Friday, August 19, 2011

To follow Sri Aurobindo in this great adventure one has to be a warrior and a heroic soul

Contents Sraddha, August 2011
Our Ideal Sri Aurobindo 7
Aurobindo Ghosh Paul Richard 12
Prophet Of Nationalism And His Call Dasharathi Sengupta 15
Identity And Difference:Some Reflections On Sri Aurobindo’s Socio-Political Views Aparna Banerjee 27
The Dynamics Of India’s Culture Radharaman Chakrabarti 34
“Is India Civilised?” By Sri Aurobindo Makarand Paranjape 42
Indian Democracy – Part 1 Kittu Reddy 50
Humanity At The Crossroads : Does Sri Aurobindo Offer An Alternative?  Shakuntala A and Ajai R Singh 62
The Foundations Of Social Sustainability M. S. Srinivasan 77
Emerging Concerns And Procedures Related To Education Of Values: The Vision Of Sri Aurobindo Neeltje Huppes 92
Realising Sri Aurobindo’s Ideal Law Of Social Development : Possibilities And Challenges For Psychology As a Discipline Of Study Monica Gupta 104
Spirituality And Prison Life: Sri Aurobindo And Barindra Kumar Ghose Sachidananda Mohanty 110
Veda Vyasa’s  Mahabharata In Sri Aurobindo’s   Savitri Prema NandaKumar 122
The Development Of Sri Aurobindo’s Thought Georges van Vrekhem 131
Notes On Authors 141 Index To Authors And Articles
In Sraddha, August 2010 – April 2011 142
Cover : Krishnalal’s painting  Towards Inner Light
Editorial August 2011
Mother once said ‘Sri Aurobindo does not belong to the past nor to history. Sri Aurobindo is the Future advancing towards its realisation’. What is this Future that beckons us? Sri Aurobindo’s message is very simple and clear. He says that man is a transitional being, a growing organism, that he is not the last term or the end product in the evolutionary process. He has to grow further and expand in consciousness till he reaches the perfect and complete consciousness. And what is that state of perfect consciousness? Sri Aurobindo says that just as life has evolved out of matter and mind out of life, so there rise beyond mind other statuses of consciousness, tier upon tier, where man can go, live and even bring down their powers into his normal life and transform it into their pattern. And the highest of these planes is what Sri Aurobindo calls Supermind or Truth-Consciousness. Its original stuff is made not of ignorance, but of truth. Unlike in the mental ranges, where there is always an element of doubt, uncertainty, groping and partial perception and realisation, where one moves from greater darkness to a shade of lesser hue, here in the Truth-Consciousness one lives always in full daylight and in the plenitude of consciousness and delight and ‘fulfilled harmony’ and the only progress is from light to a greater light, from knowledge to a superior knowledge. Such was the life mission of Sri Aurobindo, ‘the builder of the Life Divine’ – to build a new foundation for a new world. To follow Sri Aurobindo in this great adventure one has to be a warrior and a heroic soul. On this hallowed day of his 139th  birth anniversary, let us once again rededicate ourselves unreservedly with a total submission and complete surrender of all the parts and planes of our being to his ideal and lay ourselves open to the dynamic or the supramental Divine which he calls the incarnate Divine Mother.
We have chosen to name this anniversary number a special issue on the Social and Political Writings of Sri Aurobindo as the bulk of the papers, with a few exceptions, concentrates on this theme. Readers will find special interest in the article by Paul Richard on Sri Aurobindo, taken from his book The Dawn of Asia published by Ganesh & Co. of Madras in 1919. The article has been translated by Sri Aurobindo himself.
Editorial Sraddha, April 2011
These are times of great moment, of unforeseen happenings and huge upheavals. Mighty unseen powers appear to be at play to take possession of this earthly life. The forces of darkness loom large over the horizon and seem to gain from strength to strength and there are signs of things growing from bad to worse and even worse than the worst if that is possible. Amid the spiralling gloom and uncertainty, amid ‘the wrestle of force’ and the cries of anguish and despair we seem to flounder and lose our way. The battle is now being waged on matter’s turf, and it is the physical mind with the vital as its ally with its brute and stubborn obduracy, its arrogance and ignorant pride that is refusing to budge from its small, safe territory for fear of ceding its fiefdom and losing itself in a larger continent of light and power and bliss and freedom and infinitude. The churning, the murk and the slime that are being thrown up, this mindless fighting, the rise of the demoniac forces lurking in man’s depths are a direct result of this resistance of the ‘cold material intellect’ to change and transform itself. It is at such times that we have to shed all self-deceit, insincerity and hypocrisy and make the irrevocable choice of standing firmly by the side of the Truth, the Higher Power that is pressing down to make earth its home. It is at times like these that we have to remain calm and vigilant and look straight into the spirit within and open ourselves to the light, the freedom, the bliss, the all-transforming power of love that is awaiting to descend. It is to such ‘calm continents of potency’, ‘homelands of beauty shut to human eyes’, ‘sunbelts of knowledge, moonbelts of delight’, ‘immortal spaces of cerulean hue’ that Savitri beckons us. As already stated in our previous issue, the remaining papers on  Savitri, left over from the previous issue, appear in this number.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Can I act? Need I? What is action?

The Betrayal of the Intellectuals Posted by: Murali Sivaramakrishnan | August 8, 2011
I am perfectly aware that I can recourse to the tremendous energy of Sri Aurobindo’s action! Remembering the life and times of an extraordinary intellectual, mystic and rishi, who gazed unflinchingly at the face of truth, history, reason and life. But however, how am I to act in troubled times like the present? Aren’t I also an accomplice in betraying the people? Knowing fully well the consequence of my silence I continue to exist in poignant silence and watch all the misdeeds and atrocities of the cut-throats who parade the present day world’s active stage. Perhaps, my role is simply to bear witness to tragedy and misdeeds? Like Ceslaw Milosz, who wrote A witness to Poetry? I, a poet and painter, simply bearing witness to all the acts and misdeeds of the present, silently, compliantly? Can I act? Need I? What is action?
Troubled times, these, no doubt. People are floundering without radical guidance and leadership. They dance to the tune of idiots and scoundrels who somehow manage to stray into the lime light through lobbying, cold shouldering and hobnobbing. They meekly follow the strange gods of science and technology without bothering to stop to think for themselves and seek the truth.  Without bothering to ask the right questions. Without critical inquiry.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Modern narratives of progress hide their normative and moral judgments

Although critical of discourses and practices which inculcate desires and beliefs antithetical to key aspects of Christian faith and praxis—humility, truth-speaking, relational dependence, an acknowledgement of our finitude, and so forth—Augustine understood the need to develop institutions beneficial to society as a whole and which would promote as much harmony as possible among its various members.[3] Concomitant with this constructive social project, Augustine also engaged in a deconstructive project. That is, he was acutely aware of the need to critically examine the accepted political and religious narratives of the day, narratives whose incandescent surfaces dazzled, concealing the often violent, greedy, self-serving agenda of the political elites. Like Foucault, Augustine employs his own variant of reverse discourse and counter-hegemonic narratives in order both to unmask the ideologies at play in Roman political discourse and to put forth alternative ways of being in the world with others.
The first five books of the City of God, as Robert Dodaro observes, “constitute the core of Augustine’s critique of Roman imperium”;[4] in these opening books, Augustine analyzes “the ideology of Roman literary and ceremonial forms,” whose theoretical foundations “were found primarily in Sallust, Cicero, and Varro.”[5] In light of his own training as a rhetor and his service at the imperial court in Milan prior to his baptism and later ordination to the priesthood and bishopric, Augustine was thoroughly versed in the art of persuasion and the various ways it was used to further political objectives.  As Dodaro explains, Augustine understood that “Roman society was founded upon an extreme patriotism, a love for the patria above all else, which was promoted by means of Roman education, folklore, literature, civil religion, and theatre.”[6]
Like Augustine, Foucault also manifests concern for the marginalized of society, devoting himself to the study of prisons and mental institutions and to the ways in which these structures and their associated discourses, disciplines, and practices produce new, characteristically modern subjectivities. As Schuld explains, rather than uncovering how “rhetoric of imperial glory” masks the reality of violence and self-interest, Foucault analyzes how modern institutions and practices “garner and preserve power most effectively by relying upon a scientific sounding rhetoric of progress.”[7] With the transition from a sovereign-based political model wherein power is centralized and associated with the person of the king to a modern context wherein power is dispersed and diffused in a netlike fashion, a more “neutral,” “objective” discourse comes into play.  That is, in contrast with, for example, Roman glory narratives and their overt conspicuous appeals to the political realm, modern scientific narratives present themselves as apolitical and unbiased.[8] By “posing as a coldly antiseptic science,” modern narratives of progress hide their normative and moral judgments;[9] the more successfully the new rhetoric hides its “political leverage,” the more politically efficacious its possibilities and widespread its socially produced realities.[10]
Notes [1] This post is indebted Robert Dodaro and Joyce Schuld’s work.  See, for example, Dodaro, “Eloquent Lies, Just Wars and the Politics of Persuasion,” and Schuld, “Augustine, Foucault, and the Politics of Imperfection.” Part I: Un-Masking Marauders à la Augustine and Foucault from Per Caritatem by Cynthia R. Nielsen

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Open propagandism and debate

The first necessary element of democratic politics is difference of opinion, robust, frank, avowed, firmly and passionately held, and the first test of political capacity in a democratic nation is to bear these differences of opinion, however strong and even vehement, without disruption. In a monarchy differences of opinion are either stifled by an all-powerful absolute will or subordinated and kept in check by the supreme kingly arbiter; in an aristocracy the jealousy of a close body discourages free opinion and its free expression; in a bureaucracy stereotyped habits of action and method lead to a fixed and inelastic way of thinking and difference of opinion, when tolerated, is kept by the exigencies of administration private and largely ineffective. 
It is democracy alone that demands free divergence of opinion in politics and open propagandism and debate as the very breath of its nostrils. The tendency to democracy creates freedom of speech and thought and these in their turn hasten the advent of democracy. All attempts to silence by force or evasion important differences of opinion are anti-democratic and though they do not necessarily show an incapacity for government, do show an incapacity for democratic politics. The democratic tendency in humanity is and has long been pressing forward victoriously to self-fulfilment and the modern attempt of the banded forces of autocracy, bureaucracy, plutocracy and theocracy to turn its march can only result in its growing stronger by the check and urging forward with greater impetuosity to its goal. It is therefore the democratic tendency and the democratic capacity which must be accepted and shown by any nation which aspires to go forward and be among the leaders of the world.  Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > Cwsa > Karmayogin > Bengal And The Congress