February 24, 2013

History, mythology, and the woman Y

Prayers to Divine Mother: Sri Aurobindo Devotees Trust, Sasibalika Vidya Mandir, R.S. Puram, 9.30 a.m. and Sri Annai Meditation Centre, W7C, Kovaipudur, 4 p.m.

Aurobindo admirer The Shillong Times - Rajib Roy met American historian Peter Heehs during his visit to Shillong WHILE GRADUATING in a college in ...

Comment on Sri Aurobindo on synchronicity by mwb6119Mark from Comments for IYSATM Sandeep said: As you too may have noticed, once you have a spiritual opening, all kinds of experiences tend to occur and it is not easy to distinguish whether one is interpreting them correctly or just projecting one’s desires.

There was a time when history was an engagement involving the dead, the living and the unborn. Today, thanks to the multiplication of isms and the epidemic of prefixes (post-modernism, post-colonial , neo-liberal , et al), the story of the human experience has been reduced to conversations involving tiny groups of ‘professional’ historians. The wider citizenry that should, ideally, have informed perceptions of their heritage and inheritance have been disdainfully left out of the process.
The results have been horrible. An India that was in any case relatively unconcerned with history has become even less so. An enlightened yet critical view of how our ancestors coped with challenges and uncertainties have been replaced by either idyllic or prejudicial fantasies. By far the most damaging contribution has been that of ‘scientific’ history which, thanks to its impersonal nature and inherent dryness, has virtually killed popular interest in the past. For the aam aadmi, history has become a Bollywood hand-me-down.
This perversion has had two consequences. For some, not least the political class, the rendering of the past has become an aspect of contemporary politics — tales to be moulded and presented as facets of a contested nationhood. To the completely uninitiated, history has become an extension of mythology — a process that conveniently bypasses chronology and empirical rigour. By definition, any appreciation of the past involves a great deal of tentativeness. Yet, if mass reaction is any guide, everything from Shivaji to Gandhiji has become bound in unflinching certitudes… Viewing history as a series of certitudes forecloses awkward conclusions. Like the present, there is no single reality that defines the past, a point to consider the next time we make it a contemporary battlefield. 

Vivekananda’s doctrine of Maya is not like that of Sankara Pertinence of Vivekananda’s Apotheosis in Indian Social Diaspora - Dr. Ravindra Kumar – Aug. 29, 2007 - The intuitive mind of Vivekananda has been inspired by the juxtapose thought and theism of various pantheists and epistemologists.
Remembering Vivekananda - Frontline AMIYA P. SEN Feb 8, 2013 – Unlike Sri Ramakrishna, Vivekananda was not a sadhaka, nor did he possess the philosophical depth or originality of Sri Aurobindo. His most ... 3:23 pm
Vivekananda's doctored picture of Ramakrishna 13 Jan 2013 - Jyotirmaya Sharma busts many myths around Swami Vivekananda From: Outlook Magazine, 21 January 2013 Interview ‘His Inclusiveness Is A Powerful Myth’ Vivekananda comes across as a Hindu supremacist, and not so much a social reformist - Satish Padmanabhan Interviews Jyotirmaya Sharma

There is darkness below darkness, as if worse is awaiting the worse, evil for a greater evil. Not a drop of joy, not a ray of light, not a bit of truth, not a trace of hope is present there. Eye cannot see anything, but it is only by the perception of the soul one knows the things that go in that calamitous world, in that city with grimed sooty filthy walls, in those savage slums of the Night. If there are proud perverted palaces, there also crowd grey and squalid huts, places full of inhuman and demoniac inhabitants. Life has achieved in the shadow depths a strange miracle. She is here a strong and fallen goddess, a drunken empress, a terrible horrendous dreadful Gorgon in all her monstrous ugliness, with living snakes as her hair, a look at her turning one into a dead stone. A Medusa may be killed by Perseus but here she is an immortal, once a royal woman, attired in gold and purple robes, a queen leaving her palace and now living in a shanty, in a crudely built hut, in a squalid bouge, bearing her fatal breasts in shameless and uncouth exultation.
She has become a dissolute woman, a harlot, promiscuous, a vagabond, an adventurous tramp. There on the dark background she scripts her dramas and her long epics of horror and grimness, of agonies and hideous deeds. She runs booths of sin and makes good business in night-repairs beautifying skin and flesh with creams and serums, and stylises body’s lustful moods and desires. To the goat-like satyr she gives the honey-dripping thyrsus of a god. Such are her ingenious crafts of monstrosity. Everything that Nature made is given repulsive twists and unnatural poses. To the dead is expressed anguish but it is no more than a ritual, a custom, without an element of genuineness. In the secret Night is abroad only the bestial joy, a monstrous ecstasy. Anything done only exposes the mystery of Hell.

Even you are very beautiful: Nikitha Suryadevara from Kafila Guest post by NIKITHA SURYADEVARA
In a professional setting like a press conference, definitely inappropriate. Yelling “you’re beautiful, you’re sexy!” at passing women on the street can never be construed as a compliment. My apologies to legions of what I’m sure are well meaning men with only pure good intentions… I want to be more than a piece of meat. I want to be more than something pretty to look at. I want to inspire respect not lust. And until the day it happens, I will continue to be over sensitive and I will continue to regard all such ‘compliments’ with the skepticism they deserve.

I also have come across some old pervert men in university and job alike, but i have also had the chance to meet certain men with lot of self control and integrity. Similarly for the women, i have known the devoted ones and also the not-so-controlled ones. (Maybe it is more difficult to find pervert women as their means of expressions are more restrained than men in Indian society. Also just think in a traditional society, if a man cheats on one woman X, it will surely involve another woman Y. Now what will you call Y here?).

Women themselves want to be seen as seductive and are totally focused on their physical appearance because that must attract attention. In Rajesh Khanna’s films women were objects of adoration. India may have become wealthier than before but crimes against women are in the headlines every other day. 

February 23, 2013

Elst errs

Sri Aurobindo Society: Meeting on 'The yoga of Savitri reading,' 3 Lajapathi Roy Road, Chinna Chokkikulam, 4 p.m.

As the mental force begins to make itself felt and tries to develop a law or rule of life, it starts out with the demands, needs, desires and fears of the dynamic life force as the primary controlling factor with which it has to grapple. Rather than being able to impose, therefore, a reasoned moral and ethical code, it resorts to attempts to modify and upgrade the vital impetus through offering a system of rewards and punishments, a “carrot and a stick”, for following the basic lines set forth in the moral doctrines. On close examination it can be seen that even the goals set forth at this point are mostly driven by the vital drive for success, achievement and prosperity and the fear of loss, suffering and pain.
It is thus at this point that the most common ideas about the law of Karma appear and take center stage. The moral principle, the ethical ideal is tied to the concept that the “good” will achieve worldly success; or if not worldly success, then at least a success in a life hereafter. The influence of the vital power is clearly seen in the fact that “right” has to be tied to “success” in order to be something to be attempted.

While on the subject of I, AM, and the link between the two, I'd like to discuss Scruton's The Face of God. It's a short book, containing the published version of his Gifford Lectures of 2010.
If you're not familiar with them, the Gifford Lectures were the brainchild of the Scottish Lord Gifford (1820-1887), established and endowed for the purpose of promoting and propagating "the study of natural theology in the widest sense of the term -- in other words, the knowledge of God." The quality of these lectures is often quite high, and draws big brains from many disciplines, and thus comports well with our own multi-undisciplinary approach.
Among others, I've read those by Royce, Gilson, James, Eddington, Heisenberg, Dawson, Toynbee, Barbour, Dyson, Eccles, Polkinghorne, Rolston, Taylor, and, of course Jaki, Polanyi and Whitehead, all of whom are recurring characters on the One Cosmos blog. Again, these are folks who are attempting to think across disciplines, so many of them are pione'er-do-well Raccoons.

Yoga and Hinduism from Centre Right India by Koenraad Elst
I am currently finishing a booklet for the greater public on the external enemies of Hinduism. It will make me very popular among Hindus. But next, I want to write a similar booklet about the internal enemies of Hinduism, or is other words: what is wrong with the Hindus so that e.g. they cannot settle the Kashmir dispute or the constitutional/legal discrimination of the Hindus in spite of being a democratic majority? This should make me a few friends among the secularists, but I think the enmity on that side in already too entrenched; but it will certainly make me many enemies among Hindus. They don’t like a Westerner criticizing them, though I have most of these criticisms from Hindus themselves. At any rate, if Hindus don’t make a systematic diagnosis of the problem, someone else has to do it. And the current (sentimental and confused) Hindu bhakti notion of “God” is certainly a big part of the problem.

Macaulay's children & the rest - Gautam Adhikari TOI - 22 February 2013,
Enter Mamata Banerjee. And Narendra Modi. And Mulayam Singh Yadav. In short, all those political players who proudly display an almost Macaulay-like disdain towards Indians who use English as their main language of communication. And they are confident, to the point of arrogance in many cases, in adopting styles of political, social and cultural behaviour that is alien to Macaulay`s cherished western norms and practice… So, here`s a question: As democracy deepens, must we in fact expect an onset of decline in the very republican norms embedded in the Constitution that upholds the idea of India? 

It seems to me that Hobbes’s critique of the RCC is essentially that it undermines the sovereignty of individual nations without having the strength to form a larger over-arching sovereignty of its own (the latter part being more implicit in his argument) — so in essence, it simply sows the seeds of discord and division by muddying the waters of whether Catholics should be loyal to their local sovereign or the pope. I wonder if Hobbes might view the European Union, and particularly the Monetary Union, in a similar light. To become part of the EU and especially the Eurozone, nations must give up sovereignty over their currency, which is one of the most important tools for managing a modern economy, and they are also significantly constrained in their fiscal policy. Even worse, the measures dictated are often very unpopular with local populations, prompting protest and perhaps eventually revolt. Yet the EU itself has even less popular legitimacy than local governments, and its own ability to project power is very limited… Hence it seems to me that Hobbes’s hypothetical diagnosis has a lot of truth to it. 

The very young Marx from Love of All Wisdom by Amod Lele - Feb 18, 2013
Because throughout his life, Marx was, in a word, a materialist. Not in the modern pejorative sense (“he who dies with the most toys wins”) nor the negative philosophical sense, in which ideas and mind are treated as somehow unreal. Rather, for Marx it was always the case that matter matters. The physical world sets the terms on which we human beings can exist, and so to understand human life both as it is and as it should be, we must understand that physical world. Marx lived at a time when the modern scientific revolution was hitting full steam (and that is not only a metaphor). The discoveries of Charles Darwin, above all, were an inspiration to Marx’s inspiration. Friedrich Engels said at Marx’s funeral that Marx had done for human history what Darwin had done for organic nature. For it was Darwin who made it intellectually feasible to explain the biological world without reference to a god. The gods are just as distant in Epicurus’s explanations; he can look like a precursor of Darwin. And so it was to Epicurus that Marx turned as an inspiration for his still-developing atheist Hegelianism. 

February 22, 2013

Adam Smith defends the soundness of ordinary human being’s judgments

On the occasion of the Mother's Birthday, an evening performance was held at the Matrimandir amphitheater. Passages were read from Savitri "Book of the Divine Mother" and "The Book of Birth and Quest", accompanied by the flute and tanpura. 
21st of February  important day in Auroville's life, FoodLink takes a gift economy's aspect to celebrate this day. Based on the joy of giving, food shopping is an exchange. Farmers bring their productions, vegetable, fruits, milk .... and people pay the price that they can afford. A different way to estimate value of goods, in a typically Aurovilian way of living. This happened in "Pour Tous" next to solar kitchen, finishing at 3 pm. 

10,000 visitors thronged the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Over 10,000 visitors are expected to have crossed the portals of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, to have a ...

A mass meditation was held at Sri Aurobindo Ashram to mark the 135th birth anniversary of the Mother here on Thursday. Devotees from the country as well as...

Talk - Matter – Man’s Last spiritual Frontier at Sri Aurobindo Complex ... Feb 21 2013 04:30 PM Sri Aurobindo Complex Trust 21 Feb, 2013. 'Mother's birth anniversary', talk on 'Matter - man's last spiritual frontier' by Bhaskara Reddy.

MOTHER´S BIRTHDAY AT AUROBINDO (Colonel Nirmal Mahajan, EME, Retd) 21 Feb, was Mother’s 135th birthday
It was celebrated with all the fervor, enthusiasm at the Aurobindo Ashram, Rajpur Road. The Prayer hall was packed to capacity with the devotees who had come to pay homage to Mother. Madhu Anjali, energetic Vice Chairperson of Aurbindo Ashram, had splendidly decked up the whole place with marigold flowers. Flurry of white flowers at the entrance add to the ambiance of Ashram. As always, as per the tradition, the program started with meditation and reading of a page of epic, “Savitri” (written by Sri Aurobindo). Later Kiran Sood, Principal of M.K.P (PG) Collage, gave a thought provoking talk on Mother, which the knowledgeable audience heard in pin drop silence. Kiran is a regular speaker and has in-depth knowledge of spiritual matters…
Special message received from Pondicherry was distributed to all. It read, “There is a sacred fire that burns in the heart and envelops the whole being; it is Agni, who illumines and purifies all. I kindle that fire in you each time that you ask me for some progress; but it destroys nothing but falsehood and obscurity.” The Mother
20 boys and girls of Jaswant Modern School sang few melodious Bhajans, befitting the auspicious occasion, in the presence of their principal Meenakashi Ganhotra. Every one in the vast gathering appreciated chorus singing especially “ Om Namo Shivai” in crescendo. In the end Devi Wahi, chairperson of Aurbindo, profusely thanked Kiran Sood and principal, students of Jaswant Modern School. She also informed the devotees that on 24 Feb, Promila Mahajan will give lecture on “Meditation” at 10:30 AM.  All are welcome. The function was attended by large devotees of Dehradun including Gen Agarwal, Thapar, Mohan Sachdev, Narang , Bansal, Sethi , Mehta , Mahajan and many more. Community lunch was served to one and all. It was indeed a memorable day at Aurobindo Ashram.

As the human mind develops beyond its first focus on purely vital success and fulfillment, we see the next stage as the attempt to abstract out of the life experience some basic principles or rules which get framed into the concept of “right”, which became in the ancient Indian philosophy, the concept known as “Dharma”. We see here a more characteristically mental framework developing an independence from the needs for vital success in life, and a corresponding attempt to control life based on these abstract principles…
We see here a real transition from the non-moral law of the vital world, and the first mental developments focused on supporting and achieving success in the world of life and action, to a more purely mental framework that seeks to modify life, and impose itself regardless of the vital desires and fulfillments. Of course, this starts out as a mixed action still highly colored by the desires, demands and needs of the vital being of man, and thus, the ideals and goals set in this initial stage are very much vital goals.

The term noosphere was originally coined by Teilhard de Chardin the Jesuit anthropologist. However it was Vernadsky integrated the emergence of noosphere with the evolutionary history of the planet… His book ‘The Biosphere’ was published in Russian in 1926 and in French in 1929. With 150 pages and unassuming cover, the book’s importance was not understood fully outside a small minority of inter-disciplinary scientists dealing with eco-systems… In 1960, in the centennial year of the publication of ‘Origin of Species’, Sir Julian Huxley coined the term ‘psycho-social evolution’ to characterize the nature of evolution after the advent of humans. Huxley also strongly felt the need for a psychosocial science for guiding this post-biological evolution…
But what makes Vivekananda more relevant to the study of noosphere is the way he shuns the pseudo-science of social Darwinism. This is a remarkable stand because at that time the most of the Western world was under the sway of Herbert Spencer – applying the ‘survival of the fittest’ to human societies, justifying enslaving of non-western societies, colonial exploitation, racism and elimination of mentally challenged individuals in the name of the science of eugenics… He saw in evolution an underlying unity of all life rejecting spontaneous creation with an external factor like God and he also inferred that with the advent of human mind and unity of humanity, a new phase in evolution has commenced… In fact Vernadsky seeing mind as an important factor in planetary geo-bio evolution gets a premonition in Vivekananda’s thought, though in a much larger canvas… Vernadsky in his last days was deeply attracted by the works of Swami Vivekananda. And this year sees the 150th birth anniversary of both Swami Vivekananda and Vernadsky. 

A central thread running through his work is an unusually strong commitment to the soundness of the ordinary human being’s judgments, and a concern to fend off attempts, by philosophers and policy-makers, to replace those judgments with the supposedly better “systems” invented by intellectuals… Perhaps taking a cue from David Hume’s skepticism about the capacity of philosophy to replace the judgments of common life, Smith is suspicious of philosophy as conducted from a foundationalist standpoint, outside the modes of thought and practice it examines. Instead, he maps common life from within, correcting it where necessary with its own tools rather than trying either to justify or to criticize it from an external standpoint. He aims indeed to break down the distinction between theoretical and ordinary thought. This intellectual project is not unconnected with his political interest in guaranteeing to ordinary individuals the “natural liberty” to act in accordance with their own judgments.

Polanyi suffers from ideological blindness.  He has a political point of view that denies the very evidence he quotes!  

Remembering Arumuga Navalar from Centre Right India by Pulitheva Tamizhmannan
There are other equally great figures who are less famous, but who deserve to be known and remembered. Among them is Arumuga Navalar (1822 – 1879) who is regarded as the “father” of modern day Tamil prose and an architect of Hindu destiny in Eelam (Sri Lanka) is the most prominent member…
The school he established was modeled along the lines of the Protestant school he had studied in since he felt that the traditional Tamil schools were inadequate for facing the missionary onslaught which he saw as shiva’s way of chastising the Tamils and awakening them to their own heritage… By 1850 he had managed to set up the printing press and began publishing religious texts and texts like Bala Patam (Children’s Lessons) for the Shaiva school children… To put it simply, Arumuga Navalar created an awakening among the Sri Lankan Tamils and set the standards for modern day Tamil prose; what Swami Dayananda and his Arya Samaj had achieved in North India in stemming conversions, Arumuga Navalar achieved in Eelam.

At a time, when India was suffering from corruption, low economic growth etc, and the common man was left with frustration and anger over the system, Hindi Cinema turned violent and aggressive. Reflecting the anger of the masses, Amitabh Bachchan became the new hero, who had the courage to fight against the wrong and maintaining moral values at the same time… Reflective of "the tumultuous politics of the early 70s" in India, Deewaar (1975 film) was a ground-breaking work. It was one of a few films which established Bachchan as the "angry young man" of Bollywood cinema. ~ How do movies affect yoga practice?

February 21, 2013

From Auroville to Esalen: Yoga of ideas, meetings, and presentation

The accompanying paintings are by Huta who did these directly under the guidance of the Mother. The recitation of the text is in Narad’s (Richard Eggenberger’s) voice. The creation of the video is by Tuhin Chowdhury. This is a beta-version and is being made as an offering to the Mother on her birthday, 21 February [...] Heal with her bliss the tired breast of earth from Savitri 

Shall pour the nectar of a sorrowless life
Around her from her lucid heart of love,
Heal with her bliss the tired breast of earth
And cast like a happy snare felicity.

Maybe the discussion's number it's wrong, but the point it's that Auroville is piling up much more meetings and presentation than facts and actions. It seems that the further we go in the development harder it gets to take decisions and act consequently. This may sound slightly negative but was the feeling expressed of some of the participants at the meeting. The frustration reflects the little progress Auroville has achieved recently. Maybe it's time to act?

Don’t worry if you don’t understand whats written on this page. Whether the Gods exist or not is of no relevance to the novice. As you develop deeper understanding of your inner movements, you will begin to understand everything else. Spiritual development is like an growing and ascending spiral, which starts from a bright point and gradually envelopes and illumines the surrounding areas.
In the beginning, one must focus on psychology (how should I live?) rather than ontology (what exists out there?). You have to read literature which motivates you to live better, which awakens introspection as well as the Atman within. If you have an affinity for Sri Aurobindo, start reading his works such as SavitriEssays on the GitaLife DivineSynthesis of Yoga or the Letters on Yoga. It may take a few readings to grasp his texts but keep trying because its worth it.

The problem is that this strategy seems to exchange one form of power and domination for another.  In the first instance, we’re in the thrall of dominant codes that typify our identities and reduce us to good consumers.  In the latter instance, however, we seem to become hypnotized by the text and thereby enslaved.  Like the cult follower that believes that the leader contains a mysterious amalga or objet a around which our desire comes to pulsate, the enigmatic and elusive text comes to capture our desire and enslave us.
I began by looking for a point of resistance to the dominant codes structuring communicative capitalism.  I turned to this thinker or that to find technologies of resistance at the level of the semiotic.  Yet now I find that I’m trapped in the enigma or the elusiveness of that theorist’s writing.  My goal begins to change.  Where before it was strategies of resistance, now it’s understanding the theorist.  Hours and years are now spent deciphering Lacan, Deleuze, Derrida, Adorno, Hegel, and so on.  “They must,” I reason, “know what they’re saying, they must have a secret behind all of this, and I only fail because I haven’t read enough, haven’t done enough work tracking down their references, haven’t followed their lines of thought carefully enough!” Paradoxically, then, such texts tend to produce university discourses.  The product of identification with a hypnotic text is a divided subject ($) that has become caught within the thrall of the master-figure (S1), becoming their servant by endlessly doing commentary on their work.  The old goal disappears– though to be sure, it’s still given lip service –and the new goal becomes a life devoted to understanding Heidegger, Hegel, Lacan, Deleuze, Derrida, and so on.  Of course, there’s no end to this project insofar as it belongs to the nature of objet a to slip away. 
Oh don’t get me wrong.  I’m not suggesting that any of these thinkers should be rejected on the grounds of style.  I’ve certainly gained much by becoming hypnotized by all the thinkers I’ve listed here.  I do, however, think that style can be a form of power– sometimes hypnotizing us like the cult leader, at other times functioning as a shibboleth for privileged communities –and that it’s not clear that conceptual work, clearly expressed, can’t be a more effective strategy against communicative capitalism.  Indeed, another danger that arises out of the enigmatic text is that it becomes mere noise for the broader society, having little to no effect outside the halls of the academies.  I will suggest– perhaps imprudently –that such texts seem to suggest a somewhat poor regard to readers.  To publish a text is to invite others to read.  Those who read give their time.  In a world saturated by information as ours is today, it seems somehow wrong to entrap others in your text when they wish to learn from you and give portions of their life over to you.

If there is one theme in The Hermetic Deleuze:  Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal that I think causes the most ambivalence for myself, and for contemporary philosophy, it is the possibility, today, of conceiving thought—any thought, whether hermetic or rationalist—as some kind of affirmation of life.  My overwhelming impression of much of contemporary continental and post-continental reflection is that it is conditioned by an almost paralyzing combination of dread, horror, and malaise over the ongoing ecological holocaust (and its twin, economic endgame) through which we are currently “living,” if one could even call it that.  The most difficult thing I continue to try to come to terms with, in my own life and work, is what it means to engage in thought and spiritual discipline as some kind of intensified relation to “nature” when “nature” has become something like absolute contingency, incarnate…
We might focus here by a return to Christian Kerslake’s question in response to my first response, to Dan Barber:  what is a specifically hermetic incarnationalism?   I agree with Christian that something like tantric sciences, focusing on the body, breath, chakras, and extremely local/animist divinities is somehow closer to Deleuze’s own thinking than perhaps any other spiritual tradition.  And yet Deleuze receives his spiritual sciences mediated through a line of Western estoericisms that both incorporate and struggle against Christian theology…
It is interesting that the great critics of Christianity Deleuze admired (and in many ways I count my allegiance to them)—Nietzsche, D.H. Lawrence, Artaud, Bataille—could not but admire the figure of Christ as Love… Most of hermetic mysticism and practice, including alchemy, theosophy, and the Western adoption of tantrism, yoga, and meditation, all seems to be carried out under the sign of Joachim de Fiore’s “Age of the Holy Spirit,” an era in which there is a mesmerizing, uncanny, and ultimately nondual relationship between humanity and divinity (In Difference and Repetition, Deleuze makes tantalizing reference to Fiore, as well as to Vico, in his attempt to explain the relation of the syntheses of time to historical repetition.  He is basically critical, but then as Kerslake has shown, later finds his way to an oblique affirmation of Toynbee’s universal history with its repetition of 22 essential archetypal phases, corresponding to the 22 major arcana of the Tarot).  This is a very different perspective, it seems to me, than the Feuerbachian-cum-death of God point of view that points to the total disenchantment of the world…
Here is an alchemical legend:  the issue (offspring) of Adam is the issue (product) of resurrection.  Hermeticism is the Western version of bodily esotericism.  Yes, Deleuze’s thought is in many ways closer to Tantrism.  I “force” the issue of Hermeticism strategically as a way of locating Western philosophy within a specific impasse between reason and spirit.  But that impasse “is” in some sense the problem of the body (or to use the older term, nature, or the one we are now learning to use, ecology).  That is what is really the limit of Descartes’s “ordeal”: the specific deliverances of what the body might be are forsaken in the name of what the body appears to be, to the mind.  It’s almost as if there is simply a mind-mind problem in Descartes, and as if he never reaches the level of the body—the subtle, alchemical body, the body of the chakras, kunadalini, and the mercurial body of Adam Kadmon.  The specific role that Hermes plays in alchemy is the role of the “mercurial” element, the moist, flowing element that “revives” matter from its slumber.  Mercury is the element of resurrection, and Hermes is a psychopomp… Why resurrection?   The problem of spirituality today is the problem of survival.  This is why, although I have been to Esalen and tasted its nearly supernatural bounties of health and healing, I can only peruse its catalogue and its denizens with a rueful eye.   

(title unknown) from enowning In-der-Blog-sein
The Anti-Modernist on the problem of objective philosophizing
“The theoretical conceals its own concealing, or rather, that it is wholly ignorant to the fact that it forces all of experience into categorical classifications through the creation of an impression that rigorous and detached observation of entities as present-to-hand is the only way to access truth.”

Want to but a tablet-cum-laptop By Mihir Patkar, TNN Feb 20, 2013,
The Lenovo Ideapad Yoga is quite innovative with its ability to flip back its screen by a full 360 degrees, letting you use it as a tablet. In this mode, its keyboard becomes the back plate of the tablet - and although disabled, it can be a bit distracting because you can still feel the play of the keys when you hold it like a slate. Also, the Yoga is quite heavy to be used as a truly portable tablet. Besides, it is extremely hard to read its reflective display in direct sunlight…
So for the money you would spend on the IdeaPad Yoga (86,000 approx) or the XPS 12 (93,000 approx), we would instead recommend you buy a good ultrabook for around 50,000 (such as the Lenovo IdeaPad U310, Dell Inspiron 14z or Samsung NP530U4C) and a highend tablet (Apple iPad, iPad Mini or Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1); these will give you more bang for your buck - at least for the moment.

February 20, 2013

Allow peaceful coexistence of both views

Tweets now - Prasanna Viswanathan @prasannavishy- @hguptapolicy come to think of it, he was an astute analyst. Contrived non-partisanship sometimes produces comical consequences
now - Harsh Gupta @hguptapolicy India is a working, albeit imperfect, democracy with a decent judiciary. If you as citizen approach UK to diss Modi, yes you are a traitor.
now - Harsh Gupta @hguptapolicy - @m_vijayakumar Stop trolling me, Vijay. You hold your point of view, which I respect, and I hold mine.  View conversation

Justice, Judocracy and Democracy in India: Boundaries ... - Routledge By Sudhanshu Ranjan - book launch on 20th February 2013 at the Bar Council of India. Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Justice Altamas Kabir will release the book.
Sep 25, 2012 – This book is an innovative approach to studying ‘judicial activism’ in the Indian context. While discussing the varying roles of the judiciary, it delineates the boundaries of different organs of the State — judiciary, executive and legislature — and highlights the points where these boundaries have been breached.

Citizenship and Its Discontents explores a century of contestations over citizenship from the colonial period to the present, analysing evolving conceptions of citizenship as legal status, as rights, and as identity.
The early optimism that a new India could be fashioned out of an unequal and diverse society led to a formally inclusive legal membership, an impulse to social and economic rights, and group-differentiated citizenship. Today, these policies to create a civic community of equals are losing support in a climate of social intolerance and weak solidarity. Once seen by Western political scientists as an anomaly, India today is a site where every major theoretical debate about citizenship is being enacted in practice, and one that no global discussion of the subject can afford to ignore. Niraja Gopal Jayal is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India.

In these last chapters of The Ideal of Human Unity, Sri Aurobindo draws together the threads that he has introduced earlier in the work, leading to his conclusion. Though Jan Smuts was yet to coin the word "Holism" to encapsulate the idea that a directed tendency towards the formation of ever-larger aggregates is observable in Nature, each such distinct stage marked by the presence of an identity and properties exceeding those of the sum of their parts, Sri Aurobindo's model of History follows this course. Indeed, this teleology follows naturally from Sri Aurobindo's master-idea of the progressive manifestation of intrinsic spiritual Oneness in Time, expressing itself politically as the drive towards world-union.

Kelly: Integral Time and the Varieties of Post-Mortem Survival INTEGRAL REVIEW  June 2008  Vol. 4, No. 1
To my knowledge, Aurobindo’s understanding of “integral non-dualism” represents the richest, most creative, and far-reaching application of the principle of complex holism. One advantage of my terminology is that it is not necessarily associated with any particular metaphysical position. Secondly, it allows for a more easily established rapport with contemporary scientific and philosophical developments. Still, it will sometimes be sufficient, or more precise, to use “integral” or “complex” instead of the more awkward “complex holistic.”
Along with his commitment to a metaphysical Absolute—which, aligning himself with the Vedic tradition, he calls Brahman and describes as  Sat-Chit-Ananda, or infinite Being-Consciousness-Bliss—Aurobindo argues forcefully against the once-only view of life and in favor or the doctrine of reincarnation. At the same time, however, his eloquent plea (Aurobindo, 1951, p. 295) for a “logic of the Infinite” which rejects the “closed system” and “rigid definition” and instead looks for the “complete and many-sided statement” ought, in my opinion, to allow for the peaceful coexistence of both views. The possibility, and even the necessity, for such coexistence becomes even more apparent if one places the question of survival in the context of Aurobindo’s statements about what we might call integral time.

Rasgulla - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Oriyarasagola; Sanskritrasagolakam; Hindiरसगुल्ला rasgullā)
Rasgulla is a cheese-based, syrupy sweet dish originally from the Indian state of Odisha. It is popular throughout India and other parts of South Asia. The dish is made from ball shaped dumplings of chhena (an Indian cottage cheese) and semolina dough, cooked in light syrup made of sugar. This is done until the syrup permeates the dumplings.
The rasgulla originated in Odisha, where it is also known by its original name, Khira mōhana. It has been a traditional Oriya dish for centuries. People throughout the state consider the rasgullas prepared by the Kar brothers, the descendants of a local confectioner, Bikalananda Kar, in the town of Salepur, near Cuttack to be the best. Today this rasgulla famously named Bikali Kar Rasgulla is sold all over Odisha. Another variant of this dish that is made in the town of Pahala, located between the cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, is also very popular locally. Pahala, where only rasgulla and its derivatives, chhenapoda and chhenagaja are available, is reputed to be the largest market in the world for chhena sweets. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the popularity of rasgulla spread to neighboring West Bengal. This was during a period when Bengali cuisine borrowed heavily from Oriya culinary traditions… In order to revive traditional Oriya sweet dishes, the Odisha government in collaboration with Jadavpur university, Kolkata, has set up an Industrial Training Centre in Cuttack, that is named after the legendary confectioner, Bikalananda Kar

February 19, 2013

Sri Aurobindo's Copernican revolution in Vedic hermeneutics

The philosophy of integralism, or, The metaphysical synthesis ... - Page 81 - Haridas Chaudhuri - 1954 - Russell says that the notion of the universe is traceable to an anthropocentric outlook generated by the geocentricism of pre-Copernican astronomy. But he conveniently turns a blind eye to the fact that the advocates of one all-embracing ...
On Samuel Hugo Bergman's Philosophy - Page 39 Abraham Zvie Bar-On - 1986 - Preview - More editions ... a revolution in modern philosophy, which in Bergman's view was not less important than his "Copernican Revolution". ... To express his admiration Bergman quoted the words of the renowned Hindu thinker Sri Aurobindo: Man must be ...
Sri Aurobindo circle - Issue 32 - Page 91 - Aurobindo GhoseSri Aurobindo AshramSri Aurobindo Society - 1976 - and more in the evolving ... The New Copernican Revolution, as it is called, proposes a profounder change in the scientific picture and paradigm itself. And as Kuhn puts it, when ...
Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta: The Yoga of Sri Aurobindo - Page 137 - Nolini Kanta Gupta - 1972 - ... and link up mind and intellect with that reality. This is the Copernican revolution that Science brought about in the modern outlook. Philosophers like Kant or Berkeley may say another thing and even science itself just nowadays may appear.
Annual - Page 78 - Sri Aurobindo mandir, Calcutta - 1982 - the rise of a Fuehrer or a Dictator seems to have been a ... That is not the Copernican revolution that is needed in the social body today. Money was always a power and those who had money were always ...
The Advent - Volumes 27-28 - Page 25 - Sri Aurobindo Ashram - 1970 - SCIENCE AND ... It was this world-picture, accommodated to the practical needs of science and supported by theological orthodoxy, which became the target of the so-called "Copernican Revolution". We must notice ...
Sri Aurobindo's philosophy of evolution - Page 34 - V. Madhusudan Reddy - 1966 - ... yet confirmed, *In the words of the physicist Niels Bohr, " We are both spectators and actors in the great drama of existence." was regarded as the centre of the universe. The Copernican 
Sri Aurobindo: a biography and a history - Volume 2 - Page 1223 - K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar - 1972 - Writing of the essential character of the poem, Sri Aurobindo wrote in 1947: Savitri is the record of a seeing, of an experience which is not of the common kind and is often. " ibid., p. 864. 66 ibid., p. 829. In terms of Copernican astronomy, of s ...
Bharata manisha quarterly - Volume 4 - Page 19 - 1978 - Sri Aurobindo's is such a Copernican revolution as his method of symbolic interpretation of the Veda provides the secret key to unravel the spiritual ... Herein lies the significance of Sri Aurobindo's Copernican revolution in Vedic hermeneutics.
The Theosophist - Volume 92 - Page 111 - Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Henry Steel Olcott, Annie Wood Besant - 1970 - The matter is excellently summed up as usual by Aurobindo, who is acutely conscious of the need to make humanly ... as was the Copernican recovery of helio-centricity to the preceding ignorance in regard to the operation of our Solar system.
The Hindu quest for the perfection of man - Page 165 - Troy Wilson Organ - 1970 - ... the Copernican, the Darwinian, the Marxian, and the Freudian to challenge the fundamental assumptions upon which ... In Hinduism the Westerner can look in upon Aurobindo, "The Indian Conception of Life," The Indian Philosophical ...
Prabuddha bharata: or awakened India - Volume 91 - Page 283 - Vivekananda (Swami)Advaita Ashrama - 1986 - Often the revolutions of the modern centuries (Copernican. Industrial. French, Darwinian and the ... Aurobindo as a modern Jnani and Gandhi as a modern Karma-yogi have paved the path to moksha. Professional academic philosophers like ...
Nivedita commemoration volume - Page 247 - Sister Nivedita, Amiya Kumar Mazumdar - 1968 - SRI AUROBINDO'S CONCEPT OF MAN A NEO-KANTIAN REVIEW D. P. CHATTOPADHYAYA If philosophy is defined in ... Since the days of Kant and primarily because of his (anthropocentric) Copernican Revolution this view has become ...
Philosophical consciousness and scientific knowledge: conceptual ... - Page 107 - Debi Prasad Chattopadhyaya, Ashoke Kumar Sen Gupta, Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy, and Culture. Sub Project: Consciousness, Science, Society, Value, and Yoga - 2004 -  ... in the Interuniversal Essence while experiencing an unfolding of the nested hierarchy of Being (Sri Aurobindo). ... universe we inhabit almost the same way Copernican Revolution demolished the unique position of the Earth in the cosmos.
The moon of Hoa Binh: a novel - Volume 2 - Page 588 - Nha Trang Công Huyè̂n Tôn NWilliam L. Pensinger - 1994 - "He [Steiner] credits Goethe with a discovery of a Copernican scale: the Beautiful is not, as 'Platonic' art theory asserts, ... himself in agreement with Webern (not to mention with the objectives Aurobindo had in mind for the practice of yoga).
No other name?: a critical survey of Christian attitudes toward ... - Page 149 - Paul F. Knitter - 1985 - He appeals to Sri Aurobindo's "logic of the Infinite": all we can say about the ultimate reality is much more a matter of ... A New Christology Hick does not evade the implications of his Copernican revolution: "This paradigm shift involves a ...
Newsletter - Volume 9, Issues 1-14 - Page 9 - Institute of Noetic Sciences - 1981 - ... as diverse as Aldous Huxley, Teilhard de Chardin, Sri Aurobindo, Joseph Campbell, Michael Polanyi, and Carl jung. ... as the Industrial Revolution, and simultaneously a conceptual revolution as shaking as the Copernican Revolution.

Sri Aurobindo wrote to Anilbaran Roy to leave politics

Anilbaran Roy (1890—1974), the renowned leader of the Congress Party. Having made a name for himself as a brilliant professor of philosophy, he joined the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1921. When Chittaranjan Das was the President of Bengal Provincial Congress, he served as its Secretary. Sri Aurobindo’s book Essays on the Gita had deeply influenced him; he accepted Sri Aurobindo as Krishna incarnate and wrote to Sri Aurobindo seeking his permission to translate Essays on the Gita into Bengali. Sri Aurobindo sent his written consent and added that Anilbaran was the competent person for the work. As a matter of fact, one of the best interpretations of the Gita in the light of Sri Aurobindo has come from the pen of Anilbaran. A regular correspondence followed through which Sri Aurobindo gave him directions in the path of yoga.
After the untimely demise of C.R. Das, Anilbaran became the undisputed leader of Congress in Bengal. At this point of time, Sri Aurobindo wrote to him asking him to leave politics and pursue the path of yoga at Pondicherry. Anilbaran was not quite willing to leave his political career and insisted Sri Aurobindo to guide him in the path of sadhana through epistolary communications. Sri Aurobindo flatly refused and wrote back that if Anilbaran was desirous to follow the yoga mentioned in the Gita then he was welcome to go ahead in his political career but he must not expect any help from Sri Aurobindo; but if he sincerely craved to follow the path of Integral Yoga then he could surely expect to receive Sri Aurobindo’s guidance but for that he would have to leave politics.
Anilbaran went to Pondicherry in May 1926 and Sri Aurobindo not only granted him a number of personal interviews but also allowed him to be present during his evening talks. When Anilbaran asked Sri Aurobindo about the freedom of India, he replied: “The independence of India is a thing decreed.” At the same time, he informed Anilbaran that though the Indians did not deserve independence they would definitely get it. [Anilbaran Roy, Purushottam Sri Aurobindo, p. 4] Anilbaran stayed in Pondicherry for five months and was present on 15 August 1926 when Sri Aurobindo’s fifty-fourth birthday was celebrated. He left Pondicherry on 1 October and after leaving his political career returned to Pondicherry on 10 December 1926. By that time Sri Aurobindo had retired and the Mother had taken charge of the newly-formed nucleus of the Aurobindonian community. He was to remain in Pondicherry till 1965 and emerge as one of the brightest sadhaks of the Integral Yoga.

135th Birth Anniversary of 'The Mother' Mirra Alfassa – The Mother (1878-1973) By Subhamoy Das, About.com Guide
The Mother remained its inspirer, director and guide for nearly 50 years to build the Ashram into a huge, many-faceted spiritual community… The Mother continued Sri Aurobindo’s work of psychological and physical transformation. Both of them dedicated their lives for the manifestation of “a mode of consciousness beyond mind, which Sri Aurobindo named ‘Supermind’ or ‘The Supramental’.” The Mother's Agenda recount her experience of the last 18 years of her life.

On the eve of India's independence, 15th August 1947, Sri Aurobindo wrote an address to the nation in which he outlined the five dreams with which he began his adult life. This address spoke of the scope of these dreams and held out pointers towards the future. This article explores these five dreams of Sri Aurobindo in terms of their contemporary relevance and their relationship to Sri Aurobindo's yogic teaching. After two World Wars, can we still speak of nation-souls as Sri Aurobindo had? What did Sri Aurobindo envision in terms of the unity of India, the rise of Asia or a world union of the future? How can we understand these things today? And do these larger social and political goals have anything to do with his yogic vision? These and other questions are explored in this article, based on a talk given on 15th August 2008 at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, New Delhi, by Debashish Banerji. The article is reproduced courtesy of the February 2010 issue of the journal SrinvantuKolkataIndia.

It also shares psimilarities with what Sri Aurobindo calls the attainment of the "silent mind," which is well explained in chapter 4 of The Adventure of Consciousness. In fact, we may discern a convergence of the Christian and neo-Vedantic approaches, as Satprem writes that "the major task that opens the door to many realizations is to silence the mind.... Clearly, if we want to discover a new country within us, we must leave the old one behind -- everything depends on our determination to take this first step."

In order to understand the mental energy as it manifests in the world, it is essential to look at its varying types of effort and impacts. The first, and most familiar to us, is the impact, influence and control the mental energy exercises on the physical and vital life. The power of mentality is at work, but the purpose, goal and focus is on achieving the aims of the vital life force. If we look at the characterisation made by ancient seers and sages, this would encompass the first two of the four goals or aspects they attribute as meaning to human existence, namely, artha and kama, the seeking and attainment of profit and fulfillment of desire.
The powers of mind concentrated on the achievement of these aims can be extremely powerful and can lead to tremendous success along these lines, but it is a success that remains quite limited and does not represent the power of mentality carrying out its own native lines of action. It is an important step for the transformation away from the purely animal existence, but it does not represent the true larger role that mentality is intended to play.

Don’t get too elated by these trivial signs in the beginning. You need an overwhelming experience to really get started down the spiritual path, and when that happens, you will know it. Just aim to stay alert and focused the whole time; don’t fall asleep and don’t get misled by hallucinations. After meditation, the head must feel cool and the heart must feel happy. That’s the only sign you should look out for.

I have discovered the real cause for the rising pitch of protests and the vengeful spirit stirring up society today… My own diagnosis is that in expecting people to be constantly thoughtful, sensible and clever, we have set the bar too high. Man is a rational animal, but sometimes even reason needs the afternoon off to take in a Salman Khan movie. A century ago, American writer and philosopher Elbert Hubbard had said, "Every man is a damn fool for five minutes every day. Wisdom consists in not exceeding that limit." How considerate — and such a reasonable ceiling!
To take an example from not very long ago, consider Ashis Nandy. He has a fine track record of cerebral thinking and unorthodox articulation. But it’s too much to expect anyone to sustain a cent per cent success ratio of saying wise things. I don’t believe Nandy actually stepped out of line for more than a minute at Jaipur, but it was enough to get the FIRs flying and mobs spilling out in anger on the streets. 

15 minutes of fame is short-lived media publicity or celebrity of an individual or phenomenon. The expression was coined by Andy Warhol, who said in 1968 that "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." The phenomenon is often used in reference to figures in the entertainment industry or other areas of popular culture, such as reality television and YouTube. It is believed that the statement was an adaptation of a theory of Marshall McLuhan, explaining the differences of media, where TV differs much from other media using contestants. The expression is in fact derivative of an older UK expression, "nine days o' wonder"…
The age of reality television has seen the comment wryly updated as: "In the future, everyone will be obscure for 15 minutes." The British artist Banksy has made a sculpture of a TV that has, written on its screen, "In the future, everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes."
A more recent adaptation of Warhol's quip, possibly prompted by the rise of online social networking, blogging, and similar online phenomena, is the claim that "In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people" or, in some renditions, "On the Web, everyone will be famous to fifteen people". This quote, though attributed to David Weinberger, was said to have originated with the Scottish artist Momus

"Zero Defects" is one of the postulates from Philip Crosby's "Absolutes of Quality Management". Although applicable to any type of enterprise, it has been primarily adopted within industry supply chains wherever large volumes of components are being purchased (common items such as nuts and bolts are good examples)… Criticism of "Zero Defects" frequently centers around allegations of extreme cost in meeting the standard. 

The One Minute Manager is a concise, easily read story that reveals three very practical secrets: One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands.