September 28, 2006

Unite in our use of reason and scholarship

The Holy see's vision Goutham Ganesan Diamondback Online September 27, 2006
In 1917, an English drama critic named Archer published a work in which he roundly condemned all Indian culture, religion and philosophy as a “repulsive mass of unspeakable barbarism.” Sri Aurobindo, one of the great Indian freedom fighters, published in his journal a response drawing on numerous sources that refuted the claims of Archer in an equally round fashion. He discussed the uniqueness of the primarily spiritual mode of life cultivated in India as its unique contribution to world civilization. He did not demand an apology or declare a fatwa against the author for his insult. As a result of his intellectual efforts and those of many others, knowledge and respect for Indian spiritual traditions has increased exponentially in the West.
Of course, there will always be a large mass of people not interested in debate and the use of reason in religious matters. But I urge anyone disturbed by the Pope’s comments to first read the whole speech, and then direct whatever resentment is left toward joining the debate Benedict has begun. We have come to a time in history when shallow platitudes about tolerance will no longer suffice; the only way to achieve religious harmony is for all of us who have faith to unite in our use of reason and scholarship and to utterly reject the base passions and ultra-sensitivity that lead to religious violence. It is certainly unpleasant to hear criticism of one’s beliefs, but anyone who has reflected seriously knows what is unpleasant is often healthy. Goutham Ganesan is a junior chemistry and biochemistry major. He can be reached at

September 27, 2006

The age of religions is over

All choice All life is Yoga. Wednesday, September 27, 2006 The Universal Way
Tusar Mohapatra has published on 27-09-2006 a small but important article under the caption "Manibhai’s Razor” in his Blog "Savitri Era". On perusal of the same, I was led to think as follows.
To mix up worship of deities with the prayers and meditations before The Mother and Sri Aurobindo is a distortion. We do not worship The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. They are NOT overmental deities who need to be worshipped by us. They need our following them, NOT for Their satisfactions, but to liberate and transform the Mankind, if not as a whole, by a part. Our way is NOT a religion. The Mother has said that the age of religions is over. It is matter of the past history. We are no more to be fixed at the Old Stations. We are to march forward, leaving the old history behind.
In this connection, it may be said that according to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Religion and Dharma are not two identical things. Dharma is universal and nameless. It is the Right Way of Life. Dharma cannot be named... posted by Barindranath Chaki @ 1:35 PM

Sri Aurobindo often raised inconvenient questions

Sri Aurobindo’s Opposition Why the Indian establishment resisted him MANGESH V. NADKARNI The Indian Express Thursday, March 21, 2002
Sri Aurobindo, the world-renowned yogi, poet, philosopher, patriot and lover of humanity, devoted most of his life to the quest of the Supermind, which, he thought, was the only power that could bring perfection to human life on earth. The Indian intelligentsia of the last half a century had many problems with Sri Aurobindo because he often raised inconvenient questions and forced them to review the intellectual paradigms by which they lived and so they conspired to marginalise him.
Sri Aurobindo was not a religious leader; he was a great spiritual figure, probably the greatest in human history, who discovered the truth of the Supramental consciousness, of which no religion had any idea, and who developed a yoga for those who had an inner call for it to grow into it. The international city of Auroville as well as Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry are the two laboratories started by him and his collaborator, the Mother, for his experiment of ushering in a new man, a united new world and a spiritual civilisation.

Our intelligentsia proudly quotes Darwin, Freud and Karl Marx because these have been the three thinkers who have influenced our age the most. Sri Aurobindo dealt mainly with the same issues as these three thinkers and in the light of his writings we are able to appreciate them better because he presents the complete truth these thinkers distorted in their own ways. The fact that Sri Aurobindo did not receive a favourable reception in India intellectual circles during the last half a century has been very unfortunate but not very surprising, because he was in his views and in his vision so radical and so much ahead of his times, that he effectively alienated four of the strongest intellectual establishments in the country, namely,

  • the traditional Hindu religious establishment,
  • the Gandhian establishment,
  • the politically non-committed but eurocentric university intellectuals who are the products of Macaulay’s educational system, and also
  • the leftist, communist/socialist establishment.

The Hindu religious establishment did not take kindly to Sri Aurobindo because he emphatically denied world-negation as the central thrust of Indian culture. Many of our countrymen still take great pride in the Shankarite and Buddhist legacy of regarding the world as a delusion, and therefore as of no value. His insistence on worldly progress being a quintessential part of the Indian spiritual tradition alienated Sri Aurobindo from the Hindu establishment, strangely enough. The Gandhian establishment was not entirely happy with Sri Aurobindo because of his insistence that India must cultivate the kshatriya spirit, not merely Bhakti and Jnana.

The reason why the academic establishment in India was opposed to Sri Aurobindo is that he rejected the colonial-missionary model of history, which regarded the Aryan invasion theory as its crown-jewel. Sri Aurobindo was probably the first to issue a warning against the invasion theory in his book On the Vedas, written nearly 80 years ago. Nor was Sri Aurobindo an uncritical admirer of the Western liberal-humanistic tradition. The reasons for the neglect Sri Aurobindo suffered among leftist intelligentsia in India was that he was cold to the promises of communists and the dreams of socialists, and because of his strong spiritual orientation. But it must be pointed out that Sri Aurobindo was not opposed to communist ideology per se as can be seen from the following statements of his:

‘‘If communism ever re-establishes itself successfully upon earth, it must be on a foundation of soul’s brotherhood and the death of egoism. A forced association and a mechanical comradeship would end in a world-wide fiasco.’’ #

Wilber's weighing machine

It wasn't that other great thinkers had not seen that evolution is basically Spirit-in-action (it was obvious to Schelling and Hegel, for example). Nor was Aurobindo necessarily the most enlightened spirit in modern India (many would point to the illustrious Sri Ramana Maharshi in that regard).
A GREATER PSYCHOLOGY An Introduction to the Psychological Thought of Sri Aurobindo, edited by A. S. Dalal. Foreword by Ken Wilber

September 26, 2006

Anticipation of Feynman's path integral

Eddington's Turing Test
In the (brief, I swear it!) breaks I take from work here at the University of British Columbia, I have been skimming through an old copy of Arthur Stanley Eddington's Space, Time and Gravitation I found in the office I was assigned. It is a fascinating book, written in 1920 and explaining -better than many more recent efforts- the central concepts of the then brand-new Theory of General Relativity in a fairly non-technical way, sprinkled with interesting conceptual and philosophical dicussion. I will quote two paragraphs, one worth reading for philosophers and the other one for physicists.The first one: Eddington stresses constantly the formal nature of scientific laws and the way they capture structure, not content. E.G., in a discussion of Weyl's theory of electromagnetism (which failed in its original form but introduced into physics the inmensely fruitful concept of gauge symmetry) he says:
The geometrical potentials (k) obey the recognised laws of electromagnetic potentials, and each entity in the physical theory -charge, electric force, magnetic element, light, etc.- has its exact analogue in the geometrical theory; but is this found correspondence a sufficent ground for identification? The doubt which arises in our minds is due to a failure to recognise the formalism of all physical knowledge. The suggestion "This is not the thing I am speaking of, though it behaves exactly like it in all respects" carries no physical meaning. Anything which behaves exactly like electricity must manifest itself as electricity. Distinction of form is the only distinction that physics can recognise; and distinction of individuality, if it has any meaning at all, has no bearing on physical manifestations. [Emphasis added]
I have added the emphasis to remark what seems to me a bold conjecture, which Eddington ventures here but does not pursue in other places. returning to a conventional distinction between "form" and "content", which of course entails together with the formality of physics that the content or intrinsic structure of the physical world is unknowable. The temptation of believing that in our conscious thoughts we capture definite content, in turn, leads then naturally to panpsychism, or proto-panpsychism, or perhaps phenomenalism. But if we resist it and hold, despite initial implausability, that content has no meaning independent from a particular highly complex form (in Douglas Hofstadter's words, content is fancy form) then the obstacles for a naturalistic metaphysics disappear, the Turing Test is embraced as trivially valid, and zombies become an absurdity.
The second one: after remarking that in Weyl's theory curvature is no longer an absolute, gauge independent quantity, but action is, he says that action can be expressed as a pure number which, however, can take fractional values (though he mentions Planckian quantization of action he does not give it a fundamental importance. I don't understand very well why, but I forgive him; after all, it was 1920 and full quantum mechanics was still a thing of the future). He speculates then:
I can only think of one interpretation of a fractional number which can have absolute significance, though doubtless there are others. The number may represent the probability of something, or some fuinction of a probability. The precise function is easily found. We combine probabilities by multiplying, but we combine the actions of two regions by adding; hence the logarithm of a probabiliy is indicated. Further, since the logarithm of a probability is necessarily negative, we may identify action provisionally with minus the logarithm of the statistical probability of the state of the world which exists.The suggestion is particulary attractive because the Principle of Least Action becomes the Principle of Greatest Probability. The law of nature is that the actual state of the world is that which is statistically most probable.
Isn't this a remarkable anticipation of Feynman's path integral? Okay, Eddington uses a real exponential intead of an imaginary one, and doesn't hit upon the quantum principle of summing over all paths and making the least action path the one with greatest weight only in the classical approximation. But still, I find the connection between action and probability, made on intuitive grounds years before quantum mechanics was formulated, to be a great insight bearing the mark of genius. Don't you agree?
UPDATE: Upon further reading, Eddington would definitely not endorse the Turing Test. He says in the last chapter: "The matter of the brain in its physical aspects is merely the form; but the reality of the brain includes the content". What a pity. posted by Alejandro at 10:55 PM Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cultural phenomena and bilogical preconditions

On human nature and creation of sacred research
"Finally, the gentically programmed constraints are on learning revealed by developmental pyschology musy prove to be consistent with the major trends and practice. If they are not, the hypothesis is doubtful and it can be legitimately supposed that in this case cultural evolution has mimicked the theoretically predicted pattern of genetic evolution. (ON Human Nature 178)"Disproval of Monkey Theory - "The sacred rituals are most distinctly human" (Ibid 179)."Religion is thus posed in contrast to nature and cannot be treated as a general phenomenon deriving from human nature" (Creation of the Sacred, Burkert, 2).p. 179-180 On Human Nature by EO Wilson supports the Shamanistic Theory. Too long to type out entirely.Creation of the Sacred by Burkert - "The most complicated issue is still how to verify the connection between cultural phenomena and bilogical preconditions" (Creation of Sacred 11)."But even if accepted [sociobiology theory], these functions do not in fact prove any correlation betweeen religion and gene selection"(Creation of Sacred 16).Self Awareness - "religions are established by learning, they are propagated both through imitation and through explicit verbal teaching" (ibid 16)."Traditions developed in this way can evidence a kind of cultural fitness for survival without any gentic basis" (ibid 16) (for example Roman Catholic Church see page 16-17)"The frist principle characteristic of religion is negative: that is, religion deals with the nonobvious, the unseen, that 'which cannot be verified empirically'" (Creation of Sacred 5).On page 89 of The Mind in the Cave Williams starts the explanation about Neanderthals and their lack of self awarenss.Disproval of genetic theory (Creation of Sacred pages 12-13)"It is the genes, not the individuals, that get passed on; hence it is th cheater within a group who enjoys the greatest advantage and by this very fitness will multiply his genes. 'The selfish gene' has become a catchword of the new approach.It remains true, however, that certain strategies of behavior within a group will prove to be more successful than others and thus make a difference even in gene selection' (10)NiChOlAs and ErInOlAs posted by Nick Coates at 7:43 AM

We are nothing but a pack of neurons

Six years ago, Edge published a now-famous essay by neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran ( (known to friends and colleagues as "Rama"), entitled "Mirror Neurons and imitation learning as the driving force behind "the great leap forward" in human evolution" [2]. This was the first time that many in the Edge community heard of mirror neurons which were discovered by Iaccomo Rizzolati of the University of Parma in 1995. In his essay, Rama made the startling prediction that mirror neurons would do for psychology what DNA did for biology by providing a unifying framework and help explain a host of mental abilities that have hitherto remained mysterious and inaccessible to experiments. He further suggested "that the emergence of a sophisticated mirror neuron system set the stage for the emergence, in early hominids, of a number of uniquely human abilities such as proto-language (facilitated by mapping phonemes on to lip and tongue movements), empathy, 'theory of other minds', and the ability to 'adopt another's point of view'.
In the past few years, mirror neurons have come into their own as the next big thing in neuroscience, and while the jury is still out on Rama's prediction, it's obvious that something important is unfolding:
Interesting new research is being conducted in neuroscience labs in the US and Europe and discussed at conferences and in the press:
A team at UCLA led by Marco Iacoboni, Director of the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation laboratory of the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center at UCLA recently published important results ("Grasping the Intentions of Others with One's Own Mirror Neuron System", Iacoboni et al, 2005 );
Christian Keysers, Associate Professor, Neuro-Imaging-Center of the University Medical Center Groningen (Netherlands) published a paper neural basis of social intelligence with mirror neuron pioneers Rizzolatti and Gallese ("A unifying view of the basis of social cognition" Gallese, Keysers, Rizzolatti, 2004);
The New York Times "Science Times" published a page one review article on mirror neurons by ("Cells That Read Minds" by Sandra Blakeslee, January 10, 2006);
A virtual workshop — "What do Mirror Neurons Mean" — moderated by Gloria Origgi and Dan Sperber, and sponsored by the European Science Foundation, has an ongoing discussion on the theoretical implications of the discovery of mirror neurons.
At a recent conference near Paris —"Contribution of Mirroring Processes to Human Mindreading" — on the implications of mirror neurons for science and philosophy, top neuroscientists, psychologists, philosophers, and anthropologists from Europe and the United States engaged in heated debates on the interpretation and the consequences of the discovery, but at least one thing was clear: mirror neurons matter, and we are only beginning to understand how much and how.
Two weeks ago Edge received Rama's essay in response to the 2006 Edge Question, "What is your dangerous idea", which we are publishing as a separate feature. Rama's "dangerous if true" idea is "what Francis Crick referred to as "the astonishing hypothesis"; the notion that "our conscious experience and sense of self is based entirely on the activity of a hundred billion bits of jelly — the neurons that constitute the brain. We take this for granted in these enlightened times but even so it never ceases to amaze me". He then goes on to characterize Crick's "astonishing hypothesis" as a key indicator of "the fifth revolution" — the "neuroscience revolution" — the first four being Copernican, Darwinian, Freudian, and the discovery of DNA and the genetic code.". "that even our loftiest thoughts and aspirations are mere byproducts of neural activity. We are nothing but a pack of neurons." Central to this revolution are mirror neurons. V.S. Ramachandran 's Edge Bio Page

The old is transformed into a work of art

"Coming into Being" - William Thompson
Thompson, William. "Coming into Being: Aritfacts and Texts in the Evolution of Consciousness." St. Martin's Griffin. New York. 1996"... this new planetary culture is not simply a reaction to our new technologies-be they aerospace, atomic, genetic, or electronic-but an expression of a spiritual evolution that is actually pulling out these new technologies. From this perspective, I see the Zeitggeist as serving as midwife to the birth of a new humanity. The Indian philosopher and yogi Sri Aurobindo, in his evolutionary philosophy, calls this historical emergence "the Supermental Manifestation." Well, when the Supermental manifests, the old mental realm is transformed or reconstructed into a work of art." - foreword page 1 Monday, September 25, 2006 posted by Tom L at 5:49 AM AperiodSacred

September 25, 2006

Myth in Sri Aurobindo’s poetry

Author / Editor :RATRI RAY Publisher :ATLANTIC ISBN :8126906561 Original Price : Rs. 450 Year : 2006 Pages : 224
About The Book : The present book aims at making Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice more comprehensible to the common reader. Beginning with the life and works of Shakespeare, the book provides a scene-wise critical summary of the play so that, as the reader casts his eyes over them, he becomes familiar with the common critical views about the individual scenes themselves. It has numerous citations from the text so that even if the reader is not familiar with it, he will have a chance of reading Shakespeare’s poetry. The analyses of the different elements of drama are accompanied with the views of renowned critics.
This latter feature makes the book all the more useful to teachers as well as students. Along with the recent critical views, the classical theories about comedies as well as Elizabethan conventions have been lucidly and briefly explained so that the student may not find any difficulty in understanding them. A brief analysis according to classical Sanskrit dramaturgy has also been included. Important questions have also been given so as help in further consideration of literary text. A Select Bibliography and Index completes the book. The book is highly readable, self-contained and comprehensive; it will undoubtedly prove an invaluable reference book to both students and teachers of English literature.
About The Author : Ratri Ray is a retired University Professor and Head of the Deptt. of English, Patna University. As a student she had a unique career, for she had been awarded three gold medals for her B.A. results and two more for her M.A. results. She obtained her Ph.D. degree in 1981, her field of work being the little-known nineteenth-century poet, T.L. Beddoes. Later, after two decades of extensive and intensive studies, she obtained the D.Litt. degree, the field this time being the comparative study of two mystical poets, Francis Thompson and Nishikanto, a Bengali poet.
Her studies of six Shakespearean plays according to the Rasavåda had been serialised during the 80s and 90s in the cultural periodical Mother India, published from Pondicherry. She has published numerous research articles in literary journals and anthologies all over India. One of these contributions, a serialised study of 28 articles on the element of myth in Sri Aurobindo’s poetry is shortly to be published in the book form. At present her research articles on the plays of Sri Aurobindo studied in the light of Rasavåda are being serialised in Srinvantu, a periodical published from Kolkata.

Sri Aurobindo Bhavan


On the occasion of the Birth Centenary of Sri Aurobindo in the year 1972, a National Committee was formed under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister. As part of the programme, the Government of West Bengal established the Sri Aurobindo Samiti and the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan by Special Act (West Bengal Act XXIV of 1972).
Sri Aurobindo Bhavan in Shakespeare Sarani, the place where Sri Aurobindo was born, was renovated and the sacred relics of Sri Aurobindo were installed on 16 February, 1973. The memorial Shrine has since become a place of pilgrimage.Sri Aurobindo Samiti has been contained for propagating the teachings of Sri Aurobindo among the people so as to help them raise their mental and moral outlook and to solve their social, economic, cultural and spiritual problems in the light of such teachings. The Governor of West Bengal is the ex-officio Chairman of the Samiti and the Chief Minister an ex-officio member.
Library & Reading Room :Sri Aurobindo Bhavan houses a free Reading Room and a lending Library, with more than 26,000 books and 70 periodicals on various subjects. There is also a Childrens’ Library, which is one of the largest of its kind in Calcutta, having one 26,000 books in English, Bengali and Hindi.
Lectures and Study courses :Weekly lectures on Sri Aurobindo’s works, teaching and related topics are held. The Bhavan also organizes study courses under expert guidance on different aspects of Sri Aurobindo’s teaching.
It organizes cultural events, indoor/outdoor games and youth campus. An indoor gymnasium has been opened for physical culture. This section also brings out a quarterly journal, Vigil.
This cultural wing of the Bhavan imparts training in the performing arts and also encourages other cultural & artistic activities. Formed in 1980, the centre continues to give regular training in drawing and painting, Rabindra sangeet, Bharatnattyam, Kathak as well as spoken English.

Sri Aurobindo’s concept of ‘knowledge’

Given the complexities concerning the nature and status of the concept of ‘knowledge’ in philosophy and indeed in the broader cultural sphere, it is pertinent to understand the concept in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s writings as His approach embraces the quintessence of most philosophic speculation on ‘knowledge’, both Indian and western. The Integral approach to knowledge assimilates the nuances of a number of philosophical schools and avoids obvious extremes found in many philosophical approaches to knowledge. For example, it is without the skepticism of Nagarjuna’s Madhyamika school as also the exclusively causal and realistic slant in the Nyaya system. Indeed, His enunciation of the concept of ‘knowledge’, found in The Life Divine, can render redundant many a needless and inconsequential argument on the nature of knowledge.

Sri Aurobindo’s distinction between ‘knowledge’ and ‘ignorance’, mentioned in the chapter ‘The Knowledge and the Ignorance’ of The Life Divine deserves to be quoted at length: “The distinction between the Knowledge and the Ignorance begins with the hymns of the Rig Veda. Here knowledge appears to signify a consciousness of the Truth, the Right, satyam rtam, and of all that is of the order of the Truth and Right; ignorance is an unconsciousness, acitti, of the Truth and Right, an opposition to its workings and a creation of false or adverse workings. Ignorance is the absence of the divine eye of perception which gives us the sight of the supramental Truth; it is the non-perceiving principle in our consiousness as opposed to the truth-perceiving conscious vision and knowledge.”1

In the Indian context, the nature of knowledge evolved progressively from the intuitive approach to knowledge in the Vedas and Upanishads, to rationalistic knowledge of later philosophy, from the status of perception to that of dialectics that used merely the intellect within the narrow parameters of our temporal existence – a region from where knowledge slips into what may be termed ‘information’.

* * *

If the nature of knowledge can be broadly divided into two categories, the Higher and Lower, or para- and apara-vidya respectively, it would be generally considered that the Higher knowledge would be the one that is sought after in the process of man’s evolution towards the Divine. Higher knowledge or para-vidya enables man to perceive three critical aspects pertaining to his existence. Firstly, an awareness of states of living beyond the material existence and that the concept of ‘life’ exceeds the immediately perceivable time span between birth and death. Secondly, awareness of the partial nature of the waking conscious state and the existence of planes of reality starting from the Inconscient to the superconscient. The third is the realization that the triune of Mind, Life and Body is only a partial manifestation of an eternal immutable self and spirit.

A brilliant illustration can come from Sri Aurobindo’s poem Rishi. Sri Aurobindo introduces the poem thus: “King Manu in the former ages of the world, when the Arctic continent still subsisted, seeks knowledge from the Rishi of the Pole, who after long baffling him with conflicting side-lights of the knowledge, reveals to him what it chiefly concerns man to know.”

The text of the poem is a conversation in verse between the Rishi and King Manu. The poem begins with a general statement of overriding ignorance in human lives, as Manu tells the sage –
But ours are blindly active and thy light
We have forgone.
The Rishi attests Manu’s assessment of human ignorance:
O King, I know
Thy purpose; for the vacant ages roll
Since man below
Conversed with God in friendship. Thou reborn
For men perplexed,
Seekest in this dim aeon and forlorn
With evils vexed
The vanished light.
After a series of exchanges, the Rishi who
perceived the Law,
The Truth, the Vast,
has this to tell Manu:
Perfect thy human might,
Perfect the race.
For thou art He, O King. Only the night
Is on thy soul
By thy own will. Remove it and recover
The serene whole
Thou art indeed, then raise up man the lover
To God the goal.
The Rishi’s suggestion is remarkably simple and without any complex nuances concerning the nature and status of knowledge. Perhaps it is Sri Aurobindo’s advice to us as well. Indeed, a God-centric view in man would help attain the integration of the human self with the Divine self and raise man’s consciousness to levels of superconscience.

The inferences that can be drawn from the poem are all significant pointers to the concept of ‘knowledge’ in the present day world. The more intimately we correlate ‘knowledge’ with a body of facts that can be attained through conscious labour, the more we err and move away from the true nature of knowledge, for its attainment has an intuitive role that goes beyond the perimeters of conscious intellect. Secondly, contrary to the contemporary approach to ‘knowledge’ that inherently presupposes a schism between ‘knowledge’ and the man who knows or does not, true knowledge lies within man and not without. Thirdly, ignorance is merely the failure to understand and unravel the worth of knowledge within. These three corollaries are central to our understanding of knowledge as ‘tapasya’, as ‘askesis’, and as a redirection of our consciousness towards our inner self for unraveling the nature and purpose of existence in the Divine scheme of things. - Rudrashis Datta
1 Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, p.489, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 6th edition, 2001
2 Ibid, The Rishi, Collected Poems, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, 1st edition, 1972
Note: The above article has been written for ‘The Awakening Ray’ and it is original. It has not been published anywhere and is not awaiting publication elsewhere. (ed: the author’s original title: ‘Integral Approach to Knowledge: an illustration’)

Education in Mirambika is a spiritual process

Whenever there is an endeavour to extend the limits of the ordinary, there is a questioning - will it succeed? Doubts, scepticism, derision, anger, fear...... various reactions surface. The following is a first-hand account by one of the students who did her education in an Integral Education school - Mirambika (a Free Progress School), New Delhi, since the age of three. It provides an insight into the ‘success’ of the experiment, as well as how it is perceived by someone on whose behalf ‘the society’ is anxious....... It is especially relevant as this July Mirambika has completed 25 years.
Mirambika….hmmm….it is really so difficult to tell people what it is because people’s minds are so compartmentalised into angular boxes that they cannot cognise in curved thoughts (which is what you require to understand Mirambika). And, also because Mirambika itself is so difficult to explain – only one word can totally encapsulate its reality – i.e. the word ‘Mirambika’!!

To begin with, it is based on Sri Aurobindo’s and The Mother’s philosophy of education, and of life in general. But before I expand on that I should give you an overview of what the system appears to be like on the exterior, so you can understand the philosophy better; as these are the things in which the concept of Mirambika manifests.

Hmmm…now, we never gave exams as students of Mirambika before the tenth grade. Mirambika does not believe in examinatory-evaluation systems. Neither does Mirambika believe in competition. Something I picked up from Mirambika is to not be competitive, because I do not believe in performing well and reaching new heights only to out-perform others. I strive for new heights to address my own progress and responsibilities. Promotion of students therefore, is not based on exams. Mirambikans do not wear uniforms, as that too is against the belief system of Mirambika. Why should there be uniforms? We spent half our day in school, we got three meals in school, we cleaned our own classrooms and corridors. In fact, there are no classrooms; we just had rooms – open! Walls did not go up to ceiling. The whole building is very open, with a lot of lobbies and courtyards.

There were about ten children per class and two teachers per ten children. And so, everyone knew everyone else. On birthdays, the whole school would be wishing the birthday child! If some kid made the grave mistake of bringing chaat-masala to school the whole school would end up running after her/him! We sat on the floor, in a circle, not in rows and columns. But, we spent half our day in the library. There were no black-boards as there were no ‘classes’ per se.

We studied by doing projects, which we did solely on our own, using teachers as resource persons. These projects could be on absolutely anything! That was entirely the student’s discretion. I have done projects on bizarre things like Monsters! Rocks! Food! Movies! Houses! And it was the teacher’s job to chalk out a curriculum in the purview of this topic that would help the student learn something. So, in ‘monsters project’ I ended up reading a lot of legendary stories of different cultures. I learnt the art technique of papier-mâché; and by the end of it I had a very well-formed opinion of my own on monsters! I was all of ten! Similarly, in ‘rocks’ we ended up building a rock garden, with a slide made of cement (which we hand-crafted ourselves). In ‘food’, we had different people coming each day, teaching us to cook foods of different ethnicities!

Once Damini (a friend) and I did a project on Mirambika itself – we made a whole booklet out of it, with a lot of metaphorical drawings, interviews of students, teachers and the principal. All of this was compiled together with our own, very coherent opinions. So, each project included many different facets – a wide variety of ways to learn, apart from just the academic bit. There was a lot of art, interaction, field work (like a trip to the marble factory, collecting heavy rocks, learning how to change the tyre of a car or visiting a stud farm).

I hope you get the basic idea of what I am saying – the system lay a lot of emphasis on freedom; freedom from structures, from prescribed modes of thought, from inhibitions, from fear. This explains the caption under ‘Mirambika’ – ‘a free progress school’.

But this freedom never came without responsibility. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand, and together culminate into self-discipline. Self-discipline, to me is true discipline, which comes from within a human being and is not imposed and forced on her/him. This constitutes an ‘individual’ in the true sense of the word – someone who does not do things by being compelled to, by others, but simply because her/his convictions urge her/him to do it. Motivations and discipline that are self-realised see much better results than those that are obligatory.

Mirambikans have the freedom to make their own choices – what they want to study, how they want to study it, or whether at all they want to study! If we wanted to spend all eight hours of school playing basket-ball, we could do that. As long as we give in a good project in the time frame provided to us, we can organise our day however we wish to. If there was anything where we did not have freedom, then it was sports, and yes, food! Every child had to play sports in the morning, in the first one hour of school – vigorous exercises followed by a different sport each day. And food – we had to eat a proper meal each day. And of course, one more thing, cleaning our surroundings was mandatory.

Now, back to the philosophy of freedom; self-discipline was vital. The teachers were not supposed to stand on our heads all the time and instruct us, inject us with information all day long. They were not responsible for us, nor were they meant to discipline us. It was us, ourselves who were responsible for our own growth, learning and education. This explains the excellent rapport we shared with our teachers (diyas – didis + bhaiyas, as we called them). They were our friends, we joked with them, ate with them, played foot-ball with them, went to their houses and had them over at ours. They were one of us!

The education imparted in Mirambika was not meant to create encyclopaedias, money-making machines or ‘good citizens’ out of its students. It was meant for creating, no, not creating, for bringing out the beauty that lies within each child, to build truly beautiful human beings. To my belief and intellectual capacity, Mirambika did this because children are not born as blank sheets of paper that adults have to write on and fill up. They are born with a lot of stuff inside of them. All education should do is bring that out. What formal schools actually end up doing is inserting things into the child; imposing ideas, beliefs, values, information and ‘knowledge’ onto the child, instead of unearthing what already lies within her/him.

The dominance of text-books in classrooms and the hierarchy of teacher-child relationship undermine the role of both the teacher and the learner, and deny them creative engagement with the learning endeavour. A great part of our educational culture is entrenched in the fabric of ‘received knowledge’, where the learner is perceived as a receiver and the school or the teacher as the provider of knowledge. To me, it is a truism that every child is born with a spark. The kind of formal education and conventional socialisation that exists in most societies dampens that spark instead of enhancing and using it as a tool to enable us to reach our best selves.

Formal schools seem to restrict a child’s own growth and expect everyone to conform to one formula. This ‘one size fits all’ approach does not actually work. It means that everyone should fit in these prescribed structures, those who do not, are labelled “dumb”, “not meant for academia”, “differently abled”, or simply “unintelligent and stupid”. The point these people miss is the fact that every child has her/his own way of growing, her/his own pace and own method. Mirambika taps into each child’s ‘own way’.

This is why education in Mirambika is a spiritual process, which fostered that spark in us, through which we embarked on a journey of self-exploration and expression, of wholistic development and growth, done at one’s own pace, not at the pace of the prescribed syllabus meant to be covered within a particular time frame. Education here was geared towards the nurturing of a child to empower her/him realise her/his completeness as an individual and as a part of a larger whole; not toward passing exams for becoming ‘professionals’. It is aimed at developing (in the students and teachers) confidence to think for themselves and enhancing their creative and critical faculties, thereby fostering self-reliance and a spirit of questioning.

Since this growth was slow, cynics often got worried over a fifth grader who does not know her/his tables, or whose grammar is weak. Little did they know that while the child may have temporarily suspended her/his academic learning, she/he was busy learning other things, exploring the world, expanding her/his horizons and basking in the warm light of these beautiful experiences she/he has had. For instance, when we had ‘drawing time’ (as we called it) in the art room of our school, we were never ever told what to draw, we could paint absolutely anything we wished to. And this used to excite us beyond limits! It completely triggered off our imaginations to drive into new worlds yet to be explored by us. And once they were explored to our satisfaction, we expressed our comprehension of them through various media – art, essays, poems, stories, plays, games and academic projects.

So I could make a flying elephant or a pink tree. I remember, I had once for a few weeks, developed this strange fetish for galaxies (and I barely even knew what they were). So every work of art that I did would have galaxies in it – these beautifully coloured spiral patterns in a rich blue sky! I still remember those drawings so well, because I really lived them, they were a part of me, an expression of me!

Today I call myself an artist, and really, I discovered the artist in me right there in Mirambika. Mirambika was big on art, and every child did art there, so we were all artists in our own right! This speaks volumes of how different it was from formal education systems as it was characterised by openness. Formal schools tend to pin children down in a prescriptive straitjacket to ensure their development as ‘responsible’ citizens. No more discoveries for them. The child’s world is then discarded for an adult universe, teeming with segmentation, prejudice and hierarchy. Mirambika refrains, strongly refrains from doing this, allowing each child to lay a foundation of an aesthetic mindset for her/himself.

You will never find a Mirambikan with inertia. This word is happily absent from their lives. You will always find them up and about, ready to do something, bubbling with energy – both, physical and mental. A display of their physical energy would be in their utter craziness – ever ready to play a game, a sport, or just simply wrestle with each other! During meditation time, the five minutes of Mother’s music (before starting the day, and after sports, breakfast and cleaning) – just five minutes, and we could not control our energy! Since we could not talk, we would just play those ‘pass it on with no returns’ games, with such discretion that the diyas would never know, because they would be in deep mediation! Of course now things are different, I do realise the importance of meditation.

There is such a wide variety of ways in which Mirambikans channellised their mental energy – their projects, and the life they put into them was a clear exhibition of their exuberance. On Christmas the whole school, every child is busy painting windows, cleaning, making and wrapping gifts, learning carols! The atmosphere is so magical! Every now and then, throughout the year, all the groups (classes/grades) would receive an invitation by another group (a very tastefully done one at that) for a play, an art exhibition, a quiz, a performance of some kind. And the whole school would gather to share their experiences and knowledge.

We once did a play on the Mughals and the Delhi Sultanate, because for weeks we had been doing a project on Medieval Delhi. Till today I remember that so well, it was just so much fun! My medieval history is so good, thanks to the fun way of learning that made me remember each detail. We did many more plays on such projects; Mughals is just one of my favourites. Another exciting venture of ours was when we took on the role of teachers. We used to have bi-weekly clubs (non-academic, co-curricular activities), which were facilitated by teachers. Ours being the eldest group, we decided to facilitate the clubs for our juniors, and it was a great success!

This probably gives you a peek into just how much experimentation went on over there. We were constantly throwing up ideas of how to do new things and experience as much as we can in the seemingly little time we thought we had! And of course, the teachers rarely ever said “no”, they were very supportive. But I must confess, sometimes we went a little overboard with this; we did sometimes take our freedom for granted and shed the responsibility that came with it. For instance when we went on a ‘hartal’ against English grammar classes! And when we ‘ran away’ from Hindi class, hiding the whole day, in different corners of the school from our diyas!!!!! We were really too crazy for words! A bunch of brats I would say! But really innocent ones at that; Mirambikans never grew up before their age, their innocence was always preserved.

Another thing really remarkable about this place is the cultural diversity of people that exists here. In a group of ten kids you will find Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Muslims; and Italians, Americans, Germans, Iraqis! You name it! Not that religion or ethnicity was ever a major matter of discourse here, but, the cultural diversity did in subtle ways add to the richness of this place.

Mirambika kids have a great sense of adaptability. They can adjust to any situation (not always willingly and happily, but they do usually fare quite well once thrust into it). I remember one of my most testing times – when I gave my tenth class boards privately. I prepared for them in six months flat, and had absolutely no experience of writing exams whatsoever! The uncertainty that was thrust upon us, before we made this bold decision of giving our boards that very year did not leave me so easily. Its residual effects haunted me and clouded my happiness while I was preparing for my first exams ever; the result of which would shape my entire future, the preparation of which demanded immense determination and sacrifice from me, and which is done in conditions very different from those that formal school kids have the privilege of. Patrachar Vidyalaya was not exactly fun! It was one of my most unpleasant experiences actually. But we pulled through, and quite well indeed!

And then the two years I spent at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya – the people there seemed to have had a tough time accepting me as I was ‘different’. This is when I realised the vast difference between formal schools and Mirambika. In Mirambika differences in thinking, behaviour, dress or anything else are normal. In other schools, they are pathological, thereby causing concern, contempt and rejection. Not that this does not happen in Mirambika at all, but on a much lesser and friendlier plane, it does not turn hostile. What I faced at SPV was rejection and patronisation. The only reason I was able to put up with it for two years was the strength I derived from my Mirambika background, enabling me to survive crisis situations, and in fact, even make something of them by learning from them.

My class teacher in SPV (a strict disciplinarian), once said to the whole class, when I topped – “it’s amazing that Sarandha is doing so exceptionally well in a conventional set up, in spite of being from Mirambika”. I corrected her immediately and said, “Ma’am, it’s not in spite of being from Mirambika, it is actually because of being from Mirambika”. She fell silent. She did not know how to answer me. I do not blame her, there aren’t many who would understand the meaning of what I said, there aren’t many who know exactly what ingredients Mirambika uses to build us in a way that our loyalty and love for it surpasses all bounds….

Our tutors in class ten were thoroughly impressed by Ankit, Damini and me! They used to rave about our courage, confidence and focus in life. They saw our ability to adapt, and they recognised the amazing grasping power we possessed. Of course we were no special angels or god-gifted prodigies, it was all Mirambika!! They saw the difference between us and other students they taught, and told our parents how absorbent we are. So much so that they wanted to get their own kids admitted in Mirambika!!

But, all this was not done by Mirambika alone. It is an imperative here to identify the parents’ role, who were just as involved in the whole system, which they were very much a part of. They grew with their children, learnt, and became better people and better parents. The parent-teacher meetings weren’t just about their own child, with the teachers. They were group meetings where all the parents of all ten kids came, sat together (again, on the floor!), drank tea and discussed group dynamics. And, one thing is for sure, it requires immense guts to put your child through such a radical system, which is still an experiment. They do not know which way it will go. One really needs to have hell of a lot of faith in the philosophy and system to put her/his child there. One needs to be strong about her/his convictions without a morsel of doubt, which may surface by being repeatedly questioned by society about their seemingly absurd decision.

The school would do the ground work; the rest was, to a great extent, in the hands of the parents. They need to work upon their child, while the school does the ground work. They need to give the correct nurturing or their child is ruined. A very precarious balance exists between freedom and responsibility, if it is not maintained with care and attention, self-discipline will never be the answer. The answer will spell out ruin for the child, which has happened with many of my own friends. Thus, the parents share a great part of the responsibility in this learning process. They cannot afford to be like conventional school parents. I am more than grateful to my parents for educating me in Mirambika, and for being the right kind of catalyst required.

I once read in a newspaper article – “an education system that builds upon a child’s first triumphant channelling of positive energies as a doer will create a society of individuals who have achieved a sense of unity within. Individuals who seek inter-relatedness, not isolation; plurality, not conformism. Individuals who seek to resolve conflict within humane parameters and build a nation of common wealth that grows out of the life breath of communities in the most natural manner, like a bud becoming a flower”. If we were to scrutinise Mirambika from the sociological perspective and analyse its contribution to society, then no words would be more apt than these.

All I can really say to sum up this discussion, or rather this conversation I had with my own self, is that if you understand the Anna of ‘Mister God, this is Anna’, by Fynn, then you know for sure what a Mirambika child really is….! - Sarandha
(Passed out from Mirambika in 2000, by giving 10th boards from Mirambika, but privately, through Patrachar Vidyalaya. Graduated from Lady Shri Ram College, DU. Currently pursuing MSW at TISS, Mumbai.)

Hu Hsu translated The Life Divine

A great vision of mankind's future that 20th Century India gave the world is through Sri Aurobindo. He visualised man as an evolving being capable of rising above his present state of consciousness and stepping into a new phase of existence. I had the good fortune to know a Chinese savant Hu Hsu, a great painter and litterateur who lived in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry for many years and translated several major works of Sri Aurobindo into Chinese. He lived the last phase of his life in China and passed away on March 6 at the age of 91. His latest translation was Sri Aurobindo's Life Divine.
A common thread binds all the countries of Asia and is seen in philosophyand metaphysics and poetry and folklore. But due to the colonisation of many countries, Asians know more about Western writing than of their neighbouring countries. MANOJ DAS makes a case for a voluntary compulsion to get to know the literature of other Asian countries thereby strengthening the Asian identity. The Hindu (New Delhi) January 7, 2001

Remember The Mother's strong words

Mother of memories Francois Gautier The Pioneer Date: March 19, 2003
At a time when we see politicians, journalists, philosophers, and even spiritualists utter only what is "politically correct", at a time when nobody really dares to call a spade a spade - whether it is the Chinese threat to India, the 20 millions Bangladeshis illegally staying in this country, or the bypassing of India as a democratic superpower by the West - it is time we went over what the Mother of Pondicherry, whose 125th birth anniversary falls this year, said on these subjects so long ago, but all of which is still very pertinent today. What the Mother uttered is extremely interesting for several reasons.
  • First, she was French, and embodied the best qualities of France: Forthrightness, courage and this same fearless frankness which kindled the French Revolution and heralded an era of democracy in Europe: "Liberti Igaliti, Fraterniti."
  • Second, the Mother was not only the spiritual companion of India's great prophet, Sri Aurobindo, but also her most faithful disciple. Sri Aurobindo once said that nobody could match the surrender of the Mother. Thus, naturally, she espoused Sri Aurobindo's ideals on India, particularly the political vision which he formulated, when he was the most ardent nationalist and revolutionary, an episode of his life which even some of his disciples have buried, forgetting that Sri Aurobindo had reenacted the Bhagavad Gita's extraordinary message: That force and violence can also sometimes be dharma, duty. Indeed, many of Sri Aurobindo's disciples have forgotten that he let his own brother fabricate bombs in his house.
  • Third, the Mother is also Durga. And it is under this form that her children still pray to her: "Mother Durga! Giver of force and love and knowledge, terrible art thou in thy own self of might, Mother beautiful and fierce. In the battle of life, in India's battle, we are warriors commissioned by thee; Mother give to our heart and mind a Titan's energy, to our soul." Thus the Mother is extremely forthright and clear in her sayings and writings on the problems India is facing today at the hands of Pakistan, China, Bangladesh or the US. This is particularly true in her Agenda, her intimate conversations with her French disciple, Satprem, where she expressed herself freely.

On Bangladesh, the Mother said on the eve of the 1971 war with Pakistan: "Can you imagine that along with the refugees, Pakistanis have entered India, and they have poisoned wells and rivers. Some of them were caught in the act. It's dreadful." Then, Satprem asks: "But Mother, shouldn't the problem of India and Pakistan be settled once for all?" And this is the Mother's unequivocal answer: "That's what I was hoping for. But they've made...such a mess with this whole Bangladesh affair, it's dreadful - dreadful. Now, they have found a solution: The Americans are trying to come to an agreement with the Chinese - to help Pakistan massacre people. That's the last straw!" (July 17 1971). She had also faith in the Indian Army, and much less faith in the Government. What she said 30 years ago could be applied even today: "The Army is ready to fight up there on the borders of India and Bangladesh, but it is forever waiting for the Government to give the order" (September 15 1971).

Has anything changed today? Bangladesh has not only forgotten that it owes its freedom to Indian soldiers, but has also turned inimical to India, giving shelter to Islamic separatists groups. And who can forget the horrible way India's BSF soldiers were mutilated by the Bangladesh Rifles? It would be enough for India to close the Farakka dam for three days to bring Bangladesh to its knees, or for a few Mirages to fly over Dhaka. But as usual Indian leaders are trapped in the goody image of the big brother and the "Army is forever awaiting the Government's orders".

The Mother was equally forthright on Pakistan. When Satprem tells her: "Mother, it is obvious that India is the symbol of the New World in formation, so India must be 'one' symbolically, in order for the New World to see the light of day;" the Mother answers succinctly: "Yes." Satprem continues: "Consequently, Pakistan has to disappear". "But, of course," is the Mother's reply! And she adds: "India already missed one chance. But now... it shouldn't miss this one" (April 7, 1971). And when she learns that the USSR is putting pressure on India to negotiate with Pakistan, she exclaims raising her arms: "Everything has to be started all over again." We know the situation today: Every time the Indian Army has painfully made gains, the Indian Government, whether of the Congress or the BJP, has surrendered it. The latest was the mobilising of the entire Indian Army along the border with Pakistan at great cost, to finally call them back under pressure from the US. That day, Islamabad knew that it could get away with anything.

But it is probably for China that the Mother reserves her strongest words. Satprem: "The latest argument is that Pakistan wants India to declare war so she can call China to her aid." Replies the Mother: "In any case the Chinese are on Pakistan's side as they are already there in Pakistan." Satprem: "Mother, don't forget that India betrayed Tibet! When Tibet was invaded by the Chinese, India kept its mouth, ears and eyes shut and did nothing to help the Tibetans." Mother: "Quite some time ago I had a vision of China invading India, even South India. And that would be the worst of catastrophes. It will probably take centuries before things can return to normalcy (silence). And the Chinese are very intelligent (Mother goes within for a long time)."

Today this might seem a little far-fetched, except that the Chinese are still claiming huge chunks of India such as Arunachal Pradesh or Sikkim, and have given the nuclear capability to Pakistan and are blocking India's entry as a permanent member of the UN, whereas they got theirs because of India's support. Yet, we still see Indian leaders talking about "the everlasting Indo-Chinese friendship".

Finally, the Mother, although she had great hope from America, did not mince her words. Satprem: "Mother, do you know that the President of the United States (Nixon) is going to China?" Mother: "Yes, can you beat that!" Satprem: "They also have quietly started giving economic aid to Pakistan again; they are doing it discreetly, but they are doing it. Their intention is to put Pakistan back on its feet." Mother: "They're mad! India missed the first chance; it missed the second chance; now we don't know when it will come again" (Mother strikes her forehead, then shakes her head several times). Today, we see that the United States, instead of choosing India - a democratic, pro-west, secular country - as a frontline state for its war on terrorism, has favoured Pakistan, a non-democratic, non-secular and often anti-west nation. How can Mr George Bush be so short-sighted? It is not Iraq he should target, but Pakistan!

Let us all then remember the Mother's strong words (which might displease some of her disciples, who would rather, as Satprem aptly says, "lock Mother and Sri Aurobindo in their Samadhi, so that they can go on with their little spiritualised routine, instead of putting their vision into practice") on the year of Her 125th birth anniversary. Let the strong spirit of Durga and Sri Aurobindo pervade India and make us the Kshatriyas of the 21st century.

September 24, 2006

On Savitri

Nolini Kanta Gupta
A collection of 6 essays on “Savitri”: Savitri, God’s Debt, Readings in “Savitri”, Notes on “Savitri”, The Opening Scene of “Savitri” and The Human Divine, with a preface by Dr. M.V. Nadkarni. Dreamer and revolutionary, linguist, scholar, critic, poet, philosopher and man of deep spiritual realisation, Nolini Kanta Gupta stands foremost among the men of this century who are destined to leave their mark on generations to come.
Born on 13 January 1889 of a cultured and well-to-do familiy in Bengal, he came early in his teens under the influence of Sri Aurobindo, the revolutionary par excellence, and ”a mighty prophet of Indian Nationalism” of the age. After having spent a year in jail as an under-trial prisoner in the historic Alipore Bomb Case, he was taken in hand by sri Aurobindo and with him he remained ever since. He passed away at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram on 7 February 1984.
This volume was originally conceived to be a comprehensive volume including all the articles of Nolinikanta Gupta on ”Savitri” in both English and Bengali. But Jayantilal Parekh wanted it to be a booklet in English only and containing the articles written by Nolinida exclusively on ”Savitri” Hence it had to be reduced to only these six articles contained in this volume. I also told Jayantilalda that I am going to request Dr. M.V. Nadkarni to write a preface for this book. But inspite of Dr. Nadkarni‘s willingness and best of efforts the preface could not be completed and shown to Jayantilalda since he passed away.
The blessings of the Avatar of the Supreme - Sri Aurobindo - has been invoked by adding as an appendix what he himself has said in his author‘s note on ”Savitri” to make this volume complete in all respects. ISBN 81-7058-628-3, 40 pp., EUR 4,00 Contents Compiler`s Note Preface by Dr. M.V. Nadkarni Savitri God`s Debt Readings in “Savitri”Notes on “Savitri” The Opening Scene of “Savitri” The Human Divine Zurück zu Medien “Savitri”

Towards The New Horizon

Barin Chaki An adventurer of Consciousness, a seeker of Truth, I am on march towards The New Horizon, The New World. Sunday, September 24, 2006
On the Way
Sri Aurobindo is Himself the Adventure of Consciousness, as described by Satprem, a disciple. And if one aspires and endeavours to follow the Light and the Words of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother [Mira Alfassa] and is inspired by Them and walks through the Way trodden by Them, beginning from adolescence, one has to grow up as a sort of adventurer of Consciousness, a seeker of Truth. And this is not a blind faith. This is an Understanding, a Light that comes from above and grows within, more and more intuitively and yet satisfying all claims Reason, even surpassing the limits of Reason, the failures and falls of Reason.
With all humility, I say that from my adolescence I endeavoured for understanding and following Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, not as a religion, not as any worship or puja, not as a dogma, not as a way of creating another group or any group, but as a clear and open Truth, universal and worldwide and limitless, accepting and acceptable to all human beings on earth for surpassing all their imperfections and limitations, for surpassing all difficulties and deficiencies, all divisions and darkness and death.
And on the Way I met some others. And we walked together, often. The aim of the Adventure, the journey through the Unknown and the New was and is to reach The New Horizon, The New World, the Eternal Dawn of the Supramental World. We the human beings have to evolve into a New Race, surpassing all our human and animal limitations and imperfections and inconscience and ignorance and incapacities.
I have a dream, a dream of marching, along with others, towards The New Horizon, The New World. And I request all others to march towards The New Horizon, The New World. Hence, let us collect all that is golden in our harvest so far, since the beginning of the human journey, and march towards The New Horizon. It is not that we will leave this world and go elsewhere to find another planet in search of the New World. Nor should we become recluses. We need not retire into some forests or mountains. We will change this world. We can see that this world, as it is now, is in an extremely bad state of affairs. Falsehood, hatred, selfishness, corruption, greed, deception, violence, cruelty, inhumanity, and hunger for power - these appear to be the ruling forces now.
All the noble Ideals or Ideas that prevailed on earth and inspired many of our noble ancients or our forefathers, have, as it were, become obsolete. Look at history and the present day earth: ideologically, and in consciousness, men seem to have become pygmies. The entire human society is sitting on a heap of bombs - atomic or non-atomic. In relationships, we can no more find beauty and love and fellow feeling. In Arts and culture, vulgarity has almost replaced beauty. In the name of religion, the people fight each other, and they are taking themselves farther away from the Divine, from spirituality. You may live for a definite purpose, a purpose higher than ordinary, which will bring you more fulfilments, more joy.
The higher your purpose, the greater is the joy and fulfilment. The higher the Consciousness you aspire for, and the wider your consciousness, the more purposeful your life becomes, the greater is your joy. We may orient our endeavor, our way of life, towards limited personal happiness and satisfaction, or towards a greater and wider Joy and fulfilment, along with others, for others, maybe with the whole of mankind, for the entire mankind, for higher values of Truth, Light, Wisdom, Beauty, Creativity, Goodness, Love, Wideness, Harmony and Peace, Total Well-being.
Our journey is towards the next evolution. And Sri Aurobindo is The Leader of the next evolution. He was the first Person to know and declare that the humanity must go beyond itself, that Man has to evolve beyond himself towards supermanhood, towards becoming supramental beings. That is the Will of the Supreme, that is the design of Nature, of what He has termed as Supernature.
Sri Aurobindo has said :Our evolution in the Ignorance with its checkered joy and pain of self-discovery and world-discovery, its half fulfilments, its constant finding and missing, is only our first state. It must lead inevitably towards an evolution in the Knowledge, a self finding and self-unfolding of the Spirit, a self-revelation of the Divinity in things in that true power of itself in Nature which is to us still a Supernature.
The Mother has said: A new consciousness is at work upon earth to prepare the coming of the superhuman being. Open yourself to this consciousness if you aspire to serve the Divine Work.To come into contact with this new consciousness, the essential condition is no longer to have any desires and to be wholly sincere.
Further, She has also said: To leap into the new consciousness, the first condition is a mental modesty sufficient to be convinced that all one thinks one knows is nothing in comparison with what remains to be learned. All that one has learned externally must be only a foothold enabling one to rise towards higher knowledge.Hence, we aspire for and dream of marching towards The New Horizon, The New World.
With this dream, with these ideas and aspirations and hopes, this website is created, which I name The New Horizon. My idea is not only to dream or be a visionary, but to spread my dream, my vision, my consciousness, my aspiration, along with the bases of my philosophical and spiritual understanding, throughout the people around the world, through this Website. I hope the Light and Teaching of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother will inspire the people and change their attitude and approach, so that a Society can grow and march towards The New Horizon, The New World.
There is no narrowness here. It is open to all other thinkers and Seers and spiritual Leaders of the Past and the Present and even of the Future who seek to change this world from darkness to Light, from falsehood to Truth, from death to Immortality. Not only the Dream, but also the required Action will be dealt with in these pages. I will express myself though arts and poetry, through philosophical, intellectual and spiritual deliberations. You are invited and welcome to join or visit this place as a valuable and valued member or guest, in order to walk along towards The New Horizon. Barin 24-09-2006 [This posting is simultaneously published by me in The New Vision and All choice. Barin]

My first choice and all choice

From: "barin chaki" To: "Tusar N. Mohapatra" Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 16:42:08 +0100 (BST)
Hello Tusar,
My first choice and all choice is for Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. My Websites and Blogs do contain links to your Blogs and Alan's Blogs and one website of Donna, who is a Karmayogi and is involved with Amnesty International. Other commercial interests I may not generally endorse, for that may distract and disturb my purpose and my contact with Them.

I personally try to remain above planetary influences, for The Mother and even Sri Aurobindo actually help me! Always! Astro-vision is different form other astrological sites who believe in propaganda and unrefined commerce. However, Tusar, I am thankful to you for introducing me. With the best wishes! Barin Barindranath Chaki

Make of us the hero warriors

From: "Tusar N. Mohapatra" To: "M Alan Kazlev" Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2006 07:54:54 -0500
Somehow I feel these are momentous times. Especially, Welber's June Fiasco and the aftermath. A sort of moment of truth not only for the Integral movement, but personally for you too. To make the choice; firming up in favour of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo; and to tell the whole world. But the fight is ahead, still. And any backing out or dilution of approach at this point would be an anti-climax.
You are busy, writing. And my interruptions, therefore, are perhaps deliberate. Haven't you said enough already in your 4-part essay? To herald something more fruitful, don't you need to survey a little bit more, wait a little longer?
Norodbaran called it a day, a month earlier, but Amal Kiran is around. A direct disciple of the Master! A whole lot of people who were in close contact with The Mother are also around. So much of history, oral history. Contrast it with the snippets that Da Vinci Code raked up.
And hence I think it is a great opportunity. To fortify one's own dwelling before launching any peace offensive. That is why the prayer, Make of us the hero warriors... to fight...the great battle of the future, that is to be born against the past that seeks to endure.
From: "Tusar N. Mohapatra" To: "M Alan Kazlev" Subject: Re: Savitri Era Learning Forum: The message of this mighty spiritual path Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 07:10:45 -0500
May I once again request you to lead a project, so that a database is created for all the Websites, Blogs, e-journals, Authors, Bibliography, Centres and other Organizations drawing inspiration from The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Subsequently, the names and terms found in their writings and the allusions can also be included.
From: "M Alan Kazlev" To: "Tusar N. Mohapatra" Subject: Re: Savitri Era Learning Forum: The message of this mighty spiritual path Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2006 07:51:01 +1000
Hi Tusar
well this looks like a worthy aim, but I can't do it on my own. Are you thinking of something like a wiki? Although we don't have enough people interested to make that work unfortunately. Or would this be something on my website? There are already some excellent websites devoted to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, but if you want to send me the links and material with annotated comments I can certainly add it to my site!
But be aware that simply setting up another database or list of resources however will not change things. What is required instead is to provide a means for people to connect with some aspect of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo's spiritual transmission on the subtle level. But to simply present people the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo without the context of their own field of interest will not interest anyone except those who are already devotees. Because unless one has the appropriate connection in the Inner Being, the Psychic link, there is no receptivity.
On the level of the outer or surface being, some mental contact is required first. This is why I always try to embed reference to The Mother and Sri Aurobindo into other perspectives, whether it be my own esoteric philosophy, evolutionary cosmology, the Wilberian and postwilberian integral movement (you may be interested to hear that on his Integral World website Frank Visser has recently added Rod Hemsell's essay on Wilber's misunderstanding of Sri Aurobindo to the "reading room". This, together with my own essays there, helps make others aware of Sri Aurobindo's actual teaching, as opposed to Wilberian misinterpretations thereof), and so on. Similarly you have done so in your reports on education, society etc in your own excellent blogs.
Consider Philosophy, Art, Education, Yoga, Evolution, the science of consciousness, phenomenology, comparative spirituality, Indian culture, world politics, economics, religion, history, the New Age movement, etc etc and the way that the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo are applicable in each of these areas. After all their teachings are truly universal, truly "integral" as Wilber would say, so, being in this way universal they are relevant everywhere.
On Wikipedia and elsewhere, pages on these and other various subjects can where appropriate include brief references and links back to the pages on The Mother and Sri Aurobindo and their work.
But it is important that making others aware of the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo should never ever be done in a proslytising and pushy way. One can certainly state the case strongly, if the situation requires, but it shouldn't be something that is dogmatically asserted.. If someone has the Inner receptivity they will understand. If not, it is not meant for them. nameste alan

Dispatch from Africa

At 4:06 AM, Kofi Fosu said…
Oh the blessings are forever
Pure joy and honest truth
pour from your mind and heart
I certainly belong

Savitri Erans come forward

From: To: CC: Subject: DharmaFarmer Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 20:20:28 -0400
i was searching for dharmafarmer pages, and i found a post on your weblog from my weblog. I am not writing to you to let you know upset i am or anything like that, in fact i am writing to ask about your interest into these things. I see you live in india and are familiar (if not more) with sri aurobindo's work and teachings. cool, i resonate with his basic principles of Integral Yoga. anyway, just seeking to connect.
peace and ease, justin
Thank you Justin, for searching me out.
There is a large pool of highly educated and multi-skilled personnel devoted to the ideals of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo who can close their ranks. If people are getting organised purely for destructive purposes, why can't the Savitri Erans come forward to work together towards a positive goal? # Tusar

Chutzpah savor

From: "Lipschutz, Rick" To: CC: Subject: Savitri Era blog Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 11:44:30 -0700
Dear Tusar Mohapatra,

I was shocked to hear to say, if I read you right, that you have received very little comment on your Savitri Era blog. It has certainly enriched my life! I have found there probably more stimulating information on Sri Aurobindo and Mother and other spiritual and progressive subjects---and more crucial links to intellectually and psychically stimulating areas of the web (like Barin, Gagdad Bob, Ulrich Mohrhoff (I think), Alan Kazlev’s recent brilliant essays, and so many others---than anywhere else on the web. Also criticisms, which are sometimes more illuminating than encomia when taken in the right spirit.
Now, there must be more of us around than we know, but many of us are fairly quiet. I believe great changes are taking place, not only in our inner beings but in the nations and the planet as a whole, ready to surface at the right time and in the right way. Your Savitri era blog, and I am sure your other blogs, is a grand, central light station for the planet. Please know this.

Rick Lipschutz,
San Francisco

September 21, 2006

The message of this mighty spiritual path

From: "M Alan Kazlev" To: "Tusar N. Mohapatra" Subject: Re: Savitri Era: Savitri Era at war Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 18:55:16 +1000
Yes, so far still only very few people seem to appreciate the profound significance of The Mother's and Sri Aurobindo's teaching! So it falls to us to help convey the message of this mighty spiritual path over the Internet!

Savitri Era at war

Barindranath Chaki said... Thank you, Tusar, for this posting. I praise your endless energy and relentless war, like a true Karmayogi. Barin 18-09-2006 11:52 PM
Tusar N Mohapatra said... So kind of you, Chaki babu, for the words of encouragement. During the past one year I have hardly received any feedback except perhaps the following two:
From: "naresh kumar" To: Subject: Regarding your blog Savitri era Date: Sat, 7 Jan 2006 02:44:19 -0600 Dear Tusar,
I browsed through your blog about Sri Aurobindo's work and it struck me as an effort to disabuse the general public at large about a perceived inaccessibility of his works, - whether it is owing to his (perceived) difficult diction or owing to a lack of the necessary orientation to receive his ideas the way he intended for his readers, - and provide an orientation that could help read the works.
From: "M Alan Kazlev" To: Subject: Integral Transformation - new blog Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 08:48:41 +1000 Dear Tusar,
I've been very impressed by your Savitri Era Learning Forum for some time now. m alan #

September 20, 2006

The synthesis that is Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo comes at a very crucial moment in the history of thought when Marxist materialism, Nietzschean individualism and Freudian vitalism were popular and fashionable. Besides, phenomenology and existentialism had their run along-side him. On the whole, along with the new-fangled science and Theosophy, these new philosophical formulations fermented enough confusion among the elite. In a way, the disparate positions arrived at in Western thought find their synthesis in Sri Aurobindo's philosophy. By aligning them with the ancient Indian wisdom, he comes up with an integral vision that breathes universality as well as contemporarity.
Thus, Kant's sublime, Hegel's absolute, Schopenhauer's will, Kierkegaard's passion, Marx's matter, Darwin's evolution, Nietzsche's overman, Bergson's élan vital, all find their due representation in Sri Aurobindo's grand exposition. His thought successfully overarchs cultural as well as religious chasms. S.K. Maitra and Haridas Chaudhuri are first among the academicians to discern the import of Sri Aurobindo's integral philosophy. D.P. Chattopadhyay wrote a seminal treatise juxtaposing Sri Aurobindo and Marx to examine their utopian prophecies.

External links Publishers of Books Official website [1] On-line reading and search on books by Sri Aurobindo,The Mother and disciples. Wikipedia

Religion discloses objective metaphysics

Yesterday a reader expressed bewilderment at our mention of intrinsic heresy. An intrinsic heresy is a religious idea that cannot possibly be true in any objective metaphysics, while an extrinsic heresy is one that only applies to a particular religion. The belief that God is not both radically transcendent and equally immanent is an example of intrinsic heresy. To cite a fine example of intrinsic heresy, another reader yesterday expressed bewilderment at my pointing out that it is fruitless to affirm the great Upanishadic truth tat tvam asi--thou art that, or atman, the self, is brahman, the ultimate reality--before realizing the extent to which, in our fallen state, thou aren’t much of anything, much less that. This is simply respecting the objective metaphysical truth that, while God may be immanent, he is also radically transcendent.
To emphasize only half of this paradoxical equation leads on the one hand to collective pantheism and personal narcissism, on the other hand to the type of spiritual darkness inhabited by the Muslim world, where God is radically transcendent and therefore beyond human understanding. Orthodox Christian doctrine, like the Vedanta, gets the equation exactly right.
Modern people are generally baffled by the intensity of the early Christian debates on the nature of Christ, but the stakes were actually quite high, and if those councils had gotten it wrong, the Christian world may well have gone the way of Islam. Among other things, they determined that in Christ, God was both fully God and fully human (I am not a Christian theologian, so forgive me if I get any details wrong here.) They didn’t say how this paradox could be or how they knew it (it was a divine mystery), but they rejected every possible variation--Nestorianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, etc. (look ‘em up yourself).
In the end they affirmed that Christ embodied the two natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, and inseparably. And what goes for Christ goes for us, to the extent that we may participate in his life and consciousness. We may become through grace what Christ is by nature. Now, secularists habitually steal things from religion and then either pretend that they invented them or presume that they can be wrenched from their sacred context without doing grave damage to them. For example, secularists benefit just as much as anyone else from the blessings of Judeo-Christian values, while at the same time doing everything possible to attack or belittle the source of those values. Again, many things we take for granted in the west developed specifically in a Christian context and nowhere else: the infinite worth of the individual, liberty, democracy, science, etc.
This is one of the primary reasons why secular progressives are so ironically named. They can never really be progressive, since their materialistic metaphysic denies meaningful progress at the outset. Scratch a leftist and you will always discern a nostalgic, backward-looking, non-friction metaphysic--the painful recollection of the lost entitlement of infancy and the desire for a romantic merger with the conflict-free eden of childhood--only projected into the future. As I have mentioned before, in the absence of the supernatural, people will fall back onto more primitive, pre-religious and magical modes of thought, but then imagine that they are progressing beyond religion.
But in my view this is impossible, for I believe that religion discloses objective metaphysics. Therefore, anything short of real religion descends into mere mythology: relying upon it to orient yourself in the cosmos, you will move laterally and eventually backwards, as we see in contemporary Europe--a fine example of trying to live off the fumes of Christian values in the absence of the Christianity that gave rise to them. This was definitely one of the main points of the pope’s talk, and one that the left will not understand because they cannot understand--partly because of the intense, mocking superiority they feel toward religion.
The vast majority of our contemporary pagan scholars would undoubtedly agree that intrinsic meaning does not and cannot exist. For a secularist, this is necessarily the case. For example, if history does not refer to something outside itself, it has to be without meaning or purpose, truly the proverbial "tale told by a tenured idiot, full of sound and fury, but signifying a nice paycheck and adoring coeds.” While there can be limited purposes within history, there is no transcendent meaning to any of our endeavors, any more than there can be transcendent meaning to your individual goals and pursuits. It's all ultimately pointless. History is simply history--just a material process, a journey of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. But if this were true, mankind would never have found the exit out of its closed circle of material and instinctual existence.
In the logoistic understanding of Christianity, history is witness to a literal descent of the logos into the stream of horizontal time, so as to forge a concrete link between the vertical and horizontal--between the One and the many, time and eternity. To say that "God became man" or "Word became flesh" is just another way of saying that the vertical, that is, the ultimate, timeless ground, outside time and anterior to manifestation, poured itself into material form and chronological time--not just in a single human being, but in all of humanity. Only humans can serve as a bridge between the higher and lower planes that are manifest in the outward flow of history. Indeed, this is our purpose: to nurture and grow the seed of eternity within the womb of time. How do I know this? I don’t. I just water the plant and watch it grow.
*A persistent urban myth has it that Eisenhower warned us of the "military-industrial complex" rather than "mullah terror & nasty-old-leftist complex," when clearly, we require the former to defeat the latter. posted by Gagdad Bob at 8:05 AM 55 comments