Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chidambaram steps in

Cancellation of historian's visa to be reviewed: Chidambaram Deccan Herald - New Delhi, Mar 31, 2012, (PTI)
Cancellation of US historian Peter Heehs's visa to be reviewed: P Chidambaram Economic Times- 31 MAR, 2012, 02.58PM IST, PTI 
The Hindu: Home Ministry to examine March 31, 2012 Vinay Kumar
New Delhi, Mar 31, 2012, (PTI)
Home Minister P Chidambaram will review the decision on cancellation of the visa of a US historian Peter Heehs, living in Puducherry, and will take a decision on it by Monday.
Heehs was asked to leave the country after he had spent nearly four decades while working on a project of digitisation and archival of works of freedom fighter and spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo.
"This (decision to cancel the visa) was noticed by me this morning and I understand that the FRRO Puducherry passed the order. I have asked for a suo motu review and am told that the file would be submitted to me on Monday and I will take a decision on Monday," Chidambaram told reporters after presenting the monthly report of his ministry.
The American historian, who is an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, was told by the Regional Registration Office at Puducherry that his visa will not be extended.
Some historians had protested against the move of cancelling his visa and had also petitioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram for reconsideration of decision.
New Delhi, March 31 (IANS)
Home Minister P. Chidambaram ordered a review of the decision on cancellation of the visa of US historian Peter Heehs, living in Puducherry, and said he will take a decision on it Monday.
"This (decision to cancel the visa) was noticed by me this morning and I understand that the FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office) Puducherry passed the order," Chidambaram told reporters Saturday, after presenting the monthly report of his ministry.
"I have asked for a suo motu review and am told that the file would be submitted to me on Monday and I will take a decision on Monday," he said.
No reason has been assigned by the regional registration office at Puducherry for the decision, but it seems that Heehs' ninth book, "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" has been targeted by some fundamentalists as denigratory and blasphemous.
Heehs, an inmate of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, has spent nearly 41 years working on a project of digitisation and archival of works of freedom fighter and spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo.
Many historians had protested against the move of cancelling his visa and had also petitioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram for a review of the decision.
Home Ministry to examineVinay Kumar (Hindu)
Replying to question about American historian Peter Heehs, Mr. Chidambaram said that he would review the decision on cancellation of the visa to the historian who was living in Puducherry by Monday.
Mr. Heehs was asked to leave the country after he had spent nearly four decades while working on a project of digitisation and archival of works of freedom fighter and spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo.
“This (decision to cancel the visa) was noticed by me this morning and I understand that the FRRO Puducherry passed the order. I have asked for a suo motu review and I will take a decision on Monday,’’ Mr. Chidambaram told reporters.
Eminent historians and academics have protested against the move of cancelling the U.S. historian’s visa and have also petitioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr. Chidambaram for reviewing the decision.
A relief for Heehs, free speech, democracy

Jairam Ramesh has written to Heehs privately

Journalist, Writer. Politics, economics, finance, religion. Executive Editor (Business), Hindustan Times; Director, Financial Planning Standards Board India. New Delhi, India · http://blogs.hindustantimes.com/just-faith Tweets Gautam Chikermane  @gchikermane
It's the best book on him will try to get hold of it. Sounds interesting - hv always found Aurobindo fascinating
And advice of one MP, I hear. banned on the advice of Orissa DG Intelligence - he hasn't read the book
What a shame it will be for a country which used be a liberal patron of ideas & ideologies
it's possible.. this is where internet comes in where one can't truly ban anything
No, Columbia University Press
Is it published by the Ashram?
Seem to have multiplied in past three years
List of scandals in India http://zite.to/H4yawd
After Salman Rushdie and MF Husain, the fundamentalists have turned their guns on Peter Heehs, an ashramite serving in India for 41 years.
Is India going to end up being the place from where all free speech, intellectuals, ideas will be banished?
The book has been banned on the advice of Orissa DG Intelligence - he hasn't read the book.
The book, The Many Lives of Sri Aurobindo, is the best biography of the freedom fighter turned spiritual leader. Most haven't read the book.
After Salman Rushdie and MF Husain, the fundamentalists have turned their guns on Peter Heehs, an ashramite serving in India for 41 years.
Historian Peter Heehs's visa is not being extended because some fundamentalists think his book on Sri Aurobindo is blasphemous.
Don't expel US historian: my story on how the govt is exiling another thinker http://bit.ly/HC9XYy 

IYF has this interesting addendum to Gautam Chikermane’s article in the Hindustan Times, which is presently spreading through the blogosphere: 
The question about the relationship between Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is only one of dozens of objections raised by that handful of religious fundamentalists; it is not even mentioned in the Orissa Gazette Notification. It is, however, what appears to produce the most visceral effect in the public, for reasons we fail to understand. Heehs made it perfectly clear that there was no sexual element at all in this relationship. On the contrary, what he wrote underscores its profoundly sacred nature. Only readers with a serious Freudian hang-up can fail to see this. Moreover, we are aware that Minister Jairam Ramesh has read and greatly appreciated The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. He has written Heehs privately about this and also mentioned it in his letter to the Home Minister. We regret that the writer of this otherwise excellent report did not quote from JR’s letter the positive comments about the book, along with the lines relating to the larger issue of freedom of expression. — Editors, IYF.

The Mother was like a lightening rod for the supramental action on the earth

We are bickering and quarrelling like little children when our civilization is facing the possibility of extinction. Here comes the importance of spiritual sustainability. The light, power, maturity and creativity needed to solve our problems and achieve fulfillment, individually and collectively, lies not in our scientific and rational mind but in the intuitive consciousness of our spiritual self. The very fact we are facing so many serious and insurmountable problems in the ecological, social and political front even after so much of advancement in science and technology and rational thinking shows the limitations of this part of our mind. So even while tackling the problem of ecological sustainability, we have to proceed simultaneously towards our spiritual sustainability, which means acquire the ability to progress safely towards the spiritual source of our being.  This requires two things: first, a system of education with an emphasis on the moral, psychological and spiritual development of the individual, second a new paradigm of organization, management and governance which felicitates this inner growth and its self-expression in the outer life. 
However in the short-term our immediate aim is ecological sustainability. For, as an Indian adage states, our body is the basis of all our higher growth.  We cannot pursue our spiritual growth if the physical life-support system of our planet is stretched beyond its tolerance limits in terms of population, temperature and carbon emission and can no longer support human bodies. However the present ecological situation is not perhaps as hopeless and irreversible as some of the scientists believe it to be. There is what is called as "butterfly effect" in climatology.  According to this concept a small event can lead to a massive result like a great storm. Thus, a critical mass of small, cumulative actions in tune with Nature can trigger a butterfly effect and lead to a massive positive response from Nature. 
These actions include not only external actions like energy conversation or carbon reduction but also thought, feelings and attitudes which look upon Nature not as an inanimate something which has to be "saved" by human effort, but as a living conscious Force with a Divinity in her, who can not only save us from calamity but carry us safely towards our highest fulfillment and perfection. If all our environmental actions and our dealings with Nature are infused with this positive attitude, we can look into the future with hope and faith because we will be helped and supported by the universal wisdom and creativity of a divine Force. Messages in this topic (M.S. Srinivasan is a Research Associate at Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry, India.) For a more detailed discussion other subject readers may go through the January, 2011 issue of e-magazine in Management edited by the author: Fourth Dimension Inc. - Towards Integral Management

Dear Readers, In this issue we present four interesting articles. The first, by Ananda Reddy, examines and compares several different views within Indian philosophy regarding the aim and nature of spiritual realization. It concisely describes the views of the Buddha, Sankhya philosophy, Sankaracharya, Ramanuja, and Sri Aurobindo on the nature of spiritual liberation and transformation. In discussing Sri Aurobindo's view, which in its own way includes the liberation envisioned differently by the others, Dr. Reddy touches on the three transformations— psychic, spiritual and supramental—that are unique aims of the Integral Yoga.
The second article is by one of the learners in our Master's Programme, Menaka Deorah, on some of the important principles of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga. It frames its discussion in terms of a decisive shift that must occur in the individual's consciousness from its involvement in the workings of its outer nature of mind, life and body to the deeper soul within. Within the context of this general aim, she discusses the complex structure of the being as well as the key disciplines essential to effecting this shift to our hidden soul, such as concentration, renunciation, dedication of our work and activities, and surrender to the Divine.
The third article is by Larry Seidlitz and focuses on some critical experiences and changes in the consciousness of the Mother during her later years of sadhana which were discussed with and recorded by her disciple Satprem in Mother's Agenda. This period of Mother's sadhana in the body begins with the descent of the Supermind in the earth consciousness in 1956 and extends through 1972, after which Satprem no longer had the opportunity to speak with her. The article attempts to suggest a cohesive thread in the development of her experiences which shed light on the nature of the supramental change.
The fourth article by Shruti Bidwaikar, a member of the SACAR faculty, discusses the contrasts between the conventional British system of education in India and the educational philosophies put forth by Indian stalwarts such as Gandhi, Tilak, Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo. These nationalist leaders laid emphasis on the growth of the mind, heart, body and soul, while also fostering national feelings, and appreciation of India's languages and literature and culture. They also emphasized education of women to make them selfdependent and strong advocates of social change in India.
Finally, the wonderful flower photos in this issue have come from the very fine, color photographic book set, The Spiritual Significance of Flowers, by the Mother, published in 2000 by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Till next time…. Larry From the editor's desk
It is true that the Mother placed great importance on physical culture in order to train and enlighten the body consciousness. The physical education department in the Ashram was given a central position in the sadhana and most of the sadhaks were involved in a variety of daily physical exercises from hatha yoga to martial arts to sports like tennis, basketball, and swimming, to gymnastics and track and field. The Mother herself played tennis regularly until she was 80 years old. Both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother believed that such physical activities develop the consciousness of the body and make it more receptive to the higher spiritual consciousness and force, and this is why they gave it such importance in the Ashram.
But the conscious ascent into the higher levels of the spiritual consciousness and their descent into the mind and life and body were accomplished primarily by inner psychological and spiritual methods and processes. As a result of Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s yoga, a new consciousness and force, which they called the supramental consciousness, manifested in the earth consciousness on February 29, 1956…
Probably in February or March of 1959, the Mother began repeating a mantra. On May 19th, she said that she had “come to realize that for this sadhana of the body, the mantra is essential.” She said that the purely psychological method is inadequate and that japa, the repetition of a mantra, is necessary, because only it has a direct action on the body. She said that now with her mantra, she had done ten years of work in a few months. She said she repeated her mantra constantly—when she was awake and even when she slept. She said it was always there in the background…
From the very beginning, Mother seemed primarily concerned with the influence of the supramental on the consciousness of the body. There is little mention of its effect on the mental or vital levels. In one place she seems to suggest that these were instruments to knead matter, to awaken it to consciousness, and that once this was done they would be replaced by something else.
• Spiritual Foundations of Indian Culture
• Creative Expression in India
• Contemporary Indian Society and Polity
• Integral Yoga Psychology
• Integral Education
• Essentials of the Gita
• Integral Management
All study programmes are inspired by and focus on the vision and thought of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. For details, see: www.sacar.in Other SACAR-IGNOU programmes include:
• Certificate in Introduction to Sri Aurobindo Studies
• PG Diploma in Studies in Indian Culture
MĀSA : Monthly E-newsletter

Some thoughts on Arvind Kejriwal’s model of governance On March 31, 2012, in IndiaLiberty, by Sanjeev Sabhlok STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH ARVIND ON THIS: c) Anti-free trade position
I notice that Arvind made some very strong (and significantly ill-informed) comments re: the role of foreigners in India, in particular against trade. But trade that is voluntarily engaged in, is the essence of democracy. Since Arvind cites ancient Indian kings let me assure him that Chanakya was a great votary of trade, and also, that India DOMINATED world trade till around 1750.
On this matter – of economic policy – Arvind needs to go back to the drawing board at oncebefore uttering one more word – for he is making comments that are seriously at odds against liberty. IT IS CLEAR THAT ARVIND ONLY PARTLY UNDERSTANDS THE MEANING OF LIBERTY. Let me say this clearly: Arvind you NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF आज़ादी
Arvind needs to internalise the concept of liberty. Arvind, please be clear: India only had an independence movement. It NEVER had a freedom movement. So if we never had the first freedom movement, we can't possibly have a "second" one. Can we?
Arvind, please also note that in BFN the highlights of ALL world-best policies (not only in the field of democracy but in the fields of public administration and economic policy) have been suggested. Nandan Nilekani's Imagining India must also be compulsory reading for Arvind.
Arvind, assuming you are SERIOUS about the outcomes you seek for India (and not in it just for the sake of petty awards from foreigners) you will benefit by paying attention to the findings of those who (like me, for instance) have spent (over 30, in my case) years thinking and practicing public policy. And yes, there are many others whom Arvind can read and benefit from. Start with Hayek, then read Friedman, Demsetz, and Masani.

The solution: a world of “private law” based on Property, Contracts and Torts… The answer lies in “private money” – like private hoards of gold, which no government can create at will… But Montesquieu’s fond hope of the “separation of powers” has not worked. Supreme Courts have often been “packed.” "Judicial review" doesn't work. We need to get back to the drawing boards – and that is the subject of a little book I am currently trying to write.

Peter Heehs' visa will not be extended; Romila Thapar and Ramachandra Guha lobby

Don't expel US historian, govt told Hindustan Times Gautam Chikermane, New Delhi, March 31, 2012
After spending 41 years in India as part of a team that digitised and archived the works of freedom fighter and spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo, American historian Peter Heehs has been abruptly told by the Regional Registration Office at Puducherry that his visa will not be extended anymore.
The ostensible reason for the non-extension of Heehs's visa, according to sources, is his ninth book, 'The Lives of Sri Aurobindo'. For years, a handful of religious fundamentalists have been harassing Heehs over his treatment of Sri Aurobindo's relationship with his spiritual collaborator, Mirra Richard, better known as The Mother. "Should I have to leave India, I am confident that I will be back shortly," Heehs, an inmate of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, said.
Proponents of democratic values and free speech raised their concerns over the issue. "Factional disagreements in Mr Heehs' hometown should not receive the implicit support of the Indian state," a March 30 letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P Chidambaram from prominent historians, including Romila Thapar and Ramachandra Guha, said. "It would be greatly to the detriment of our country to be seen as having driven out an internationally recognised scholar..."
In their letter, the historians quoted a March 29 letter by minister of rural development Jairam Ramesh to Chidambaram. "I am very well aware that his book has angered some people in Puducherry," Ramesh's letter states. "But are we not a democracy where different points of view can be expressed?"
Based on select excerpts of the book presented by a small group of religious fundamentalists - and without actually reading it - a February 13, 2009 report of the Orissa government's IG Police Intelligence said it "appears to be blasphemous". Two months later, Orissa banned the book on that basis.
Sri Aurobindo was not a religious personality, and his teachings did not amount to being a religion - this was a fact underlined by the Supreme Court in its November 8, 1982 judgment. However, if Heehs's visa is not extended, the book will have to fight for its life in the Orissa high court - without its author.

The following anonymous letter is recently making the rounds in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. It apparently arrived by post ...

Not since Satprem published the Agenda has the Integral Yoga community been wracked by such a schism. The Western disciples and Westernised Indians praised the book, and no doubnt were inspired by it for exactly the same reason I was (well, some of them anyway). But the religious and devotional Indians hated it. I myself could find nothing at all objectionable about his book, but the ashramites are up in arms; Heehs has been driven out and there was even a court case brought against him…
I can appreciate and respect that Heeh's critics are devotees who belong to the emotional religious polarity, and have a religious worship of Sri Aurobindo, and would therefore be offended by a non-hagiographic biography, especially by an ashramite who they had always considered one of their own. And certainly there is great value in passion and of faith which is lost in secularism. Also I can understand the ashramites (as Hindus) see it as another attack by a Westerner on their culture and sacred traditions, a culture i myself resonate very powerfully to (because of past life samskaras/vasanas no doubt!). But that doesn't excuse the lies and hysteria that they have spread about Heeh's book; I know their claims are lies because i read (most of) the book, and apart from one or two correct things almost everything they claim is in the book isn't.
The only thing I myself would say that is really critical of the book is that Heehs does not clearly specify that Sri Aurobindo attained the Supramental state early on; just the opposite, he seems to imply that Sri Aurobindo never really attained it, even after thirty years. The reason for this error is easy to see. Heehs is an academic, not a gnostic, and therefore he is not in a position to understand the higher aspects of Sri Aurobindo's life and teachings. In this respect at least his critics are right. by M. Alan Kazlev page uploaded 11 August 2009, last modified 11 January 2011 IY Fundamentalism - Religious Fundamentalism and Integral Yoga - keep up to date with the controversy. 

I am surely in my country, India, but my country is very big consisting of many countries. Though there is a cultural, geographical and historical link and now firm political link among all Indians, they are different by their regional cultural choice, by their different thought process and voice or voicelessness…
A writer of an alien language is rarely known to the common people. This way, though I know the people around me, daily see each other’s faces, do marketing together and try to assimilate each other’s culture, as everywhere in India, our acquaintances are very shallow. Shallow is ordinary people’s curiosity to know the other. Ethnicity has spread a deep route in spite of the blow of the global village idea. And I must say that the modern way of living has separated people, even families, tending towards nucleus family units, as in the West. We are not much concerned about the other, living in apartment buildings, moving in our own vehicles…
Active in the internet, writing in literary magazines that hardly reach the common readers, writing in English mostly, I am becoming more known to the literary world in general but not much known to the people around me who are the source of my knowledge about human character and culture. Towards the Rebirth of India Sep 24 2008 

Hema bids emotional adieu to Rajya Sabha Daily Pioneer SATURDAY, 31 MARCH 2012 00:14 PIONEER NEWS SERVICE | NEW DELHI
Film actor and BJP MP Hema Malini bid an emotional adieu to the Rajya Sabha on Friday after being its member for seven years. In her farewell speech, the ‘dream girl’ of yesteryears said that she was sad and with a heavy heart bidding goodbye to the Upper House where she learnt a lot.
Amidst the thumping of desks, Hema said that despite being attached to the position she realises that nothing is permanent and things move on. She remembered her experience in Bollywood where she ruled for many years only to pave way for a younger lot.
“I was the number one heroine in the film industry in the past for many years. As time passes you find there is someone else as number one. Nothing is permanent in life. I also feel attached. I feel sad,” she said. Quoting Aurobindo, she hoped that the country would soon become a super power.

Are moderates losing trust in science? Mother Jones —By Kevin Drum Thu Mar. 29, 2012
More and more, liberals and conservatives are almost literally living in different worlds with different versions of consensus reality… Is this because moderates have always viewed science as a politicized enterprise, something they're especially sensitive about? 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hema Malini remembers Sri Aurobindo in Rajya Sabha

Hema Malini stuck a philosophical note in her farewell speech on Friday. She said that she was once the No 1 heroine in the film industry, and that as time passed things changed and there was another No 1. She said that there is nothing permanent in life, and that though she was attached to Rajya Sabha she is aware that things have to change.
She said that India is a land "sant, muni and rishi" and that it is a country of culture and heritage. She said that it was a leanring experience to be in Rajya Sabha, how questions were raised, issues were discussed and problems solved. She admitted that she did not paritcipate in the debates but she learnt a lot.
She thanked her party, the BJP, the members, the staff and employees of Rajya Sabha. She said that many members told her that she would be missed. With a radiant smile and a calm tone she spoke with sweet clarity. Hema Malini is an epitome of dignity of and Indian woman. Posted by Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr at 12:55 PM 

Earlier, elaborating her experiences in Rajya Sabha as one of the most memorable, Hema Malini said though she became attached to it and felt sad at this juncture when she had to retire as a member, “things must move on”. “I was the number one heroine in the film industry in the past. As time passes you find there is some one else as number one. Nothing is permanent in life. I also feel attached. I feel sad,” she said. She said she had learnt a lot in the House of Elders and it was “with a heavy heart that I am leaving”. Recalling Sri Aurobindo’s words that India would become super power, she urged members to strive for achieving this goal through unconditional love and purity of thought. PTI

सांसदों के लिए आज भी ड्रीमगर्ल हैं हेमामालिनी Live हिन्दुस्तान
राज्यसभा में शुक्रवार को बीते जमाने की अभिनेत्री हेमामालिनी ने इस बात को लेकर अपनी टीस जतायी कि वह कभी हिंदी फिल्मों की अभिनेत्रियों में पहले नंबर पर थी लेकिन अब वह उस स्थान पर नहीं हैं। लेकिन उच्च सदन के कई सदस्यों ने भाजपा सदस्य की सराहना करते हुए कहा कि उनकी नजरों में वह आज भी ड्रीमगर्ल और नंबर वन हैं।    
सदन की सदस्यता का अपना कार्यकाल पूरा करने जा रहीं हेमामालिनी ने विदाई भाषण में कहा कि वह कई साल तक हिंदी फिल्मों में नंबर वन हीरोइन रहीं और एक दिन नंबर वन स्थान पर कोई और गई। उन्होंने कहा कि समय गुजरता रहता है लेकिन जीवन चलता रहता है। दिग्गज अभिनेत्री हेमामालिनी ने अपने कार्यकाल की चर्चा करते हुए कहा कि सात साल तक सदन की सदस्य रहना उनके लिए गौरव की बात है और वह भारी मन से विदा ले रही हैं। हेमामालिनी ने कहा कि भारत ऋषियों और संतों का देश रहा है तथा महर्षि अरविन्द ने कहा था कि भारत एक दिन विश्व शक्ति बनेगा। उन्होंने कहा कि इसके लिए हम सब को मिलकर काम करने की जरूरत है ताकि भारत आगे बढ़ सके। 30-03-12 

‘Jayam' Ravi - Mirra Alfassa also known as The Mother: The Aurobindo Ashram in Puducheerry is one place where I can pour out all my emotions and that gives me a lot of peace.

Fame isn't perpetual: Amitabh Bachchan The Times of India IANS Mar 29, 2012
It is a bit discomforting, but it must be known that this glory and recognition shall all fade away one day," he added. The actor, who has spent over four decades in the Hindi film industry, suggests that one should not be enamoured by fame and be gracious if it fades away.
"Some take it kindly, some do not. It is hard and harsh both to see adulation favour away from you and settle on another. Better then to not be too enamoured by it when it serves you. Life is transitory as is fame... Be gracious in accepting that it has gone away, elsewhere," he said.

corporate-a-sramah Corporate-ā-śramah’s endeavour will be to try and map Spirituality and its relevance in an Individual’s growth and shaping organizations: Vision, Values, Belief System, Culture and Ethical Corporate Leadership.  The platform intends to provide a common platform to all who are directly or indirectly associated with the field of Spirituality, Ethics, Belief System, Ancient history and Culture and Management practices. Lipsa Mohanty, Founder / Chief Executive, Corporate-â-śramah +91-129-3267895 +91-9818744808 www.corporate-a-sramah.com

Respected Spiritual Leaders Greetings!!!!
I would like to request you to kindly send research papers and articles  for the second issue of STF’s Journals. PhilManQuest – Philosophical Management Quest. The Spiritual Leader-Journal of Spiritual Management  for more detail Kindly visit Website http://spiritualteacherforum.in/ Rohit Puri rohitpuri2sep@gmail.com

Jean-Paul Sartre is now relegated to 20th century bookshelves, somewhat like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. There is no 21st century resonance of his personality or his ideas. But for some of us who had spent the better part of the last quarter of 20th century with an interest in ideas, he seems interesting enough. Sartre typifies the French intellectual, engaged with politics and philosophy and history and art and literature. And in Sartre's generation these different things were woven into each other but each one of them remained a separate strand. This complexity disappeared into a mighty confusion when the so-called post-modern French intellectual of the Jacques Derrida kind appeared in the late 1960s. There was one more thing with the Sartre generation. Friendship. They were friends who differed, debated, quarreled, fell out, sometimes agreed, felt a certain historical and political responsibility. It is this social engagement of the intellectual that is not to be seen now.
In "Portraits (Situations IV)", Sartre's essays translated by Chris Turner and published by Seagull Books of Calcutta in 2009 -- a lovely edition and a competently produced book -- we get to recapture some of the old battles of ideas that Sartre and his friends faced in in the 1940s and 1950s with regard to communism, Stalinism and the Cold War, all of which seem to have died a decent death with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.  Two pieces on Albert Camus and one each on Paul Nizan and Merleau-Ponty weave these themes together with the personal note of friendship…
There came a point when Sartre and Merleau-Ponty parted ways on questions of principle and differences in perception. But their friendship survived the tenuous period that preceded the years before Merleau-Ponty's death. Posted by Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr at 10:50 AM 

Generally speaking, most of Western philosophy is characterized by a desire for strong individuality and liberation from the oppressive Church, society, government.  It is not the same as the vision of a Self-realized sage.  You can't compare apples to oranges - otherwise you become another Ken Wilber… People who learn post-modernism lose the logical side of their mind and rashly start equating all concepts found over the globe. - Sandeep [From a mail]

Although he stood ten feet above us, each foot a sky, he yet attended to every detail of this life of ours, eternity taking care of each and every moment of time, each ray kindling a spark in each grain, in each particle of dust. Comment posted by RY Deshpande Re: Two Poems by Arjava with Sri Aurobindo’s Comments Mar 7, 2012 08:23 PM. Savitri Era: Collaboration with evolution 6 Mar 2012 … no one comes anywhere near them and they occupy all the top ten slots in any ranking scale. Eyes open, mind closed

Liberalize, pluralize, and modernize

Let Every Ashramite Fearlessly Vote on the Present Issue! MAR 25, 2012 Anonymous Letter … Option 4)
I support the theory that Manoj and Shraddhalu should join hands to run this ashram with harmony while always informing all the ashramites about important decisions with timely debates. Sack Peter and no more Dharnas. 
Let every Ashramite fearlessly vote for this in open (secrecy of their votes will be maintained)  everybody must come to vote and the electronic counting will happen on the spot in front of everyone's eyes. A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs Posted by General Editor at 3/25/2012 03:11:00 PM 

Hence it so happens that a national party too acts as a region-specific front in New Delhi with its obvious bias towards states that have numbers. Ironically, in a pan-regionalist front at the centre, like the much talked about Third Front, the states that may become the maximum casualty are the ones that are in desperate need of healthy regionalist voices to elevate them from underrepresentation. Who will look to 1 member-strong Sikkim’s or 2 member-strong Goa’s concerns, when there would be so much else to bargain among the squabbling leaders from large states in such a coalition? …
There emerges a second and the most important option for an India that can no longer be ignored at the wake of this new pan-regionalism. It is radical but worth implementing before things get out of hand. That is that India must now fulfil its six decades old promise of federalism to the truest extent… History’s lesson that catastrophe follows when a strong centralized state wants to hold on to the ‘illusion of power’, was most emphatically vindicated by the collapse of Soviet Union. India cannot afford to live with that illusion. For it must realize that a large and loosely decentralised federation with all the vibrancy of diverse and even conflicting regional and sub regional interests, make for a colourful democracy, a better home for liberty and a safer haven against tyranny. This perhaps is the time to liberalize, pluralize and modernize the idea of India, if it must not go against itself! 

It may be argued that all these things produce some results and then fizzle out because of the – historically proven – insubstantiality of such rudderless movements in the long-run. It may be further suggested that, although not very likely, it is distinctly possible that after all the long travail and intense suffering, in the end, the Arab people may again – as did the French after the conclusion of the French Revolution – find themselves under another authoritarian yoke different only in name… Before we proceed further it is important to understand the significance of the French Revolution and evaluate humanity’s unsuccessful attempts to organize a society on this basis. In the words of Sri Aurobindo:
The greatness of the French Revolution lies not in what it effected, but in what it thought and was. Its action was chiefly destructive. It prepared many things, it founded nothing. Even the constructive activity of Napoleon only built a halfway house in which the ideas of 1789 might rest until the world was fit to understand them better and really fulfil them. The ideas themselves were not new; they existed in Christianity and before Christianity they existed in Buddhism; but in 1789 they came out for the first time from the Church and the Book and sought to remodel government and society. It was an unsuccessful attempt, but even the failure changed the face of Europe. And this effect was chiefly due to the force, the enthusiasm, the sincerity with which the idea was seized upon and the thoroughness with which it was sought to be applied. The cause of the failure was the defect of knowledge, the excess of imagination. The basal ideas, the types, the things to be established were known; but there had been no experience of the ideas in practice. European society, till then, had been permeated, not with liberty, but with bondage and repression; not with equality, but with inequality and injustice; not with brotherhood, but with selfish force and violence. The world was not ready, nor is it even now ready for the fullness of the practice. It is the goal of humanity, and we are yet far off from the goal. But the time has come for an approximation being attempted. And the first necessity is the discipline of brotherhood, the organisation of brotherhood,—for without the spirit and habit of fraternity neither liberty nor equality can be maintained for more than a short season. The French were ignorant of this practical principle; they made liberty the basis, brotherhood the superstructure, founding the triangle upon its apex. For owing to the dominance of Greece & Rome in their imagination they were saturated with the idea of liberty and only formally admitted the Christian and Asiatic principle of brotherhood. They built according to their knowledge, but the triangle has to be reversed before it can stand permanently.”(CWSA 1: 512-13) …
It should be clear from all the above that we cannot possibly found a collectivity on the formula of the French Revolution unless we first concentrate on the base of the triangle – Brotherhood – which exists only in the soul and the Spirit and can exist nowhere else without it. This leads us to the true solution – the imperative necessity of seeking for the spiritual Reality – The Truth of our Being. Sri Aurobindo’s August 15, 1947 Message

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Deleuze in Delhi, Shankara in San Francisco

The Philosophy Reading Group commences next week. And this time we read Deleuze! Here are the course details: COURSE: A Deleuzian Century, was it? [Every Tuesday (starting 3 April 2012), 2.30 pm]
Michel Foucault, in the Theatrum Philosophicum prophesized that ‘one day, perhaps, this century will be called Deleuzian’. Why might that be! READINGS:
1. Michel Foucault, Theatrum Philosophicum
2. Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, ‘Introduction: Rhizome’, A Thousand Plateaus
3. Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, selections from, Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature
4. Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, selections from What is Philosophy?
5. Gilles Deleuze, selections from The Logic of Sense
6. Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari, selections from Anti-Oedipus
7. Gilles Deleuze, ‘Introduction: Repetition and Difference’, Difference and Repetition
Those interested, please email me at silikamohapatra@gmail.com to confirm your participation. Posted by Silika Mohapatra at 8:53 PM 

I’ll be in dialogue with a friend and colleague at CIIS, James Barnes, this Friday. We will be discussing the convergences and divergences in the thoughts of Schelling and Shankara. To what extent were both after a nondual philosophy? I’ll argue that Schelling ends up affirming a trinitarian view of Godhead that preserves differentiation (though still a differentiation-in-unity) for the sake of freedom and love, whereas more strictly nondual systems like Advaita Vedanta leave us having to deny these as, at best, relative possibilities, and at worst, falsehoods. 

Steven Shaviro, Wayne State University -  Yesterday 8:52 PM  - Jerry Lewis writes:
"Comedy, humor, call it what you may, is often the difference between sanity and insanity, survival and disaster, even death. It's man's emotional safety valve. If it wasn't for humor, man could not survive emotionally. Peoples who have the ability to laugh at themselves are the peoples who eventually make it. Blacks and Jews have the greatest sense of humor simply because their safety valves have been open so long."

The American Soul Rush: Esalen and the Rise of Spiritual Privilege - Page 30 books.google.co.in Marion S. Goldman - 2011 - Preview Although his integral philosophy described human beings in a transitional phase, Aurobindo believed that their personal ... 
When people prostrated themselves before the marble plinth on top of Aurobindo's tomb, he cringed. Later, at Esalen, Michael remembered both Spiegelberg's positive lessons and the ashram's negative ones. He and Dick consistently ...

from: Craig Calhoun Calhoun@ssrc.org cc: Jonathan VanAntwerpen vanantwerpen@ssrc.org date: 29 March 2008 07:55 subject: Re: A Secular Age, featuring Charles Taylor and Michael Warner Dear Mr Mohapatra
Thanks for your message. You are right that the Immanent Frame is more focused on Western Christianity. This reflects partly how it started in relation to Charles Taylor's book. But I hope - and I am sure Jonathan VanAntwepen agrees - that it will grow with more contributions from other orientations.
And of course Sri Aurobindo is indeed a very interesting thinker to consider in that regard. I am copying Jonathan so he has your message. With all best wishes, Craig Calhoun 3:55 AM