Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Restore discernment and balance

RV is terribly perturbed over “the narrowness and stupidity of persons like Raman Reddy, Sraddhalu Ranade and Alok Pandey, who unfortunately have lost of all discernment and balance in this issue of the book.” He is eminently entitled to his own opinion and we welcome him to the discussion. He may, however, enlighten the readers by mentioning a couple of names who he thinks are endowed with wideness and wisdom. Further, he can cite certain examples of his own work so that his capability and credibility can be easily judged. [TNM] 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Love for the hoi polloi

Although Puducherry is located near the sea shore, many in the Ashram feel as if they are on a hill top, at least, that is the attitude they nurse towards the hoi polloi. Creating a cocoon that ‘we are special’ is, of course, a defense mechanism to ward off continual attacks of doubt or deprivation, but when it is flaunted as a sign of superiority, then it can hardly be seen as salutary.

India is a fond issue, but only in its abstraction, or at best, as a bland map and not in its rich demographics. Visitors are perceived as intruders, and their constant stream makes the ashramites indifferent and insensitive. Logistics, obviously, rouse worries, but then love is the bedrock upon which the whole edifice of the Ashram stands.  

The mass is a pejorative concept for many. But, it can scarcely be said that The Mother & Sri Aurobindo ever harbored such contempt. Their teachings, in their wide applications and complexity, will continue to be harnessed in diverse ways for centuries to come. Let us not draw narrow boundaries and imbue them with official halo. [TNM]     

Friday, August 27, 2010

Beware of masks

Americans too, like Indians, are divided in their support for political parties, and it is not without significance that the Heehs imbroglio coincided with the high pitch Obama campaign. The Ashram, unfortunately, has become a battle ground for American (read, World) politics, and the stakes are terribly high. The situation is all the more scary as more and more masks are marshaled for enacting trickery while the overall purpose is kept under wraps. Indications of intransigence have been let out quite confidently, and it is going to be a no-holds-barred battle. A firm adhesion to faith is the only weapon in these adverse circumstances. [TNM]

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rely upon the power of the pure purpose

As democracy favors numbers, politics in India has turned a competitive game of keeping people under the spell of diverse brands. The bliss of belongingness is so great that not only it binds the masses, but also the academicians and analysts. Naomi Klein, of No Logo fame, herself became a brand. Recent books like The Myth of the Rational Voter and The Myth of the Rational Markets are pointers to such a pervasive phenomenon. But the question is whether playing by the same rules is at all desirable and if rationality has any meaning or use. For the lovers of philosophy and the followers of Sri Aurobindo, however, the answer is not very difficult. 

The rational zone, as we know, is sandwiched between the vital and the supra-rational. And hence what we confront as the irrational and unpredictable is actually a confusing admixture of intimations emanating from both the higher and lower sources. “Heaven's wiser love rejects the mortal's prayer” is a common instance of the unexpected squatting. In that sense, rationality rarely fails. The secret, however, is to discern the limitations of vital diktats and rely upon the power of the pure purpose. When translated to political strategy, the slow and steady recourse promises to be rewarding. In fact, that itself is a brand and its following can’t strictly be categorized as irrational. Certain things can verily be rational, as Ridley's The Rational Optimist seems to scream. [TNM] 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shahu Chhatrapati sent a secret donation of Rs.5000

[Lokamanya Tilak, father of the Indian freedom struggle Dhananjay Keer - 1969 - 463 pages - Snippet view
Tilak wanted to keep the word Swaraj undefined, because Pal and Aurobindo had voiced absolute political independence as the goal of ... It is very surprising that Shri Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur secretly supplied Tilak with confidential ...]
His patriotism is shown by the financial assistance which he had given for the defence of Sri Aurobindo Ghose in the famous Alipore Bomb case. As a Maharaja and as a man, Shahu was outstanding in his own time. ...
[Shahu Chhatrapati: a royal revolutionary Dhananjay Keer - 1976 - 536 pages 
On May 2, 1908, the leader of Bengali youth, Aurobindo Ghose, was arrested and taken into custody as an ordinary ... In June there was an appeal by Mrs. Sarojini Ghose, sister of Aurobindo, for contributions to the defence fund of ... who was suspected by the British Government all his life, that Shahu Chhatrapati sent a handsome donation of Rs. 5000 ...
Dhananjay Keer reports in his biography that Shahu gave a secret donation of Rs. 5000/- to a fund to defend Aurobindo Ghosh in 1908. Within Kolhapur, however, Shahu suppressed all nationalist terrorist activity. ...
[The Bomb in Bengal: The Rise of Revolutionary Terrorism in India 1900-1910 - Peter Heehs - 1993 - 324 pages - Snippet view
Sri Aurobindo: A Brief Biography .
Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989. -. 'Terrorism in India during the Freedom Struggle'. The Historian 55 (Spring 1993) ...AB Memoirs of His Highness Shri Shahu Chatrapati Maharaja of Kolhapur, vol. ...]

Genealogically, Sri Aurobindo can be linked to diverse political parties operating in India today. The role of Rajshri Shahu Ji Maharaj forms an indelible bonding with the Bahujan Samaj Party too. [TNM] 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Never let anyone to deface them

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, themselves, are an epochal synthesis. The varied experiences they bring together is a rarity, especially the backdrop of the cultural and geographical mosaic. Moreover, their attempt to blend the mundane with the transcendental during the interwar period enhances manifold the mystery of their appearance as well as collaboration.

Why they chose India as the crucible of their work is difficult to speculate. But it in no way binds them to India alone. Nor the people of India have the sole proprietary rights over their legacy. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo belong to the humanity and everyone is free to understand, appreciate, and appropriate them in his own way and necessity.

There is, of course, no gainsaying that Sri Aurobindo’s prominence in the Pride of India pantheon is recent history. His “luminous and voluminous” body of work is a treasure trove constituting the national cultural capital. But to turn this a trigger for national hubris would be utterly anomalous and diminishing.

Lovers of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, everywhere, beware! Never let the Indians to own them exclusively. And, at the same time, never let anyone to deface them. [TNM]       

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

M. Kumars whodunit

Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust entered into an agreement with a US publisher to release a biography of Sri Aurobindo modeled somewhat on the S. Kumars Ka Filmy Muqadama style with the hope that the book will be a money spinner. It is not known how much royalty the Ashram has earned from the sales of the book since 2008, but it surely was a royal blunder to have played with the reputation of Sri Aurobindo in such a cavalier fashion. Knowing fully well that there are lakhs of followers and admirers of Sri Aurobindo around the world who would be acutely anguished by such tabloid sensationalism, the project was carried through in a hush hush manner. What were the compulsions for such an act of hara-kiri continues to be a mystery till date.

Savitri Era party demands to make all correspondence leading to the production of the book public, so that the names of the real culprits are brought to light. [TNM]

Monday, August 09, 2010

Let Sri Aurobindo be your guide

[Amazon.com: The Upanishads, 1st US Edition Respectfully disagree, March 25, 2004 By Driver9 (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is limited to the translation only, and on that I must disagree with the other reviewers. The translation, as I understand it by Aurobindo himself, is nearly impenetrable. The syntax and grammar, sentence arrangement and choice of vocabulary are confusing and do not effectively convey the meaning of the text. This became sharply apparent when I read another translation and the profound beauty of the text came through. Try the Juan Mascaro version.
The What to Read, March 10, 2007 By    Clarence W. Bass Jr. "Starry-Eye" (Cleveland, Ohio) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)   
Having completed 51 pages of this 466 page work I suggest that this tranaslation, analysis and commentary of Upanishads, by Sri Aurobindo is the what to read if anything for those on the paths of knowledge and devotion. Don't go any further. If it be upon my suggestion that you read anything, read this first. If it is illumination of this great work that you seek, let Sri Aurobindo be your guide. May you find your way. Clarence]

Both reviews can be said to be right depending upon how far the reader has prepared himself to benefit from the work in question. Sri Aurobindo’s translations and commentaries on Sanskrit texts are certainly not of the introductory kind and therefore many experiencing a colossal frustration in the beginning is a common occurrence. The trick, however, is to plod on and the secret unfolds by and by. [TNM]   

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Whoever offers a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water

Some readers of this blog might have noticed that I’m responding to comments less and less. A lot of this has to do with tone.
Yep, but mostly a lot of people just exhaust me and drain my energy, leaving me sad, depressed, and despondent.]

Levi’s contribution to the philosophy blogosphere is phenomenal in terms of quality, quantity, and clarity. He is also candid about his indebtedness to the blogosphere for concepts, contacts, and reputation. Undesirable observations causing sadness, however, are part of the bargain of being in the public life, but Happiness generally comes from links with other people, as Harman reminded recently. [TNM]