Monday, January 26, 2015

Exhibition of Books on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Exhibition of Books on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Aug 15, 2013 - Blindness, Insight, Outlook and a Persprctive. Murali Sivaramkrishnan. 125. Notes On Authors. 137. Index To Authors And Articles. In S´raddha.
Scholarship in Sri Aurobindo studies thus far had taken these directions: interpretative in terms of select texts and discourses specifically recoursing to acceptable readings. Comparatist perceptions like those afforded by Prema Nandakumar or Rhoda P LeCocq or Harold Coward had endeavoured to open up new directions in critical thinking but did not sustain sufficient support afterwards from elsewhere.  Manoj Das, Rohit Mehta, Haridas Chaudhuri and Kishore Gandhi sought higher correspondences from Indic and nonEurocentric directions, but the foundations they built up were rehashed by the next generation of scholars as dissertations and newer studies. The early generation of scholars had the guts to make new inroads while the later generation felt comfortable in sticking to the known and the predictable. 

Nov 24, 2013 - ... by Murali Sivaramakrishnan and not Sivaramkrishnan should read On Reading Sri Aurobindo: Blindness, Insight, Outlook and a Perspective.

Our times are marked by amazing changes and advancement in science and technology, the world we live in the present is definitely much more “advanced” than the times of Sri Aurobindo when the imperial and colonial forces held potent and powerful sway over all and everything. The market economy of the capitalist present and its itinerant scholarship grounded on claims to information that is universally accessible have blinded the already blind human eye further. The dismissal and de-valuation of meta-narratives of the last century have laid claim to a territory of panoramic ignorance. Knowledge is doubted and wisdom is sidelined. Information has risen to the centre stage. And ignorance is prided as wisdom it has indeed become folly to be wise and remain so. 
Had he lived on beyond his times, Sri Aurobindo would have charted out new directions in the present. He would have been like the child in the story yelling out that the emperor is truly naked. However, his residual presence and urgency of intellectual inquiry have been erased and silenced. His works are rehashed and his words echo down the long corridor of forgotten memory and a misplaced past. Nevertheless, the eternal eye that would have led the inquirer forward is not yet completely closed though. There is a tiny fraction of opening. So then all is not yet lost. What is required is a critical temperament and a truth-seeking perspective that would not wither in the face of opposition and inclement weather — an outlook that does not succumb to the comfort and convenience of the commonplace and the mediocrity. The grand narratives of yesteryears might be ignored by the postmodern present that prides in the here and now, however, profound questions relating to truth and meaning, the nexus of mind and matter, the interrelationship of nature and human nature, are bound to be tenaciously pursued by those minorities who chance to reflect on their own selves and identities. Perhaps, then, like in the Dantesque vision there would arise the spirit of the master himself to lead the genuine seeker even through Inferno and Purgatory to Paradiso. 
S´raddha - Sri Aurobindo Ashram PDF Feb 21, 2013 – The True Voice of Raga - Murali Sivaramakrishnan
It has appeared to me that Sri Aurobindo had experienced all these four states Salokya, Samipya, Sarupya, Sayujya

Toward a Spiritual Aesthetics of the Environment: Quality, Space ... by M. Sivaramakrishnan - Jun 14, 2011 – Toward a Spiritual Aesthetics of the Environment: Quality, Space, and Being in Sri Aurobindo's Savitri
Moreover, when I argue for the inclusive vision inspired by the visionary culture of a … [Full Text of this Arti at
Dec 3, 2014 - @DharmicFundoo My observations are based on reading Sri Aurobindowhereas many Hindutva enthusiasts continue to neglect his epochal ...

On reading Sri Aurobindo's advice, one feels as if the question and His answer are describing exactly the present situation we are in. After His clarification, need ...

Feb 2, 2006 - 18 posts - ‎5 authors Here is another link with some advice from Sweet Mother on reading Sri Aurobindo. Back to top ...

Aug 15, 2013 - On Reading Sri Aurobindo: Blindness, Insight, Outlook and a Persprctive. Murali Sivaramkrishnan. 125. Notes On Authors.

Many highly educated persons were coming for B's darshan. He thought that on reading Sri Aurobindo's books all of them would realise the greatness of this ...

Aug 15, 2014 - ... the Aurobindian revolution, The (Georges van Vrekhem) –. Aug '13, p.115.On reading Sri Aurobindo ... (Murali Sivaramakrishnan) – Aug '13, ...

Aug 17, 2006 - On reading Sri Aurobindo: It is my experience (others may differ) that Sri Aurobindo cannot be understood or appreciated by merely reading ...

Aug 13, 2006 - On reading Sri Aurobindo: It is my experience (others may differ) that Sri Aurobindo cannot be understood or appreciated by merely reading ...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo

The Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo 

Have you investigated Sloterdijk at all on these questions? He generally cites Heiner Mühlmann’s ‘The Nature of Cultures’ when he wants to talk about cultures as entities. Sloterdijk’s mixing of this kind of socio-biology and grand, sweeping Spenglerian history makes me a little uneasy but it is interesting. Understanding cultures as tensegretic structures (i.e. as holding together in relations of tension) makes a lot of sense. Although, of course, the temptation is to understand culture as cultivation, as care, as enriching and enlivening. In this sense culture could be understood as a kind of surplus that arrives when beings achieve more complex modes of being than simple Darwinian selection (Elizabeth Grosz makes more or less this argument).
A kind of froth of irreducibility that rises up from natural selection without ever leaving it to form some sort of other plane (the froth is nothing without constant up-frothing). Culture is ‘what makes life worth living’ for beings self-aware enough to *need* a ‘life worth living.’ It is not what transcends life but what mediates the deadly contradiction of consciousness (something to which we could easily grant various animals to greater or lesser degrees).

The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, July 2014 - Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel, Srinivas Aravamudan
A conspiracy is afoot. Though you may not have noticed it until now, after reading Enlightenment Orientalism, it will be difficult for you to pick up another piece of literary criticism on the novel without the suspicion that a high degree of pre-selection has taken place to cover a heterogeneous and wild mass of texts that call to you with magic lamps and delirious trips to the moon and other planets. I overstate, of course, but this is the distinct sense that one is left with after working through the spirited polemic that unmasks what is shown to be a nationalist chauvinist bias in favor of the sober realist novel.
Sunil Agnani is Associate Professor of English and History, University of Illinois at Chicago, and author of Hating Empire Properly: The Two Indies and Limits of Enlightenment Anticolonialism (Fordham Press, 2013), which received the Harry Levin Prize for Best First Book from the American Comparative Literature Association. 

Unearthing cosmopolitanism Times of India-Jan 25, 2015
Rabindranath Tagore, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Sri Aurobindo, Mirra Alfassa, James Cousins, Paul Richard, Dilip Kumar Roy and Taraknath Das. ... important in their own times" is what Sachidananda Mohanty's book, Cosmopolitan Modernity in the Early 20th Century, sets out to achieve.

Who Represents the Ashram? – The Hornet’s Sting The other day, while having lunch in the Dining Room, someone asked me if I have done right in going against the Ashram. I was completely taken aback at su...

PCC Forum - Debashish Banerji - Gandhi, Tagore, Aurobindo: Postmodern Legacies: via @YouTube

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Radha Rajan needs to study more about foreign women

Foreigners like Heehs have made base/baseless insinuations regarding the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Please do not be like that foreigner. Also denigrating patriots and yogis is falling into divide and rule trap - bigger issue is for concentrating on the good work that needs to be done to make Bharat great again. I have nothing more to add to this converstaion and conclude with Sri Aurobindo's words : ‘No apeings or distorted editions of Western religious modes, no Indianised Christianity, no fair rehash of that pale & consumptive shadow English Theism, will suffice to save us.’

Foreign women in the lives of important men during a very critical period in the nation's history is a fact. Aurobindo is not the only person I have mentioned. The two women I failed to mention were Hope Cook and Sonia Gandhi.

Tsk tsk you are digressing. Journalists are not intimate companions or partners in the lives of important men in public life. How much do you know of the tragic and lonely life of Aurobindo's wife Mrinalini?

Shri Sunkal, we all grow up idealising some people and idealising people is far superior to being raised with no reverence for anybody or any institution. Yes I have read the correspondence; being a woman myself I am affected deeply by the truth (not just correspondence where anything may be written) of her lonely and neglected life. She was just 14 and Aurobindo was 29 when he married her. His life was already set along a certain pattern, along a definite path. For a man of his brilliance, at the age of 29 he ought to have known marriage is not for him. And pl dont drag in my views of others into this article. The point I am making is this - the presence of foreign women, and not just in Aurobindo's life, should atleast trigger some thinking among Hindus. 
And Sir, where Sri Sarada Ma's picture hangs alongside that of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, it is not Mrinalini's picture which hangs by the side of Aurobindo but that of Mirra Alfassa. And in several homes, there is picture only of Mirra Alfassa and not even that of Aurobindo. They all knew the Hindu psyche well - we tend to make Sisters and Mothers of all women without question.

We have not had as brilliant a political thinker as Aurobindo but this is the pre-1907 Aurobindo. I have read every word of his writings between 1893-1907. But sadly, after 1907 through his much acclaimed Uttarapara speech he beat the retreat from his Kurukshetra. I persoanlly, and this is my personal eveluation of Aurobindo, nothing he said after 1907 had any impact on Hindus or the enslaved Hindu nation. And the comparison with Modiji is totally inappropriate. Auribindo married a young girl of 14 and I know the demands he made of her. At 14 a girl wants a normal married life with a normal man. 
And unlike Modiji who has always lived like a sanyasi, Aurobindo had Mirra Alfassa and not his wife as close companion in the ashram. The lady is supposed to have exercised total control over the ashram even in Aurobindo's lifetime. And as for Aurobindo's fierce and fiery Hindu nationalist writings, some foreigner in charge of the publications carried the wholly gratuitous remark that Aurobindo rejected and distanced himself from his earlier writings.

The political point here being we are so porous anybody can penetrate. We have so internalised this vasudeiva kutumbakam thing that we have lost all sense of discrimination about who is 'us' and who is 'them'. It is not what agenda Mirra Alfassa or Miraben had but that our uncritical acceptance of the presence of foreign women in the lives of important men made it possible for Teresa and Sonia Gandhi to invade us like cancer. And as for 'Indian' spirituality I dont know what you mean. What really is Indian spirituality? Mira Alfassa was an occult practitioner of Turkish origin. She was also Jew. The theosophists Madame Blavatsky and Olcott also came to India because of this Indian spirituality. Anne Besant the daughter of a Christian missionary was also a theosophist attracted to this "indian" spirituality. J Krishnamurti was under the thrall of the theosophists before he decided to do his own thing. 
Let me ask my critics here a pointed question - how Hindu is the Auroville commune today and how Hindu are the inmates of the ashram? It was possible for Leela Samson to de-Hinduise Kalakshetra because Rukmini Arundale born into a Tamil Brahmin family married George Arundale a theosophist. It is a pity that the comments to this article on J&K are Aurobindo-centric instead of focussing on the very important points made about how J&K continues to test Hindu resolve.

I think the Author needs to study more about the 'foreign women' in the lives of Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo before equating them with Sonia Gandhi or Edwina Mountbatten! There is nothing in the writings or actions of either Sister Nivedita or Mother Mirra that should 'alarm' us. Instead they can and should be seen as Individuals with a natural bent of mind towards Indian Spirituality and way of living rather than as foreigners with some hidden agenda. Please take this as constructive criticism and try to verify before painting everyone with the same brush.

Most certainly, there is another way of reading Aurobindo’s life. It could be quite enlightening to bring in another reading here offered by another significant hermeneutical thinker of India, Prof. J.L. Mehta, who takes Aurobindo’s own statements about his life as an authentic rendering of its truth. He treats them as more meaningful beginning of his life’s story… On this reading, what Nandy considers as being lost, that is, Aurobindo having lost to the West, Mehta considers it as a mere adventuring of the self to the Other, experiencing it in all its otherness as its own part. For indeed, Mehta works with a hermeneutical insight as far as human understanding is concerned…

Depicting the complexity of a hermeneutical life as that of Sri Aurobindo, in which he arrives at an understanding of himself and that of the West as part of each other, Mehta locates this understanding emanating from the Vedantic as much as from a Heideggerian sources. He brings in Heidegger to illustrate the interesting relationship the self has with its other, a position which Aurobindo spawned by living out the kind of existence he did. Aurobindo’s life came with a certain kind of depth where any stark differences between the self and the other simply got dissolved.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Supreme Court will certainly have its due share as a party

Pondicherry Ashram Suicides and The Spiritual Surrender: Bobby Kunhu
JANUARY 2, 2015
Here a bit of contextualization is necessary. The Ashram was founded by Mirra Alfassa – known as the Mother to devotees based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh. From a trust founded with borrowed money, the Ashram has grown to become the largest property owner in Pondicherry. To become an inmate, one has to go through a probation period, following which a contract of complete surrender is entered into with the Ashram. The Ashram allocates the inmate work in one of its departments based on his or her skill sets and qualification and in return provides for food, shelter, medical care, clothing and so on – but strictly no monetary benefits. This contract (called prosperity list) till recently also had clauses that prevented inmates from approaching the police or media. However, a caveat needs to be added here – the contract does not prevent an inmate from leaving the Ashram – and all inmates believe in the surrender!

Without any effective internal grievance redressal mechanism – this means absolute power. Over a period of time there have been allegations from Ashram inmates ranging from sexual abuse, pedophilia, physical abuse, medical negligence etc. When some of the inmates protested, their prosperity was withdrawn – meaning that their food and shelter too was withdrawn. Some inmates left the Ashram. A few others, rather than leave the Ashram and retract from their leap of faith and surrender, decided to go to court to get their food and shelter restored. After, a long protracted legal battle one of the cases came before the Supreme Court of India. The apex court turned down the prayer in the case. That is a different story requiring different legal analysis that I would not want to go into here.

A small diversionary note is required here – though the Ashram is the centerpiece of Pondicherry’s economy – beyond employment; there is hardly any interaction between the local Pondicherry citizenry and the Ashram. In fact, the local populace views the Ashram with deep suspicion. On the other hand given the vast resources owned by the Ashram, there seem to be a background political struggle to gain access and control of these resources.

STORY OF PONDY SISTERS: The sister act via @IndianExpress
According to them, their travails began on January 9, 2001, when Jayashree was allegedly manhandled in the dining room by a visitor. She had earlier questioned financial irregularities in the accounts of the ashram canteen and alleged that “sexual favours” had been sought by senior inmates. She had lodged a complaint with the ashram management, but no action was taken for two months. The sisters then warned that they would file a police complaint if their grievances were not addressed, despite ashram rules barring inmates from contacting external agencies for “internal matters” without trustees’ permission. The next day, the ashram slapped a notice on Hemlata, ordering her expulsion. The sisters filed a case in the local court in March 2001 challenging the ashram’s decision. This, say many ashram inmates, was the beginning of their undoing, and the start of a 14-year-long legal battle they eventually lost. 

For greater clarity, read – Further factual analysis: Episode of the 5 Sisters   And please RT to your followers.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

To be exclusive and illiberal are real virtues

Hindu Nationalist minds must consider the fact that to be exclusive and illiberal are real virtues. To be inclusive or liberal leads to harm - mauna
Is there consensus amongst Hindu Nationalists that reconversions are a positive action & required? (Without linking it to evangelism etc) - mauna
Not going to earn any brownie for innate sense of fairness and decency . Ruthless purge of UPA stooges in academia and babudom needed now - pv
No Mr RSS chief PM NaMo is not just another swayamsevak and you are not his boss, come out of grand delusion - ka
Shourie's criticism helps us Indians see true worth or lack thereof of these "academicians". Read their laughable rebuttal. Let us not use religion as a shield to de-criminalise Aurangzeb. Referring to bringing out truth in history as "intellectual terrorism" is hallmark of seculars. - vs
@SudheenKulkarni Have you ever asked successive secular regimes to stop conversions? And stop pontificating about... - ji
enough to demand secularism in India. Do look up this link on Church role in Mizoram. - gh
Even blaming entire religion or followers on the basis of actions of a few of a religion is unsolicited as well. -ks
@Hashestweets  excellent new piece on the RSS: A new vision of India, 100 percent Hindu via @BV - wd
Quietly passing ordinance after ordinance by keeping people busy outraging about VHP/Bajrang Dal/RSS. Sham of a sarkar. -pc

As ignorance is an Asura, reconverting illiterates has doubtful value, can boomerang. -sb

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Role of Spirituality apropos morality

[Morality involves regulating one’s physical and vital desires and impulses by the power of the mental will. Service to others – family, society, country – and other forms of idealism, while helping to discipline and mould human nature, still belong to the mental evolution and are bound by the ego. Exoteric religion serves a purpose in the life of societies to correct collective egoism and provide a support and help to those who have some spiritual devotion. But there is a radical difference between these three approaches to higher life and that of spirituality. Spirituality and yoga depend essentially on a change of consciousness; they reveal to man another realm entirely, beyond the rule of the ego, where one can begin to live more freely and unite with one’s true self.]

Morality, Idealism, Religion and Yoga
The Meaning of Spirituality — Selections from the Works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department, Pondicherry Binding: Soft Cover Pages: 174 Price: Rs 80 ISBN: 979-81-7058-037-8

[Spirituality may often be confused with morality, idealism, and religion, which play significant roles in regulating, controlling, and directing the lives of most men. But spirituality, or yoga in its more general sense, is essentially different because it proceeds directly by a change of consciousness and presents a radical new approach to life. This approach, which goes beyond the ego and its exclusive focus on the common habits of the mind, life, and body, reveals to man how to find his true self and seek union with the Divine. The editor has selected passages from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother that define and clarify these fundamental differences and, in the final section, that describe how to prepare for and take up the path of yoga.]

Letters present a different aspect of Sri Aurobindo

[The letters present to the reader a different aspect of Sri Aurobindo than we meet in his more formal writings. Prior to November 1926, Sri Aurobindo met with his disciples daily. After he retired to his room, his external contact with them was mostly limited to exchanges of letters. The letters from Sri Aurobindo to his disciples are personal, direct, simple, often humorous, always encouraging, and full of his compassion and care. They respond individually to specific questions on every conceivable subject or problem facing the sadhak. Sri Aurobindo cautioned his disciples that it was not advisable to apply to oneself what he had written for another: “Each sadhak is a case by himself and one cannot always or often take a mental rule and apply it rigidly to all who are practising the Yoga.” Yet there is a core of knowledge that emerges – a common theme on the practice of yoga, the foundation of the sadhana, a set of guiding principles for the path of self-perfection, and an explanation of the psychic and spiritual realisations that form the base of the Integral Yoga – that, if taken in the right spirit, can widen and deepen the understanding of any sincere reader.]

[For some time afterwards, his main literary output was his voluminous correspondence with his disciples. His letters, most of which were written in the 1930s, numbered in the several thousands. Many were brief comments made in the margins of his disciple's notebooks in answer to their questions and reports of their spiritual practice—others extended to several pages of carefully composed explanations of practical aspects of his teachings. These were later collected and published in book form in three volumes of Letters on Yoga. In the late 1930s, he resumed work on a poem he had started earlier—he continued to expand and revise this poem for the rest of his life.[41] It became perhaps his greatest literary achievement, Savitri, an epic spiritual poem in blank verse of approximately 24,000 lines.]
  1. Anonymous comment:

    most ashramites there today, didn't come to imbibe any values or ideals. prime location, free food, no work.... so forget about any evolution. i just hope they don't do the opposite of dragging the rest of us into some dark abyss.

    Polite? thats the deviant trait thats found in less than handful of people in the ashram outlets. 
  2. The state of affairs narrated is quite true as experienced by us often during our visits to Ashram for Darshan. Today only (17/11/14) my wife was misbehaved badly by a male sadhak while she was silently standing in queue in Dining room to deposit utensils in the wash area. It is a pity that there is no one to oversea as to how the visitors/devotees coming from far flung areas are being treated by the so called Ashramites

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sri Aurobindo Ashram has to be run on democratic lines

The biggest change after the Mother’s passing away is the dilution of the spiritual motive in Ashram life, and this is the prime culprit in all the internal conflict in the Ashram. But that cannot be helped with the passing away of the Gurus. In such a situation, when this downward gravitational pull affects everybody in the Ashram, the onus is on the present Trustees to realise that they cannot expect the same kind of obedience from the present Ashramites as what they themselves perhaps gave to the Mother... An Ashram without the Gurus or spiritually mature administrators is not an Ashram but an institution which has to be run on democratic lines...
Everybody in the Ashram and all the devotees who visit the Ashram on a regular basis know that the Ashram does survive on public donations, that it will go bankrupt if the donations and offerings stop, and that its businesses can hardly provide the finance to make both ends meet. In fact Ashram businesses and farms are white elephants and are mostly run at huge losses... But don’t be surprised if the Trustees have to step down sooner or later from their high pedestals! Posted by General Editor at 8/29/2014 12:54:00 PM

Therefore the Ashramites who have filed this “new case” are not against the Ashram but the Ashram Trust, which runs the Ashram in the most irresponsible manner. Their demand is to revamp the present administration through a Government intervention without which no structural changes can be brought about in the governance of the Ashram. The changes will ensure transparency and accountability, the utter lack of which is the hallmark of the present setup. The introduction of some democracy into the highly autocratic functioning of the present Trustees would also be a welcome measure. All these demands are fundamental to any institution in modern times and, if the excuse for not conceding to them is that the Ashram is a spiritual institution and not a secular one, then show me these “highly spiritual disciples” among the present Trustees who can guide the Ashram to its spiritual destiny!
Why don’t the Ashram Trustees hand over the administration to five of their own supporters for a change in order to show that they have no personal stake in it? Posted by General Editor at 8/22/2014 09:30:00 AM

It is more difficult to convince Aurovillians that meditation at the Matrimandir can also become a ritual. It is true that there are no flowers or incense sticks, no deity or Guru, but there are symbols of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother built into the very design of Matrimandir. Beneath the crystal at the centre of the inner chamber is the Mother’s symbol and the crystal itself is supported by four symbols of Sri Aurobindo; also the twelve pillars in the Meditation Hall and the four ramps outside correspond to the twelve outer petals and the four inner petals respectively of the Mother’s symbol. What I mean is that despite the fabulous beauty and perfection of the Matrimandir, the meditation in the inner chamber can still become mechanical and boring, and after a time, artificial and ritualistic, because with the passage of time everything becomes old and customary. Posted by General Editor at 8/09/2014 09:35:00 AM

Avoiding the slightest public homage to Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda in spite of knowing their crucial roles in Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s sadhana for fear of being branded a religious institution. But regularly commemorating the life and works of  Tagore in poignant speeches and emotive presentations, knowing that he had not the slightest role in Sri Aurobindo’s or Mother’s sadhana; knowing that, in the Mother’s opinion, his spiritual attainments were not exceptional and the fame he has gained in the West is only “because his stature does not go beyond the understanding of the Western mind”, whereas “India has far greater geniuses than him in the most varied fields, scientific, literary, philosophic, spiritual”.[9] Posted by General Editor at 9/04/2014 09:45:00 AM

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Contempt for Mythology

@SavitriEraParty You must be a covert Anarchist! :-)

Wow, sad to hear @SavitriEraParty say "stand by English". I'm not anti-English at all, but not at the cost of our Prakrits & Sanskrit.

All in all, @SavitriEraParty seems another transparent attempt to hijack Hindu philosophy for Commie policy. Virulently anti-Modi, too.

Only thing @SavitriEraParty takes from Aurobindo is "evolution". Hence the contempt for "mythology". Left only with Hegelian nonsense.

A lot of Bengali Commies are also into some half-baked "Vedanta". Same with @SavitriEraParty

@Parikramah examples also include Anandmargis @SavitriEraParty

@Parikramah Also who decides what Mythology is to be shunned? A large chunk of our history will disappear that way. @SavitriEraParty

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Two books stand on entirely different grounds

  1. Tusar Nath Mohapatra says: March 12th, 2014 at 3:41 pm
    The author is an insider as regards his subject while the same cannot be said about the Professor and therefore the two books stand on entirely different grounds. How strange that he has no remorse for injuring the intimate feelings of thousands of people who choose to adore The Mother! [TNM55]

Sunday, February 9, 2014

From Sri Aurobindo to Aurobindo Ghose

Analysis of the Preface of P. Heehs’ The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, CUP, 2008 (Part 4) ― A Zombified Disciple [1] Presumably they were approved by the Ashram Trust as per Rule No. 6 on p.5 of its Rules of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2003: “Nothing should be sent out for publication (contributions to newspapers and magazines, or books) without having been first submitted to Sri Aurobindo for approval.”

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Sri Aurobindo Ashram under judicial inquiry

Sri Aurobindo Ashram trust welcomed the Madras High Court's order appointing a retired judge of Kerala High Court to hold an inquiry into the allegations of harassment of women inmates besides misappropriation of funds by the trustees. "We are happy with this order. We are never afraid of facing any inquiry. We were concerned with the unfair and partisan manner in which the inquiry was sought to be conducted by the district collector," said a representative of the trust. ~By Bosco Dominique, Puducherry ToI

Monday, August 26, 2013

Democracy can rescue Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Redant3August 22, 2013 at 10:17 AM If the Trustees had nothing to fear or hide from an investigation as they claimed recently, why did they bring a stay in the High Court to stop the Pondy admin from probing their activities???

Why is the Govt afraid of acting against Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust? Many of the Ashramites are blissfully ignorant of the political tsunami that is building up round the corner, and which will soon strike them before they realise what is happening, even as they continue to sing hosannahs to Sri Sri Manoj Das Gupta for his wonderful administration of the Ashram! –Sridharan
If the change cannot be brought about from within, then it has to come from outside, or by a combination of both methods, one helping the other. But sooner or later the change has to come! -Baikunth
Read also: 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sri Aurobindo Ashram attacked

Peter Heehs ‏@peterheehs - now Attack on Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry by stone-throwing crowd chanting slogans from 12.10 p.m. today. Situation still unclear.

Volunteers of the Thanthia Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) today attacked the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram here in connection with the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. The attack was said to be a sequel to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee reportedly supporting Sri Lanka in the Eelam Tamils issue. The vounteers, who took out a procession, barged into the Ashram and damaged the flower pots placed near the Aurobindo Samadhi and also ransacked the office and damaged the glass panes of the office. Meanwhile,Puducherry Dalit Sena General Secretary Sundar and a few others were arrested when they attempted to vandalise the Rajiv Gandhi statue.

A group of pro-Tamil activists today barged into the Aurobindo Ashram, damaged furniture and smashed ...

General EditorMarch 21, 2013 at 10:07 AM Anonymous Comment:
I would not be surprised if there is a similar fishy deal with Peter Heehs with the Ashram Trust because of which he gets such unstinting support from Manoj Das Gupta. There was already at one point of time a leaked email of Heehs about "Money Matters" going about on the Net. All this talk of neutrality and freedom of speech would be then merely a cover-up for a secret transfer of cash! There should be a thorough investigation of all foreign contributions to the Trust.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Science today preserves the feeling of the sacred

In the last century Sri Aurobindo wrote of our times in a style similar to what we find in both the Old and New Testaments. In his short prose piece, The Hour of God, written some time in the first quarter of the last century, he gave a warning to nations to be prepared because the ‘hour of the unexpected’ had arrived. It is timely to re-examine his piece in the light of recent happenings. The Hour of God indicated that the time of ‘fulfilment’ was near, but only after what Sri Aurobindo foresaw as a possible apocalyptic upheaval. Indeed, the First and Second World Wars justified his warning. Have we reached a similar turning point that requires the descent of a Godhead in the form of the War God, as he is described in The Revelation as well as the last Avatar of Vishnu?

India will become the spiritual leader of the world, as India’s Great Sage, Sri Aurobindo, had predicted nearly a century ago: And one is tempted to shout in the ears of all those “secular”, cynical, westernised, Indians of today, the eternal mantra: Ah, we are coming back again full circle to the wonder that WAS India, the India of the Vedas and the Upanishad, which A.L. Basham, the best-selling author of “The Wonder That Was India”, criticised as being militant and politically disunited. But the truth was that they were united in their diversity, that it was much more democratic and allowed much more freeplay and freedom, individually and collectively, than the India of today allows. Let us again reread history, let us look at India, not through the Western prism, but with the ancient wisdom that She has bestowed upon us.
But for that India has to succeed in her attempt to liberalise her economy, it has to learn to decentralise the heavy hand of its Government in Delhi, it has to rewrite its Constitution, which it adapted blindly from the British, it has to re-indianise her education methods, reform her political system, which has made a mockery of democracy… In one word, She has to become a superpower on par with any western nation. Then, when She will have the respect and the attention of the West, can Her message of spirituality and the ancient wisdom of santanam dharma, once again shine forth and bring down a New World to this beleaguered planet, which is on the brink of self-destruction. François Gautier Ph: 0413 2622209 / 9811118828 February 14, 2013

Some Thoughts On Darwin Day CRI Tuesday, February 12, 2013 Aravindan Neelakandan - 3 Comments 
A cosmic vision as unveiled by science today preserves the feeling of the sacred that we see in the scriptures of humanity but transcends the visions of deities which claim to be creators and sole custodians of the ultimate truth. Evolution shows us the value and wonder of life. The value of life we see around us – the result of billions of years of organic evolution – provides us with an ethics that compels us toward the preservation of nature and a resource sharing that unites us across petty national barriers into one planet. The codes of Hammurabi, Moses, Muhammed and Manu never achieved such wonderful heights and spiritual depths as the codes which the vision of the web of life, as revealed by science, compels us to live by for our survival as a species. Perhaps it was there in our heritage too – as reflected in the traditions of mother goddess which we inherited from our paleolithic ancestors, which manifest in the words attributed to Chief Seattle.

Skanda - 2 days ago Idea of evolution is not just "consistent" with Vedantic idea but is inherent in Hindu knowledge. The sequence of Avataras as Sri Aurobindo notes is an emphatic expression of evolution. The anti-evolution of ISKCON does not emerge from veda pathasala either. ISKCON is Hinduism's abrahamic version in many ways.

Comment on Sri Aurobindo on Nationalism by Sandeep 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.

Comment on What is wrong with promiscuity? by Sandeep Porn is causing major distortions in the masculine psyche in other countries as well. The Internet has really unleashed the floodgates of hell. This window to hell was opened in the US in 1957 when obscenity laws were rescinded in the historic Roth vs United States court case, where a smut peddler was given free speech protection.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Damaru signifies dissolution and creation

The Trust Board of the Ashram Trust is scrambling for damage control following the conscientious resignation of the senior-most Trustee of the Ashram, Albert Patel.
At first the Trustees begged Albert-da not to resign. When they found him adamant, Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee, put great pressure on him to sign a second letter of resignation where he would declare his resignation on grounds of “loss of memory and ill-health”. This is a dangerous trick that he has played with others earlier, but which everyone sees through now. Failing all these options, Manoj Das Gupta has now ordered his men to spread the word that Albert-da is resigning only in March and not before.
Meanwhile the Trustees are in a desperate search to find a suitable successor. But this is not an easy task any more. To begin with, any successor must be someone who will swear personal loyalty to Manoj Das Gupta as against Sri Aurobindo. Some of the names being discussed include Vishweshwar, Chitra Sen and Swadesh Chatterjee who have for long proved their personal loyalties. But the thinking within the Board is to try for a better public profile to soften the widespread criticism.
Two names are being discussed openly: Jhumur Bhattacharya who has been one of Manoj Das Gupta’s preferred girl-friends from his young days at theatre, and whom he has been steadily promoting first as a spiritual figurehead and later as head of the Ashram’s college and its alumni journal, and now as keeper of the Mother’s room. But the dark horse is Meera Gupta whom he had earlier assigned as head of the Ashram’s book distribution agency, and who was recently working overtime organising the Ashram-wide signature campaign to garner support to save the Trustees from going to jail. But therein lies the rub. Although there are enough people waiting to serve the Trustees in their abuse of Sri Aurobindo, none of them is keen to go to jail with them!
Vishweshwar and Chitra Sen are already telling all those who care to ask that they are too old to take up such responsibilities. Swadesh, it is felt, does not bring any value to the Trust Board. Jhumur Bhattacharya is excusing herself saying she already has too many responsibilities. Meera Gupta alone has kept a strategic silence. When asked of her chances of becoming a Trustee, she merely said, “It is for them to decide.” But she did not appear too enthusiastic. After all selling one’s conscience is easier than going to jail for life. Albert-da may well turn out to be smartest of them all.

The Supramental Action (The World, India, Ashram and the Individual) from At the Feet of The Mother Tuesday, 15th January 2013 at Hall of Harmony, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India. Duration: 39 Minutes

Articles in Professional Journals and Books Peter Heehs is an independent scholar based in India. He has written or edited nine books and published more than fifty articles.  2011. “The Kabbalah, the Philosophie Cosmique, and the Integral Yoga: A Study in Cross-Cultural Influence”. Aries 11:2 (September): 219-247 (Pdf file available here).
Some of these scholars have made strong claims about influence of Max Theon and his wife on Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. In their history of the H.B. of L., Godwin, Chanel and Deveney write that Aurobindo and the Mother ‘were very largely inspired by Theon and his wife’. In his dissertation, Chanel goes farther: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother ‘may from many points of view be looked on as disciples of the Theons or in any case as continuers of their work’. In another passage Chanel suggests that the Theons have been denied due recognition by Aurobindo’s followers: The Philosophie Cosmique, he asserts, ‘constitutes one of the essential sources of the teachings of [Aurobindo’s] ashram in Pondicherry, even though this fact is, or was, generally little known or eclipsed’.
What I have written in the preceding sections should be enough to show that these claims are exaggerated. Theon had a good deal of influence on the Mother for three or four years, but he had no direct influence on Aurobindo. Whatever indirect influence he had on him was minor, being confined for the most part to terminology. The Mother may have considered herself a ‘disciple’ of the Theons at some point, but the relationship between her and them was just one of several relationships she had with spiritual-occult figures before she met Aurobindo. She carried over many ideas from the Theons into her collaboration with Aurobindo, but their work together could hardly be called a continuation of the work of the Theons, about whom Aurobindo had no direct knowledge. All in all, the parallels between the Philosophie Cosmique and Aurobindo’s philosophy are interesting but relatively unimportant compared to the enormous influence of the Vedantic tradition of India, which Aurobindo fully acknowledged.
Chanel also notes that it is through the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo ‘that the work of the Theons, that is, the Philosophie Cosmique, is present, though unbeknownst to many, in the world today’. This is true, and it draws attention to what might be called the “multinational” side of the transmission of esoteric knowledge. The Philosophie Cosmique, based in large measure on a form of the kabbalah that took shape in what is now Israel, was developed in France and Algeria during the early twentieth century, but now is scarcely remembered in any of these places. Elements of this teaching are present in the Integral Yoga, a system of thought based largely on the Upanishads that was elaborated in India by an English-educated Bengali and a Frenchwoman of Sephardic extraction. This system of yoga is followed by tens of thousands of people in India, and many hundreds in Europe and North America. Thus elements of an esoteric teaching made a journey from mediaeval Spain to Palestine and then back to Europe, where they were repackaged for dissemination in France. From France they were taken to India, and from India they have begun to make their way back to the West.

Almost every day we went for sadhana meditation in the ashram, which offered a contrast to the brassy worship of the gods in the various temples. Each late afternoon, pilgrims and locals line up to approach the white marble tombs of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo and kneel in prayer, their arms extended over the tightly woven tapestries of flowers adorning the saints’ resting place, and then silently arrange themselves to practice unity in consciousness beneath the spreading limbs of the emerald green jacaranda tree that shelters the courtyard. Like the sand paintings of the Tibetans, the flowers on the tombs are a graceful expression of beauty and impermanence which reappear in a new design each day.
There we will leave you, then: standing, hands folded and head slightly bowed, before the tomb of Pondicherry’s premier saints. Until next time, we send you our love from Mother India, Robert and Susana 8:35 am Thursday 19 June 2008