Monday, April 28, 2008

The most practical and the only Sunlit path laid down by Sri Aurobindo

Encourage and support: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Sri Aurobindo Society and Auroville: All these three Institutions have been working sincerely and tirelessly with dedication as per their own schedules in the divine cause for creating the ‘SPIRITUALISED SOCIETY’ at Pondicherry to start with; then steadily such small units shall be studded over across the globe under Indian leadership (Guruhood) and shall act as beacon lights for guiding the humanity now wallowing in Ignorance, Ego and Desires. The marathon-race has to start with the first step of intensive Integral Education amongst the elites. It is noteworthy that Sri Aurobindo Society with its head quarters located at Pondicherry and local centres across the Nation is venturing to start Residential Schools at various places across the Nation on the model of International School at Pondicherry. Bangalore, the growing cosmopolitan city shall be its first destination in this unique venture and needs all encouragement by the Union and State governments. A team of dedicated workers is being organized for this love’s labour.

Of the said 3 Institutions, Auroville-Society is already being administered by the central Govt. Now, we wish and pray that under your undisputed leadership these three spiritual wings of Pondicherry should be fully encouraged and supported by all possible means for their expeditious progress towards evolution of the “Spiritualised Society” in the fast approaching subjective or Spiritual Age elaborated by our Master in his profound essay on ‘Human Cycle’. Harmony amongst these three wings which is not evident now on the surface due to the inherent trouble of the Subtle Collective Ego shall be steadily and certainly established with their group knowledge by identity and this ‘Collective Ego’ shall be transformed into ‘Group Soul’ by the Mother’s abiding Grace. At this juncture, some initiative by the Central Govt. (on the lines of Rajashray being given to Rishis of the hoary past by the noble Emperors like Sri Ram and Sri Krishna) to act as a GOLDEN MEDIATOR can be of great help.

SUMMING UP: It is quite understandable in the present juncture regarding the onerous responsibility of your Govt. in providing suitable drinking water, food, shelter, roads, transport to the crores of underprivileged and rural population, next in providing overall protection from terrorism and mass destruction due to impending nuclear war. But, respected sir, as you have very appropriately referred to the five visions of Sri Aurobindo as the clear road map and “quintessence of India’s present and future work”, in your new year message we appeal to your unique Statesmanship to acquaint the present generation of India in particular and the world in general through all suitable media and all global platforms including UNO with the most practical and the only Sunlit path laid down by Sri Aurobindo, the sole sufficient genious of the age and the first prophet of Life Divine and of perfection on this earth for achieving human unity in peace, harmony and concord.

On the other hand, be it noted by all the knowledgeable statesmen and nationalists at this juncture that even the principles and tenets of our Father of the nation based on moral and ethical virtues are too inadequate to effectively tackle and dabble with the innumerable layers of sub-consciousness and Super-consciousness of Man and collective Man, for redemption of the humanity. It is only the Integral Yoga advocated by Sri Aurobindo and as practiced as an unprecedented spiritual odyssey by him and the Mother and governed by new and dynamic spirituality for world perfection (unlike the traditional spirituality of world rejection) that can successively redeem India, Asia and the world in conformity with the said five visions decreed by the supreme divine and laid bare before Indians through the divine instrumentality of Sri Aurobindo.

We as devotees are also quite aware of your reference to the five cosmic visions in your earlier public speeches also. With this, I conclude my long letter while praying for your indulgence on the issue by sparing some of your most valuable time. I shall be very grateful for a line in reply.

With my best regards. Yours in the Mother’s service. (Shree alias S.V. Sabnis)

Heroic independence, fearlessness, the courage to seek -- rather than avoid -- a challenge

My sense is that these "great souls" (I think they would shudder at this label) are not conventional. The very qualities that made liberation possible -- heroic independence, fearlessness, the courage to seek -- rather than avoid -- a challenge, would almost demand their continued action in the world.

Were Tota Puri to appear in the modern world, I suspect he'd look very much like Anugata. The heights of immobile trance having been scaled, the great soul attempts to establish its influence over the physical world, the world of action. The soul takes up the new challenge of what Sri Aurobindo calls the "Live Divine." Posted by Y. at 11:48 PM

Friday, April 25, 2008

Politics in India cannot be ever divorced from issues of religion and caste

Those Days and These Days
from Around and About by shantanu dutta

Jawaharlal Nehru was one who earnestly and passionately wanted a political order that was above the dictates of caste and creed and through out his long innings as a leader both before and after independence, he sought to lay its foundations, often by battling it out with other conservative ideas. But as in the nineteenth century; so too in the twentieth century – Nehru’s charisma in his time; the same as the charisma of the nineteenth century aristocracy in their time ensured that their thoughts reigned for a time and then after they were gone; caste and religion based politics slowly gained re entry and even have come to occupy centre stage.

The communist parties are supposed to be above caste, class and religion but this commitment perhaps is as best seen in the uppermost echelons. And as for the Dravidian parties, every one knows how after the old guard passes on, there would be very little left of Periyar’s (again charisma driven) legacy of rationalism.

Religion is too deeply etched on the human psyche ; and for any one to pretend that politics or any other social activity can be carried out by ignoring this interface is sheer naiveté. The experience of Swami Vivekananda and his turn around is a case in point. An avowed agnostic and rationalist with little to with matters of religion, an encounter with the illiterate and rustic Ramakrishna Paramhansa changed his destiny and the contour of Indian society at the turn of the century exactly a hundred years ago.

Politics in India cannot be ever divorced from issues of religion and caste. It wasn’t then in Those Days and it isn’t possible These Days. What history teaches us though is that it can be harnessed and controlled so that the forces of fanaticism, bigotry and intolerance do not ever hold sway. That much is possible. That much is what a man of Mahatma Gandhi’s stature was able to achieve. We may expect no more than this or we live in a fool’s paradise.

The Social Brain Hypothesis: Are our brains hardwired to deal with social hierarchies?
from by Kambiz Kamrani

Almost all primates live in groups with an observable and definable social hierarchy, and humans aren’t an exception. We may overlook it in our day to day lives, but every so often it becomes evident that we interact best when we understand the pecking order. The social brain hpyothesis argues that the cognitive demands of living in complexly bonded social groups selected for increases in executive brain. Two new papers in the current issue of the journal Neuron investigate this phenomenon by looking at the activity in specific regions of the brain, like the striatum, which reflects a common signal of reward in both the economic and social domains.

The research was conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health. fMRI was used to monitor the activity of the brain of 72 participants who were playing an interactive computer game for money. From this press release,

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Brahma or spiritual power and Kshatra or political power must always go together

A Call for the Intellectual Kshatriya David Frawley

Hinduism has produced many extraordinary minds in modern times. Excellent Hindu critiques of the West and of the modern world can be found in the writings of great Hindu gurus like Aurobindo, Vivekananda, Shivananda or Chinmayananda. The problem is that their works get placed in the religious or spiritual field and do not enter into the intellectual realm. Their teachings are often confined to their disciples, who personalize them rather than promote them for their global relevance. Much of the work of creating a new Hindu intelligentsia should consist of taking the works of these great gurus and reformulating them for a broader and more intellectual audience. Hindu intellectuals have generally failed in the modern information revolution. They have not articulated their views in a clear way. They have produced little by way of books, and almost nothing by way of magazines and newspapers to express what they hold to be true, even in India...

The language of modern discourse, perhaps unfortunately, is English. This should be of some advantage to Hindus as English is often their second language. However Hindus seldom learn to write good English. They often emulate nineteenth century British English with its long sentences, redundancy and antiquated words. To gain a place in this media dialogue they must sharpen their media skills and learn to use the English language to their benefit. Clearly there needs to be a new Hindu intelligentsia to deal with this current challenge. Hindus must set forth their ideas in a modern and rational way that appeals to people, just as the great Rishis did of yore...

An Intellectual Kshatriya

In this information war a different kind of warrior is necessary and a different strategy is required. This is not an entirely new issue because there has always been something of an information war in the clash of cultures, nations and religions that has occurred throughout history. But today it has much more importance in the information age and has become the central issue. Each culture has its intellectual defenders. These are its great thinkers who articulate its cultural values. These intellectual defenders serve to challenge negative views. They also serve to present a favorable image of the culture and define its future. Hindus traditionally had their Kshatriya or warrior class to defend them. There has always been an intellectual Kshatriya as well, those who defend the culture from attack in the realm of ideas, which usually precedes or accompanies physical attack. However, Hindus today have failed perhaps more than any other group to create a defense for their culture in the media world...

The Vedas declare that Brahma or spiritual power and Kshatra or political power must always go together. When Brahma or spiritual power develops it creates an appropriate Kshatra or social power to extend its influence into society. It provides a Dharmic order to human relations, both individual and collective. If Brahma or spiritual power fails to impact the social order and cannot raise the social Dharma, then it is a sign that this Brahma or spiritual power itself has failed, that it is not legitimate or real.

This true combination of Brahma and Kshatra creates an intellectual Kshatriya. For the true Brahmin his weapon is his speech. Many such Kshatriya Brahmanas existed in the past. In fact the Puranas relate that the Angirasa Rishis, the oldest Vedic seer family, was one of Kshatriya Brahmanas. This movement of a new spiritual Kshatriya of modern Hindus needs to be completed today, not only for the generation of Hindu society but for the revival of Sanatana Dharma or the universal tradition of truth throughout the world. The main Kshatriya that can carry the day today is the intellectual Kshatriya. Hindus must create a new intelligentsia that has the power to overcome and absorb the alienated and Western dominated intellectuals of India, projecting an intellectual view that is articulate and compelling. They must turn Sanatana Dharma into a world cultural force, not merely a religious curiosity. For a culture that has produced such thinkers as the Vedic seers, Upanishadic sages, Kapila, Buddha, Patanjali and Shankara, and in the modern times Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharshi, this is certainly possible. In fact such great modern figures of India as Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda are good models of intellectual Kshatriyas as well as spiritual masters. Clearly the success of Hindus in such intellectual fields as science and medicine shows that they have the capacity. What is lacking is the motivation, the guidance, and perhaps the inspiration.

This article is taken from the book 'Awaken Bharata: a Call for India's Rebirth', by David Frawley. The full text of the book can be accessed on line. David Frawley is currently the director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies, which runs numerous study courses of various branches of Vedic systems of knowledge. More information can be found at the institution's website.

Monday, April 21, 2008

In this age and in this creation Sri Aurobindo represents a new Truth and a new Power

The 15th August — PRAPATTI
In Mother’s Light, AUGUST 15 , 2006

Apart from being the independence day of India the 15th of August is the Day of Sri Aurobindo’s embodiment. In this age and in this creation Sri Aurobindo represents a new Truth and a new Power. That Truth and that Power is the Principle and Force of the Supramental. Sri Aurobindo had wanted the earthly life of entire humanity to undergo a revolutionary change by the action of this Principle, Power and Light. It is quite possible and inevitable that passing through much suffering, trouble, discomfort and storms, humanity will arrive at this Destiny. If man consciously and knowingly be opens towards this new Truth and Light , then suffering, danger and discontentment of humanity and the earth would be reduced to a great extent.

On this great auspicious day of 15th August, others may not but the people of India should be conscious of the working of this grand Truth and Light. In the coming days India’s greatest contribution to the world will be this Truth and Light, because by the strength of this Supramental Truth and Light humanity could be free from animality and brutal tendencies; leaving behind the animal nature, man would be initiated into divine nature. For the good of humanity, achieving the independence and the New Birth, India is slowly rising out of slumber. Western countries have achieved prosperity in the material world through science, industry, rationality and organisation, but they do not have the capacity to dispel barbarism from man and replace it by divinity.

The West, by outer material success, is unable to address this aspect of human development. It is only India who has the right to this secret. India alone knows the true meaning of inner liberation, freedom in work and life, establishment of Light and Knowledge in earthly nature, transformation of human nature into divine nature. These great truths are to be evolved and spread for the conservation of human species. Sri Aurobindo has evoked the attention of his countrymen on the message of India to humanity – animal man has to be transformed into divine superman. When other countries of the world are working out their destined role, India is not yet conscious of her own talent, strength and capability. By remembering the life, ideal, sadhana and works of Sri Aurobindo, on this auspicious day like 15th August, people of this country will become more conscious. (Nab,15th,aug,68/71)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

One wishes that Mohanty's book is read by all the students graduating from Indian universities, IIMs, IITs and other centres of knowledge

He foresaw the future The Pioneer Sunday April 20, 2008

Aurobindo warned Nehru about China's aggressive designs more than a decade before it invaded India in 1962. Sadly, he chose to ignore him, says Claude Arpi

Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader Author: Sachidananda Mohanty (ed)Publisher: RoutledgePrice: Rs 275

It is difficult to resist starting the review of Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader, edited by Prof Sachidananda Mohanty, from the epilogue, which reveals the contemporary vision of Sri Aurobindo. Mohanty tells us that in 1963, Sudhir Ghose, an emissary of Jawaharlal Nehru, showed US President JF Kennedy the 'last letter' written by Sri Aurobindo on November 11, 1950, less than a month before his death. It was about China's invasion of Tibet in October that year.

The recluse of Pondicherry wrote: "The basic significance of Mao's Tibetan adventure is to advance China's frontiers right down to India and stand poised there to strike at the right moment and with right strategy, unless India precipitately declares itself on the side of the Communist bloc. But to go over to Mao and Stalin in order to arrest their wrath is not in any sense a saving gesture. It is a gesture spelling the utmost ruin to all our ideals and aspirations."

Kennedy could not believe that this letter was written 13 years earlier by a man living a secluded life in south India. The sage had not stepped out of his room, on the first floor of his ashram, for the past 24 years. How could he analyse with such lucidity the political situation facing India? Sri Aurobindo believed that India should take the support of the US to prevent, what he had called in another letter, the "Bolshevik menace".

The US Government was certainly no saint, and Sri Aurobindo knew it. But Mao's regime (like Hitler's 10 years earlier) meant the ruin of India's destiny. On August 15, 1947, India became independent and Sri Aurobindo, who was the first Indian to asked for Purna Swaraj in the early years of the 20th century, celebrated his 75th birthday. On that day, in a memorable message, he spoke about his dream of a new

"step in evolution which would raise man to a higher and larger consciousness and begin the solution of the problems which have perplexed and vexed him since he first began to think and to dream of individual perfection and a perfect society".

The person that Karan Singh has called the "Prophet of Indian Nationalism" could already see beyond India's freedom. Bharat had a larger role to play for the future of humanity. Mao's 'perfect' society was dictatorship of a few; diversity of thought and belief was not part of the Great Helmsman's scheme. For Sri Aurobindo, it was one of the reasons why India had to stand up to Mao's Army in the Himalayas. In his life and writings, however, Sri Aurobindo stood for integration. Mohanty says,

"In him, binaries and conflicts are harmonised: The West and the East, English and the Indian languages, the city and the region, merit and social justice, religion and secularism, pacifism and militancy, conservation and development, nationalism and internationalism, et al."

Though acclaimed by many - he was hailed by Aldous Huxley as one of the greatest nationalists, visionaries and poet-philosophers of the 20th century - Sri Aurobindo is completely misunderstood. How could he be a yogi and yet follow politics?

Sri Aurobindo's 'last' letter is a sad reminder that his vision is far from having percolated to our 'contemporary' leaders in the South Block, more addicted to the Bolshevik (now called Marxist) diktats than to national interests. What Sri Aurobindo wrote 58 years ago is still valid today:

"Militarily, China is almost 10-times as strong as we are (this has recently been admitted by Defence Minister AK Antony)... the primary motive of Mao's attack on Tibet is to threaten India as soon as possible."

Though the recent intrusions in Tawang or the planned diversion of Brahmaputra are signs that the danger looms large over India, who realises the relevance of Sri Aurobindo's words? Will India have to go through another traumatic experience? Let us hope not.

Having been in touch with Sri Aurobindo's thought for nearly 40 years, I have always felt that one of the greatest tragedies of modern India is that politicians, intellectuals, philosophers, scientists, social workers or historians have not been able - or are unwilling - to grasp the visionary thought of the Master. That is why we should be grateful to Prof Mohanty, whose book with a simple and easy introduction, including a brief life-sketch of Sri Aurobindo, is an excellent first approach.

Mohanty has divided his compilation into five parts in which he studies the main works of Sri Aurobindo - The Ideal of Human Unity, The Human Cycle, War and Self-determination, The Foundations of Indian Culture and, finally, Autobiographical Notes and Other Writings of Historical Interest. Each of the parts has an introduction which goes a long way in making the judiciously chosen extracts extremely readable even to a lay reader. The editor explains his objective:

"The basic purpose of this book is to underline some of the futuristic ideas of Sri Aurobindo and to look at him in the context of the crisis of contemporary culture that confronts us today. I shall suggest that many of the issues that we are currently struggling with, such as one's relations to the state, language, ethnicity, self-determination, identity politics and multiculturalism are ideas that Sri Aurobindo was greatly concerned with."

Mohanty has restricted himself to the political and social work of Sri Aurobindo and does not touch upon his yogic approach, developed in The Synthesis of Yoga, The Life Divine and Savitri: A Legend & A Symbol. One wishes that Mohanty's book is read by all the students graduating from Indian universities, IIMs, IITs and other centres of knowledge.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bande Mataram comes to an end in 1908

The Mother asks us for no schemes, no plans, no methods. She herself will provide the schemes, the plans, the methods better than any we can devise. She asks us for our hearts, our lives, nothing less, nothing more. Swadeshi, National Education, the attempt to organise Swaraj are only so many opportunities for self-surrender to her. She will look to see not how much we have tried for Swadeshi, how wisely we have planned for Swaraj, how successfully we have organised education, but how much of ourselves we have given, how much of our substance, how much of our labour, how much of our ease, how much of our safety, how much of our lives.

Regeneration is literally re-birth, and re-birth comes not by the intellect, not by the fullness of the purse, not by policy, not by change of machinery, but by the getting of a new heart, by throwing away all that we were into the fire of sacrifice and being reborn in the Mother. Self-abandonment is the demand made upon us. She asks of us, "How many will live for me? How many will die for me?" and awaits our answer. -- Sri Aurobindo Bande Mataram, April 11, 1908

India And The Mongolian 1-4-1908
Religion And The Bureaucracy 1-4-1908
The Milk Of Putana 1-4-1908
Oligarchy Rampant 2-4-1908
The Question Of The President 3-4-1908 5-4-1908
Convention And Conference 4-4-1908 5-4-1908
By The Way 4-4-1908 5-4-1908
The Constitution Of The Subjects Committee 6-4-1908
The New Ideal 7-4-1908 12-4-1908
The "Indu And The Dhulia Conference 8-4-1908
The Asiatic Role 9-4-1908 12-4-1908
Love Me Or Die 9-4-1908
The Work Before Us 10-4-1908 12-4-1908
Campbell-Bannerman Retires 10-4-1908 12-4-1908
United Congress (Speech) 10-4-1908
The Demand Of The Mother 11-4-1908 12-4-1908
Baruipur Speech 12-4-1908
Peace And Exclusion 13-4-1908
Indian Resurgence And Europe 14-4-1908 19-4-1908
Om Shantih 14-4-1908 19-4-1908
Conventionalist And Nationalists 18-4-1908 19-4-1908
The Future And The Nationalists 22-4-1908 26-4-1908
The Wheat And The Chaff 23-4-1908 26-4-1908
Party And The Country 24-4-1908 26-4-1908
The "Bengalee" Facing-Both-Ways 24-4-1908 26-4-1908
Providence And Perorations 24-4-1908 26-4-1908
The One Thing Needful 25-4-1908 26-4-1908
Palli Samiti (Speech) 26-4-1908
New Conditions 29-4-1908 3-5-1908
Whom To Believe? 29-4-1908 3-5-1908
By The Way: The Parable Of Sati 29-4-1908 3-5-1908
Leaders And A Conscience 30-4-1908 3-5-1908
An Ostrich In Colootola 30-4-1908 3-5-1908
I Cannot Join 30-4-1908 3-5-1908
By The Way 30-4-1908
Ideals Face To Face *1-5-1908 3-5-1908
The New Nationalism
Bibliographical Note

Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > Bande Mataram Volume-01 > Contents

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Retreating to ideal communities from an imaginary past is no solution

Adam Smith on Sympathy
from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy

Adam Smith’s notion of sympathy was fundamental to his theory of moral sentiments. I. W. Berger sees it as expressing ‘supportive community behavior found in well functioning human societies’. He then restricts it to ‘communities’, when in fact for Adam Smith’s ‘theory’ to have validity, it had to function in all societies (historically and contemporary) and not just ‘in well functioning human societies’. Smith speaks of it applying in a ‘society among robbers and murderers’ too (TMS II.ii.3.3, p 86).

The essential characterisation of harmonious society is the absolute necessity of justice, not necessarilly through beneficence. It was the observation that men stand in need of ‘each others assistance’ and each is exposed to the risks of ‘mutual injury’. This is not something only applying today or in the 18th century; it is a universal truth of all ages.

Adam Smith’s point was that ‘where the necessary assistance is reciprocally afforded from love, from gratitude, from friendship, and esteem, the society flourishes and is happy’ but if this was a necessity for happiness, then 'society’ would be confined to a small number – it being impossible to know everybody outside of a small community in face-to-face contact...

Society exists in time and space, not in abstract equations of narrow elements of its constituent parts. ‘Mercenary exchange according to an agreed valuation’ covers a wide range of possible behaviours; humans have a long history and continuing present of exchange by plunder, fraud, force, and violence. The institution of justice is a counter-force to these behaviours. The arrest, imprisonment and heavy fines of those who breach necessary laws to preserve voluntary exchange against fraud, and such like, is evidence of a healthy society (or as healthy as it is reasonable to expect any human society, given the impossibilty of utopia) and not one that is terminally beyond repair.

Within distant societies (beyond the neighbourhood) the same conditions of sympathy operate within them. It is not a question, as implied in I. W. Berger’s understanding of Adam Smith, that our community exudes sympathy and there is a chasm between us and the rest of humanity, even the most distant. In Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith discusses the parable of a ‘man of humanity in Europe’ and an ‘Earthquake in China’ ...

In short, Smithian sympathy is of far wider applicability than merely our own personal interests and does extend to distant communities. This theme is elaborated throughout Moral Sentiments and sits at the core of Wealth Of Nations. China is no longer a distant country from anywhere else on earth. Every country is right in our homes via tv and the Internet. We see distant people in their homes too (U-tube, etc.,) and they are not abstractions. International travel abounds and we supply and consume distant products (according to mercenary valuations) and we may not even know our neighbours in the manner of our grandparents’ generations.

Of course we quarrels – sometimes violently – because humanity was ever thus, and not just with distant anonymous people – check out the tyrannies and injustice within families and neighbourhoods. We also live in relative harmony – even in celebration - with distant people. How many fans of ‘Manchester United’ have even been near Manchester? and how many weep when a distant person among celebrities, leaders, and popular figures that they do not know personally falls ill or dies? Human tragedies to distant others move millions to sympathy.

It’s not more regulation and government we need – we need better, because fewer, of both. We need fewer and better laws and certainty of punishment. We need incentives to increase participation in markets, not protection for producers in some of them and damn the consumers. Retreating to ideal communities from an imaginary past is no solution, though it may be part of the search.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Problem of attempting to squeeze 18th-century figures into a post-20th century political spectrum

Tom Paine, Edmund Burke and Adam Smith
from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy
Peter Risdon writes in Freeborn John (11 April) Freeborn John - on Burke and Paine, prompted by a recent post by Peter Ryley...

Comment: The whole post is interesting and you should read it (HERE) to cover some interesting contrasts in political philosophy between two important 18th century figures. I liked the Peter Riley sentence: ‘However dramatic their declarations of human rights, they are Tom Paines abroad but Edmund Burkes at home.’

Partly, this is a problem of attempting to squeeze 18th-century figures into a post-20th century political spectrum. Frankly, it can’t be done without rounding out rough edges and ignoring evidence of greater complexity than is covered by the revolutionary French convention, and its accidental ‘left-right divisions – the Jacobins had sat on the opposite side of the hall the labels would have been quite reversed so Marx would have been a rightwinger and Pat Buchanan a leftwinger (a theme for a playwright to work with?).

Labor is by definition finite, but potential jobs infinite

February 21, 2008
A Review of Don Boudreaux's Globalization By John Tamny

When trade is free, workers are able to specialize at one task, while letting others achieve their own comparative advantage in other areas. Closed markets retard this process in that while the average New Yorker may be good with numbers, that same person may not be good with a sewing machine. Free trade solves this in that the Wall Street analyst is able to “produce” clothing thanks to numerical and industry-specific knowledge, whereas a haberdasher over in Hong Kong is able to produce a stock portfolio through a unique ability to design the clothes that Wall Street-types want.

And there lies the problem with tariffs. Beyond impinging on the individual freedom that allows us to purchase what we want from whom we want, tariffs redirect scarce resources of the human and mineral variety into “industries where, as a group, these resources produce less value than they would produce with free trade.” Owing to the sub-optimal allocation of resources that tariffs necessitate, according to Boudreaux, “the ability of American workers, in general, to earn higher wages is thwarted by protectionism.” Simply put, tariffs allow us and sometimes force us into professions that don’t maximize our talents. Markets and consumers sniff this out, and it’s reflected in our pay... John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, and a senior economist with H.C. Wainwright Economics. He can be reached at 9:41 AM

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Resources are more efficiently used when a population is geographically concentrated

As we have been discussing, economic freedom is central because the raw ingredients for economic development exist in India. It has a large population and considerable natural resources. Given economic freedom, people would naturally produce wealth. Liberalization—the notion that people should be economically free—is the key concept. Free people grow and realize their potential naturally...

Urbanization is a cause and consequence of economic growth and development. If you recall, I had pointed out that specialization and the division of labor increases productivity and therefore greater production. Cities allow what we call economies of scale, scope and agglomeration to occur. In other words, resources are more efficiently used when a population is geographically concentrated. Most significantly, infrastructure is cheaper to provide per capita if the population were concentrated compared to if they were dispersed. People need infrastructural services – such as power, water, telecommunications, transportation, sanitation, security, medical, entertainment, etc. – to live productive and enjoyable lives. Cities are the natural outcome of the need to provide infrastructure as efficiently as possible...

What India needs the most is for its citizens to achieve economic freedom. The people are entrepreneurial and inventive enough that they will figure out most of the problems by themselves. Education has to be freed from the control of the government.

The role of the government has to change from being a meddlesome overlord to one of facilitating development. The government has to become an institution that the people use for the provision of public goods. It has to stop attempting to control the economy because control is inimical to the creation of wealth.

India needs energy for development. The primary public good that the government has to facilitate is that of funding research and development of technologies for energy... Atanu Dey has a fantastic conversation with the spirit of Adam Smith

Friday, April 4, 2008

Like many other things he has written, equally & perhaps especially valid almost a hundred years since then

[SA] On Original Thinking By uday March 27, 2008
These are interesting times, to say the least. There are many events taking shape around the world, and certainly if this is a time for anything useful or productive, a first step would be to observe and ask questions. A myriad questions.
In this context, and before we actually dive deep -a preparation. This is an essay titled “On Original Thinking” written by Sri Aurobindo sometime between 1910-1920. But like many other things he has written, equally & perhaps especially valid almost a hundred years since then.
A minor note - at the time this was written, let’s remember - itwas Europe, generally that was the world’s center-stage, much likeAmerica is at present. So all references to Europe in the essay could potentially be broadened to include America as well to give current context.

I have tried hard to include a portion, a subset from this current of thought to include inline as part of the email, but this was not possible. Every word, every phrase has been so carefully chosen so as to almost preclude any cut & paste with obvious deterioration in the quality and manner of the thought presented.- thus the essay is left as is. Its 4 pgs, back-to-back.
If there was a way to pin up the central ideas from here and put these up at home, at work and keep them at the back of mind, I would.
More soon. The essay Topics: Uncategorized

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Paine was a firm believer in a natural social order

Against Centralized Democracy from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik

Many years ago, just before the last elections, Ilana Mercer wrote a piece called “Democratic Despotism” that really shook me. Here she contrasted Rousseau with Voltaire – heaping a great deal of much-deserved abuse on the former. Jean-Jacques Rousseau embedded the weasel word “social” into political discourse with his “social contract” – and ever since the individual has been sacrificed at the altar of the collective. He exalted the role of the legislator, and it is indeed he who brought about this “democratic despotism” we suffer from today...

The problem, then, is over-centralization – a problem that both India as well as the US suffer from. Powerful central governments make a nonsense out of “democracy” because the democratic ideal is to diffuse power, not concentrate it...

If America needs a real leader in thought – which always must precede action – then the man is Lew Rockwell. His latest article, “We Don’t Need A President” should be read by all Americans – and all Indians as well. The long quote from Thomas Paine should be inscribed on all public walls, for all the people to read. Paine was one of the giants of the great American Revolution – and a firm believer in a natural social order. Lew Rockwell follows the tradition, and he has noted that I do too. Rockwell calls for canceling the elections – or putting up a president who will dissolve the central government. This is an idea India needs as well. And elections here are just a year away. We must think now.

The Aurobindian movement's larger context is colonial and postcolo­nial India

1 Tradition, Rhetoric, and the Aurobindo Movement
Sightseers in the southeastern Indian coastal town of Pondicherry quickly discover the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and learn about the model city of Auroville. As the legacies of Pondicherry's most-famous moderncitizens--the revolutionary-turned-mystic Sri Aurobindo Ghose( 1872- 1950) and his collaborator, Mirra Richard (1878-1973, known asthe Mother) -- the two institutions dominate the town. The statues of the soldier-statesman Dupliex and Mohatma Gandhi may jointly overpower the seaside, but it is the heritage of Aurobindo and his yogic partner, rather than the town's unique Indo-French history and the nation's collective struggle for independence, that most colors how people view Pondicherry.
The Ashram's1 voluminous literature depicts it as a spiritual labora­tory. It is intended as a place where the practitioners of Aurobindo's yoga can experiment with human evolution. Auroville, meanwhile, is advertised as a new age, transcendent city that will spur and eventually realize humanity's evolutionary goal of unity in diversity. Where the Ashram sits four square in Pondicherry, participating in full in the political, economic, and educational establishments of that place, Auroville melds into the surrounding countryside. It is a "city" whose buildings are scattered amid the villages of rural Tamil Nadu state. Auroville has no stop lights and few motor vehicles. It possesses instead a kind of visual and auditory quiet that is an outgrowth of its Aurobindian heritage. Aurovilians, many of them veterans of the Euro-American social upheavals of the 1960s, have dedicated themselves to the attempt -13-
2 The Rhetoric of Right as Interpretation, Tradition, and Symbolic Capital
Political Interpretation and Action
Why should we study the rhetoric of right? Of what importance is it inthe attempt to understand the political world?
Understanding the rhetoric of right gives us insight into an old maxim that has regained favor over the past few decades: that to act politically, people must first understand the world.1 Brute facts and bare economic conditions do not provide a sufficient framework for action. They may provide reasons for acting, but crucial questions remain unanswered: How do we act? What is to be done? Where do we start, with which problem? How do we solve problems? How can we be effective? What do we want to achieve? People must first interpret the world in order to know what action to take.
For example, consider the situation in India at the turn of the century. Brute facts pointed to a troubled existence for Indians. The subcontinent had just experienced a series of severe famines. Religious unrest was on the rise. Crime was also rising, while there was no sign that education was doing likewise. What was one to do? Several options were open to Indians, among which were: 1) to do nothing, and trust that the British would solve the problem; 2) to cooperate with the British; and 3) to resist the British. Now the question became how to choose. And this is where the act of interpreting the world became important, because it was the foundation for different choices. Some Indians examined the facts, -24-
3 Texts in Context
Not only did Sri Aurobindo expose the deficiencies and errors of the Congress, but his political knowledge and insight led him to predict the dire consequences of its half-hearted and opportunistic policies upon the teem­ing, sweating, and starving masses of the Indian people, driven to despera­tion by ravaging famines and oppressive law and levies of the [British]government. -- A follower of Aurobindo, writing on the centennial of Aurobindo's birth
In order to understand and fully appreciate a rhetoric of right, one must put the texts that constitute that rhetoric into the contexts of time and place. It is only by grasping political and historical environments that one can detect the nuances of textual invocation that come into play when participants use a rhetoric of right to defend and further their interests within the discourse community. In a sense, one must attempt to understand the world as it is seen through the eyes of the participants. Otherwise the observer is tempted to impose his or her own understand­ing of concepts and arguments onto invocations, thus losing a real appre­ciation of their power. Of course, seeing the world through the eyes of participants does not necessarily mean agreeing with their political agenda.
The Aurobindian movement's larger context is colonial and postcolo­nial India. In their own fashion, Aurobindian texts answer in succession the important questions taken up by both Indian political leaders and the rank and file during the past ninety years: How should Indians respond to -44-
4 Cosmology: Mysticism,The Evolution of Consciousness, and Freedom
Many societies see nowadays the rebirth of an aggressive fundamentalism or a conservative purism to halt indulgence and a laissez-faire attitude which institute themselves little by little in the name of tolerance. Not to fallinto this trap--this is the challenge every new society has to take up,especially if it wants to bring about in man a change in the level ofconsciousness. -- Yanne, "Credo,"Auroville Today 26 ( February 1991): 3
Systems are tempting; there is gratification in keeping things in order. Computers are really good for that; humans, since they're given the oppor­tunity of not being plugged into wall sockets, should try something else. -- François, "Defining Ourselves,"Auroville Today 20 ( August 1990): 1
Chapter 3 introduced the Aurobindo movement by tracing its general texts within the context of Indian politics. Chapter 4 begins an analysis of the particular texts that form the discourse from which the Aurobindian rhetoric of right is derived. This analysis explores the three sources of symbolic capital described in chapter 2--cosmology, the virtues and example of founders and heroes, and history.
This chapter begins with a description of cosmology in general as a source of symbolic capital, then moves to a description of the text of -103-
5 The Description and Authority of Founders and Heroes: Aurobindo and the Mother as Mosaic Mediators
[The Mother] was not terribly impressed when questioned about more rigidand now computer-aided organizational methods that most modern systems have relied on in the past to get results. "This is a makeshift," she said,"which we should tolerate only very temporarily." And later in the same exchange, she said that "an organization is needed for the work to be done--but the organization itself must be flexible and progressive." --Sun-Word Rising
Chapter 4 began the analysis of the sources of tradition in political rhetoric. We saw that, for the Aurobindo movement, problems identified by cosmology were conceptualized in terms of egoism, that the resolu­tion of all problems necessitated a change of consciousness, and that human success was measured in the movement to a state of being wherein political structures are replaced by an organic and flexible mode of organization founded on an intuitive self-discipline. In the cosmologi­cal texts of the movement, symbolic capital is contained in the concepts of consciousness and evolution.
Here, we turn to texts containing the description and authority of founders and heroes as another source of tradition. We shall see that, for the Aurobindo movement, the solution to problems, understood to -150-
6 History: The Path to the Promised Land
Today's trend of individuals and working groups managing and directing their own affairs has probably turned out to be the most positive develop­ment in Auroville's administrative structure in the last years. First, because who is in a better position to decide what to do than those who have taken up the particular responsibility? And second, but equally important, the increased concentration on one's own work makes it all the more difficult to meddle in other people's concerns." -- François Grenier, "Decision-Making in Auroville, "Auroville Today 16 ( April 1990):6
In the previous two chapters, we examined the role of cosmology and of portrayals of founders and heroes in the rhetoric of right. Along the way, we have seen how cosmology creates symbolic capital that can be used in the rhetoric of right by defining the core human problems at the root of every situation, and dictating the correct epistemology, ontology, and methodology to be used in identifying and understanding those problems. Likewise, we have examined how descriptions of founders and heroes define a range of preferred solutions to problems by identifying and describing the authority and example of respected persons. In this chapter, we will explore the role of history in creating symbolic capital relating to the right "ends" of the community.
8 Summary and Applications
Before moving on to give examples of how we may apply this study ofthe rhetoric of right to the larger field of political analysis, we should summarize the general results derived from this particular case study.
First we saw that the rhetoric of right provides taken-for-granted prin­ciples, descriptions, and calculations linked to a discursively constructed conceptualization of the common good that people use to judge the "rightness" of policy. Those taken-for-granted elements are embedded in a discourse that conceptualizes the common good as part of a general response to problems thrown up by particular contexts. Here, Aurobindo and his followers created a discourse as a means of responding to the problems of colonial and postcolonial India. Those problems included the worth of Indian culture and spirituality in an empire that took Western rationality as the highest form of knowledge, the status of individuals in a traditional culture that assigned women and certain castes to inferior status, the relationship between two religious traditions that simultaneously aimed for the highest values and sank to legitimizing intimidation and violence, and the authority and role of leaders in a soon to be independent country in which Western and traditional models were both present and to a degree discredited. What emerged was a set of texts that conceptualized the common good in terms of the need to evolve spiritually, the duty to be flexible and open to the mystical forces present in contexts, and the goal of a synthetic joining of human cultures in ananarchic "unity in diversity." In turn, those texts were passed down through time in the form of a cosmology, a celebration of the example and authority of leaders and founders, and a secular history.
Notes Tradition, Rhetoric, and the Aurobindo Movement The word "ashram" corresponds roughly to "monastery," but as we shall see below, it does not always carry all the connotations of that Western concept. In general, the word refers to a group of people who live together in order collectively to live a spiritual life. In turn, members of an ashram are usually termed "ashramites" or "sadhaks" (the followers of a spiritual discipline or"sadhana"). Some political analysts have usefully examined the substance, but not the power, of rhetoric as a tool of persuasion. See for example, David Johnston, The Rhetoric of Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes and the Politics of Cultural Transformation( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986). One of the few exceptions to the general neglect of rhetoric as argument is Albert O. Hirschman, The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy ( Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1991). Margaret Thatcher, The Path to Power ( New York: HarperCollins, 1995), 555. By "right," I do not mean the strict philosophical definition confined to deontolog­ical modes of argument. As will become apparent in the course of this book, the rhetoric of right can be used in the contexts of both deontological and teleological arguments--and thus in arguments concerning both "right" and "good." Rather, Imean "right" here in the more general sense of "correct," "accurate," and"appropriate." In this sense, contemporary conservatives' identification of a mode of argument and political analysis that they dub "political correctness" is the idenU3tification of a variant of the general American rhetoric of right whose generalapplication they oppose. Conservatives acknowledge the power of this rhetorical variant in its ability to link arguments with a supposedly "correct" view of things,but they disagree as to the "correctness" of that view. The ultimate result, of course, is normative theory based on the analytic, decontex­tualized depiction of politics. The most famous, and egregious, of these are John Rawls, A Theory of Justice ( Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of the HarvardUniversity Press, 1971), and Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia ( NewYork: Basic Books, 1974). See Murray Edelman, The Symbolic Uses of Politics (Urbana:.University of IllinoisPress, 1964). 11:49 AM

The Human Cycle; The Ideal of Human Unity; War and Self-Determination

Books › "Sri Aurobindo"
25. The Supramental Manifestation & Other Writings by Sri Aurobindo and Sa Ashram (Hardcover - Dec 1998)
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26. Foundations of Indian Culture: the Indian Edition by Aurobindo Sri (Hardcover - Dec 1, 1998)
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27. Psychic Education : A Workbook ; A Based on the Writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback - 2001)
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28. The Human Cycle; The Ideal of Human Unity; War and Self-Determination by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1971)
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29. Sri Aurobindo On Himself and On the Mother by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1953)
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30. The Riddle of This World by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback - Dec 1989)
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31. Ausbildung im Einzelhandel. Einzelhandelsprozesse. Bayern. Materialienband by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback - Dec 31, 2006)
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32. The Bhagavad Gita With Text, Translation : Commentary in the Words of Sri Aurobindo by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - Jan 1, 2006)
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33. The Human Cycle; The Ideal of Human Unity; War and Self-Determination by Sri Aurobindo (Paperback - Dec 1985)
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34. Life Divine Volume 2 by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1944)
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35. The Message of the Gita by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - 1946)
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36. The Secret of the Veda by Sri Aurobindo (Hardcover - Dec 1982)
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