Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Now I study Sri Aurobindo every day

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (Peter Heehs)  page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded
11 August 2009, last modified 18 February, 2010
(update - I now am totally and unreservedly in the Heehs camp, see below for why. If you are a religious devotee and want to slander me because of that, go ahead)

To be fair on Heeh's critics, I can appreciate and respect that they are devotees who 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.] 

Jitendra Sharma - Max Theon's wife Alma Théon
1843 – 1908 Link: 25 Mar

Hugh Higgins - Thank you for these links. That seems to have been a strange episode in the Mother's life. But occultists are a weird lot -- you can never figure them out. To the world they are either eccentric or crazy. To their disciples they are entrees to new understanding or new powers. The irruption of the Divine in human lives does not follow man-made rules! 29 Mar

Hugh Higgins - That said, I must say that, having perused the site, there is a lot of b...s... surrounding Max Theon! There is no evidence whatever that he ever met Madame Blavatsky. It is much more likely that he learned from her (her writings) than the other way around, since most occultists of the era learned from her and then claimed her teachings as their own. She was a super-genius beyond all of them. His claiming to have known and taught her seems to me the stock-in-trade of the charlatan. That does not mean he was only a charlatan; obviously to impress his educated followers he must have known a lot. 29 Mar

Jitendra Sharma - @Hugh But still, the powers that Max Theon and his wife possessed seem so amazing! 29 Mar

Hugh Higgins - I remember the Mother talking about some of those powers, but the context was confusing to me so I was not thoroughly impressed. I guess "you had to be there." Which is one reason "scientists" have a hard time detecting the paranormal---it happens when it chooses to happen and you can't lock it up in a laboratory. "You had to be there." 29 Mar

Hugh Higgins - I would say that if anyone here has denied the truth of another person's scripture, it is david ihnen. I agree the scriptural quotation from Creative was too long. His report of his personal spiritual experience however is legitimate, although not exactly on the subject of reincarnation. There are Christian groups who accept reincarnation. Charles Fillmore, the founder of the Unity movement in the U.S. (in 1889) taught reincarnation although his chief guru was Jesus. Max Heindel who founded the Rosicrucian Fellowship, categorized as esoteric Christians, taught reincarnation along with many other Hindu tenets. So did Rudolf Steiner who called his system of Christian Theosophy Anthroposophy. There is room for reincarnation in advanced Christian thinking. I am sorry that the so-called "fundamentalists" do not understand this. 5 Mar

Hugh Higgins - I did not put words in anyone's mouth. I am a Christian because Jesus is my chief guru. Shortly after I accepted Him and he saved me in the classical Christian sense, He led me to the teachings of Sri Aurobindo. These two are both Avatars. They are brothers, not enemies! Jesus is the brother of Krishna and Rama. Theosophists teach that, so do the teachings of Alice Bailey who was an esoteric Christian, so does Rudolf Steiner who was an esoteric Christian, and so does Charles Fillmore who was an esoteric Christian. If you are not, that is your business and I am not trying to convert you to a more advanced perception of the Christian scriptures, that is up to you. I study the Gospels every day without fail and KNOW what Jesus taught. I believe Charles Fillmore understood it very well and he accepted reincarnation. I just wanted to make it clear that not all Christians are opposed to reincarnation---and yes we are real Christians because we accept Jesus and His teachings. That does not mean we reject all other teachings. We find what is common in them. 05:03

Hugh Higgins - I have no trouble with any of the quotations from Jesus. Jesus said many things and he said different things at different times which seem to contradict each other. I am doing the will of the Father to the best of my ability, and that is all I am asked to do. "We played the flute for you and you did not dance" could be Krishna playing the flute for Christians, but they refuse to dance, although if you read the Bhagavad Gita all the way through you will find so many passages where Krishna said the same things Jesus did---especially in relation to the First Commandment, "Love God with all your heart and soul and mind." I do not find the attitude of trying to convict other Christians of being false Christians at all helpful, and Allen, I thought it was self-evident why I quoted that passage. The disciples said "These people are NOT WITH US and so we told them to stop invoking the name of Jesus to cure people." That to me sounds sadly like "Creative" who like too many "fundamentalists" so-called thinks that if a Christian does not belong to his particular group and believe its interpretation of Scripture, he is lost and going to Hell. That attitude is the bane of contemporary Christianity, I am afraid. It drives people away from Jesus instead of pulling them toward Him.5 Mar

Hugh Higgins - Creative, there is no way to talk with you because you are ignorant. You do not know the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna is not an idol! It is rank and utter blasphemy to call Him such. It is something like saying that Jesus is an idol because in some churches there are statues or pictures of Him. I am sorry, but until you educate yourself in Hinduism you have not a foot to stand on in comparing it with Christianity. I doubt you could read Sri Aurobindo, he is too difficult, but you could read biographies of Ramakrishna and that might help. Also the Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda would help you. It is a bridge between Hinduism and Christianity, and a very good one. If you do not inform yourself in that way I cannot discuss these things with you. And telling me that I am not a Christian when I know I was saved by Jesus is just plain ugly, inconsiderate and wrong from any ethical viewpoint. "He who is not against you is on your side" as Jesus himself said. Please take that to heart.05:56

Hugh Higgins - I am not lying about anything. I found out for myself at an early age that both Krishna and Jesus are Avatars. This is what many spiritually evolved people think. This is what Theosophists and Anthroposophists think. The Christian or, as you would put it, semi-Christian groups I mentioned believe this. God manifesting in a Jewish and Roman world 2100 years ago needed to manifest in a different way than He did in the India of a somewhat earlier period. His teachings are almost the same, for those who can see, although of course a Jewish Avatar making the path open for a new religion in the West would not teach vegetarianism and reincarnation directly because it just did not fit with the culture of the time. He had to do what he could. God is infinite and can manifest in infinite ways. I love Jesus and I study a chapter of the Gospels every day. I love Rama and Krishna and used to read a chapter of the Bhagavad Gita every day. Now I study Sri Aurobindo every day. I did not say you are stupid. When I said "ignorant" I meant ignorant of Hinduism and that is not a slander. I am ignorant of Icelandic and of many other languages and cultures. I am not ignorant of HInduism. I think your Christian experience and life would be enriched by studying Hinduism, especially the Vaishnava version of it, and especially Sri Aurobindo if and when you are ready for him. As mentioned, Yogananda's Autiobiography is a superb introduction for Western Christians. I long for the day when American Christians will understand Jesus as the Brother of the Hindu Avatars. They are cooperating, not fighting, and their followers ought not to fight. I am sorry if I sound arrogant but I feel that your arrogance evoked mine. I would prefer to cool it and have a more relaxed conversation. Perhaps in another lifetime! 10:06

Hugh Higgins - I am sorry that this discussion intended to be on rebirth or reincarnation degenerated into a heated argument because of Creative's dogmatism and his refusal to even try to understand any viewpoint other than his own. I would have dropped the whole thing long ago except that his last statement about me is another lie. He says I worship idols. A lie, a lie, a lie. I worship the One God who goes by various names; I worship the god Vishnu whom I believe to be identical with the Jehovah of the Jews, although He taught different forms of religion and sadhana to different cultures. He is also the same One God who manifested and manifests through Sri Aurobindo as the Avatar. He is the same One God who manifested through Jesus as the Savior, although Jesus in his divine humility said "The Father is greater than I" (an exact quote from the Gospel of John) and also said, when someone called him Good Master, "Why do you call me good? There is only one good, and that is God." These are exact quotations from the Christian scriptures. But since "Creative" thinks that I worship idols, which is a lie, there is just no way to communicate with him. He has cut himself out of the discussion, as far as I am concerned, by repeatedly slandering me with no basis for the slander. Therefore I am finished trying to talk with him. 6 Mar

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Akashvani: Of mangoes & Mohenjodaro and why brahmacharya broke the logjam

Evaluating Democracy—by Ghazia Aslam and Wasim Q Malik Comment posted by: Akash
You get the government you deserve. (-Tocqueville/Jefferson/Shakespeare?)
With respect to Pakistan, not having a positive identity is one of the main contributors to not having an identifiable government.  If Islam is the identity, disappointment will continue because "first-class" Muslims such as Saudi Arabians will continue to treat Pakistan as "second-class".  Society has to do work to forge an identity.  For example, is Mohenjodaro a part of the identity (leave aside the intervening 4000 years)?  Is the silk route part of the identity?

21 February 2010—Darshan Message Comment posted by: Akash
Let's take the life of Buddha.  By secluding him from childhood, was his father following his own freedom or was he imposing on young Sid.  When he left, was he exercising his own freedom or imposing on the palace?  Had he stayed on but followed his own line of development without regard to princely norms - freedom or imposition?  Preaching after enlightenment - freedom or imposition?  Ashoka taking up Buddhism and sending ambassadors, formation of the Sangha, resurgence of Hinduism - freedom or imposition?  [Because what Mother says applies in so many senses and at so many levels, I said it was "deep".]

Sri Aurobindo’s Marriage—a discussion Comment posted by: Akash
Too many things are mixed up here.  Gita dealt with action, not evolution.  Are you saying that Sri Aurobindo's Life Divine (the expression) or his fundamental experience itself would have been substantially different if it had been done before Darwin?  What is your opinion on intelligent design as a post-Darwin movement?  Would a post-Internet Life Divine be substantially different?  Did farmers not know how to produce Basmati rice and Alphonso mangoes before Darwin?  Are you suggesting that Sri Aurobindo, being post-Darwin, was looking for a natural selection way towards the next step in human evolution? Bringing this back to the topic of the thread, how did his insistence on brahmacharya as a necessary element of his yoga square with the transmission of information from generation to generation using genes?  Or are you suggesting that since a hundred years have passed and some new "conceptual and linguistic material" has got developed, we must now update Sri Aurobindo's original works and still pass them off as his own?  Just trying to understand your precise point.

And I can't help but notice that you haven't elucidated the relevance of the Gita to your point :-).  Like I said, I was not sure where you were going, and still am not - hence the multidimensional guesses.
Sri Aurobindo and the Mother came to effect a breakthrough in the logjam of the process of evolution.  They synthesized everything known and done up to that point useful to them (which included Darwin), and then forged ahead with their work.  The relevance of farming is that had Darwin not preceded, the essentials of hereditary transmission and selection were well known, which they would have synthesized.  The relevance of brahmacharya is that the logjam they broke was to shift from heredity to cellular transformation.
You have too high an opinion of "human life on earth" - if humanity cannot consciously collaborate in Nature's next step, if human life cannot make it its purpose to follow the yoga of the Supermind, it will be cast aside.  Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's work was to enable the next step *inspite of* humanity and certainly not for humanity but for the Divine - but hey, if at least a few individuals can help, then why not prepare them (= write the Life Divine, letters, flowers, music, etc.).
Yes, a general level of development of Nature is necessary to prepare the next step, but "progress in the instrumental stuff of human mental knowledge" is mostly mental chewing gum and may color "new expressions of spiritual knowledge" but hardly cause it.

I am relieved you are driven by a completely understandable curiosity.  It is one thing to be curious about Sri Aurobindo's views on later developments.  It is quite another to suggest (if you were so doing) that a specific scientific advance caused Sri Aurobindo's yoga.  It is like suggesting that the development of the notation of formal logic caused clarity of thought.  Once we open this door, it then starts to feel natural, perhaps necessary, to update his original works with later developments or sensibilities.  I hope you agree that we should not update the Gita, for example, to meet the needs of today's conscientious objector or wielder of scientifically advanced weapons.
The standard ways of dealing with the curiosity you experience are to write an imaginary dialog or a dissertation on the new new thing in light of Sri Aurobindo's Life Divine, or whatever, *in one's own name*.
By the way, your "a major expansion in human conception can play a role in facilitating a new expression of spiritual truth" is now terribly nuanced - you will excuse me for trying to sort out if you are implying cause or correlation or curiosity.