Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sri Aurobindo has almost vanished from any credible academic discourse. I think he did a fine job

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Rich on Fri 26 Sep 2008 09:11 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Vikas, Of course even discussing controversial issues that concerns someone so dear as ones spiritual master are bound to cause strong reactions in us all. But if we take the opportunity as a test of our equanimity the outcome could even be positive even if we dont necessarily agree it. I dont think it serves any constructive purpose to try and and gather a posse together to cause harm to the author of a work they do not agree with.

But I do think it is important for us to understand the context or the perspectives we are coming to it from which may vary by ones life experience, cultural orientation, temperament, social position, or intention of the work we wish to accomplish. This is really the integral challenge and of course its not a challenge I can have claimed to have mastered in anyway.

But let me address briefly how I understand the problems that arise with matters such as the grain of salt comment (which by the way I think could have been phrased in a better way)

To one who feels Sri Aurobindo had a certain omnipotent perspective well yes it would seem disrespectful.

But the context of the biography is that it was written for a very well respected Academic Press. These publishers will only allow a certain style of discourse that meets a test for an appropriate communicative platform in that arena.

Given the megaproblems with religion (or spirituality) namely that its central claims can not be empirically demonstrated nor can one assume non-believers will buy into pre-assumptions they do not share (aka articles of faith you bring to the table) one must find other ways to address issues.

In fact religious people can be shown to demonstrate a certain intolerance against those who dont buy into their articles of faith. This is why we have secular societies separate religion from state

Sri Aurobindo at this stage in human evolution actual favored the secular state, so it is not a stretch to believe that he would actually favor secular discourse in many contexts. Academic Presses in keeping with this style of secular thought therefore are forced to require that text meet a certain critical standard.

PH's text is meant to address and academic standard and it does so well. Perhaps too well for some folks in Pondi. However, he is not writing for the faithful he is writing for an academic audience.

Now there maybe disagreement if this is needed. But from my perspective it is absolutely necessary. Sri Aurobindo has almost vanished from any credible academic discourse which means many students will never encounter him and his perspectives will not be considered by many people in positions of power (at least outside India)

In fact many folks who may become really interested in IY, I have found to be turned off at first glance because they assume its just another religion.

In fact for many reasons I have addressed on SCIY I feel it is extremely necessary to disseminate Sri Aurobindo's teaching in the wider culture as it provides an alternative vision for our future than our mere disappearance into technology or the machinery of Prakriti

This was actually a central premise for beginning the SCIY project.

Now how is IY to reach the people who maybe able to work for positive change in the world? Well if you think its important to reach them one has to address them in a style that fits with the conventions that have already been established in that arena.

Because the book addresses a secular audience many might take it as disrespectful to Sri Aurobindo that in the book he is not simply credited with having an omniscient position.

But I do not feel anyone reading it from a secular perspective will find it disparges Sri Aurobindo at all. As I said since I knew he was writing in this style it actually enhanced my respect for him.

So IMO as with the grain of salt comment PH is writing from the perspective of the secular historian he must maintain if he is to keep credibility with his audience. Since no one can assume to know the future he has to state -in keeping with the academic style- whether the prophecy made by Sri Aurobindo would come true or not can not be definitely confirmed. If he just claimed Sri Aurobindo could predict the future he would loose credibility with his audience and the project would fail.

Now could he have used a better phrase then taken with a grain of salt, since this phrase could be understood as an invective by some, well maybe so.

But I dont not see that he has had any bad intention. If I speak with children I dont quote from Wittgenstein or Derrida, rather if I want to reach them I choose an appropriate vocabulary. It is my understanding that PH is trying to do that here.

Now some of the more faithful may disagree that this project was even necessary and we can agree to disagree but for reasons I have stated -namely to reach an audience who are crucial for facilitating necessary cultural change who would not otherwise come upon Sri Aurobindo- I think he did a fine job. rich

I have come to learn of an entire Karl Rovian like whisper campaign begun in Pondicherry intent on smearing the reputation of Mr. Heehs

Re: Respect for spiritual master from Srimad Bhagavatam
by Rich on Fri 26 Sep 2008 Profile Permanent Link

Rakesh, With all due respect, I've been reading Shrimad Bhagavatam for 30 years, I am not sure how old you were at that time when I first encountered it but I am very familiar with its position on what you refer to in your post Additionally I have gone out of my way in my posting to state clear without doubt that in the Indian Spiritual Tradition worship of the Guru is entirely proper. Please go back and reread them if you have missed that one. What you seem not to understand is that my references to guru worship concern a discipline in which the founders claimed not to be a religion. My friend as you know Hinduism is a religion so to adopt its practices of guru worship I find a contradiction.

You can disagree with me but again as I have just responded to Vikas I feel it inappropriate just because we may disagree in our interpretations that you make the suggestion that somehow you are more devoted to Sri Aurobindo than I am. And I in fact find I this assertion itself betrays a rather arrogant attitude. In fact we have never spoke personally, nor do you know my intentions as I post from my yoga of deconstruction. In fact for the record my appreciation of Sri Aurobindo whose texts have been my main source of inspiration for over 25 years has only increased as he has become more humanized. If that offends you I apologize but please dont assume that you value Sri Aurobindo and more as a spiritual teacher than I do myself

Re: Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism (a speech by Peter Heehs: Hyderabad 2006)
by Rich on Fri 26 Sep 2008 Profile Permanent Link

Vikas, Lets see Jyotirmaya Sharma author of Hindutva who I thought wrote a particularly pernicious book accusing Sri Aurobindo (from a leftist perspective) of being a father of Hindu intolerance, in this forum called me a Texas millennial fanatic but I think I like ego-ridden mind with an arrogant and show-off attitude better. Therefore It will perhaps be easiest for those who think I am in any way blaspheming the the founder of IY to just chalk it up to my insanity or megalomania, simply to change the channel and move on. However, to suggest someone's writing appears to be the ravings of an egomanic and then add but I know you are not one, is the same rhetorical tactic as saying oh so I see you dont beat your wife. Even in its denial it already plants the suggestion that something is very wrong.

Whatever my posting my critiques are aimed at institutions, organizations or ideas not ad hominem attacks on people characters. The response to the person who you claimed I was disrespectful to did not attack him personally but rather his idea that before one can work in the Archives one would have to take out a million dollar bond and have to pay up if they every wrote anything with a copyright or could not demonstrate their utter selflessness was to my critical intelligence so bizarre to deserve an ironical response. I find my ironic response neither offensive, in bad taste, derogatory or insensitive, especially in light of the fact that this gentleman and the person who had begun the whole conversation on The Lives of Sri Aurobindo were engaged in a series of increasingly offensive, derogatory attacks against Peter Heehs. Attacks which violated the guidelines of this forum. (And let it be clear it was the poster himself who upon self-reflection pulled the post down, no one else) In fact I have come to learn of an entire Karl Rovian like whisper campaign begun in Pondicherry intent on smearing the reputation of Mr. Heehs. One luminary even refers to him as a “madman”

Vikas I have not seen any posting from yourself that condemn these tasteless remarks directed at Mr. Heehs or do they fit your ABC definition of spirituality? So even if we disagree about matters concerning to Sri Aurobindo, I suggest they be done by debating the ideas in question and leave the personal attacks out of it. In fact if there is such a huff about Peters book rather than be part of conspiracies to have him ejected from the Ashram, and in these conspiracies refer to him a madman, or a charlatan, before descending to the infra-rational why dont everyone like "reasonable folks" (and I know many in the IY disparge reason) who live in a democracy which promotes freedom of expression (all values that by the way Sri Aurobindo championed) just schedule a series of debates or open forums that can open a dialog of the matters which are controversial I would suggest it best be done in at some neutral place like a Centre here, but would open this forum to such honest debates which dont resort to hurling invectives.

Finally the suggestion is left that somehow either you, Rakesh or the others in the Ashram have more devotion to Sri Aurobindo than do I. I in fact find this itself betrays a rather arrogant attitude. In fact we have never spoke, you dont know me, you know nothing of my eternal gratitude to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother for positively changing my life. Therefore you know nothing of my intentions as I post from the yoga of deconstruction. In fact for the record my appreciation of Sri Aurobindo whose texts have been my main source of inspiration for over 25 years has only increased as he has become more humanized.

You may disagree with my approach but it is just that two people disagreeing. In the history of any Religion or Spiritual movement becomes overtime inevitably polarized between orthodox and liberal interpretations, this is fact is the crux of this whole conversation and the controversy surrounding the Heehs text. It was my understanding of the meaning of term "Integral" in IY as widening the perspectives of those who follow it to be able to hold contrary positions and work with them. Unfortunately the current heated polarized debate on the matter of Sri Aurobindo's biography speaks to the contrary. Rich

I have no problem with people operating on the premise that Sri Aurobindo was human

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Deshpande's post inflammatory and his invectives offensive

Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—Questions for Mr Objective
by Rich on Wed 24 Sep 2008 04:38 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

I take no offense. I speak only for myself. But as a founding editor SCIY I dont have to wait for readers to equal things out. Voicing ones strong opinions or distaste for a perspective is one thing, incessantly attacking a particular individual simply because you dont agree with them is another It does not matter if the individual who was being attacked was Yourself, Deshpande, or Peter Heehs, I would react in kind. This type of behavior is simply inappropriate. (esp. on a forum that purports to address issues concerning integral yoga) Everyone is free to contribute here as they wish, but I draw the line on post which start to approach hate speech, especially those elements of it which are based on serious mis-characterizations of text. (which can be demonstrated)...

Deshpande's post on this subject have progressively become more inflammatory as time passes and his invectives casts at the author of the work in question are now becoming offensive, since they are directed at a specific individual in an inappropriate manner. He, yourself or anyone else may voice contrary opinions to anything on SCIY but please do so in a way that does not become grossly dis-respectful to any particular person. Thank You Rich Reply

Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—One way out
by Debashish on Wed 24 Sep 2008 01:50 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

I have no wish to advise on quitting etc. but I do feel that the postings on this topic have been incendiary, lopsided and misleading... Once the intent of the work is lost sight of, misreadings are bound to occur and this is what I believe has happened in this case. However, the tenor of the postings has left little room for discussion, since the assumptions made have been pressed without any openness to the possibility of other interpretations...

Here I put down the complete quote. I do hope that after reading this, the intent of the author will be more clear and we can put a stop to this barrage of emotional incitement: Science, Culture and Integral Yoga 7:26 AM

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Peter Heehs seems to be a split personality who is a devotee and an enemy at the same time

Re: The Lives of Sri AurobindoA Letter from a Professor
by RY Deshpande on Tue 23 Sep 2008 04:30 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

I, on my first visit to Sri Aurobindo Ashram in early nineties, was impressed by a rule on the notice board which read, if you do not have anything good to say about a fellow Ashramite, the least you could do is to keep silent. That would be a service to the divine.

Criticism is the autobiography of a critic; Oscar Wilde wrote somewhere. Evolved beings, who experience Divine, write hagiography; the beings of night can muster their own darkness only. The writing reflects the inner nature, dispensation and consciousness of the writer. An event rewritten by Peter Heehs out of the book of AB Purani, illustrates this difference. The original source creates a feeling of divinity and reverence, while the retelling of the same event by Peter Heehs gives a sense of degradation to the reader. In one, you experience the meaning of divine surrender, the other is mawkish. Great beings can only see greatness in others.

I felt shocked to see the excerpts from a book by an Ashramite, by implication a follower of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. In navadhā bhakti, hatred for the divine is also a means for salvation. But the hatred of Peter Heehs for The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Aurobindo in his language, has no such thought in it. PH seems to be a split personality who is a devotee and an enemy at the same time. He could be many more things...

Is it for the Ashramites to compare their Master and objectively evaluate Sri Aurobindo and the Mothers in the light of the statements of a few unsympathetic outsiders? What signal will it send to the outsiders? It will only give them a wrong feeling that the things here are murky from the beginning to end. The message that this Ashram was started by psychopaths who claimed mystical experiences, will diminish the respect for the Ashram and Ashramites in public eye. History, psychology, philosophy, spirituality are the subjects which are read and understood by lay people with the ease of a specialist.

PH has only studied the Appearance and not the Reality. Despite his claim of objectivity, he has no method at hand. Therefore his study of appearances could prove to be a damaging influence on serious academicians, it may permanently bias them. It is only an attempt to pull down and humanise suprahuman lives. It is easy to describe one’s surface life and misinterpret it. That was why Sri Aurobindo had warned about the attempts to write his biography. He lived beyond appearances.

I feel that the people working in the Archives should sign a legal bond for a million dollars to the effect that they will never publish a book on their name or any other name. They will do the job as selfless sadhana. Only those with such purity and dedication should be allowed in the portals of the Archives.

PH in his ambition to win some award had earlier belittled the role of Sri Aurobindo in India’s freedom struggle. He won that award. I fear still worse from him. Why did he not publish his work in India? Because he leads a double life: one, as a sadhak of integral yoga to gain access to materials in the Archives, and the other as an ambitious worldly man to earn fame and money.

The book has demolished the divine persona of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, and all what they stood for. I am certain that PH has written his book with full preparation to bid farewell to the Ashram and gather fame and money outside. He should be allowed that.

Sirs, kindly consult all the senior sadhaks who have abundant goodwill and remain in touch with The Mother and Sri Aurobindo about this matter.

Anand Kumar MD, All India Institute of Medical Sciences


Re: The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—Questions for Mr Objective
by RY Deshpande on Tue 23 Sep 2008 08:25 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link Some Questions for Mr. Objective from a Friend

The author’s claim to ‘objectivity’ is not only invalid, it again carries an under-current which means; ‘the other biographies have been more of a sentimental devotee type’. Apart from this logic denigrating some well-known biographers whose sincerity cannot be questioned, this statement implies two things:

First, the devotee biographers simply exaggerate certain qualities which are not really there. Now, our Mr. Objective will show us through his objectifying lens how they are wrong, that Sri Aurobindo is really not as great (read as divine) as they make him to be. It also implies by default that his words do not necessarily carry the same absolute authority as it did, that he can be flawed, mistaken and err as most of us human beings do! Well, this strikes the very foundation of yogic life wherein a disciple is supposed to have an implicit trust in the Guru’s words. But our Mr. Objective does not feel comfortable with it.

So he must measure the Master’s stature with his scale and rod with exactness and thoroughness of a tailor and re-stitch his attire for us to see. He must tell us his true size and stature which is less than what the devotee ignorantly believes! Second, what is meant by the word ‘objective’ here,—studying ‘dispassionately’, ‘without any preconceived ideas/beliefs etc’, ‘as someone who studies from outside as one studies an object!’

In any case, it means taking into note and highlighting the most objectively verifiable details. The rest is left to the readers to conclude, whether things like self-realisation, Supermind, etc ‘claimed’ by Sri Aurobindo are true or delusive. He almost stops short of suggesting that they could be considered ‘schizophrenic’ by some.

Who are these some, one may ask? It means focusing much more on the external outer life rather than inner. It means seeing the Illimitable with the small physical mind rather than with the psychic feeling and vision. Here too, our Mr. Objective is quite selective. He seems to be much more interested in producing stray letters, diary notes, some odd comments and questionable observations or reports as ‘objective facts’ and lays much less stress on the much more obvious and glaring facts of the massive correspondence, Savitri, The Life Divine and many many other things. And how about the countless devotees and their testimonies,—blind faith, superstition, sentimentality,—or the historians willful blindness? Is it simply a case of ignorance or a deliberate mischief to underplay few things and insert certain footnotes that would colour the perceptions and give a different hew and taste to the whole thing.

Such a misrepresentation of truth taken out of context or half-quoted and misplaced is one of the standard strategies of the asura in man who falsifies things very subtly and craftily. It is also interesting that this man had already written a brief biography of Sri Aurobindo which did raise a few eyebrows… So, should we wait for a third, even more ‘objective’ biography micro-analyzing (read psychoanalyzing) Sri Aurobindo? AP

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Indian Sri Aurobindo learnt Indian spirituality much later after being ‘an accomplished westerner’ first

Comment by Debabrata Ghosh on September 21, 2008 ASPIRATION

  • Firstly, none can deny the sufferings and impermanence of this worldly life.
  • Secondly, the bliss and peace of spiritual consciousness attained by yogis and seekers were far superior to the normal and ordinary consciousness of life.

The height of consciousness as evident in the saints, yogis and other extraordinary spiritual persons viz. Christ, Chaitanyadeva, Buddha, Shankaracharya, Sri Ramakrishna was so dazzling, overpowering and enlightening that it was enough for an emphatic assertion of the truth they held and pursued as valid and the consequent conclusion in regard to the falsity of worldly existence. The elites of Indian mind could naturally find no reason to counter this world-shunning attitude and philosophy. It was to be a very natural conclusion that if one was to believe in the existence of God worth his status the world could not have been a reality in his creations. Otherwise the only way to accept life or to accommodate into it lied in material atheism.

The very essence of Indian psyche unlike the Western is spiritual. So a sense of other-worldliness turned to be the natural climate of Indian mind after the most outstanding and brilliant spiritual personalities –Gautama Buddha and Shankaracharya. Actually Buddhism was supplanted by Shankara’s Adwaitaism in India. The very element of ‘doubt’ that goes natural with the Western materialist’s seeking could not get sustenance in the spiritual Indian mind. It was ‘faith’, spontaneous natural faith that determined the life-movements of India. For this no question was prominently possible to counter Mayavada. So ‘the refusal of the ascetic’ had a very natural way in the Indian situation. It was strongly rooted in the Indian psyche. It would not have been possible in the West where spirituality was not the staple food of life what it was in India. It seems to be a very complicated psychological situation and its phenomenon if we compare the two collective groups-Oriental (especially Indian) and Occidental.

When I ponder over the matter personally I think that there was no way out to break this mindset of India. India was what she had to be under the tremendous spiritual influence of Shankaracharya and Buddha. So to pull up India from this Pacific depth of negative spirituality –one required to be rich with all the riches of western culture. Indian Sri Aurobindo learnt Indian spirituality much later after being ‘an accomplished westerner’ first. So the Providence dropped him as a powerful question mark against the three thousand year-old asceticism of India. There seemed to be no way out to convince with another thought –no key could be made available to decode a knowledge otherwise to awaken man to a new spiritual truth- than to express the truth carried in the words of Sri Aurobindo –when he uttered ‘Man is a transitional being’.

This line is the solace to all those who urgently need to be rescued from degeneration and confusion. This historic pronouncement of Sri Aurobindo helped Satprem with the light he was distressingly in need of. It became his life’s turning point. Satprem was the disgusted face of western materialism. He like an Indian also needed to be convinced of a logical course of life’s ultimate destination. In India we needed Sri Aurobindo in order to turn the inherent spiritual inclination towards its proper destination; and in the case of western Satprem, he needed the rational justification of considering life only in terms of spiritual truth. Man had no destination for his life in this world before Sri Aurobindo showed or discovered it.

Man’s existence was precariously hanging in confusing uncertainty. Neither the spiritual Mayavadins nor the materialists were able to secure a place in this universe for man with a dignified face. Sri Aurobindo on behalf of whole humanity declared that man is not finished or depleted in his manhood. He reminded us citing the words of ancient Indian spiritual wisdom that all this is Brahman and that indwelling Brahman in man is a traveller through life. Man is a traveller and he is travelling through evolution. Life in man has yet to attain the status of the divinity already in him and in his journey. Man is not in the last rung of the evolutionary ladder. And for the fulfilment of his life and progressive journey this world –this very earth has been created. Every grain of sand is true as true is the Brahman. Thus Sri Aurobindo came to return to man his cup of divine nectar of immortality and saved him his forgotten glory.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Its questioning spirit, its search for truth leads it beyond its own capabilities

Gagdad Bob said... 9/20/2008 11:59:00 AM Yes, Aurobindo would say -- according to wiki -- that

“the individualistic age of human society comes as a result of the corruption and failure of the conventional, as a revolt against the reign of the petrified typal figure.” He illustrates the occurrence of this stage in Europe beginning with its revolt of reason against the Church and fixed authority and its continuation and blossoming with the growth of scientific inquiry. Through science, a new basis of principles and laws could be discovered and established that were open to scrutiny and logical analysis and reasoning. There were also established the democratic ideals that all individuals had the right to develop to the full stature of their capabilities, and that the individual was not simply a social unit with a social function, but also had unique individual needs, possibilities, and tendencies which should be allowed freedom and opportunity for development. As a part of the revolt against traditional authority, there developed in some regions another intellectual philosophy and political movement, apparently in contradiction to individualism, of the supremacy of the society as a whole over the individual. Sri Aurobindo also analyses the strengths and limitations of this viewpoint, and its relations and opposition to the democratic ideal."

Gagdad Bob said... 9/20/2008 12:01:00 PM BUT:

"The individualistic age culminates in a new intellectual foundation and development in all the spheres of life, but this rational view of the world and the self can only go so far, it cannot reach into the depths of the being. Nevertheless, its questioning spirit, its search for truth leads it beyond its own capabilities, leads it to search for a deeper foundation and a more complete understanding of the mysteries and subtleties of self and world. The subjective age begins when society begins to search for the deeper truths of its existence below the surfaces which the reason has explored and explained in an ordered, but limited sense."

julie said... 9/20/2008 12:19:00 PM

Yep, I definitely have to agree with Aurobindo, then. Especially given that, in a society such as Perry idealizes, I probably literally could not exist. That's one of those sticking points where people who rail against the fruits of modern Western (and specifically American) culture tend to lose me. You just can't make me believe that all the things which led to me and millions of other impossible (at any other time and place in the entire history of mankind) Americans being conceived and surviving to a healthy adulthood (there to become extreme seekers after Truth, Beauty and Goodness in an equally impossible manner) are intrinsically wrong.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Communists and some Western people (Catholic or non-Catholic) carry a grudge for Sri Aurobindo

Where the author is commissioned to write what the publisher wants him to write
The Lives of Sri Aurobindo—a Controversial Biography by Peter Heehs by
RY Deshpande on Wed 17 Sep 2008 09:37 AM PDT Permanent Link 11:40 AM 1 comments: Anonymous said...

Peter Heehs is himself a riddle. One wonders what is it that inspires him to write about Sri Aurobindo (not Aurobindo-as Sri Aurobindo himself signed his name with a prefix-'Sri')? He seems to be interested only to discard those who regard Sri Aurobindo as an Avatar. What about Peter's opinion on the content carried in the book -"Life Divine"?

None insists him to accept Sri Aurobindo as an Avatar-including Sri Aurobindo himself-as Peter himself stated. Peter does not have any idea about Avatar-hood as it's believed in India. Even the most eminent Indians of the Twentieth Century did not understand it.

From my experience I have found that the Communists and some Western people(Catholic or non-Catholic) carry a grudge for Sri Aurobindo. But Why? These persons do not care to write volumes on Rajneesh or Sai Baba of Putraparti or even on Sri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. They are this or that way related to matters spiritual in India. I think it's because -Sri Aurobindo was a born futurist and he belongs to future. And for that matter -many elites who become disillusioned with everything of what life as expressed through the Homo Sapien-species -are drawn to the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. So those who are rooted in the vested interest of the conventional LIFE -appear as die-hard enemies of Sri Aurobindo.

Peter does not know that his and for that matter the yardsticks (for Hagiography or research) of the materialist's mind is useless to understand a life and its mission which was nothing but spiritual.

Leave Sri Aurobindo. What does Peter think of Sri Ramakrishna and his contribution in spirituality? Sri Ramakrishna did not write anything himself on any matter. And he never felt it necessary to write about the materialist's confusions as well as spiritualist’s misconception. Then why not are these people are interested in villifying Sri Ramakrishna? The so called intellectuals like Peter Heehs are never comfortable with Sri Aurobindo as he made himself concerned with every aspect of Life.

Moreover -the Catholic Christians and the atheists always turn to abuse Sri Aurobindo in explicit or subtle ways. Peter Heehs falls in the latter category. Why not does Mr Heehs write about the religious fundamentalists-Hindus, Muslims and Christians?

I can not expect Peter Heehs is capable of understanding Indian spiritual matters-leave alone Sri Aurobindo-but I hope that he will not mention the name of Sri Aurobindo without the prefix 'Sri'. I'm not ritualistic about it -nor I'm a religionist with Sri Aurobindo but I love and believe in giving respect to call the spiritual personalities as they wanted it in their lifetime-especially Sri Aurobindo who was very specific about it. 3:48 PM, September 19, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Auroville offers a new definition of self, society and spirituality in a globalized, market-driven world

Auroville: towards a spiritualized society based on integral yoga
Bindu Mohanty — Auroville

The paper seeks to present preliminary findings from a qualitative research project –an interpretive inquiry--that explores how spiritual ideals held by individuals inform the social psychology of Auroville. Based on the spiritual vision of the sage-philosopher, Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), Auroville, located in Tamil Nadu, is a growing international town of 1,800 people from over forty countries.

Founded in 1968 by Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual collaborator, the Mother (1878-1973), Auroville seeks to aid the spiritual evolution of the earth by manifesting a spiritualized society. Described both as a place for Karma yoga and Integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo, Auroville stands as a remarkable urban experiment that aims to bring about human unity. Its relevance accrues from the fact that Auroville offers a new definition of self, society and spirituality in a globalized, market-driven world that increasingly faces religious turmoil and alienation of the individual self from the society.

This work is a pioneering research project because, as of yet, there is scant qualitative research into the social psychology of spiritual communities. The paper also examines the inadequacy of Western paradigms of social psychology in understanding Auroville. Data collection comprised participant observation of the daily life of the community especially focusing on community meetings, informal conversations, formal recorded interviews, a community survey, and the collection and analysis of written documents such as the community journals. Data analysis was carried out through an open-coding process with the help of the software program, Hyperresarch 2.8. The study examines: the dialectic between the individual and society, particularly in the context of self-identity and social solidarity; lists the inspirations and challenges that individuals face; and points at prevalent shadow issues.

The findings from the study are placed in the context of Sri Aurobindo’s vision of a gnostic or spiritualized society and his and the Mother’s description of the collective dimension of Integral Yoga. Integral Yoga, synthesizing modern evolutionary perspectives with the ancient wisdom of Indian psychology and philosophy, delineates the farther reaches of human nature and society. Auroville is viewed as a practical application and experiment of Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s vision.

Email the author, Ms. Bindu Mohanty, at This paper was presented at theNational Seminar on Indian Psychology: Theories and Models,Bangalore, 26-28 December 2007,which was organised jointly by SVYASA and the ICPR. INDIAN PSYCHOLOGY INSTITUTE home themes authors research integral yoga by the way events inspirations links September 3, 2008 Institute Event: Dissertation Defense by Bindu Mohanty, East West Psychology Department, “Spiritual Ideals and Social Psychology of Auroville: An Interpretive Inquiry,” 3:00 PM-5:00 PM, CIIS Main Building, Room 425; for more information, California Institute of Integral Studies

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Da didn't borrow anything from anyone

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Da was influenced by the rhetoric and schematizing...": 1:31 PM, September 09, 2008

Perhaps if these ignorant self appointed know alls actually studied the Wisdom Teaching of the said Da, especially The Knee of Listening, and even the very early books The Enlightenment of the Whole Body, and The Paradox of Instruction, they will find that he didn't borrow anything from anyone. Feel Philosophy

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sri Aurbindo was complicit in facilitating the growth of a religion around his integral yoga even if he asserted it was not a religion

Aspiration Reply by Barindranath Chaki

Dear all, All life is Yoga, as said by Sri Aurobindo. Hence, I think we may post here a wide variety of things, excepting in favour of or against any political party or any religion, and excepting anything against the Ashram or Auroville. We should not also post anything which against our AIM here. I think, you are a best judge of things to be done or not to be done. Permalink ► Reply to This

Edward Berge: July 7th, 2008 at 9:01 pm Rich responded...

I believe he is mistakenly believing that I am exalting Sri Aurobindo at the expense of Wilber. Although for many reasons I do see Aurobindo and Wilber as incommeasurable figures, in fact I do cite some of the Integral Yoga followers under a Fundamentalist critique. I have engaged much too often with Hindu fundamentalist appropriating Sri Aurobindo’s text to their own ends. Additionally although I do believe Sri Aurbindo would have nothing to do with Hindu Nationalism of today, he was in fact complicit - and I have agreement on this from some of his biographers - in facilitating the growth of a religion around his integral yoga even if he asserted it was not a religion...

In fact, I am skeptical of Sri Aurobindo’s whole evolution of consciousness scheme because in fact IMO he is doing just that, grafting a modernist model of evolution and progress popular in his day onto his integral yoga. In other words although I do think there are other realities Sri Aurobindo sees (aka. darshan), the evolution of consciousness however, is not one of them, it is IMO a well argued discursive construct.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sri Aurobindo's philosophy is not one of the futility of existence - of fatigue of the non-mystical life - but a confident, truthful seeing of life

1 Comment Add your own 1. Becky September 1, 2008 at 6:44 pm

I hope to enroll at the Sri Aurobindo Darshan: School of Tomorrow. I will be visiting the ashram and Auroville in December. I am a yoga instructor and currently living in Cairo, Egypt. Would like to meet like minded people. becky

Monday, September 1, 2008 THE ACHIEVEMENT OF SRI AUROBINDO Aaishik Kar

I have read only a very small fragment of the enormous corpus of Sri Aurobindo. It may not be more than 2-3% of the total output of this mind-bogglingly prolific genius & intellectual polymath, and yet, I've been overwhelmed by this towering personality. I can't say whether I agree with him on every point or not...

On reading Aurobindo, one feels something akin to pity for the men who deride & reject Brahman; one feels: how small these men are! No, I do not recommend such an emotion, nor is it true to the spirit of God-realization; but I speak from THEIR point of view, the ones who live their life in contempt & judgmentality...

I have neither read all his books, nor am I associated with his admirers - but I deeply adore his projection of Hindu philosophy as something totally devoid of guilt or self-hatred - as a pursuit of positives: of greater & larger truths & joys, by taking man to the logical conclusion of ALL of Man's goals & joys - & of incomparable STRENGTH & grandeur... Posted by AAISHIK at 3:30 PM Labels: ,