November 27, 2008

What is man? And, what is his status in relation to Being?

12 Integralism and Modern Philosophical Anthropology

THE purpose of this discussion will be to help an assessment of the concept of man in Sri Aurobindo's philosophy in the light of what is getting known, on the European continent, as 'philosophical anthropology'. Our procedure will be to start with laying down the main lines of research brought together under the title 'Philosophical Anthropology' and then to follow it up with a statement of Sri Aurobindo's concept of man, assessing its value and relevance for the contemporary discussion of this theme. 1
The term 'Philosophical Anthropology' was introduced in our time, and the task of the discipline outlined, by Max Scheler in his Die Stellung des Menschen im Kosmos (1928). But Scheler had already formulated the main ideas in an essay 'Zur Ideedes Menschen' as early as 1914. The central problem with which Scheler's philosophy is concerned is: What is man? And, what is his status in relation to Being? This problem is handled by Scheler in many of its aspects. The specific nature of human feelings is discussed in Wesen und Formen der Sympathie: the relation of man to history is discussed in the essay 'Menschund Geschichte'; the possibility of human development is...

1 Compare, for this entire theme, the author's Modern Philosophical Anthropology and the Concept of Man in Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy ( Bombay: Sri Aurobindo Circle Annual, 1956).
Questia Media America, Inc. Publication Information: Book Title: The Integral Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo: A Commemorative Symposium. Contributors: Haridas Chaudhuri - editor, Frederic Spiegelberg - editor. Publisher: George Allen & Unwin. Place of Publication: London. Publication Year: 1960. Page Number: 155.

When Sri Aurobindo was an undertrial prisoner for one year in Alipore jail, 1908-09

Ascent to Supermind
by RY Deshpande on Thu 27 Nov 2008 12:17 AM IST Permanent Link Cosmos

In a recent book presenting the life of Sri Aurobindo we have a chapter entitled The Ascent to Supermind: Pondicherry 1915-1926. This chapter gives an impression that during this period Sri Aurobindo was making progress in the discovery of supermind, climbing step by step towards it. But he already had the knowledge of it with him, at least for a couple of years now, even much prior to the meeting with the Mother on 29 March 1914. Perhaps the first indication was when he was an undertrial prisoner for one year in Alipore jail, 1908-09...

We have to be pretty attentive towards these “visible” disclosures in the life of Sri Aurobindo. RY Deshpande
Mirror of Tomorrow Posted to: Main Page [Cf. Permanent Link]

November 24, 2008

Not by diluting the spiritual contents

The Spiritual Aim in Society
from Mirror of Tomorrow by RY Deshpande

...If our endeavour is to take the spiritual aim to society, society that is not yet open to it, then the problems can arise, many problems can arise. It can even be construed as a kind of proselytization. In fact even more serious problems can arise. But one thing is certain: it cannot be, should not be by diluting the spiritual contents; it is not by adjusting or simplifying it, in order to accommodate the prevailing conditions of the society, by fiddling with it so that what it can understand and accept is fitted into it. Otherwise it would be an imposition of the spiritual on the worldly or mundane...

God's Wings
from Mirror of Tomorrow by RY Deshpande
...She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. Then the blaze had arrived and the heat had scorched her small body, the mother had remained steadfast ...because she had been willing to die, so those under the cover of her wings would live.

The Origin of Death
from Savitri: the Light of the Supreme by RY Deshpande
Even in the darkest Unconsciousness there was something, like the remembrance of the Divine Origin, and it had an urge to wake up to existence...

November 21, 2008

RY Deshpande's Mirror of Tomorrow

She is viśvadravyāvati,containing the universal plenitudes. She is urūvyachā, the matrix in which all have taken birth, the widely expanded. She is dhārayatkşītim, coextensive with all that is manifest. She is dévī, the luminous divine Goddess as the giver of benedictions. Taking mortal birth, she toils to receive from the Supreme the Boon for the Soul of the Earth. The Supramental manifestation has taken place and now more and more of it shall be in its great and luminous sequel, in its assured rhythm and movement. It is for that that she works. But if there is to be a divine destiny for the Earth, it must be because of the Earth’s free choice. The Mother respects that free choice and she works that it develops in glowing freedom of the Truth and the Right and the Vast. Earth has hesitation because of the inconscient past and it is that which must be removed. Therefore the Mother’s occult and yogic sadhana got focused towards it. She has to work with the physical, to make the mind of the physical, the mind of the body’s cells ready to receive the supramental Light and Force, ready to receive the divine Grace. Mirror of Tomorrow :: Towards the New Body—the Significance of the ...
That is the significance of the Mother’s passing away, justifying also the significance of Sri Aurobindo’s passing away. For the work of transformation he had to go, and it was she who had to do it. The Mother’s failure would have ... by RY Deshpande on Thu 20 Nov 2008 08:30 AM IST Permanent Link Cosmos Mirror of Tomorrow - Our Vision
It will be the endeavour to seek and express all that ennobles the human spirit in its quest towards perfection, towards truth and beauty and joy and sweetness and love, towards fulfilment of the sense of immortality present in its deeper soul, its ceaseless aspiration for the higher manifestation even in the material creation. The Mirror shall reflect and reflect upon things of tomorrow, bring closer the human destinies by approaching the future as much as by beckoning the future to enter into its thousand possibilities.


Savitri: the Light of the Supreme :: The Legend of Savitri—with ...
If this is so, we can well realize why Sri Aurobindo treats the Savitri-story simultaneously as a legend and a symbol. No wonder also that his elaborate presentation of the theme in his epic should essentially focus itself on ... Savitri: the Light of the Supreme -


All choice: The Eternal Mother
by Barindranath Chaki The spiritual journey of Man has a revolutionary and evolutionary turning since Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. They have given Spirituality a completely new turn and definition, a completely new purpose and value. Sri Aurobindo and The ... All choice -

The Eternal Mother by Barindranath Chaki — Gaia Community
And then She has entered the New Body, which is eternal and immortal. Sri Aurobindo has a supramental Body, but that cannot function at present on earth in a direct manner, whereas The Mother’s Body is nearer to the earth. ... Gaia Community: Barin's Blog -

November 19, 2008

The prime sentiment of life of mundane beings is Eros. Beauty, attraction, union and creation are the series of the artistic world

Gita-Govinda of Jayadeva : A Literary Observation / H.K.Meher GĪTA-GOVINDA OF JAYADEVA : A LITERARY OBSERVATION By : Dr. Harekrishna Meher Gīta-Govinda of Poet Jayadeva is a great creation depicting the eternal love-story of Rādhā and Krishna. Conglomeration of Sāhitya, Sańgīta and Kalā (literature, music and art) are simultaneously preserved in this kāvya... Path of Devotion of the Vaishnavites, Musical Excellence of the devotees of Gāndharva Art and Relish of erotic sentiment for the connoisseurs of literature – all these are found intermingled in this kāvya. BLEND OF EROS SENTIMENT AND DEVOTION:

‘Rasa’ is regarded as the form of Brahman. The Upanishadic statement “Raso vai sah” succinctly manifests the Supreme Self as Blissful Relish. In rhetorical works, Rasa has been explained as ‘Brahmāsvāda-Sahodara’ (Sāhitya Darpaņa, Chapter-3 / 2). Life and literature, both are inevitably interrelated to each other. The prime sentiment of life of mundane beings is Eros. Beauty, attraction, union and creation are the series of the artistic world. Rati, erotic pleasure, is the main instinct of all the creatures of the world. Therefore ‘Śrińgāra’ is widely known as ‘Ādi Rasa’, the first sentiment enumerated in literature.

In most of the bodies of Indian temples, erotic designs are generally found, even if devotees having a heart filled with devotion to gods and goddesses enter into the sites. Such designs or depictions though externally carry some unpalatable taste in contrast with inner devotional relish, yet they symbolize duality and creation of the world with a touch of aesthetic sense in the form of Eros. Mahābhārata and other various epical compositions contextually exhibit numerous verses of erotic pleasures. Such delineations may be construed as poetic lapses in one sense, but intrinsically they portray the inevitable experiences of human life filled with feelings and emotions

‘Śrińgāra’, Eros is the prevailing sentiment of Gīta-Govinda kāvya. Both ‘Vipralambha’(Love-in-Separation) and ‘Sambhoga’(Love-in-Union) Śrińgāra have been elaborated in the entire lyrical composition. Without feeling of separation, happiness or excellence of pleasurable union cannot be experienced. The noted rhetorician Viśvanātha Kavirāja, has rightly discussed this matter in his Sāhitya-Darpaņa and has opined :

“Na vinā vipralambhena sambhogah pushţim aśnute.” ( Chapter 3 / 213 ).

Sans separation, love-in-union does not acquire proper nourishment. So for excellence and strong effect in Sambhoga, Vipralambha has been elucidated as an essential phenomenon in human life.Poet Kālidāsa in his famous gītikāvya Meghadūta depicts :

“Snehānāhuh kimapi virahe dhvamsinaste tvabhogād /Ishţe vastunyupachita-rasāh prema-rāśībhavanti // ” (Megha. Verse 118).

During the gap of separation (Viraha), due to lack of enjoyment, relish of affections becomes enhanced, and the affections turn into accumulated love immensely enjoyable at the time of union.

In the pen of Jayadeva, Rādhā is contextually described as a ‘Virahiņī Nāyikā’ and finally she enjoys union with her eternal lover Krishna. Here Krishna is presented as Dhīrodātta Nāyaka. He enjoys pleasure with several Gopī damsels. Rādhā is Parakīyā Nāyikā. She has been contextually described as Virahotkaņţhitā, Khaņđitā, Kalahāntaritā, Abhisārikā, Vāsaka-Sajjā and Svādhīna-Bharttrikā Nāyikā. In the sensuous scenario of love, Rādhā is a lovely murmuring effulgent fountain and Krishna is the vast ocean of love. Both the lives attain supreme bliss in union only.

Ŗādhā in an inner sense is deemed as Individual Self (Jīvātmā) and Krishna as the Supreme Self (Paramātmā). The external design of eroticism gives an internal meaning of philosophical phenomenon. Rādhā is considered as ‘Prakriti’ (Primordial Matter), while Krishna is regarded as the Supreme Being ( Purusha). Union of Jīvātmā with Paramātmā, or of Prakriti with Purusha is understood here.

Poet Jayadeva clearly indicates the main theme of amorous pleasures of Śrī (Rādhā) and Vāsudeva (Krishna) in the verse :

“Śrī-Vāsudeva-rati-keli-kathā-sametam Etam karoti Jayadeva-kavih prabandham // ” (GG. I / 2 ).

In Sanskrit literature, ‘prabandha’ is a general term for kāvya or gīta or literary composition. Gīta-Govinda is not simply the descriptive work of erotic pleasure of Rādhā-Krishna. Here in inner perspective, humanistic, philosophical and spiritual or theistic trends of life are also observed.

(This article presented in the 'National Seminar on Jayadeva' held on 3-11-2008 by Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi in its Conference Hall, has been published in SOUVENIR of Jayadeva Utsav-2008 organised by Odissi Akademi, Delhi.) * * * Posted by Dr. Harekrishna Meher at 1:40 AM Labels:

November 18, 2008

Moblike they stoned a neighbour caught in sin

A capital was there without a State:
It had no ruler, only groups that strove.
He saw a city of ancient Ignorance
Founded upon a soil that knew not Light.
There each in his own darkness walked alone:
Only they agreed to differ in Evil's paths,
To live in their own way for their own selves
Or to enforce a common lie and wrong;
There Ego was lord upon his peacock seat
And Falsehood sat by him, his mate and queen:
The world turned to them as Heaven to Truth and God.
Injustice justified by firm decrees
The sovereign weights of Error's legalised trade,
But all the weights were false and none the same;
Ever she watched with her balance and a sword,
Lest any sacrilegious word expose
The sanctified formulas of her old misrule.
In high professions wrapped self-will walked wide
And licence stalked prating of order and right:
There was no altar raised to Liberty;
True freedom was abhorred and hunted down:
Harmony and tolerance nowhere could be seen;
Each group proclaimed its dire and naked Law.
A frame of ethics knobbed with scriptural rules
Or a theory passionately believed and praised
A table seemed of high Heaven's sacred code.
A formal practice mailed and iron-shod
Gave to a rude and ruthless warrior kind
Drawn from the savage bowels of the earth
A proud stern poise of harsh nobility,
A civic posture rigid and formidable.
But all their private acts belied the pose:
Power and utility were their Truth and Right,
An eagle rapacity clawed its coveted good,
Beaks pecked and talons tore all weaker prey.
In their sweet secrecy of pleasant sins
Nature they obeyed and not a moralist God.
Inconscient traders in bundles of contraries,
They did what in others they would persecute;
When their eyes looked upon their fellow's vice,
An indignation flamed, a virtuous wrath;
Oblivious of their own deep-hid offence,
Moblike they stoned a neighbour caught in sin.
A pragmatist judge within passed false decrees,
Posed worst iniquities on equity's base,
Reasoned ill actions just, sanctioned the scale
Of the merchant ego's interest and desire.
Thus was a balance kept, the world could live.
A zealot fervour pushed their ruthless cults,
All faith not theirs bled scourged as heresy;
They questioned, captived, tortured, burned or smote
And forced the soul to abandon right or die.
Amid her clashing creeds and warring sects
Religion sat upon a blood-stained throne.
A hundred tyrannies oppressed and slew
And founded unity upon fraud and force.
Only what seemed was prized as real there:
The ideal was a cynic ridicule's butt;
Hooted by the crowd, mocked by enlightened wits,
Spiritual seeking wandered outcasted,--
A dreamer's self-deceiving web of thought
Or mad chimaera deemed or hypocrite's fake,
Its passionate instinct trailed through minds obscure
Lost in the circuits of the Ignorance.
A lie was there the truth and truth a lie.
Here must the traveller of the upward Way--
For daring Hell's kingdoms winds the heavenly route--
Pause or pass slowly through that perilous space,
A prayer upon his lips and the great Name.
If probed not all discernment's keen spear-point,
He might stumble into falsity's endless net.
Over his shoulder often he must look back
Like one who feels on his neck an enemy's breath;
Else stealing up behind a treasonous blow
Might prostrate cast and pin to unholy soil,
Pierced through his back by Evil's poignant stake.
Savitri Book II The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
Canto VII The Descent into Night Page 208 -210

Every voluntary or involuntary effort, activity or drive to better individual or community life, is yoga

Speaking Treel Mind over Matter l God in Gucci
Achieve perfection with integral yoga TOI 18 Nov 2008, SUDIP TALUKDAR Integral yoga or the yoga of self-perfection synthesises the collective potential of traditional disciplines like bhakti, gyan and karma yogas, to reorient human nature into bringing the supramental or the highest octave of consciousness, down to the earth plane.

Each of the other yogic systems develops a particular faculty, geared towards liberation of the appropriate part. In bhakti yoga, for instance, one approaches God with unconditional love, devotion and veneration. Karma yoga offers every activity to the Divine in a spirit of selfless service, without any expectation.
Integral yoga, which is more comprehensive in its sweep, aims at the total perfection of not one but all parts of the being. It directs the flow of consciousness from soul to the lower levels rather than begin from the bottom up purifying as it descends. This can prove effective only by the instrumentality of like-minded souls, jointly engaged in the endeavour. The core group will act as catalyst in 'Godward' progress. Sri Aurobindo saw this as being "decreed and inevitable in the evolution of earth consciousness".

Integral yoga strips successive layers of the body and mind of every vestige of inertia, falsehood and lower nature, down to the very innards of its tiniest cell, in order to unclog channels for the descent of divine consciousness. Once empowered, it taps into and coopts nature to help hasten its ongoing evolution of divinised beings.
Every voluntary or involuntary effort, activity or drive to better individual or community life, is yoga. It is nature operating through human agency to materialise progress and growth. As a sentient being, man is capable of cooperating with this inexorable evolutionary movement and bring about desired changes in a compressed time-frame, which, if left to itself, would have taken eons. The key is integral yoga with a three-fold approach:

  • intense aspiration for the Divine,
  • rejection of all that is inimical to the path and
  • total surrender or opening oneself to the Divine.

It perceives Godhead as the fundamental unity permeating every atom of diverse creation, or the centrality of the spirit underlying nature, growth, life, material and non-material phenomena. Developed and perfected by Sri Aurobindo in 40 years of unbroken sadhna, it aims at nothing less than the transmutation of matter, a tectonic shift from the earlier quest of sages to help man rise above his mundane limitations.

The Mahayogi who had plumbed the heights and depths of life as revolutionary, political leader, statesman, philosopher, poet-writer and spiritual genius long realised that unless basic fault lines and destructive patterns ingrained in the human psyche were eradicated, the world would never be free of strife. That virtually implied recasting the flawed genetic script before humankind was rid of its demons of base passions and impulses, lying at the root of global unrest today.
"The object of my yoga", Sri Aurobindo wrote, "is to remove absolutely and entirely every possible source of error and ineffectiveness... in order that the Truth I shall show to many may be perfect and effectiveness in order that the work of changing the world... may be entirely victorious and irresistible. It is for this reason that I have been going through so long a discipline... busy laying down the foundation, a work severe and painful".
A B Purani quotes Sri Aurobindo mentioning once how he encountered "the formidable resistance of the inconscient", while engaged in the task of opening up human cells to the Divine light. The Mother, who took up from where the Saint left off after his samadhi, indicated in her notes that "body consciousness" residing in its aggregate of cells, imprinted with fixed impressions, was the most impervious to change. Without overcoming which, Supramental transformation would be incomplete.

November 15, 2008

Patterns of intellectual networks and their inner divisions and conflicts

About this book Preview this book
The Sociology of Philosophies By Randall Collins
Harvard University Press
Randall Collins traces the movement of philosophical thought in ancient Greece, China, Japan, India, the medieval Islamic and Jewish world, medieval Christendom, and modern Europe. What emerges from this history is a social theory of intellectual change, one that avoids both the reduction of ideas to the influences of society at large and the purely contingent local construction of meanings. Instead, Collins focuses on the social locations where sophisticated ideas are formed: the patterns of intellectual networks and their inner divisions and conflicts.
Published by Harvard University Press, 2000 ISBN 0674001877, 9780674001879 1098 pages Write review
sociology, Chou Tun-yi, Fichte
Coalitions in the Mind
law of small, cultural capital, emotional energy
Networks across the Generations
Mencius, Neo-Confucians, Chuang Tzu
Ancient China
Taoist, Mohist, Wang Pi
External and Internal Politics of the Intellectual
Buddhist, Samkhya, Nyaya
Buddhist and NeoConfucian China
Ch'an, Confucian, Hua-yen
Kyoto school, koan, Shinto
Conclusions to Part
Asian, monasticism, Hindu
Medieval Christendom
madrasas, Islam, hadith
The Inner Autonomy of the University
Averroist, Averroes, Henry of Ghent
The Breakup of Theological Philosophy
nominalist, Walter Chatton, Oxford Calculators
The Humanists
Thomism, nominalist, Baghdad
The Intellectual Demoralization of the Late
Descartes, scientific revolution, astronomy
Secularization and Philosophical
Deism, Malebranche, Descartes
Husserl, phenomenology, Frege
Sequence and Branch in the Social Production
Vaisheshika, Numerology, Ito Jinsai
Cosmological Epistemological
monotheism, al-Ghazali, cosmology
The Future of Philosophy
Brahman, Upanishads, Sarvastivadins
The Clustering of Contemporaneous Creativity
Notes References Index of Persons Index of Subjects

November 14, 2008

There are many ways to answer bad scholarship

V has left a new comment on your post "Champaklal Ji never tolerated any insult or slander...":

S, There are also many like myself who may be disappointed by PH's book, but do not believe that attacking him personally, or signing petitions, or getting him thrown out of the Ashram, or using this as a pretext to settle old personal scores and enimities, is the solution. There are many ways to answer bad scholarship. And while one admires Champaklal's intense devotion and love that would tolerate nothing amiss said about Them, don't forget Nolini's calm wideness and vastness either.

Perhaps Nolini too may have (or may not have) disliked the tenor of PH's book, but indeed I wonder if Nolini would have sided with that unholy jingoist tribe (Shraddhalu, Alok Pande, Kittu Reddy, Ananda Reddy etc.) who made such a ruckus and mess of the whole affair, vitiating the atmosphere of the Integral Yoga community, (and disheartening even those of us who felt the book was unworthy of emerging from an Ashramite's pen) all in the name of being so-called "hero warriors"? Nay, the movement spearheaded by the above and followed by unamed others, had little of the quiet vastness and calm intensity and wide devotion which must be the yardstick of all truly spiritually inspired action. Posted by V to Savitri Era Religious Fraternity at 10:09 PM, November 14, 2008

V has left a new comment on your post "Mecca and Mantra":

The same story applies to those who have been trying to demonize Peter and his book as well, my friend... Posted by V to Savitri Era at 10:18 PM, November 14, 2008

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Nirmal Nahar has refuted the preposterous claim of...": Hi Tusar,

I have read the book by Peter Heehs and it is evident that his "research" has all the facts (to his likings), which are out of context and his "research" is so meticulous that he has attempted to give facts a new life and re-write history as he, Peter, sees fit. S'Hees'h. I guess Peter does not respect Sri Aurobindo 'cus Peter is full of Peter, i.e. full of shit. Posted by Anonymous to Aurora Mirabilis at 11:26 AM, October 30, 2008 [5:02 PM]

Sri Aurobindo on the Ideal Social Order

Essays on Indian Philosophy by J N Mohanty
Our Price: $29.95 USD 347 Pages (Year: 2002) Oxford University Press ~ ISBN: 0195658787 Description This collection of essays by professor J.N Mohanty ‘chart's… a sort of intellectual autobiography’ and traces his reflection in India philosophy and arrange of other issues, over a span of forty years.

Part I deals with problems in metaphysics, epistemology, and language, along with thoughtful treatments of notions such as experience, self, consciousness, doubt, tradition, and modernity.

Essays in part 11 written during the turbulent post Independence years, survey issue in social ethics, reforms activities, and religion, variously in the works of Aurobindo, Gandhi, Vinobha, and Rammohun Roy.

Part 111 discusses the encounter between phenomenology and philosophy, between Indian and Western philosophy, through an incisive analysis of some major concerns of philosophy, through an incisive analysis of some major concerns of philosophy, anywhere.
The collection ends with some thoughts of the future of Indian philosophy. Those keen on keeping abreast with the ‘other’ interests and equally phenomenology and philosophical current, will find in these essays an invigorating and challenging thrust. The editor’s substantial introduction followed by the author’s own prologue set the scene for a stimulating read.
EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS: The essays in this collection are delightful reading….. Replete with argumentative skill.’- The Book Review‘ Jitendra Mohanty triumphs because of his generosity of understanding and closeness of the voice of earth-bound man. This if the true Indian spirit of philosophy: an integral view of the near and the Far, Being and Becoming Today and Tomorrow.’- The Hindu

Table of Contents Part 1: SOME PROBLEMS IN METAPHYICS, EPOSTEMOLOGY AND LANGUAGE Philosophy as Reflection on Experience The Concept of Metaphysics The Concept of IntuitionKalidas Bhattacharyya as a metaphysician Some Thoughts on Daya Krishna's Three MythsConsciousness in Vedanta Can the Self become an Object? (Thoughts on Samkara's statement: Nayam atma Subject and Person: Eastern and Western Modes of Thinking about ManReflections on the Nyaya Theory of Avayavipratyaksa Nyaya Theory of Doubt

Can the science of consciousness help media technology

Toward a Science of Consciousness 2009 Hong Kong, Announcement and Call for Papers
From: quantumleap2020@xxxxxxxxx Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2008 11:42:27 -0800 (PST) Investigating Inner Experience Brain, Mind, Technology Hong Kong, China, June 11-14, 2009
Long a meeting place for Eastern and Western ideas and the media capital of Asia, Hong Kong, China hosts the 15th in a series of Toward a Science of Consciousness conferences held yearly since 1994. The conferences are known for broad, interdisciplinary and multi-faceted approaches to the age-old question of how the brain produces consciousness awareness
Subjective inner experience has long been approached through introspection, mysticism, and meditative contemplation, and revealed through art, mythology and ritual. In the past half century, science has found computation among neurons to explain brain functions, and promoted the possibility of conscious machines. Now, various media technologies attempt to communicate, simulate and re-create inner experience. In a spirit of synergy, the conference is organized along three entwined themes.
BRAIN: Does consciousness require axonal firing explosions, dendritic synchrony, global assemblies, recurrent loops, mobile agents or finer-scale activities inside neurons? What do mechanisms of mind-altering drugs tell us about consciousness? What can brain imaging and electrical recording tell us about conscious and unconscious processing?
MIND: How can subjective experience be studied objectively? Are Western analytical and Eastern contemplative methods complementary? Do ordinary states of consciousness differ in measurable brain activity from altered and meditative states? What essential features of inner experience can be best reported and artistically portrayed?
TECHNOLOGY: How can technology best interface with consciousness? Can consciousness exist in technology? Can the science of consciousness help media technology become more attuned to human subjective experience? Can functional brain organization be useful in technology design?
A Plenary Program, Pre-Conference Workshops, social events and side trips will be announced. The conference precedes the IEEE Conference on Cognitive Informatics in Hong Kong (June 15-17), and is affiliated with other events in June, 2009 which are part of an Asia Consciousness Festival -
Submissions of original papers related to the three themes are invited from philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, phenomenology, media, technology, games, computer science, and other related fields. Abstract submission will be open until February 1, 2009. For registration, abstract submission and further information see
Abstract Submissions: Submissions demonstrating media, technology and art attempting to simulate consciousness are invited for a special session. Prizes will be awarded for the best demos. Abstract submitters will be notified regarding abstract assignment within two weeks of submission. Sponsored by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, MERECL and the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona
Conference Organizers Gino Yu, Hong Kong Polytechnic University David Chalmers, Australian National University Stuart Hameroff, The University of Arizona
Program Committee Roy Ascott - University of Plymouth David Chalmers - Australian National University Richard Davidson - University of Wisconsin Majid Fotuhi - Johns Hopkins University Baroness Susan Greenfield - Oxford University Stuart Hameroff - University of Arizona Allen Houng - National Yang Ming University, Taiwan Shier Ju - Sun Yat-sen University Hakwan Lau - Columbia University Olga Louchakova - Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Jefferey Martin - California Institute of Integral Studies Ryojei Nakatsu - National University of Singapore Dean Radin - Institute of Noetic Sciences Sraddhalu Ranade - Sri Aurobindo Ashram Matthias Rauterberg - TU Eindhoven Thomas Ray - University of Oklahoma Pamela Rugledge - Media Psychology Research Center Marilyn Schlitz - Institute of Noetic Sciences Dan Siegel - Mindsight Institute Jeff Warren - Author Charles Whitehead - University of Westminster, London Gino Yu - Hong Kong Polytechnic University # # #.

November 13, 2008

Because the true and total solution is beyond our present capacity

Sri Aurobindo

Moreover, human good and evil are relative and the standards erected by ethics are uncertain as well as relative: what is forbidden by one religion or another, what is regarded as good or bad by social opinion, what is thought useful to society or noxious to it, what some temporary law of man allows or disallows, what is or is considered helpful or harmful to self or others, what accords with this or that ideal, what is prompted or discouraged by an instinct which we call conscience, — an amalgam of all these viewpoints is the determining heterogeneous idea, constitutes the complex substance of morality; in all of them there is the constant mixture of truth and half-truth and error which pursues all the activities of our limiting mental Knowledge-Ignorance. A mental control over our vital and physical desires and instincts, over our personal and social action, over our dealings with others is indispensable to us as human beings, and morality creates a standard by which we can guide ourselves and establish a customary control; but the control is always imperfect and it is an expedient, not a solution: man remains always what he is and has ever been, a mixture of good and evil, sin and virtue, a mental ego with an imperfect command over his mental, vital and physical nature...[Page 625]

To develop the sattwic part of our nature, a nature of light, understanding, balance, harmony, sympathy, good-will, kindness, fellow-feeling, self-control, rightly ordered and harmonised action, is the best we can do in the limits of the mental formation, but it is a stage and not the goal of our growth of being. These are solutions by the way, palliatives, necessary means for a partial dealing with this root difficulty, provisional standards and devices given us as a temporary help and guidance because the true and total solution is beyond our present capacity and can only come when we have sufficiently evolved to see it and make it our main endeavour.

The true solution can intervene only when by our spiritual growth we can become one self with all beings, know them as part of our self, deal with them as if they were our other selves; for then the division is healed, the law of separate self-affirmation leading by itself to affirmation against or at the expense of others is enlarged and liberated by adding to it the law of our self-affirmation for others and our self-finding in their self-finding and self-realisation. It has been made a rule of religious ethics to act in a spirit of universal compassion, to love one's neighbour as oneself, to do to others as one would have them do to us, to feel the joy and grief of others as one's own; but no man living in his ego is able truly and perfectly to do these things, he can only accept them as a demand of his mind, an aspiration of his heart, an effort of his will to live by a high standard and modify by a sincere endeavour his crude ego-nature. It is when others are known and felt intimately as oneself that this ideal can become a natural and spontaneous rule of our living and be realised in practice as in principle. But even oneness with others is not enough by itself, if it is a oneness with their ignorance; for then the law of ignorance will work and error of action and wrong action will survive even if diminished in degree and mellowed in incidence and character.

Our oneness with others must be fundamental, not a oneness with their minds, hearts, vital selves, egos,—even though these come to be included in our universalised consciousness,—but a oneness in the soul and spirit, and that can only come by our liberation into soul-awareness and self-knowledge. To be ourselves liberated from ego and realise our true selves is the first necessity; all else can be achieved as a luminous result, a necessary consequence. That is one reason why a spiritual call must be accepted as imperative and take precedence over all other claims, intellectual, ethical, social, that belong to the domain of the Ignorance. For the mental law of good abides in that domain and can only modify and palliate; nothing can be a sufficient substitute for the spiritual change that can realise the true and integral good because through the spirit we come to the root of action and existence. [Page 629]

Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > The Life Divine Volume-18 > The Origin And Remedy Of Falsehood, Error, Wrong And Evil

November 11, 2008

They have been regressive; actually seeking redemption in the inner self-certainty of identity at a primeval level

Jennifer Cascadia Emphatic Says: November 11, 2008 at 3:59 am
Identity politics maintains an emotional and cultural milieu of pre-Oedipal projective identification, as each group tries to purify itself be projecting its faeces onto the Other. It would be better to have a more rational platform to debate from, than this.

larvalsubjects Says: November 11, 2008 at 4:14 am
Jennifer, I think this is an interesting way of putting things. In many respect I believe that capitalism is a post-Oedipal era; which isn’t to say that Oedipus has disappeared, only that it is no longer the dominant structuring principle. As a result, we begin to search for supplements to this structure. One example might be identities. I’ve also been interested in the rise of tattoos in this connection.

Jennifer Cascadia Emphatic Says: November 11, 2008 at 4:26 am
Well what I think we have seen in the right wing movements and hegemony in the West has been an attempt to find identity by digging down, by reduction, by essentialising to the most simple and simplistic elements.

I might agree with you that capitalism itself is post-oedipal, however the movements that have hijacked the West have been of a pre-Oedipal formation. They have been regressive; actually seeking redemption in the inner self-certainty of identity at a primeval level, (which, at an adult level, is simply nothing, or a void of logic and reason.) And leftist identity politics, whilst not in its historical inception nihilistic, has not been able to clearly able to distinguish itself from this other kind of nihilistic trend. That is because it all too easily (more often than not) falls into using the same mechanisms of projection and splitting.

Murky Thoughts: From Name-of-the-Father to Sinthome– Part 1 from Larval Subjects November 10, 2008 11:13 AM

November 06, 2008

The petitioner alleged that Peter Heehs' book is blasphemous in nature

Orissa HC sets condition for release of Sri Aurobindo's biography Cuttack Wednesday, Nov 5 2008 IST Home

Orissa High Court has directed the publisher of a biography on the life of Sri Aurobindo, penned by Peter Heehs, not to release the book in India without obtaining a no objection certificate from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Union Home Ministry.
Acting on a petition filed by one Geetanjali Devi of Balasore, a division bench of Orissa High Court, comprising Justices I M Quddusi and B P Ray, yesterday instructed Penguin Publishers to get the no objection certificate from the two Ministries before releasing the biography in India.

The biography, published by Columbia University Press, has already been released in the United States while Penguin Publishers is slated to release the book in India this month.
The division bench also directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to examine in detail the contents of the book and submit its report to the court by December 15 on the allegations of certain defamatory comments on the spiritual leader held in high esteem by the people of the country.

The petitioner alleged that the book is blasphemous in nature and the writer has made several aspersions on the life and character of Sri Aurobindo, regarded as philosopher, sage, poet and freedom fighter by the countrymen.
The petition further said the author, who claimed to be a scholar and one of the founders of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives, had also made a certain description of Sri Aurobindo which was unacceptable and appealed for a ban on the publication of the book.
The division bench, while issuing notice to the publishers, has sought affidavit from the two Ministries and fixed December 15 as the next date of hearing. -- (UNI) -- 05CA17. xml

November 05, 2008

Increasing embodiment of the divine law of being in life

Sri Aurobindo

The spiritual view holds that the mind, life, body are man's means and not his aims and even that they are not his last and highest means; it sees them as his outer instrumental self and not his whole being. It sees the infinite behind all things finite and it adjudges the value of the finite by higher infinite values of which they are the imperfect translation and towards which, to a truer expression of them, they are always trying to arrive. It sees a greater reality than the apparent not only behind man and the world, but within man and the world and this soul, self, divine thing in man it holds to be that in him which is of the highest importance, that which everything else in him must try in whatever way to bring out and express, and this soul, self, divine presence in the world it holds to be that which man has ever to try to see and recognise through all appearances, to unite his thought and life with it and in it to find his unity with his fellows. This alters necessarily our whole normal view of things; even in preserving all the aims of human life, it will give them a different sense and direction.

We aim at the health and vigour of the body; but with what object? For its own sake, will be the ordinary reply, because it is worth having; or else that we may have long life and a sound basis for our intellectual, vital, emotional satisfactions. Yes, for its own sake, in a way, but in this sense that the physical too is an expression of the spirit and its perfection is worth having, is part of the Dharma of the complete human living; but still more as a basis for all that higher activity which ends in the discovery and expression of the divine self in man, sariram khalu dharma- sãdhanam, runs the old Sanskrit saying, the body too is our means for fulfilling the Dharma, the Godward law of our being.

The mental, the emotional, the aesthetic parts of us have to be developed, is the ordinary view, so that they may have a greater satisfaction or because that is man's finer nature, because so he feels himself more alive and fulfilled. This, but not this only; rather because these things too are the expressions of the spirit, things which are seeking in him for their divine values and by their growth, subtlety, flexibility, power, intensity he is able to come nearer to the divine Reality in the world, to lay hold on it variously, to tune eventually his whole life into unity and conformity with it. Morality is in the ordinary view a well-regulated individual and social conduct which keeps society going and leads towards a better, a more rational, temperate, sympathetic, self- restrained dealing with our fellows. But ethics in the spiritual point of view is much more, it is a means of developing in our action and still more essentially in the character of our being the diviner self in us, a step of our growing into the nature of the Godhead.

So with all our aims and activities; spirituality takes them all and gives them a greater, diviner, more intimate sense.

Philosophy is, in the Western way of dealing with it, a dispassionate enquiry by the light of the reason into the first truths of existence, which we shall get at either by observing the facts science places at our disposal or by a careful dialectical scrutiny of the concepts of the reason or a mixture of the two methods. But from the spiritual viewpoint truth of existence is to be found by intuition and inner experience and not only by the reason and by scientific observation; the work of philosophy is to arrange the data given by the various means of knowledge, excluding none, and put them into their synthetic relation to the one Truth, the one supreme and universal reality. Eventually, its real value is to prepare a basis for spiritual realisation and the growing of the human being into his divine nature.

Science itself becomes only a knowledge of the world which throws an added light on the spirit of the universe and his way in things. Nor will it confine itself to a physical knowledge and its practical fruits or to the knowledge of life and man and mind based upon the idea of matter or material energy as our starting-point; a spiritualised culture will make room for new fields of research, for new and old psychical sciences and results which start from spirit as the first truth and from the power of mind and of what is greater than mind to act upon life and matter.

The primitive aim of art and poetry is to create images of man and Nature which shall satisfy the sense of beauty and embody artistically the ideas of the intelligence about life and the responses of the imagination to it; but in a spiritual culture they become too in their aim a revelation of greater things concealed in man and Nature and of the deepest spiritual and universal beauty.

Politics, society, economy are in the first form of human life simply an arrangement by which men collectively can live, produce, satisfy their deires, enjoy, progress in bodily, vital and mental efficiency; but the spiritual aim makes them much more than this,

  • first, a framework of life within which man can seek for and grow into his real self and divinity,
  • secondly, an increasing embodiment of the divine law of being in life,
  • thirdly, a collective advance towards the light, power, peace, unity, harmony of the diviner nature of humanity which the race is trying to evolve.

This and nothing more but" nothing less, this in all its potentialities, is what we mean by a spiritual culture and the application of spirituality to life. Page-429 Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > Foundation Of Indian Culture Volume-14 > The Renaissance In India-2

If the majority of Indians had indeed made the whole of their lives religion in the true sense of the word, we should not be where we are now; it was because their public life became most irreligious, egoistic, self-seeking, materialistic that they fell. 8:44 PM

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.

November 01, 2008

Srimat Anirvan's integral vision coupled with his deep knowledge and analytical power gave birth to 'Veda Mimangsa'

Srimat Anirvan
by Aju Mukhopadhyay

A mystic interpreter of the Vedas, Anirvan was a sagacious spiritual personality. He was born in Mymensing district in the eastern part of undivided Bengal in 1896 (24 Asad of the Bengali era 1303). His original name was Naresh Chandra Dhar. Dr. Raj Chandra Dhar was his father and Sushila Devi, his mother. He was educated in Dhaka (Now capital of Bangladesh) and Calcutta (the then capital of India), undergoing rigorous study according to the traditional strict norms of a disciplined student life in India, full of hardship. He received scholarship in Matriculation and later stood first in B.A and M.A. in Sanskrit.

When his father, shunning the life of an ordinary householder joined the hermitage of Srimat Swami Nigamananda Saraswati with his family, Naresh Chandra perhaps felt it more to his liking than his early life. He took the oath of celibacy and Vedic studies in 1914 and embraced the life of a Sanyasin, an ascetic mendicant, in 1927. His new name as a sanyasin became Swami Nirvanananda Saraswati.

He left the hermitage and joined the Assam Bangiya Saraswat Math (The Assamese Bengali Cultural Centre) as its organiser and worked there for 12 long years at Kokilamath in Assam. After this he became a professor of Rishi Vidyalaya, to become its principal in the course of time. He became the editor of the famous journal Aryadarpan.

From 1930 onwards he became a traveling monk, doing sadhana at different solitary places of Himalaya. His childhood vision of Haimavati as the sacred deity of the Vedas was then realized. He visioned the Vedas as at the core of Indian spirituality, philosophy and culture. The remaining life of Anirvan became the expression of this truth-vision. This integral vision coupled with his deep knowledge and analytical power gave birth to Veda Mimangsa, a book in Bangla at Shilong. He received the Rabindra Purashkar for it, as awarded by the West Bengal Government.

Observing the reflection of this truth in Sri Aurobindo he devoted himself to the work of interpreting Sri Aurobindo together with the Vedas. His translation of Sri Aurobindo’s classic, The Life Divine, in Bangla titled, Divya Jiban was hailed by Sri Aurobindo himself as ‘A living translation’.

From 1964 he began living in Kolkata permanently. Interpretation of the Vedas and Upanishads, interpretation of Sri Aurobindo literature through questions and answers, through lectures and writings, became the main vocation of his Kolkata life.

A lean and thin ascetic outside, he had a rich sap of life flowing within. Appreciative of life and literature, a connoisseur of humour, he was a Baul at heart. Renunciation and love, he thought, were the ingredients of the art of life. Rabindranath Tagore was very dear to his heart.

His travel round India, kind of a peregrination, ended at Kedarnath-Badrinath in 1967. In 1971 he became seriously ill due to suffering a sudden fall causing serious injury to his body. Sick and confined to his corner, he remained the shelter and solace of many seekers- his countrymen and foreigners as well. He left the earthly abode on 31 May 1978.

Professor Chhotelal Sharma of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a poet and seeker, met him some time in the fifties of the last century at Kolkata and was very much drawn to his personality, calm and reticent, surrendered to the divine. He translated his Divya Jiban in Bangla to Hindi titled, Divya Jivan ki Path Sanket, which was published by Sri Aurobindo Society, Jaipur and sold, as he said, in thousands.

It is a pity that though I was at Kolkata during a part of the period he remained there, neither had I any deep interest in him nor any occasion arose to meet him. Fact is, I hardly had any occasion to hear of him. Like him many less known but realized souls pass through the earth we hardly know. It could perhaps be a meaningful meeting if ever we met.

(Based mainly on a write up by Smt. Gauri Dharmapal as an end piece of her work of editing the letters of Anirvan in Bangla, Patram Pushpam) © Aju Mukhopadhyay, 2008
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