise formulas and negotiating them online would be a much more desirable venture than expending energy in the present manner. SEOF would be humbly honoured to host such a dialogue. [TNM] 

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

When the crown turns a mask

Mukut is a new entrant to the Republic of mukhotas, but when the crown turns a mask, it’s a disgrace. Angiras’ siblings are fast proliferating who have successfully erased their personal history. From that vantage position and with a squeaky clean image, they merrily criticize lesser mortals. This is an unfair game, and we demand a level playing field. [TNM]  

Om OOO abracadabra

from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek
ADRIAN IVAKHIV DEFENDS relations over objects, AND LEVI RESPONDS. Of course I’m with Levi on this one, since we’re both coming from an object-oriented place. (He also gets our differences right. There’s a Deleuzian element to Levi’s OOO that is absent from mine, and in mine you get the occasionalist side of it instead.)
Nothing against relations, and nothing against becoming. I just don’t think reality itself can be consistently modeled as simple flux devoid of individuals. Both quanta and the continuum are legitimate sides of reality, and one cannot be expelled from philosophy by way of arbitrary initial assumption. (Becoming in my position is what happens on the interior of an object.)]

A perfect case of the blind leading the blind. [TNM]

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Deceitful use of knowledge and language

Non-state actors and many political organizations spew hatred in order to survive. Enemy is what binds their members together and cements their emotional bonding with like-minded groups. A clear cut we-and-they demarcation is always helpful for creating firm conviction and deep loyalty. Chauvinism, fanaticism, fundamentalism etc. are just different degrees of such a state of mind.

Followers of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo are now vociferously engaged in fanning the fire of hatred, although by definition they are the messengers of love and harmony. As practitioners of spirituality which is supposed to be above religion and morality, they harbor no qualms for their deceitful use of knowledge and language. “One must try to become like a floweropenfrank, equal, generous and kind.” [TNM]