July 18, 2012

Philosophy musical as Apollo’s lute

The same statement should be equally valid for Sri Aurobindo’s own works such as The Life Divine, etc. which are sponsored by the Ashram. There are so many articles published in Ashram journals. Are they all left to the readers to judge for themselves? Is there no editorial discretion or control exercised over them? (3) So far neither any reviews nor any extracts from the book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo have appeared in Ashram journals and newsletters even while reviews of other books feature regularly. Why? Obviously because the trustees have no guts or face to say that the book is a work of ignominy and villainy.

Those who prefer a fiction — a lie, a falsehood — to the real Sri Aurobindo cannot be in love with him. They must be in love with an idol, with a vapid, story-book Sri Aurobindo of their own making. It’s about these people that Heehs wrote, rather prophetically:
The genre of hagiography, in the original sense of the term, is very much alive in India. Any saint with a following is the subject of one or more books that tell the inspiring story of his or her birth, growth, mission, and passage to the eternal. Biographies of literary and political figures do not differ much from this model. People take the received version of their heroes’ lives very seriously. A statement about a politician or poet that rubs people the wrong way will be turned into a political or legal issue, or possibly cause a riot. The problem is not whether the disputed statement is true, but whether anyone has the right to question an account that flatters a group identity. (p. xii)

Is Philosophy Literature?  By JIM HOLT the author of the forthcoming, “Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story.” THE STONE June 30, 2012, 3:00 PM 205 Comments I hope I have clinched my case for analytic philosophy as belles lettres. 
But what is literature? That in itself might appear to be a philosophical question. Yet the most persuasive answer, to my mind, was supplied by a novelist, Evelyn Waugh. (Well, not just a novelist — also the most versatile master of English prose in the last 100 years.) “Literature,” Waugh declared, “is the right use of language irrespective of the subject or reason of utterance.” Something doesn’t have to rhyme or tell a story to be considered literature. Even a VCR instruction manual might qualify, or a work of analytic philosophy. (Waugh, as it happens, was not a fan of analytic philosophy, dismissing it as “a parlor game of logical quibbles.”)
And what is “the right use of language”? What distinguishes literature from mere communication, or sheer trash? Waugh had an answer to this too. “Lucidity, elegance, individuality”: these are the three essential traits that make a work of prose “memorable and unmistakable,” that make it literature
Literary pleasures can turn up even in the most seemingly abstruse reaches of analytic philosophy. Take the case of Saul Kripke — widely (though not unanimously) considered the one true genius in the profession today. Kripke’s work can be dauntingly technical. The first volume of his collected papers, recently published by Oxford University Press under the arresting title “Philosophical Troubles,” will be a treasure trove to his fellow philosophers of logic and language, but it is not for the casual reader. However, an earlier work of his, the revolutionary “Naming and Necessity,” is so lucidly, inventively and even playfully argued that even a newcomer to analytic philosophy will find it hard to put down. The book is actually a transcription of three lectures Kripke gave, extemporaneously and without notes, at Princeton in January 1970 — hence its lovely conversational tone.
Ranging over deep matters like metaphysical necessity, the a priori and the mind-body problem, Kripke proceeds by way of a dazzling series of examples involving Salvador Dalí and Sir Walter Scott, the standard meter stick in Paris, Richard Nixon (plus David Frye’s impersonation of him), and an identity-like logical relation Kripke calls “schmidentity.” There is not a dogmatic or pompous word in the lectures — and not a dull one either. Kripke the analytic philosopher reveals himself to be a literary stylist of the first water (just as, say, Richard Feynman the physicist did). The reader more than forgives Kripke when he remarks at one point, apropos of his unwillingness to give a thoroughly worked-out theory of reference, “I’m sort of too lazy at the moment.” ... John Milton, who prophetically wrote of Kripke, Russell and their kind:

Abstract - Full Text Between Mental Manufacture and Pure Transcript: The Viability of a Theory of Poetry in the Letters of Sri Aurobindo - Vinod Valiathakidi Balakrishnan SAGE Open, April - June 2012; vol. 2, 2: April 18, 2012
However, for enabling the logic of the theory emerging out of the ideological framework, one may point to Sri Aurobindo’s complete absorption of Western education, which also marks the beginning of his quest for the vital truth about man.
His journeys into the mind, where he confronts the issues about the mind’s constructions like the potency of meditation, the realization about the ascent of consciousness, the shape of the universal mind, the limits of psychoanalysis, and the passage toward supramental vision and supramental power, are journeys toward the “interior landscape” (a phrase used by A. K. Ramanujan) that also map the emergence of a distinct terrain of knowledge which can lend greater credence to the intellectual engagements in the humanities. How else can one understand the triadic approach by Sri Aurobindo to link the individual with the field of consciousness and the poetic traditions? …
The poet as a writer is one who fails to keep the outer mind in check and presides over the spoiling of the inspiration as it flows through the creative vital. By implication, then, the poet in the scheme of Sri Aurobindo (2004) would be a medium who allows the process of creation to happen where his intellect, intuition, and illumined mind do have a role to play; only, that the proportion to which the elements of integration are controlled by the poet would determine whether the poem is going to be a “pure transcript” or a “mental manufacture” (p. 5). The shift in the theoretical alignment toward Sri Aurobindo’s understanding of poetry and the role of the poet would mean a radical shift in the understanding of the poet as a writer to the poet as the enabling creative spirit that waits for the manifestation of beauty: from the poet who writes to the poet who waits.
Did Matthew Arnold mean the same when he talked about the Scholar Gypsy waiting for the spark from heaven to fall? Or, did T. S. Eliot mean the same when he talked about the “awful daring of a moment’s surrender”? Where they also aligning themselves to an Eastern thinking where the body is a medium through which the spirit expresses the splendor of truth? These are questions that will become interesting when one is persuaded that the more popular notion of the poet as the “master craftsman” as Eliot chose to call Ezra Pound changes toward a notion of the poet as the integrated self that waits.
Vinod Valiathakidi Balakrishnan is a poet and yoga enthusiast. He teaches poetry, literary theory, creative writing, business communication. Associate Professor, Department of Humanities, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, 620 015, TamilnaduIndia Email:

Tantra and Śāktism in the spirituality of Aurobindo Ghose - Michael Stoeber Spirituality at Regis College, University of Toronto, 100 Wellesley Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 2Z5, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses, June 2009; vol. 38, 2: pp. 293-321.
Abstract How did Sri Aurobindo Ghose understand Tantra? Is the category of Tantra helpful in understanding Aurobindo's spirituality? How Tantric is his spirituality? In responding to these questions, this paper explores various threads in Aurobindo's spirituality: his conceptions of the Goddess and the Śakti-Īśvara Godhead; his integration of features of Śāktism and Śākta Tantra with his early revolutionary politics; his understanding of the cakra system and the embodied nature of his spiritual ideal; his stress on devotional surrender to the divine Mother; and his views of sexuality. Although Aurobindo's mature spirituality is clearly toned down and marked off from more antinomian forms of Tantra, the paper argues that it was shaped in significant ways by his understanding of Tantra.

Representations of Ireland in the Political Thinking of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh - Arpita Sen Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan - Studies in History, February 2007; vol. 23, 1: pp. 93-133.
Abstract In an interview given to Henry W. Nevinson in December 1907, Aurobindo Ghosh had spoken about his purpose regarding the Swadeshi Movement which, he explained, was the Irish policy of Sinn Fein—a universal swadeshi not limited to goods but including every phase of life. Many of his articles written between 1894 and 1910 and comments after 1910 also contain allusions to Ireland and its freedom struggle in different contexts. However several years later, sometime between 1943 and 1946, by which time Aurobindo had become a mystic, at his ashram in Pondicherry Aurobindo took recourse to an entirely different position. This article is an attempt to find out answers to the contradictory stand taken by Aurobindo in regard to Ireland and its freedom struggle by analysing his political writings, interviews and comments which contained references to Ireland and its freedom struggle. In the larger context, this article attempts to analyse the conflict inherent in the personality of a Western-educated Bengali. This article argues that Aurobindo had knowledge of the developments in Ireland and was influenced by them to a certain extent, which in turn shaped his representations of Ireland that shifted over time. Aurobindo's representations of Ireland were determined by his changing experience of the two worlds, Occidental and Oriental, and suggest that liminality and hybridity are necessary attributes of the colonial man and as such colonial identities are always a matter of flux and agony.

Towards an Integral Perspective on World Politics: Secularism, Sovereignty and the Challenge of Global Ecology - Karen Litfin Millennium - Journal of International Studies, February 2003; vol. 32, 1: pp. 29-56.
Abstract Starting with the premise that consciousness is ontologically prior to action, I draw upon the works of G.W.F. Hegel, Sri Aurobindo, Jean Gebser and Ken Wilber to trace the outlines of an alternative metaphysic to secularism. The integral worldview...

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