Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kepler attempts a nuanced reading

Against the Grain and with the Grain'via Blog this' Page 1 of 4
While eschewing the colorful hyperboles of "Mahakali's wrath"–mongers, this review by J. Kepler attempts a nuanced reading sympathetic to the sentiments some of the aggrieved.
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The front cover gives the first impression of Peter Heeh's new biography, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. It features a fine photograph of Sri Aurobindo, which makes the book a delight to keep physically near, whatever one's ultimate reaction to the text. The second impression, from the back cover, is of a different nature. A long quote is featured from Jeffrey Kripal (author of Kali's Child, a controversial Freudian analysis of Sri Ramakrishna), praising Heeh's book for, among other things, the way it “problematizes” Sri Aurobindo. [...]
At other times the author contributes a personal opinion that rings arrogant and unnecessary. He describes Sri Aurobindo's Isha Upanishad as the “pithiest” of his works. “Its carefully chiseled sentences leave much for the reader to reflect upon, unlike his ordinary expository prose, in which clause is added to clause and refinement to refinement until the sentences become almost unreadable.” Whatever the author's personal reactions may be, I suspect many others find Sri Aurobindo's “ordinary” prose quite readable and find much there to “reflect upon”. Occasional forays into a genre of pop psychology are also off-putting.

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