Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Holy war between Peter Heehs and Sraddhalu Ranade

He claims that “any premodern spirituality that does not come to terms with both modernity and postmodernity has no chance of survival in tomorrow’s world”. (IS p225) … Why Christianity Must Change Or Die. The implication of both Wilber and Spong on the topic is that only a post/modernist liberal or postliberal Christianity will be able to survive the coming decades and centuries, as post/modern ideas become more widespread through the world…
As far as I can tell, the spirituality that he preserves has to do primarily with meditative and mystical experiences… Modernity is a gain in many ways, but it is also a loss, and a loss that cannot be fixed merely with the mystical experience whose prominence is itself a modern phenomenon. Many of the things that most turn us moderns off about premodern tradition – its rigid restrictions on sexuality, its supernaturalism, its literal readings of sacred texts – are themselves the appeal for conservatives.

Book Review- The Lost Years of RSS Written by Sanjeev Kelkar, a RSS insider of more than 45 years, from Centre Right India by Shreyans Maini
Titled ‘The Lost Years of RSS’, the writers laments on the years RSS lost under the leadership of Guruji Golwalkar. According to the writer, the RSS morphed in to a secret brotherhood society under Guruji’s leadership. This manifested in terms of disdain for intellectual discourse, retreating from media interactions and a stubborn denial for division of organization on the basis of expertise. “There was no discussion, no spark of scholarship on any problem that beset the nation at the ground level.”
One might not agree with his ideological formulations  and organisational methods but under his stewardship RSS become one mind, one voice. Consolidation of a young organization, coming out of a ban, perhaps required that strategy

Nilanjana Roy  @nilanjanaroy Tempting as it is to blame it all on politicians, a few thoughts on why we might want to widen the free speech debate: 
All political parties understand the benefits that accrue with being seen as the protector of Dalit rights (the Ambedkar cartoons), Muslim hurt sentiments (the Jaipur Satanic Verses readings), offended Hindu sentiments (the Shivaji-Laine book), and so far, these benefits have been tangible and have translated into actual or perceived gains in different vote banks. The fact that these separate instances have also actively encouraged any community, religious or caste-based or political, to claim offense as a means of getting attention or gaining much-needed clout, is not the point. Until there are tangible consequences for politicians, in terms of losing votes or support, there is no practical reason for them to support free speech rights—only ideological reasons. As the historian Romila Thapar suggests, we should investigate claims that religious or other sentiments have been hurt much more rigorously seeing who stands to benefit, before resorting to a book ban or a withdrawal of a book.
Nor can you blame politicians for wanting to use existing laws to shut down criticism of political parties, as Mamata Banerjee and Kapil Sibal have done in very different ways. Any closed group, given a choice between upholding abstract free speech rights and upholding its own interests, will choose the latter.

A concerned friend of Auroville on Fundamentalism’s two faces: the naïve and the power peddlers May 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm | #1
If you wanted “to clarify the facts” you would turn to an expert on religious violence like Mark Juergensmeyer. If you really want “to clarify the prevailing misinterpretations, to return to common sense and some kind of understanding and harmony, and prevent the insane and inflated rumors”, then the last thing you should do is to turn to the very source of the prevailing misinterpretations and insane and inflated rumors.
“The tendency to scape-goat an individual, without any willingness to listen to what he or she has to say, reminds us of the darkest periods of human history.” Indeed it does. But if ever an individual was scape-goated, it was Peter Heehs by Sraddhalu with the fawning support of his naive minions. Has Sraddhalu ever exhibited any willingness to listen to what Peter had to say? O sure, he has, but only to seize on his words, distort them beyond recognition, make them mean their very opposite or whatever suits his scheme. To understand people like him you should read The People of the Lieby psychiatrist M. Scott Peck
This is what everyone wishing to gain such insight ought to have learned by now: Sraddhalu and his cohort want to codify the teaching of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, to issue Thou Shalts and Thou Shalt Nots, in brief, to turn it into a religion. Putting themselves forward as the priests of this religion, they aim to command the respect and power that goes with this rank. They want to control the thoughts and feelings of those who turn to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for guidance in order to gain power, position, and influence. They are, in short, the power peddlers that we need to guard against, that we need to stop.
Their methods are as unscrupulous as their motives are sinister… These are exactly the sort of tactics the Sri Aurobindo Society used against some Aurovillians during the 1970s. Thankfully, most Aurovillians have learned their lesson, as the actions taken by the Working Committee show. But the Working Committee is elected, memories get shorter, and the past recedes. So, foreign Aurovillians, take heed: none of you are safe unless you buy into Sraddhalu’s rabidly anti-Western ideology.

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