Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Now is the time for a new kind of more responsible partnership with the Divine

Re2: 17: An Ardent Prayer by rjon on Wed 18 Jul 2007 12:05 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
It seems to me that Sri Aurobindo's emphasis on this aspect of Aswapati's "challenge" to the Divine could be read as a call for a more proactive Yoga vs. the quiescent tendency of previous Indian yogas. I'm wondering if his inspiring story of Aswapati can be interpreted as an example for all of us of a new kind of more responsible partnership with the Divine in the Earth's and Cosmos's Evolution? Perhaps now is the time when such a proactive mode is both more possible than in earlier periods, and perhaps even necessary given humanity's increasingly "Koyaanisqatsi" (Life out of balance) behaviors? ~ ron
Re: 17: An Ardent Prayer--Proactive Yoga by RY Deshpande on Thu 19 Jul 2007 04:15 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link Dear Ron
I have simply fallen in love with your “proactive yoga”, the most apt description that we can have for the Aurobindonian pursuit. If we have to go by the etymological sense then it is the perfect “Aryan” attitude that we see in it, Aryan the pioneer, the plougher who prepares the land for the new creation, the pusher or builder-promoter of the spirit’s boundless opportunities.
The greatness of Sri Aurobindo’s Aswapati is, he wills independently in the truth of the manifesting truth, the manifesting spirit; which means, there is no clash in what was suggested to him in the divine wisdom and what he is proposing, in fact he is insisting in getting it done, a truth-idea recognising the validity of another truth-idea. The play of the free-will in the multifold dynamism of the Truth is, in my opinion, the true hallmark of the Yoga of the Future Aswapati is already engaged in.
It is in it that the authentic human potential will flower and bear fruit. But, undoubtedly, that needs intense yoga-tapasya, and for it the divine help is always there, the Grace. We have to get ready to receive that Grace, that Bhagavadkripa. The more we do it consciously the more it becomes luminous and rewarding. Will we apply ourselves to it? That’s the question. RYD

India’s mission in the modern world is to complete and fulfil the work begun by the French revolution

Untold Potentialities:India and the World in the Third Millennium Richard Hartz
The Greek sought political liberty. The Hindu has always sought spiritual liberty. Both are one‑sided.... To care only for spiritual liberty and not for social liberty is a defect, but the opposite is a still greater defect. Liberty of both soul and body is to be striven for.7
This contrast between the Greek and the Hindu is a simplification, no doubt, but suggests the main trends in the West and the East. The distinction between political and spiritual liberty may be compared with the distinction between “negative” and “positive” liberty made by certain Western thinkers. For Isaiah Berlin, negative liberty means “not being interfered with by others”. Positive liberty, on the other hand, is the freedom of self‑mastery or “rational self‑direction”. It includes “the traditional self‑emancipation of ascetics and quietists, of stoics or Buddhist sages”. It is to the first ideal, that of freedom from external compulsion, that Berlin gave his unconditional approval. He was uncomfortable with positive liberty, as he defined it, because he saw in it an affinity with despotism:
The reason within me, if it is to triumph, must eliminate and suppress my ‘lower’ instincts, my passions and desires, which render me a slave; similarly (the fatal transition from individual to social concepts is almost imperceptible) the higher elements in society... may exercise compulsion to rationalise the irrational section of society.8
But Vivekananda’s conception of spiritual liberty is not open to this objection. He explicitly rejects the error of justifying any kind of compulsion—what Berlin would see as the abrogation of negative liberty in the name of positive liberty:
India has always had this magnificent idea of religious freedom, and you must remember that freedom is the first condition of growth. What you do not make free, will never grow. The idea that you can make others grow and help their growth, that you can direct and guide them, always retaining for yourself the freedom of the teacher, is nonsense, a dangerous lie which has retarded the growth of millions and millions of human beings in this world. Let men have the light of liberty. That is the only condition of growth.9 [7. The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol. 6, p. 86. 8. Isaiah Berlin, Liberty, ed. Henry Hardy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 170, 191, 182, 196. 9. The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, vol. 2, p. 115.] by Rich on Sun 29 Jul 2007 08:26 AM PDT Permanent Link Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

The real sense of manifestation means the individual expressing his own distinctive quality

Re: 17: An Ardent Prayer by RY Deshpande on Mon 30 Jul 2007 05:08 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
But perhaps what we most discern in this entire affair is, the individual’s free-will that can new-shape time and destiny and providence. The transcendental Truth-Will is for a transcendental action which could also be in relationship with the universal and the individual actions, their wills being influenced by or aligned to that Will. But the sheer beauty is, that of the individual or universal wills identifying themselves with the transcendental Will, in which even the individual and universal wills can acquire or gain a kind of independence, can have their own truth-characters, express themselves in their own true swabhāva and swadharma.
The individual’s true potential, the authentic human potential, lies in it and it is that which must be developed; true individuality, man’s true manhood is in this development of the will in the truth of the things. In fact, the real sense of manifestation means the individual expressing his own distinctive quality. Aswapati willing something different than what was received by him as an injunction is the beginning of that individualised marvel, that which will lead the manifestive evolution in its truth-sense.
This capacity even to will differently, will in the truth-force of his soul, he acquired by doing the austere Yoga of Self-Perfection. None can grow into that merit, into that worth without doing the Yoga of Self-Perfection. When one does it, one gets the true freedom for willing and action. Aswapati’s is the lone solitary example in the evolutionary possibility, evolutionary unfoldment to exercise his own will, the will of his spirit and his soul. And this is well respected, the individuality of the individual, in fact this alone will be well respected, it also being of the nature of the dynamic Truth-Will itself. RYD

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sri Aurobindo hoped to see a renaissance in India “governed by the principle of spirituality”

Untold Potentialities: India and the Third World by Richard Hartz
by Rich on July 29, 2007 08:26AM (PDT)
Richard's work at the archive has been a treasure to us all. This article will be a basis for a talk which Richard gives at the India International Centre In Dehli: Sri Aurobindo hoped to see a renaissance in India “governed by the principle of spirituality”. At the same time he clarified that by spirituality he did not mean “the moulding of the whole type of the national being to suit the limited dogmas, forms, tenets of a particular religion”. He added that “clearly such an attempt would be impossible, even if it were desirable, in a country full of the most diverse religious opinions”.
Spirituality, he went on to say, “is much wider than any particular religion”.16 At the time when he was writing, the neologism “Hindutva” (Hinduness) had not yet been coined. The notion of Hindu nationalism was in the air, however. Sri Aurobindo unequivocally distanced himself from this idea and stated explicitly that he did “not understand Hindu nationalism as a possibility under modern conditions”.17 Not Hindutva, but Ekatva—oneness—should be the ideal. more » Leave Comment Permanent Link

I would also urge everyone to use common sense in interpreting the Agenda

Re: What is Hindutva? from the Mother/ and the Agenda and/or "Against Method"
by Rich on Sun 29 Jul 2007 11:10 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
According to RYD the Mother said: Buddhism, Jainism, Illusionism were sufficient to sap all energy out of the country.
Well I would not exactly phrase the statement like that!!!
In fact, I find this particular statement rather odious just as I do the assertion Mother seems to make regarding the Chinese; specifically that they have no psychic beings. There are other questionable assertions and I assume like this one can be attributed to the Mother in the Agenda. Unfortunately this often ends up as statements quoted out of context, as this one seems to be. In this instance this is scapegoating - albeit metaphysical - scapegoating at its very worst!!!
In this instance sloughing off the blame on Buddhist and Jains thought seems a bit like blaming the Jews for the problems of Germany! Why not a bit of critical self-reflection on why there were so many converts to Buddhism which rejected the degenerate Hindu caste system! Other countries progressed perfectly fine following the Buddhist call, and some of the most wealthist folks I know are Jains, (not to mention some Jains such as historian Meenakshi Jain hold some of the most extreme Hindutva views)
But in short Buddhist and Jains have historically done just fine navigating the material world. Rather if one wants to explain the demise of ancient India it would be more appropriate to say that extreme interpretations of the subcontinent faiths including Hinduism itself and its degenerate caste system, facilitated the demise.
I would also urge everyone to use common sense in interpreting the Agenda. As a first source historical text, I believe it can be shown that its method of recording, editing, and contextualizing makes it often problematic. I also believe that it can be demonstrated that the editor and compiler of this document had no small "agenda" of his own. In fact I believe a whole hearted deconstruction of this series of books is badly needed! Or rather a critical inquiry, translation and reconstruction, of the problematic text. - or at the least some historical excavation much like being done in the archives with Sri Aurobindo's text. -
At any rate I think it appropriate to asterik citations from the Agenda to separate them out from the text she actually sat down to put her hand to writing. rc

by Rich on Sun 29 Jul 2007 07:44 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link I still would not claim spoken statements recorded by memory - even if supposedly approved- are a reliable first historical source and would include the evening conversations with Sri Aurobindo in this category. I would even say that memory of acolytes are worse sources for historical documentation on what Sri Aurobindo and Mother believed than Satprem's Agenda.

But regardless even if the statement denouncing Buddhist and Jains were written from the Mother's own hand herself, I would still declare it an ugly form of scapegoating, and historically inaccurate. rich

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Habermasian intersubjectivity is consistent with Sri Aurobindo's writings on social democracy

114 rc. IY community neglecting reason has lead to mistakes (eg. in AV) by rjon on Thu 04 Aug 2005 01:50 PM PDT Permanent Link From: rcarlson@olympus.net Subject: Re: Yoga and Research: Sri Aurobindo on science and yoga Date: August 4, 2005 1:50:03 PM EDT To: rjon@vzavenue.net
As I seem to have become the proponent of reason on the forum ( against my will I assure you, because those close to me will tell you just how irrational a guy I am) I will also add that I think that many many mistakes have been made on the community level (specifically in Auroville from what I have gathered as a non-resident) in this yoga from discarding reason and the critical intellect before they were sufficiently developed as instruments in the collective. And, at the risk of being repetitive, we are talking apples and oranges when it comes to the yoga on the individual or community level. In the latter as Rod suggests undoubtable there needs to be the guiding intuitive idea (the integral yoga, the service of the divine etc), then as Debashish states there must be an affective intresubjectivity. e,g, a an opening of hearts to each other. "a good will" and acceptance of difference.
However, to make decisions as to the good of the community, in other words on the civic level, unless we all claim to be intuitive beings or mind readers who understand all the idiosyncrasies of cultural interpretations that we all bring to the yoga as individuals, we must demonstrate what good our claims and calls to action will have to the community and validate them in a manner which can be understood by all.
It was in this regards that I previously argued for the benefits of a Habermasian intersubjectivity, which I also feel is in many ways consistent with Sri Aurobindo's writings on social democracy (which I believe he felt was appropriate for humanity at its current level of realization, although by all means he does not want the world to stop at this level). But a rational intersubjectivity also has limitations and a community must IMO also strive toward an affective relationship and be ultimately guided by a vision which descends from the intuitive mind or beyond.
There is no Maha Guru now to say: do this or do that, and the world rapidly changes ( and as both Debashish and I have brought up and given examples of: both Mother and Sri Aurobindo can be shown to have evolved perspectives over the course of their life times regarding the change of circumstances they encountered in the world) Thus as a collective there are many things which need to be evaluated according to our current rapidly changing culture and we have to make the determination as to the proper course of action ourselves. IMO the trinity of a guiding intuitive idea, an affective intersubjectivity, as an opening to each other, and a rational intersubjective methodology to make collective decisions are at least at this point in history circa 2005, all integral to our collective well being...
As the well worn phrase goes "mind is the helper, mind is the bar", this is true for individuals and a collective. But especially as a collective let us be sure we have been helped as much as we can by our good will toward others and our mind's critical thinking skills before making a head long rush to transcend the bar. A community which prematurely attempts to make the leap to the integral level, risks sliding back from the integral (ideal) level into the mythic or religious realm. History provide hundreds of examples of utopian communities who tried to make the leap and who never made it to the other side. So in many ways on the collective level we are caught between a mythic rock and an integral hardplace. But once we have been assisted along the path, as much as we can by our good will, the mind and its critical intellect, then by all means to get over this intellectual hurdle: "Go For it"

Savitri Era Party seems to have the widest sweep & appeal

Anirban said...
Admirably & thoughtfully formulated. The position of the Savitri Era Party, as stated seems to have the widest sweep & appeal. At a time when the human mind is rapidly expanding its horizon this appeal seems to be a timely one. Those also neglected & pushed to the periphery by the present players may also derive hopes for inclusiveness from the stated position. Can we at last start working towards ending parochialism in Indian politics? The odds are formidable but equally formidable is the new programme, it holds in it in seed form the possibilities of a new society & a new culture of public-life & conduct. 11:12 AM

Buddhism, Jainism, Illusionism were sufficient to sap all energy out of the country

Re: What is Hindutva? from the Mother by RY Deshpande on Sat 28 Jul 2007 09:08 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Let me put the following from the Mother (31 March 1967):
Till the birth of Sri Aurobindo, religions and spiritualities were always centred on past figures, and they were showing as “the goal” the negation of life upon earth. So, you had a choice between two alternatives: either —a life in this world with its round of petty pleasures and pains, joys and sufferings, threatened by hell if you were not behaving properly, or —an escape into another world, heaven, nirvana, moksha....
Between these two there is nothing much to choose, they are equally bad.
Sri Aurobindo has told us that this was a fundamental mistake which accounts for the weakness and degradation of India. Buddhism, Jainism, Illusionism were sufficient to sap all energy out of the country.
True, India is the only place in the world which is still aware that something else than Matter exists. The other countries have quite forgotten it: Europe, America and elsewhere… That is why she still has a message to preserve and deliver to the world. But at present she is splashing and floundering in the muddle.
Sri Aurobindo has shown that the truth does not lie in running away from earthly life but in remaining in it, to transform it, divinise it, so that the Divine can manifest HERE, in this PHYSICAL WORLD. RYD
"India is the only place in the world which is still aware that something else than Matter exists. The other countries have quite forgotten it: Europe, America and elsewhere… That is why she still has a message to preserve and deliver to the world. But at present she is splashing and floundering in the muddle."
The Mother has said everything in this sentence. India has a message to preserve and deliver--that is the spiritual India. Will the Indians live in it? But it seems there are very few Indians in India. RYD RY Deshpande Sat 28 Jul 2007 09:17 PM PDT

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Bhakta, who is in love with his Motherland, Bharata Mata

Re: What is Hindutva? Known-Knower-Knowledge
by Vladimir on Fri 27 Jul 2007 08:01 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
But of course there is completely another feeling in the heart, quite different from that of the mind of Jnani, the attitude of Bhakta, who does not care much of what is right or wrong as jnanin does, but wants to embrace all the suffering in his country as beloved Supreme: Daridra Narayana. Who is in love with his Motherland, Bharata Mata, and is ready to give all his life for Her.

When should an individual participate in a social change?

Re: What is Hindutva? Known-Knower-Knowledge
by rakesh on Fri 27 Jul 2007 08:27 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
I would like to ask when should an individual participate in a social change? Arjuna was a khyatriya by birth and was a ideal instrument at the time of war for the Lord to use for the benefit of mankind and for the victory against evil forces acting on the physical plane. Kurushetra is not only a inner war but can also be a war on the physical plane. Not only the inner temptations, suggestions that impede individual’s growth towards the divine but also a war on a social and physical plane can prolong advent of the spiritual change. We all know that for the divine change to occur on a large scale than an individual the conditions on earth have to be suitable for it. If the evil forces control the society than it prolongs the coming of the spiritual transformation on earth. That is why we see Sri Aurobindo saying that the earth is not yet ready for the Supramental change.
I agree with Mr. Yeswant Sane that Sri Aurobindo also emphasized on changing the conditions of the society but when is an individual eligible to participate in a social change and to what extent is a important issue to be addressed. Sri Aurobindo has asked us to change individually first, to discover the Self, the Divine within us, to dissolve personal will and surrender to the Divine than whatever the divine says a Yogin does. Prematurely jumping to change the conditions on earth and forgetting individual dharma i.e to discover the divine for oneself first can be dangerous to the spiritual aspirant and can completely ruin the advent of spiritual change on earth. First of all one has to be capable of not being an ignorant instrument of egoistic forces which itself takes several years of sadhana. It is up to the divine will either to make the perfected instrument to involve in social change either in politics or for the good of the world.
I agree that as each country has its dharma Hindus as a race have protected the divine knowledge but we also have to accept that the mass of the people in all esoteric societies were always ignorant. The present conditions of Indian political and social life are no different. There were only very small groups who really helped preserve the secret knowledge. That these individual could influence the society as a whole is an achievement indeed. That was the divine will.
If Hindus as a society neglect the spiritual and waste time on political and class struggles the cosmic spirit may choose some other country or peoples as instruments of the divine change on earth. I do not think Hindus are any special to the Divine. The Divine chooses whoever can change and become instruments of the divine vision. Hindus in the past have been favorable for this change and it is up to us to continue or divert from the divine plan. We have to first discover the truth, fight the individual kurushetra, surrender our personal, intellectual, vital, mental ego at the divine feet than according to the divine will fight the social kurushetra which could be on the physical plane too. Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Sri Aurobindo's Uttarpara Speech

In India the constitution is now been well amended

Sri Aurobindo's Vision for a United India
by Rich on Fri 27 Jul 2007 12:13 AM PDT Permanent Link
Since we are exploring the re-visioning of the term Hindutva in other current SCIY post, and it would appear that Sri Aurobindo's use-value for political Hinduvta is in championing him as a staunch nationalist who would resort to warfare - citing his essays on the 5000 year old text of the Gita, - to restore her timeless Hindu Identity and reclaim her ancient territory, I think the following statement needs to be deconstructed; and I mean that in no small way:
“Sri Aurobindo's vision for a united India.”
In doing so the following words need to first be removed and looked at individually
1) India
2) United
3) Vision (as in Sri Aurobindo's)
1) I will start with the ideal of the nation state of India first. The nation states of the 19th and 20th centuries have been constructed according to a European socio/political model of nationhood with a legislative body. Although one can certainly identify on the sub- continent commonalities of culture and heritage, we dont necessarily find the sharing of a common language – unless imposed by the Nation State - nor do we find a homogeneous religion among all people. In fact, the unified nation-state of India today was the result of the British drawing arbitrary boundaries to establish it.
If one is referring however, to a unified India as existing pre-independence then of course one is tracing a genealogy to those arbitrary boundaries the British drew up pre-1947 which were more determined by the chaotic landscape left behind after their colonial conquest than any natural political affinity of the region. In fact, one of the reasons for the wide spread success of the nationalist home rule movement in pressuring the British to leave India was due to the fact that the one of the unintended consequences of British rule is that they had instituted one central system of administration and laws,- unifying the many princely states -, and had connected the territory north to south by railways, roads, postal service, telegraph, making communications on resistance to the oppression of British rule possible across the vast areas spanning the territory.
So at very least the term a “unified India” needs to be defined, because even today within the present nation states there are people and areas of the unified nation state of India who wish to succeed from the Union because they claim a heritage and autonomy that dates back well prior to the formation of India in 1947. In other words they feel their unity has been trampled upon.
2) Next the word united, what does this mean in terms of a nation state? Well there is currently a united Europe or EU , which is comprised of many smaller sovereign individually united nations. At one time almost all those nations however, were themselves amalgamations of smaller countries but combined generally after wars to form larger more inclusive nation states, which although they are still shifting their boarders, have now elected to form a larger supra-national entity to represent their common interest. What unity appears to mean in this context of nation states is that it is an ever changing value which more often then not refers to a transitional form of national identity at one particular moment in history. If anything what is currently being worked out is sort of a multiplicity in unity , in which autonomous nation states form larger geo-political unities. Could a South Asian union based on the EU model be a unified India?
3) Finally regards Sri Aurobindo's vision of a united India, the thing one should do in any critical inquiry is to compare the historical vision to the time in which the vision occurred. This particular vision of Sri Aurobindo was last stated in 1950. In the US that was the year of the Korean War, and McCarthyism. In India the Constitution was officially adopted and the Election Commission established. Well in the U.S Iraq has replaced Korea, and Cheney has replaced McCarthy, but in India the constitution is now been well amended and there have certainly been many elections ( and India has largely had a good record for holding fair elections because of its independent election commission) But I think we all would agree that there has certainly been a lot of time and tremendous amount of change in both nations since this time. Does the fact that the times have radically changed since 1950 make a difference in the original vision of Sri Aurobindo?
Well prior to 1926 he was engaged actively in sedition against the British, and then after his siddhi withdrew from public life, because after he had a transformation of consciousness he knew the task would be done.. Well did his perceptions of geo-political events change after his transformation of consciousness regards Indian independence? Indeed they certainly did. In short over time his perspective on the conflict changed as well. As I understand it in 1965 Mother urged a full assault on Pakistan during the War, yet in 1973 her message on Pakistan was that without the need of military intervention the nation state of Pakistan would implode itself. Did Mother's perspective change between 1965 and 1973, well yes it appears to have changed measurably.
This is why I question the use of the phrase “Sri Aurobindo's vision was for a unified India” because both he and the Mother having a great deal of common sense have demonstrated that they could adapt their perspectives on both national and world affairs according to the evolution of time and circumstances. So when we read that Sri Aurobindo vision was for a united India would he define this unity exactly the same way today as he did in 1950 or Mother in 1973?
Unfortunately this is the interrogation political Hindutva fails to make regarding Sri Aurobindo's social/political vision. It as if the clock in Mrs. Haversham's drawing room has stopped in 1950. Moreover, they seem satisfied to simply reduce his metaphysical or integral terrestrial vision to the territorial politics of division and self-interest. In this way Hindutva seeks to recover past glory by means of appealing to a timeless or transcendent will. And although this glory should certainly be preserved to assert ones victimhood because the upheavals of history have unseated one's group dominance as a subculture within a larger south Asian cultural heritage, and then to seek to recover what was lost some millenium ago can only be called: reactionary rich Print Article Keywords: Hindutva Posted to: Main Page .. India .. Critical Theory & Postmodernism POLITICS IY PHILOSOPHY .. Rich Carlson

Friday, July 27, 2007

The supremacy of Vedic Knowledge should not be mixed into political issues

Re: What is Hindutva? Known-Knower-Knowledge
by Vladimir on Thu 26 Jul 2007 08:33 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
One cannot defend the truth by the means other than the truth; in principle the very means used to reach a particular goal define the very nature of that goal. One cannot arrive at truth, for instance, by the means of falsehood. The idea of Hinduism (=? Hindutva) as ‘a small segment of human life struggling to preserve its possessions of Spiritual knowledge and practice” for itself, and that “it should be entitled for defense” is not appealing to me at all. Hinduism, in my view, lives in its grand Knowledge, Veda, which was preserved for the purpose of transformation of life on earth and no less than that. It does not belong to itself but to the whole world.
If you speak about people and their religious customs and culture in different regions of India today, then yes they should be entitled for defending themselves and their religion and culture, according with the norms of human rights. There is no doubt about that. But it is altogether another issue: social and political rather than philosophical and Spiritual. The supremacy of Vedic Knowledge should not be mixed into political issues.
Regarding your view “that we should not confuse idealism and practice” I can not agree with you. To be sincere and truthful, for instance, in word, action and thought, is practically the most difficult thing to do, for it requires not only the Knowledge, but also Strength and Courage of the Divine Kshatriya to withstand the attacks of evil. Kurukshetra is an inner war, where the forces of evil and the forces of light clash within a man fighting “for his soul as for a costly prize.” (Savitri, p. 30) The victory is to be won within. The outer life only reflects our inner battle and will eventually reflect our inner victory. Reply Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

Else Bengal would have had a different history

Sri Aurobindo One of the early freedom fighters
vijaya rangarajan.sulekha.com 26 Jul 07 18:55:13 PM - 13 Views Tags:
The dawn of the 20th century marked the beginning of a thirst for freedom in the minds of Indians.The partition of Bengal in 1905 by the ruling British government exposed their wicked intentions towards India and spurred Indians towards self government.
Aurobindo Ghosh was the son of a doctor who lived in Britain and wanted his son to adopt the lifestyle of an Englishman.He learnt the classical languages of Europe viz. Greek and Latin.in London.But in the wake of the partition of Bengal he became the leading light of extremist nationalisats who wanted to take up arms against the foreign rulers to drive them out of India.He started a revolutionary movement called Yugaantha and a journal in Bengali language called Bande Maatharam and led the movement during 1905-1912.His house was raided after the bomb blast in Alipore in 1908 and was then incarcerated by the British.
He served as a teacher in Baroda for some time and during this period learnt yoga from Prof.VishNu Bhaaskar.This enabled him to transform himself into a spiritual leader soon after his escape into Pondicheri which was under the French.He started an aaSram there in 1910.The country secured independence on 15 August which is also his birthday.
He provided refuge to many a nationalist leader and freedom fighter who was fleeing from the ruthless and relentless pursuit of the British authorities. Leave a comment Comments (1) Perma link Email this post
maddss123 comments: on 26 Jul 07 22:57:00 PM
The turning point as you pointed out was 1905, when Bengal was divided to make Bengali Hindu a minority in both parts by lord cruzon, and the next 10 years changed the entire political scene in India, Shri Aurobindo may have shifted after the trials and became a monk and did help many a freedom fighters, but the core leadership of awakened Hindu's was lost for ever, most of the reforms and assertiveness originated in Bengal.....see the same place has given up its core stand on nationalism .....and adopted Communism......what I am stating is the leadership of nationalist Hindu's gave up struggle so soon, or else Bengal would have had a different history and as a country we would have benefited.
Some of my close friends are devotees of Mother, one of them have dedicated their only child to the Ashram. Regards

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Build anew a nation in strength, harmony, unity & Truth

Anirban said...
Tusarji, rightly said, yes, the churning is indeed going on at all levels & fast. A rapid amount of restructuring & rejection is taking place & the political awareness of the masses is generally on the rise, it is to this awareness that a Savitri Era Party can offer a new culture of politics, Sri Aurobindo's call for unity & concerted action towards a new India is dynamically relevant at this moment of time. We are hurtling towards the future & all that which cannot keep pace with that momentum is tending to becoming obsolete.
A vision of unity, an unity of self, an unity among selves, an unity among castes, creeds, religions, beliefs, systems, views & regions, an unity in the country & an unity eventually among countries is what a Savitri Era Party must strive to acheive. In an age where fragmentation seems to be the only mode of expansion a party that calls for unity first, overriding all attempts at splintering, can really strike a chord.
A Savitri Era Party which seeks to do this is thus the need of the hour - it may be named the Unity Party - & The Masters' Words are there to light the agni of the new revolution & announce a new age of fire - agni-yuga - a fire of sacrifice where we decide to offer all pettiness, all parochialism, all divisions, all hatred, insincerity etc. & build anew a nation in strength, harmony, unity & Truth. This may sound odd at this period of our national existence but it is the only way out. In Sri Aurobindo's words,
"low-pitched and narrow ideals, small hopes and aims, petty caution and cowardice as well as short-sighted, faint-hearted leadership - all these palrty things can never be the right materials for building the strength of a nation. No people has ever risen to the heights of greatness equipped with such poor materials. Our politicians should always should always keep in mind the saying from the Mahabharata: niriho nasnute mahat, "The unaspiring shall never enjoy greatness."
Let our politicians forget this today, the majority among them aspire only for self-greatness-aggrandisement, but it is the people who must rememeber this most, a Savitri Era Party must work towards first raising this aspiration for greatness in all & define 'a large & noble political ideal' for national resurgence only then will true greatness start dawning on this nation & a new dircetion be taken. 2:34 PM

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A discourse expands through fragmented realities being forced to share a world

Re: Reflections on THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY By Debashish Banerji
by Debashish on Thu 12 Oct 2006 11:48 PM PDT Permanent Link
Sri Aurobindo is anything but a liberal rationalist in his understanding of human unity. In a sense, yes, of course, Sri Aurobindo is speaking to those who are calling out to him with their own doxa, as a variety of Homi Bhabha's mimicry - the language of the "west", but "not quite/not white," his alienness perturbing subtly from below the surface the smooth texture of his Victorian-sounding Overmental prose. What unites then is hardly a structure, a religion, a rational convention however encompassing, but rather the supra-human sources of integrality which culturally he has a right to assert both through his experience and through the Indic discourse within which equally if not more properly he situates himself and which he extends.
Our hopes, dreams, ideals may be speculative nonsense masquerading as Truth and forcing themselves onto others through strategies of power which is why any foundationism is looked suspiciously upon by most anti-foundationist post-structural thinkers. But the discourse of darshan begins by asserting its non-speculative basis in supra-rational experience and a subjective objectivity. To situate Sri Aurobindo in a western discourse it is first necessary to take him on his terms, and he spells these out in the chapter "Methods of Vedantic Knowledge" in The Life Divine. This does not make it unaccountable to anything other than its own assertions of relative experience. Darshana based philosophies (and yogas) have succeeded one another without displacing or invalidating any throughout Indian history using a method of vitarka (argumentation). It is interesting to note that the grounds of such a process are not restricted to "reasonableness."
When Chaitanya sat in debate in the centers of Indian scholarship, what made his philosophy fly was not just the coherence of his interpretations of the Vedas and the Upanishads, but the fact that his speech and his appearance connoted something far greater than their content. This invisible component of language spoke to the supra-rational faculties of knowledge latent within the human, awakening him/her to visions, experiences and spontaneous understandings which can best be called overmental. I believe this is the case with Sri Aurobindo too, which is what makes those who are open to his word, bypass the grammatology and awake to the Truth-validity behind its address.
Regarding Foucault and the construction of the personality by intersecting and contested discourses, it is not true that Foucault takes the human being as fully determined by these and nothing outside of them. In his later writing and particularly in his essay "What is Enlightenment?" where he engages with Kant's essay of the same title, he makes a strong case for practices of individual creativity in everyday life arising out of a critical consciousness stretching the limits of the discursive determinants and thus pushing them towards rupture or innovation. To think of creativity in this manner, I believe, is certainly to give subjectivity an incalculable dimension beyond the constraining power of discourses.
Sri Aurobindo is no stranger to the radically fragmented nature of the human personality, and though he may have emphasized more its psychological than its social constitution, the social is never far from his analyses. In practical terms, though, what I think Sri Aurobindo is saying in his chapter "The Religion of Humanity" is that the psychic element in humankind is pushing through processes both of painful struggle and rapturous communitas for emergence and disclosure of its supra-rational integrative capacity and only when this makes itself properly recognizable and functional can the ideal of human unity become a reality. However, as you say, this may be effectuating itself through unpredictable ways.
In cultural processes a discourse expands through fragmented realities being forced to share a world. These processes forge new vocabularies, if not of translation, at least of doublespeak, so that doxa are dislodged from reified states and move towards universalities of understanding while maintaining specificities of taste and life-ideals. Such creative acts of intersubjective practice may also further the emergence of the psychic element in humankind. And yes, I agree, that the beliefs of the faithful in the apotheosis of privileged spaces and times may be a dangerous anodyne and substitute for growth of consciousness through critical and creative practice. Debashish
Re: Reflections on THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY By Debashish Banerji
by Rod on Thu 26 Oct 2006 06:29 AM PDT Permanent Link
Nonetheless, Sri Aurobindo has claimed a divine sanction for his work, and he has written thousands of pages of primarily metaphysical and psychological statements based on a firm foundation of fundamental concepts and assumptions, such as an evolving cosmological order of distinct principles and planes of consciousness, and the prophetically revealed knowledge of supramental truth-consciousness, immanent and yet destined to be realized by human beings. Moreover, he has prescribed a process of psychological transformation based on bakti (devotion to a divine person), tapas (personal yogic effort), and shastra (study of sacred texts).
The first things that have to be said about Sri Aurobindo’s work, as he would agree, are that these texts are characteristically foundational and contain all of the classical elements of a religious system. It will there be very difficult to avoid facing the fact that the evolving social context and doxa that contextualize this work are not characterized by impartial critical or academic discourse, but by religious faith and practice. What other meaning could the phrase “Sri Aurobindo’s master-idea” possibly have? RH

A new political culture must be completely free of old ties, old thoughts, old bindings, old views & divisive tendencies

Anirban said...
Tusarji, I feel you have admirably stated what a party working for the future should have as ideals & anchors. Religion, culture & politics are essential components for effectuating any national resurgence, but they acquire an altogether new dimension when penetrated with the synthetic & evolutive vision of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother & thus develop the capacity of bringing about radical changes.
A new political culture must be completely free of old ties, old thoughts, old bindings & old views & divisive tendencies, it has to derive its energies from the fresh air of new thought & vision & as we realise it is The Master & The Mother who provide that. I wholly agree with you on the scriptures of the new age & the idea of The Human Cycle & IHU being the instruments for practical guidelines, in fact the latters are blue prints to a future world order & i believe it is India's destiny to bring that about.
As to the inspiration from other texts they ought to be accepted as long as they are positive & evolving & give a direction towards a future harmonious order of things & existence. Any new movement in the light of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother can have no past/present bindings of the old order, therefore i feel you are right when you point out that we are not bound by any scripture, any text, any religion but are bound completely & integrally to the vision of our Master & The Mother & in that light we strive for a new political culture & eventual systemic change. 2:03 PM

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

There are people who want to use Sri Aurobindo rather than live in the truth he is revealing

Re: What is Hindutva? Quest for God by Vladimir on Mon 23 Jul 2007 10:59 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Sanatana Dharma is an establishment of the ancient Knowledge, which answers why we are here and what this Creation is about. All what you say about Hinduism, Mr. Yeshwant Sane, is true but when you apply it politically as “the Hindutva concept” it somehow looses its truth, because then we don't need to be actually true anymore, for presumably we are already true, we don't need to know anymore because we presumably already know, by the very status of this Hindutva. The very characteristic of profound Vedic and Vedantic Knowledge does not permit such an application. It has to be lived and experienced inwardly in our daily life; and once it is lived and experienced it leads to the expression of enormous compassion and love towards all creatures, with deep understanding of their struggle towards the Truth and Perfection. Sincerity, humility, gratitude, tolerance, goodness, generosity, peace are the natural outcomes of such an experience and has nothing to do with aggressive political slogans made for some against the others. Hinduism conquers without battles, unnoticed, by its true values and qualities. It does not need a proclamation of its truthfulness, for then it can be questioned and must be proved, it needs to be true.
Re: What is Hindutva? The Eternal Word by RY Deshpande on Tue 24 Jul 2007 01:43 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Thanks, Vladimir. The rest is promotionalism and politics. That interests me the least. There are people who want to use Sri Aurobindo rather than live in the truth he is revealing. RYD

Meanwhile, we draw inspirations from Dr. Jayaprakash's herculean efforts

Anirban said...
Tusarji, Unlike many who think it to be dead, i believe that the concept of total revolution-sampurna kranti can be re-ignited but with a deeper & more solid & resolute plan of action. But to bring this about in a positive spirit all those who are conscious & dissatified with the present state of things must come forward, among them especially those who hold control of resources, & begin supporting a movement that works for initially, accountability & transparency in public life. Vinoba Bhave had unique ideas for the upliftment of the nation but his vision, selflessness, austerity & tapasya are totally absent from public life today.
Dr. Jayaprakash, who has been working for quite a while now towards grassroots change & revamping the system is quite correct in his views of the wealthy working for political transformation, it is one of the major ways of energizing a movement for change. Any positive movement that aims at progress & positive change & restructuring of our national life must be supported & a constant appeal made to the people to come forward in a selfless & committed spirit & be part.
I recall here Vinobaji visit to The Mother in July 1956:
"When he went for an interview with the Mother & asked for her blessings, the Mother said, "You are doing your work perfectly well. So i have nothing to say."
"Still i like to hear something."
"Aspire for the Divine, work for the Divine."
With these words the Mother gave him the flowers of blessings.
Addressing his prayer meeting in words of fire Bhaveji laid great stress on the importance of Indian spirituality and added in a forceful tone that it was India's spirituality and culture that could make India great and raise her in the estimation of the world. For it was the spiritual knowlegde which could inspire people to rise above the petty material things and induce them to work for the noble cause of mankind."
The Bhoodan movement created a massive stir, it demanded a self-exceeding of the small self, the rising above & collective offering for the national prosperity & well-being & harmonious growth. Any new movement of resurgence must demand the same from its participants for it is only then that its impact shall be long-term & deep.
Meanwhile, we draw inspirations from Dr. Jayaprakash's herculean efforts at cleansing the Indian system of governance. 2:30 PM

Monday, July 23, 2007

Specialization and complexity now demands an integrally developed man

Re: In search of Integral Education Paradigm: Chaturvarnya, the concept of 'integral man'. by Vladimir by Vladimir on Mon 23 Jul 2007 02:43 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
It is an interesting question. The richness the “integral men” may bring to society is difficult to imagine. The present complexity of relations in the society, which is growing rapidly, was brought forth by the need in a faster development and a more specific knowledge, which lead to specialization; and because individuals were not integrally educated, they could not easily accommodate it for their own self development in a more integral and harmonious way, which created a tension in a social and individual life. This very specialization and complexity it has created now demands an integrally developed man, for otherwise it cannot maintain its own growth. Multidimensional character of work today demands a more integral approach to education. It requires also a different psychological awareness, more concentrated and peaceful mind etc.

Redfining of all major concepts & isms in the light of Sri Aurobindo

Anirban said...
In Sri Aurobindo's Vision of India there ought to be a united & cohesive polity. He championed what he called an Indian Nationalism, largely Hindu, but capable of absorbing & uniting the muslim & all others. This Indian nationalism has no spirit of exclusivity or narrowness. However it is difficult to point at one direction & say this is what Sri Aurobindo had envisaged, one has to analyse from a deeper level setting aside one's surface propensities, inclinations, conditioning & prejudices & then decide.
E.g. in Sept 1950 , 3 months before his passing he clearly stated when requested on the issue of signing a manifesto for the Defence of Democracy & Independence in Asia against Communism that India must take her stand on the side of Western Democracies. He was also clearly unwilling to give up the heritage & ethos of Hinduism to appease the muslims who he felt must evolve greater tolerance & acceptance towards others & at the same time he was critical of the orthodoxy in Hinduism & wanted Hnduism to base itself on the deeper aspects of the Vedas & evolve the concept of Sanatana Dharma which had the power to assimilate & survive.
It could be said that he believed this Hinduism to be suited to India. In another context he clearly stated that "spirituality cannot be affirmed in a political constitution. You can add spirituality in a matter of the Spirit and not of constitutional politics." In yet another context he indicated that if proper grouping is not effectuated during the Cabinet Mission plan then Pakistan shall try to infiltrate & islamise Assam & end Hinduism there.
Today, with the gradual islamisation of the insurgent movement there with the help of Pakistan ISI that is exactly what is happening now. During the Cripps proposal he appealed by telegram to Dr. Moonje among others and had asked for a grand coalition of Congress, Hindu-Mahasabha & nationalist Muslims to defeat the designs of the Muslim league & thus save India from partition. But nowhere does he advocate any kind of rabidity, in fact as we all know it was totally alien to his nature & ways. The unity, integrity, safety, growth material as well as spiritual was his overriding concern & in & to acheive this he believed all must unite & work as Indians above all.
Anyway, while evolving policies based on his vision, whatever little we can understand of it with our mind as instruments, we have to be very cautious & focused & balanced & as Mother would say try & be open to his inspiration. One thing we can be certain of is that his nationalism/ vision of India has place for all in a united framework but he also sought to redefine Hinduism as Sanatana Dharma with the Vedas as its core & it can be said that it is this which he believed the future India could work out & spread.
Socialism, secularism etc. are words which have been distorted & misued so much in the last 60 years that i am afraid to go along with their current definition & work to build a new direction. These words themsleves have to be redifined in the light of Sri Aurobindo. That is why i insit that no existing political block can claim to make themselves fit to his vision, he requires a redfining of all major concepts & isms & therefore porobably a new action is demanded. I hope i have not over stepped my brief! July 23, 2007 10:18 AM

Misplaced target of Jyotirmaya’s historical thesis

Response to Jyotirmaya Sharma by Rich on Sat 19 Aug 2006 07:33 AM PDT
Since Joytirmaya brings up the views of Peter Heehs to support his claim that he gives Sri Aurobindo a balanced treatment, I will add that biographers and historians - even good ones - are forced to select, disregard, and interpret facts which they consider important from their own perspective. Jyotirmaya Sharma’s perspective is no different.
To anyone who has studied Sri Aurobindo in any depth at all it will be painfully obvious just how egregiously Jyotirmaya selects his facts to fit his thesis. For example, the works of Sri Aurobindo which are quoted in the book are: On Himself, India’s Rebirth, On Nationalism, Bande Mataram, Essays on the Gita. Oddly enough, Jyotirmaya completely ignores Aurobindo’s major works, including: The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Savitri, The Ideal of Human Unity, and only briefly quotes a few words from The Human Cycle. So forgive me if I do not agree with whomever may be the reviewer but, “in no way”, do I find that the neglect of the major corpus of an author’s work achieves balance.
Jyotirmaya's choice is to focus on Sri Aurobindo's role as an independence leader in what he hoped to be a united secular India of all faiths, but according to Jyotirmaya – and forgive my characterization – he [SA] was the narrow minded communalist leader of a bunch of Lingam worshipping Hindu zealots, who not only screamed for the blood of their Muslim neighbors but who intended to sacrifice secular Indian democracy in a fire ceremony to their ravenous goddess Kali.
In this manner Jyotirmaya contrives what is a close resemblance to an Orientalist approach in this study. Rather than rooting out the cause of Hindutva in its social, political and even economic dimensions, which involves the exploitation of communal differences in the power agendas of a cold calculating leadership, Sharma seeks to uncover the cause of the social malady by invoking the mystical visions of India’s most prominent spiritual leaders. (Although I am only concerning myself with Sri Aurobindo in this review, both Vivekananda and Dayananda, from what I understand of their teachings, have also been the misplaced target of Jyotirmaya’s historical thesis. However, I do not claim the same for Savarkar, in whom the author has found a more fitting target)...
Due to these omissions by Jyotirmaya, almost the entire historical context is missing, within which Aurobindo at times advocates taking a hard line with Muslim fundamentalists, especially in their intolerance of secular democracy. Is this not the setting up of a straw man thesis?

Sri Aurobindo chose to champion secular social/democracy and not Hinduism as an appropriate platform for social polity

Re: What is Hindutva? Known-Knower-Knowledge by Rich on Sun 22 Jul 2007 10:27 AM PDT
Well certainly these qualities you detail which speak to the unique accomplishments of Hinduism are there. But one still can not factor out time and the episteme which governs the present day if one wishes to argue from these past accomplishments to positing a social instrument for the present day. And it is this reasoning I believe that led Sri Aurobindo to champion secular social/democracy and not Hinduism as an appropriate platform for social polity in these times.
One of the great qualities of Hinduism I find is its tolerance and universal embrace of Otherness, however when Hinduism becomes institutionalized as a governmental entity, then what have we witnessed? the Thackery's and Modi's rise to the top to lead a particularly intolerant form of Hinduism, that seeks to revision the very historical text books of the nation. Moreover, if one is doing a critical inquiry into Hinduism, one must also highlight the great social failure which Hinduism has left us namely the plague of the caste system. And it is the remains of this inequitable system which has resulted in the current chaos of Indian politics. Namely the fragmentation of a social order into the endless unceasing demands of different groups based exclusively on caste, in which the national interest suffers due to the chauvinistic demands of narrow self-interest groups. Naipaul's million mutinies.
Regards Sri Aurobindo location within the Indian philosophical tradition, I do not think that can be denied, however the uniqueness of Sri Aurobindo vision is his emphasis on evolution and the theory of evolution is firmly rooted in the Western scientific tradition, and since he was also a Latin and Greek scholar as well as a poet who wrote in the English language, it would also be correct to highlight the hybridity which is central to Sri Aurobindo's thought and vision. rich Previous: Sri Aurobindo's Uttarpara Speech

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Savitri Era party is a necessity which must begin to effectively give an alternative direction

Anirban said...
Tusarji, you have again stated quite boldly & openly the action needed in an area which has till date been largely left untouched by Savitri Erans. At every crucial phase in this nation's history from 1906 to 1950 Sri Aurobindo intervened & gave advice & direction for decisive action which if followed would have been benificial for the nation, a number of examples come to mind namely Cripps proposal, opposing the award of communal electorate at Lucknow in 1916, Cabinet Mission Plan etc. Our national leaders did not understand or refused to follow or pay heed & thus allowed events to veer off control & bring about further complexities. Many realised this later, K.M.Munshi is on record to have said that had they then listened to Sri Aurobindo there would have been no partition, no Kashmir problem etc.
None of the present political party today are willing to look upto the ideals of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother because it requires a great degree of out of box thinking which they are unwilling/incapable of doing because of their deep vested entrenchments. A new nationalism has to be developed based on Sri Aurobindo's indications & policies must be evolved on every present national/ international issues - education, security, foreign affairs, finance, industry, terrorism, SAARC etc. A Savitri Era party is a necessity which must begin to effectively give an alternative direction. Savitri Erans have to unite on this issue, leaving aside scepticism, uncertainty, doubt & despair. Sri Aurobindo's Vision of India should start to be realised...7:09 PM

Auroville is the greatest opportunity for the human spirit to collectively progress and aspire for the divine Truth

An Eternal Dream by Arun Vaidya Published in Mother India, June 2007, pp 440-446. by RY Deshpande on Sun 22 Jul 2007 04:12 AM PDT Permanent Link
Maybe the first step of unity of humanity begins with the spiritual union of the two creations of the Mother: Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville where the Dream of the Mother finds its roots. In 1347 B.C., Akhnaton’s ideal was willfully destroyed and his dream city was reduced to rubble by an army general who revived and reverted to the past traditions. One of the four “Matter Forces” as characterized by Sri Aurobindo—Affinity to the Laws of Past (Dragon) prevailed once again!
The question remains, would we at this time rise above our petty selves and meet the challenge of the time to be worthy of the “Hour of the God”? Would the silent majority remain silent for ever in the cozy comfort of as is – this time the Eternal Inertia (Rock), one of the four “Matter Forces” as characterized by Sri Aurobindo or would it actively invoke the “Mother of Radiance” and seek transformation of itself and collective consciousness to collaborate and hasten the success of the divine plan? “You say Auroville is a dream. Yes, it is a ‘dream’ of the Lord and generally these ‘dreams’ turn out to be true—much more than the human so-called realities.[9]

A human frailty may surface here and there in this grand transformational process, creating its own challenges and delaying the rate of spiritual progress. But the march continues steadily even if slowly, towards the objective of unification of spirit and its realisation in collective endeavors and community dwelling for the harmony to prevail. After all, the direct and indirect participants of Auroville do represent humanity at large, which is even now far from being perfect and still struggling to establish harmony within to manifest it in the collective domain.
If humanity were more open to the Divine Consciousness, more willing to adhere to the principles of Integral Yoga, and more ready and willing to follow the light of the Supramental Truth then maybe all the direct and indirect participants as affiliates, associates and well-wishers of Auroville would be better instruments and workers of the Divine. If it were the case then the Auroville work could have progressed faster; and time, talent, and resources deployed would have found a greater level of success in reflecting the manifestation of Bliss, Beauty, and Truth.
Auroville is a great reminder that the fault lies not with the circumstances and somewhere outside but within all of us around the world. Auroville is the greatest opportunity for the human spirit to collectively progress and aspire for the divine Truth. It provides an uncommon opportunity to experience that aspiration; and above all, it demonstrates the descent and functioning of the Supreme’s light to enable us to work collectively to collaborate and to live collectively in harmony with accentuated individuality. Auroville still remains the vibrant symbol of mankind’s hope and aspiration for the future. All the participants and supporters of Auroville in their respective roles from around the world are the harbingers of the new dawn of our civilisation.

What Sri Aurobindo wrote about community presages The Mother’s Auroville Charter

The Chariot of Jagannatha by rjon on Sun 15 Jan 2006 08:56 PM PST Permanent Link Kim Anastasia here posting under Ron’s admin account:
I have just returned from a trip to Auroville and Pondy where Ron and I found in the Ashram bookstore a small pamphlet with writings by Sri Aurobindo called “The Chariot of Jagannatha”. I read it on the plane back to the U.S. and was so inspired by what Sri Aurobindo wrote in those early years about community - particularly as it presages the Mother’s Auroville Charter and the establishment of Auroville as the “city the earth needs” by exactly 50 years - that I offer it over here for others to enjoy and perhaps discuss.
This was first published by Sri Aurobindo under the title Samaj-Katha (on Society) in Prabartak in 1918, and later by the Ashram in 1972, with subsequent reprintings. It has been translated from the Bengali by Arabinda Basu. English spellings for some words are from the original text.
An ideal Society is a vehicle of the Divine, the Divine as the inner Soul of collective humanity. It is the Chariot of Jagannatha, the Lord of the World, and its four wheels are unity, freedom, knowledge and power.
A society constructed by the mind or created by the impure vital agitations of Prakriti belongs to another order. It is not the chariot of God, the leader of the community by the vehicle of that other many-faced god, the collective ego, which by concealing the free inner Guide distorts the divine inspiration. Pulled by the imperfect and immature intelligence and the old or new uncontrolled impulses of the lower Prakriti, it moves along the path of varied small satisfactions and activities devoid of any aim. As long as the ego is the agent it is not possible to know the true goal, - even when it is known, it is beyond one’s capacity to drive the chariot straight towards it. It is this ego which is the main barrier against divine perfection; this is as true of the collectivity as of the individual.
We may observe three principal kinds of human society. The first is the creation of expert craftsmen, beautiful, bright, clean and comfortable. Strong and well-trained horses pull it carefully, not too slowly but without any haste on a well-laid track. The owner and passenger is the sattwic ego. The chariot goes round and round the elevated plateau on which God’s temple stands but it keeps itself at a distance and cannot reach that high ground. To ascend there one has to get off the chariot and go up alone and on foot. The society of the ancient Aryans after the Vedic age may be described as such a chariot.
The second type of society is an automobile of the indulgent and efficient individual. It tears along at great speed in a cloud of dust, damaging the royal road, making a great noise and in uncontrolled haste. The sound of its horn is deafening and it runs over anyone who happens to be in its way. The passenger’s life is in danger, accidents are not rare, the car breaks down and after painful tinkerings, it resumes the same arrogant journey. There is no fixed goal. Its owner, the rajasic ego, drives in the direction of whatever new scene comes within slight, shouting “This is the goal, that is the destination”. To ride in this vehicle brings its own pleasure and also inevitable danger. But to reach by this means even anywhere near God is impossible. Modern Western society is such an automobile.
The third kind of society is a dirty, old half-broken cart, its speed that of a tortoise. Drawn by skinny bulls starved and half-dead, it drags along on the narrow village path. Seated inside is a dirtily dressed, inert, blind old man with a big paunch as his only asset. Listening to the harsh, monotonous screeching of the cart, he puffs happily at his mud-stained hubble-bubble, lost in broken and distorted memories of the past. The name of this owner is the tamasic ego. The driver is Book-learning who consults the almanac to decide upon the time and direction of the journey and keeps on saying, “What is or was is good, whatever tries to be is bad”. Travelling by this cart one may well reach the void Brahman without delay but not the Divine.
The bullock-cart of the tamasic ego is safe so long as it is on the muddy village-road. But the heart trembles to think of its fate when it comes out on the main thoroughfares of the world where hundreds of speed-mad motor cars are rushing along. The difficulty is that it is not within the knowledge and power of the tamasic ego to acknowledge or recognise the time when it should change its vehicle. Nor has it any inclination to do so, for if it does that, its business ownership would come to an end. When the problem does arise, some among the passengers say, “No, let it be, this is indeed good, for it is our own”. These are the conservative and sentimentalist patriots. Others say, “just make a few repairs here and there” as if by this simple device the bullock-cart could be easily transformed into a perfect and priceless motor car. These go by the name of reformers. Still others pine and say, “Let the beautiful ancient chariot come back”. They even try from time to time ways of achieving this impossible feat. There is however no sign anywhere of these hopes being fulfilled.
Foregoing all other endeavors, if a choice must be made only among these three, the reasonable course would be to make a chariot like that of the sattwic ego. But until Jagannatha’s Chariot is built, the ideal community will not be created. That is the ideal, the best manifestation and image of the deepest and highest truth. Mankind tried to build it under the inspiration of the secret cosmic Person. But due to ignorance in its nature, it only succeeds in creating a different likeness - either malformed, unfinished and ugly or passably half-beautiful or incomplete despite its beauty: a dwarf instead of Shiva, or a Rakshasa, else a half-deity of the intermediate regions.
No one knows the true form or model of the Chariot of Jagannatha, no artist of life, jivan-silpi is able to paint it. That archetypal image resides in the heart of the cosmic Person but is concealed by many veils. To manifest it gradually through the efforts of many Vibhutis of God, seers and heroes of action, and to embody it in the physical world is the purpose of the indwelling Deity.
The true name of this Chariot of Jagannatha is not society but commune. It is not a many-faced loose-knit human collectivity or crowd but a free indestructible union, a divine commune evolved in joy by the power of the harmonising knowledge of self and God.
That association which is the means of many people working together is known as society, samaja. This meaning is clear from the derivation of the word. The prefix sam denotes ‘together’, the root aj signifies going, moving, war. Thousands of people band together for the sake of work and fulfilment of desire, - they work in the same field but reach out for different goals, there is struggle and competition among themselves as well as with other societies as to who should go first and achieve eminence; within this turmoil they establish various relationships, formulate many ideas for the sake of some discipline, mutual help and the satisfaction of varied ambitions. The result is something incomplete, impermanent and accomplished with great difficulty - this is the picture of a society of the ordinary world, based upon the lower Nature.
This natural society is based upon division. On that separative basis, a fragmented, temporary and incomplete unity is constructed. The form of the ideal society is exactly the opposite. Unity is its foundation; there is a play of diversity, not of separativeness, for the sake of the variety of Ananda. In society there is only a semblance of unity which is physical, mind-constructed and based on work; the unity inherent in the Soul is the very life of the commune.
There have been many partial and unsuccessful attempts to found communes on narrow foundations, either under the inspiration of rational thought as in the West, or for the unhindered and free practising of cessation of work for the sake of Nirvana - as that of the Buddhist, or under the impact of Godward emotion - like the first Christian communes. But within a short time all the defects and deficiencies and impulses of a natural society enter the commune and reduce it to its own level. The ideas of restless reason do not endure but are carried off in the flood of new or old vital impulses. Success in such an endeavour under the stress of emotion is impossible; emotion exhausts itself by its own momentum. It is better to seek Nirvana, alone, for to create a commune out of love for Nirvana is a contradiction. A commune is in its very nature a field for the play of action, of relationships.
A day will come, when inspired by the Will of the World-Spirit, soul-unity will be manifest as a result of the synthesis and unification of knowledge, emotion and work; then will the Chariot of Jagannatha come out on the thoroughfares of the world. Then shall its light spread in all directions. The Age of Truth will descend on the earth, the world of mortal man become the playground of the Deity, the temple--city of God, the abode of spiritual delight. Keywords: Prabartak, SriAurobindo, Communities, Auroville Main Page
Comments Re: The Chariot of Jagannatha
by rjon on Mon 16 Jan 2006 04:43 AM PST Profile Permanent Link Thanks for this inspiring post Kim! And your AV comment too. I'd like to show it to some AV friends, if that's ok with you. Love, ~ ron
by Rich on Tue 17 Jan 2006 08:51 PM PST Profile Permanent Link yes, a very apt post. Sri Aurobindo writes:
“The second type of society is an automobile of the indulgent and efficient individual. It tears along at great speed in a cloud of dust, damaging the royal road, making a great noise and in uncontrolled haste. The sound of its horn is deafening and it runs over anyone who happens to be in its way. The passenger’s life is in danger, accidents are not rare, the car breaks down and after painful tinkerings, it resumes the same arrogant journey. There is no fixed goal. Its owner, the rajasic ego, drives in the direction of whatever new scene comes within slight, shouting “This is the goal, that is the destination”. To ride in this vehicle brings its own pleasure and also inevitable danger. But to reach by this means even anywhere near God is impossible. Modern Western society is such an automobile.”
It is interesting that Sri Aurobindo uses a trope from modern technological in his analogy of society powered by the rajastic vital whose motivation is always driven a will to power and a will to technology. (and of course this is what caught my eye :)
To me the passage was another reminder that Sri Aurobindo always thinks technology critically through (even when he uses it as a trope) with a penetrating vision that sees through its social consequences and exchanges. In this passage his technological trope is extended to Western Modernist Society which at the time was immersed in a dream of unending progress (both cultural and scientific) yet ironically moving headlong toward the self-annihilation of World War.
We should all go to the actual Chariot of Jagannatha (Rath Jatra) festival in Puri, when literally hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in the ecstatic parade of chariots. There is no telling how many people who get trampled each year in the crush of the crowd. So the actual affair today appears to be driven by the gods of the vital plan. Here is a great description: http://rathjatra.nic.in/about.html rich

This would be a giant leap in the functioning & growth of Auroville

Anirban said...
Tusarji, a very unique observation indeed & one which i believe must be seriously considered by all those who are at the helm of affairs in Auroville & the GOI. The case is clearly stated a resident of Auroville must become the President of the international township & she/he can be elected by the residents themselves. The GOI can appoint a resident-commissioner to liaise with it. The powers & role of the president must be clearly defined & demarcated & the residents assembly empowered to truly assist in governance.
This would be a giant leap in the functioning & growth of Auroville & start a new phase of experimentation in governance, government,representation & international cooperation & unity. This would also have an immensely symbolic value for the vision of Human Unity as seen by The Master & implemented by The Mother. Those living outside Auroville can never effectively appreciate its particular problems & conditions & thus are in no position to offer advise from their place on the board. The Govt. always bureaucratises & that is surely not healthy for an experiment like Auroville which needs great autonomy & unique systems to assist its growth.
I think all Savitri Erans who feel close to the Auroville experiment must seriously consider this issue. The President may be from any country but must be an accepted member of Auroville with proven credentials of service & dedication. After all India has always been open to new thoughts & experiments, haven't we accepted an Italian - turned Indian citizen as the Chairperson of the ruling coalition & once as Leader of opposition in Parliament?
I believe an Aurovillian as Auroville President is bound to be an eventual imperative need for the unhindered furtherance of the experiment. Let's begin working at it. 1:23 PM

We should remember Sri Aurobindo was an activist in all respects

by Yeshwant Sane on Sat 21 Jul 2007 07:42 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
What is the reality? If my information is right, have we not come to the situation, where the Central Government of India intervenes and steps in and takes over the charge of management of the 'spot'? This again is an intervention on the erroneous interpretation of the concepts 'Secular' and 'Religious or Spiritual.' The contemporary rulers of the Nation (and for that reason any Social, political Governments and the judiciary in the World.) have no clarity about the Concept "Spirituality" as spelt out by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother or by The Vedas. How should the society get round to this difficulty? We have Theory, but the situation demands praxis.
Does it not call for a movement to bring about a transformation of the Societies/Nations at the 'real mundane level' in the World? Does it not warrant some form of an active movement at the social level? Are we interested in turning out essentially an Intellectual debate and rest at that? We should remember Sri Aurobindo was an activist in all respects. Pondicherry is essentially a Spiritual Laboratory. Its wisdom and light has to overspill and enrich the outside World, as envisaged in an Integral fashion? We are in an urgent need of an efficient 'Social Instrument and activity' on that field (i.e. the field of the 'Kurukhetra' of Bhagvad Gita) to spell out a dynamic and evolving movement in the true Spiritual Scientific sense. It is not only the individual but the entire Society has to be taken up and involved, right from its materialist and relative Inconscient state. Lord Krishna also required Arjuna as an individual soul or instrument to engage into 'a DharmaYuddha' on the Dharma Kshetra and for the Physical interpretation and translation of the Spiritual Wisdom and Light in the mundane World. This is inescapable. What is the instrument for this?
Therefore, we come to the practical situation, where actual management of the society and its physical life and resources are in the ignorant hands unsuitable for such a spiritual work. At this time of history it is in the hands of "a so called Democratic and Secular National Government", which appears to be inactive, insensitive or directly obstructs the Transformation motives throughout.
Does it satisfy the spiritual requirements for social instrumental criteria stated above? More importantly, the entire humanity waiting for the "Dawn or the Usha" or the rise and flowering of the Spiritual Consciousness "Here and Now" on this sacred Earth, (as spelt out in Rig Veda (I.113.8.19) Rishi Kutsa Angirasa, and described as "The Human Aspiration" by Sri. Aurobindo in Chapter 1 of "The Life Divine ". Is it likely to be realised in the present environmental umbrella of the Secular Democratic 'Political or materialistically' motivated present day Governments, who are actively engaged in destroying the existing spiritually motivated structures? We cannot ignore its negative effects.
We have to perforce think about an appropriate social comprehensive instrument to spring forth on the Earth, anywhere on its geography, and undertake the struggle on the material physical level as well. No doubt, it will be inspired and guided from the " propitious spot" though physically and geographically situated in India or anywhere in the World.
Next, which is 'the specific society' that is envisaged by the critics while objecting to Hindus, and which society is waiting around the corner to become a willing instrument for this task? We cannot avoid this question or leave it solely to the appearance of an 'Avatar’ and do nothing!
(Yeshwant Sane) Mr. Yeshwant Ramchandra Sane, B.E. (Civil), FIV, FIS, RICS (Lond) Retd. Estate Manager Bombay Port Trust, Visiting Faculty Member, Sardar Patel University, and Dr. Ambedkar University, Ahemdabad, Gujrat State, India Trustee Granthali (Mumbai), and Brahman Shikhan Mandal, Thane, Vice President Thane Nagar Wachan Mandir Library (160 yrs Old), A founder member of the Madhyamik Shiknottar Mandal, ThaneTrustee, Thane Film Society, Thane President Spiritual Science Centre, Thane, Res: Sonal Appt. Agiary Lane, near Saraswat Bank, PC 400601 Res Tel: -91-022-25368450 MBL: 9892046539 E-mail: yrsane@eth.net