Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Spiritual activist has a double task

Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Passivity And Integral Yoga
Larry Seidlitz
Spiritual Activism has recently become a popular movement in the New Age spiritual literature and community, having received strong impetus from the work of Andrew Harvey, author and founder of the Institute for Sacred Activism; Deepak Chopra, author, and founder of the Chopra Foundation and member of the evolutionary leaders network; Michael Lerner, author and founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives; Claudia Horwitz, author and founder of Stone Circles; Will Keepin, author and co-founder and director of Satyana Institute; Carla Goldstein, director of the Women’s Institute, a unit of Omega Institute, as well others. It has been an increasingly important topic in academics with influential books and papers by such writers as Barbara Marx Hubbard, AnaLouise Keating, Alastair McIntosh, Roger S. Gottlib, Ken Jones, David Loy, Donald Rothberg, and many others. ...
Summary and Conclusion
The recent explosion of interest in spiritual activism is a healthy development in the field of spirituality, carrying it beyond a self-centred focus on individual health and development towards a fuller embrace of the world and its challenges. However, in its movement outward towards engagement with world challenges, spirituality must maintain its inner centre and poise in the spirit. Sri Aurobindo’s ideal of the divine life, which entails a radical transformation of both the individual and collective existence, does just that. In order to bring to bear the necessary spiritual power that can truly transform and divinise the outer life, it strives to reach the highest heights of inner spiritual experience and realisation. It is relatively easier to attain a settled inner state of spiritual peace and harmony when one withdraws from the world and its problems, it is when one aims to change the outer life and the world that the fullness of the inner spiritual realisation is more severely tested and challenged. Thus, the spiritual activist has a double task, to attain the inner poise of the spiritual consciousness, and to maintain it in the midst of engagement with the problems of the world. … Our activism should be more as a catalyst awakening these divine powers in others than as a combatant, though sometimes combat too is required when the opposition is fierce and unrelenting in its obstruction to the truth that is emerging from within.
These are all very fine as high spiritual ideals, one might counter, but as long as we remain stuck in our limited human consciousness, tethered to our mental and vital existence, what are we to do about the gross injustices and the destruction of our planet? Are we to sit quietly and meditate while our fellow human beings are abused and the world is destroyed? This is the difficult dilemma in which we find ourselves, and we feel that we must act. It is here that the Bhagavad Gita advises us to act, but to do our actions as a conscious offering to the Divine. We must act more and more with the sense and feeling that it is the Divine within us that is carrying out the actions through us and that we are merely conscious instruments for his work. Indeed it is the Divine that in reality always acts through all actions, whether we are conscious of it or not.
The key is to become conscious of it, and to more and more align our will and force with the Divine Will and Force, to filter out competing mental preferences and vital desires. If we act unconsciously of the divine impetus behind our actions, the Divine will work through our unconscious and limited instruments, but if we act consciously, the Divine will work through our conscious, responsive and therefore more effective and powerful instruments. This inclusion of the dynamic parts of our nature, our abilities to carry out effective and complex actions in the world in conscious unity with the Divine, is the important and necessary ingredient in a true spiritual activism. This comes only through practice, through work done while consciously referring the work to the Divine Force behind. It does not come through meditation or inaction. Act we must, it is impossible to completely cease to act, so it is best that we act consciously, referring our actions to the Divine, seeking the Divine’s guidance, and progressively aligning and attuning our actions with the Divine Will and Force.

Sraddha-Feb'12 Cover: Usha R Patel’s painting Divine Presence Contents
The Mother Sri Aurobindo 7
VANDE MATARAM Srimat Anirvan 17
The Purpose Of The Mother's
Embodiment Upon Earth Kalpana Bidwaikar 19
Spiritual Principles Of Management Ananda Reddy 22
Sri Aurobindo's Perspective On The
Four Major Powers Of The Devi
In Integral Yoga And East-West
Psychology Hilary Anderson 37
Veda Vyasa's Mahabharata In
Sri Aurobindo's Savitri Prema Nandakumar 48
The Human Aspiration Debashish Banerji 60
Sri Aurobindo’s Metaphysics Of The
Supermind : On How To Make
Sense Of The Transcendence Of Mind R C Pradhan 86
A Primer Of Gita Daniel Grings 99
Ancient Indian Wisdom And
Contemporary Challenges Kireet Joshi 118
Revisiting The Vedas In The Light
Of The Yogic Experiences Of
Sri Aurobindo L Vijai 126
Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Passivity
And Integral Yoga Larry Seidlitz 134
Huta, ‘The Offered One’
- A Very Special Child Of The Mother Shraddhavan 151
Notes on Authors 153 (Includes names of those contributors whose writings have not appeared in this journal before)
Daniel Grings was born and raised in Germany. He came to Auroville in 2002 for a year of social work, teaching and helping with research in education. He has been staying in and around Auroville since, pursuing studies in Sanskrit, Indian philosophy and related subjects as well as freelance writing. Hilary Anderson, Ph.D. is Professor Emerita and Adjunct Faculty at California Institute of Integral Studies. She formerly served CIIS as Professor, Dean and Founding Board Member. In 1992, she founded the Universal Way Foundation in Los Angeles to support educational programmes and seasonal celebrations promoting self-sovereignty and cross-cultural regard for all spiritual pathways. As a scholar, lecturer, therapist, she presents a rich synthesis of Eastern and Western mythology and psychology, emphasising major Divine Feminine orientations. Publications include numerous essays/articles on Integral Studies and oracular symbolism.
(Dr.) Kalpana Bidwaikar is working as an Assistant Professor of English in a Government Post Graduate College at Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh). She has kept herself engaged with intense study of Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri and was awarded PhD for the same. She has been delivering lectures on the vision and works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother at various places in the state and Delhi. She is an active member of Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry. She has authored a book titled —‘‘ Transformation of Consciousness in Savitri” which was published by SACAR in 2011. One of her recently published paper is “Odyssey of The Life Divine”, brought out by the magazine “Mother India” in the October issue from Pondicherry. The author can be contacted at kalpanacb@rediffmail.com ; 91 92291 40103

Vijai, Dr. L Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Collegiate Education Department of the Government of Kerala and currently working in Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram. Has worked previously in University College, Thiruvananthapuram and Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam. He was a JRF of ICPR (2003-2005) and did his doctoral dissertation entitled “On Consciousness:Sankara and Aurobindo” under the guidance of Prof. S. Panneerselvam in the University of Madras. Has over 25 research articles and a few publications to his credit and is associated with IGNOU in various capacities. He is the Secretary of the Kerala Philosophy Association, a registered organisation that works for the promotion and empowerment of philosophy in Kerala. 

Integral Yoga Activism: An exploration of its foundational elements and practices udini.proquest.com - Social Sciences > Spirituality Dissertation Author: Charles Ismael Flores. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's written work is examined as a basis and starting point for ... Chapter 1 Introduction
This work explores the possibility of a new field of individual and social action that I will call Integral Yoga Activism, or IYA. It is based upon action from the integral consciousness as espoused by the Indian seer-philosopher, born Aravinda Akroyd Ghose, but known as Sri Aurobindo, and his spiritual collaborator, Mira Alfassa, who was referred to, and will be henceforward called in this work, "the Mother." The term "Integral Yoga" will be written beginning with capital letters, with respect to the way Sri Aurobindo and the Mother referred to their own creation. "Integral Yoga Activism" will likewise be written beginning with capital letters throughout this work, since it originates directly from Integral Yoga.

The World Crisis The advent of modern technologies has provided great boons to humanity in countless fields of endeavor; and has provided more material comforts and wealth to more people than could have been imagined in ancient times. Vast amounts of food are produced, modern medicine allows some people to live longer, and there is greater potential connectivity with every other person on the planet through technology. The benefits of the technology are so numerous that most of us who live today cannot even begin to imagine what it was like when the technology did not exist, until we step into a "Third World" country that has less-developed technologies. A large portion of humanity has been the beneficiary of the wonders of modern innovation. Yet there exists a widespread mindset that a grave price has been paid for these benefits. Most of the popular and scholarly authors who attempt to assess the current condition and the future of humanity appear to agree that humanity is not doing well, and that humanity, in fact, is headed toward one or many major catastrophes. There is a popular notion, which owes its roots to a number of pre- modern religious traditions, that these changes are in fact the sign of the "end times." Strains of eschatology can be found in almost all the major world religions (Hong 1981; Koslowski, 2002) but can perhaps be found most prominently in the Christian and Islamic traditions that predict an apocalypse in their scripture.
The concepts of a redeemer and a final judgement are a cornerstone of these traditions" belief systems, which have sometimes led to dangerous movements resulting in martyrdom, terrorism, and the taking up of arms. Some of these new these movements are secular, such as those that predict environmental apocalypse, and those that predict a technological doomsday. (Robbins & Palmer, 1997; see also Borchardt, 1990).
In these popular conceptions, all that is wrong and "evil" in the world, from wars and famines to climate changes and tsunamis, are signs that the end of the world is very near. At the current time, the year 2012 has captured the minds of many as the year the world will end, either through frightening visions of nano and bio-plagues and dirty nuclear bombs from terrorists, large-scale environmental destruction, or the final collapse of an unsustainable global financial machine. Many of these fears may have substantial scientific validity. Whether people have a modern and nuanced understanding of world events, or an outdated and simplistic one, there is often the strong belief that signs of the times point to an inexorable end to the world as it currently exists. Scholars in numerous fields over the last few decades have attempted to use rational means to interpret the phenomenon of global hypercomplexity, which is created by the deepening interdependence of individuals and systems. Simple linear analyses of problems in particular fields of knowledge, if they ever were helpful, are now clearly inadequate to understand today's systems. There are a number of scholars who claim that many of these problems constitute a world crisis from which humanity and the ecosystem may not recover, and that only the actions of large collective movements could avert catastrophe. This all makes sense to me, but only to a point. We are at an intellectual impasse. The extreme difficulty of knowing what impact that grassroots movements, corporate, and governmental actions will have on hypercomplex systems illustrates the limits of current rational thinking. The current governmental attempts to bail out the world financial system highlight the fact that no one knows what to do, even after all of the old tools are being tried. There is no guarantee that enormous government stimulus and corporate bailout interventions will work, but even the best thinkers do not really know what to do. I do not believe that a giant supercomputer will ever be invented that can take into account all global factors to solve these problems. There will always be the horizon of the unknown that, like the mathematical asymptote, we will never reach using the mind.

In what follows, I explore the possibility that Integral Yoga Activism may provide a different point of view about what constitutes a "problem" in our complex global system, and contribute a discernment that does not derive from solely discursive rational analysis, deconstruction, and critical theory, but from the direct experience of spiritual inter-relatedness and unity, and a greater consciousness of the impacts of one's own movements within that web. It does not blindly accept eschatological views of the "common person," or the conservative and the progressive agendas as they are usually framed. Integral Yoga Activism, quite unlike these scholarly analyses, and even other forms of spiritual activism, focuses instead upon the role of the individual and personal decision making in the face of complexity that is really beyond the limits of simple rational choice. It takes very seriously the motto, "one man can make a difference," as long as that one man or woman is an instrument of a higher consciousness. The examples of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother may pave the way to an alternative approach within which the individual may operate. An Integral Yoga Activist could, through yogic means, connect to a wider consciousness, which would in turn guide the activist to decide what is the correct action for her to take, and to employ both material (standard) and yogic subtle means to act in the world. The current capacity of each individual to operate in this way will vary greatly, and what form of action an individual may take may be unique to each person. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's approach strongly suggests a different kind of spiritual engagement with the world. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as Integral Yoga Activists Sri Aurobindo is the prime example of Integral Yoga Activism for this study. He is an example of a traditional activist who began with a secular emphasis, but who eventually turned into a yogic "integral" activist. …

As I explore the emergence of Integral Yoga Activism, I find that although the dualistic notions of "inner" and "outer," and to some degree, "individual" and "collective," are useful constructs to describe and research reality—particularly for Ken Wilber's own understanding of integral, which is used methodologically in this work, they may create false dichotomies for personal action. Integral Yoga Activism requires a complete reorientation toward world problems, globalization, and such dichotomies. It emphasizes how one should act, from the wellspring of a deep spiritual understanding of the relationship of one's role in the many, and how one's individual actions influence the world through its underlying unity in diversity in the world. In the work toward this primary objective, there are some secondary research objectives that require investigation. The articulation of the principles of a spiritually engaged activism based on Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is another goal of this project. Through the exploration of these principles, this work also aims to identify what Integral Yoga Activism that currently exists in Auroville and the United States, and areas for its future development.

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