January 31, 2008

Sri Aurobindo contends that consciousness exists in a continuum and is independent of human existence, thought or feeling

About My Research Libraries Lit. Reviews Posted by: Dorianne 30 January 2008
IRB (Institutional Review Board) Demystified……..
All academic research institutions in the US are required to have Institutional Review Boards (IRB’s) to ensure that research is conducted in an ethical manner and does no harm to the participants. I have just completed my first IRB application, because I wish to interview six people for my final in-depth Human Development and Consciousness knowledge area (KA) paper. Here’s the description of the research that I wrote for the application:
This research project was inspired by my KA702 overview reading assignment of Satprem’s Sri Aurobindo, or The Adventure of Consciousness (1968). Aurobindo contends that consciousness exists in a continuum and is independent of human existence, thought or feeling. There is no such thing as unconsciousness; only other consciousness. Satprem describes the planes of the mind that one encounters in seeking higher consciousness, including ordinary, higher, illumined, intuitive, overmind and supramental mind consciousness. He states there are several paths to higher consciousness, but meditation is the most common.
The final section of Satprem’s book discusses Aurobindo’s goal to evolve the human species to a new level of existence and physical being in order to save our species and our planet from extinction. Although this seems to be far-fetched, we already have documented evidence of mind over matter. Dr. Bruce Lipton, in his book, The Biology of Belief (2005) has spent the past 30 years researching DNA and how the mind can alter the behavior of our genes. Yogis and people who meditate regularly have been able to fast for months, consume poison without adverse affects and levitate their bodies. People reduce their blood-pressure and eliminate migraine headaches through biofeedback techniques. Mind-healing and prayer have been proven to heal cancer, multiple sclerosis and other diseases.
My interest for this project is to understand the experience of these higher planes of consciousness during and after meditation. I have had my own experiences through meditation practices and I wish to add narratives related to other meditators’ experience. I plan to compare the narratives with each other and with Western and non-Western consciousness theories...
Lipton, B. H. (2005). The biology of belief: unleashing the power of consciousness, matter and miracles (1st ed.). Santa Rosa, CA: Mountain of Love/Elite Books.
Satprem. (1968). Sri Aurobindo: or, The adventure of consciousness (1st U.S. ed.). New York: Harper & Row.
Categories: research Tags: , , , , , ,

January 30, 2008

To face both work and enjoyment with what Agamben calls a “creative semi-indifference”

Note: I was thinking of writing a proper essay on this topic, but I got bored with it, so I’ve posted a sketch here instead.
In Milan Kundera’s short novel, Identity (1998), the character Jean-Marc describes a visit to his dying grandfather. He hears a peculiar sound coming from the dying man’s mouth, “one sound, an ‘ahhhh’ that broke off only when he had to take a breath.” This “ahhhh” is not the sound of pain or of attempted communication; as Jean-Marc listens, he realises that the sound signifies an essential truth about human beings: “this [sound] is existence as such confronting time as such; and that confrontation … is named boredom” (p. 74). A bleak picture of our being-in-time, to be sure! One is reminded here of Heidegger’s massive analysis of boredom, where the strange indifference of “profound boredom” was identified as “the totality of that which is.”
So what might a theologian have to say about boredom? On the whole, theologians have harboured dark thoughts about boredom, and have tended to classify it either as somehow sinful or at least as a consequence of sin. In Either/Or, Kierkegaard famously remarked that “boredom is the root of all evil” (his argument is delightful: “The gods were bored, so they created man. Adam was bored because he was alone, and so Eve was created” – and so on). Jacques Ellul’s work, Violence: Reflections from a Christian Perspective (1969), identifies boredom – so “gloomy, dull, and joyless” – as one of the defining perversions of modern social life (p. 121). Ellul’s view here is close to that of Karl Barth, who similarly described “the signature of modern man” as neither serenity nor rebellion, but simply an “utter weariness and boredom.” In Barth’s view, “man is bored with himself,” and as a result “everything has become a burden to him” (Church Dogmatics III/2, p. 117).
More recently, Graham Neville has offered a theological analysis of boredom in his book, Free Time: Towards a Theology of Leisure (2004). Neville advances the depressing thesis that “the nature of boredom … corresponds to the monastic sin of accidie or sloth” (p. 100), and so he urges us to overcome boredom, or at least to allow the sinful passivity of boredom to be sublated by the more constructive passivity of “wonder.” Neville’s all-too-obvious identification of boredom with the medieval sin of sloth is anachronistic, however, since the word/concept of “boredom” had no existence prior to the 18th century – as Patricia Meyer Spacks observes in her brilliant genealogy of boredom: “If people felt bored before the late eighteenth century, they didn’t know it” (Boredom: The Literary History of a State of Mind, p. 14).
So if we withhold for a moment the judgment that boredom is sin, we might find a more constructive way to reflect on this peculiar state of mind. I’m inclined to think that the Italian philosopher Giorgo Agamben (who looks suitably bored in this photo) has pointed the way forwards here. In an essay entitled “In This Exile” (published in Means Without End, pp. 121-42), Agamben speaks of “the essential inoperability of humankind,” that is, the fact that human beings “cannot be defined by any proper operation,” so that our humanness can never be exhausted by any particular identity or task. In this connection, Agamben speaks of “humankind’s creative semi-indifference to any task.”
Here, the “semi-indifference” of boredom is linked to an essential theological truth about human beings: we are not reducible to our work; we always exceed any given task. Or as Agamben puts it elsewhere, boredom discloses the essence of a “simply living being” (see his essay, “Profound Boredom,” in The Open: Man and Animal, p. 70). Between our work and our being there lies a gap – and boredom names this gap...
But if Agamben rightly insists that human beings are irreducible to their work, he fails to note the (today more important) point that humans also exceed their leisure and enjoyment. If boredom names the gap between our being and our work, it also names the gap between being and enjoyment. At least in the affluent West, most of us would accept that life cannot finally be boiled down to work; the more sinister and more beguiling threat today is the reduction of life to enjoyment.
As Slavoj Žižek has frequently observed, late-capitalist existence is structured by an obscene and threatening superego imperative: enjoy! (see for example The Universal Exception, pp. 331-35). In its own way, this capitalist law of enjoyment also seeks to close the gap between our being and our works, except that here, our true and proper “work” – the work which the law demands of us! – is enjoyment itself. (The true horror of The Matrix of course lies precisely here: when Neo swallows the red pill, he discovers that all human existence has been secretly transformed into a monstrous technological production of enjoyment; it is “pure,” immediate experience, no longer mediated even by life – or rather, it is pure human enjoyment at the expense of humanity.)
In this late capitalist setting, the only absolute prohibition is indifference or boredom – or rather, the consumer-ideology itself generates boredom precisely in order to forbid it and alleviate it. The machinery of late capitalism thus functions like the medicine mentioned by Hegel: it is a wounding-and-healing poison which paradoxically “heals the wound which it itself is” (Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, III, 55). We are always bored, and always being (forcibly) rescued from our boredom.
So just as a society which reduces life to social utility will prohibit boredom vis-à-vis work, so too a society which reduces life to enjoyment will prohibit boredom vis-à-vis leisure. If, at times, a truly radical resistance can only take the form of passivity and non-participation, then is it possible that boredom itself might be a crucial site of resistance today? As human beings, we are always in excess: we exceed our tasks, and we exceed our enjoyment. There is always a gap between my “works” – what I do, what I enjoy, which market niche I identify with – and my humanity. To be bored – without immediately seeking to transform that boredom into either productivity on the one hand or enjoyment on the other – is to hold open this gap, and to resist participating in its insidious closure.
To face both work and enjoyment with what Agamben calls a “creative semi-indifference” is, today, the gesture of the human being who stands before God and is recognised by God – the human being who is no longer under the law (neither the law of works nor the law of enjoyment), but under grace.
This human being – the human being under grace – is the one whose work and play can never be taken too seriously, since they are merely creative embellishments, non-necessary improvisations, which contribute to the harmony and peace of a life of praise. Like Melville’s rowers, both our work and our play can thus find their true meaning only as they serve the modest role of “keeping the time” in our song:
And all the way, to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time.
Work doesn't seem to limit socializing. My favorite result was that the better-educated people seem to fear visiting relatives: Here is the paper, I don't yet see a non-gated version on-line.

Whitehead’s God might be preferable to Spinoza’s God for the role of the philosophers’ God, or the atheists’ God

It took me much longer than I had hoped, but I have finally finished a first draft of my chapter on Whitehead’s notion of God. It’s longer than it should be, and a bit all over the place (digressive) — and yet touches too briefly on a number of things that it would be good to flesh out in greater detail. And I didn’t quite manage to explain how and why Whitehead’s God might be preferable even to Spinoza’s God (its only competitor) for the role of the philosophers’ God, or the atheists’ God. In any case, the God I discern in Whitehead is (as far as I can tell) rather different from the one found in process theology. For what it’s worth, the article is here (pdf).
For the purposes of this chapter, I deliberately ignore the extensive literature on "process theology." Instead, I approach Whitehead’s notion of God from an insistently nontheological perspective. That is to say, I seek to situate Whitehead in relation to the radical critique of transcendence that runs through Spinoza, Nietzsche, and Deleuze: a critique that is also, in a certain manner, one of the major stakes in Kant’s transcendental argument, and in William James’ "radical empiricism."
From this point of view, it is tempting to follow Donald Sherburne’s (1986) effort to excise God altogether from Whitehead’s vision, the better to affirm a "neo-Whiteheadian naturalism" (83). But I think that God is too insistently present throughout the text of Process and Reality for this to be a viable option. I seek instead to develop a non-religious, or atheological, understanding of Whitehead’s God...

Whitehead has little interest in Nietzsche; in fact, he claims never to have read The Antichrist (Price 2001, 131). Nonetheless, Whitehead, like Nietzsche, puts the blame for all that is bad in historical Christianity upon St. Paul. Whitehead describes Paul as the man who "did more than anybody else to distort and subvert Christ’s teaching" (303); and he says that Paul’s "idea of God, to my mind, is the idea of the devil" (186). He explicitly prefers John to Paul (1926/1996, 76). All this is worth recalling at a time when such thinkers as Badiou (2003) and Zizek (2003) have cited Paul as an exemplary revolutionary figure. As I discuss further below, Whitehead rejects the sort of universalism that Badiou and Zizek champion, and attribute to Paul...
Whitehead implicitly follows Kant’s rejection of the physiotheological proof, in the very way that he structures his own argument. In his discussion of Religion in the Making (1926/1996), Whitehead proceeds from the "fact" of humankind’s "religious experience" (86); he is concerned with the social, psychological, and affective basis of religion, rather than with its possible objective truth. From this perspective, the argument from design is itself an emotional response.
It arises, as religion itself does, from our sense of wonder at the universe, and from humankind’s long habit of "artificially stimulating emotion" through ritual (22). But the emotions that are both the cause and the effect of religious practices cannot in themselves count as proof for any conception of God. If anything, religion’s "authority is endangered by the intensity of the emotions which it generates. Such emotions are evidence of some vivid experience; but they are a very poor guarantee for its correct interpretation" (83).
An und für sich Less of a Zizek blog than The Valve Observations on Early Moderns Saturday, January 19, 2008 by Adam
Spinoza seems to me to be miles ahead of any of these guys. I’m not ready to sign on and become a Spinozan, but he’s clearly the true radical. Posted by Adam Filed in Berkeley, Leibniz, Locke, Spinoza, Whitehead, philosophy One Response to “Observations on Early Moderns”

January 27, 2008

Vyākrta & Vyākarana

Day is the symbol of the continual manifestation of material things the vyākrta, the manifest or fundamentally in Sat, in infinite being; Night is the symbol of their continual disappearance into avyākrta, the Unmanifest or finally into asat, into infinite non-being...The birth of one is in the Eastern Ocean, of the other in the Western, that is to say, in sat and asat, in the ocean of Being and the ocean of denial of Being or else in vyākrta prakrti and avyākrta prakrti, occult sea of Chaos, manifest sea of Cosmos...
the early Vedantins attached great importance to words in both their apparent and their hidden meaning and no one who does not follow them in this path, can hope to enter into the associations with which their minds were full. Yet the importance of associations in colouring and often in determining our thoughts, determining even philosophic and scientific thought when it is most careful to be exact and free, should be obvious to the most superficial psychologist. Swami Dayananda's method with the Vedas, although it may have been too vigorously applied and more often out of the powerful mind of the modern Indian thinker than out of the recovered mentality of the old Aryan Rishis, would nevertheless, in its principle, have been approved by these Vedantins...
the Upanishads, always intent on their deeper object, never waste time over mere mythology. We must therefore go deeper than Shankara and follow out the intuition he himself has abandoned...It illustrates the Vedantic use of the etymology of words and it throws light on the pre­cise notions of the old thinkers about those super-terrestrial beings with whom the vision of the ancient Hindus peopled this universe. The Vedantic writers, we continually find, dwelt deeply and curiously on the innate and on the concealed meaning of words; vyākarana, always considered essential to the interpretation of the Vedas, they used not merely as scholars, but much more as intuitive thinkers. It was not only the actual etymological sense or the actual sense in use but the suggestions of the sound and syllables of the words which attracted them; for they found that by dwelling on them new and deep truths arose into their understandings...

January 26, 2008

Not to become too emotional or passionate when challenging materialism

Ulrich’s blog, Beyond Materialism, also has some good information, including the great tagline: “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” Having thus praised the journal, my one caveat is that we who consider ourselves spiritual aspirants, and particularly those of us associated with the integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, must be very careful not to become too emotional or passionate when challenging materialism. This would also bias our own perspective more.
As the Mother said, one should do the right thing quietly and humbly. The title “Anti-Matters” struck me as a bit reactionary, to be honest, although I do realize that’s a pun and not meant to be taken that way. In any event, a world-affirming spirituality would never negate physical or material causation, but include it in a larger scheme. While I support those who challenge the gung-ho materialism of contemporary science, I feel this needs to be done in two ways. Even though we can say that consciousness can’t be reduced to brain or matter, that begs the question of whether it should also be asserted that consciousness can’t be fully abstracted or extracted from these things either. My friend Bob put it best: “What I’m saying is that mind/body dualism needs to be attacked from both sides. A completely nonphysical spirituality is just as suspect, in my view, as a completely spiritless materialism.”
This is especially important for those of attempting to represent the Aurobindoan viewpoint. Sri Aurobindo represents an authentic third position beyond the world-negating spirituality of the past, and the spirit-negating materialism of the present. The concept of embodiment is actually essential to the integral yoga — it is embodied spirituality par excellence in my opinion. On a personal level, I am particularly excited about exploring the overlaps between the findings of neuroscience and cognitive science, and integral yoga. I do not experience any contradiction here. So I would caution those who are writing for Anti-Matters that being non-materialistic does not mean being anti-materialistic... Posted by ned. Filed under Science, Notes and Speculations, Academic Philosophy.

January 25, 2008

Guiding humankind into a new, more peaceful and productive age

Sri Aurobindo 1872-1950 www.enotes.com
(Full name Sri Aurobindo Ghose; also transliterated as Arabinda; also Ghosh) Indian philosopher, poet, essayist, critic, historian, translator, journalist, playwright, short story writer, and autobiographer.
One of India's great modern philosophers, Aurobindo was a prolific author who expressed his views on humankind, nature, God, and the cosmos in numerous works of poetry and prose. He believed in the unity of all things material, intellectual, and spiritual, and a central theme that runs throughout all his writings is the divinization of life on earth. As he says in his poetic masterpiece, Savitri: "Nature shall live to manifest secret God, / The Spirit shall take up the human play, / The earthly life become the life divine."
Major Works
Aurobindo's philosophical beliefs derived from and promoted spiritual experience. The central theme of all his writings-the spiritualization of earthly life-rests on his belief that God exists in all of Nature and that spiritual intuition makes it possible for every individual to become conscious of his own divinity. Because of his emphasis on the unity of existence, Aurobindo's philosophy has been labeled "integralism." Aurobindo's most systematic account of humankind's eventual ascent to a higher level of consciousness is contained in The Life Divine, a one-thousand-page treatise in which he develops an evolutionary continuum to explain human and cosmic progress. Aurobindo proposes that the Brahman, the eternal spiritual Being, exists in nature in a seven-phase hierarchical structure that consists of three higher orders of being-Infinite Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss-and three lower orders of being-Matter, Life, and Mind. Mediating between the higher and lower orders of existence is the fourth level of being, Supermind, which is humankind's evolutionary goal. According to Aurobindo, humankind currently languishes at the third level of existence, Mind. Worldwide attainment of the level of the Supermind, Aurobindo believed, will usher in a new world order of peace and harmony.
The metaphysical ideas expressed in The Life Divine take practical shape in Essays on the Gita and On Yoga I, in which Aurobindo explains his system of yoga and its role in preparing the soul to accept the Spirit. Savitri is Aurobindo's poetic expression of this process of transformation. In this epic poem, which is roughly twenty-four-thousand lines in length, two characters, one human and one divine, dramatize the ascent to divine perfection on earth as it corresponds to Aurobindo's own spiritual progress. The Human Cycle explains Aurobindo's philosophy from yet another perspective. In this work he develops his evolutionary theory in historical and psychological terms and states the necessary conditions for the arrival of the next evolutionary stage, the "Age of Spirit": first, there must exist certain individuals capable of absorbing the message of the Spirit and communicating it to the masses (Aurobindo cites Mohandas Gandhi as an example), and second, the masses must be prepared to implement the message of these mystics.
Critical Reception
A turning point in the critical history of Aurobindo's writings occurred with the 1970-72 publication of the Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library. Brought out by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, this thirty-volume collected edition of Aurobindo's works made his writings much more accessible to readers, particularly Westerners, which served to intensify the critical attention prompted by the centenary of Aurobindo's birth in 1972. Prior to this, most of the literature on Aurobindo had been written by his disciples, and while many of these books and articles provided useful summaries of Aurobindo's life and teachings, they were invariably laudatory in tone and rarely approached their subject from a critical perspective. Although Aurobindo studies continue to be dominated by the appreciative commentary of his followers, since the 1970s he has received increasing attention from scholars in the field of Indian and comparative religious thought. Some of Aurobindo's disciples have argued that analyses of Aurobindo's works emerging from the academic community lack the spiritual insight necessary for a sound interpretation of Aurobindo's philosophy.
On the other hand, academic critics have charged that Aurobindo's devotees are too personally involved with their subject and his teachings to be objective; for example, they refuse to accept spiritual intuition of the divine as decisive evidence that a new spiritual age is approaching, seeking instead to investigate whether Aurobindo's evolutionary theory can be verified by experience. Similarly, estimations of Aurobindo's status as a literary artist vary. While some critics liken him to John Milton and Dante on the basis of Savitri, others contend that such comparisons are evidence of the indiscriminate praise lavished upon Aurobindo by his devotees. Such controversy notwithstanding, critics agree that Aurobindo has had a significant influence on modern Indian history and religious thought in his roles as political revolutionary and philosopher-yogi. He is universally admired for the comprehensiveness of his vision of life and the cosmos and for his devotion to the cause of guiding humankind into a new, more peaceful and productive age.

Biases and impediments to achieving human unity

Course Topics Calendar Ongoing classes About WISP Contact Auroville web sites Courses
Course name: Auroville, the Villages and Human UnityPresenter: Bhavana Dee
Course Description> Dates and Time> Registration> Presenter Bio Course Description
We are offering three one-month courses introducing Auroville’s relationship with its surrounding villages as an opportunity for applied Human Unity. Most sessions take the class out to visit villages and sites of projects where Aurovilians are working with and for the villagers: schools, vocational training programmes, women’s clubs, youth clubs, etc. Participants are expected to be pro-active in asking questions and will be encouraged to examine their own biases and impediments to achieving human unity.

Dates and Time Tuesday afternoons 2:00 – 4:30 pm December through March. Venue Verite Hall Registrationemail: bhavanadee@auroville.org.in, or just show up.

Presenter Bio Bhavana Dee, an American woman who joined Auroville in 1971, has been working in the field of Auroville’s relation to the villages and in village development since 1983. She is the founding trustee of Auroville Village Action Trust, and will draw on both her own and her colleagues’ experiences to show and explain their rural development work, especially in education, community organisation, women’s empowerment and microfinance, and recently tsunami relief and rehabilitation. She is also a resident-participant of the Verité Integral Learning Campus and a Vipassana meditator.

January 24, 2008

If everywhere the same; things are done, we don't need to repeat them

There are some who consider it a scandal; some consider it a glaring error from the physical, material point of view. Why aren't girls treated in a special way and quite differently from boys?" - then the great argument - "as it is done everywhere."
Ah! thank you. Then why do we have an Ashram? Why do we have a Centre of Education? If everywhere the same; things are done, we don't need to repeat them, we don't do them any better than others.
And when they put this argument in my way, they couldn't tell me anything that appears more utterly stupid to me. It is done everywhere? That is just the reason for not doing it; for if we do what others do, it is not worth the trouble doing anything at all. We want precisely to introduce into the world something which is not there; but if we keep all the habits of the world, all the preferences of the world, all the constructions of the world, I don't see how we can get out of the rut and do something new.
My children, I have told you, repeated it in every tone, in every way: if you really want to profit by your stay here, try to look at things and understand them with a new vision and a new understanding based on something higher, something deeper, vaster, something more true, something which is not yet but will be one day. And it is because we want to build this future that we have taken this special stand.
I tell you that we have had quite material proofs of the correctness and truth of our position, but... they are not lasting. Why? Because it is extremely easy to fall back into the ordinary consciousness, and there is nothing more difficult than to always stand on the top of the ladder and try to look at the world from up there.
We don't want to obey the orders of Nature, even if these orders have millions of years of habits behind them. And one thing is certain, the argument of Nature when she is opposed to things changing, is: "It has always been thus." I claim this is not true. Whether she likes it or not, things change, and a day will come when it will be said: "Ah! yes, there was a time when it was like that, but now it is different."
Well, grant only for some time, in a way which is still that of faith and trust, that we are in fact bringing about this change, that we have come to a point where things are going take a turn and a new orientation. You are simply asked to have just a little faith and trust and allow yourselves to be guided. Otherwise, well, you will lose the advantage of beg here, that's all. And you will go back with the same weaknesses and same habits one sees in life as it is outside. here you are. -Questions and Answers Vol 8

January 22, 2008

Yoga: From Confusion to Clarity

Mukesh (b.21st September 1957) is a Postgraduate in Sanskrit and Philosophy and has worked as Private Secretary to the Chairman, Auroville Foundation, Auroville and also with Chairman of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, with the Vice-Chairman of Maharsihi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan. He also worked in Dharam Hinduja International Centre of Indic Research as an Executive Secretary.
He is also a graphic designer, writer and has submitted articles to Sanskriti Magazine published from Canada (http://sanskritimagazine.com) and also presented research papers on Yoga as well as on Yogic Experiences of Consciousness.
I am accomplished practioner of yoga besides being deeply grounded in the study of yogic literature of a variety of shades including Vedic, Tantric, Saiva, Vaisnava and Buddhist. For the benefit of students, teachers, scholars and researchers in the field of Yoga and Consciousness, I created this Blog as well as other blogs. My other blogs under construction are:
At the present, I am working on a Project of Yoga as a co-author entitled – Yoga: From Confusion to Clarity -- in collaboration with Professor S.P. Singh, former Chairman and Head of Sanskrit Department, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India. Posted by Mukesh at Tuesday, January 22, 2008 Labels:

January 20, 2008

Habermas presents himself as a new Kant

Religion in the public sphere, Secularism: Anti-secularism posted by Hans Joas
More than most other great systematic thinkers of our time, Jürgen Habermas has for decades consistently expressed his views on the burning issues of the day, finding inspiration for his philosophical work in contemporary realities. SSRC Home SSRC Blogs Blog Home
Habermas is concerned to overcome secularist ideologies – but these have never been unambiguously dominant and overcoming them does not, therefore, represent the transition to a new form of society. Habermas also persists in distinguishing religious convictions from “other ethical orientations and world views, that is, worldly ‘conceptions of the good’” by asserting that the former evade “unconditional discursive exploration”. I believe this to be a remnant of secularist self-misunderstanding. Worldly conceptions of the good are also anchored in biographical and historical experiences. These can certainly be explicated, but human beings cannot simply detach themselves from their perceived evident nature. Autobiographical retrospects, including the one in this volume, generally make this very clear.
In these writings, Habermas presents himself as a new Kant (however much he might keep his distance from him in relation to specific issues) – a Kant of communicative reason and of the post-Darwin era. It is no coincidence that the study of Kant’s philosophy of religion is the most brilliant in the volume. Habermas also adopts the stance towards religion characteristic of the moralist Kant in its multiple manifestations. The more technical sections of the volume – examinations of thinkers associated with Habermas in various ways such as Adorno, Apel, McCarthy and Menke – demonstrate the enormous aspirations of this philosophy.
And the closing chapter, in which Habermas joins in the debates on reform of the UN, is consciously reminiscent of Kant’s reflections on perpetual peace, presented as a draft agreement. Habermas no longer expounds his erstwhile faith in the motivating force of morality as such; and he has also overcome his exclusive concentration on the law, which was an attempt to make up for this lack. But as with Kant, the fascination exerted by religion remains tightly fenced in by morality. The call for a productive dialogue between believers and non-believers has, however, rarely been made with such eloquence and concision. [Translated by Alex Skinner.] This entry was posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2008 at 10:00 am and is filed under Religion in the public sphere, Secularism.

Avoid Locke - lock, stock and barrel

An und für sich Less of a Zizek blog than The Valve Observations on Early Moderns Saturday, January 19, 2008 by Adam
Leibniz and Berkeley both seem to me to be absolutely right in most of their critiques of Locke, taken simply as critiques. Even Berkeley’s bold claim that matter doesn’t exist, if we limit “matter” to what Locke and his contemporaries thought “matter” was, now seems to be basically true. Their alternative systems, however, contain significant crackpot elements. The sheer amount of work “God” has to do in each should have tipped them off that they were cheating.
Looking at the index of Process and Reality, I see that Whitehead makes copious references to Locke and Hume, but only a few to Leibniz and Berkeley — despite the fact that his system seems to bear more resemblance to the latter. In fact, for all Whitehead’s love of Locke, it is difficult for me to discern the relationship between the two. So why the insistence on Locke and Hume? Is it a “political” move, to try to convince his logical positivist friends that he’s working out of the modern tradition? If so, it didn’t work.
Spinoza seems to me to be miles ahead of any of these guys. I’m not ready to sign on and become a Spinozan, but he’s clearly the true radical. Posted by Adam Filed in Berkeley, Leibniz, Locke, Spinoza, Whitehead, philosophy One Response to “Observations on Early Moderns”
Partly it’s the way that Whitehead reads Locke and Hume. Whitehead credits Locke, just as he credits Plato, with making major metaphysical discoveries; but in both cases, these discoveries are the result of incoherences — they occur at the moments when these thinkers, in effect, contradict their own systems. As for Hume, Whitehead credits him with being the most insightful thinker in early modern (or Enlightenment, or scientific-revolution) thought, and therefore to be the one who most powerfully reveals the untenable consequences and dead-ends of that thought.
Whitehead says almost nothing about Berkeley, as far as I can recall. He explicitly states his closeness to both Leibniz and Spinoza, but doesn’t go into much detail about this, aside from trying to distinguish his notion of God from either of theirs.

Empathy is what makes it possible for us to read each other

Behavior: Understanding Empathy: Can You Feel My Pain? By RICHARD A. FRIEDMAN, M.D. NYT: April 24, 2007
What is critical to understanding someone is not necessarily having had his or her experience; it is being able to imagine what it would be like to have it. Thus, I do not have to be black to empathize with the toxic effects of racial prejudice, or be a woman to know how I would feel about being denied promotion on the basis of sex.
Contrary to what many people believe, being empathic is not the same thing as being nice. In fact, empathy can sometimes be put to a very dark purpose.
When the Nazis were bombing Rotterdam in World War II, for example, they put sirens on the Stuka dive-bombers knowing full well that the sound would terrify and disorganize the Dutch. The Nazis imagined perfectly how the Dutch would feel and react. Fiendish, but the very essence of empathy.
In the right hands, empathy has tremendous positive therapeutic force and can narrow what looks like an unbridgeable gap between patients and therapists...In the end, empathy is what makes it possible for us to read each other. And it is the reason your doctor can understand your problem without actually having to live it. Richard A. Friedman is director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. More Articles in Health » 8:42 AM

January 19, 2008

We first experience "all men are created equal" and then "become aware of others, and of forms of sociality"

Bolton makes an important point that serves as a good segue back to our discussion of Taylor, which is that "Exoteric religion, however sincere, allows people to go on believing themselves to be solely what they appear to be to other people. Deeper insights into the self lead outside the exoteric, and are usually resisted in a mistaken belief that this must be a danger to orthodoxy." This often results in a situation directly antithetical to the purposes of religion, in that the most conventionally devout can have the least insight into the nature of the self. These are the grinning robots who give us the Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Joseph Smith, or Ken Willies.
Jesus famously asked, "who do you say that I am?" The answer partly depends upon what we mean by "I" as applied to Jesus and to ourselves. There is always going to be a gap between the I AM and what we can say about it, which is true of the relation between any two subjectivities, or I AMs. The better you know someone, the more you can say about them, but there is always a limit to what you can say, since you are not them. Nor are you even fully yourself, as that relationship is subject to evolution as well. When you were a child, you understood as a child, but even today, you are hopefully a child to the man you'll someday be. Who, with luck, will also be as a little child in relation to its own manchildish future.
In A Secular Age, Taylor goes into great detail about the contextual limits to the imagination of the self, limits which have changed drastically over the centuries (I just don't have time to cite 700 pages of documentation). A few readers keep insisting in the teeth of this evidence that "folks is folks, everywhere the same." To the extent that they truly believe this, even after examining the evidence, then it's just a statement about themselves, not about reality.
For example, people who live in the modern West just take the idea of the individual as a given -- as if it has always existed, or as if it exists for everyone, say, in the Muslim Middle East, instead of being an exceptional deviation from all mentalities that came before. But in its own way, the difference between reflective individual minds and the unreflective group mind is as striking and unexpected as the difference between man and animals (and no, I am obviously not equating primitive groups with animals, or diminishing their humanity -- I'm explaining the phenomenon instead of explaining it away in the manner of cultural relativists).
In the West, we first experience ourselves as individuals (i.e., "all men are created equal"), and only then "become aware of others, and of forms of sociality" (Taylor). But in all human groups until quite recently, this formulation was literally unthinkable. So much was your identity embedded in the group, that you wouldn't know who you were in its absence. You would be utterly lost, a nothing and a nobody. Banishment from the group was existential death. It's somewhat like trying to imagine if you were the opposite sex. For example, so much does the normal male identify with his sex, that he can't imagine what it would be like to be John Edwards.
Again, Taylor traces this unprecedented change from immersion in the group-mind to the ability to conceive of ourselves as free individuals and "to have our own opinions, to attain our own relation to God, our own conversion experience." But ironically, Taylor believes that this was actually a sort of "delayed reaction" to the implicit metaphysics hidden in plain sight in scripture. For example, in the New Testament there are numerous calls "to leave or relativize solidarities of family, clan, society, and be a part of the Kingdom." This is actually a mind-blowing idea, especially in the context of the times (not to mention a culture- and state-blowing idea, as you are called to solidarity with a higher mind, i.e., the "body of Christ"; nothing could be more radical and subversive to the "powers that be").
In fact, it would be hard to imagine a more radical idea, because this "new inwardness" was going against the grain of all human and religious organization prior to that time. No wonder individualism only arose in the West, and that it took another 1600 or 1700 years for it to begin happening on a widespread scale! It was literally like trying to evolve a third eye or some other new organ. Because that's what the Self is: a new immaterial organ (to be perfectly accurate, it's a subtle material) for navigating around the hyperspace of human subjectivity, which is infinite at its outer inner reaches. You might say that religion tracks the outer reaches of inner space, while science tracks the inner reaches of outer space, whereas my book shows how the two meet in the muddle of the mount, if you'll just be an accomplice to my literary climb.

Difficulty in fusing the predictable academic criteria with what Sri Aurobindo calls Overmind Aesthesis

Image, Symbol and Myth in Sri Aurobindo’s Poetry--G. S. Pakle
by RY Deshpande on Fri 18 Jan 2008 03:36 PM PST Permanent Link
When symbolism arrived in Europe, following Mallarmé who proposed the view that the act of creation lies in not naming but in suggestion, it was thought that the ever-changing objective world is not a reality, but only a reflection, that all that one could do was to hint at the inner eternal truth underlying it. “The resulting poetry of this philosophy was intense and complex, full of condensed syntax and symbolic imagery. Their poetry also emphasized the importance of the sound of the verse, creating music through words.” No wonder, these sounds and these words, these charged symbols, will find a most appropriate place in any genuine mystical poetry, poetry coming from the deeps of the soul or descending form the heights of the superconscient spirit poised for expression. It is good this aspect has been quite perceptively presented by our author. Yet there are other considerations also.

About the opening line of Savitri—It was the hour before the Gods awake—the author conjectures if one of the gods mentioned in it is the Muse, Saraswati. There is a tradition that epics open with an invocation to the Goddess of Poetry, and here too it could be so. “Because when on the temporal level of the poem the gods do wake up the change in the atmosphere assumes a lyrical tone. Suddenly the universe becomes synonymous with poetry, as if the waking of the gods were the revelation of a divine poetry.” The suggestion could be that, Sri Aurobindo was invoking Saraswati before he started writing the epic. Is it so? But this line appeared for the first time in his twenty-fifth draft. This would mean that, only after those many attempts did she oblige him in giving him the opening line; or else he realised late in the day that he should make invocation to her. We wonder. One has to make a distinction between the poetry written by a seer-poet and others, and this must be borne in mind in every respect when comparisons are made.

In that regard the tools of poetry for the poet of Savitri acquire luminosity and keenness of something else, shaped by the powers of the spirit itself. He is the hearer of the Ineffable’s Word, and the seer of the Invisible’s Truth-and-Beauty in the calm delight of the creative rush; he is kavayah satyaśrutah. In his case a symbol, for instance, always expresses a living reality or inward vision or experience of things, making that experience a realisable possibility for the ready souls; it never is just a “conceptual representation”, an abstraction of some observation, as the professional critics might like to maintain. A symbol in mystic poetry can never be considered as a “detachable ornament”. This is particularly so in the case of Sri Aurobindo’s later sonnets and Savitri. Therefore, while studying the literary aspects of his works, a distinction has to be made as far as his several works are concerned. In other words, there seems to be a difficulty in fusing the predictable academic criteria with what Sri Aurobindo calls Overmind Aesthesis. May be some of these issues could be tackled with focused attention in future work by the author.

On the whole we must say that Dr Pakle’s Image, Symbol and Myth in Sri Aurobindo’s Poetry is a fine piece of professional examination. It should prove to be a valuable aid in scholarly and academic work. In fact, it can very well form a text-book at the post-graduate level for the students of English literature. An exhaustive index and careful proofreading will make it more acceptable. The publishers should also check if the price could be made favourable for the student community to have personal access to it.
RY Deshpande
NB: The review first appeared in Recent Publications of Sabda. While posting it here, it has been lightly revised. http://sabda.sriaurobindoashram.org/pdf/news/may2007.pdf Keywords: SriAurobindo, Savitri, Poetry, Mysticism, Literature Posted to: Main Page EDUCATION LITERATURE .. Book reviews .. Poetry PUBLICATIONS .. 'Savitri'

January 17, 2008

Saint Augustine, Meister Eckhart, Schuon: the adventure of consciousness

Follow the Depth from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob
Only a masochistic leftist is going to read more than one post here. A new-ager or integralist might initially be drawn in, but then be repelled by my traditionalism and moonbat-battering. Traditionalists are put off by my evolutionism, while many Jews (not Lisa, of course) and followers of eastern religions might be put off by my Christian slant. But many Christians are eventually put off by my neo-Vedantin orientation, not to mention my esoteric and Hermetic understanding of Christianity...
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that an "archetypal Christianity" exists, but that Man's definitions of it perpetually -- and perhaps necessarly -- fall short, for reasons related to Plato's allegory of the cave. However, in my opinion, this is where esoterism, metaphysics, and Hermeticism come to the rescue, as they all deal with the fundamental cosmic principles that simply "cannot not be," and which religion is here to disclose in a way that the average Man can understand.
I align mysoph with Saint Augustine, who wrote that "What we now call the Christian religion existed amongst the ancients, and was from the beginning of the human race, until Christ Himself came in the flesh; from which time the already existing true religion began to be styled Christian." What a profound statement!
I would only add that this true religion never existed "on earth," since it is archetypal. It is the archetypal form in light of which the substance of religion can be seen. But perhaps the most paradoxical thing about it is that it is not superior to the form it takes, any more than the idea of Mother is superior to your dear old Mom, or the baseball rule book is superior to a game.
The "already existing true religion" is the "root religion" of all mankind, bearing in mind that the Tree of Life has its nonlocal roots aloft, its local branches and district offices down below. Because it exists, people could (and can) recognize and understand Christianity when they heard it. Otherwise, Christianity would simply be an absurdity, which it obviously isn't. True, many modern intellectuals regard it as one, but that's only because they aren't intellectuals in the true sense of that word, which means to have an awakened intellect, or nous...
Speaking only for myself -- as something of an inside outsider or outside insider -- I find the most consistently "full" elaboration of this hyperdimensional object to abide within Orthodoxy, with certain vital Catholic contributions added later, for example, Meister Eckhart, whose vision might well be most compatible with my own. (In the near future, I hope to do a series of posts to explore his thought in great detail.)...
For example, if we "reverse imagineer" Christianity, there must be an a priori principle that allows the Creator to take human form, unless the Creator just makes it up as he goes along, like Allah. Likewise, there must be an immanent principle that allows the mind of man to be a witness to Christian truth. In the absence of these principles, then Christ could not have appeared and we couldn't have recognized him anyway; unless you simply insist that this is true, regardless of whether you really understand it. Again, I find such a view unacceptable. This was the Christianity that was foisted upon me as a child, and which caused me to unfortunately reject all Christianity out of hand by the time I was 10 years old.
As Schuon has written, "The very word 'man' implies 'God,' the very word 'relative' implies 'Absolute.'" This is an example of another principle that cannot not be. You could say the same for other irreducible polarities such as time and eternity, spirit and matter, form and substance, freedom and determacy, fate and providence, quantity and quality, individual and group, conscious and unconscious, and others.
I suppose my bottom line -- and this will no doubt smell blasfumy to some -- is that Christianity can be true, but it cannot surpass Truth. While the human mind is "made of truth," it only exists in potential until it is realized. Once you walk the blank into God's arbor and your wood beleaf, the coonundrum ends and the Great Mystery begins. And it is a "mystery in motion," otherwise known as an adventure -- the only one that really Is and has ever been: the adventure of consciousness. Don't listen to the others, most of all me. Just follow the depth, for O is nothing if not deep.

January 16, 2008

Sri Aurobindo: The Revolutionary Philosopher who Defies Description

1. Akhilbooks Id:40517 Image, Symbol and Myth in Sri Aurobindo's Poetry G. S. Pakle
ISBN : 8186622845 / Hardbound Harman Publishing House / Year : 2006
2. Akhilbooks Id:39123 Homer and the Iliad, Sri Aurobindo and Ilion: Illumination, Heroism and Harmony Kireet Joshi (ed.)
ISBN : 8185636834 / Paperback Indian Council of Philosophical Research / Year : 2004
3. Akhilbooks Id:37565 Life and Works of Sri Aurobindo S.R. Sharma
ISBN : 8181520084 / Hardbound Book Enclave / Year : 2003
4. Akhilbooks Id:37261 Aurobindo: The Revolutionary Philosopher who Defies Description: The People who Changed the World
ISBN : 8189297287 / Hardbound Vijay Goel / Year : 2007
5. Akhilbooks Id:35073 The Rainbow Bridge: A Comparative Study of Tagore and Sri Aurobindo Goutam Ghosal
ISBN : 8124604185 / Paperback D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd. / Year : 2007
6. Akhilbooks Id:35059 Understanding thoughts of Sri Aurobindo Krishna Roy (Ed. by) Indrani Sanyal (Ed. by)
ISBN : 8124604029 / Hardbound D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd. / Year : 2007
7. Akhilbooks Id:34612 Speeches: On Indian Politics and National Education Sri Aurobindo
ISBN : 8170587816 / Paperback Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication / Year : 2005
8. Akhilbooks Id:33953 Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest Sri Aurobindo ISBN : 8170588278 / Paperback Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication / Year : 2006
9. Akhilbooks Id:33247 Ideal and Progress Sri Aurobindo
ISBN : 8170581656 / Paperback Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication / Year : 1995
10. Akhilbooks Id:33219 Philosophy and Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and Other Essays Kireet Joshi
ISBN : 8185137943 / Paperback Mother's Institute of Research / Year : 2003
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... New Class

To miss reading Sri Aurobindo is just to miss the bliss of life

Price: $13.57 6 used & new from $12.58 the master at work, April 29, 2006
aurobindo's writing and his existence on earth is proof enough of existence of god. words turns into flower and fragrance when the ink flows through his pen. for those who have been baffled with hymns of vedas and concluded in ignorance about silliness, deification and archaic language; should read this. through sri aurobindo the hymns will become poetry of creation, expressed in language that is at once allegorical as well revealing depending on your understanding. it will make one realise why chants of rig veda are distilled truths that has withstood the rigours of time and epoch. afterall that which is and is truth cannot be subject or object of human thought that fluctuates temporally or spatially? to miss reading aurobindo is just to miss the bliss of life. Comment Permalink
Price: $29.95 36 used & new from $10.77 a wonder , April 29, 2006
Rating this book is like rating god for his creation-a joke of first order. This book is an eternal book, its language ancient, contemporary, futuristic and transcendant. the only way one can approach this book is in quiet contemplation and deep introspection. every thought, doubt and question that might have crossed the minds of humankind is addressed, explained. understanding this book is the puny first step. it needs to realised, acted, lived and revisited. that would be rare human who does not find this book has changed his/her life. one feels like annihilating oneself to greatness of this being. Comment Permalink
Initial post: Feb 23, 2007 3:04 PM PST M. Goswami says:
i would suggest the reader to read Aurobindo's the life divine where in mankind's supreme manisfestation none of his individuality would be lost. monkey to human, caused a leap in variety of personalities. why then a leap from human to superhuman would cause homogenisation? the different between now human and then human would be intuitive than reasoning, continuum than divisive, a all bliss rather evil and good, a harmony instead of discord, a gnostic rather than an agnostic or devout. God will be realised in its infinity and manisfestation. Reviews Written by M. Goswami (rockville, md United States)

January 15, 2008

Encountering all sorts of nearly forgotten thinkers from across the Western tradition

A Catholic Defends the Secular, October 5, 2007 By Robert E. Livingston "Rick" (Columbus, OH USA) - See all my reviews
If you have no previous experience of Charles Taylor, this is not the place to start: 872 pages are a heavy commitment, and Taylor is far from being a great writer. If you want your thinking challenged, try his short essay A Catholic Modernity?: Charles Taylor's Marianist Award Lecture, with responses by William M. Shea, Rosemary Luling Haughton, George Marsden, and Jean Bethke Elshtain, where he previews the argument that secularism actually makes for a fuller realization of Christ's teachings than Christianity allowed. Or, from a different perspective, try William Connolly's Why I Am Not a Secularist, which argues that secular principles are better realized by relaxing secularism.
That said, A Secular Age is vintage Taylor, tracing the roots of secularism deep into the furthest reaches of theology and tracing a series of complicated genealogies of modern thought. It's tough going, and Taylor does have a tendency to loop and qualify in the course of elaborating his claims. But if you have the patience for this kind of Hegel-inspired intellectual-philosophical history, you can count on having your thinking nuanced and complicated as well as encountering all sorts of nearly forgotten thinkers from across the Western tradition. It extends and completes some of the arguments advanced in his earlier Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity Comment Permalink

It was virtually impossible not to believe in God

The central question in Taylor's A Secular Age is how human beings went from a situation just a few hundred years ago, in which naive religious belief was the "default" position and unbelief was unthinkable, to our current cultural situation in which people naively believe that unbelief is the default, or "natural" position, and that belief is somehow superimposed, so to speak, on that. To a certain extent, this simplification is true.
For example, even for contemporary believers, their belief is an option or a choice, at least in the West. For our Islamic enemies, belief is clearly not a choice, since it's difficult to believe anything when your head has been removed from your body. But for the radical left as well, unbelief might as well not be a choice. It's just a naive, unreflective, and kneejerk stance, for example, in our fully secularized academia. Therefore, it seems that only in the freely religious society is the believer able to exercise his freedom to choose God. This is clearly one of the things that makes the United States (and a few other places) so unique and valuable. Just as love isn't love if it is compelled, only if you are free to reject faith is faith truly meaningful. For this reason alone we could say that the present age (at least in the modern West) is -- at least potentially -- more spiritually "evolved" than premodern societies where faith was taken for granted and not freely chosen. Really, the main purpose of my book was to make religion relevant to modern minds who might otherwise be caught up in the cultural template of naive unbelief, and therefore miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime.
I have heard it said that both Christianity and modern rabbinical Judaism were distinct but parallel developments that grew out of the matrix of a more "primitive" Judaism. Despite doctrinal differences, what unites them under the surface is the "interior" turn they reflected in the first century AD.
For example, after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70AD, Jews were forced by circumstances to go from a more exteriorized and ritualistic form of worship to a much more interior understanding, as reflected in the development of the Talmud. It was presaged in the allegorical approach of a Philo Judaeus (20 BC - 50 AD), whose style of thought is remarkably similar to early Christian fathers from Origen to Denys the Areopagite.
Likewise, I think something analogous has happened in the last few hundred years, in that both secularism and contemporary religiosity grew out of a religious matrix in response to the challenges of modernity. Just as there might be a deep "pneuma-cognitive" structure uniting Christianity and Judaism, there might be one that unites the seeming opposites of secularism and modern religiosity, which have worked dialectically to produce a deeper understanding of reality -- but only where both have been allowed to flourish, most notably, in the United States. The "culture war" -- which is very real -- does not -- or at least should not -- involve the effort of one side to vanquish the other. The religious side actually understands this much better than the angry and paranoid secular side, since there is no remotely serious movement that aims to return to a premodern mode of government, in which religious authorities control all aspects of life. Rather, the argument is over the middle area, where the two overlap.
For example, secularists want to ban religion from our schools, but no religious person wants to ban secularism. Either way, it is again totally naive to think of secularism as a sort of religion-free zone, without any distorting preconceptions of its own. In fact, if we want to stand back and take a more disinterested view, we can see that the forces of secularism and religiosity have worked dialectically over the past several centuries to produce something greater, at least in the United States. This was certainly implied in Mead's God and Gold, which I discussed in tedious detail in a series of posts a couple months back.
Religious believers may be naive in failing to realize how secularized their minds are. This was implied in a comment the other day, to the effect that Truth was revealed two thousand years ago in the person of Christ, and that it is only for us to surrender to it. Again, Taylor's book traces the remarkable journey which has taken us

"from a society in which it was virtually impossible not to believe in God, to one in which faith, even for the staunchest believer, is one human possibility among others."

In the past, it was quite easy and "natural" to be a believer, whereas now -- especially if you live near a big city, as I do -- it is a constant challenge, as you must run counter to all of the forces around you. Indeed, I am a Mighty, Mighty Man. Thus, even to say that we must "surrender" to "Truth" is a metaphysically loaded statement, full of preconceptions and problematics that did not exist two thousand years ago.
  • What ever happened to the human mind that allowed it to conceive of and make such a profound choice?
  • And is the freedom to do so a good thing or a bad thing?

No one thought so until quite recently, and most of the world still doesn't think so. No one in Saudi Arabia is given the freedom to be a Muslim, just as, for all practical purposes, no one in liberal academia is free to be, say, a Christian historian in the manner of Christopher Dawson (whom we also discussed in detail in a series of posts a while back), much less a Christian biologist or physicist. In my years of training to become a clinical psychologist, I never encountered a single idea from the extraordinary wellspring of Christian psychological thought from Augustine to the present day -- which is one of the reasons why the field is so off its rocker, for example, reducing man to animal impulses and desires instead of human virtues and responsibilities. The situation is positively kooky, one more reason why I could never be a therapist and instead had to invent the field of coonical pslackology. But nearly all professional organizations have been similarly hijacked by the forces of secular extremism. Well, we're already up to page 3. Only 773 more to go.

January 14, 2008

How this old philosophy holds true even today in this tech-savvy world

Article By Kiran Paranjape: Dear Readers,
Welcome to Sanskrit quotes and quotations. With the help of this blog, I intend to bring to you the best Sanskrit quotes and quotations from ancient Sanskrit language. Written in this Sanskrit language are the ancient spiritual & religious texts viz. Vedas, puranas & Upanishads, great poetical works viz. Ramayana & Mahabharata, earliest thoughts on economy in Kautilya's Arthashastra, treatise on surgery & human health in Sushrut samhita, astronomical observations & Vedic mathematics by Aryabhatta & Varahamihir & many more. These Sanskrit scriptures have invaluable pearls of knowledge, wisdom & ancient Hindu vedantic philosophy. I have made an effort to bring forth all this to you.
I have presented the original Sanskrit quote or quotation followed by its literal English translation. Added to this is the commentary on Sanskrit quote or quotation which explains its meaning in details. I have endeavored to show to the esteemed readers how this old philosophy holds true even today in this tech-savvy world. I sincerely believe these Sanskrit quotes and quotations will prove to be of real help to you & will enrich your life with ancient spiritual wisdom. It is bound to set you on the right path in your life. Happy reading!
About the Author: More about Sanskrit Quotes. Author also provides free translation services from & into English, Sanskrit, Hindi & Marathi.

January 12, 2008

Nine volumes of talks and eight volumes of writings

The 17-volume Collected Works consists of nine volumes of talks and eight volumes of writings (prayers, reflections, essays, sayings, letters and personal notes). Most of these writings and talks were written or spoken in French and appear here in translation. The text on this website is that of the second edition; it is textually the same as the first edition (excepting a few minor corrections), but differs in page numbering.
Each individual volume is available here for viewing and downloading in PDF format. At the end of this list there is a zipped file containing all the PDFs available for download.
All text is copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and is only for personal use.Unauthorised reproduction or distribution in any form, including material and electronic, is prohibited.
The contents of the volumes include:
Volume 1
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Prayers And Meditations313 prayers and meditations, most of them written between 1912 and 1917. Selected by the Mother from her diaries, these prayers form a record of her spiritual experiences at the time.
Volume 2
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Words of Long AgoEarly writings and talks from 1893 to 1920. The volume includes early essays, talks to seekers in Paris, essays written in Japan and Tales of All Times, some stories for children.
Volume 3
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Questions and Answers 1929–1931Conversations about Yoga and life. The Mother answered to questions raised by disciples in 1929 and 1930–1931. The volume also includes her commentaries on The Dhammapada, with a translation of the text.
Volume 4
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Questions and Answers 1950–1951Talks by the Mother on her essays on education, her Questions and Answers 1929, and Sri Aurobindo's The Mother.
Volume 5
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Questions and Answers 1953Talks by the Mother on her Questions and Answers 1929.
Volume 6
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Questions and Answers 1954Talks by the Mother on her essays on education and on three short works of Sri Aurobindo: Elements of Yoga, The Mother and Bases of Yoga.
Volume 7
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Questions and Answers 1955Talks on Sri Aurobindo's Bases of Yoga, a chapter from The Human Cycle, two chapters from The Synthesis of Yoga, and the Mother's play, The Great Secret.
Volume 8
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Questions and Answers 1956Talks on Sri Aurobindo's Synthesis of Yoga (Part One) and his Thoughts and Glimpses.
Volume 9
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Questions and Answers 1957–1958Talks on Sri Aurobindo's Thoughts and Glimpses, The Supramental Manifestation upon Earth and the last six chapters of The Life Divine.
Volume 10
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07On Thoughts and AphorismsCommentaries on Sri Aurobindo's Thoughts and Aphorisms, with the text.
Volume 11
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Notes on the WayConversations with a disciple between 1964 and 1973 about the Mother's "sadhana of the body" and the experiences she was undergoing towards the end of her life.
Volume 12
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07On EducationEssays on education and self-development; correspondence and conversations with students and teachers of the Ashram school and captains of its Physical Education Department; and three plays: Towards the Future, The Great Secret and The Ascent to Truth.
Volume 13
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Words of the MotherShort written statements on Sri Aurobindo, herself, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville, India and other nations.
Volume 14
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Words of the MotherShort written statements on Yoga and life: the individual's relationship with the Divine, the path of Yoga, qualities needed in Yoga, difficulties of spiritual life, human relationships and work.
Volume 15
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Words of the MotherShort written statements on Yoga and life: the Divine and the Universe, adverse forces, religion, occultism, morality, war, wealth, government, transformation, the Supramental, illness and health, messages, prayers and talks.
Volume 16
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07Some Answers of the MotherCorrespondence with fourteen persons on Yoga and life. The Mother replied to the questions and comments of disciples living in the Ashram and students of the Ashram school.
Volume 17
PDF last updated: 18 Dec 07More Answers of the MotherCorrespondence with six persons about Yoga and life. The Mother replied to the questions and comments of disciples living in the Ashram and students of the Ashram school.
All PDFs Collected PDFsZipped file of all the above PDFs. 49.7MB ashram visitors darshan selected works research music publications image gallery © 1999 - 2007 Copyright Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. All rights reserved.