December 30, 2008

Sri Aurobindo gave an unambiguous message to internal and external forces beyond the limits of time

OPED Saturday, November 22, 2008 'God cannot be jailed' Rakesh Sinha

Though Aurobindo and his youthful followers suffered great hardship throughout the trial, they effectively converted the occasion into the first ever public display of patriotism

The emerging challenge before the nation on the economics front is how to decouple the Indian share markets from the sinking ones in the West. But, a far bigger and decisive challenge confronting the collective conscious is how to decolonise the Indian mind , trapped as it is by the shackles foreign notions. Indian 'secularism' is one of the dominant ideologies for the past 60 years. It is a borrowed social policy, without any relevance in India. Post-independent.

However, the essence of India has remained uncorrupted. The spiritual core of India has withstood invasions through ten centuries. It resisted the persecutions of the Mughals and the allurement to 'westernise' offered by Macaulayism. Except for a 'courtier class', the rest of the country paid no heed to anti-Indian intellectual trends. India's ancient culture is uncontrollable and unpredictable. It has ensured India's rebirth through many ravages.

This struggle has been a civilisational one. On the centenary of the Alipore Bomb Case, it is important to understand how the sight of 35 iologically motivated boys cheerfully embracing harsh imprisonment and courting death changed the course of the freedom struggle. The spiritual underpinnings of this came from Vedanta thought. Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita and Aurobindo Ghose motivated a whole generation to venerate the Motherland as a Goddess and fearlessly play with fire to defend India's honour. The 'Mother' (Bharat), was depicted as 'humiliated' and therefore it became the duty of the son to defend give her back her honour even if it meant dying for it.

Sri Aurobindo distinctly defined the contours of Indian culture and nationalism. To him, the nation was "not a piece of earth, nor a figure of speech, nor a fiction of mind. It is a mighty shakti, composed of the shaktis of all the millions of units that make up the nation ..the shakti we call the India." The West derives the definition of a nation and its rise and fall with expressions over land and people, i.e. language, commerce, physical boundary, etc. It defines religion in terms of a divisive category of the people, which triggered off a ceaseless competition for acquiring superiority . Islam and Christianity, the dominant religions of the West, are essentially majoritarian ideologies. They tolerate non-believers only on their terms. Of course, in situations where they are in a minority, they demand (and in the case of India, extract) special treatment. But overall, they target global minorities with the help of their international networks. Obvious examples of this are 'global jihad' and the Vatican's call to make Asia (read India) fully Christian in the third Millennium of Christ.

Aurobindo said that nationalism "survives in the strength of God". It is not possible to crush nationalism, whatever the weapon brought against it. Nationalism cannot die and is hence immortal because it is another form of God. The message that the bunch of brave boys sent out from the courtroom in Alipore 100 years back this month is: "God cannot be killed, God cannot be sent to jail".

Aurobindo gave an unambiguous message to internal and external forces beyond the limits of time. He said: "This Hindu nation was born with the sanatan dharma, with it (India) moves and with it (India) grows. When the sanatan dharma declines, then the nation declines."

It is also a kind of madness. Aurobindo admitted to this when he said:

" My third madness is that other people look upon the country as an inert piece of matter, a stretch of fields and meadows, forests and rivers. To me She is the Mother. I adore Her, worship Her. What will the son do when he sees a Rakshasa sitting on the breast of his mother and sucking her blood? Will he quietly have his meal or will he rush to deliver his mother from that grasp? I know I have the strength to redeem this fallen race. It is not physical strength, it is the strength of knowledge… This feeling is not new, I was born with it and it is in my marrow. God has sent me to this world to accomplish this great mission."

Viewed in hindsight, few men would have been more unlikely to turn nationalistic than Aurobindo. His childhood was spent in England and he was totally Anglicized. He was sent to England at the age of seven and stayed there for 14 years. But England could not colonise his soul. His life story is one of continual growth up the ladder of ideological leadership of the evolving nationalism of 20th century India. Subash Chandra Bose considered him a pillar of the nationalist discourse in India. Dr K B Hedgewar , the founder of the RSS, went Pondicherry before the Nagpur session of the Congress in 1920 to convince him to rejoin politics. But he refused because after the Alipore case, he became convinced India's spiritual path is the true path.

Deshabandhu Chitaranjan Das, the famous barrister who represented him in the Alipore Bomb case, said that Aurobindo's voice should not go unheard even by the British. "My appeal to you is this, that long after the controversy will be hushed in silence, long after this turmoil, the agitation will have ceased, long after he is dead and gone, he will be looked upon as the poet of patriotism, as the prophet of nationalism and the lover of humanity. Long after he is dead and gone, his words will be echoed and re-echoed, not only in India but across distant seas and lands. Therefore, I say that the man in his position is not only standing before the bar of this Court, but before the bar of the High Court of History." --The writer is an Academician and Hony. Director, India Policy Foundation. The Search Results are given below using word ALIPORE BOMB CASE 'God cannot be jailed' 22 November, 2008 The bomb that shook an Empire 22 November, 2008 100 years of righteous terror 22 November, 2008 Politics of reaching out 11 October, 2008 Alipore bomb case to be exhibited at SC museum 12 May, 2006 11:16 AM

December 28, 2008

We need to strengthen the academic/intellectual side of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education

Professor and Head, 17 September 2008
The Trustees of Sri Aurobindo Ashram,
Pondicherry 605 002
Sub: Peter Heehs’ book: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, Columbia
University Press, 2008...
What are the lessons?

First, we need to strengthen the academic/intellectual side of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education. We must fashion out a way of intellectual training of the young students and critics that fits into Sri Aurobindo’s injunction about the office and limitation of Reason, expounded in Human Cycle and elsewhere. The Mind, Sri Aurobindo says, most emphatically, has to be developed as an instrument, and open itself to higher Truths of Life. If we do not do this, we cannot blame others who are not attuned to this approach, from taking over and filling the void, as it has regrettably happened now. In this regard, we must be prepared to take the help of the ex-students of the Ashram who have had considerable training in this regard in the outside world. We must remember that either we move forward or go backward. There is no third alternative.

Clearly, as spirituality enjoins upon us, the best way of living within in our context, is to immerse ourselves in the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. While dogma and religiosity are to be shunned at all costs, we must internalize the Aurobindonian view of life which alone can safeguard us against aberrations and pitfalls. When a sufficiently large number of a community practise an ethical and spiritual life (ethics is not a bad word), then they would generate a force that alone can act as an effective antidote to darkness and ignorance.

Conclusion: Clarity of vision leads to a clarity of action. Those that are at the helms of affairs of a community must have a larger vision and discharge their responsibilities without fear and favor. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram was founded upon spiritual Realizations. As ordinary mortals, we can at least have conviction in the basic Truth of the Founders!
Is this too much to expect!
Sachidananda Mohanty

About Saaba > For the Prosecution of Peter

Dignity and justice for all of us

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
other language versions Human Rights Day 10 December 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the full text of which appears in the following pages. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."

On 10 December, Human Rights Day, the Secretary-General launched a year-long campaign in which all parts of the United Nations family are taking part in the lead up to the 60th birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on Human Rights Day 2008.

With more than 360 language versions to help them, UN organizations around the globe are using the year to focus on helping people everywhere to learn about their human rights. The UDHR was the first international recognition that all human beings have fundamental rights and freedoms and it continues to be a living and relevant document today.

The theme of the campaign, “Dignity and justice for all of us,” reinforces the vision of the Declaration as a commitment to universal dignity and justice and not something that should be viewed as a luxury or a wish-list.

December 26, 2008

When complex systems evolve over time the paths they take is contingent on historical accidents

An Evolutionist Speaks Out About Economists' Pretensions About Science
from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy
Massimo Pigliucci, professor in the departments of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook, NY, contributes an important piece of work in the Blog, (‘a site devoted to positive scepticism') (HERE):

“Economics learns a thing or two from evolutionary biology”

“Economics is supposed to be a solid discipline, founded on complex mathematical models (and we all know math is really, really difficult). They even give Nobel prizes to economists, for crying out loud! And yet, economics has always had to fight off the same reputation of being a “soft” science that has plagued sociology, psychology, and to some extent even some of the biological sciences, like ecology and evolutionary biology. Indeed, like practitioners in those other fields of inquiry, some economists admit of being guilty of “physics envy,” that is, of using the physical sciences as the model for what their field ought to be like. Turns out even the assumption that a good science should be modeled on physics is “flawed,” to use Greenspan’s apt phrase.

“A recent article by Chelsea Wald in Science (12 December 2008) puts things in perspective by asking how it is possible that so many smart people in the financial sector made irrational decisions over a period of years, despite clear data showing there was a problem, and eventually leading to a worldwide economic crisis that is at the least poking at, if not shaking, the foundations of capitalism itself. Part of the answer is to be found in the persistent idea in economics that “markets” work because people are rational agents who act in their own self-interest and have perfect, instantaneous access to relevant information about the businesses they are considering investing in. Economists are not stupid, and they know very well that perfect rationality, complete information and instant access are all light years away from the reality of how markets operate. And in fact recent models have relaxed these assumptions to some extent. But it is so much more tractable to model things that way! After all, physicists do it too: remember those problems in Physics 101 that started “consider a spherical cow…”?

“Perhaps not surprisingly, there is another science that has been inspiring economists for some time now: evolutionary biology. The old “efficient markets hypothesis” underlying classical models is being replaced by the “adaptive markets hypothesis,” where Adam Smith’s invisible hand becomes more directly analogous to natural selection.” [...]

“There is another lesson to be learned from evolutionary biology that will not make economists, or the public at large, particularly happy: when complex systems evolve over time the paths they take is contingent on historical accidents (as opposed to being deterministic, like the laws of macro-physics, outside quantum mechanics). Sociologists, psychologists, ecologists and evolutionary biologists will readily tell their economic colleagues that it is certainly possible to explain past events (the extinction of the dinosaurs, the dot-com bubble) by the use of sufficiently complex causal-historical models. What seems to be out of reach, however, is precisely what economists want most: predicting the future, the hallmark of “good” science.”

“The moral of the story is that all of the above is not a failure of economics, sociology, psychology, ecology or evolutionary biology. It is the predictable outcome of the fact that these sciences deal with complex, historical systems, unlike much (though not all) of physics. The real assumption we need to get rid of is the highly persistent and pernicious one that physics is the golden standard by which all other sciences ought to be measured. Now if we only could convince federal funding agencies of that...”

Comment: What a breath of fresh air from Professor Massimo Pigliucci! [...]

Among economists, we have bought the unscientific myth that if we spend a century creating beautiful mathematical models of an imaginary economy, without people in all their complexity and unpredictability, and our competence is judged by our understanding of the model, but not the reality of real economies!

We are a ‘hard’ science and much ‘superior’ to ‘wishy-washy sociology, psychology and history, even though it is well-known that humans are not ‘well behaved’ like physical objects. We are not like wooden pieces on a chess board, as Adam Smith put it.

It is worrying too that just as more economists begin to realise that “the old 'efficient markets hypothesis' underlying classical models is being replaced by the 'adaptive markets hypothesis,' into which realisation, the oldest nonsense in modern economics (invented as a mass myth from the 1950s), is being re-introduced into the latter, under the guise that the metaphor of “Adam Smith’s invisible hand”, such that it is to be regarded as “more directly analogous to natural selection.”

Please spare us from this spurious nonsense; it’s bad enough that the proponents of the so-called scientific basis of economics have got away with their claims that the mystical disembodied body part was the ‘most important idea’ of modern economics, which is something that they never got from the texts of Adam Smith (see my paper: 'Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand: from metaphor to myth’, 2008 and downloadable from the homer page of Lost Legacy).


Giovanni Battista Vico (1668-1744) spent most of his professional life as Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Naples... Timothy Costelloe

The reduction of all facts to the ostensibly paradigmatic form of mathematical knowledge is a form of "conceit," Vico maintains, which arises from the fact that "man makes himself the measure of all things" (Element I, §120, p.60) and that "whenever men can form no idea of distant and unknown things, they judge them by what is familiar and at hand" (Element II, §122, p.60). Recognizing this limitation, Vico argues, is at once to grasp that phenomena can only be known via their origins, or per caussas (through causes). [...]

Since history itself, in Vico's view, is the manifestation of Providence in the world, the transition from one stage to the next and the steady ascendance of reason over imagination represent a gradual progress of civilization, a qualitative improvement from simpler to more complex forms of social organization. Vico characterizes this movement as a "necessity of nature" ("Idea of the Work," §34, p.21) which means that, with the passage of time, human beings and societies tend increasingly towards realizing their full potential. From rude beginnings undirected passion is transformed into virtue, the bestial state of early society is subordinated to the rule of law, and philosophy replaces sentiments of religion.

"Out of ferocity, avarice, and ambition, the three vices which run throughout the human race," Vico says, "legislation creates the military, merchant, and governing classes, and thus the strength, riches, and wisdom of commonwealths. Out of these three great vices, which could certainly destroy all mankind on the face of the earth, it makes civil happiness" (Element VII, §132, p.62). In addition, the transition from poetic to rational consciousness enables reflective individuals-the philosopher, that is, in the shape of Vico-to recover the body of universal history from the particularity of apparently random events. This is a fact attested to by the form and content of The New Science itself. Timothy Costelloe

New metaphysical “sound” from any nation of the world

Dec 25, 2008 New Book Series from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects
Open Humanities Press has announced a new book series devoted to the publication of original metaphysical systems. This is an exciting moment in Continental thought and a bit of a watershed for the future of Continental philosophy. The old stereotype runs that Anglo-American philosophy is focused on problems, while Continental thought tends to be focused on the history of philosophy and commentary. As a result, within Anglo-American philosophy we tend to get original work (though often very boring), while in Continental thought, at least within the English speaking world, we get commentary after commentary. This is not, of course, to diminish the value of commentary or its potential to function as a platform for the development of new philosophical trajectories. However, this focus on the history of philosophy places real institutional constraints on philosophers in the English speaking world working in the Continental tradition. Insofar as one must be concerned with either getting a position or gaining tenure, and insofar as Continental journals and presses are geared towards the history of philosophy, doing original work becomes a losing proposition as you’re unlikely to find a publishing venue for that work and thereby lose valuable time in doing this work. This new series goes part of that way towards ameliorating that problem, though it also opens the door to anxiety as to whether or not we really have anything to say in our own voice. At any rate, here’s the announcement:

New Metaphysics
Series editors: Graham Harman and Bruno Latour
The world is due for a resurgence of original speculative metaphysics. The New Metaphysics series aims to provide a safe house for such thinking amidst the demoralizing caution and prudence of professional academic philosophy. We do not aim to bridge the analytic-continental divide, since we are equally impatient with nail-filing analytic critique and the continental reverence for dusty textual monuments.

We favor instead the spirit of the intellectual gambler, and wish to discover and promote authors who meet this description. Like an emergent recording company, what we seek are traces of a new metaphysical “sound” from any nation of the world. The editors are open to translations of neglected metaphysical classics, and will consider secondary works of especial force and daring. But our main interest is to stimulate the birth of disturbing masterpieces of twenty-first century philosophy. Please send project descriptions (not full manuscripts) to Graham Harman,

Open Humanities Press is an international Open Access publishing collective. OHP was formed by scholars to overcome the current crisis in publishing that threatens intellectual freedom and academic rigor worldwide. All OHP publications are peer-reviewed, published under open access licenses, and freely and immediately available online through

December 24, 2008

Jewish French mystic Mirra Alfassa and the Cambridge-educated yogi Sri Aurobindo

Affective Communities : Anticolonial Thought and the Politics of Friendship
Leela Gandhi

ISBN: 817821641 Publisher: Permanent Black Book Format: Hard Bound Language: English Physical Description: 254 pages Year of Publication: 2006

If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country. So E.M Forster famously observed in Two Cheers for Democracy. This epigrammatic manifesto, where friend stands as a metaphor for cross-cultural collaboration, holds the key, Leela Gandhi argues, to the hitherto neglected history of western anti-imperialism. Focusing on individuals and groups who renounced the privileges of imperialism to elect affinity with the victims of expansionism, she uncovers the Utopian-socialist critiques of empire that emerged in Europe, specifically in Britain, at the end of the nineteenth century.

Leela Gandhi reveals for the first time how those associated with marginalized lifestyles, subcultures, and traditions--including homosexuality, vegetarianism, animal rights, spiritualism, and aestheticism--united against imperialism and forged strong bonds with colonized subjects and cultures. She weaves together the stories of a number of South Asian and European friendships that flourished between 1878 and 1914, tracing the complex historical networks connecting figures like the English socialist and homosexual reformer Edward Carpenter and the young Indian barrister M.K. Gandhi, or the Jewish French mystic Mirra Alfassa and the Cambridge-educated yogi Sri. Aurobindo.

Challenging homogeneous portrayals of 'the west' and its role in relation to anticolonial struggles, Leela Gandhi puts forward a powerful new model of the political: one that finds in friendship a crucial resource for anti-imperialism and transnational collaboration.


COVER STORY India Today Cover Story The gift of humanity November 16, 2007
The gift of humanity
THE GIFT OF HUMANITY Communal experience: Auroville, Puducherry

Potters, candle makers and perfumers work in their designated zones; there are information centres and handicraft boutiques; a biosphere is coming up; and the township has a solar kitchen that can feed 10,000 at a time.
Everything is open to everyone and there are no barricades or guards. Auroville is a commune that belongs to no one and yet aims to belong to the whole of humanity.

What was started in the early 1930s as Mother’s—Aurobindo’s disciple Mirra Alfassa—idea of an experiment in human unity, has been realised at Auroville. Commended in 1966 by UNESCO as a project of importance to the future of humanity, the township was inaugurated on February 28 1968.
Today it houses more than 1,700, with more than 600 Indians. Though countless visitors come to Auroville, it does not seek to be a tourist attraction. The idea is to encourage people to stay and participate.

Living in harmony There is an emphasis on research in fields from organic farming to dance and even the study of lights, sound and meditation.
Auroville has proven to the world that an idealistic community—not built around a cult or religion—can not only exist successfully, but also engage with local communities, evolve architecture that has been acclaimed the world over and work towards environmental restoration—the only experiment of its kind in the world! by Nirmala Ravindran

December 23, 2008

We are thankful that questions were asked

Savitri: the Light of the Supreme Home Mirror of Tomorrow Main Page Previous: About Savitri—Huta’s Prefatory Note Next: The Opening Lines of Savitri—an Account by Nirodbaran
Sri Aurobindo’s Letters Pertaining to The Symbol Dawn
by RY Deshpande on Tue 16 Dec 2008 05:16 AM IST Permanent Link Cosmos

Sri Aurobindo wrote innumerable letters on Savitri during the long period 1930-50. These were essentially written in response to the questions put to him, mostly by Amal Kiran (KD Sethna) and covered a variety of themes. We have here in them good details about the genesis of the poem, it first becoming a tale based on the Mahabharata story and then a symbol and a legend presenting the issue of this mortal creation. There are spiritual aspects in it, and autobiographical revelations of the yogic attainments, and matters pertaining to the early compositions of Savitri, explanations of the new aesthesis and poetic techniques, marking it as the poetry of the future.

It is, as the Mother says, the supreme revelation of Sri Aurobindo. The epic begins with the most daunting prolegomena, forming at once the most difficult entry-point to enter into its esotericism and spirituality, luminously occult but functionally and structurally most significant. Things that were set into motion in the transcendent have suddenly started rushing into the cosmic and the earthly, in the process of evolutionary growth. No wonder, these descriptions proved not only too mystical but also very cryptic and baffling.

But we are thankful that questions were asked and extremely grateful that Sri Aurobindo spared no effort in elucidating the recondite and the spiritual and the occult as much as the literary, features and characteristics that demand new understanding of the poetry that is there in it. The Mother’s explanation of the Symbol Dawn is a precious gift to us; so also are the letters written by Sri Aurobindo about some passages of it. We present these in the following compilation. RY Deshpande

December 22, 2008

Sri Aurobindo’s presentation of evolution has its intellectual roots in the Providential theology of Hegel

"Such a Body We Must Create:" New Theses on Integral Micropolitics
Daniel Gustav Anderson
INTEGRAL REVIEW December 2008 Vol. 4, No. 2

12: Hegel (1902) asserts that Providence "manifests" in time in the variable form of historical manifestations (p. 14), where historical manifestations include human consciousness developing according to an a priori plan. Aurobindo Ghose (1949) employs this definition as well: "a pre-determined evolution from inconscience to superconscience, the development of arising order of beings with a culminating transition from the life of the Ignorance to a life in the Knowledge" (p. 742). And also like Hegel, Aurobindo characterizes this evolution as Providential, and worded very carefully in the passive voice to allow a measure of plausible deniability.

"Even in the Inconscient there seems to be at least an urge of inherent necessity producing the evolution of forms and in the forms a developing Consciousness," Aurobindo (1949) posits, "and it may well be held that this urge is the evolutionary will of a secret Conscious Being and its push of progressive manifestation the evidence of an innate intention" (p. 742). Aurobindo’s engagement with Hindu traditions notwithstanding, his presentation of evolution has its intellectual roots in the Providential theology of Hegel. [...]

21: In this essay I classify Gebser as a Hegelian, but it should be understood that Gebser is not precisely a Hegelian in the Providential way Aurobindo seems to be. Gebser does posit a spiritualized (but atemporal) origin, metaphysically real, that manifests through human practice in a near-future new reality, which is taken to proven the reality of said origin. Thus, Gebser assumes the origin he seeks to prove, a tendency Marx diagnoses in Hegelian thinking in the 1844 Manuscripts and Althusser explicates (see Thesis Two)—even in the face of Gebser’s own strong words against Hegel (Gebser, 2004, pp. 41-42). [...]

67: I find the origin of integral theory as an intellectual movement in Aurobindo’s post-Hegelian positivism (Anderson, 2006); Hampson (2007), in a useful counterbalance to my position, cites Gebser’s positivist, post-Hegelian synthetic work as the foundational gesture of integral theory. Both positions have merit, and broadly speaking, do not contradict, insofar as both Aurobindo and Gebser were working from largely the same intellectual milieu the Hegelian and post-Hegelian idealism Wilber (2000a) praises as a "lost opportunity" (pp. 523-537) and in the context of Empire’s transformations. Such is the ambivalence of the post-colonial situation. 5:26 PM

M.N. Roy, Jatindranath Mukherjee, & Sri Aurobindo

In 1903, on meeting Sri Aurobindo at Yogendra Vidyabhushan's place, Jatin decides to collaborate with him and is said to have added to his programme the clause of winning over the Indian soldiers of the British regiments in favour of an insurrection. W. Sealy in his report on "Connections with Bihar and Orissa" notes that Jatin Mukherjee "a close confederate of Nani Gopal Sen Gupta of the Howrah Gang (...) worked directly under the orders of Arabinda Ghosh."[11] ...

Organiser of secret society
Jatin, together with Barindra Ghosh, set up a bomb factory near Deoghar, while Barin was to do the same at Maniktala in Calcutta. Whereas Jatin disapproved of all untimely terrorist action, Barin led an organisation centred around his own personality : his aim was, aside from the general production of terror, the elimination of certain Indian and British officers serving the Crown. Side by side, Jatin developed a decentralised federated body of loose autonomous regional cells. Organising relentless relief missions with a para medical body of volunteers following almost a military discipline, during natural calamities such as floods, epidemics, or religious congregations like the Ardhodaya and the Kumbha mela, or the annual celebration of Ramakrishna’s birth, Jatin was suspected of utilising these as pretexts for group discussions with regional leaders and recruiting new militants.[15] ...

In 1908 Jatin was not one of over thirty revolutionaries accused in the Alipore Bomb Case following the incident at Muzaffarpur. Hence, during the Alipore trial, Jatin took over the leadership of the secret society to be known as the Jugantar Party, and revitalises the links between the central organisation in Calcutta and its several branches spread all over Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and several places in U.P..[20] - Bagha Jatin From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Jatindranath Mukherjee)


Unhappy with Barin’s highly centralised and authoritative way of leadership, Naren and his group had been looking for something more constructive than making bombs at the Maniktala garden. Two incidents sharpened their interest in an alternative leadership. Barin had sent Prafulla Chaki with Charuchandra Datta to see Bagha Jatin at Darjeeling who was posted there on official duty, and do away with the Lt-Governor; on explaining to Prafulla that the time was not yet ripe, Jatin promised to contact him later. Though Prafulla was much impressed by this hero, Barin cynically commented that it would be too much of an effort for a Government officer to serve a patriotic cause. Shortly after, Phani returned from Darjeeling, after a short holiday: fascinated by Jatin’s charisma, he informed his friends about the unusual man. On hearing Barin censuring Phani for disloyalty, Naren decided to see that exceptional Dada and got caught for good.[6] The Howrah-Shibpur Trial (1910-11) brought Naren closer to Jatindra Mukherjee.

Naren was present when, at Kolkata, the German Crown Prince promised Jatindra arms and ammunition if there was a war between Germany and Great Britain. Indian revolutionaries in Europe led by Virendranath Chattopadhyay signed a bond of collaboration with the Kaiser’s government. In 1915, Naren and Phani Chakravarti went to Batavia twice, in this connection. The project failed. After pursuing his search of arms through Asia, Naren reached Palo Alto, and changed his name to Manabendra Nath Roy to evade British intelligence. - Manabendra Nath Roy From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from M.N. Roy)


Journal Article Excerpt
Terrorism in India during the freedom struggle
by Peter Heehs
Because the Image of Mahatma Gandhi and the ultimate success of his nonviolent methods have dominated western views of the movement for India's independence, many believe that India achieved its freedom without resorting to violence. In fact, violent resistance was preached and practiced throughout the independence movement and had a significant effect on its course and outcome. Gandhi himself was forced to acknowledge the sincerity of revolutionary terrorists. He claimed to admire the patriotism of the terrorists, though he had "no faith whatsoever in their method." Most scholars agree that the existence of terrorism made it easier for Gandhi's nonviolent movement to accomplish its goals. This study of Indian terrorism--its nature, sources, goals, and its relationship with nonviolent resistance--sheds light on both the Indian independence movement in the first half of the twentieth century and the return of terrorism at the end of this century.(1)

The effectiveness of the British in disarming the populace by means of the Arms Act of 1878 made it impossible for Indian revolutionaries to organize large-scale operations. As a result, those who favored violent resistance were drawn into terrorism. Many early writers on the movement preferred the unwieldy coinage "militant nationalism," which might have suited the sort of operation Indian revolutionaries dreamed of--an armed uprising throughout the country. However, they succeeded only once in putting together an organized military force in World War H when the Indian National Army took part in the Japanese invasion of Assam. All other attempts at armed resistance against the British were relatively small-scale acts of covert violence such as armed robberies and assassinations of officials and collaborators. Since 1970, most writers on the Indian freedom movement have used the... Questia: End of free preview... Terrorism in India during the Freedom Struggle - Journal article by Peter Heehs; The Historian, Vol. 55, 1993

November 04, 2008

The beliefs that we have about the world determine the decisions that we make

HOME November I 2008: Number 545 College Links Q&A: Dr. Levi Bryant
Editor's Note: Over the next several issues, Cougar News will talk with the four nominees for Collin College's Professor of the Year award. The winner will be announced at the January All College Day.
Dr. Levi Bryant, Professor of Philosophy

What is your teaching philosophy?
My fundamental conviction is that it is categorically impossible for anyone to learn if they do not have a desire to learn. When we look at the development of young children, we discern that their learning always develops along the contours of desires borne of the unique world and circumstances they inhabit.

For example, one child might develop a spectacular capacity for language due to the desire to speak to others and improve their circumstances, while another might develop the capacity for building and engineering out of a desire to make what they do not have. Yet another might develop a terrific sense of humor out of a desire to amuse other people. In each instance, the region of the world that illuminates itself or is noticed by the infant is a function of desire, not the result of a simple transfer of information. Put otherwise, what counts as information for a child is already a function of interest or desire and where there is no interest or desire, there is only, for the child, noise or something that might as well not exist.

I believe this simple observation has profound pedagogical consequences. If it is true that learning is a function of desire, then the first principle of teaching cannot be the simple exchange of information between educator and student, but rather the production of desire or wonder on the part of the student. Just as a person who is not hungry will not eat, the person who lacks wonder or desire is incapable of learning.

Thought is not an ordinary capacity of human beings, but is rather something that only occurs when we face a problem, failed routine, or something extra-ordinary. For the most part, we relate to the world in terms of habit and familiarity. For example, we completely lose a sense of what we're doing while driving long distances, and only become aware of what we're doing when another car comes too close or when we have to get off at a particular exit. Prior to any exchange at information, effective pedagogy should thus aim at a problematization of the world, transforming what is familiar and "obvious" into something that is mysterious and worthy of questioning.

Through this defamiliarization a sense of wonder and desire is produced that renders the student open to learning. I strive to produce such a transformation in my students through drawing on a mixture of paradox, humor, anecdote, references to history, popular culture and science that seeks to shift what seems obvious and self-apparent into something that is mysterious and capable of producing thought.

What is most rewarding about your job?
For me the most rewarding moment of teaching occurs when a student moves from a state of apathy, lacking any interest in the world around them, to a state where they are lit up with curiosity, developing a ferocious appetite to know and understand, becoming filled with questions and beginning to engage in the happy labor of gathering material that might provide them with answers.

There is something about this bloom of curiosity that is infectious and like the very essence of life or vitality itself. Like all infections, the infection of curiosity is contagious and helps to spur my own passion for teaching and learning and that hopefully helps to spur a passion for learning among others the student relates encounters. I like to think that the world would be a better place if more people were curious and that most of the most horrible things that take place in the world are the result of a lack of curiosity or the belief that certain things are self-evident or obvious. I thus take great satisfaction and comfort that I might have played a role in catalyzing such curiosity.

What challenges do you face and how do you overcome them?
I suppose the biggest challenge I face is how to balance time. In addition to teaching, I do a great deal of research, publishing and presenting. I am also involved in the college in a variety of ways. It is difficult to find enough hours in the day to balance all of these activities. However, were I not to engage in these activities I fear that I would lose my freshness in the classroom and my sense of satisfaction with life. I consequently have to budget my time very carefully to ensure that I am able to fulfill all of my responsibilities.

Was there a moment during your own education that you revisit or maybe draw inspiration from?
I often think back to the first time I read (Rene) Descartes' Discourse on Method in high school. Prior to that, I did very poorly in mathematics. However, after reading this book I suddenly understood what mathematics is and why it is important. What Descartes explained that no textbook or teacher had before explained was why mathematics is unique and important. It led me to see how mathematics is the basic structure of time and space.

The lesson I draw from this is that where teaching is concerned it is not simply the "whats" that are important, but the "whys" as well. If a student doesn't understand that calculus is the language of things undergoing continuous variation and how this connects to the world, it's likely that the student will find it difficult to get much out of calculus.

Likewise, if the student doesn't understand what was going on historically, scientifically, and politically during the Enlightenment and how these issues persist today, it is difficult for the student to get very worked up by the questions of epistemology or knowledge that characterize the philosophies of this time period.

Philosophy is a discipline with many different areas of study interest. Which interests you more? Is there an area that maybe you aren't necessarily an "expert" in, but interests you more so than others?
I am primarily interested in questions of metaphysics, epistemology and social and political philosophy. As I understand it, there is a deep link between how we understand the world and what we do in the world. The beliefs that we have about the world determine the decisions that we make and consequently the way in which we will act. Our actions, of course, affect other people. Consequently, what we believe is an ethical issue as well insofar as our beliefs will impact others through our actions.

For example, if I believe global warming is a hoax or has nothing to do with humans, I will have no reservations about voting a particular way or buying particular types of cars, etc. While I might refer to this belief as my "private, personal opinion," it directly impacts those around me if it happens to be wrong.

I am interested in metaphysics because the manner in which we understand the fundamental nature of reality has a decisive impact on how we relate to the world and investigate the world. I am interested in epistemology because the manner in which we understand knowledge, how we arrive at knowledge, and the nature of truth has an impact on what claims we entertain, who we perceive as being credible, and how we go about investigating (or not investigating) the world. I am interested in questions of social and political philosophy because I desire a more just, free, and compassionate world and believe that it is possible to contribute to the production of such a world by becoming clear about the nature of the social, why people so often seem to desire their own oppression or desire things against their own interest (as Plato describes in his famous allegory of the cave), and by making alternative ways of living available to public discourse.

Often we see the social world as having to obviously exist in a particular way and various forms of social organization as being "natural." Social and political thought renders other alternatives available that might be more just, harmonious, and satisfying, as can be observed in the case of the Enlightenment thinkers who showed how something other than monarchy was possible in the form of democracy. I see the questions of metaphysics, epistemology, and social and political thought as being inter-related.

If you weren't a professor, what would you be doing right now?
I have wanted to be a professor since I was roughly 15 years old, so I haven't really considered other possibilities. However, I suppose that were I to pursue another career it would lie in the domain of non-governmental organizations. I would enjoy organizing people and contributing to making the world a better place. Whatever other career I pursued it would involve a life of service to others and not simply personal gain. Difference and Givenness by Levi Bryant: Eurospan Bookstore Feel Philosophy: Difference and Givenness by Levi R. Bryant Difference and Givenness: Deleuze's Transcendental ...


Grundlegung A philosophy blog “Oh no, I’ve become a human being.” November 3, 2008
Infinite Thought on an all-too-familiar experience as a philosophy teacher:

I think that what we think is teaching is not teaching at all but an intricate form of pointless crowd-control for crowds who don’t even need controlling, and that the resentment that students have is the general kind of resentment you get when you think that someone should know better than you but it turns out that they don’t and that they’re just as crap as you are, if not more crap, which is probably likely in the case of philosophy lecturers especially.

The rest of the post is here.

October 15, 2008

Lewis noted the stupidity of making men without chests and then demanding virtue and enterprise from them

The Abolition of Man from Thoughts, Books, and Philosophy by jhbowden
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: HarperCollins, 2001)

Lewis wrote that the purpose of a liberal education was not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts. The traditionalists wanted to initiate young people into the mystery of life. They also wanted to inspire participation, and were interested in cultural propagation. The progressive teaching molds people for the purposes of which the molded know nothing. Instead of propagation, we have propaganda. Instead of participation, we have repudiation.

People constantly complain that our civilization needs more citizens with priorities and initiative. Well, Lewis noted the stupidity of making men without chests and then demanding virtue and enterprise from them. We laugh at honor, and then act shocked that there are traitors in our midst.

We cannot debunk everything. That is the main lesson of this book. Explaining everything entails that we explain away the very idea of explanation itself. Much of our mental furniture must be accepted as a datum. For as Lewis concludes, “To 'see through’ all things is the same as not to see.”

October 14, 2008

The humanities ultimately are formative, not informative

The Culture We Deserve
from Thoughts, Books, and Philosophy by jhbowden

Barzun asserted that art and culture do not belong in a university, in the sense that the university is not their natural home. Great art is meant to be fun. The words amateur and dilettante, which have been turned into words of contempt, in their original sense meant “lover” and “seeker of delight.” Before 1850, after all, there weren’t any subjects and courses to instruct a lover of the arts. Few even believed the arts should be studied in the spirit of the sciences. Rather than methods and theories, the arts presuppose what Pascal called esprit de finesse, an intuitive understanding that seizes upon the character of its object as a whole...

A history, Barzun argued, is a piece of writing meant to be read. History, by showing the heroic side in man side by side with the vile, exercises our imagination and furnishes it. A good history shows the movers and shakers because if we delete them, the story is missing from the history. Too often an enterprising historian will try to make a name for himself by imposing an original idea upon events, a single cause. However, the presence or absence of particular individuals, along with sheer contingencies, both make a difference to the outcome of events; Barzun warned us not to miss the motive power nor the accidents interwoven in the passage of time. History is a product of acts of intelligence, will, and self-interest; things like the Colt revolver and barbed wire simply do not appear out of the ether.

History extends our experience by building an intuition of what is likely and what is important. After all, the humanities ultimately are formative, not informative; they organize our minds and make us attentive to the world. Relativist in the true sense of the word, the humanities link and relate the human soul to the rest of existence. The humanities broaden our horizons by giving us a taste of the philosophic atmosphere and historical perspective. As William James roughly described it, a liberal education allows us to know a good man when we see him; it is not only important for man to have skill, but to be a judge of skill, particularly of other men. Jacques Barzun, The Culture We Deserve (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1989)

October 13, 2008

We need to work through this moment in time as an aspiring Gnostic community

Re: Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
by Rick Lipschutz on Sun 12 Oct 2008 07:03 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

As I understand it, in responding to an intellectual position taken by another, an approach practiced and favored by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother begins with this premise:

Not only all forms and forces, but all thoughts, chains of ideas and works of reason, have behind them, are ultimately based on some truth. This truth has real existence, in the Absolute and in the Saccidananda and, however changed, diminished, distorted it may have grown from the original, any idea of any coherence derives from some basis in truth.

What Sri Aurobindo will often do, in his writings, is express clearly a thought, idea, and chain of reasoning and demonstrate what truth is trying, through such ideas, to be expressed. There is, for example, some truth in Materialism that is aspiring to be realized in life. Sri Aurobindo will then go to express another truth, which may be at apparent odds with the first (There is a truth in Spirituality that presses to materialize), showing clearly how both truths—may be even multiple truths—are striving for living expression, and he will proceed to suggest a more comprehensive truth that assimilates the principal elements in each, reaching in this way some expanded synthesis only partially contained in the various elements of seemingly contradictory truths. He will do this using perfectly well the outward form of mental reasoning, but applying from behind it a wider view based on amore comprehensive or intuitive mode of perceptive understanding.

What he will NOT do is what we human beings always seem to want to do. We always find ourselves saying: This is wrong! I don't agree, I don't like its expression, it's simply not true; maybe it's a deliberate lie, on the basis of some hostile agenda, but it is most certainly false, pernicious even. I don't accept it and I in fact question the very motives of the person who puts forth this pernicious form of expression.

The Mother said more than once that when we disagree with another person's position, a healthy exercise is to identify with that exponent and their position sufficiently so that we can express their side of the issue. This can be a means to broaden our viewpoint, help us not only relate to the other person but strengthen our mental faculties, our understanding, and if we have enough aspiration, reach a greater truth than ours or the other's alone.

I have read in full Peter Heehs's book, "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo," and met with him when he came to San Francisco giving readings and discussing his work. I found he added to my understanding and appreciation of Sri Aurobindo—not only in his life before Pondicherry, but after his great realizations: the Silent Brahman, the Cosmic Consciousness that he entered in the Alipur jail, the Parabrahman realization, the Overmental Realization and through the entire arc of his earthy life. I have adeeper sense now how Sri Aurobindo, by the power of yoga, transformed a human consciousness into an integral divine consciousness. And in respect to his Integral Yoga, which is my principal focus (I was recently co-facilitating a Synthesis of Yoga study group and plan to resume it) the book afforded me stronger hope that humans like myself can make progress on this difficult and thorny path.

Sri Aurobindo struggled with human problems, family problems, national problems; found a way through Integral Yoga to surmount them for himself and even to bring into the world a greater force so that others individually and collectively and the nations and the earth itself have a more certain hope, or at least the main chance, to transform our ignorance and struggling lives into something divine. I venerate Purani's biography, I love and enjoy what I've read of Iyengar's, have deep respect for Van Vrekhem's, but I feel there is room for "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo."

I feel his approach to a critical, scholarly work based on a great deal of research, directed to the scholarly and academic community, is a potent form of inoculation against inevitable intellectual attacks to come. After all, Sri Aurobindo and Mother are not only for devotees, and for much-needed karma yogis; they're also for intellectuals, those with a more mental bent—and an integral Yoga must include in it and integrate the heart, the will, the mind and more, in a "methodized effort towards self-perfection."

I am distressed at the personal invective in the attacks on a hard-working scholar and sadhak whose love for Sri Aurobindo shines clearly through the work, if from under the surface.. He is a good writer and, I feel, a sound scholar who has done much original research.

Peter's work, and that of others, in unearthing and bringing to light the "Record of Yoga" (Sri Aurobindo's own diary of his yogic experience) has shown the world that Sri Aurobindo experimented as much or more than any scientist and attempted to realize (and by his own, remarkably self-consistent account, succeeded in realizing) what he wrote about for the sadhaks and the the public.

It is so disappointing, so dismaying to see so many luminaries whom I respect so much attacking a sadhak who has devoted his life to needed scholarship, and attacking him in such a personal un-Aurobindonian fashion. "I could feel my eyes turning into dust/Like two strangers turning into dust."

I find it hard to believe what I've been seeing. We need to work through this moment in time as an aspiring Gnostic community, however far from a functioning collectivity we still seem to be. This chaotic episode is an opportunity for us to begin again to try to put forward our opinions in an Aurobindonian fashion, respecting the truth that is expressed in another position, trying with the Mother's help to bring it into harmony with our own positions, or showing with logic, respect and fairness where we believe it falls short. This would be the least we can do, as human beings discoursing with other human beings, as well as followers of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo who aspire for a divine life for the earth, based on liberty, mutuality and harmony.

Let me add here that I have been a grateful reader on the SCIY website but have not yet posted. I appreciate the postings of Debashish, Ronjon, Rich, Vladimir, Rakesh, Ned, all the many others. We all have to realize that there are real and still-potent forces that WANT us to clash just as we've been doing, fall into anambush, so to speak. If we have the aspiration, if we can summon it back, there are greater more conscious forces that are leading, even as we speak, to a multi-poised Unity that has infinite room in it for the diversity of our approaches. Rick Lipschutz

October 09, 2008

It is one of the cardinal principles of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy that intuitions differ very much in value


Sri Aurobindo as a true descendant of our ancient sages, has kept true to this standpoint. He looks at the whole universe from the standpoint of the highest consciousness, which he calls Sachchidananda. Unlike the Greeks, who oscillated between the naturalistic and the idealistic interpretation of the universe, Sri Aurobindo looks upon the naturalistic interpretation itself as one that is made from the standponit of consciousness at one stage of its evolution. Paradoxical as it may sound, even the idealistic interpretation is made from the standpoint of the same level of consciousness. This level is what we call mental consciousness. Mind is incapable of framing a perfect synthesis, and therefore, all its constructions exhibit gaps or contradictions. Even the intuitions of Plato had not completely freed themselves from mental elements, and therefore, there was a clash between them and his logic or reason. How this standpoint enables Sri Aurobindo to steer dear of the difficulties of Plato's philosophy, I shall explain in the next paragraph.


Plato's philosophy, thus, is haunted by a sense of its incompleteness: its intuition and reason cannot be reconciled with each other. This is its great tragedy.

  • It may be removed by lowering the intuitions, by doing away, for example, with the idea of good. This was the solution offered by Aristotle. He did away with the idea of good, the philosopher-king and all the other great ideals revealed by Plato's intuition.
  • Or the remedy may be applied to logic by raising it so that it may be made a fit vehicle for the intuitions. This second method was that which was adopted by Hegel.

Sri Aurobindo's solution is totally different from either of these. He avoids Plato's tragedy not by lowering the intuitions, nor by raising the logic, but by still further raising the intuitions. His diagnosis of Plato's tragedy is that it is due to Plato's having imperfect intuitions. The intuitions that Plato had were inutitions of abstract truths, and therefore did not have the potency to project themselves out of themselves. The highest intuitions create their own logic and do not have to wait for logic to come up to their level.

It is one of the cardinal principles of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy that intuitions differ very much in value. This is one of the main points of difference between Sri Aurobindo and most of those Western philosophers who also rely partly or wholly upon intuitions. Whatever that may be, it 'is undoubtedly true, from Sri Aurobindo's point of view, that Plato's intuitions were imperfect, as they were intuitions of abstract truth. His idea of good, grand as it is, is yet nothing but an ab- straction. It is impossible with such a principle to have any kind of rela- tionship with the world of sensible experience. It is dead before it is born, and it is useless to try to make it work by offering it a more suitable logic. The only remedy is to raise it to the position of a concrete universal.


One of the most serious defects in Plato's theory of ideas is that the ideas as he conceives them are absolutely static and have no power of generation or creation. It is only the souls that have got this power, and therefore God as the highest soul performs the functions of creation in his philosophy. One consequence of this static view of the ideas is that they cannot bring themselves into any sort of connection with the world of sense. The only way in which a connection is effected is through the agency of God. But the God of Plato is only an underdog, having the power to create only according to the pattern seen in the ideas. Thus the connection between the idfeas and the world created by God is a somewhat remote one. In the case of the human world it is still more remote, for God does not create it directly but leaves it to the inferior powers. This g ; ves the human world a much lower status than what it would have if it had direct connection with the ideas. Although it is supposed to participate in the ideas, such participation can only be very imperfect. This defect we notice also in other systems of philosophy which take a similar static view of their ultimate principle.

For instance, we notice it in the philosophy of Spinoza whose Substance or ultimate principle is also, like the ideas of Plato, static. There is no passage in Spinoza from Subs- tance to the world of modes or finite beings, and he has therefore to fall back upon all sorts of devices, such as that of infinite modes, in order to bridge the gulf between the two. We notice it also in the philosophy of Hartmann who has borrowed his main ideas from Plato: the values of Hartmann cannot bring themselves directly into contact with the world. Another consequence of his static view of the ideas is that Plato has no theory of evolution. There is no goal or destination towards which the world may be said to be moving. Individual souls can, of course, imporve themselves by education, and if they are sufficiently enlightened, they can, through instruction in dialectic, have even a vision of the idea of good, but there is nothing in Plato which gives us any indication of the whole world marching to a higher goal. On the contrary, the nature of the world has been determined beforehand by the manner of its creation, and con- sequently the possibility of such advance is ruled out. We shall discuss this question when dealing with the problem of evil.


The contrast here with Sri Aurobindo's philosophy is striking. His theory of evolution is the pivot round which the whole philosophy of Sri Aurobindo moves. Evolution is the movement which is the reverse of the movement of involution or creation. It is because of the descent of the Spirit into matter, life and mind, that these can ascend to the higher regions of the Spirit. Because the Spirit in creation has involved itself in matter, life and mind, therefore, matter, life and mind feel an impulse to rise to their Source. Evolution, thus, is a sort of home-sickness of the Spirit. The Spirit has descended into the lowest particle of matter; therefore, matter seeks to evolve into something higher than itself, namely life. There is a descent of the Spirit into life, and therefore, life seeks to rise to some- thing higher than itself mind. Similarly, there is a descent of the Spirit into mind;, and consequently mind must ascend to something higher than itself, namely, Supermind. The highest principle so far evolved is mind. But evolution cannot stop with mind^ for mind is not its last word. It must move further up and come to the next stage, namely, Supermind. There is no uncertainty about it: it is bound to do so by the necessity which is forced upon it by the process of involution or creation. But when it does so, there will be a radical change in the nature of the world, for with the emergence of Supermind the process of evolution becomes a process through knowledge, the previous process being through ignorance.

Such, in brief, is Sri Aurobindo's scheme of evolution. It is the most optimistic scheme ever conceived by the mind of man. What concerns us more particularly here, however, is the picture which it presents to us of the goal of human life and society. I cannot do better here than quote a passage from his recent book The Human Cycle, where it is set forth as clearly as possible:

"The true and full spiritual aim in society will regard man not as a mind, a life and a body, but as a soul incarnated for a divine fulfilment upon earth, not only in heavens beyond, which after all it need not have left if it had no divine business here in the world of physical, vital and mental nature. It will therefore regard the life, mind and body neither as ends in themselves, sufficient for their own satisfaction, not as mortal members full of disease which have only to be dropped off for the rescued spirit to flee away into its own pure regions, but as first instruments of the soul, the yet imperfect instruments of an unseized diviner purpose. It will believe in their destiny and help them to believe in themselves, but for that very reason in their highest and not only in their lowest or lower possibilities. Their destiny will be, in its view, to spiritualise themselves so as to grow into visible members of the spirit, lucid means of its manifestation, them- selves spiritual, illumined, more and more conscious and perfect. For accepting the truth of man's soul as a thing entirely divine in its essence, it will accept also the possibility of his whole being becoming divine in spite of Nature's first patent contradictions of this possibility, her darkened denials of this ultimate certitude, and even with these as a necessary earthly starting-point. And as it will regard man the individual, it will regard man the collectivity as a soul-form of the Infinite, a collective soul myriadly embodied upon earth for a divine fulfilment in its manifold relations and its multitudinous activities. Therefore it will hold sacred all the different parts &f man's life which correspond to the parts of his being, all his physical, vital, dynamic, emotional, aesthetic, ethical, intellectual, psychic evolution, and see in them instruments for a growth towards a diviner living. It will regard every human society, nation, people or other organic aggregate from the same standpoint, subsouls, as it were, means of a complex manifestation and self-fulfilment of the Spirit, the divine Reality, the conscious Infinite in man upon earth. The possible godhead of man because he is inwardly of one being with God will be its one solitary cree

October 03, 2008

Aakash Singh and Rimina Mohapatra lay out the intricate tapestry of Hegel’s thought

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Reading Hegel: The Introductions
G.W.F. Hegel Edited and introduced by Aakash Singh and Rimina Mohapatra
Price: $35.00 AUD$25.00 USD £16.00 GBP
ISBN-13: 978-0-9805440-1-5 (paper) Publication date: October 2008 Pages: 272 Format: 234x156 mm (6x9 in) Paperback Series: Transmission
Download book as PDF (Open Access)

Bringing together for the first time all of G.W.F. Hegel’s major Introductions in one place, this book ambitiously attempts to present readers with Hegel’s systematic thought through his Introductions alone. The Editors articulate to what extent, precisely, Hegel’s Introductions truly reflect his philosophic thought as a whole. Certainly each of Hegel’s Introductions can stand alone, capturing a facet of his overarching idea of truth. But compiled all together, they serve to lay out the intricate tapestry of Hegel’s thought, woven with a dialectic that progresses from one book to another, one philosophical moment to another.

Hegel’s reflections on philosophy, religion, aesthetics, history, and law—all included here—have profoundly influenced many subsequent thinkers, from post-Hegelian idealists or materialists like Karl Marx, to the existentialism of Kierkegaard and Jean-Paul Sartre; from the phenomenological tradition of Edmund Husserl to Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida and other post-moderns, to thinkers farther afield, like Japan’s famous Kyoto School or India’s Aurobindo. This book provides the opportunity to discern how the ideas of these later thinkers may have originally germinated in Hegel’s writings, as well as to penetrate Hegel’s worldview in his own words, his grand architecture of the journey of the Spirit.

Editors’ Introduction: The Circle of Knowledge Chapter 1: Phenomenology of Spirit Chapter 2: Science of Logic Chapter 3: Philosophy of Right Chapter 4: Philosophy of History Chapter 5: Philosophy of Fine Art Chapter 6: Philosophy of Religion Chapter 7: History of Philosophy Editors’ Epilogue: The End of Introductions Further Readings Index

Authors, editors and contributors
AAKASH SINGH is a Research Professor at the Centre for Ethics and Global Politics (Luiss University, Rome), specializing in International Legal and Political Philosophy. He is author of Eros Turannos, and Editor of several books, including Buddhism and the Contemporary World: An Ambedkarian Perspective, and L’Inde à la conquete de la liberté.

RIMINA MOHAPATRA is an MPhil graduate from the University of Delhi, and completed her MA in Philosophy from St. Stephen’s College. She has been a Junior Research Fellow, University Grants Commission of India and a Junior Specialist at the Department of Philosophy, University of California Santa Cruz. She is currently formulating and compiling a second collection of Hegel’s writings, to be published in 2009.
© 2008

September 28, 2008

Proust by asserting that “the true hawthorns are those of the past”, paints the essence of a mythical time, a time “prior to time”

Post-interpretation from The Joyful Knowing by Mike Johnduff

Quentin Skinner, the brilliant and extremely charming historian at Cambridge, has just delivered a neat lecture that pretty much explains what I was trying to get at a while ago: how Foucault would reply, frustrated, to Derrida. Rehearsing many of Derrida's arguments, marrying them with nice, clear analytic language, Skinner in "Is It Still Possible to Interpret Texts?" (The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, Volume 89, Issue 3, Date: June 2008) tries to ask if we can interpret anything anymore: in short, what the use of hermeneutics is in a post-hermeneutic world, a world subjected to the Derridian critique.

His only mistake--but it is a really, really crucial one (and I think I was making it too until recently)--might be thinking that Derrida, and not Foucault, is really trying to kill off hermeneutics. Derrida wants to use hermeneutics at that point where it collapses: that is, use it otherwise. So describing him as someone who levies a critique against hermeneutics is way off the mark...Posted by Mike Johnduff What is written about: ,

Derrida, Merleau-Ponty, depth, and the body, concluded
from The Joyful Knowing by Mike Johnduff

I ended my last post by saying that Merleau-Ponty, in his working notes, outlines two notions of the invisible in order to clarify its relationship to the visible. The invisible, which we tried phenomenologically to specify as that sort of reversibility of the seeing-seen relationship, or touching-touched relationship (when I touch my hand touching something, as Husserl said, suddenly I feel the... [6:27 PM]

Proust was a Neuroscientist: N.Y. Times Review
from Science, Culture and Integral Yoga™ by Rich

Since the subject of memory, interpretation and the possibility of the truth telling of history has been raised it seems like good time for a supporting reference both from the arts and sciences

Not only this but Lehrer's book, which I just finished is also heartening in that it opens a possibility of a 4th culture.

If C.P. Snow in 1959 proposed a 3rd culture enjoining the arts and sciences to date this 3rd culture has been dominated by scientist examining the arts with causality still being reduced to physical processes.

Third cultural writings are considered those by such authors as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, Oliver Sacks, V.S. Ramachandran, Steve Weinberg, Mitchio Kaku. E.O. Wilson et al. Although certainly thought provocative and entertaining the works of the above authors fail to achieve a harmonizing of artistic and scientific cultures because they ultimately privilege science. Lehrer who is equally skilled in science attempts to rebalance the situation in which the Arts are equally as important to the narration of what we call reality.

To gather a posse together to cause harm to the author is surely deplorable and such acts ought to be condemned unequivocally

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Debashish on Sat 27 Sep 2008 09:41 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Rakesh, Have you read the book?

In all this hype against "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" and the questions raised regarding the factuality of its descriptions, "taking liberties about events", etc. the fundamental and basic question on reading skills needs to be first answered. The tenor of this discussion is so familiar as the development of a kind of mob mentality, where a large number of people are ready to lynch someone based on a few flying snippets of purported wrong-doing, but when you question the individuals in the mob, not more than one in a hundred has first hand knowledge of what has happened. It is interesting and amusing how much time, energy and emotion people are anxious to expend without bothering to form a considered judgment based on experience and study. If I saw even a few adequate quotes (not partial and distorted excerpts) along with footnotes as actually carried in the text, I could have at least found some matter of interest in this discussion.

Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
by Rich on September 27, 2008 10:09AM (PDT) Permanent Link

There is a movement of folks in Pondicherry who are so upset by the biography that Peter Heehs has written entitled The Lives of Sri Aurobindo that they have instigated a movement to discredit the author. Some people have even become so embolden as to try and have him ejected from the Ashram itself. The folks who have spurred this on have in the course of their attacks on Mr. Heehs openly distorted his text by decontextualizing portions of it or by a series of selective omissions to make it suit their own interpretation of events that facilitate their own story they wish to tell.

Because of this movement I have decided to post all the portions of the text that have been decontextualized or omitted and reprint them with corrections to demonstrate how the text from the book actually reads in its entire context. The portions of the text that have been lifted to suit the purposes of those with an agenda against the author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo are in black, the missing portions of the text that are needed to give the entire context of the narrative are in red. As everyone will see there is a lot of red in the text.: more » Leave Comment Permanent Link

Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Vikas on Sat 27 Sep 2008 12:08 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Rich "I dont think it serves any constructive purpose to try and and gather a posse together to cause harm to the author of a work they do not agree with".

Ofcourse. "To gather a posse together to cause harm to the author" is surely deplorable and such acts ought to be condemned unequivocally. We are agreed on that...

Neither Mother nor Sri Aurobindo told him to write a biography to appeal to the academia much less write it from a "perspective of the secular historian", "in keeping with the academic style" which compelled him to twist the truth to prevent failure of his project...

This need not necessarily be a misdirected reaction of a mere emotional or devotional fervour. Reflect upon this. I think we should discuss this no further because of the controversial nature of the subject. Vikas

Reply by Rich on Sat 27 Sep 2008 04:17 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Rich: And are you in such privileged communication with Mother and Sri Aurobindo that they told you that you should denounce this biography? Or did you choose to write these comments just as PH chose to write his biography? ...

Rich: And so are you claiming to be the sole possessor of truth in the matter? as I said in my comment to Rakesh, the story of history is the story of interpretations. It seems like the folks denouncing the book in question assume they are the only ones in possession of the 'Truth". There seems to me to be a fair amount of hubris in making this claim, that seems contrary to the humility required of those claiming to be sadhaks.

Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Debashish on Sat 27 Sep 2008 01:54 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Vikas, You raise an interesting point here that bears deeper consideration. On the issue of taking Sri Aurobindo's espousal of the acceptance of the Cripp's proposal as something which would have averted the partition "with a grain of salt", you make it appear that this is the expression of a falsehood on Peter's part. Why is this a falsehood? Is it because:

(1) Peter is a disciple of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and disciples have to take all that their guru says as "gospel truth" and anything they may say which casts doubt on the guru's words is a falsehood? or (2) Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are the Divine, are avatars, and everything that they say is therefore truth and so, to question whatever they say is a falsehood - or (3) Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as yogis are in possession of an infallible source of knowledge and therefore anything that casts doubt on this is a falsehood? - or - (4) Am I missing something?

(1) certainly cannot hold water. In guruvada, one must follow the injunctions of one's guru, but one need not therefore eschew a "grain of salt" until one arrives at knowledge. This is evidenced by Sri Aurobindo himself in his attitude towards Lele's words, when he was told that thoughts come from the outside. Sri Aurobindo tells us that he found the notion outlandish, but that he gave it a try as a possibility. A disciple may very well follow an inner process leading to knowledge, which includes questioning. Given that the spiritual journey is a matter between disciple and guru, to dictate from the outside what a disciple should or should not consider "true" is rather inquisitional, I feel.

(2) would be possible, if there was anywhere in the writings of Sri Aurobindo or the Mother both the claims that (a) they were avatars and (b) whatever avatars express in their lifetimes is to be taken as 100% truth. Whatever case can be made for (a), I have not found any evidence for (b) in my readings. If you can provide some sources, I would be happy to consider the proposition.

As for (3), while we know that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were attempting to realize the supramental consciousness, which alone according to both of them, gave absolute certainty about anything, we also know by their own telling, that they had not realized this consciousness integrally or were not in possession of it at all times. Hence, unless any of us have an identical consciousness as either of them at the time of the utterance of a statement and can assert that it was said from the supramental consciousness, or unless they make it clear that the statement is made from the plane of truth-consciousness, it is possible for an individual, even a disciple, to hold its truth-content in question, until verified in experience. You or I may have a different threshold of disbelief, but one cannot expect everyone to accept all things said by even supreme yogis as "truth" unless it is unquestionably from the plane of truth-consciousness. DB