December 16, 2006

India preserves that which preserves the world

Re: Instruments of Knowledge and Post-Human Destinies
by Debashish on Fri 15 Dec 2006 11:47 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
This profound conversation has so much in it to "stir the deeper ranges" in anyone. In the last part, Sri Aurobindo is pointing the direction to the methodology for a subjective Science which we had been discussing earlier on sciy (in the comments for "The Convergence of Science and Spirituality by the Dalai Lama" and for "The Death of Man or Post-Humanism 101". (These links are to the relevant comments and not the articles themselves). It also connects to Sri Aurobindo's chapter in the Life Divine on The Methods of Vedantic Knowledge
Here he is indicating an individual process of intuition validated by experimentation, observation and experience and leading to deeper intuitions and their validation. This develops the inner field of knowledge. In the Dalai Lama article, the Dalai Lama in fact points to the prevalence of intuition even in Science. Einstein also held these views and is known to have attempted to make a case for Intuition as the foundation for hypotheses rather than Reason. But there is one more aspect of Science which can be related to a corresponding aspect in a field of Subjective Science. This is the aspect of collective knowledge. Science expands through its methodical verifiability and repeatability and the accumulated discourse gathering around this and available to all. The corresponding aspect in a Subjecive Science is the discursive field of sastra, siksha, vitraka and darshana. Sastra is the codified "tradition" of received experiences, siksha is the pedagogical method of dissemination, vitarka is the field of distinction-making and comparative phenomenology and darshana (on which all the others rest as their base) is the non-dual act of truth-seeing and showing.
The existence of this discursive field in India (not necessarily restricted to literate culture and in a state of constant translation between written, oral and darshanic states) is what made the culture of yoga so widespread and vital and caused the historical phenomenon which Sri Aurobindo refers to when he says "India preserves that which preserves the world." In our seeking for a post-human destiny as a regime of Truth, it is a discursive field of this nature that we may need to create for a new global culture. DB
by Debashish on Fri 15 Dec 2006 12:08 PM PST Profile Permanent Link The relation of "agni" (fire) to form-building gives pause for much reflection. In our human utilization of "fire" all we are capable of is form-destruction through fire. When Sri Aurobindo is talking of saura agni (solar fire) here and mentioning the closeness in structure and dynamics of the atom and the solar system and pointing to the possible discovery of a new form of "fire" arising from this similarity, he is talking of course, of "atomic fire," nuclear energy. Did this conversation take place before the discovery of the processes of fission and fusion? "Atomic fire" for us is the greatest destructive energy available to man. It has constructive uses also, as in generating energy, but this also is not form-building. It can be used in processes of transmutation of elements and this is coming closer to a form-building property, but can it really be called so?
The aspect of "form-building" for "fire" opened up a new understanding of Shiva Nataraja for me. Usually it is the human equation of fire with destruction which is applied to the fire in the raised left hand of the dancing Shiva. The "damaru" in the raised right hand is related to the rhythms, chhandas of creation and is therefore considered creative. But I can now see that both these are both creative and destructive. Nataraja, by the way, combines all the five elements in his Being and Becoming - the Agni is evident, the damaru indicates Akasha or Vyoma (ether), Ganga streaming from his head is apas (water), his movments themesleves represent the circulations of Vayu (wind or the aerial/contactual principle) and his dance is based on prithvi (earth). DB

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