August 31, 2007

The European Pundits have erected their new and brilliant temple of phantasy

SITE OF SRI AUROBINDO & THE MOTHER AUROBINDO.RU Home Page Workings Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library Vol.4
SRI AUROBINDO Writings in Bengali Translated into English The Secret of the Veda
Sayana has put in the mouths of the Rishis such ungrammatical language, such complicated, jumbled and halting sentences, and attributed to them such disorderly and incoherent thought that upon reading his commentary, instead of calling this language and thought the Aryan language, the Aryan thought, one is tempted to treat them as the ravings of a barbarian or a lunatic. Sayana is not to be blamed.
The ancient lexicographer Yaska also committed the same blunder, and long before him the authors of the Brahmanas, unable to discover the plain meaning of the Veda, made an unsuccessful attempt to interpret the difficult Riks with the help of their "mythopoetic faculty." The historians, imitating this method, invested the Veda with a numerous pageantry of purely imaginary events twisting and obscuring its sacred and simple meaning...
In the nineteenth century, the Western Pundits girded up their loins and came into the arena producing a more intense foreign imbroglio. Even to this day, only to keep afloat, we are struggling hard against the huge waves of that flood. The European Pundits have erected their new and brilliant temple of phantasy on the old foundations laid by the ancient lexicographers and historians.
They do not much follow the `Nirukta' of Yaska, but explain the Veda with the help of recent lexicons compiled to their liking in Berlin and Petrograd. By giving a novel and bizarre form to the Solar myth of the ancient historians of India, by putting new paint on the old colours, they have dazzled the eyes of the educated community of this country. The Europeans also hold the view that the gods mentioned in the Veda are only symbols representing various activities of physical Nature...
The Europeans followed the method of the ancient Indian historians who used to fabricate various historical episodes on the authority of separate Riks and Suktas, with the difference that instead of letting their imagination run riot and building up such extraordinary stories full of unnatural and strange incidents as the death of a Brahmin youth crushed under the wheels of the chariot conducted by Jara (son of Jara), Rishi Vrisha, who is then recalled to life by the power of the mantra, and the theft of the force of Agni by some fiendish woman, they tried to reconstruct the ancient history of India with the help of such true or fanciful tales as the battle of the Aryan Tritsuraj Sudas against ten kings of mixed race, the priesthood of Vasistha on one side and the priesthood of Vishwamitra on the other, the theft of cattle of the Aryans and the obstruction of the flow of their rivers by the cave-dwelling Dravidians, the despatch of the Aryan envoy or royal ambassadress to the Dravidians in the parable of Sarama (the Hound of Heaven) etc...
It is true that hundreds of thunderers hailing from the banks of the Thames, the Seine, and the Neva have poured on our heads the seven celestial rivers of new learning, but none of them have been able to remove the obscurity produced by Vritra. We are enveloped in the same darkness as before.

The Illusionism of Shankara sinks in the bottomless ocean

SITE OF SRI AUROBINDO & THE MOTHER AUROBINDO.RU Home Page Workings Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library Vol.4
SRI AUROBINDO Writings in Bengali Translated into English The Isha Upanishad
In Western philosophy there is a law called the law of contradiction, according to which opposites mutually exclude each other. Two opposite propositions cannot hold good at the same time, they cannot integrate; two opposite qualities cannot be simultaneously true at the same place and in the same instrument. According to this law, opposites cannot be reconciled or harmonised. If the Divine is one, then however omnipotent He might be, He cannot be many. The infinite cannot be finite. It is impossible for the formless to assume form; if it assumes form, then it abrogates its formlessness.
The formula that the Brahman is at the same time with and without attributes, which is exactly what the Upanishad also says about God who is nirguno guni, with and without attributes, is not admitted by this logic. If formlessness, oneness, infinity of the Brahman are true, then attributes, forms, multiplicity and finiteness of the Brahman are false; brahma satyam jaganmithya, `the Brahman is the sole reality, the world is an illusion' — such a totally ruinous deduction is the final outcome of that philosophic dictum. The Seer-Rishi of the Upanishad at each step tramples on that law and in each sloka announces its invalidity; he finds in the secret heart of the opposites the place for the reconciliation and harmony of their contradiction.
The oneness of the universe in motion and the immobile Purusha, enjoyment of all by renunciation of all, eternal liberation by full action, perpetual stability of the Brahman in movement, unbound and inconceivable motion in the eternal immobility, the oneness of the Brahman without attributes and the Lord of the universe with attributes, the inadequacy of Knowledge alone or of Ignorance alone for attaining Immortality, Immortality obtained by simultaneous worship of Knowledge and Ignorance, the supreme liberation and realisation gained not by the constant cycle of birth, not by the dissolution of birth but by simultaneous accomplishment of Birth and Non-Birth, — these are the sublime principles loudly proclaimed by the Upanishad.
Unfortunately there has been a great deal of unnecessary confusion regarding the meaning of this Upanishad. Shankara is generally recognised as the most important commentator of the Isha Upanishad, but if all these conclusions are accepted, then Mayavada, the Illusionism of Shankara, sinks in the bottomless ocean. The founder of Mayavada is incomparable and immensely powerful among the philosophers. Just as thirsty Balaram brought to his feet the Yamuna unwilling to alter her course, by dragging and pulling her with a plough, so also Shankara, finding this Upanishad destroyer of Mayavada and standing across the path toward his destination, dragged and pulled the meaning till it agreed with his own opinion.

August 28, 2007

Law and the Way

Dharmic religion
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dharmic religions are a family of religions which originated in India. They encompass the Vedic religion (now Hinduism), Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.[1][2] The theology and philosophy of Dharmic religions center on the concept of Dharma, a Sanskrit term for "fixed decree, law, duty", especially in a spiritual sense of "natural law, reality". It is mostly influential across the Indian subcontinent, East Asia, and South East Asia, with lesser influence felt throughout the world. These religions are very closely interrelated in core beliefs and culture.
Taoic religion
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the study of comparative religion, a Taoic religion is a religion, or religious philosophy, that focuses on the East Asian concept of Tao ("The Way"; pinyin Dao, Korean Do, Japanese To or Do, Vietnamese Đạo). This forms a large group of religions including Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Yiguandao, Chondogyo, Caodaism, Jeung San Do and Chen Tao. Taoic religions as a world religion group is comparable to the Abrahamic religions and Dharmic religions.[1] Taoic faiths claim at least 500 million members worldwide.[2]
Ancient Chinese philosophies defined Tao and advocated cultivating De in that Tao.[3] There are ancient schools that have merged into traditions under different names or are no longer active, such as Mohism and many others of the Hundred Schools of Thought, while some such as Taoism persist to the modern day. Taoic religion is usually polytheistic or nontheistic, but henotheistic, monotheistic, pantheistic, panentheistic and agnostic varieties exist, inside and outside of Asia. Taoic religion has Western adherents, though their interpretation may significantly differ from traditional East Asian thought and culture.

A number of commonalities between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam exist

Abrahamic religion
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Abrahamic religion is a term of Islamic origin,[1][2] commonly used to designate the three prevalent monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam[1][2] – which claim Abraham (Hebrew: Avraham אַבְרָהָם ; Arabic: Ibrahim ابراهيم ) as a part of their sacred history. Other, smaller religions that identify with this tradition – such as the Baha'i Faith – are sometimes included.[3]
Abrahamic religions account for more than half[4] of the world's total population. Today, there are around 3.8 billion followers of various Abrahamic religions.[citation needed] Other comparable religious groupings include the Dharmic religions of India, and the Taoic religions of East Asia - both terms being parallels of the 'Abrahamic' category. Contents[show]
Origin of the expression
The expression originates from the Qur'an's repeated references to the 'religion of Abraham' (see Suras 2:130,135; 3:95; 6:123,161; 12:38; 16:123; 22:78). In the Qur'an this expression refers specifically to Islam, sometimes in contrast to Judaism and Christianity, as for example in Sura 2:135: "They say: "Become Jews or Christians if ye would be guided (To salvation)." Say thou: "Nay! (I would rather) the Religion of Abraham the True, and he joined not gods with Allah." In the Qur'an Abraham is declared to have been a Muslim, 'not a Jew nor a Christian' (Sura 3:67). However the expression 'Abrahamic religion' is generally used to imply that that all three faiths share a common heritage.
A number of commonalities between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam exist:
Monotheism. All three religions worship one God, although Jews and Muslims sometimes criticize the common Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity as polytheistic. Indeed, there exists among their followers a general understanding that they worship the same one God.
A prophetic tradition. All three religions recognize figures called "prophets," though their lists differ, as do their interpretations of the prophetic role.
Semitic origins. Judaism and Islam originated among Semitic peoples – namely the Jews and Arabs, respectively – while Christianity arose out of Judaism.
A basis in divine revelation rather than, for example, philosophical speculation or custom.
An ethical orientation. All three religions speak of a choice between good and evil, which is conflated with obedience or disobedience to God.
A linear concept of history, beginning with the Creation and the concept that God works through history.
Association with the desert, which some commentators believe has imbued these religions with a particular ethos.
Devotion to the traditions found in the Bible and the Qur'an, such as the stories of Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses.
It is the choice of Abraham as a common label that makes them Abrahamic. It stems from his reputation as the "Father of many" (which is the literal meaning of his name). Since he is claimed by Jewish tradition as the ancestor of the Israelites, and his son Ishmael (Isma'il) by Muslim tradition as the ancestor of the Arabs, and by Christians as a "father in faith" (see Romans 4) the phrase may be meant to suggest that all three religions come from one source.
For example, Zoroastrianism is monotheistic, prophetic, ethical, revelatory, oriented toward history, and associated with the desert, though it is Indo-Iranian rather than Semitic, and does not identify with the characters and events of the Bible and Qur'an so it is not Abrahamic although there is a strong likelihood of Zoroastrian influence on the Abrahamic religions. Meanwhile Sikhism is monotheistic, ethical, revelatory, and arguably prophetic, though its origins are Indic rather than Middle Eastern [citation needed].
Adam, Noah, and Moses are also common to all three religions. As for why we do not speak of an "Adamic," "Noachian," or "Mosaic" family, this may be for fear of confusion. Adam and Noah are said to be the ancestors of all humanity (though as named characters they are specific to the Biblical/Qur'anic tradition). Moses is closely associated with Judaism and, through Judaism, continuing into Christianity; Moses is regarded as a Prophet in Islam, but the term "Mosaic" may imply a genealogical lineage which the first Muslims -- being Arab -- did not share (e.g., descending from Ishmael). Thus, the scope suggested by the first two terms is larger than intended, while the third is too small.

All the Abrahamic religions are related to (or even derived from) Judaism as practiced in ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah prior to the Babylonian Exile, at the beginning of the 1st millennium BC.
Many believe that Judaism in Biblical Israel was renovated and reformed to some extent in the 6th century BC by Ezra and other priests returning to Israel from the exile.
Samaritanism separated from Judaism in the next few centuries.
The Noachide faith - see also Noahide Law - is also based upon the faith of Abraham as revealed in the Torah and Bible, yet Noachides are not necessarily descendants of Abraham, although a Noachide might be of Abrahamic lineage through any of the children of Abraham. Because there is no way of tracing this accurately, the Noachides are determined by their ancestral connection to Noah, who was Abraham's ancestor. It is taught that Noah, and his son, Shem, who was Abraham's grandfather and also taught Abraham's son Yitzhak (Isaac), was also monotheistic, but there is no evidence to show that they attempted to influence any one other than family members regarding the elements of their faith.
The Druze of northern Israel and southern Lebanon hold to Abrahamic faith of the Noachide covenant through their ancestor Yitro (Jethro), the father-in-law of Moshe (Moses) (Israel's greatest prophet).
Some Christian religions teach that Christianity began with Adam, but that its teachings were rejected and were temporarily replaced with what we now call Judaism, to be restored at the coming of the Messiah. Others believe that Christianity actually originated in Judea, at the end of the 1st century A.D., as a radically reformed branch of Judaism (see Early Christianity). Regardless, the Christianity of the common era spread to ancient Greece and Rome, and from there to most of Europe, Asia, the Americas, and many other parts of the world. Over the centuries, Christianity split into many separate churches and denominations. A major split in the 5th century separated various Oriental Churches from the Catholic church centered in Rome. Other major splits were the East-West Schism in the 11th century, separating the Roman Catholic Church from the Eastern Orthodox Churches; and the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, that gave birth to hundreds of independent Protestant denominations.
Islam originated in the 7th century, in the Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina. Although not a dissident branch of either Judaism or Christianity, Muslims believe it to be a continuation of and replacement for them. The Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, held itself to be the final word of God and its message was that of all the prophets. As an example of the similarities between the faiths, Muslims believe in a version of the story of Genesis and in the lineal descent of the Arabs from Abraham through Ishmael, who was conceived through Abraham's servant Hagar.

The significance of Abraham
For Jews he is primarily a revered ancestor or Patriarch (referred to as "Our Father Abraham") to whom God made several promises: that he would have numberless descendants, and that they would receive the land of Canaan (the "Promised Land"). Somewhat less divisively, according to Jewish tradition, Abraham was the first post-flood person to reject idolatry through rational analysis. (Shem and Eber carried on the Tradition from Noah), hence he symbolically appears as a fundamental figure for monotheistic religion.
For Christians, Abraham is a spiritual forebear rather than a direct ancestor.[5] For example, Christian iconography depicts him as an early witness to the Trinity in the form of three "angels" who visited him (the Hospitality of Abraham). In Christian belief, Abraham is a model of faith,[6] and his intention to obey God by offering up Isaac is seen as a foreshadowing of God's offering of his son, Jesus.[7] A longstanding tendency of Christian commentators is to interpret God's promises to Abraham, as applying to Christianity (the "True Israel") rather than Judaism (whose representatives rejected Christ). See also New Covenant.
In Islam, Ibrahim is considered one of a line of prophets beginning with Adam (Genesis 20:7 also calls him a "prophet"), as well as the "first Muslim" – i.e., the first monotheist in a world where monotheism was lost. He is often referred to as Ibrahim al-Hanif or Abraham the Monotheist. Islam holds that it was Ishmael (Isma'il) rather than Isaac whom Ibrahim was instructed to sacrifice.

St. Augustine explains a scripturally based seven-step ladder

The Scriptural Roots of St. Augustine's Spirituality
Stephen N. Filippo
Perhaps of all the Church Fathers, none shone so brightly as St. Augustine (351-430). Augustine's spirituality has deeply pervaded the Church right up to this very day. Two great Orders in the Church (just to cite a few), the Benedictines and the Franciscans took their spirituality directly from St. Augustine. St. Augustine's spirituality came into the Benedictine Order primarily through St. Anselm (1033-1109) and into the Franciscans primarily through St. Bonaventure (1221-1274). Both these men were in themselves, also great lights in the Church.
Of course, no discussion of Church giants can be complete without mentioning St. Thomas Aquinas, who is best described as 'following St. Augustine in Theology and Aristotle in Philosophy.' In sum, the Church gets her Dogmatic Theology primarily through St. Augustine. Since Spiritual Theology is based upon the correct Dogmatic Theology, it only makes sense that one of the Church's greatest Theologians, St. Augustine, is also responsible for a great deal of her Spiritual Theology.
And for St. Augustine, as it should be for all Catholics, this means a deep concentration and constant reflection on Sacred Scripture. The scriptural roots of St. Augustine's spirituality can be clearly seen by examining one of his greatest, yet lesser known works, De doctrina Christiana, literally "On Christian Doctrine," but actually "On how to read and interpret Sacred Scripture."
In De doctrina Christiana (henceforth "DDC"), St. Augustine lays the groundwork for a good, spiritual exegesis by elucidating on the virtue of charity, and all that means. Then, in order to begin the climb to spiritual perfection, he explains a scripturally based seven-step ladder. Lastly, he gives seven rules that are helpful in reading and understanding Sacred Scripture correctly.
Charity Towards God, Neighbor And Self
St. Augustine teaches that there are four possible objects of human love:
1. The things above us,
2. Ourselves,
3. Things equal to us, and
4. Things below us.
Since all men by nature love themselves, there was no need to give the human race precepts about self-love. And, since it is obvious to most men that they should not love that which is below them, namely lesser objects, but merely use them, fewer precepts are given in the Bible concerning these. But about the love of things above us, namely God and His Angels, and things equal to us, namely other men, Sacred Scripture has everything to say. Our Lord Himself tells us the two greatest commandments are: "You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Upon these the whole law and the prophets depend" (Mt. 22: 37-40)...
Lastly, St. Augustine constantly reminds us to pray to God for help in understanding Sacred Scripture. For in these books of Holy Scripture we read: "Pray unceasingly," (1 Thess. 5:17) "because the Lord gives wisdom: and out of His mouth comes prudence and understanding" (Prov. 2:6). Praise the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever; the God who is, who was, and is to come at the end of the ages. Amen. This article originally appeared in the January/February 2000 issue of Catholic Faith magazine. Mr. Stephen N. Filippo, MA., SYD., teaches Theology and Philosophy on both the high school and college level.

From very credible sources who have been close to the project

The Record of Yoga: the issue of publication
by Rich on Mon 27 Aug 2007 08:50 AM PDT Permanent Link
Ok, the following is what I have come up with after researching the publication history of the Record of Yoga. After getting responses from very credible sources who have been close to the project what follows is a brief summary:
It is unlikely that Sri Aurobindo kept his diary with the idea of publishing it. If he had written it for that purpose, it would have been easier for skeptics to dismiss it. The fact that it lay around for 60 years or so before it was discovered shows that he had no such intention and enhances its credibility. Part of its value lies in the fact that he was not trying to prove anything to anyone except himself.
The Record of Yoga was found in Sri Aurobindo's notebooks among thousands of pages of writings he had not published and in many cases probably would never have published himself. If we went strictly by his stated intentions about the publication of his writings, his complete works might come to about ten volumes. For example, in 1949 he explicitly ruled out the publication of The Future Poetry, The Secret of the Veda and A Defense of Indian Culture without extensive revision which he never had time to do. So his final instructions regarding these books were that they should not be published. There is no such written statement barring the publication of the Record of Yoga. Of course the question simply didn't arise during his lifetime - or the Mother's, as far as it is known. The actual decision to start publishing the Record was made after getting the approval of Nolini Kanta Gupta. Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

August 27, 2007

A radical change is necessary in human nature if the unity of mankind is to be truly established

The subject may be fittingly begun by referring to one or two facts which have hitherto escaped the public notice. The term " Co-existence " which is now extensively used in international politics was first used by Sri Aurobindo in the postscript chapter to his book " The Ideal of Human Unity. " He wrote : " If much of the unease, the sense of inevitable struggle, the difficulty of mutual toleration and economic accommodation still exists, it is rather because the idea of using the ideological struggle as a means for world domination is there and keeps the nations in a position of mutual apprehension and preparation for armed defence and of attack than because the coexistence of the two ideologies is impossible."¹
The second point to which the attention of the reader may be drawn is the possibility of Chinese aggression about which he wrote in 1949 when, probably, the visit of Chou-En- lai and the Panchashila declaration made almost everyone feel that a new era of co-operation had dawned between India and China after practical isolation of fifteen hundred years. He wrote :
" In Asia a more perilous situation has arisen, standing sharply across the way to any possibility of a continental unity of the peoples of this part of the world, in the emergence of communist China. This creates a gigantic block which could easily englobe the whole of Northern Asia in a combination between two enormous communist Powers, Russia and China, and would over-shadow with a threat of absorption
¹The ideal of Human Unity, P. 387
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South-Western Asia and Tibet and might be pushed to overrun all up to the whole frontier of India, menacing her security and that of Western Asia with the possibility of an invasion and an overwhelming military force to an unwanted ideology, political and social institutions and dominance of this militant mass of communism whose push might easily prove irresistible."²
Everyone in India is able to understand and accept philosophy and Yoga as legitimate fields for Sri Aurobindo's work, though, it must be added, many people fail to understand his Yoga because it has no external renunciation like the orthodox paths. But the greatest difficulty is encountered by Indians in regard to his ideals of collective life and international unity. What has a Yogi to do with these things ? It is likely that his two books on the subjects of collective life, The Human Cycle and The ideal of Human Unity will appeal more easily to European minds.
Sri Aurobindo tackles the problem of man's destiny on earth and the nature of perfection man can attain. He finds that all the problems, difficulties, imperfections in man's life arise out of man's ignorance. The word " Ignorance " is to be understood in the sense given to it in Indian culture. Our ancient culture recognises two kinds of Knowledge: Vidya and Avidya. Vidya is the Knowledge of the Self, identity with our real Being, with One that is the World, with the Supreme. Avidya means Ignorance which includes all the branches of intellectual knowledge.
If an Omnipresent Reality, the One, is the truth of life then one would expect harmony, love and delight everywhere in life; on the contrary, division, disharmony, conflict and suffering are more in evidence. The question is : how to eliminate them from life. Also can the Omnipresent Reality, of which Sri Aurobindo speaks as the highest and dynamic
² The Ideal of Human Unity, P. 395.
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truth, help us in the solution of this problem?
In answer it may be said that the all-pervading principle of unity is all the time active whether man is conscious about it or not. Even then, the question how the division and disharmony did arise remains to be answered. It is true that in all the operations of the present mental consciousness of man the element of duality and division is present. But man is not bound to remain confined to his mental conscious- ness; it is possible for him to rise to a Truth-consciousness; which is now beyond - and above the Mind. It is the Rit- Chiti - Truth - Consciousness - of the Veda, to which Sri Aurobindo has given the name Supermind. In the Supermind, Unity is the law and therefore harmony is the dynamic consequence of its working. Man's destiny is to rise to that plane and bring its Light and Power into his nature which would enable him to solve all his problems.
It is necessary that the t ego ' in man should be replaced by the new Consciousness. Most of our philosophers thought ignorance to be an individual problem whereas to Sri Aurobindo, it is a collective problem; in fact, it is a cosmic problem. Very often it is seen that the ignorance of the collectivity is far more dangerous than that of the individual. The Indian Puranas speak of the Asuras and Rakshasas, the titans, who symbolise the inordinate ignorance of the collectivities. The abnormal ambition of an individual may harm himself and a few persons around him but a nation outstripping the limits of normal ambition creates world wars with all the horrible consequences.
In the old way of thinking, the problem of collective life was relegated to ethics and religion and later on to sociology., They tried to bring high idealism and religious attitude in the conduct of collective life, but there was no question of working out collective ignorance. But they did not succeed in solving the basic problems of collective life which arise out of individual and collective egoism. Unfortunately, clear thinking about the right principles and methods of solving problems of collective life is not much in evidence even among leaders.
The problem of the collective life of man brings us to the interpretation of history. History is not the record of man's collective life under the mechanical stress of economic, environmental or political forces, though these play their part in it. History is the gradual revelation of the Soul of the collective being of man.
It is true, history was regarded at one time as the chronicle of dynasties of kings and a story of their conquests and defeats. Then it became the story of peoples, their growth and evolution. The economic interpretation of history then came and the philosophy of history began to to be attempted. Spengler in his book, " Decline of the West " tried to read the working of " Destiny " in history. He takes a pluralistic view of history which makes Dr. S. K. Maitra put the question : " Is history destiny without destination ? " Sri Aurobindo gives us the reorientation of the philosophy of history. Spengler equates time with destiny and sees history as a cyclic movement of about two thousand years after which the dominating culture must petrify itself into civilization, gradually decline, and die. Sri Aurobindo posits a spiritual principle, the collective soul in place of destiny and sees history moving towards the fulfilment of the collective spirit of man. Man's destiny, according to him, is to attain divine life on earth i. e. to attain and manifest the Truth- Consciousness which would take the place of his mental consciousness and recreate life, individual and collective, in the mould of that higher reality.
That brings in the question of the place of collective life in Sri Aurobindo's vision. He affirms the Omnipresent Reality as the basis of the universal manifestation. That Reality occupies three positions, or is. triple in its view of man: (1) the Transcendental, (2) the Universal, (3) the Individual. Collective life of man is the manifestation of the Universal aspect of the Reality and the perfection of man's collective life has, therefore, a place in his scheme of integral human perfection. The divinity in the individual when realised in the collectivity and made dynamic would lead it to collective perfection.
It is the universal aspect of the Omnipresent Reality which is behind the drive for collective expression in Nature. Life is the field for the working out of this impulse and it takes two lines in the human being. One is the creation of a distinct individual, say, an ego-centre, from physical, vital and mental elements and second is the creation of greater and greater, larger and larger units of collective life.
But the drive towards collective living is not confined to the human race; the animal and the insect world have the same trend : the bee-hive and the ant-hill are typical examples of perfectly organised societies. The difference is that in the lower kingdom there is no individuality except perhaps functional individualisations of the groups into workers and fighters etc. In the case of man his collective life is seen to be evolutionary, starting from small units and tending to create ever larger aggregates.
It is important to note that the first unit of collective life, the family, was not based on economic but on strong psychological elements in man's nature. It has slowly gone on evolving larger aggregates that assimilated the smaller ones destroying what could not be assimilated. Today man has attained to the nation as the largest unit of collective life.
In some of the social philosophies the opposition between the individual and the collective life is accepted as basic: Hence in all the applications of these outlooks the individual is pitted against the group. It is argued that the individual is only a temporary cell of the collective body and therefore not entitled to independent self-fulfilment. The collectivity being eternal, it is by living and sacrificing for it that the individual has his fulfilment.
Sri Aurobindo's vision does not accept the ' isms ' in which the collective life is the Ultimate Reality of existence He affirms the fundamental Divinity of the individual and accepts it as the indispensable brick in the building up of art perfection. Collective life at present is not free from ignorance and cannot, therefore, lay claim to perfection. All the values that act in the collective life derive from the present imperfect state of man and can be, at most, transitional. No collective perfection can result by crushing the individual. On the contrary, it is the individual alone that can contribute- to the advance and perfection of collective life.

This Unity is called the ' Omnipresent Reality' by Sri Aurobindo in his book the Life Divine. " The same can be expressed in old formula of the Upanishad, ' All this, indeed, is the Brahman, the Infinite.' But our actual experience based on our sense-evidence and mind is not that of the Omnipresent Reality but of infinite multiplicity and everywhere we perceive disharmony and division and conflict This is due .to the separative action of the Mind which introduces the element of error in all human knowledge; each individual instead of functioning as one centre of the Universal Soul, acts and behaves as if it was the centre of the cosmos. Instead of experiencing itself as one centre of the Omnipresent Reality it acts as a separate individuality. "
And yet the mental knowledge acquired by the ego- consciousness is not absolutely false; it is a partial or distorted view, behind which the unity is present and active. Let us take Matter, for instance. All Matter is one in its essential constitution but the objects it gives rise to are innumerable and infinitely various.
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In the same way. Energy is one, yet there are many forms of it, like heat, light, electricity, etc. Life is one but there are so many types of it and each type further deploys itself in innumerable forms. Mind, as an instrument of knowledge is one, yet each mind is separate and has so many different states. Humanity as a race is one and is composed of so many nationalities. Seed is one yet sprouts in a thousand different ways giving rise to an infinite variety of the same kind. Unity in the midst of an infinitely varied diversity may be said to be the plan of the universe. The many that we see are the self- multiplication of the One. It is the self extension of the Omnipresent Reality.
The Omnipresent Reality is Infinite, but the infinite is not the sum or multiplication of finite things. It is that which is the All and more. The Veda expresses it by saying : adhyatishthat dasangulam-" It pervades the whole universe and ten fingers' measure remained over. " In spite of all apparent divisions it is the occult, Secret Identical but the " Identical is not immutable. " The Identical is not " a monotone of changeless sameness incapable of variation." The unity of the Ultimate Reality, the true, dynamic unity of Sachchidananda, is not a monotony, an incapacity to assume innumerable variations, its infinity is not incapable of assuming multiple self-formations.
Thus, existence is One but its unity is infinite, universal- transcendental. There is, in fact, " infinite multiplicity of the One and eternal unity of the many " at work. Oneness is everywhere ; differentiation is everywhere; oneness is the basic security, multiplicity is the same Oneness " finding itself infinitely." It is " reality an inexhaustible diverse display of Unity." The drive towards multiplicity which is variation ' on the basis of unity is so strong that no two leaves of the same tree are completely identical and men are identified by variations in their finger-marks. As we observed above, the unity gives to the universe the basic security: for without it, it would be heading for disorganisation, dissolution and anarchy; and the multiplicity gives field for the eternal play of oneness which keeps the universe fresh and beautiful.
But still, mind constantly feels duality, a constant opposition between two mutually contradictory elements in life : good and evil, God and Satan, Light and Darkness, Matter and Spirit, conscient and inconscicnt, form and formless, infinite and finite, these appear to the mind to be fundamental and therefore eternal antinomies. But it is the nature of Mind that is responsible for setting up these trenchant divisions and oppositions; Mind divides the One, the infinite Reality for its own convenience and then, instead of seeing the divisions as complimentaries, takes them for mutually exclusive realities as if they had dividing walls between them. In order to assure ourselves about the soundness of this metaphysical position let us look at the working of universal Energy. Taking the problem of dualities created by the mind, c. g. Matter and Spirit-the opposition between them tends to become less and less as we ascend in the scale of evolution, Matter giving rise to more and more conscious physical organisations; and we then discover that even the Inconscient in its machanical operations seems to behave as if it has a will of its own, an inherent knowledge in its very constitution.
At the first surface view of the plane of life we find not only division but conflict, struggle, distinction, struggle for existence, as it was once called, almost the prevailing law. But that is only one side of it; the elements of co-operation, sympathy, service and even sacrifice are not wanting. If there are in life ego-asserting and ego-expanding impulses no less are there ego-exceeding and ego-destroying impulses also at work.
At this point it is necessary to look at life and find out whether it is anti-divine in its ultimate constitution. Is it committed to remain for ever what it is at present ? In case it is anti-divine and inexorably condemned to its present state,
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it is futile to apply any spiritual remedy however successful it may be in case of exceptional individuals. The question really is that of the possibility of the collective life of man.
Leaving aside the attainment of the Divine or any great spiritual Truth, the question may be asked : does Life really care even for high ideals ? Is it concerned with Truth, with God, with Beauty, with any high ideal ? If we observe the working of Life we find it is rather concerned with physical (needs, desires, vital instincts, greed, ambitions, impulses. These are real to it; the rest is shadowy. It is true that society gives these ideals a place in its life, but its heart is not there e. g. ethics has a place in collective life but no society lives for ethics. It is for the satisfaction of vital needs, utility, and desires of the body that a society lives. Society lives for desire, neither for religion nor for beauty. Only special individuals follow these high things - the saint, the ethical man, the artist, the thinker. Life seems to devote itself to efficiency in satisfying its vital desires.
Life is a power of Being and its impulse is not merely to last but to assert, increase, expand, possess, to enjoy: it seeks growth, power, pleasure. " Collective life has come into being from the dynamic character of Life."³ It has brought into play two contradictory tendencies : mutual strife and assistance, competition and co-operation. European culture has given to the world the practical, dynamic man, the vital man.
Life in a society consists of three kinds of activities:
( 1 ) Domestic and social life, ( 2 ) Economic activity as producer and consumer, ( 3 ) Political status and action.
In Asia these were regarded as first but not the chief business of man in society.
But the main question is : What is the aim of society ? Does it exist only for satisfying the practical and vitalistic
³ Human Cycle.
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impulses of man ? Is it for giving comfort and for securing economic and political efficiency of the group life ? Modern collective life organised as the nation has two gods, ( 1 ) Life and (2) Practical Reason organised under the name of Science.
But life is much more intensely individualistic, for family,. society etc. are only a means for greater satisfaction of th& individual vital being. Society, or any collective unit, however large, is only the larger ego for the individual.
The relation of the vital being of man to the higher activities of collective life is one of opposition. In fact, the individual's vital being has to be subjected to discipline in order to maintain society.
If the collective life presses too much the vital being of the individual, it may go on strike, discourage life itself as. seems to have happened in case of Buddhism in India.
Life in the collectivity is Infra-Rational in the beginning, even religion and ethics of primitive societies are infra- rational. Then a stage comes when it becomes rational i. e. Reason tries to organise and govern life.
Whenever Reason has tried to do it in the past it has not succeeded. It is because Life is not merely Mind or reason; Life is "the imprisoned supra-rational "4 and therefore Reason cannot succeed in governing it completely and permanently. Take Love for instance; it is not an element that can be governed by Reason; in fact, it is not rational in its origin and working. It holds infinite possibilities within itself. Not only is there love of man and woman but also there is maternal and filial love, love of comrades, of country, of humanity. Love seeks only its Absolute in life. Even economics is not merely the seeking for satisfaction of personal desires and comforts but is meant to remove poverty and squalor from mankind when it would seek its true aim. If Nature has ego-affirming instincts so she has ego-enlarging and ego-exceeding instincts
4.Human Cycle.
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and movements also; there are love, sympathy, self-denial, self-sacrifice.
Therefore it seems that " there is the pressure of an infinite on human life which will not allow it to remain too long in any formation." Life seeks the Absolute and not the rational. Reality is already there working in Life as Cosmic Self or Spirit and it can be discovered by the individual here. As its summit the Reality is the eternal and infinite Being.
But what we actually see here is the Inconscient Energy, a void, out of which Existence comes. This Existence does the work of supreme Intelligence in Matter and in Life. It seems, therefore, that the Inconscient is only a mask assumed by the Spirit that is involved in it and it imposes the law of difficult emergence on the process of slow unfolding of the Spirit. It begins from Matter in which the law of fragmentation in the form of atom seems to reign; it organises Life round a cell, and a Mind round an ego, and must in time pass from Mind to the Spirit.
The working of the Universal Energy shows that man is not the final product of evolution, that he is a transitional being, he is more than himself, he contains within him a higher than human-a divine-potentiality. The drive of the Universal Energy points to a level of consciousness beyond Mind, what the Vedic Seers call - Rit-chiti, Truth-Consciousness. The bringing down of this Truth-Consciousness would make individual and collective perfection possible. The indispensable item in collective perfection is the attainment of human unity. Is the time now ripe for it ?
The primary unit of collective life is the family. Then the class, the tribe, the race, the nation gradually came into being. It is evident that Nature begins with small aggregates and develops them in the process. The Nation is so far the largest attained unit of collective life. What is a nation ? Is it a mere geographical unit of land, or merely a sum of
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smaller units like the family and society etc.? All these really are parts of the nation, instruments for the evolution of the- collective soul. " Each nation is a Shakti, or power of the evolving spirit of humanity and lives by the principle it embodies. " Where such national consciousness awakens,.. the nation is able to regenerate itself even from adverse,. external conditions like foreign domination. Italy, Greece and Poland were under foreign domination but subsequently- freed themselves as the result of awakened national consciousness. When Ireland and India launched the movement for political freedom the demand was not based on economic or political rights only but on the need of freedom to express ' the national soul. ' The collective consciousness awoke under the name of ' Bharat-Shakti ' or ' Bharat-Mata 'when the national movement started in India.
The collective life of nations has been dominated by the vital-ego of the collectivity, not by its deeper soul. It is in Europe that the nation-units were first organised and all of them were dominated by economic greed and political ambition. The organisation of the nation-unit took place round the vital-ego of the collective egos culminating in two devastating World Wars. If the vital-ego leads the nation hardly any other result is to be expected.
Yet, paradoxical though it may sound, universal Nature is pressing forward to the unity of mankind not withstanding the two World-Wars. The only unit of collective life that remains to be achieved is mankind. Once the unity of mankind is attained a major step will have been taken towards human perfection. Three factors seem to be driving towards that culmination : ( 1 ) Scientific progress that has reduced time and space and helped in removing outer barriers between man and man (2) Drive towards. economic unification throughout mankind : collective life today, all over the world, centres round economy; far greater economic interchange is taking place between nations today
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than at any other time in history. It is planned economic interchange on a gigantic scale. Such economic unification needs peace and peace may bring unity nearer. ( 3 ) Increasing stress on socialism, - what is called " Socialist' Pattern " in the organisation of collective life - throughout the world. These are external means making for unity of mankind.
Bertrand Russell in his broadcasts from London-" Living in an atomic age " proposes that by a rational utilisation of the atom-energy it is possible to solve the problems of humanity. He seems to think that the problem is only external, touching only the economic life of man. I am afraid he oversimplifies the problem. Tracing man's evolution up to now he puts it in three heads: ( 1 )Man Vs. Nature, ( 2 ) Man Vs. Man, ( 3 ) Man divided in his own self, a state of a psychological dichotomy.
The first of these, Man Vs. Nature, is only a half truth. Nature is not always antagonistic to man. Tagore is more correct when he says that the effort to divide man and Nature- is artificial like that of dividing the plant from the flower, and is therefore wrong. It is Nature that supports man giving him food, water and air, and even when she seems to oppose man it is to bring out the potential powers of man which might lead him to conquer her. There are, besides,. many problems over and above economics and politics.
Russel's third point about the self-division of man's consciousness into two parts betrays, I am afraid, very poor knowledge of human personality. It is far from true to say that man projects " Sin " from within himself on to the enemy. The enemy is not sin personified, at least no soldier ever thinks in that way.
After the two World Wars there have been efforts to , create larger than nation-units of collective life, e. g. (1 ) The British Commonwealth ( 2 ) The French entante ( 3 ) the vague formation of the Arab League.
But in the day-to-day flow of events one hardly sees signs
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that might encourage optimism about the ideal of human unity. The difficulties seem to be Himalayan. The highest realised unit of international unity, the U. N. 0., is divided into two ideological camps and cold-war is already in progress in Korea and Berlin; China is divided into two parts; Laos is the battle-ground for the two rival powers; German unification is not yet in sight - after 15 years. Tibet is swallowed by China, India's borders are threatened by China and Pakistan; Portugal and India, South Africa and the free world have very little in harmony. Last but not least, the U. N. O. 's initial policy in Congo has not born fruit.
Unity of mankind seems as far away as ever. But on the other hand signs that indicate the progress towards human unity are not altogether wanting.
1. During the second World-War Mr. Churchill actually had proposed common citizenship between France and England. It was symptomatic of the drive towards unity of mankind. The very fact that it was put with all seriousness during a great crisis in the nation's life shows the direction towards which nations must move to solve problems of collective life and if the idea could be entertained during a War far more easy it should be to make it a success duing peace.
2. The unique fact of Indian political independence ushers in some new factors in international politics and contributes to the growth of collective life towards human unity. The Indian political movement has stressed the importance of ethical ideals; economical and political factors have been subordinated to them. It has put a new non-violent instrument in the hands of unarmed nations struggling to be free.
Another fact worth noting is the influence which free India exerts in international life, quite disproportion- ate to her economic and military strength. It seems that the age of economic and military domination is passing from international life, and slowly, ethical ideals e. g. justice, equality, freedom, self-determination etc. are taking the place.
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3. Up to the end of the 17th century nations defeated in War bad to face the ruin not only of their political life but had to pay the victors the penalty of the War. The economic life of the vanquished was ruined for generations. After the two World-Wars there has been a radical change in that attitude. The shattered life of the defeated nation has to be helped to stand on its own feet by economic help from the victors. And now, the idea of helping even the underdeveloped nations to make economic progress has become a dynamic factor in international life. It may be that it is due to enlightened self-interest or to the fear that the poor nations would offer easy ground for communism, but the fact is significant of the growing feeling of unity of mankind.
4. Moreover, the recent withdrawal of French and British armies from the Suez-Canal region without firing a shot indicates how powerful imponderable forces (like world opinion ) have now become. It is a sign of the increasing dynamic character which the unity of mankind is gradually achieving.
The Bhoodan movement sponsored by Vinoba Bhave, is a practical effort to live the religion of humanity in actual conditions of life in India. It puts into practice the motto : "The whole humanity is one family"—in short, " One World " is its inspiring ideal. That in a conservative country like England the movement of Vinoba should have found an echo under the leadership of intellectuals like Russel shows how the level of international life is rising from military and economic factors to ethical ideals. Values in international life are being transformed. The whole trend brings human unity nearer.

The question of the form that the unity of mankind is likely to take has been dealt with by Sri Aurobindo. The
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efforts to establish empires in the past were crude efforts at realising unity of mankind by force. As it was brute force on which they depended for their success, they were foredoomed to failure, lacking the psychological basis. They were cruds attempts, the first serious and conscious attempt for establishing unity of mankind was made after the first World-War and it to ok the form of the League of Nations. Its constitution and procedure lacked all the elements necessary to bring about real international unity. It insisted on unanimity as a rule which reduced its power of effective action and as Russia and America did not, join it, it lacked the representative character also. It was an oligarchy of four or five Big Powers that used the League to further their own policies The principle of equality of nations was not accepted. Then is no reason to be sorry for the League's failure—as it represented the ambitions of Imperial nations and not the aspirations of humanity.
THE U. N. 0.

After the second World—War the need of some machinery to prevent such Wars and to solve other international problems was acutely felt and the U. N. 0. was born. It is divided into two main parts : Political and Social and Cultural. The second part seems the more important of the two so far as evoking of psychological factors for promoting human unity is concerned.
The constitution of the U. N. O. is not perfect, particularly because the oligarchic element is present in the right of the veto reserved for the five Big Powers. It had some justification at the time of the start because of the great sacrifices the five nations had made in winning the War and they might have rightly feared being outvoted in a house where all the votes were equal. But after four or five years of running the U. N. 0. the voluntary surrender of the veto by one
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or more of the great powers would have gone a long way in creating the psychological atmosphere necessary for the real unity of mankind. If international unity has any meaning all the nations participating in the U. N. 0. should be free and equal—irrespective of their size and power. The inherent strength of a nation would make itself felt without such artificial devices. The veto is artificial and keeps alive inequality and breeds bitterness.
Unfortunately the U .N .O. got split up into two ideological camps and each group got busy with canvassing support for its stand in the U. N. O. Unity of mankind, peace and security with justice, disarmament, promotion of one world citizenship etc. which are the real concern of the U. N. O. were left aside or given a secondary place. India has tried to create an independent block based on non-aligned attitude and as a result conditions are created in the U. N. O. where the smaller nations can express their opinion freely. A ground of fearlessness, equality and freedom is necessary to bring about the real unity of mankind.

We have seen. that the nation unit, when well established, organises its life under a state. The question then arises as to the form which the unity of mankind would take. Would it be a world state ? Recently Lord Attlee has said that time is ripe for a world state. It is high time that sovereignty of nations was restricted and an international authority, effective enough to carry out the decisions of the United Nations was brought into being.
Sri Aurobindo envisaging the possibilities saw several' forms which world-union could assume. The first business of such an organisation would be to establish uniformity of control in international life—a thing very badly needed at the present time. Two principles are fundamental to any such.
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constitution; one, freedom or self-determination and second feeling of unity with mankind. Will the world state be unitary or federal ? In order that it may succeed it is best if it is a loose federation based on the ideal of unity and on the need of preserving peace and working out plans for the well-being and progress of humanity. It would be something like the British Common wealth — a federation of diverse nations with common aims and conventions but without any rigid constitution,
The drive of universal Nature is towards human unity and if man can move in harmony with the intention of Nature much waste of time, energy and material could be avoided. The first task of such an international organisation would be to make peace secure in the world. That might require control of national armaments or complete or partial disarmament. The idea of one world, one humanity, would have to be stressed frequently till it gets established and becomes a common part of the psychology of the majority of mankind. That is a very difficult task. The sovereignty of nation states might present it with a formidable resistance.
Unity of mankind and sovereignty of each nation are two things which are not compatible. Nations will have to reduce their sovereignty to a considerable extent. It might even be questioned whether the Nation Unit will remain when unity of mankind has become a dynamic. factor in international life. But it is possible that before the world-state comes into existence effectively the national egoism will try to create situations of world's strife an thus put off the day of realisation of world unity. Patriotism in the sense of narrow national egoism can be a great obstacle in the path of the unity. It is also possible that the world unity may be attained externally, mechanically, i.e. without any life in it. Such a thing is not possible. Nation' might come together by a sort of compromise of interest
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and it might lead only to the rise of a constitution for execution without an impelling sense of unity behind. Such a World-State may concentrate all powers in its hands and may dictate unity under compulsion to the nations. A World-State which is a centre of military or economic power would not only wield dictatorial powers over the nations but would hardly leave room for the freedom of mind. In fact lacking all moral and spiritual elements it would be a titanic mechanical constitution in which there will be hardly any room for the experiments of the type carried on by a Gandhi or a Vinoba.
Such a World-State would have to control the life of the whole world and in order to arrive at such a control it might be obliged to become too unwieldy, too red-tape and lack creative elements. The greater the State, the greater would be the complexity of the constitution and the need of multiple rules. An example may make this point clear. The small city-States of Greece have exhibited greater creative power than many great nations and some empires; so also the small republics of ancient India or Small States under Kings were more creative than extensive Indian Empires.
One could ask the question in face of all these difficulties : Is it that the unity of mankind is not going to be attained or even if it is attained would it only be a half success almost amounting to failure ? Perhaps the prospect is not so bleak, but it is necessary to take count of all the contingent factors and possibilities and the difficulties when we think about the problem. The crux of the difficulty is that a radical change is necessary in human nature if the unity of mankind is to be truly established. As Sri Aurobindo says, the question is of converting an animal collectivity into a divine one. Man has failed to live his religion in his life but if mankind today can make a religion of human unity and live it in its life then the unity of mankind would
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be attained much sooner. The world is already one; mankind is one —unity of mankind is not to be created; it is already there; only man has to become conscious of it and make it a living reality in his thoughts and actions.
We have used the word " religion of mankind " but religion is not to be understood in the narrow sense of an external social religion. It is a kind of spiritual religion that is meant. In the last century some thinkers and poet! had accepted this spiritual religion of humanity. It was s microscopic minority at that time. It was that which inspired that poem of Leigh Hunt — " Abuben Adam may his tribe increase... .Rose one day from a deep dream of peace." The idea in the poem is that the lover of humanity is foremost amongst the lovers of God. The same idea is embodied in the verse of Yoga Vasistha :

"By whatever means to satisfy a human being is the highest worship of God". So long as the inner unity is tho felt all efforts at political, economic, and cultural unitnot mankind - all external efforts should be continued till yth inner unity is attained. Sri Aurobindo in " The Ideal of Human Unity " has given the following conception of the religion of mankind.
"A religion of humanity means the growing realisation that there is a secret Spirit, a divine Reality, in which we are all one, that humanity is its highest present vehicle on earth, that the human race and the human being are the means by which it will progressively reveal itself here. It implies a growing attempt to live out this knowledge and bring about a kingdom of this divine Spirit upon earth. By its growth within us oneness with our fellow-man will become the leading principle of all our life, not merely a principle of co-operation but a deeper brotherhood, a real and inner sense of unity and equality and a common life. There must be the realisation by the race that only on the free and the full life of the individual can its own perfection and permanent happiness be founded. There must be too a discipline and a way of salvation in accordance with this religion, that is to say, a means by which it can be developed by each man within himself so that it may be developed in the life of the race.
"But still in order to accomplish all its future, this idea and religion of humanity has to make, itself more explicit, insistent and categorically imperative. For otherwise it can only work with clarity in the minds of the few and with the mass it will only be a modifying influence, but will not be the rule of human life. And so long as that is so, it cannot entirely prevail over its principal enemy. That enemy, the enemy of all real religion, is human egoism, the egoism of the individual, the egoism of the class and nation. But the higher hope of humanity lies in the growing number of men who will realise this truth and seek to develop it in themselves so that when the mind of man is ready to escape from its mechanical bent,—perhaps when it finds that its mechanical solutions are all temporary and disappointing, —the truth of the Spirit may step in and land humanity to the path of its highest possible happiness and perfection."

Marion and Milbank

Jean-Luc Marion
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jean-Luc Marion (b. 1946) is among the best-known living philosophers in France and a former student of Jacques Derrida. Although much of his academic work has dealt with Descartes and phenomenologists like Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl, it is rather his explicitly religious works that have garnered much recent attention. God Without Being, for example, is concerned predominantly with an analysis of idolatry, a theme strongly linked in Marion's work with love and the gift, which is a concept also explored at length by Derrida. To a certain extent, Marion also takes up the mantle of Emmanuel Levinas in directing our thought beyond being. There is a widespread but possibly dubious designation of Jean-Luc Marion as a leading contributor to postmodern theology.
John Milbank
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John Milbank is a controversial Christian theologian who is Professor of Religion, Politics and Ethics at the University of Nottingham. He previously taught at the University of Virginia and before that at the University of Cambridge. He was born and educated in Britain. A key part of the controversy surrounding Milbank concerns his view of the relationship between Theology and the social sciences. He argues that the social sciences are a product of the modern ethos of secularism, which stems from an ontology of violence. Theology, therefore, should not seek to make constructive use of social theory, for theology itself offers a comprehensive vision of all reality, extending to the social and political without the need for social theory.
Milbank is sometimes described as a metaphysical theologian, in that he is concerned with establishing a Christian trinitarian ontology. He relies heavily on aspects of Augustine and Plato's thought, in particular its modification by the neo-Platonics. Together with Graham Ward and Catherine Pickstock, he has helped forge a new trajectory in constructive theology known as "radical orthodoxy" -- a predominantly Anglo-Catholic sensibility highly critical of modernity... The Centre of Theology and Philosophy, of which Milbank is the director. 10:47 AM

August 25, 2007

Sri Aurobindo's action in Orissa - August' 07

7714 - Sri Aurobindo Study Circles
1251 - Sri Aurobindo Women's Study Circles
663 - Sri Aurobindo Students' Study Circles
9628 - Total No. of Sri Aurobindo Study Circles
450 - Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Centres
106 - Sri Aurobindo Integral Education Centres with Hostels
65 - Sri Aurobindo's Relics Centres
50 - Publications
208 - Sales Outlets
58 - Industrial Sites
72 - Agricultural Farms
37 - Dairy Farms
Prasad Tripathi, From Matrubhaban Patra: August 2007
Editor : Shri Gadadhar Mishra, Matrubhaban, Sri Aurobindo Marg, Cuttack - 753013

August 24, 2007

Such things are bound to happen when we do not heed the advice of the Yogi and the Rishi and Sage

Re: Untold Potentialities: India and the Third World. by Richard Hartz (4)
by RY Deshpande on Thu 23 Aug 2007 03:59 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Rich, I would not apply the criteria of the Information Era to matters spiritual and occult. We had the ancient mysteries, and till yesterday the secret of the Veda had remained a secret. And whatever is overt, hardly we understand anything of it, for isntance, of the Gita and the Upanishads. The Mother didn't want the Agenda to be published the way it has now been done. But perhaps the most important thing is, our growing in the spiritual perception--which will assure all that that is needed for that growth.
The deed has been done and there is hardly anything else one can do now about it--except to develop our psychic-spiritual faculties by profitting from all these splendid richnesses.
by RY Deshpande on Thu 23 Aug 2007 04:40 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
According to Will Durant, the greatest genocide on earth was the killing of 100 million Hindus during the Muslim rule. More than a hundred thousand temples have been destroyed; idol desecration was there throughout, including the recent destruction of Buddha in Afghanistan, right in front of our eyes. Muslims voted for the creation of Pakistan, but a majority preferred to stay back in India. And the loss of life in its aftermath? Who is responsible for all that? Such things are bound to happen when we do not heed the advice of the Yogi and the Rishi and Sage.
Nobody condemns Kashmiri Muslims for the massacre and ethnic cleansing of the Hindus in Kashmir. But to my mind the fundamental question is elsewhere. After all, 99.9% of these Muslims were converts from the Hindus themselves. How did these Hindus then do these things?
The problem perhaps lies with the Hindu society itself. When in the South the Vijayanagar Empire, of Hampi, was defeated by confederacy of the five Sultans, and the head of the king paraded on the streets, what happened? The Brahmins embraced Islam and became its high clerics. How does this happen? Why does this happen?
Jinnah himself was a late convert to Islam and, before that, he had pleaded for Tilak in the Bombay High court. In less than a couple of decades, he created another nation—of the converts from the Hindus. How does this happen? Why does this happen?
This is a volatile subject but calm introspection in the universality of the spirit is what is needed. Let's have it. RYD

Machiavelli is the first political thinker to effectively separate politics from religion

Greg Nyquist
The adjective Machiavellian is widely used as a synonym for amoral cunning and ruthless power hunger. Woodrow Wilson, speaking of Machiavelli’s most notorious work, The Prince, wrote: “It recognizes no morality but a sham morality meant for deceit, no honor even among thieves and of a thievish sort, no force but physical force, no intellectual power but cunning, no disgrace but failure, no crime but stupidity.” The neo-conservative intellectual Irving Kristol regarded Machiavelli as the first political thinker to effectively separate politics from religion, thus serving as an inspiration for the “godless” totalitarian despotisms of the twentieth century. George F. Will has gone so far as to accuse of Machiavelli of defining man “as a lump of matter whose most politically relevant attribute is a form of energy call ‘self-interestedness.’ ...
Machiavelli’s reputation as a “secular” thinker comes primarily from one characteristic of his writings: his refusal to judge political reality by the standard of theological idealizations. The political writers of the Middle Ages used an overly idealistic religious framework to interpret everything. Machiavelli who, as a congenital realist, could not help noticing how far these religious idealisms departed from the course of politics as it existed in the brutal world of fact, decided to take a different approach, seeking instead to explain political events realistically, as he found it recorded in history and revealed in the experience of practicing statesmen.
This does not mean that Machiavelli discounted religion altogether. He merely separated himself from the self-righteous hypocrisy of those who tried to explain everything in terms of God’s will, as if all the errors, crime, and disasters of men were somehow God’s fault...Machiavelli lived in an era of horrendous corruption in the Church. The papacy had fallen into the hands of common adventurers, who brought ignominy upon the Christian religion and paved the way for the Protestant Reformation. Machiavelli’s alleged “secularism” is nothing more than Italian anticlericalism: he despised the corrupt, proud, and hypocritical clergy that brought ruin upon Renaissance Italy...
Critical to Machiavelli’s thought is the central role he assigns religion to society. Far from advocating a secular state, Machiavelli makes it clear in The Discourses that he strongly believes in the importance of religion. “Therefore the princes of a republic or kingdom must maintain the foundations of the religion they have; and having done this, it will be an easy thing for them to keep their republic religious, and, in consequence, good and unified.” And elsewhere: “Those Princes and Commonwealths who would keep their Governments entire and incorrupt, are above all things to have a care of Religion and its Ceremonies, and preserve them in due veneration.”
Machiavelli’s central concern was always the welfare of his country. “I believe that the greatest good that one can do, and the most gratifying to God, is that which one does for one’s country.” Machiavelli, above all, was a patriot. He wished to save Italy from the horrors of foreign tyranny. This was his life’s work. In the end, he failed. Italy became subject to the Hapsburg dynasty, rulers of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. The Habsburgs effectively put an end to the Italian Renaissance, instituting a long and ignominious foreign occupation upon Europe’s most civilized population, even going so far as to institute the Spanish Inquisition in the land of Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo...

August 23, 2007

It is counter-intuitive for anything to remain "confidential" with regards to Sri Aurobindo who is of iconic status in sub-continent and world history

Re: Untold Potentialities: India and the Third World. by Richard Hartz (4)
by Rich on Mon 20 Aug 2007 09:26 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
DB wrote: The scrupulous avoidance of stereotypical usage of words through at least two means: (1) to keep one's language expression within the limits of one's experience; and (2) to handle language creatively - is mandatory to prevent the easy slippage into the "integral religion" of "conscious evolution." In this regard, Sri Aurobindo himself gives us the best example. Further, he coins a completely different dictionary for his own use in the Record of Yoga. DB....
regards the Record, I have heard various tales from senior sadhaks in the Ashram, that it was not the intention of Sri Aurobindo to publish his personal diary or what we call the Record of Yoga. First is that an assertion which can be verified? and next if true, is the fact that it was not published by either Sri Aurobindo or the Mother because they wished to resists its slippage into the discourse regime of the (pseudo)enlightenment industry? or even mis-interpreted by the aspiring sadhak or sadhika? or did he just wish for these to simply function as his own personal notes and reflections?
Re: Untold Potentialities: India and the Third World. by Richard Hartz (4)
by RY Deshpande on Wed 22 Aug 2007 04:09 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
An important point, Rich. It will be nice if DB can get the details from RH himself. My own understanding is as follows: There was a pile of Sri Aurobindo's unpublished writings at that time and on top of it was a note saying "confidential". This was taken to mean that the confidential matter was only in the top sheets of papers and the rest could be published. The Record was later serialised in the Ashram's Archival half yearly periodical. Perhaps this could have been enough, instead of bringing out the whole lot in the complete works. But I don't know. Let DB take up the matter with RH. RYD
Re: Untold Potentialities: India and the Third World. by Richard Hartz (4)
by Rich on Wed 22 Aug 2007 11:14 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
RYD Thanks for the light you have shed so far, even though in an Era of information it would be counter-intuitive for anything to remain "confidential" especially with regards to someone like Sri Aurobindo who is of iconic status in sub-continent and world history, and fortunate for us that the "Archives" has done an excellent work in its excavation and recovery, however, if true, the fact that Mother did not publish it nor (as I understand it) Nolini-da, would perhaps be significant. or maybe not? At any rate the discussions regards the publication decision, and the literary history of the editorial process would be valuable in itself....rc