Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ernst Troeltsch proclaimed that the sun was setting on Christianity

By Stone Hill Foundation Publishing Pvt Ltd,... 

Described by Ken Wilber as "India's greatest modern philosopher-sage" and as "the greatest of all Vedantic philosophers," Sri Aurobindo (1872–1950) is considered one of the foremost philosophers of the 20th-century, and was, as well, ...
Spirit Speaks: The Wonder of Cyberia & Aurobindo
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Swami Vivekananda (Agama Yoga) on the Subconscious Mind
yogicmike December 29, 2009 at 1:23 pm. I love how swami v doesn't really veer to any certain school of yoga. I like how he uses the comparison of Freud, Jung, Aurobindo and Patanjali; it is very interesting. Leave a Comment ...
Love governs the Third Status of Life « Sri Aurobindo Studies
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Aurobindo Studies. Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga. « Emergence of Mind Brings Persistence Beyond Death. Love governs the Third Status of Life. By sriaurobindostudies. “Association with love as its secret principle and its emergent ...
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Reason vs Passion: Concentration versus Meditation
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Aurobindo points out: “The road of yoga is long, every inch of ground has to be won against much resistance and no quality is more needed by the spiritual aspirant than patience and single-minded perseverance with a faith that ...

A critique of the book "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by Peter Heehs ... May this year, 2010, the centenary of Sri Aurobindo's coming to Pondicherry be for all of us and for the earth a year for the return of light in our minds, ...

The Problem Of Life « Sri Aurobindo Studies In chapter 22 of The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo poses the raw problem that we face in life. While the Consciousness-Force is infinite, universal and ... The Mind Of Light: Explore similar items

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Sri Aurobindo is with us. 3 weeks ago. G-Snapz - Snaps like the hangman's knot on your neck · MOVED MY BLOG TO :
Panchaamritam: PANCHAAMRITAM 15
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Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry that he was told by the mother to contemplate on sun's energy. Inspired as he was by the lifestyle of Bhagavan Mahavir, Hira meditated on Gayatri Mantra that sings the ...

Mirror of Tomorrow :: Harindranath Chattopadhyaya: The Poetry of ...

25 Dec 2009 ... It reminds us of his words in The Future Poetry: “Rhythm is the premier necessity of poetical expression”. No wonder, Harin was a great hope ... Reviews for Future Poetry: Sri Aurobindo, Sri ...

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29 Dec 2009 ... At the end of the 19th century, Christian theologian Ernst Troeltsch proclaimed that the sun was setting on Christianity, and poet Matthew Arnold declared that in the future poetry would replace religion. ...
Ramachandra Guha — Missing the mark | Great Hindu
by Deepak Kamat  

It is a matter of spiritual evolution, no one can play with this

 Please post the following in reply to what Deshpande has sent me (see below). I am always at loss with your various websites, I don’t know where the various postings and comments are.

There is no condescendence at all. As for going ballistic it is a fact, whether we like it or not, that one finds such people within as without this Path, all over the world. Yoga – Self-realisation! – is for very few, not to mention the Supramental Yoga; it is a matter of spiritual evolution, no one can play with this. Sri Aurobindo himself was absolutely against proselytizing avalanches of people who simply do not fit.

Individuals can go only as far as they are equipped for the journey, and that’s it. What’s unacceptable is when a certain type of people tries to impose on others peculiar beliefs, aids and devices which have nothing to do with Yoga and sadhana, and only point to the obvious absence of it. Paola de Paolis has written her text in response to a certain attempt of this nature.

As if our path were a religion at 11:05 AM  Please post 30 December 2009 15:03

Saturday, December 12, 2009

We live now in an age where the psychological cannot be divorced from the social

Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler Debashish Sat 05 Dec 2009 Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

My reading of the sublimation of desire as caring of the self Steigler speaks of is the same as yours - ie tapas. It converges here with the intent of IY (as also with the late Foucault's disciplines of the self). This is what made me locate Steigler in a comparative meditation with the Mother's call for heroism. The Mother's message, given in a late modernist context, is more psychologically centered, but we live now in an age where the psychological cannot be divorced from the social - individuation and transindividuation are inextrcably bound, as Steigler makes amply clear.

The need for an individual orientation towards the "plane of consistencies." This phrase is also borrowed from Deleuze but Stiegler furthers it as that unrealized plane (I can only see it as transcendent but Deleuze is allergic to this term) which universal eros is supported by. Beyond the plane of the comparative (in sri Aurobindo's terms this sounds like the Overmind) is the unthinkable but intuitible idealization of the plane of consistencies. Here is where unity and infinity co-exist as radical realities not made into a function of each other.

To return to the need for tapas through enablement of disciplines of the self (also implying the disablement of control societies which repress desire (socialism, nation-state, church) or consume it (global capitalism)), Stiegler is clear about its relation to the gnoseological: This is not to say that this mysterious object is miraculous or supernatural. It is to say that this object makes mystery, produces it, and requires, so as to become accessible, initiatory, mystagogic or esoteric discourses: it requires a discipline implying practices of the self. db

Sandeep, on December 5th, 2009 at 10:18 am Said: Michael,
Have you reached the spiritual point? That’s difficult for me to answer. My intention was merely to provoke introspection
Everybody gets bored with the chores of life and wants to escape. That may not necessarily indicate readiness. One must also feel the third sign which is an indication of the psychic opening – that feeling of aspiration and joy for something greater and more pure.

abhishek, on December 9th, 2009 at 4:48 am Said:
please dont stop posting such jewels .. post daily i request u
Sandeep, on December 9th, 2009 at 8:53 am Said:
Thanks Abhishek. I don’t have enough material for daily postings

About: My name is Sandeep. This blog discusses the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother (Mira Alfassa), whose pictures are seen above. Recent Posts
Taming the monkey mind Interplay of Faith and Doubt in Yoga
Various ways in which the Kundalini rises Ill-effects of television on Yoga
Signs of readiness for the spiritual path
Triple movement of Integral Yoga (Witness, Consenter, Enjoyer)
States of self-realization defined in the Gita Subtle forms of the ego
Gita Chapter 18, Verse 60-61: The illusion of free-will Ethical, logical and aesthetic mind
Top Posts Walking with eyes unfocussed
How to cultivate the state of witness consciousness(Saksi-bhava)
24-hour Sadhana Interplay of Faith and Doubt in Yoga
Psychic being Nature of SpaceTime Chakras
Sleep and Dreams Various ways in which the Kundalini rises
Why bad things happen to good people
Integral Yoga Blogs Gems from Sri Aurobindo and The Mother
Integral Education Blog Mirror of Tomorrow
Savitri – Sri Aurobindo's epic poem Savitri Era
Spiritual significance of flowers Sri Aurobindo – Los Angeles Center
Sri Aurobindo Society, Singapore Sri Aurobindo Studies

"Athimanasa Ushodayamu" PREFACE: The book 'Atimanasa Ushodayamu' is written in the token tongue and deals with the profound thoughts expressed by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo in prayers, conversations and discourses. The author supports Ms interpretations by quoting from those who are soaked in Sri Aurobindonian lore such as Sri K.D. Sethna and others, -He has correctly brought out the meaning of Stlf-awareness and the description of the Soul. The particular translation of the story where soul figures as a small child warning and protecting the mortal, is very impressively written. The language adopts the scriptural phrasing, calling for a concentrated reading.

The Aurobindo Society, Tenali, deserves congratulations for bringing out this handy publication containing the teachings of the Great Master, an Incarnation of the Supermind. The author remaining incognito pays a tribute to himself making it obvious that he is after service and not publicity. 5 _g .7 3 Prof. Y. S. R. Cbandran, M.A., LLB. Former Principal & Hony. (U. G. C.) Professor of English, HINDU COLLEGE, GUNTUR

The Mind Working Through the Life Energy « Sri Aurobindo Studies By sriaurobindostudies Sri Aurobindo Studies. Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga. ... Transcending the Physical Mind's Limitations. The Mind Working Through the Life Energy. By sriaurobindostudies. The first realisation of the inner soul or Purusha, while of great ...

Interplay of Faith and Doubt in Yoga « Integral Yoga of Sri ... By Sandeep This convoluted interplay of faith and doubt has been outlined very neatly by Sri Aurobindo in the following passage. In the Yoga as in life it is the man who persists unwearied to the last in the face of every defeat and ...

jabdakhata: New States - T Issue By Shantanu The proposed partition idea bounced back as people of Bengal found their voices, rose united against the proposed division and was largely led by great intellectuals of the stature of Rabindranath Tagore and Sri Aurobindo Ghosh (later sage Aurobindo of Auroville in Puducherry). It was a mass movement against partition which also gave a fillip to the hitherto dormant nationalist movement called “swadeshi” movement, giving a call for boycotting all foreign goods and buying everything indigenously made.

Taming the monkey mind Posted on December 11, 2009 by Sandeep
As anyone who practises meditation will attest, it is not easy to suspend the thought process. Even if thoughts regarding the external objects are switched off, our internal memory (Chitta) keeps feeding past events to our mind and this cycle does not die down easily. Any attempt to control or force the mind to stop always ends in failure. What is required are some supports on which the mind can rest before it glides off into effortless flight.

Charles Darwin showed interest in Indian biodiversity: Book Daily News & Analysis - ‎Dec 9, 2009‎ ... in intellectual debates sparked by pioneers of Indian renaissance like Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo in late 19th century and early 20th century. ... Darwin showed interest in Indian biodiversity: Book Deccan Herald all 5 news articles »

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hindu has provided highly slanted coverage of the cases against Heehs

Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Darshan Day Message: Justice! (Heehs case stayed by Orissa High Court)
by Rich on Sat 05 Dec 2009 08:56 AM PST Permanent Link

The complaints were vague and gave no evidence that either complainant had any knowledge of the contents of Heehs’s book. It thus seems possible that the complainants were acting as pawns for the leaders of the Pondicherry-based movement against Heehs.

The two cases appear to have been intended to harass Heehs and to draw attention away from the actual matter of interest before the High Court, a Writ Petition that has delayed the publication of Heehs’s book for twelve months. It is to be hoped that the High Court will be now pass its long-delayed ruling on the Writ Petition, opening the way to the publication of Heehs’s book.

It is worth noting that the Hindu, a daily newspaper that normally provides balanced coverage of the news, has from the beginning provided highly slanted coverage of the cases against Heehs. Note that in the present report the unnamed “correspondent” states that Heehs’s book “has disparaging comments” about Sri Aurobindo, an opinion that only a minority of the hundreds of people who have read and appreciated the book would endorse.

by Debashish on Sat 05 Dec 2009 09:27 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
"The book titled “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” published by Columbia University Press, US, has disparaging comments about the life of the spiritual leader." It is interesting to see how fiction turns to fact in history.

Correspondents and researchers quote information that they find repeated in "prestigious" sources. Slippery behind-the-scene negotiations (complex agency) mark the appearance of interpretations in "prestigious sources." This is the contest for truth, part of the will to power. Once established, such "truth" proliferates with a life of its own. Once it has been repeated a sufficient number of times, it is held as self-evident fact, not even worth citing. Gradually, following a Darwinian evolutionary course, alternate (recessive) interpretations disappear and only reproductions of the dominant version remain as the human memory of "what happened." db Reply

by ned on Sun 06 Dec 2009 08:29 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
Congratulations. I'm glad things have worked out for Peter. It's a relief to hear this. Reply

Robert E. Wilkinson has left a new comment on your post "Barin Ghose, Dilip Kumar Roy, and Anna Bogenholm S...":

The lack of progress in the yoga described by Raman Reddy is an unfortunate but predictable situation. What else would you expect when the Auroville elites refuse even to consider two thirds of the yogic formula given forth as an aid to securing the Integral Realization. Having rejected the contributions of the Cosmic and Individual members of the Supramental Line, they are left with only the Transcendent realization and virtually no way to achieve it. Simply put, they have locked themselves out of the house of the Cosmic Spirit and have thrown away the KEYS to the Kingdom. Perhaps they should re-consider what Sri Aurobindo wrote about this path of yoga:

“…The distinction between the Transcendental, the Cosmic, the Individual Divine is not my invention, nor is it native to India or to Asia -- it is, on the contrary, a recognised European teaching current in the esoteric tradition of the Catholic Church where it is the authorised explanation of the Trinity, -- Father, Son and Holy Ghost… In the practice of yoga there is a great dynamic difference in one's way of dealing with these three possible realisations. If I realise only the Divine as that, not my personal self, which yet moves secretly all my personal being and which I can bring forward out of the veil, or if I build up the image of that Godhead in my members, it is a realisation but a limited one. If it is the Cosmic Godhead that I realise, losing in it all personal self, that is a very wide realisation, but I become a mere channel of the universal Power and there is no personal or divinely individual consummation for me. If I shoot up to the transcendental realisation only, I lose both myself and the world in the transcendental Absolute. If, on the other hand, my aim is none of these things by itself, but to realise and also to manifest the Divine in the world, bringing down for the purpose a yet unmanifested Power, -- such as the supermind, -- A HARMONISATION OF ALL THREE BECOMES IMPERATIVE. I have to bring it down, and from where shall I bring it down -- since it is not yet manifested in the cosmic formula -- if not from the unmanifest Transcendence, which I must reach and realise? I have to bring it into the cosmic formula and, if so, I must realise the cosmic Divine and become conscious of the cosmic self and the cosmic forces. BUT I HAVE TO EMBODY IT HERE, -- OTHERWISE IT IS LEFT AS AN INFLUENCE ONLY AND NOT A THING FIXED IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD, AND IT IS THROUGH THE DIVINE IN THE INDIVIDUAL ALONE THAT THIS CAN BE DONE.” Sri Aurobindo, -- Letters on Yoga, SABCL Vol. 22/24, p. 509-10

Indeed, the Individual SOUL is the KEY to the Integral Realization. It must be sought out FIRST and established as the proper foundation before any ascension into vertical dimensions can begin. As Sri Aurobindo explains:

FIRST, there must be a conversion inwards, a going within to find the inmost psychic being (Soul) and bring it out to the front, disclosing at the same time the inner mind, inner vital, inner physical parts of the nature. Next, there must be an ascension, a series of conversions upwards and a turning down to convert the lower parts.” Sri Aurobindo - Letters on Yoga, December 2, 1946, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Press, India, 1946, Planes and Parts of the Being. p. 251

But how is this ‘conversion inwards’ to the Psychic Being or Soul to be achieved? What kind of yogic process would take us on this inner spiral, this centripetal movement into a ‘center that holds’? Is there perhaps a cosmological formula given out by the Vedic Rishis that might give us access to these hidden dimensions within? Yes of course, says Sri Aurobindo… See: for my complete reply Posted by Robert E. Wilkinson to Aurora Mirabilis at 2:48 AM, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Noren Singh Nahar is the third son of Prithwi Singh

Noren Singh Nahar Recalls
By Anurag Banerjee

Noren-da, as we lovingly address Noren Singh Nahar, is the third son of Prithwi Singh. Born on 1 December 1920, he came to Sri Aurobindo Ashram for the first time in 1936 and became an inmate in 1939 at the age of nineteen. His first assignment was supervision of work in Golconde, the oldest Guest House of the Ashram which was under construction and he supervised the cutting and bending of the iron rods. He also worked in the Ashram Bakery and the Press in the printing section. His love for gardening was encouraged by the Mother who gave him a small plot of land behind the office of Pavitra in the inner courtyard of the Ashram Main Building where he, along with help from a senior sadhak named Jyotin-da, grew vegetables.

Pavitra was the first stamp collector in the Ashram. After he joined the Ashram in 1925, he brought his stamp albums from France and thus started the work of stamp collection. Noren-da used to work in Pavitra’s dining room where there was a small table and one stool. With help and guidance from the Mother (who had entrusted to him the responsibilities of the Philately Department which flourished under him) and Pavitra, he has enriched the department so much that now it houses a vast and spectacular collection of stamps of post-Independence India, French India, Canada, U.S.A., Brazil, France, Holland, Switzerland and some other countries of Western Europe. From 1975 he was helped in his work by his youngest sister Suprabha-di. It won’t be an exaggeration if I say that Noren-da and Suprabha-di are the soul and heart of the Department of Philately.

Noren-da is a beautiful person. He and his younger brother Nirmal Nahar are among the few people I’ve met who possess both beauty of form and beauty of spirit. Despite being one of the senior most members of the Ashram, Noren-da is easily approachable and his child-like simple laughter draws people closer to him. The Mother had remarked about Noren-da after seeing him that his psychic being was exactly on the front.

Whenever I visit Pondicherry, I often spend my evenings with Noren-da and Suprabha-di. During the course of the conversations, both Suprabha-di and Noren-da share with me the memories of the glorious golden days of the bygone era. And I make it a point to record those talks so that I can preserve them for posterity. Today (1 December 2009) on the occasion of Noren-da’s birthday, I would like to share with all some of the gems I have heard from him.

1. The Jail Term

I was never inclined towards politics; Nirmal was actively involved in it. I came to the Ashram at the age of nineteen so I could not participate in the Freedom Movement but I was jailed once. When I was in St. Xavier’s College, some students had organized a strike there; the gates were kept closed and many students sat at the entrance to prevent people going in. My friends, Subhas Chandra Bose’s nephews, were among the protestors. During this period I went one day to my College and sat in front of the gate with others. No sooner did I sit, the police arrived with a van and I was arrested along with the other students and was sent behind the bars. My eldest uncle came to bail me out. But overnight I became sort of a hero. Some Press reporters came to my house and took my interview which was published in a leading daily along with my photo. And the greatest advantage of this was that I came in contact with Subhas Chandra Bose and he was very affectionate to me.

2. First Spiritual Experience

It was either in 1938 or 1939. I had come to Pondicherry and was walking on the sea-beach. In those days Pondicherry was not so populated; there were hardly any cars and Pondicherry was a silent place. From the sea-beach I went to the Ashram Main Building. The more I approached towards it, I felt as if the atmosphere was becoming calmer and the silence was becoming more profound. The moment I stepped inside the Ashram, I felt as if I had entered a world of silence. My entire body could feel that sensation. It was the very first experience I had. It stayed with me for a while.

3. Becoming an Inmate

During holidays in 1939, when I came to the Ashram, the Mother wrote to my father that She would be glad if I stayed here. When my father asked me about it, I said that I shall stay on. While giving permission, She said: “If you want to continue your studies you can do so and then come back here.” But I told the Mother that I wanted to remain here from now on. Then I returned to Calcutta, with the Mother’s permission, to wind up my affairs, came back to the Ashram and became a permanent member. Since I started getting all my monthly requirements from ‘Prosperity’, I offered to the Mother whatever I had brought from Calcutta; I had withdrawn all the money I had in my bank account and offered it to Her even though the sum was negligible. I also offered my clothes to Her but She asked me to keep them with me and said: “Noren Singh, your clothes are of good quality and I won’t be able to give you such type of clothes.” After some time, while cleaning my luggage, I found some coins in my trunk. I felt bad because I had forgotten to offer them to the Mother.

4. Early Memories

In those days we were given two dhotis per year. The dhotis were short in width and measured up to my knees or a few centimetres down. Initially I found it a bit difficult to adjust with such outfits but got accustomed to it soon enough. In those days the Dining Room also seemed like the Ashram. All those who worked there worked with utmost concentration! There used to reign such a profound silence that it gave us the feeling as if we were in the Meditation Hall! The servers were very warm and would ask us if we would like to take some more food. There was Charu-da whom we used to call ‘Bhater Charu’ because he used to dish out rice.

5. Money Matters

Anurag: I’ve heard that the Mother used to sell Her saris and ornaments whenever the Ashram faced any sort of financial difficulties. Did She witness the prosperity of the Ashram before leaving Her body?

Yes, towards the last years of Her life, the Mother had seen some prosperity. I remember that once the Mother opened Her almirah to give some money to Dyuman for Ashram expenses. Since She trusted me She had opened the almirah in my presence. But things began to change after Sri Aurobindo’s departure. I remember one incident: I had asked for Rs.100/- from the Mother to buy stamps. She had approved of it and told me to collect it from Amrita-da. At that time the Ashram was going through a period of severe financial crisis, so Pavitra-da was not quite pleased with my request for money. When I went to Amrita-da, he asked me whether the payment could be made after some days. I understood the problem and readily agreed. When I was about to come out of his office, he called me back, gave me the money and said: “No, you take it. Yours is a continuous thing.” But after the Mother left Her body, the Ashram has never seen any cash crunch.

6. Contacts with the Mother

Anurag: I’m told that the Mother did not see anyone except for one or two of Her attendants for some days after Sri Aurobindo left his body.
Yes, but I had met the Mother during that period. When Sri Aurobindo’s body was kept in state I used to go to His room several times a day. It was either on the 6th or 7th of December 1950 that I went to the Mother’s room with a stalk of ‘New Creation’ flower and to put it in the flower vase quietly. She was in her apartment next to Sri Aurobindo’s and in deep concentration. She saw me and told me that the water of the flower vases has not been changed for a few days. “Can you do it?” Since then, for eight or ten days I was doing this regularly. At the same time the Mother told me: “Sorry, I cannot give you tomato.” This She used to give me daily in the morning after Balcony Darshan. Even when She retired to Her new room upstairs in 1962, my visits to Her were not interrupted. Satprem and Sujata used to go to Her twice a week for their interviews and I carried the tape-recorder which recorded her voice. So, in this way, I regularly met Her till May 1973 when She completely withdrew.

7. A Gift from the Mother

I had a green pen—a Sheffer’s life-time with a white dot on the cap. One day the Mother saw it lying on Pavitra-da’s table. She liked the pen very much and asked Pavitra-da whose pen it was. Pavitra-da said that perhaps it was Noren Singh’s. Next day the Mother asked me: “Noren Singh, can I keep this pen? It goes well in the Green Room”. I readily offered it to Her. Then She took me to Her Green Room and showed me that room. She said, “I shall give you my pen which I am using.” After a few days, the Mother gave me the pen which She Herself was using.

8. The Mother’s Nails

One day I went to the Mother’s Green Room and saw that the Mother was paring her nails. I wasn’t mature enough at that time for if I had stretched my hands, Her nails would have fallen on my palms and I could have got Her nails. But I didn’t do so. Her nails fell on the carpet. It is a regret that I have.

9. A Dictionary

In the beginning of 1940 my father received two dictionaries for me: English-French and French-English. They were two big volumes. As usual I showed them to the Mother. The Mother saw them and said: “I shall like to have this latest dictionary. In exchange, I shall give you mine.” After a few days She got the old one well bound and gave it to me.

10. Lord Ganesh

Once the Mother said: “Ganesh is much more beautiful than he is usually depicted.” I made a monumental mistake by not asking Her to draw a portrait of Ganesh as he actually is. She could easily have done it as She was the greatest artist I have ever known.

11. A Regret

Once the Mother had told me: “Noren Singh, I’ll draw your portrait.” But it didn’t materialize for some reason or other.

12. Sri Aurobindo’s Return

I had once asked the Mother: “When will Sri Aurobindo return with His supramentalized body?” The Mother replied: “My child, five hundred years is nothing in evolution.” This means that there is little chance of His return before five hundred years.

13. Dark Force Behind the Mother

There was a long corridor in front of Pavitra-da's room. On its right was the door leading to the Mother's apartment and on the left was the Green Room. The Mother was walking on the corridor while I was standing in front of the door. Suddenly I saw a dark force was following the Mother. I felt very bad. The thought of informing Pavitra-da did not occur to me; I thought that maybe something was wrong within me that's why I saw it. Afterwards the Mother went to play Tennis; even then the impact of the dark force was there. I was feeling uneasy. I went to the beach for a walk. After some time when I returned, I heard that the Mother had fallen down in the Tennis Ground while playing. I understood that it was a hostile force that was following Her.

14. Experience of a Force-Field around the Mother

A protective shield existed around the Mother all the time and once I witnessed how it worked. The Mother was playing Tennis in the Tennis Ground and I was also playing in the court next to hers with a gentleman. While we were playing, my opponent hit the ball which was near the net very hard and as a result the ball hit my racket and rose upwards and went to the next court where the Mother was playing. To my horrors, I saw that the ball was about to fall on Her. But suddenly the ball, as it was falling down, deflected towards another direction and fell on the ground. Thus, I experienced how the force-field worked around Her.

15. Memories of Anilbaran Roy

Anurag: Were you close to Anilbaran Roy?
Not really. He was much senior to us and he hardly interacted with others. But I remember two humorous incidents about him. The first one happened when I had just joined the Ashram. In those days the Mother used to take collective meditation in the Meditation Hall and each inmate had more or less a particular place where he sat for meditation. I did not know which place was reserved for whom so I sat on a side of the floor which happened to be Anilbaran’s reserved place. When Anilbaran came, without wasting a word, he just sat on my lap! I hurriedly got up and vacated his place.
On another occasion, I saw him climbing the Psychological Perfection tree in my garden in front of ‘Prosperity’. He climbed up and sat on one of its branches and hung his feet low. When I went near him, he said: “Krishna used to sit like this on the Kadamba tree, isn’t it?” Anilbaran used to have many spiritual experiences. It would have been good if I had asked him if he had seen Sri Krishna in vision because he was very fond of Bhagavat Gita. Then we could have had a real image of Sri Krishna before us.
When Anilbaran left the Ashram, the Mother called me and said: “Many have approached me to have his room. You go and occupy it as fast as possible.” I did accordingly and took possession of the room. The room was absolutely empty, not a single piece of furniture was there. And this room has now become the Department of Philately where the Mother’s stamp and coin collections are preserved.

16. Rain of Golden Light

I’ve told you about how I saw Sri Aurobindo, on the road itself, with my eyes open in 1951 in the western sky while coming back to Golconde. His luminous face covered the last part of the western sky. On another occasion I saw that there was a drizzle of golden particles around and in front of me from the crossing of Balcony road up to the crossing of Golconde road (Rue St. Gilles to Rue Dupuy). I just walked through the golden drizzle. This is an unforgettable experience, I remember it as vivid as it can be. Noren Singh Nahar Recalls

from Anurag Banerjee to date1 December 2009 10:24

Monday, November 30, 2009

Honestly, it’s almost a cult. Scratch that, it’s totally a cult

இந்தியா India is my chosen battleground, but the longer I’m here the more I wonder if perhaps, despite my plotting to avoid fate, India has chosen me. November 29, 2009
ஆரோவிள்ளே [auroville]

Apparently, perfect places do exist. Apparently, I’ve been to one. The thing is, Auroville struck me as the single strangest place in the world. I’m not really sure where to start with it, so I’ll turn it over the city’s mission statement:
"Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity."
The city was founded by a figure known as “The Mother,” a central spiritual figure in Pondicherry whose ashrams and ideas have spread throughout the world. It’s over 4,000 acres of hugely undeveloped wilderness on the outskirts of Pondicherry, with a population capacity of 50,000 people, though the populace currently numbers only 2,007.

Its residents renounce all politics, nationality, and religion, choosing instead a peaceful, hardworking (?) lifestyle. Many volunteer at schools or conduct research, and all garden. Daily all inhabitants gather to meditate around a huge gold-plated sphere (see picture) that contains a 70 cm crystal sphere through which sunlight falls, representing “future realizations”. The Mother meditated that the center of the city as where a huge Banyan tree lies.
Usually visitors are allowed to approach the huge dome, but as we visited on a Sunday, we had no such luck. My host mom does know an Indian woman living in a cottage in Auroville with her Danish companion though, so we snuck in a back gate and went to her house, where she treated us to homegrown tea, biscuits, and gave my host sister and me each a new selvar to be stitched.

She showed us some things unique to Auroville such as playing The Mother’s mantras for water to purify it before drinking and denouncing marriage (though not partnerships). Her house had a country cabin feel, almost like a cabin you might rent for the summer on Cape Cod, but was equipped with broadband, satellite tv, and a microwave. Strangely, the idea of “equality for all” that Auroville preaches doesn’t seem to prevent its residents from keeping servants.

Honestly, it’s almost a cult. Scratch that, it’s totally a cult. Forgive me (I just saw 2012), but you can’t help but wonder about this place. Everyone you meet has watery eyes and a huge smile on their face and greets you in whatever language seems to strike their fancy. From what I saw of it, it’s almost like a huge, permanent, UNESCO-endorsed Woodstock.
Anyway, I was given the offer from the Coimbatorian we visited to come back and stay for a week anytime, and I’m considering taking her up on it. Might make for an interesting visit, no?

I’m not sure exactly how to define a “perfect city,” but I guess that Auroville in theory, does a decent, if communist, job of it. You hand over your assets to the city upon joining, help your neighbors, are friendly to all, and live off the earth. Still though, the end of the walking tour of Auroville dumped us right into a gift shop with prices on homemade paper, organic tea, and pottery that would raise eyebrows anywhere.
Ah, how capital prevails. Posted by Rianna ♥ at 3:55 PM Please send all fan mail to: Rianna Starheim108 Appusamy Layout Red Fields Coimbatore, INDIA 641045

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sujata tells a story

A Vision of Sujata Nahar

Translated by

Anurag Banerjee

[Translator's note: In 1995, Sujata Nahar's younger sisters Sumitra and Suprabha had gone to visit her at her residence in Kotagiri. One day, they requested Sujata to tell them a story. What follows is the translated version of the transcript of the recording of the story she had narrated in Bengali. The italicized words are those which she had spoken originally in English. The vision was of an ancient legend of the Vedic era which she had witnessed. It is rather noteworthy because it provides us with the assurance that if we plunge deep into matter, the 'riddle of death' can be solved and the 'secret of immortality' can be found. The vision echoes Sujata's revealing words: 'The hymns of the Veda are the triumph songs of the soul's battle in Matter, and its victory.']

—Tell us another story.

Sujata Nahar: So you want to listen to another story? Well, I don't know whether what I'm going to narrate was a story or a real-life incident. As you know, I wake up quite early when the night is still dark. In the clear sky I see many stars, constellations and planets; then I move here and there for my work and I witness how the sky gradually gets illuminated with the sun-rays. It reminds me of a line from Rabindranath Tagore's poetry—Dawn came and opened the gates of the East—do you remember it? When the cowshed is opened, I see how the glimmer of the light descends, the Sun-God himself comes to cleanse the path of darkness with the poetry of light. Then the cows go out to graze, the birds sing and after awakening from their slumber they talk for a while amongst themselves and then leave in quest for food. At least this is what I behold here. Then comes the Sun-God in his chariot—he changes his outfits daily just like us—sometimes he wears red and sometimes pink. So I witness his change of attire and colours every day.
One day what happened was: I observed that the darkness was not dispelling at all. Sometimes when the sky is cloudy darkness does exist in the region but this time it appeared to be rather dense, it looked precisely like night. One or two birds called out when they thought that dawn had arrived but they too ceased after a while. “What happened?” I wondered. The clock indicated that it was pretty late. Then what did go wrong? The entire day was spent like that and I must say that I have never seen such a deep night-like darkness because even when the sky is cloudy...

—There remains a little light.

Sujata Nahar: Yes, the difference between day and night can be understood. I was unable to comprehend what could have happened. And I was feeling a bit uneasy as well. It is difficult to grasp that particular feeling. That night also I was quite restless. Then probably I had gone to sleep; the body was on the bed while I had gone somewhere else. This happens quite often, I leave the body for some different adventures.
I saw a young paragon of beauty sobbing inconsolably. What happened to her? Then I saw people rushing towards her from the four corners. By the time I had gone there many incidents had occurred and those were revealed to me like the flashback of a movie.
Usha, the Dawn, had gone as usual to open her cowshed when she noticed that the door was already open. She was taken aback a bit. When she went forward and opened the doors wide she saw that the cowshed was empty, not a single cow was there. “Where did my cattle go?” she wondered. Then she thought of calling the Sun, her elder brother, and ask him about the whereabouts of the cattle but when she called him, there was no response. Someone had abducted the Sun as well. Usha's wail made the other gods and goddesses come rushing to her; they wondered what could have happened to Usha whose face was ever-smiling and heart always full of joy! Saraswati came, Sarama came, Lila came and so did all the goddesses. And from the other side came rushing to her, her brothers Indra, the Aswins, Agni, the Moon and all the other gods who rallied around Usha and understood what exactly had occurred. They realized that the cattle-stealers were none other than the Dasyus [robbers]—I'm unable to recall their names—so now they would have to go to the land of the robbers. “But how to go there?” they wondered because the path to their land was unimaginably perilous. They thought of approaching the Night and to please her. The Night happens to be Usha's elder sister (I think I have heard that there is a sutra in the Vedas known as the Ratri-sutra). But who would lead the way because the path is unknown to all? Then arrived Sarama—whom we address as Helen in English mythology—(it's from Sarama that the word sarameya [meaning dog] has come). So she led the way and was followed by Indra, the King of gods.

—The Chief of Gods.

Sujata Nahar: Yes, the chief. First went Indra, the Chieftain of the gods, followed by Agni who was like a priest—like what we call Purodha. But despite this arrangement, they felt that the presence of humans was required. The chiefs of the humans were the Angirasa Rishis; some say there are nine of them some say seven; they are called Angirasa because they took birth from fire just like us. The Nahars were born from the Fire. So they moved through that path of darkness. Sometimes they had to travel through several kingdoms from where at times someone came to offer some help and appeared as foes. By crossing several hurdles they continued to advance slowly. Then the Night too left the gods in the middle of the way for she was apprehensive that Sarama would supersede her. Hence she moved away and Sarama led the gods. At times the road was so narrow and steep that if one missed a step he would be gone for ever. But the Moon was with them, he made the gods drink soma-rasa because no food was available in those places and despite the fact that the gods were gods, they too felt tired like us. Therefore something was required to boost them up—it's symbolic. They moved on and on when suddenly Sarama heard the lowing of the cattle. From a valley amid steep mountains came that sound. But who would descend in it? However Sarama guided the gods to that place; then she searched the region and informed the gods that the cattle were there. Thus ended her work which was to show the way. The task of rescuing the cattle belonged to others. She, in Sri Aurobindo's terminology, is the Intuition.
The robbers were hiding in what we call an impregnable fortress, there was no gap or hole in it so how would the gods enter? The robbers—the Panis—had Vallar as their chief. He sent his men when he heard the commotion to inquire what the matter was. The Panis spied from a distance and reported to their chief accordingly. He instructed his men to shut all the gates so that no gods could enter. But the gods had Vrihaspati—the chief of the Angirasas on their sides—the power of his chanting of the hymns threw open the gates. Then all the creatures of darkness came out in groups and what to say about the fierce battle that ensued! It was a terrible war! Innumerable Panis were killed. The gods fought quite brilliantly. Indra was...

—Equal to a hundred.

Sujata Nahar: He was equal to a thousand. With his thousand eyes and vajra [his weapon] he fought fiercely and the Aswins too were present to help him. Those who got wounded were healed by the Aswins. And then there were Indra's forty-nine brothers who also helped. All came to help and each killed as many as possible. At last the Panis were defeated, Vallar too was vanquished. After defeating the Panis, the gods entered the cave and found that the cattle were indeed there. Then Usha, with the help of the Aswins, brought her cattle out and took them to her own kingdom—to the land where the cows of the Sun graze. That is the field of Truth. And what sort of Truth? You must have noticed that when you dip a stick in water, it appears as if the stick is bent but in that land it does not happen thus. Straight stick remains straight. That's why it is called ritam. Anyway, the gods went back but the sages went further inside the cave. Then they arrived at a pit which we call as gumpha.


Sujata Nahar: I think the monasteries of the Buddhists are called gumphas. And this was a cave. The sages entered more and more in it and they saw someone sitting in heart of the cave: someone immense and alone to quote Sri Aurobindo. And who was he? He was the eighth son of Aditi whom she had left behind. He was lost in darkness. He was Martanda, he is the eighth Sun. And he was hidden in the darkness of the cave by the robbers. But with his own luminous light he had illuminated everything in that dark cave. Then Martanda came out to the world.
Our Fathers the Angirasa Rishis pursued further to the end. They came to the darkest cave yet—I'm speaking in my own words. The darkness repelled—this is from Sri Aurobindo's poetry. They entered the caves on their hands and knees...they crawled on their hands and knees—because they were unable to enter on their feet as the cave had a very small opening. And in the heart of darkness they discovered Martanda who had been concealed there by the Titans. Martanda, the eighth son of Aditi. Who is Aditi? The All-creating Infinite Mother. Then the eighth son of Aditi was seated there, immense and alone. He is the black or dark, the lost, the hidden sun, the son whom he met.
I don't recall the reason. I remember the story Mother had recounted. She had seen that in the matter, in the deep matter, there is the Divine. Mother had seen it when she had gone to the Subconscient and she saw that the Being opened his eyes—the Divine in Matter in the Subconscient. If you follow Mother's visions, you will find a lot of things...She had seen it in 1907-1908 or may be even before that period. She didn't have the experiences of Savitri then. Mother's experiences were noted down by Sri Aurobindo much later. I don't recall well but Mother read Savitri much later.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why should we take this inevitability as a harmful stigma?

Re: Reflections on THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY By Debashish Banerji Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
by Rod on Fri 27 Oct 2006 05:56 AM PDT Permanent Link In Sri Aurobindo’s view, the evolution of consciousness is towards larger and more inclusive unities, and a sense of self that is universal. In his view evolution in its large aims works through groups rather than individuals to achieve large ideal potentials, like justice, knowledge, harmony, power.

Fukuyama also argues, as does Habermas, that such values as human dignity and freedom are rooted in a natural condition of equality before the genetic dice throw. (A new slant on “thrownness.”) If we choose to predetermine improvements of intelligence, health, strength, competitiveness, etc., in our species through genetic engineering, then we violate the principle of the luck of the draw and the randomness of opportunity which ground our choices and our sense of identity and dignity. We are who we are by virtue of random selection mitigated by parental breeding preferences and social conditioning. We should be free to change the latter but not the former, or else the balance of natural ethics and human rights will be altered forever.

This point of view is very close to the Judeo-Christian idea of the natural state of fall in which good and evil become known so that we may strive for the good, reject the evil, and be saved; also closely related to the Platonic/Aristotelian idea of the final cause being the good form of each thing, toward which it moves in its development from a state of ignorance, imperfection, smallness, matter toward the fulfillment of its purpose, by becoming capable of rational choice. According to these basics of “natural philosophy” what drives the human being toward its potential is the soul, what Fukuyama calls Factor X, the essence of the human when all the conditioning is stripped away, the principle of “nous” or reason. Faced with the choice to genetically alter and so improve some members of the species, to remain in a natural state of imperfection on a flat playing field and strive for an ethically progressive world order, or to renounce mentality, reason, preferential judgment altogether and allow a new principle of truth consciousness and force to manifest, why would one choose one or the other, on what grounds?

Sri Aurobindo’s leap forward consists in the recognition that the natural and ideal drives toward harmony, truth, justice are the embryonic movements of a Will in life-mind-matter to realize a higher form of existence, consciousness, bliss. But he also brings down the force that makes his solution a tangible, perceptible possibility, for those who make the choice to open to it. And so we may be back to the Augustinian/Pelagian paradox, with a slight twist. Both individual choice and divine grace are necessary if this evolutionary change is to happen. And it must be for the good of everyone – not just the elect. It’s a species, and not a communal or national or individual level process. But because of the dual necessity: choice and grace, it will have to be done first by individuals. Collective change will presumably follow (linearly and chaotically).

At this point in Auroville there is almost no sign of anything happening on the collective level that indicates a change of consciousness, but the supramental force can be accessed by the individual and at times it seems to encompass a group awareness, but still carries little impact in the arrangement of social structure. At the Ashram level, little effort is apparently even made on the outer collective structure. It’s all arranged for maintaining an inner openness, for worship and meditation. If this evolution (of supramental consciousness) depends in any way on social structure, on ethical choice, on economics, technology, or biogenetic engineering, then from what I can tell it’s doomed from the start. It’s strictly a matter of inner choice and grace, which presumes the presence of a soul, divine will, or psychic being in things. RH

by Rod on Sun 29 Oct 2006 01:54 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
This is a kind of reasoning, supported by revelation and text, ie. spiritual authority. As such it requires faith and practice on the part of those who choose to be heroic. Whether such a teaching was meant to become the basis of a new religion, or not, or whether such religion is desirable or not, does not disqualify it as a religious teaching. Sri Aurobindo said his purpose in writing the Arya was to lay down the metaphysical and religious basis for a new movement in humanity to exceed itself. That basis (foundation) is a categorical belief in the immanence of the supermind in evolution and the innate ability of humans to know it because of the presence in them of the soul. The philosophical pertinence of this idea today when everyone is questioning the origin of consciousness happens to make this teaching current and relevant. But, What's wrong with admitting both that this teaching requires existential experience to be meaningful and also that it is very natural, even inevitable, for it to take on all the characteristics of a religion, which in fact it has already done? Why should we take this inevitability as a harmful stigma? Do we think postmodernism should have the last word? Reply

by Rod on Sun 29 Oct 2006 02:36 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
I would like to make an important concession to the techniques of postmodernist criticism and to the importance of an understanding of being-toward-the-future in the context of Sri Aurobindo’s work, as mentioned above.

A meaningful intermediate step might be allotted to phenomenology and deconstruction as a preparation for an actual step of being-toward-the-future as well as a true grasp of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy, similar to Derrida’s treatment of Heidegger. That would be to accord Sri Aurobindo’s philosophemes their due position within the history of metaphysics and religion, both Eastern and Western, and then to transcend our own embeddedness in that doxological framework by considering that position under erasure. Because the position of Sri Aurobindo is only really meaningful in relation to an ever-present future of consciousness to be realized through transformation and the transcendence of intellectual concepts, his metaphysical and religious structures must be erased in order for that transformation to be present and in order for the future represented by his writings to be understood.

Supramental truth-force is a direct seeing, through a transformed consciousness, that may or may not be mediated by an inspired text or a direct spiritual influence, such as those which Sri Aurobindo, the writer-yogi created. It is known and valid only through an opening to a unifying consciousness of the oneness and difference of all perceptions that yields a strong sense of their unity, a sense of a divine wholeness and rightness (ritam), “a smooth and even infinity everywhere.” In this experience, the Mother’s insistence that even a superhuman effort to attain a true knowledge and to uplift humanity pales and disappears before the realization of what in fact already is the truth of everything. Reply

by Debashish on Sun 29 Oct 2006 08:39 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Very well put and true. In fact, to this I would stick my neck out and agree that this is exactly the necessary method (call it postmodern or not) that Sri Aurobindo demands for a legitimate understanding and practice of his teaching. DB Reply [ 3:15 PM 4:23 PM]

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