March 08, 2013

Postmodernism requires maturity and ability not to be bothered by confusion

If we can and must be severe critics of the Enlightenment, it is Enlightenment which has empowered us to be so (Terry Eagleton, Ideology of the Aesthetic, 8).

Such an agglomeration of disparate names and terms may confuse a person who is keen to know what Postmodernism is all about, but again, such confusion need not weigh too heavy on him as the very spirit of postmodernism requires of him maturity and ability not to be bothered by confusion. “Perhaps to grow up,” writes Patricia Waugh, “ is to live suspended between the modern and the postmodern, resisting the temptation for resolution in one direction or the other” (9). Posted by Dharanidhar at 4:38 PM Thursday, February 14, 2013

Yes, it baffles me too. These opinions seem to emanate from “scholars” whose heads are loaded with complex literary theories. By contrast, a person who is attuned to Sri Aurobindo’s consciousness just falls in love with his writing style.

yes, there are some who continue to feel their presence and guidance. The contact is often fleeting and prone to distortions of the human mind so one has to be careful not to overinterpret and get excited about it.

The advice Sri Aurobindo gave varied depending on the individual. Generally speaking, those who are over-eager for experiences are asked to ignore them, while those who can get fruitful guidance from them are asked to pay attention

Jason, I am not implacably opposed to comparative mysticism. Its just that sometimes people draw spurious conclusions based superficial similarities. The Taoist-Vallar similarities could be possibly due to the spread of Buddhism in China.

It is difficult to learn meditation from a blog and more generally, over the Internet. The answer I provide to your questions could be wrong since I can’t perceive your personality. You need to start with some local guidance. At the least, you could visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry and buy the booklets by M.P. Pandit on meditation. That will answer many of the basic questions you are raising here.

As I already said, there is no instant Enlightenment. There will be ups and downs in the spiritual path. This piecemeal Q&A is not going to be helpful to you or me. You need to find a teacher who can teach you a specific method. You should enroll for a meditation course somewhere and go from there. Try the Vipassana course at or ask around for someone who can teach you.

You have to keep at it. Saints are not created in one day.

It may take several years before you see any positive effect. You have to practice without expectations. One must give up the mercantile attitude and practice solely out of love for the Divine. The Divine does not reveal itself to those who practice specific methods; rather, it reveals itself to those who are psychologically mature – who are kind, compassionate, selfless and live with equanimity and self-control. You might like to read this article on Obsessive-Compulsive spirituality

Just because she made some remarks does not imply that we should also study the topic with our rational mind. Her remarks came from a different plane of realization and may have been appropriate at that time in the presence of certain people who needed to know. The discussion may not be relevant today with a different audience… There are three points I can make on this topic:
1) Some of that information which has been recorded is probably hearsay… 2) She made contradictory remarks on the importance of past lives. At one point in her spiritual path, she was interested in them but later lost interest in the topic. WE have to determine what is good for us at this point in time… 3) She made remarks from a certain plane of realization. Unless we have reached the same plane of realization, it is a distraction to discuss past lives because we don’t really KNOW what we are talking about. We might as well discuss some imaginary nonsense.

Knowing one’s past incarnations might help but how does it help to know who Sri Aurobindo or the Mother were in their past lives? We were debating the value of the latter.

That is one aspect I never discuss on this blog because I think it is a needless distraction. The mind always hungers for more and more trivial facts and the adventurous vital loves to indulge in speculation. How does it matter who they were before? See my comment on a different blog post on this matter

The Mother’s remarks have no citation from the Collected Works either. It is astonishing that Roy Posner is publishing such unverified exaggerations on his website. Anyway, can’t waste time on such nonsense.

The human mind is intimately tied to the emotional being, so there will be days when all theories will seem false and nothing in the world will make sense. These phases of disillusionment disappear only when the Self (Atman) is found and the mind becomes quiescent. Until then, these theories and discussions are just a temporary support. Acceptance of reincarnation is not a prerequisite for the spiritual journey.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand what’s 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.

There was a time when I also had the same problem. This happens to everybody. We find it difficult to withdraw from the physical world because Rajas and Tamas have taken hold of the consciousness. Our consciousness is loaded with the residual vasanas gathered from many movies, bad eating habits, too much chatting, foolish friends, etc…  If there are too many thoughts, you should meditate with open eyes. Fix the eyes on the wall or on some imaginary horizon. This prevents the thoughts from running amok.

Concentrating on a video game generally makes the mind dull (exceptions can be made for flight-training programs). A game is a repetitive task where the mind does not rise above its rational level and remains self-absorbed. Concentrating on a difficult math problem or composing a piece of music/poem is qualitatively different because it raises and widens your consciousness above your body.
The simple definition of addiction is a habit that you can’t break easily. Most video games seem to trap you into a dazzling screen replete with exciting sensory stimulations. I would say its similar to an self-absorbed reading of a sexually-titillating novel from start to finish. Both are forms of concentration but they lead to no elevation of consciousness.

I am not really good at moderating so its hard to decide what to edit or delete. Maybe we should just stop the discussion here, because it has veered off the course.

It weakens nationalism and promotes internationalism. Peter Berger in his book “Many Globalizations” says people develop layered identities. On the inside, they remain attached to their birth culture while on the outside, they adopt the global consumer culture.

What gets quickly absorbed in India is the glamorized version of the American lifestyle as seen in sitcoms like “Friends” that run on television. The strict legal framework that underpins American society takes time to disseminate. 

They get educated in Western theories of feminism, post-modernism, etc. and then proceed to regurgitate and propagate those theories during their work. They have been taught that the West had to reject Christian dogma in order to become modern. Therefore, they assume that India must also reject Hindu tradition and become immoral in order to modernize. This is a false equivalence. Hinduism is not a religion in the sense of Christianity. In Hinduism, our lifestyle must be based on the theory of Trigunas (Sattwa, Rajas, Tamas). One must choose activities which are Sattwic in order to illumine the consciousness. It is ironic that at a time when Indian spirituality is creating a new wave of American Brahmins, American sexuality is being exported to India and creating a new breed of Indian Sudras. Two-way traffic indeed!

I was attempting to capture some of the thinking which has led to the current state. No theory can be general enough to cover the entire population of a country.

The American worldview is more practical and even Darwinian, I might add… OTOH, the Indian worldview is predominantly teleological. You are told that marriages are made in heaven, or that couples continue to meet across incarnations. That is why people stress marriage and consult horoscopes to determine compatibility and karmic connections.

After ridiculing Indian arranged marriages for many decades, American “experts” are now finding that such marriages can work!

Yes, when India was struggling, people were cynical and denounced their country, but as society prospers, people regain pride in their country because they need an identity and culture around which they can build their achievements. We observe the same phenomenon in Turkey and China.

This is the Western model that Indians currently want to emulate. Large sections of India is currently enamoured by the desire to mimic the American lifestyle. There is lot of money flowing into the country and this has boosted people’s aspirations. They want to “act white“, to use African-American slang.

They both participated in the agitation which broke out after the 1905 partition of Bengal. Tagore was a sensitive poet who recoiled from the prospect of violence which arose out of mass resistance, while Sri Aurobindo was a fiery nationalist who was not afraid to shed the blood of the British in order to gain freedom.

The object of Yoga is to become the Object! As Jiddu Krishnamurti said: “The observer is the observed”.

Generally speaking, it is a good habit to remember and provide citations… Lastly, on a public forum, one has to become immune to misunderstandings and occasional abuse, so don’t worry about any allegations against you

Today the country is going through a churning process with different and opposite ideas claiming to guide the future of the nation. Some of these ideas are:  ancient values versus modern values, the role of woman in society, secularism and spirituality, violence and non-violence and so on. Different groups espouse different positions and a conflict has arisen. In this context this what Sri Aurobindo writes: […] It should be our duty to find out these fundamental motives or essential idea-forces and this inner commanding vision for our nation. This is urgent and the immediate need for India. Let us ponder on these deeply. Kittu Reddy

S´raddha - Sri Aurobindo Ashram PDF Nov 24, 2012 – Involution And Evolution: Some Conceptual Issues In The Contexts Of Indian Discourses - Murali Sivaramakrishnan
In a land like India with its heterogeneous culture and chequered history, the narratives linking place and humans are innumerable, couched in diverse perceptions and points of view, and filtered through multiple discourses over a long period of time. Geographically, historically and geo-psychically, Indian narratives afford pluralistic and complex readings. Philosophy, religion and poetry have a deep history in this part of the world, as much as oppression, domination, and ideologies of resistance and subversions. 7:57 pm

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