October 29, 2012

Multidimensionality and mischaracterization

Sonnet-like Passages in Savitri [Kindle Edition] RY Deshpande (Author)
By the very definition of an epic we can say that it has a rich abounding multidimensionality representing re-creatively the thousand moods and manners one witnesses in vibrancy of the life of man, its setting having the theme of men and nations or the world or the universe, or the foundational issue of the creation. There are essences of aesthetic delight or rasas, there are evocations and moods and bhāvas, there are echoes and reflections, persuasive sounds and soft winning music, there is the dhwani which only an occult ear can hear, the sound of the roots of the words, unheard melodies, anāhat nād, there are orchestral grandeurs and there are quiet concerts in well-tapestried chambers. It is these individualities that we are trying to see in that greatness, an act which need not reduce the greatness of the great. In an attempt to preserve the epic grandeur of one’s life at times one thinks of one’s qualities in pieces, pieces which shine out, diamond-like, in their distinctive facets. Our affiliation with sonnets could be of that nature.
Savitri with Accents: The Book of Yoga by Sri Aurobindo and Savitri Foundation (Kindle Edition -Oct 25, 2012) - $0.99 Kindle Edition
Savitri with Accents: The Book of the Divine Mother by Sri Aurobindo and Savitri Foundation (Kindle Edition -Oct 27, 2012) - $0.99 Kindle Edition
Savitri with Accents: The Book of Beginnings by Sri Aurobindo and Savitri Foundation (Kindle Edition -Oct 20, 2012) - $0.99 Kindle Edition Auto-delivered wirelessly
We hope that the present attempt of bringing out the text with accent-marks will prove rewarding to the lovers of poetry, and in particular of Savitri in its metrical power, its rhythm and melody, its undertones and overtones, its volume and pitch and timbre, its nāda and laya and chhanda, they carrying the “seed-sounds of the eternal Word”, they moving in the felicity of “rhythmic calm and joy”; possibly it would take us closer to the yogic source from which it originated.
Savitri Foundation is glad to put in this pioneering effort towards metrical presentation of Sri Aurobindo’s epic. It is hoped that this will prove helpful in understanding and reading Savitri possibly in its intended sense and articulation.

Welcome to the South Asia Archive
Launching in 2013, the South Asia Archive is a new, fully searchable digital archive encompassing 5 million pages of valuable research and teaching materials, providing online access to documents ranging from the mid-18th to the mid-20th Century. Featured Video An Interview with Professor Boria Majumdar > About the South Asia Archive
Incorporating 5 million pages of journals, books, reports and other documentation from the mid-18th  to mid-20th century across the Humanities & Social Sciences, the South Asia Archive is the single biggest digital repository of South Asian research material in the world. Its launch marks a momentous step towards the advancement of South Asian studies as an area of academic research and inquiry, and we would be delighted if you could join us on this special occasion. Aims and Scope
The South Asia Archive provides an extensive resource for students and scholars across the humanities and social sciences.
Focusing on South Asia, the Archive contains both serial and non-serial materials, including reports, rare books, and journal runs from noteworthy, rare publications. The documents in the Archive are truly interdisciplinary, reflecting the varied range of knowledge production in colonial and early post-colonial India in fields including: culture & society, industry & economy, science, technology & medicine, urban planning & administration, and politics & law.
Comprising material sourced from collectors and archivists in India by the South Asia Research Foundation, this Archive brings together a wealth of important primary content. In addition to its value in individual research, the Archive offers instructors an outstanding opportunity to include a range of primary archival materials in their syllabi.

VAAD-PRATIVAAD: SECULARISM IS IMPORTANT TO A MODERN INDIA III Posted by Jaideep Prabhu · 1 Comment Welcome to the third and final round of Vaad Prativaad (Round I may be found here and Round II here). FOR THE MOTION: Harsh Gupta
Perhaps a majority of Indian have little or no understand of what constitutional republicanism is either. And this may or may not be “decisive proof” that constitutional republicanism is wholly alien to India, but – even granting that for argument’s sake – since when is it so glaringly obvious that something is not to be adopted only because it was hitherto alien? …
As I tried to show in my second piece, Hinduism while having sublime beauty in its metaphysics has an awful discriminatory on-the-ground history. This is most obvious along the axis of caste, though some could credibly argue something similar on the topic of gender too – (that Hinduism is better than some other religion when it comes to women’s rights or other issues is hardly a consolation prize). These uncomfortable facts give me pause whether a Hindu state would be secular and liberal enough. And now that some people like my opponents are losing patience with such tolerance – is even more reason for a genuinely secular state, not less…
Not a nation where one cannot badmouth the Bhagwad Gita or disparagingly paint Goddess Sita. India does not need a proactive Hindu vanguard in the Abrahamic mould because this will end up making India more divided and Hinduism less universal. Instead we need to take identity completely out of our policies, our schools, our jobs, our tax code, our personal code – and this must include caste identity politics also over time… Looking at the forest instead of the trees, both moral and realpolitik imperatives largely coincide here. Why propose revolutions, when evolutions would do?

History of Indian Science & Technology: Overview of the 20-Volume Series By Rajiv Malhotra and Jay Patel
Outline: This chapter is intended to provide a background to the History of Indian Science and Technology (HIST) project. By describing the rationale and purpose of the HIST series, we hope to awaken the reader to the full implications of the series outside its scholastic usage. This chapter consists of the following sections:
Section I:   Rationale behind Infinity Foundation's Projects
Non-Western Knowledge Systems:
Modern Western technology has produced amazing achievements, but we must analyze the wider implications of such technologies and their notions of progress. These technologies often bring huge negative consequences that seem negligible in the short-term.  We need to dispassionately investigate whether there are alternative technologies that offer more sustainable progress for all, rather than only the privileged…
Section II:  Indian Contributions to Science and Technology
The depth and breadth of Indian science and technology is staggering, and this section gives just a glimpse into the genius of India's scientists and engineers…
Section III: Infinity's Book Series on History of Indian Science & Technology
An exploration free from the phobias against Indian Civilization would show that the West did not come out on top due to any inherent superiority, as claimed by Hegel and others, but, rather, due to their cunning and ruthlessness. This kind of research will establish that non-Western minds not only have the ability to contribute to original technology, but, in fact, have been instrumental in its development. India's own English-educated elite should be made aware of these facts to shed its Macaulayite complexes…
Responding to Critics:
Some critics have claimed that this series is anti-Western. Our response is that it is in everyone's best interest to have a truly global education system in which all cultures' contributions and merits are celebrated. This necessitates demolishing false notions of history promulgated by the colonizers.
Others who are deeply brainwashed in India phobia might find it convenient to dismiss this book series as “Hindutva”, “right-wing fundamentalist”, and so forth. This is completely baseless since Indian science is not about any particular religion. It is the heritage of every Indian, regardless of faith or lack thereof. Just as Newtonian laws are not Christian and Einstein's relativity theory is not a Jewish science, so also the scientific discoveries of Indians are independent of their faiths.
The importance of this work may be compared to Europe's use of classical Greek thought to raise itself out of the Dark Ages. India should also look to its own rich tradition of knowledge to move forward and complement modern knowledge.

Indian Institute of Scientific Heritage (IISH) was established on the Sravana Pournami day in August 1999 and registered as a charitable trust (328/99/iv) during the last quarter of 1999. Then onwards IISH has been undertaking the mission of learning and teaching the ultra ancient heritage of Bharath(India) using ultra modern scientific and technological tools. The ultimate aim of this mission is to make every Indian proud of his heritage.
Our aim is to inform the world about the glorious scientific, rational and logical heritage of India and also inform the world to practice and adopt these message in their life to lead a happy life in the 21st century. IISH is undertaking this mission of taking the message to 100 million people before the 31st December 2010. Hundreds and thousands of mission oriented workers are taking part in this patriotic mission of spreading the message of our motherland. We learn and teach the past glory, present achievements and future aims of Indian in each and every field, taking the inspiration for the past glory of this nation.We inform the world that this heritage of India is the property of Hindus, Muslims and Christians of India and also belongs to all beloved children of this motherland. Thus IISH spreads the scientific, technological, spiritual, sociological, anthropological, managemental messages to the world, in such a way that these messages can be adopted for the modern world.
Learning and teaching the scientific, technological and cultural heritage of Indiawith a scientific, rational and logical, patriotic and nationalistic vision.
Publishing documents like books, audio-cassettes  films, CDs, VCDS, DVDs, brochures, pamphlets, periodicals, etc for learning and teaching the heritage.
Conducting international/ national/ regional/ local seminars, study classes, academic level competitions, exhibitions, camps, study tours, etc., for fulfilling the missions of the Institute.
Giving a clear understanding of the superstitions through scientific analyses and taking the mission of eradicating the superstition from the minds of uneducated and educated people.
Giving the substantiated scientific proof on the merits of the Indian acharas (customs) and rituals through the medical research reports including psychological- sociological- anthropological- physiological and spiritual understanding .
Imparting a clear understanding on the duracharas/ anaacharas (superstitions) from the scientific acharas and explaining the merits of sadacharas and demerits of duracharas.
Bringing out the contents, facts, truths and the merits of knowing the Indian literature and giving a correct picture on the literature heritage of our nation.
Undertaking as much service oriented work like serving the poor, old aged, sick, blind, and so on through sevanam samarpanam projects. Building curriculum oriented syllabus adoptaptable for all schools world over .
We would also like to Inform the world that everything was NOT present in ancient India, but MANY things connected with science, technology, integrated life management, psychological knowledge and so on existed in ancient India. Almost all these scientific information also withstood the test of time and still survive in the practical and theoretical life/area of Indians and those who are adopting the Indian way of life. 

Reification and sedimentation of Sri Aurobindo's work Re: Reflections on THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY By Debashish Banerji by Rich on Wed 25 Oct 2006 09:24 AM PDT Permanent Link Seems like we are following the usual course of misunderstanding inherent in considering Sri Aurobindo's writing in the same conversation in which other methods of intellectual inquiry are probed…  
1) To identify a manner of discourse which could be fromulated to allow the presentation of Sri Aurobindo's system of integral yoga and transformation, in a language which could be legitimized in academic situ. It was in no means an effort at reducing Sri Aurobindo's message to criterion defined by postmodernist discourse… (To me finding such methods of cross-cultural intersubjective discourse regards the yoga is a raison d'être of SCIY)
2) To address the problem of the reification and sedimentation of Sri Aurobindo's work in current doxa pervading the institutions which are founded on his vision… Hinduvta is one example… And finally there is a need to address the mischaracterizations of leftist (and or/ marxist) who deliberately falsify SA works to set up their straw man thesis of communalism in India. The work of Jyotirmaya Sharma falls into this category (although I do not wish to again appear sanctimonious, in my pronouncements I also see this as a founding vision of SCIY)  rich [8:21 AM Sunday, October 29, 2006]

October 27, 2012

Visible and invisible hands in society and civilization

Glittering Images By CAMILLE PAGLIA Reviewed by Stefan Beck October 25, 2012
Paglia is writing for students, who, she feels, have been cheated out of adequate exposure to art and art history… She has no tolerance for reductive or anemic approaches to art history, taking aim at critical theory, Marxism, and multiculturalism. The reader is warned of the art world's mindless reliance on shock value and its reflexive hostility to religion. (It wouldn't be a Paglia book without a confession of atheism followed immediately by a robust defense of the splendors of world religion and its artistic heritage.)

The promiscuous lifestyle articulated in the first paragraph is prevalent in large sections of Western culture today, and in an age of globalization where American movies and sitcoms are beamed across the world, it is gaining acceptance in other cultures as well.  People are confused – they do not understand why religion and society has historically forbidden a fun-filled lifestyle which doesn't seem to carry any deleterious consequences. 

The first reaction to these allegations from the side of the Trustees was that they were “wild and baseless allegations”, especially the allegation of “sexual harassment and victimisation”.  A few of them even thoughtlessly proclaimed that they didn’t know of any such incidents. When they were reminded of the irrefutable cases involving the police and the Court, they quickly changed their statement to, “Oh, these things happen! We should not take these things seriously! We should not reveal these matters to the public outside, least of all to the Govt!” Would they have said the same if they themselves had been victims of molestation or driven to despair or death – there have been indeed such cases not only in the past but even recently, which the Managing Trustee has dealt in his classic style of “leave the culprit free and punish the victim”! 

Chris Beckett’s novel Dark Eden is not literally an adaptation, but in fact it “adapts” and rewrites a number of foundational Western texts regarding the origins of human society and civilization… At first they live in a tightly-bound, matriarchal, “primitive,” and more or less egalitarian society. But in the course of the book we witness the splintering of this society: a “fall” from a putative “state of nature” into a more “historical” situation.
This “fall” is the result of a number of pressures: most importantly, environmental stress (as a result of overexploitation of limited resources), and the frequent appearance of detrimental recessive genetic traits (cleft palate and clubfoot) due to the restricted nature of the gene pool, combined with adolescent restlessness, and a certain drive against tradition and in favor of innovation.
The consequences of this “fall” include the “invention” of rape and murder, the transition from egalitarian matriarchy to hierarchical patriarchy, a growing tension and discordance between generations, as well as between men and women, and an energetic burst of exploration and technological invention.
In recounting these developments, the novel gives us an updated version of what I would like to call speculative anthropology. Following the classical thinkers I have already mentioned (Rousseau on the origins of inequality; Nietzsche on the origins of morality; Bachofen and Engels on the origins of family structures and differentiated gender roles), Chris Beckett speculates about “primitive” society and the development of the social institutions that today we take far too readily for granted.

Smith also specifies the “necessaries of life”, which were part of the annual produce of the “necessaries, convenience, and amusements (luxuries) of life" (Wealth Of Nations).  By definition, human kind had managed to consume the “necessaries” (food, primarily, but also shelter and other basic utilities) since our ancestors were in the forests.  Those necessaries were basic, absolutely so in times of dearth.   No “proud and unfeeling landlords” shared the “luxuries” of life with the “thousands whom they employed”, except perhaps occasional cast offs of some “conveniences” with family favourites, but certainly no “amusements” – their wife’s luxury cloths, trinkets, and such like.
Those who see my critique of the myth of the “invisible hand” as “too narrow” should take note of the unintended consequences of letting their far “too broad” laxity about the atrocities committed against the truth and Adam Smith’s good name.  They live with what they create in their mysticism about how the economy works, or doesn't, as the case may be.  Buchanan has woken up to the fraud.  There is no invisible hand operating in any economy.

October 22, 2012

Recasting caste

India Growth: The Untold Story –Caste As Social Capital Prof R. Vaidyanathan October 18, 2012 · by Vaidya  
Sociologists underline that a nation could be maintained successfully only when people are able to live with each other as groups… The amount of networking and contract enforcement mechanism available with caste institutions are not fully appreciated… It is also assumed that caste is a rigid hierarchical system which is oppressive… The metropolitan elite and rootless experts have concluded that caste is bad. They have made it into a “four letter” word and so every Indian is expected to feel guilty whenever caste is mentioned and talked about. In international forums caste is used as a stick to beat anything connected to Indian religions, customs, and culture. In other words slowly caste has been made to be for Indians what is “holocaust” for Germans and Austrians.
We have an uncanny ability to self-abuse ourselves in a masochistic way. But more tragic is our enthusiasm to convert all our strengths to weaknesses since some white men started abusing Indians for having caste system. We fail to recognize that it is a valuable social capital, which provide cushion for individuals and families in dealing with society at large, and more particularly the State. The Anglo-Saxon model of atomizing every individual to a single element in a right-based system and forcing him to have a direct link with the State has produced disastrous effects in the west wherein families have been destroyed and communities have been forgotten. Every person is standing alone in a sense stark naked with only rights as his imaginary clothes to deal directly with the State. The State also does not have the benefit of concentric circles of cushions to deal with individuals. The State has taken over the role of father and mother as well as spouse in terms of social security, old age homes and rights of children to sue and divorce parents!
Caste has been made a curse by the intellectuals based on the half-baked knowledge and acceptance of the Euro Centric model of individual, which is right based rather than duty, based system. Hence one way to overcome it is to have reservations since the euro centric model suggests that. If you decide to carry the cross or burden which others impose then you begin to impose the solution provided by them. In a sense the debate does not distinguish between caste discrimination and caste as a social capital. The cry to abolish caste is to “Semitise” or “homogenize” Indian society which has been attempted by many “reformers” but has not been successful.
Caste has played an important role in the consolidation of business and entrepreneurship in India particularly in the last fifty or so years. The economic development has taken place in the “India Uninc” or the partnership/proprietorship activities financed by domestic savings and facilitated by clusters and caste/community networks. Actually caste has been a major social capital in our growth process and it has not been adequately recognized. This paper explores the economic growth constituents and catalytic components. It also identifies the role of caste in the growth process among the emerging entrepreneurial groups.

Identity and Otherness: from Philosophy News in India by Dr Desh Raj Sirswal - Oct 21, 2012
Sebastian Velassery at Department of philosophy PanjabUniversity, Chandigarh-160 014 India. Mob: 09041108458/ 09988253035.
The term identity refers to such features of people as their race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, religion and sexuality. Labels of identity like men, Americans, Indians, Catholics, Buddhists, and so on generate ideas about people who fit the label. These ideas shape the ways people conceive themselves and their projects. More often than not, people conceive the idea of a ‘good life’ also by reference to the available labels of identification. Every collective identity is said to have certain genus of structures: First, it requires the availability of terms in public discourse that are used to pick out the bearers of identity. Normative content of a group of people as well as their particular identities with a particular label is determined by its bearers.
Identity is an abstract concept that has a metaphysical import. Its referent cannot be pointed at and said to be this or that. To identify is to delineate or isolate the features which mark out from others and hence of a conflict. Thus to talk of identity is to talk of a conflictual relation, which forms the basis of the underlying philosophical problem of identity. When we say that identity implies a conflictual relation, what is meant is that issues which are related to identity must begin from recognizing and appreciating identity both in nature and society as conflictual.
During the past many centuries, Indian understanding of identity is shaped and supported by caste identity. This systematic evil was vigorously supported and often vitiated by the stratified social system with an absolute impossibility of crossing one’s caste. It is legitimized and enacted by a theological, social and cultural ontology by the crude and selfish interpretations of the doctrines like Karma, Svadharma, Advaita and Yoga. What is central to the idea is that even today, caste has not lost its ontological status; it also points to the implication that that caste is the basis of solidarities and collective identities.
Defined from the aspect of being, caste may be regarded as the historically and culturally located categorization of human persons involving certain visual determinants such as colour, ascribed social stigma, stark poverty, ancestry, outside perception, habits and practices etc. In fact, caste considerations got its metaphysical validity and efficacy through the medium of human cognition, which has been considered as anvikshiki or philosophy in India. Philosophically considered, they are the explicit manifestation of two kinds of ontologies that this tradition and culture has brought forth; the first one may be called as the ontology of permanence and the second may be called the ontology of impermanence. Thus, there are two conceptions of reality in this culture and the philosophies and world-view in this tradition may be categorized in terms of these two categories of ontologies. 

The Caste System of India --- An Aurobindonian Perspective INSTITUTE FOR INTEGRAL YOGA PSYCHOLOGY :: Publications > DOWNLOADS DR. SOUMITRA BASU 
The four‑fold personality featuring Wisdom, Strength, Harmony and Service integrated around the Soul‑force is such a new synthesis made from the same seed ideas that produced the Caturvarna. This would be more acceptable to the Indian psyche to whom the Vedas, Upanishads and Gita continue to be living spirit.
Such a new synthetic vision of personality has another dimension. The reaction to conventionalism in the West took the form of materialism, secularism and mechanical organisation in the age of Individualism. Sri Aurobindo had opined that the Indian reaction might differ from that of the West and take the form of subjectivism and practical spirituality.30 An acceptance of Sri Aurobindo's synthesis of a perfected personality type constructed from the seed-ideas that evolved the Caturvarna while rejecting the worn‑out caste system would itself be a classical Indian reaction to the age of conventionalism. As such an attempt will have to integrate Wisdom, Strength, Harmony and Service around a Beyond‑Ego principle, it will be mandatory for the Time‑Spirit to press the Human Cycle to move towards a spiritual age en route an era of subjectivism. FIRST PUBLISHED : SRI AUROBINDO MANDIR ANNUAL No. 54,1995, Sri Aurobindo Pathmandir, Calcutta-73. 10:18 PM 12:07 PM

The caste system in India has been a subject of much controversy. It was supposed to be an identification of man's inbuilt inclinations and ...

Tweets 5m Armchairpandit @armchairpandit The American "Protestant ethics and spirit of Capitalism" is closest to Hindu "Grahastha Ashram". Hindus are natural Republicans. 

October 20, 2012

Savitri by Sri Aurobindo is a reservoir of Vedic insights

Comment on Introduction by Sandeep from Comments for IYSATM by Sandeep October 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm Firstly, many of the letters are generic in their advice (be calm, focus, etc) because they pertain to psychological situations we all face from time to time.
by Sandeep October 15, 2012 at 10:49 am In case of many concepts, it is not a problem because they have purposely elucidated on the same idea across various books. Later in life, Sri Aurobindo preferred to express himself in poetry like Savitri rather than write prose. The Mother’s recorded talks were intended to clarify Sri Aurobindo’s writings so they are complementary to his writings. The Mother also said, “It is not by books that Sri Aurobindo ought to be studied but by subjects – what he has said on the Divine, on Unity, on religion, on evolution, on education, on self-perfection, on supermind, etc, etc." (CWMCE, Vol 12, p 208)
The genesis of Sri Aurobindo’s superman Posted on May 4, 2012 Sandeep comment: Knowledge in the spiritual path is given on a need-to-know basis. 

Sanatana Dharma XXXI—Varuna-Mitra and the Truth by Sri Aurobindo
by RY Deshpande on Sun 27 Dec 2009 03:30 AM IST Mirror of Tomorrow (Archives)
This is a paraphrase of the text of Chapter Seven of Sri Aurobindo’s The Secret of the Veda. It presents the role of Vayu and Indra and then of Varuna and Mitra in the Vedic conception of the supramental consciousness which is the condition of the state of immortality. If there is the preparation first of the vital forces represented by Vayu, and of the mentality by Indra, then Varuna and Mitra are two of the four gods who represent this working of the Truth in the human mind and temperament. It is by the thought that Indra and Vayu have been called upon to perfect the nervous mentality. But this instrument, thought, has itself to be perfected, enriched, clarified before the mind can become capable of free communication with the Truth-Consciousness. To realize this Varuna and Mitra, Powers of the Truth, are invoked for "accomplishing a richly luminous thought", dhiyam ghṛtācīm sādhantā. All this is based on the central Vedic conception of the Supramental or Truth-Consciousness towards which the progressively perfected mentality of the human being labours as towards a consummation and a goal. The two opening hymns of the Rig Veda already state this great conception of the supramental consciousness as the condition of the state of immortality. In the first hymn this is simply stated as the aim of the sacrifice and the characteristic work of Agni. The second hymn indicates the preliminary work of preparation, by Indra and Vayu, by Mitra and Varuna, of the ordinary mentality of man through the force of the Ananda and the increasing growth of the Truth. more »

Foundations of Indian Psychology Volume 1: Theories and Concepts - Page 197 - Cornelissen R. M. Matthijs et al - 2011 - Preview But most important in the present context are the insights provided by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, for attaining individual and collective transformation, leading to a lasting human unity and global peace. Guided by their vision, I continue to ...
Page 178 Sri Aurobindo's perspective The following account of Sri Aurobindo's perspective is based on a preliminary ... As was the concern in the Upanisads, Sri Aurobindo, too, has dealt with the nature of Self and nature of reality in general.
Page 229 Sri Aurobindo was a spiritual master and Gandhi was a spiritual leader. ... Also the sadhana of Sri Aurobindo had taken him far beyond the psychic realization, and his life reflects the attainment of the highest reaches of consciousness.
Page 351 second approach to the higher ranges of consciousness for which Sri Aurobindo found many references in the Vedas. In this approach one climbs slowly and meticulously, step by step, a kind of inner stairs that rises from below right up to the...
Page 358 23 Sri Aurobindo describes these higher planes of consciousness with an exemplary and, one must add, rather rare intellectual discipline and 'rectitude'. From his diaries and the autobiographical poetry he wrote during the same periods as ...
Page 75 Figure 4.2: A comparison of Sri Aurobindo's and Vedic terminologies. We have already mentioned tisro dydvah, the three realms of the Universal Mind — Mental, Vital and Physical, which in Sri Aurobindo's terminology are identified as ...
Page 191 165) In summary, Sri Aurobindo's depiction of personality and human existence, refers to a lesser self caught up in the demands of the outer being, which can get transformed into the greater Self via a process of development. This entails first ...
Page 355 Only then may it finally be said of humanity that its tread shall 'justify the light on Nature's face' (Aurobindo, 1994, p. 344). Acknowledgement In this chapter I have tried to give a faithful impression of Sri Aurobindo's ideas on knowledge in a ...

October 19, 2012

Navajyoti, Odisha, and Purnanga Yoga

 It was a little over half a century ago that a new era dawned in the long history of spiritual aspirations and endeavours of Utkal.  That happened in the year 1958, with the launching of the Oriya quarterly journal Navajyoti by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, at the initiative of the sage Ramakrishna Das and Prof. Kangali Charan Pati, well-known as Prapatti, and with the dedicated assistance from some devotees of the Master and the Mother in Orissa.
 Before long there was a wide awakening in the State, men and women belonging to every part of it growing inspired by the concept of transformation and the great destiny of humanity as revealed by Sri Aurobindo. The Ashram opened a new department named the Navajyoti Karyalaya. As numerous Centres and Study Circles began to open up in the State, the need for a monthly journal was felt urgently and thus was published the Navaprakash. Some periodical newsletters too were brought out at different times. Along with the translations of the works of Sri Aurobindo, the Karyalaya started bringing out booklets explaining in simple terms the various aspects of the Yoga of Sri Aurobindo.
 Publications (both magazines and books) of the earliest as well as the years that followed are rare today. Even though their copies are preserved, it is difficult to handle them for research or reference purposes because of their fragile condition. Once a copy from this collection is lost or damaged, its replacement or restoration will be well nigh impossible. 
 The importance of preserving these publications of archaeological significance for today and tomorrow can hardly be exaggerated. Hence the Navajyoti Karyalaya is launching this website on this auspicious day of the 15th of August 2012, in order to give those documents a new lease of life through the internet. The site will include other relevant items too, such as information regarding new publications and reviews. We expect that this venture will be of invaluable help to the numerous devotees, seekers and students as well as the wider readership of the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Sri Ramakrushna Das: The Pioneer The eternal SANYASI..
Sri Ramakrishna Das fondly known as Babaji Maharaj who was a sanyasi at Ajodhya  joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, on 2nd February 1945. Babaji Maharaj had aspired for the people of Orissa to open to The Mother’s and Sri Aurobindo’s Consciousness. Click to read his books. Copyright © 2012 Purnangayoga Parikrama. All Rights Reserved.

October 16, 2012

Values laid by phonies and iPhone as canvas

Nietzsche has seen Nihilism as a necessity and not just a statement to endorse ‘Transvaluation of all values’, he believed in Nihilism as a pure form of re-birth of thought and its existence and relevance in the contemporary world. For me, Nietzsche is ‘The Renaissance’, the thoughts, the aphorisms and he didn't mince words to express them with alacrity…
Western Civilization: Nietzsche questioned the Western Civilization, its validity and perspective towards society. The conventional western thought process was in danger, at least academically. The dogma set up by the western civilization was critically exposed by Nietzsche. Nietzsche is one of the most earliest and important figures who challenged the western civilization, who predicted the future of society under western civilization, how Europe might sulk and importantly as I comprehend – he predicted the desperate need for a new civilization which departs from the dogma of western civilization and which recognizes the spirit of a man.
Relevance: Nietzsche is more relevant today than any other period in the history. When Liberalism has prostituted itself to the left, when Marxism is being shown as an alternative to the current failures of nations, when the western code of belief takes higher moral ground and when righteousness gets escaped without any questioning. It’s the Nietzschean thought which confronts the above theologies which has the ability smother the individual with morality and dogmatic values.
“I Am Not a Man, I Am Dynamite!” he said in his last work ‘Ecce Homo‘. Yes, Nietzsche is dynamite, the dynamite which can destroy the values laid by phonies, the dynamite which forces us to ask questions, which in turn demands answers, the dynamite – whose aim is to destroy the sanctity of invalidated ideas, to create a foe when ideologies shamelessly celebrate for having no enemies. The self righteousness of this dynamite is the hope for future.

How Capitalism Can Save Art Camille Paglia on why a new generation has chosen iPhones and other glittering gadgets as its canvas October 5, 2012, 7:58 p.m. ET By CAMILLE PAGLIA
Does art have a future? Performance genres like opera, theater, music and dance are thriving all over the world, but the visual arts have been in slow decline for nearly 40 years. No major figure of profound influence has emerged in painting or sculpture since the waning of Pop Art and the birth of Minimalism in the early 1970s. Yet work of bold originality and stunning beauty continues to be done in architecture, a frankly commercial field…
Thus we live in a strange and contradictory culture, where the most talented college students are ideologically indoctrinated with contempt for the economic system that made their freedom, comforts and privileges possible. In the realm of arts and letters, religion is dismissed as reactionary and unhip. The spiritual language even of major abstract artists like Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko is ignored or suppressed. Thus young artists have been betrayed and stunted by their elders before their careers have even begun. Is it any wonder that our fine arts have become a wasteland?

By “American brands of spirituality” I’m referring to things like Westernized Buddhism, “integralism” in the sense of Ken Wilber, the New Age movement, and so on. These movements lip service to the physical and emotional dangers of sexual activity while maintaining the Western/American notion that “sex life” and “sexual expression” are essential parts of life and ignoring the spiritual effects of sexual activity. At the same time, this dialogue can’t, and shouldn't, go back to these repressive and puritanical notions.

New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin ii. cartographies > 6. pushing dualism to an extreme
Feminist theory has to push sexual difference as an ordinary dualism to an extreme precisely so as to push sexual difference to the limit. A sexual difference according to which women are worth-less-than men, to speak with Braidotti, has to be pushed to an extreme so as to release sexual difference as that which is virtual. This is precisely how we should read Simone de Beauvoir’s conclusion to The Second Sex, which indeed thinks through the emancipation of humanity in its most radical form. After a full description of the dialectic of sex (a dualism structured by a negative relationality), she concludes that: “new carnal and affective relations of which we cannot conceive will be born between the sexes” (de Beauvoir [1949] 2010, 765). It is precisely by thinking through sexual difference to its remotest aspirations, thus alluding to difference structured by an affirmative relationality, that de Beauvoir came to produce the revolution in thought that has made her famous (and infamous), for constituting feminism as a rewriting of modernity—that is, feminism-as-differing. de Beauvoir exemplifies a new materialist take on difference, since by traversing the (sexual) dualism structuring modernist thought, modernity comes to be rewritten and difference is shown differing. Contents Next Section Previous Section

October 15, 2012

Descartes, Bergson, Freud, Myers, & James

[Stumblingmystic September 10, 2010 at 11:52 am I can vouch for that memory chapter in Irreducible Mind being a fantastic philosophical critique of the Western reductionistic understanding of memory!]

[Henri Bergson (1859–1941) Since its publication in 1896, Matter and Memory has attracted considerable attention (see, for example, Deleuze 1956). In the Preface that he wrote in 1910, Bergson says that Matter and Memory “is frankly dualistic,” since it “affirms both the reality of matter and the reality of spirit” (Matter and Memory, p. 9). Copyright © 2011 by Leonard Lawlor Valentine Moulard; substantive revision Tue Jul 12, 2011 SEP]

[Mind in Indian Buddhist Philosophy 3.2 Sensation and Perception; substantive revision Fri Oct 12, 2012 SEP
The Sanskrit term most commonly associated with sensory activity, indriya (‘sensation’ or ‘power’), is found in the Rg Veda (I, 55; II, 16), a collection of hymns dealing with various religio-philosophical topics central to the Brahmanical tradition. Here the senses are likened to lesser deities acting on behalf of Indra, the king of the gods, as messengers to the lower realms. As manifestations of Indra's specific powers, the senses thus understood correspond to his capacity for knowledge (buddhīndriya) and action (karmendriya).
This early mythological narrative in which lesser deities are the agencies of sensory activity in humans bears some structural similarity to Descartes’ account in his Treatise of Man and Passions of the Soul of the animal spirits which flowing from the pineal gland control the activity of sensation, imagination, as well as bodily movements.]

[Sigmund Freud The unconscious - From Wikipedia
The concept of the unconscious was central to Freud's account of the mind. Freud believed that while poets and thinkers had long known of the existence of the unconscious, he had ensured that it received scientific recognition in the field of psychology. However, the concept made an informal appearance in Freud's writings. It was first introduced in connection with the phenomenon of repression, to explain what happens to ideas that are repressed; Freud stated explicitly that the concept of the unconscious was based on the theory of repression. He postulated a cycle in which ideas are repressed, but remain in the mind, removed from consciousness yet operative, then reappear in consciousness under certain circumstances.]

[William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) Instincts From Wikipedia 
Like Sigmund Freud, James was influenced by Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. At the core of James' theory of psychology, as defined in Principles of Psychology (1890), was a system of "instincts." James wrote that humans had many instincts, even more than other animals. These instincts, he said, could be overridden by experience and by each other, as many of the instincts were actually in conflict with each other. In the 1920s, however, psychology turned away from evolutionary theory and embraced radical behaviorism.] 

October 14, 2012

Ethics and politics are indivisible

BEYOND THE RULE OF REASON from Dr. Sanity Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that describes existence, and it leads directly to Epistemology, which concerns itself with knowledge. METAPHYSICS (What is existence?) ----> EPISTEMOLOGY (How do we know it?)
The answers derived from these two branches of philosophy lead directly to several other key branches of philosophy, including Ethics (how should we behave?) and Politics (what degree of force is permissible ). So you can see that one's metaphysics is a crucial foundation to how one interprets the world and how one behaves in it. For those of you who think all this philosophy business is too abstract and irrelevant to your life; you are very very wrong. Catastrophically wrong.
These ideas have everything to do with your life and how you live it. They are also the crux of why the world we live in seems to be more and more incomprehensible and insane. When you begin with the belief that reality doesn't exist outside your own head, then, it is just a very short--and minor--leap to accepting that words don't matter and can change meaning on a whim; or that it doesn't matter how you behave; that everything is relative anyway, including truth and morality. But, just because reality is ambiguous and sometimes difficult to determine; it hardly gives someone carte blanche to say that every interpretation is of equal value and should be treated as such.

Lecture at JNU by DR. MARIANO ITURBE, University of NavarraSpain - from Philosophy News in India by Dr Desh Raj Sirswal - “The Concept of Justice in Plato”
Plato, together with Socrates and Aristotle, laid the philosophical foundations of Western culture. His thought has logical, epistemological, and metaphysical aspects; but its underlying motivation is ethical. At the centre of all his writings there is the Greek insight that Reason, the logos, is nature steering all things from within.
For Plato, ethics and politics are indivisible implications of the natural order. He wanted to discover the real nature of the State. Thus, the Republic, the greatest of all his dialogues, has three main strands of argument deftly combined into an artistic whole –the ethical and political, the aesthetic and mystical, and the metaphysical.
The Republic seeks an answer to the nature of justice. Justice consists in a harmony that emerges when the various parts of a unit perform the function proper to them and abstain from interfering with the functions of any other part. More specifically, justice occurs with regard to the individual, when the three component parts of his soul – reason, appetite, and spirit, or will – each perform their appropriate tasks; with regard to society, justice occurs when its component members each fulfill the demands of their allotted roles. Harmony is ensured in the individual when the rational part of his soul is in command; with regard to society, when philosophers are its rulers because platonic philosophers have a clear understanding of justice, based on their vision of the Form of the Good. Justice is the principle which makes the State a whole and maintains its parts in due proportion.

On the economic value of the humanities from Love of All Wisdom by Amod Lele [This entry will be cross-posted at the Bulletin for the Study of Religion]
One is not best served by the old humanities disciplines – philosophy, literature, history, religious studies – and their characteristic methods of inquiry. These fields teach a large amount of content knowledge that has no marketable applications. Nor should it – for that was never supposed to be the point… Public universities exist and should exist because they are a public good – the state subsidizes an activity which would be impossible without it.
Among these activities are the transmission of great, valuable ideas from generation to generation, and the continual reinterpretation of those ideas for new and different times. Those are the reasons that the humanities came into being in the first place, and they continue to be the reasons the humanities are valuable now. In a public context, the academic humanities should make their case on those old-fashioned but perennial grounds…
I am aware that even within the humanities, many – perhaps most – do not see their task as so old-fashioned. Call them postmodernists, critical theorists, or whatever one wishes, these more recent humanists view the task of the humanities as something different: a kind of critique that goes well beyond “critical thinking” in the usual sense, to a radical unmasking of society’s hidden presuppositions. 

East and West – Sri Aurobindo - A critique of the book - East and West by Sri Aurobindo « Mirror of Tomorrow The unification of the East and the West is the religion of today. But in this task of unification, if we consider the West as the foundation or the chief support we ... 

The Hindu : NATIONAL TAMIL NADU : Chennai today Sri Aurobindo Society: Talk on 'Sri Aurobindo and Bharathiyar', 5, Smith Rd., Anna Salai, 10.30 a.m.  

October 05, 2012

Philo, Plotinus, Whitehead, & Sri Aurobindo

While pursuing ‘Indian Yoga for self-development’, Sri Aurobindo got the first contact with Vedic thought indirectly and as a surprise. During this stage, though his intent was not in finding the meanings of the mantrās, the secret that lay hidden in the Veda stood revealed to him. Then with this prompt, he went into deeper pursuits of the hymns, traditional knowledge, ancient usages and the Shastrās. He thus broke the seal over the age-old secret embedded in the language of the Vedas…
1. Before reading the Veda, he was none the different from majority of educated Indians. For them, the Upanishads were the most ancient source of Indian thought and religion and the Rig Veda in its modern translations was only an important document of Indian national history, seldom carrying any value for a living spiritual experience.
2. The figures of three female energies, Ila, Saraswati and Sarama that were revealed to him, represented faculties of the intuitive reason - ‘revelation, inspiration and intuition’. It was at this stage that he got partial clues more towards identity of name rather than identity of the symbol…
Sri Aurobindo’s approach was quite straightforward, not departing from simple and naturalistic sense of words or clauses. When this rule was applied, he found that not merely the separate verses but also the entire passages came into evidence. This made the whole character quite sound and the scripture presented the richest golden thought and the spiritual experience continuous.

Before she became the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Mirra Alfassa was a spiritual seeker like any other, reading books on mysticism, communing with nature, probing the recondite worlds of her dreams, meeting with fellow seekers, and generally exploring the mysterious intimations of a vaster consciousness that were being disclosed to her from time to time. 

I’m not so sure treating an actual occasion as a “bundle of prehensions” is at all faithful to Whitehead’s scheme. Maybe you arguing that some other aspect of his thought forces him into an inconsistency on this point? If that’s not what you’re suggesting, then I fail to understand how an actual occasion’s process of concrescence–which Whitehead insists is self-created and transcends the whole of the past universe in a moment of private self-enjoyment–could be reduced to a “bundle of prehensions.” Don’t forget Whitehead’s formula of Creativity: “the many become one, and are increased by one.” It seems to me you’re selectively ignoring Whitehead’s emphasis on the distinct and novel oneness produced by each occasion’s concrescence.
I think Bryant is making the same mistake about Whitehead that Harman makes. See my earlier post in response to Harman.

The meeting of the East and the West in Sri Aurobindo's philosophy - Page 191 - S.K. Maitra - 1956 - The Double Trinity In Plotinus: I now come to the more philosophical parts of Plotinus' system. ... "all things are three and three is everywhere".12 Be that as it may, there is the double triad in Plotinus — the higher and the lower. ... I. p. 122 There are two things which are to be observed in SRI AUROBINDO AND PLOTINUS 191. Annual - Issues 5-8 - Page 148 - Sri Aurobindo mandir, Calcutta - 1946 - Sri Aurobindo mandir, Calcutta ... THE DOUBLE TRINITY IN PLOTINUS

October 04, 2012

Heraclitus, Nietzsche, Bergson, & Sri Aurobindo

So long as we try to understand the concept of rebirth using the faculties of the mind, it is impossible to come to any solid basis. Due to the limitations of the mind and its faculties of perception and understanding, we are left with conflicting ideas and contradictory points of view. It is essentially impossible for the mind to grasp anything that is outside its normal range of focus and action, and clearly the operation of a universal process of development using rebirth as a mechanism goes far beyond the normal scope of the mental power.
In reviewing the concept of rebirth, we need to be able to look at facts, assemble data, and understand things in a logical and consistent manner. Most of us tend to take things on faith, and devote little time to deep consideration of the issues. This is particularly true for those who accept or deny the theory of rebirth. The acceptance or the denial are generally based on little serious consideration, but rather, on a packaged concept that we either accept more or less blindly, or deny on the same basis.

“At this point, it must be emphasized that philosophies like Samkhya, Vedanta and Tantra should be used as a support for intuition and not a rigid logical system for disputation.   Our goal must always be the verification of philosophies through one’s spiritual experience.” Sandeep September 29, 2012 at 10:34 am In the ancient past, there have been disputes amongst prominent schools of Indian philosophy over the nature of the Universe. I was referring to those disputes in that passage.

I’ve just finished Gilles Deleuze’s book Bergsonism (1990). Here is my outline of the text: Deleuze’s Bergsonism: Notes and Outline. Bergson suggested that the Absolute had to be approached from two sides, the scientific and the metaphysical. Science/Intellect considers the universe according to a series of states. Metaphysics/Intuition considers the universe according to the self-differentiation of a whole.

The ideas of Heraclitus on which I have so far laid stress, are general, philosophical, metaphysical; they glance at those first truths of existence, devanam prathama vratani, [The first laws of working of the Gods.] for which philosophy first seeks because they are the key to all other truths. But what is their practical effect on human life and aspiration? For that is in the end the real value of philosophy for man, to give him light on the nature of his being, the principles of his psychology, his relations with the world and with God, the fixed lines or the great possibilities of his destiny. It is the weakness of most European philosophy - not the ancient - that it lives too much in the clouds and seeks after pure metaphysical truth too exclusively for its own sake; therefore it has been a little barren because much too indirect in its bearing on life. It is the great distinction of Nietzsche among later European thinkers to have brought back something of the old dynamism and practical force into philosophy, although in the stress of this tendency he may have neglected unduly the dialectical and metaphysical side of philosophical thinking.
No doubt, in seeking Truth we must seek it for its own sake first and not start with any preconceived practical aim and prepossession which would distort our disinterested view of things; but when Truth has been found, its bearing on life becomes of capital importance and is the solid justification of the labour spent in our research. Indian philosophy has always understood its double function; it has sought the Truth not only as an intellectual pleasure or the natural dharma of the reason, but in order to know how man may live by the Truth or strive after it; hence its intimate influence on the religion, the social ideas, the daily life of the people, its immense dynamic power on the mind and actions of Indian humanity. The Greek thinkers, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, the Stoics and Epicureans, had also this practical aim and dynamic force, but it acted only on the cultured few. That was because Greek philosophy, losing its ancient affiliation to the Mystics, separated itself from the popular religion; but as ordinarily Philosophy alone can give light to Religion and save it from crudeness, ignorance and superstition, so Religion alone can give, except for a few, spiritual passion and effective power to Philosophy and save it from becoming unsubstantial, abstract and sterile. It is a misfortune for both when the divine sisters part company.