Of Faith and Science From the World Science Festival 2008:
Prominent clashes - both historical and contemporary - have led to the widely held conclusion that science and religion are fundamentally incompatible. Yet, many scientists practice a traditional faith, having found a way to accommodate both scientific inquiry and religious teaching in their belief system. Other scientists are bringing science to bear on the phenomenon of religion and spiritual belief - neuroscientists are studying what happens in the brain during religious experiences, while anthropologists are investigating how religion is linked to cooperation and community.
This program provided an intimate look at what scientists have to say about their religious beliefs and what might be revealed by scientific studies of spirituality: Faith & Science from World Science Festival on Vimeo. from integral praxis by
June 28, 2009
June 26, 2009
Summer Reading 2009 from The Pinocchio Theory by Steven Shaviro
Roy Christopher has posted his annual Summer Reading List, and I am (as I was last year) one of the recommenders. My choices are as follows:
David Skrbina, Panpsychism in the West (Bradford, 2007): Panpsychism — the idea that everything in the universe, every last bit of matter, is in some sense sentient — has experiences of some sort, and an at least incipient mentality — sounds bizarre and crackpot when you first hear of it, but makes more sense the more you think about it. Skrbina’s book not only argues that panpsychism is plausible, but shows how deeply rooted it is in the last 2500 years of Western thought. [see also my previous post].
Graham Harman, Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics (re.press, 2009): Graham Harman, with his “object-oriented philosophy,” is one of the most interesting and provocative thinkers working today. Not only are his ideas deeply original, he is also a great writer in terms of style, verve, and the overall liveliness, persuasiveness, and accessibility of his prose. Harman’s latest book takes a look at Bruno Latour, best known for his sociological studies of science, but whom Harman argues is also a major metaphysical thinker.
June 25, 2009
from bimal _mohanty firstname.lastname@example.org to Sri Tusar N Mohapatra Ghaziabad email@example.com date 24 Jun 2009 23:09 subject Our Life and our dreams
GREETINGS AND BEST WISHES IN YOUR SPIRITUAL JOURNEY.
- If you visit the site, and have any observations to make, I shall be grateful. There are also interesting questions from readers dealing with "The benefit of knowing ‘I am Brahman’”, “Loosing Brahman amongst many gods”, “Does religion tightjacket our thinking?”, “Is running away from world desirable?”, “Dealing with relatives” etc. You can also browse the previous articles by clicking on the ikon ‘articles’. Please share it with your friends and dear ones. God bless you- Sri Bimal Mohanty. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
PS – To continue spreading the benefit of AHWAN to all, we need your assistance if you please. Click on ‘special information’ on the homepage of www.ahwan.org. If you wish someone to receive this information as compliments from you please indicate his/her e-mail address.
June 24, 2009
Speculative Realism is a philosophical current taking its name from a conference held at Goldsmiths College, University of London in April, 2007. The conference was moderated by Alberto Toscano of Goldsmiths College, and featured presentations by Ray Brassier of American University of Beirut (then at Middlesex University), Iain Hamilton Grant of the University of the West of England, Graham Harman of the American University in Cairo, and Quentin Meillassoux of the École normale supérieure in Paris. Credit for the name "speculative realism" is generally ascribed to Brassier, though Meillassoux had already used the term "speculative materialism" to describe his own position.
While often in disagreement over basic philosophical issues, the speculative realist thinkers have a shared resistance to philosophies of human finitude inspired by the tradition of Immanuel Kant. Unlike most realists, they also tend to develop theories that depart markedly from the views of everyday common sense. For instance, Brassier upholds a radical nihilism of a world without meaning, Grant defends a primordial stream of matter that is "retarded" to give rise to individual entities, Harman holds that no two objects can have any direct causal interaction, and Meillassoux believes that the laws of nature are absolutely contingent and that God does not exist but may exist in the future.
As a movement, speculative realism has close ties to the journal Collapse, which published the proceedings of the group's inaugural conference at Goldsmiths and has featured numerous other articles by the speculative realist thinkers. As has the academic journal Pli, which is edited and produced by members of the Graduate School of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Warwick.
A second conference entitled 'Speculative Realism/Speculative Materialism', two years after the original event at Goldsmiths, took place at the UWE Bristol on Friday 24th April 2009. The line-up consisted of Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant, Graham Harman, and (in place of Meillassoux who was unable to attend) Alberto Toscano. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 1:16 PM 12:53 PM 1:31 PM 12:59 PM 1:13 PM 8:48 PM 12:57 PM
June 22, 2009
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Debabrata Ghosh is no more": Hi,
It is very touching & interesting to read about what you have expressed. I can only pray, that, the Lord may remove all the confusion and let the light of wisdom shine forth. (also, as far as I know, if I am correct, it is Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda who inspired the spiritual path to Sri Aurubindo.) Regards Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era Religious Fraternity at 8:29 PM, June 22, 2009
Copernicus has left a new comment on your post "Alok never wanted a court case against Peter": "There is a very simple solution to this controversy. Man has fought for thousands of years to gain the right to express his individual views free from compulsion. All those who object to Heehs' book are, fortunately, now equally free to publish their own interpretative works should they find the energy and self-discipline to do so in order that the lay reader may have a fuller choice as to what to believe."
No, they'd rather not have that freedom and bring the Guru down into the muck that you have created and called democracy and freedom of choice! What you really want is an unfettered individuality regardless of how detrimental it is to the larger community. And the Guru is of secondary importance to all of that.
Heehs could have written the book from outside the Ashram or outer space but he chose to do it by burnishing his credentials as an Ashram Archivist and arrogating to himself the credibility that he would not otherwise have had. Naturally, he will end up misleading many readers of his book.
The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we deserve Sri Aurobindo when it is something else that we hold more sacred. Are we willing to sacrifice ourselves and our beliefs to him? If not we should just follow the teachings of a James Dobson, a Bill Maher or even Pat Roberston. Or, maybe, we should just enshrine the US constitution and worship it instead!
Is there any institution or academy that you know of that will allow its employees to write ‘freely’ about itself? Especially when the writing tries to defame or sully the character or personality of the institution? The people who are asking the Ashram to do that for Heehs DONT have its interests in mind and are certainly not thinking of Sri Aurobindo.
It is galling that people who come from a society where everyone sues everyone else should be so indignant about a lawsuit against Heehs! Posted by Copernicus to Savitri Era Open Forum at 5:06 AM, June 23, 2009
He answered “How can I regard myself a judge against his stay whom the Mother gave a shelter in her home? The Mother knew every bit of Peter-his past, present and future. If I find Peter is removed from the Ashram –I may, perhaps be little happy. But in the final analysis that will also not be the right attitude of an Ashramite.”
The purpose of this writing is not about PH or the Ashram. My purpose to write this is to tell that I have realized from the opinion of the above ashramite that I still have very little trust on the Mother. I can never know her in her absolute wisdom and her will. Is there anyone who serves Sri Aurobindo’s purpose perfectly in this world? In Sri Aurobindo’s opinion none can escape punishment (if there should be any) from wrong doings. It is for the Divine’s Grace that we are always forgiven.
By saying all this I do not like to say that no step should be taken against PH. Nor do I opine for a step. I want only to insist that I have missed the right approach that I always should have in respect of my trust on the Mother.
Permalink Reply by Bikash Rath on June 11, 2009 at 9:22am
This is very useful and thoughtful, and the most important thing of it is probably to transcend the PH factor so as to get connected with the true being within us(the mental disturbance takes us away from that sometimes in some cases).Thanks a lot to Devabrata babu for this personal investigation and information. Bikash
Permalink Reply by Debabrata Ghosh on June 11, 2009 at 10:04am
Bikash, thank you very much that you have just touched my heart. Sometimes I, like many people, am swayed by the confusing and noisy appearance which pushes me far from the truth and its relation to the need of my inner being. Devabrata [7:50 AM]
June 18, 2009
Note the radical nature of this initial move: philosophy is not some otherworldly speculation as to whether the external world exists or whether the other human-looking creatures around me are really human and not robots or some such. Rather, philosophy begins with the description – what Heidegger calls "phenomenology" – of human beings in their average everyday existence. It seeks to derive certain common structures from that everydayness.
But we should note the difficult of the task that Heidegger has set himself. That which is closest and most obvious to us is fiendishly difficult to describe. Nothing is closer to me than myself in my average, indifferent everyday existence, but how to describe this? Heidegger was fond of quoting St Augustine's Confessions, when the latter writes,
"Assuredly I labour here and I labour within myself; I have become to myself a land of trouble and inordinate sweat."
Heidegger indeed means trouble and one often sweats through these pages. But the moments of revelation are breathtaking in their obviousness. Simon Critchley guardian.co.uk, Monday 15 June 2009 08.00 BST Article history Series: How to believe Being and Time, part 2: On 'mineness' - For Heidegger, what defines the human being is the capacity to be puzzled by the deepest of questions: why is there something rather than nothing?
Catholicism, history writing, cultural psychology or postcolonial hybridity - the passionate language of Michel de Certeau has opened up heterologies of contemporary interpretation and resistance to the regimes of institutional orthodoxy everywhere. In this introduction to his life and works in The New York Review of Books, Natalie Davis writes of the ways in which de Certeau worked to restore subjective agency and wholeness to the individual life within the pervasive circuits of postmodern technocratic power. Debashish • Email to a friend • Article Search • Related More Recent Articles Search Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
Law Ought Not be Centrally Planned (by Don Boudreaux)
from Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux
In a free society, law isn't simply, or even chiefly, a set of explicit commands handed down from a sovereign (be it a monarch or a democratically elected legislature). A great deal of law - indeed, most law - emerges undesigned from the daily practices of ordinary people interacting with, and sometimes bumping into, each other. People on their own often find ways to minimize these conflicts, and these ways become embedded in people's expectations. These expectations, in turn, become unwritten law - law that good judges find and enforce impartially.
June 17, 2009
Nonviolence of Nonmetaphysics
An Interview with Daniel Gustav Anderson
Daniel Gustav Anderson is presently a graduate student in Cultural Studies at George Mason University. His interests include critical theory, ecology, and European and South Asian traditions of dialectical thinking. He is the author of "Of Syntheses and Surprises: Toward a Critical Integral Theory" and "Such a Body We Must Create: New Theses on Integral Micropolitics", which have been published in Integral Review.
DGA: Yeah, I've left more than a few questions unanswered. One of them: what should integralists be doing now in a practical sense, after all this stuff on method and methodology? I'll suggest three things, but they're interrelated. In a way these follow from the fourfold prescription for responsibility and becoming-responsible I lay out in the micropolitics paper.
First: read more. And I mean read, with care. Read difficult books, not flattering feel-good ones. Three particularly useful ones for what I've been talking about here: Kosik's Dialectics of the Concrete, Bloch's The Principle of Hope (especially on "anticipatory consciousness") and Trungpa's Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. Get thee to the library.
Second: Cultivate a hermeneutics of suspicion. Don't just consume ideas and "theorists" like you would Prell shampoo or Ford cars (to borrow a Deleuze-Guattarian trope) and identify with them. Examine this stuff, test it, make it your own. This is not a process of faith, it is a practice, a craft. An analogy might be that of a carpenter examining the work of another carpenter, looking first for the qualities and weaknesses of the work, and also looking for new techniques or lines or other compelling features to incorporate into one's own practice but critically, not mechanically or mimetically. To make sure I'm not being misunderstood, I'll word this one differently. Let's cultivate a practical refusal to be flattered, particularly by advertising and public relations (apropos of Habermas and the public sphere, given Wilber's claims on Habermas). Certainly the appeal of joining a movement that claims to represent the cutting edge of Divine expression evolving in this world of forms by buying a book or a seat at a conference has tremendous promotional appeal. It sells itself, in the patois of salespeople. Let's not be flattered into believing that buying this novel, the one that claims it "will set you free," or that $200 "starter kit," or this or that meditation retreat, will in and of itself fulfill the promise of the promotional rhetoric. A hermeneutic of suspicion is in order at a minimum. I would say that best practice would be a Great Refusal or Big No to these kinds of patterns.
Alternatively, even if the advertising is true and you are "second-tier" and on the cutting edge of evolving Spirit (I won't rule it out, it might be true after all), try not to be an ass about it. Try to be humble, because you're claiming to be a spokesmodel for Spirit and you wouldn't want to misrepresent That as being tolerant of pompous, arrogant, narcissistic, megalomaniacal behavior. Right?
Third, and this follows from the second: Put your work in the public domain, and restrict your integral activities to not-for-profit organizations and research materials readily available at public institutions. Stop buying shit because it has the word "integral" on it, unless you feel it appropriate for your guru and your idea of Spirit to be working as prostitutes such that you need to keep paying and paying for intervals of integral embrace. We call this "voting with your wallet" and it's the only kind of critique that works in some corners of neoliberalism. It may be the only form of criticism that Integral Institute will respond to at this point. Monkeywrench the flattery machine by not buying into it. Instead, one can help democratize and socialize the integral project, becoming an active participant rather than a passive consumer of content as it were.
Fourth of three: Above all, remember that if you have the means to participate in this conversation, you are in a position of great privilege: social and material privilege I mean. At this moment, the petroleum window has not yet closed (one can fly and drive and get cheap imported goods), but most of the world still lives in abject poverty, the kind where it is a daily struggle to find clean water, for instance. How do you justify this privilege, how do you redeem your debt to the others who get such a small slice of the pie compared to yours, while you eat their share of the resources and in some ways benefit from their underpaid labor, while you eat the habitat of countless species? Pursuing one's own fulfillment for its own sake as a kind of hero's journey, a journey on the throats of the world's population, seems rather self-indulgent in this context. Better in my view at least to devote your efforts, your material privilege, to the welfare of all other beings without exception and into the future as best you can. Better to be a servant than a "wizard" and not only because the costume is cheaper.
I heard somewhere that love ain't for keeping.
Selected Works Cited
Agamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998.
Anderson, Daniel Gustav. "Of Syntheses and Surprises: Toward a Critical Integral Theory." Integral Review 3 (2006): 62-81.
—-. "Such a Body We Must Create: New Theses on Integral Micropolitics." The Integral Review 4.2 (2008): 4-70.
Beck, Don, and Christopher C Cowan. Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change: Exploring the New Science of Memetics. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Business, 1996.
Berlant, Lauren. The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997.
Bloch, Ernst. The Principle of Hope. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986.
Bourdieu, Pierre. Homo Academicus. Trans. Peter Collier. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1988.
van Boxsel, Matthijs. The Encyclopedia of Stupidity. Trans. Arnold Pomerans & Erica Pomerans. London: Reaktion Books, 2003.
Butler, Judith. Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. New York: Verso, 2004.
Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. New York: Zone Books, 1995.
Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987.
—-. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, & Helen R. Lane. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983.
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Revised Edition. Trans. Myra Bergman Ramos. New York: Continuum, 1993.
Greenberg, Clement. The Collected Essays and Criticism: Perceptions and Judgments 1939-1944. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1988.
Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. Labor of Dionysus: A Critique of the State-Form. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.
Harvey, David. Spaces of Hope. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000.
Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Methuen, 1979.
Henderson, Bobby. The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. New York: Random House, 2006.
Herbert, Frank. Dune. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1984.
Illouz, Eva. Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1997.
Jameson, Fredric. The Critical Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern, 1983-1998. New York: Verso, 1998.
Joyce, James. Ulysses. New York: Random House, 2002.
Kosik, Karel. Dialectics of the Concrete: A Study on Problems of Man and World. Trans. Karel Kovanda & James Schmidt. Boston, MA: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1976.
Lem, Stanislaw. Microworlds: Writings on Science Fiction and Fantasy. Ed. Franz Rottensteiner. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1986.
Macdonald, Dwight. Against the American Grain: Essays on the Effects of Mass Culture. New York: Vintage Books, 1965.
Marcuse, Herbert. An Essay on Liberation. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969.
Meyerhoff, Jeff. "Bald Ambition: A Critique of Ken Wilber's Theory of Everything." Integral World. 27 May 2009. http://www.integralworld.net/meyerhoff-ba-toc.html.
Ong, Walter J. Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
Ranciere, Jacques. On the Shores of Politics. Trans. Liz Heron. New York: Verso, 1995.
Ross, Andrew. Strange Weather: Culture, Science, and Technology in the Age of Limits. New York: Verso, 1991.
Suvin, Darko. Positions and Presuppositions in Science Fiction. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1988.
Trungpa, Chogyam. Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. Ed. John Baker & Marvin Casper. Boston: Shambhala, 1987.
Wilber, Ken. Boomeritis: A Novel that will Set You Free. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc, 2003.
—-. Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution. Revised Edition. Boston: Shambhala, 2000.
Ziporyn, Brook. Being and Ambiguity: Philosophical Experiments with Tiantai Buddhism. Chicago: Open Court, 2004.
June 16, 2009
Suppressing the individual voice for the collective good: A conversation with Alok Pandey & RY Deshpande
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This guy won! (or so they say) L.A. Times Rich
The road out of Kabul goes through Kashmir by Graham User (LRB) Rich
Much ado about Ganesha: Paul Courtright, Wendy Doniger, and the Hindu Right (Rajiv Malhotra) by Amardeep Singh - (w/ Courtright review) Rich
Further evidence of Ranade's and Pandey's involvement in legal action koantum
The Monstrosity of Christ by Slavoj Žižek and John Milbank (M.I.T) Rich
Spiritual Authoritarianism (P2P) Rich
Knowledge and Human Liberation - Excerpts from Ananta Kumar Giri Annotated by Debashish Banerji Debashish
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June 11, 2009
Sri Aurobindo had to caution his reluctant disciples that his work could not be understood apart from the Mother
The Drama Within the Drama and the Brains Behind Pa from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob
I've begun to delve into Balthasar's main influence, who turns out to be just your typical friendly neighborhood sigmata-bearing, trinity-channeling, mystic-visionary physician, Adrienne von Speyr. Specifically, I'm reading Balthasar's First Glance at Adrienne von Speyr, which is his relatively brief introduction to her vast body of work, most of which it seems was "dictated" to him in trance. It is definitely a drama within the drama, and anyone sophering from traces of reductionosis or materialitis will be severely tested. It's pretty much of an either/or: either you accept her as the real deal, or reject her as some kind of fringe kook.
Having personally witnessed the phenomena over some 27 years, Balthasar was 100% certain of her authenticity, although, at the same time, he left it to the church to make the final determination as to whether or not her teachings were kosher. But he says that he "never had the least doubt about the authentic mission that was hers, nor about the unpretentious integrity with which she lived it and communicated it to me." (And I'm assuming she must have known Pope Benedict -- then Big Joe Ratzinger -- being that Balthasar and Ratzinger started a journal together.)
First, Balthsar makes it clear that his work cannot be separated from hers, and that any attempt to do so does violence to his project. The whole relationship very much reminds me of that between Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual collaborator, known as the Mother (Mira Richard). In fact, I don't think I've seen anything that so closely parallels it. Sri Aurobindo also had to caution his reluctant disciples that his work could not be understood apart from the Mother, and that they were even "one consciousness in two bodies," so to speak.
In any event, whatever else you think about these people, you have to admit that something very strange was going on with them. How strange? I've mentioned in the past that one of the things that struck me about Aurobindo was how he could work on seven or eight massive volumes of theology, mysticism, scriptural commentary, philosophy, political science, and poetry, all at the same time. He completed most of his major works in a relatively short space of time.
Now, first of all, he had no training in any of the above subjects with the exception of poetry. Furthermore, he claimed to engage in "overmental writing," in which you could say that he was basically a stenographer for forces higher than himself. The same thing is true of von Speyr. She was a physician by trade, with no theological training whatsoever. In fact, she didn't even become a Catholic until the age of 38, shortly after meeting Balthasar (she was born in 1902, he in 1905). He became her spiritual director, confessor and confidante, and they eventually shared a house until her death in 1965.
At the time of von Speyr's death, 37 of her books were in print, and yet, even today, few people have "taken serious notice of her writings." And those 37 are truly just the tip of the iceberg. There is apparently so much unpublished material that it dwarfs Balthasar's, even though he was obviously about as prolific as you can imagine.
And yet, as with Aurobindo, von Speyr's work is not the product of "thought" or cogitation. However, at the same time, she had a kind of implicit knowledge of deep spiritual truths, almost like an idiot savant who can solve complex mathematical problems with no formal understanding of math (except that she was no idiot, having been an outstanding physician). In 1940, Balthasar began instructing her in the Catholic faith. On the one hand "she plainly did not know the things I told her," and yet, "immediately and directly recognized them as valid and true for her." She also realized that she had been seeking these truths her whole life (she was raised a protestant and had only heard vaguely negative things about Catholicism).
June 10, 2009
A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs
committed to objective, academic, respectful and honest discussions
Jun 9, 2009 The Shadow and After -- by Alok Pandey ... the collectivity that is loosely grouped around the Ideal of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Loosely, because it is constituted of a wide range of humanity in different ranges and stages of its inner development and outer conditioning.
There are many who are drawn to Sri Aurobindo for his idea of evolutionary transformation. There are others who are attracted to his philosophy, still others to his poetry, especially Savitri. Some others are attached to him because he represents in his personality, the very best that the East and West could offer, a unique synthesis of the two. Then there are those Indians who specifically feel proud of being born in a country where he took birth and the Mother chose as Her home. They can identify in Sri Aurobindo a much awaited return of the Avatar and his promise of a Vedic age of Truth and feel in His words the voice of Krishna on the great battlefield of life and the song of the ancient Rishis of the Upanishadas. The Westerners find in him their own appeal especially where he speaks of going beyond religions and social conventions and his stress upon freedom and individuality. Even the communists and the atheists find something in Sri Aurobindo that attracts them despite themselves.
All kinds of humanity, the Devas and Asuras, the straight and simple village folks and the complicated and confused city dwellers, the traditionalists and the modernists, each finds in Him something that represents to them their own highest point. And yet each sees in him his limited ego’s reflection as in a glass, missing out his vastness and his infinity. Still others are impressed by his writings, his luminous thoughts on contemporary issues of education, psychology, health, politics, and so on and so forth. Some are simply awed by his sheer creative genius even if they understand nothing, some are inspired by his writings, others attracted to his personality, some admire him because of his intellectual prowess, others by the countless stories of his deep compassion for the human race and for this troubled earth. Still others love him and know not why.
Finally, there are those few to whom the very name of Sri Aurobindo evokes the sense of the Supreme Divine. To serve him in any way is their delight. Given this wide range of humanity that is drawn to him, it is only natural that their responses to the Truth that Sri Aurobindo has brought will be varied and different, even conflicting with each other’s vision.
Quite naturally, those who love him and feel and see him with the psychic sense as the Divine Incarnate or even as the Master of Integral Yoga, accept all that he has said unquestioningly, even if they are not able to always live by that truth. Yet they do not doubt what he has spoken. They live by faith and the certitude that the Divine Presence gives to the devotee and the God-lover. On the other hand, those for whom he is a mere mortal, even though a great one, have a different approach. They accept a few things and not others. [...]
There are others to whom Sri Aurobindo is just an idea or rather a philosopher and they cannot understand why the devotee is hurt. There are others still who cherish human values and have been drawn to Sri Aurobindo not so much as a Master as to the Ideals he has set forth before the human race. They would prefer human ideals, of intellectual freedom and freedom of speech over everything else, even if it means misrepresenting Sri Aurobindo. They are least concerned about that. Little do they understand that all that Sri Aurobindo has said and done derives its power and lasting force from the strength of the yoga he had been engaged in. His truth has a lasting value only if something in him was identified with the everlasting Eternal. Otherwise it is yet another idea in a pool of ideas to be surpassed by other ideas. And that Something cannot be known by any analysis but only with the psychic sense in us. It is a disclosure or a revelation, not an inference or a reasoned argument.
But Sri Aurobindo not only gave an idea or an ideal but a way and a path. If he is not Divine, then all he said and did is only of temporary importance at the most. Therefore it is of utmost importance that we be extremely careful in dealing with his life. We need not say that he is divine but we need not question that as well. It may be best left untouched, to say the least, for, after all, who or what can prove the Divine. One either sees him or one does not. And just as those who see him have no right to impose him upon others, so also those who do not, have no right to question the faith of others. [...]
The disciples surely have a right to their faith and their way. Who are we to call it a religion? And if we take it that way, then everything is a religion, including Communism, with only a change of god and the holy book. Even the scientist follows his own religion, the religion of science with the senses and reason as his tools and the founders of science and their theories as his Bible. But this place called the Ashram is not a scientific institute, nor is it a place for historical research. It breathes Their living Presence. The body of the Ashram and the body of Sri Aurobindo are one and the same. This is one place that is completely dedicated to the Divine Incarnate, and if one does not believe in all that, one is never compelled to stay here. [...]
But there is no Ashram without faith in the Divine Incarnate, which is no doubt represented by the personalities of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. If an onlooker calls it religion, it does not matter. To each his own opinion, and his way... Posted by Raman Reddy at 6/09/2009 02:31:00 PM Labels: Article Recents Posts ► 2009 (32) ▼ June (3) Introduction to this Site ► 2008 (27)
In Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's case, this being a new path hewn by them, the personalities and their writings are guru and shastra respectively. The two support each other. The guru is the embodiment of the sastra and the sastra the expression of the guru. Re: Spiritual Authoritarianism (P2P) Debashish
June 09, 2009
Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Knowledge and Human Liberation - Excerpts from Ananta Kumar Giri Annotated by Debashish Banerji
by Debashish on Mon 08 Jun 2009 03:35 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Giri is writing about the Orissa schools, but of course, the original Integral Education setup is the SAICE at the ashram. One thing here which Mother insisted on is no compulsion to study Sri Aurobindo's teachings. The Free Progress system allows the students, particularly in the higher classes, to choose their own courses through interaction with a mentor. This sounds ideal, but in practice, a student's choice is constrained by outer exposure, inner awareness and mentor's knowledge and skills.
Unfortunately, as the present controversy over Peter's book has shown, (with most of its ringleaders being ashram ex-students and its senior advisors being SAICE teachers) an idea is only as good as the consciousness of those who implement it. On the one hand, the injunction against teaching Sri Aurobindo has led to an apathetic attitude and a lack of originality in Sri Aurobindo scholarship, leaving the field open for fundamentalistic approaches; on the other, several enthusiastic mentors push an orthodox version of IY on their students. DB Reply
by Debashish on Sun 07 Jun 2009 04:46 PM PDT Permanent Link
EXCERPTS FROM ANANTA KUMAR GIRI’S BOOK CHAPTER: ‘Knowledge and Human Liberation: Jurgen Habermas, Sri Aurobindo and Beyond’
Annotated by Debashish Banerji 11. ON INTEGRAL EDUCATION:
As a social practice preparing conditions of individual and social emancipation and transformation, Giri draws on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s theories of Integral Education and sees its potential but also its shortcomings as practiced. He points to the burgeoning of Integral Educational schools across India and specially mentions Orissa as a state in which such schools have found fertile ground. Giri hints at the shades of authoritarianism at work in these schools mixed up in their idealism. Unfortunately, a deeper study reveals not merely authoritarianism but ideological orthodoxy and even the simmering of an Aurobindonian fundamentalism under its placid façade. As Giri points out, Habermasian respect for plurality and disciplines of communication can go a long way in releasing the potential of such schools. Sri Aurobindo scholarship fossilized under authorized orthodoxies are the surest way to kill the emancipator and transformative potential that Giri extols so highly as the promise of Sri Aurobindo to the postmodern world:
We find the glimpses of emergence of such spiritual communities in the integral education movement in India which is a grass-roots social movement at work in building spiritually inspired integral education schools. In the state of Orissa there are now nearly 300 such schools inspired by the ideas of Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual companion The Mother and these schools have been a product of an earlier study circle movement. In these spaces we find the glimpses of emergence of a new connection between knowledge and human liberation through the mediations of love, labor and mutually shared time (see Giri 2003b). But its fuller potential remains unrealized because of traces of authoritarianism in the management of these schools which is sometimes brushed under or justified in the name of spirituality. Here opening up these spaces to further democratic deliberation of the kind suggested by Habermas is helpful."