Monday, April 2, 2012

Get rid of heteronormative and gender essentialist biases

Nice programme on the Peter Heehs issue on NDTV. Exposes the fundamentalist completely! 8:49 PM - 2 Apr 12 Check out the hateful, illiterate, fundamentalist reactions to my story on Peter Heehs: Don-t-expel-US-historian-govt-told 8:14 PM - 2 Apr Kamayani  @Kracktivist - @gchikermane we have become a totally intolerant democracy latest victim heehs #foe @anjakovacs@koobear @VidyutKkk

Debashish Banerji
As an Indian and a follower of Sri Aurobindo, I feel it is really deplorable if what this report says is true about the denial of visa extension to Peter Heehs. Not only is it a defeat to the freedom of expression which is one of the pillars of the Indian constitution, but it is a clear case of fraudulent action since Heehs' book has nothing of a "blasphemous" nature. It seems to be a set-up and the carrying out of unconstitutional decisions pressed into effect in a underhand manner.
Bharat Singh
Mr Banerji. You are mistaken to think that Freedom of Expression is absolute under Indian constitution. And if it were not there would have been no banned books in India. I wonder how much of a supporter you would still remain of the kind of absolute Freedom of Expression you seem to be advocating, … in reply to Debashish Banerji
Vinita
India's is a democracy and Gandhi India's most well known democrat. Book banning and calls for cancellation of visas for writers who speak in a different voice is not the hallmark of democracy Gandhi always surrounded himself with different voices and peoples of different religions. He was also an ardent spiritualist and a democrat. We need to invoke the spirit of Gandhi in these moments. vinita
DB
Thanks for being a sane voice in an ocean of xenophobia. It seems from most of the other posts that a politicized divide is being created. "Secular historians" like Ramchandra Guha and Romila Thapar are being clubbed with sensationalist western academicians like Wendy Doniger and Jeffrey Kripal, and Peter Heehs is being thrown into this league. I guess on the other side are ardent Hindutva flag-bearers. An enlightened spirituality is all but forgotten in the middle of this. It is also clear that these violent voices have not read Heehs' book or else they have no reading skills.
Gopal Ji
Even after staying in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for decades Peter Heehs does not exhibit the most basic understanding of Yoga as revealed by Sri Aurobindo. His insolent foolishness may be tolerable but his present biographical work on the great spiritual master is full of falsehood, though interwined in scholarly language and thus capable of perpetuating this falsehood in the name of freedom of expression.
His close association with western scholars like Jeffrey Kripal and Wendy Doniger, who are famous for maligning Indian spirituality, is a proof in itself that there are sinister motives behind his so called scholarly work. Now he has new sympathisers like Romila Thapar and Ramchandra Guha who, with their unsympathetic, shallow and surface understanding of India's spiritual heritage, have written text books of history which will misguide generations of students.
This journalist, Mr. Chikarmane, seems to be very eager to take the side of all those who have attacked the symbols of our spirituality and culture under the pretext of defending freedom of expression.
Sri Aurobindo and The Mother have never been "proponents of democratic values and free speech". In fact, many biographers wrote so many dirty and ignorant books about Sri Aurobindo that he decided to write his own biography, "On Himself". If taxi driver Heens did not read it, we may ask why. If an inmate of the Ashram does not follow the guru's directions, such an inmate is free to go back to New York, drive his taxi and write garbage for yellow press.
GK Gokhale
"If taxi driver Heehs did not read it, we may ask why." If a journalist of a prestigious paper is not aware of it, he should disappear from the scene.

Today we are publishing the interviews of Paul Richard conducted by Dilip Kumar Roy. In 1927 Dilip Kumar Roy was invited by the Gramophone Company to make a few records in New York. Accordingly he sailed for France in March 1927. During his stay in Nice, he was introduced to Paul Richard. Dilip Kumar had kept a record of his conversations with Paul Richard in his Bengali book ‘Edeshe Odeshe’ and later reproduced the translated version in his books ‘Among the Great’ and ‘Pilgrims of the Stars’. Paul Richard’s conversations have been compiled and republished in the forum of Overman Foundation for the benefit of the reader. With warm regards, Anurag Banerjee Founder, Overman Foundation.

I urge everyone reading this to get rid of their heteronormative and gender essentialist biases, and to envision a world that is beyond gender and even sex. I also urge everyone reading this to consider how important homosexuality and gender non-conformity are for this process.
Anyway, back to the topic of the post. I have no gender identity, so by default I am in a genderless headspace. I did not like the experience of being in either of those two gender identity headspaces: I found it too egoistic and restricting. I think genderlessness is the way of the future: this is certainly consistent with the Integral Yoga view of the New Age. Even the Quran prophecies that men and women will become like each other before the end of days. And it is hardly a coincidence that the radical feminist and gay liberation movements happened after the Shakti entered the Earth’s Inconscient, and the world was infused with a certain atmosphere due to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s spiritual work. People were filled with ideas of liberation and love, but the ideas were misguided and expressed themselves stupidly and carnally due to the stupidity and carnality of the people themselves. Anyway, what many envisioned in those days — that a new world was about to come, the Kingdom of God was about to be established on Earth [very similar to what seemed to have happened when Jesus was around] — will come true, but not immediately through any revolution [especially not any secular revolution], but gradually through spiritual transformation. 

SRI AUROBINDO FOUNDATION FOR INDIAN CULTURE (SAFIC) SRI AUROBINDO SOCIETY, PONDICHERRY, INDIA S p  a  n  d  a  n  a  :  F  e e l i n  g   t h  e   P  u  l s a  t i o n  o f   a   D  i v  i n  e   L  a  n  g  u  a  g  e  THE MAGIC & LOGIC OF SANSKRIT: A THREE DAY WORKSHOP (23rd to 25th of March 2012) Dear friends,
You will be happy to note that Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Indian Culture (SAFIC), a project of Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry, is going to hold a 3-day workshop (from morning 9am to evening 5pm) on Sanskrit at Sri Aurobindo Society, Adchini (very close to SA Ashram) from FriSun, 23-25 March, 2012. The workshop will be facilitated by Dr. Sampadananda Mishra, Director, SAFIC.

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