The spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun. India's spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever increasing measure. That movement will grow; amid the disasters of the time more and more eyes are turning towards her with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings, but to her psychic and spiritual practice. -- Sri Aurobindo (from the message broadcast on the eve of August 15, 1947)

Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Monday, September 25, 2006

It will break into three parts

CHINESE OCCUPATION OF TIBET :
Timely warning
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
RESPONSE: Letter to the Editor of BORDER AFFAIRS
Source: BORDER AFFAIRS, N. Delhi :
October-December 2001

In his article, "India must notice the advancing dragon" (Border Affairs, July-September), Mr Vijay Kranti presents the Chinese strategy precisely and succinctly. Alas, even though the euphoria of "Hindi-Chini bhai, bhai" is mercifully dead, still ostrich-like the whole nation is trying to overlook the problem and the peril. Mr Kranti has the courage to raise the issue and astuteness to see the Chinese perfidy and warn the nation about it. His voice, alas, is a cry in wilderness.
The seer, Sri Aurobindo, saw the grave peril and warned India about it in 1950. He wrote then - 12 years before the Chinese attack on India in 1962 - in his book, The ideal of human unity: "In Asia a more perilous situation has arisen standing sharply across the way of any possibility of a continental unity of the peoples of this part of the world, in the emergence of Communist China. This creates a gigantic bloc which could easily engalobe the whole of northern Asia in a combination between two enormous Communist powers, Russia and China, and would overshadow with a threat of absorption of South Western Asia and Tibet and might be pushed to overrun all up to the whole frontier of India, menacing her security and that of western Asia with the possibility of an invasion and an overrunning and subjection by penetration or even by overwhelming military force to an unwanted ideology, political and social institutions and dominance of this militant mass of Communism whose push might easily prove irresistible."
In June, 1950, Mr K.D.Sethna, editor of the Mother India, a magazine of Sri Aurobindo ashram, wrote a letter to Sri Aurobindo seeking his guidelines on the Korean crisis. On June 28, 1950, Sri Aurobindo wrote in reply: "The affair is as plain as a pikestaff. It is the first move in the Communist plan of campaign to dominate and take possession, first of these northern parts and then of South-East Asia as a preliminary to their manoeuvres with regard to the rest of the continent - in passing Tibet, as a gate into India. If they succeed, there is no reason why domination of the whole world should not follow by steps..."
I may also recall that Mr Sudhir Ghosh, an emissary of Mahatma Gandhi at one time and a disciple of Sri Aurobindo later, met President Kennedy of the United States on March 28, 1963, and showed him as the last testament of the seer written on November 11, 1950, the following passage: "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 the right strategy, unless India precipitately declares herself on the side of the Communist block ... The gesture that can save is to take a firm line with China, denounce openly her nefarious intentions, stand without reservation by the United States and make every possible arrangement consonant with our self-respect to facilitate an American intervention in our favour and, what is of still greater moment, an American prevention of Mao's evil designs on India... We must burn it into our minds that the primary motive of Mao's attack on Tibet is to threaten India as soon as possible."
After being told by Mr Sudhir Ghosh who Sri Aurobindo was, President Kennedy read the words of the seer's last testament several times over and said:
"Surely there is a typing mistake here. The date must have been 1960, and not 1950. You mean to say that a man devoted to meditation and contemplation, sitting in one corner of India, said this about the intentions of Communist China as early as 1950?"
On being pointed out by Mr Ghosh that Sri Aurobindo had passed away in December 1950, Kennedy was somewhat shocked. "So there you are," said Kennedy. "One great Indian, Nehru, showed you the path of non-alignment between China and America, and another great Indian, Aurobindo, showed you another way of survival. The choice is up to the people of India."
There is yet another incident recounted to me by a person who had heard it from the late Surendra Mohan Ghosh, a freedom fighter who later became a Congress member of the Rajya Sabha. Ghosh was a follower of Sri Aurobindo and was the only person to have the rare privilege of meeting the seer every time he visited the Ashram even after Sri Aurobindo had withdrawn into his chamber on November 24, 1926, to give darshan to his disciples and devotees only four times in a year.
In 1950, Ghosh as usual went for Sri Aurobindo's darshan not knowing that it would be his last meeting. As Ghosh turned after offering pranama, Sri Aurobindo asked him: "You have not asked me about China?" Ghosh understood that Sri Aurobindo wanted to reveal some thing. Therefore, he waited in respectful silence. After a pause, Sri Aurobindo said: "China will disintegrate. It will break into three parts."
"Border Affairs" is a unique magazine. Once I get it I cannot put it down without finishing. I wish all our politicians would read it. Understandably most of "Border Affairs" is taken up by the Kashmir problem. All of us are deeply concerned at what is happening there. But then in one way or the other, the Kashmir problem is festering since Independence. In this respect, too, I wish to bring to your notice the words of the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the foremost disciple of the seer, as quoted by Nolini Kant Gupta:
"Not so long ago, the air was thick with rumours of a possible danger of a crisis for India: this was a little before the Chinese attack. Was India going to be invaded and subjugated by a foreign power once again? India was no doubt big and had ample resources in manpower. But her manpower was little more than that of a rabble, it lacked the cohesion of organised military strength. The question was put to the Mother at the Playground. The Mother gave a smile and pointing to the map of India on the wall, said:
'Can't you see who is guarding India? Isn't the north-eastern portion of Kashmir a lion's head with its jaws wide open?' The portion indicated does have the appearance of a lion's head as you can see if you look at it closely. Its nozzle projects with wide open mouth facing the front as if ready to swallow up anyone who dares to come. It is the lion of Durga."
- (Ms) Shyam Kumari,
C/O Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Vraja,
22 Lally Tollendal Street, Pondicherry - 605002.

A young Bombay journalist in early 1950

In early 1950, a few weeks after India decided to be the 'first nation' outside the Communist World to recognise Red China, a young Bombay journalist running a magazine called Mother India prophesised the invasion of Tibet. It was several months before Mao's troops walked on the Roof of the World.
He wrote: 'It is quite on the cards that soon she [Tibet] will be added to Mao's territorial possessions. But the story is different with Nepal. Mao will perhaps wish to reach out through Tibet and interfere with Nepal's present status. Nepal has good defence resources, though an out-of-date political structure, and India will be particularly interested in the security of this neighbour of hers, since there are sixteen railroads leading from the Nepalese border into our country and the Gurkha soldiers are an important part of our own army. An extension of Mao's rule to Nepal will lay India open to easy attack by him and consequently cannot under any circumstances be tolerated. It will mean definitely a prelude to a war between China and India.'
There are several interesting features in this article, the first one being that the journalist, K D Sethna, was a disciple of the great Rishi Sri Aurobindo and that all his articles were vetted by the master who several times pointed out at the danger of Communist China reaching India's doorsteps and engulfing what Mao named the palm (Tibet) and the five fingers (NEFA, Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal and Kashmir).
Another remarkable feature of Sethna's piece is that 54 years later, the situation does not appears to have improved and the threat over India remain the same. In the same article, Sethna stated: 'What the alarmists declare is that if we did not recognise Mao he would precipitate a military clash with us.'
Home > News > Specials The Rediff Special Claude Arpi Is China encircling India? October 04, 2004

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Flags are seen everywhere

Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism By Dr. Lawrence Britt http://www.rense.com/general37/char.htm
Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections. September 17th, 2006 (posted by Edward Berge) Posted in Integral politics 19 Comments » show comments »

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sing along

All choice All life is Yoga. Friday, September 22, 2006 Vande Mataram Barindranath Chaki
Swapan Dasgupta has written an article titled ‘Freedom Song’ on ‘Vande Mataram’ with profound historical information and ideological depth. I appreciate the article. But there are certain points, which I want to refer to.
To begin with, let me quote Swapan Dasgupta, from his article: The voluble Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid pronounced Vande Mataram to be against ‘‘Islamic beliefs’’. Echoing his opposition, S Q R Ilyas, the spokesman of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board — a body that has positioned itself as the arbiter of Muslim interests in India — ruled that ‘‘Muslims can’t sing the song’’. His reason:
‘‘we love the country but don’t worship (it). The song talks about worshipping, as in idol worship, which is against the fundamental ethos of Islam. It is a very sensitive issue for Muslims, so they can’t be asked to do this even for a single day.”
Vande Mataram does not mean any idol worship, as said by SQR Ilyas. Sri Aurobindo translates it as ‘Mother, I salute to thee !’ To regard the country as a Mother is not to make any idol. The country as such is a Mother. As I donot think that the Muslims do not salute anybody, that too, the mother. Is not Quoornish a salute? And that was in practice among the Muslims for more than a thousand year. Saluting the Mother has nothing to do with an idol worship. So, to say that the utterance of Vande Mataram is an Idol worship is a false allegation and a false interpretation. And therefore that cannot be a reason for the fanatics not to utter the words or sing the song. It is sheer fanaticism.
Secondly, Michel Danino has rightly pointed out about the muslims joining the in the 1905 agitations in Bengal against the partition. Muslims at that time demonstrated along with Hindus, “singing Vande Mataram together in the streets.” It is later that the fanatics spoiled the entire atmosphere. And Jinnah added his venom in the process of later developments.
What Arjun Singh has done in this regard speaks of the courage and character of the present day politicians in India. The present controversy over Vande Mataram is caused by the down-gradation of our national political character. The present-day political leaders have grown morally and ideally much poorer and spineless and to a great extent unpatriotic, having lost all historical sense.
I feel it necessary to quote below the translation of Vande Mataram by Sri Aurobindo, the Person who gave life and force to this Song, creating an unforgettable chapter in the history of the Indian freedom movement, distinct and different from that of Gandhi and Nehru.
Mother, I salute to thee!... translated by Sri Aurobindo ** [Swapan Dasgupta could have mentioned that in the 1905 agitations in Bengal against the partition, Muslims did demonstrate along with Hindus, singing Vande Mataram together in the streets. It is later on that fanatics in their community started raising objections. Michel [ifih]] Barindranath Chaki 22-09-2006 posted by Barindranath Chaki @ 2:06 PM 0 comments The New Horizon Barin's Blog in Zaadz The New Vision All choice

Auroville conservationists

Rs. 100-cr. project to develop Adyar creek R.K. Radhakrishnan The Hindu Friday, Sep 22, 2006 CHENNAI: Stink is an inescapable feature of the Adyar creek as a drive on San Thome High Road and Durgabhai Deshmukh Road reveals.
But that is all set to change. The Chennai Corporation has scaled up a Rs.50-crore project to develop the area, the three islands, the old Adyar Bridge and the lagoon. Now at double the earlier cost, Rs.100 crore, it will take up ecological restoration of the creek with inputs from conservationists based in Auroville near Pondicherry.
Focus will be on keeping the mouth of always-silted river open and creation of a world-class aquarium, a park and a host of additional facilities. There will be boating facilities too.
The Corporation will form a trust to execute the project. It carried out the spadework for the project in 2004 when it constructed a compound wall and iron fence around the creek area at a cost of Rs 1.24 crore to secure the land.
Then, a group of ecologists took up a detailed study and ways to restore the tropical dry green forest there. Once the trust is formed, an `Adyar Creek Eco-Park Limited' company will be formed to implement and manage the project.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mutually beneficial exchange

Monday, September 11, 2006 Progress and Prosperity on the Market
The logic of the market is in a sense very transparent. It is based on mutually beneficial exchange. The requirements, therefore, are interests, information and intent. The interests of the individual, information as to opportunities for beneficial trade, and the intent to enter into contract for consideration or quid pro quo.
The market is a mechanism for coordinating individual interests and must therefore process a lot of information. It encourages freedom to contract, freedom to choose and freedom to foster change. Anyone who understands this logic and can make it advantageous is rewarded by prosperity.
Progress on the market depends on a preparedness to embrace change and innovation, to take risks and trust what the future brings. When the market works in an unhindered manner, free from external restrictions, a vast amount of resources are transferred and transformed into the goods and services that enhance man’s material welfare.
In a way, the market relies on the logic of circulation of vital and material energies and forces, and fosters movement that relocates resources where they are most required. It also functions on the basis of the principle of concentration.
The market accumulates resources for a specific purpose, and has the ability to create assets which generate a stream of benefits in the future.Accumulation and expenditure are the two sides of the same coin in market logic, and when they work in harmony, prosperity on the material plane is realized. Posted by umeshnaik at 6:24 PM 0 comments

Man and Markets
Man in the mass in society is governed predominantly by his vital instincts and interests. This is especially so, when it concerns his material interests and welfare. Markets are arrangements which attempt to arrive at some kind of mutually beneficial exchange of time, energy and effort in terms of the needs and desires of individuals.
Since the market focuses on the vital interest of individuals, it works on the basis of incentives and disincentives. This provides a spur to work and effort, and is conducive to rousing and harnessing a form of rajasic or vitally dynamic energy which counters the natural inertia of the physical being of man.
However, as with all vital energies which are released in action, an excess is destabilizing. The excess of vital egoism manifests itself in unbounded greed. As Michael Douglas declares in the film Wall Street, “Greed is America, and greed is good.” This causes many undesired or unintended consequences in society- wide disparities in income distribution, poverty, monopolies, concentration of economic and political power, exploitation and so on…
The organization of vital and material energies takes place in markets through a system of property rights, voluntary exchange and monetary transactions. All or any of these may be used rightly or abused by the mind of man whether acting individually or as aggregates of community, class or country.
The attempt to solve the problem of economic inequality which is bred and sustained by markets, has resulted in experiments which go to the other extreme. The communists in erstwhile Soviet Russia did away with property rights, voluntary exchange and money. Such attempts to govern the vital instincts of man by the half-light of reason are bound to fail. They end up in a morass of stifling rules, regulations and rigid dogmas which ruins the vital health of individuals and nations and can produce its own excesses. It often results in taking away the freedom of man and replacing it by the rule of the committee or the collective.
Nor does this method solve the economic and material problem. The result of over-regulation is a lapse into collective inertia or tamas, as the vital being of man recoils in discouragement and despair, unwilling to work under the mandate of the secret service geek or the party clone. The regime of a regulated collective life perishes under it own weight.
Attempts to combine both methods, like the democratic socialism experiment of India also come a cropper. They succeed in inheriting the worst of both systems. The result is mass poverty and inequality with inertia and inefficiency.
Presently, the Indian economy needs to rid itself of the stifling rule of the inept bureaucrat and party goon, to experience a phase of vital freedom in order to come out of its centuries long inertia before it can find its own centre of reference in its soul and arrive at a better solution to the economic problem which besieges it. Posted by umeshnaik at 10:03 AM 0 comments I am an educator in Economics at the M.S.University of Baroda, Gujarat, India. This site is an expression of my interest in the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and a wish to present it to youth in a way that will make it meaningful to them in their life.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The spirit of excellence

Innovation management seminar held by LMA Express News Service
Ludhiana, September 12: Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) organised a seminar on innovation management at Park Plaza here on Monday. Dr Prem Kumar, director, Sri Aurobindo Business School, was the key-note speaker on this occasion.
Dr Prem said that innovation management was a process of making changes established by introducing something new it has occurred when any aspect of a product process or service provides an improved solution to need. It is required for advancement of technology, changing industrial structures and strategies, evolving society or customer’s desires. If we do not innovate before the company may face various problems like: drop in sales, revenue, shareholders’ return and stock price.
+ + +
NT Bureau Chennai, Sept 10: K Anitha, Jawahar Hr Sec School, Neyveli - first place and Rohitha M, Sri Aurobindo Memorial School - second place in the 100 metre freestyle girls Under 16. Praveena Devi B, P S B B Senior Secondary School, K K Nagar-first place and Amala Rita Jse, The Choice School, Kochi-second place in the 200 metre breast stroke girls Under 16. newstodaynet.com

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mirambika Free Progress School

Life - EducationPromoting `true' education Deepti Priya Mehrotra What difference do schools that practise alternative ideas bring into the education system in India? Business Line Friday, Sep 15, 2006
As J. Krishnamurti put it, the real issue in education is "to see that when the child leaves the school, he is well established in goodness — both outwardly and inwardly".
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh.
Two schools with a `difference' celebrated special birthdays in July this year. Mirambika Free Progress School in New Delhi celebrated its 25th anniversary, while Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh turned 75 in July. What difference have these `different' schools made to the education system in India?
While most schools today merely prepare children to pass examinations and enter the job market, promoting values of aggressive individualism and cut-throat competition, several thinkers in the past have explained what `true' education is all about. Prominent among them were Jiddu Krishnamurti and Sri Aurobindo.
They not only proposed radically alternative visions of education, but also inspired many schools to practise these ideas. Rishi Valley, run by the Krishnamurti Foundation of India (KFI), and Mirambika, run by the Sri Aurobindo Education Society, are leading schools of this genre.
Mutual learning and teaching
Both are small schools, taking in no more than 20 students per class. This has allowed a strong, affectionate and non-didactic relationship to develop between teachers and students. Teachers facilitate the learning process for children, but essentially they too are learning — about life and their own selves. Thus students and teachers consciously engage in a process of mutual learning and teaching.
Parents are encouraged to play an active part in school. Some join to teach part-time, or even full-time. Thus, for instance, Nutan didi, Mirambika's History teacher, continues to teach even after her daughter, Ananya, passed out of the school in 2004.
Teachers are selected to teach on the basis of their sensitivity and an adequate grasp of the subject, rather than just formal qualifications. Mirambika runs an in-service teacher training programme for its teachers in order to hone their skills and sensitivity, as well as develop an understanding of the aims of education. Rishi Valley also launched an in-service training programme for its teachers recently.
This is a residential school, with children from across the country. Set in the midst of rural plains, with the luxury of relatively much more space, the school has created a lush forest, inhabited by innumerable species of birds and butterflies.
Mirambika, situated in New Delhi's Aurobindo Ashram, is a day school, but keeps its students for long hours (8 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.). Both the schools emphasise harmonious physical development, encouraging sports and providing simple, delicious and nutritious meals to the children.
They also encourage a deep love for nature, with nature walks, gardening and a beautiful ambience. Despite its location in a busy city, Mirambika provides a fairy-tale ambience with neem groves, wide-open skies and children tending flowers and vegetable patches.
Non-competitive ethos
Of great importance to both schools is their markedly non-competitive ethos. Children are not sent for inter-school competitions. "However," explains Ahalya Chari, a KFI trustee, "Rishi Valley holds drama festivals, as also dance and sports events in which children from many schools participate". Rishi Valley has no exams until Class IX, while Mirambika has no exams at all (it goes only up to Class IX). A few mock-exams are conducted in middle school to prepare children for exams in the future. Neither school loads its students with homework, nor do the students go in for private tuitions.
People often wonder whether children from such `alternative' schools are able to adjust to the mainstream. However, most students do well. They study a range of subjects and go in for a wide variety of careers. Amitabh, an old student of Rishi Valley, says, "When I passed my IAS some people were surprised. It is a fact that in school, we were taught not to compete with each other. But we were taught to compete with our own selves. We were taught to excel in whatever we pursue."
The aim of education
Academic excellence is encouraged, but not seen as the sole or main aim of schools. As J. Krishnamurti put it, the real issue in education is "to see that when the child leaves the school, he is well established in goodness — both outwardly and inwardly".
Aurobindo has said that the "aim of education is to help the child develop his intellectual, aesthetic, emotional, moral, spiritual being and his communal life and impulses out of his own temperament." The aim is `integral education', that is education that develops each faculty — physical, vital, mental, psychic and spiritual.
Free progress, an idea formulated by Mirra Alfassa (better known as The Mother) — co-founder of the Aurobindonian philosophy of education — means that each child is allowed to develop at his/her own pace. Even reading and writing are not forced, especially not at an excessively early age.
Both thinkers emphasised that education must address the whole person, not fragmented parts. Merely intellectual education is inadequate, even dangerous. On the other hand, children who are encouraged to develop harmoniously will create new ways of life — for themselves, and for others as well.
Brought up to cooperate than compete, they would develop non-violence and compassion. Such schools provide hope that perhaps such a transformation can actually come about — not only on a small scale, but also on the stage of the world.
As Krishnamurti put it, "You are the world." The world will change to the extent each person in the world truly changes. Social and political change will follow upon the heels of personal transformation — which is what these two schools are about.
What impact have these schools had on wider society? One very concrete impact can be seen in Rishi Valley's reaching out to surrounding villages through its `one-teacher, one-room' schools.
Rama and Padmanabha Rao, who pioneered this approach, are now invited as resource persons to teach their methods to thousands of teachers across the country. .
As for Mirambika, several ex-teachers now work in other schools, or have set up their own schools, in which they attempt to replicate the non-competitive ethos and free progress philosophy, thus reaching a somewhat wider section of children and parents.
That these schools are much in demand despite being so `different' is testimony to their intrinsic worth. Despite the erosion of values in mainstream education and the spread of consumerist, materialist values throughout the globe, these small centres of learning remain committed to a very different kind of vision. Women's Feature Service

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

European thought shaped Vivekananda's notion of "practical Vedanta"

A question has lingered in the minds of historians of religion over the degree to which Vivekananda's "Vedanta" can be said to correspond to the classical Advaita of Gaudapada, Shankara, Mandana and their successors. For the discerning historian, it is apparent that Vivekananda significantly modifies the classical Vedanta, and that his modifications are not derivative of the traditional interpretations; no, they appear as the expression of something new...Like Rammohan Roy, Vivekananda takes the Vedanta as the quintessential expression of Hinduism; at times he virtually equates the two...
Like the message of "tolerance," Vivekananda's proselytising becomes of mere secondary importance; his primary interest is the national identity of Indians. Realizing the opportunity that now presents itself, he begins to utilize his recognition by West, and Western interest in Vedanta, to bring attention to the Vedanta in India, and to generate Hindu confidence in its own traditions. Aghenanda Bharati has referred to this phenomenon as the "pizza effect" -- the idea being that the foreign acceptance of an idea or tradition helps to foster its appreciation among the indigenous populace.
But the most distinctive characteristic of Vivekananda's Vedanta is his suggestion that Vedanta needs to become "practical." It is here that the modern European elements in Vivekananda's thought are most conspicuous and where we can refer to it specifically as a form of Neo-Vedanta.
It was with respect to the practical and ethical domain that Debendranath Tagore and Dayananda Sarasvati had both distanced themselves from the classical Advaita of Shankara. They did so for good reason: Shankara clearly separates ultimate soteriological concerns from worldly means and ends. Vivekananda, on the other hand, proceeds undaunted; he believes he can derive an ethical teaching from the principle of non-dualism. How he does so will form a significant portion of the discussion in Part Two of this essay.
It is not merely with respect to the content of his thought that European elements play a role in Vivekananda's Vedanta. As Halbfass points out, it is also important to note the role played by the context of the Indian encounter with Europe and Christianity, for it is only within such a context that we can fully appreciate Vivekananda's interest in emphasizing the social and ethical domain. In other words, his concern that Vedanta become "practical" is as much a response to the challenge presented by Christian and Utilitarian ethics as it is an interest in the value of practical concerns as such.
While European thought played an important role in the development of Vivekananda's notion of a "practical Vedanta," Indian elements influencing its development also can not be ignored. Ramakrishna himself had introduced Vivekananda to forms of "tantricizied" Advaita, such as the teachings contained in the Ashtavakra Gita and Yogavashishta. While he remains theoretically committed to Shankara's Vedanta, Vivekananda also incorporates elements not characteristic of Shankara's thought.
In his conception of non-dualism, Shankara emphasized the discrimination of the world from transcendent brahman; for Shankara, a-dvaita means that brahman has "no other," no second. Vivekananda, on the other hand, emphasizes a monistic version of non-dualism wherein the world is "non-other" than brahman. This acceptance of the world, which is an aspect of Tantric thought in general, lays the theoretical backdrop against which action in the world, in accordance with the principle of "non-dual ethics," becomes possible.
Further Reading From Paul Hacker, Philology and Confrontation: Paul Hacker on Traditional and Modern Hinduism, Wilhelm Halbfass, editor. posted by kelamuni at 11:35 AM

Bankim's novel simultaneously glorified the colonial British rule

The song Vande Mataram is in news once again, though for wrong reasons...A thorough scanning (undertaken by this author) of the pre-Independence literature/documents published by the RSS shows that there is absolutely no reference there to Vande Mataram, what to talk of singing it. Startlingly, Vande Mataram as a term does not appear in the writings of KB Hedgewar and MS Golwalkar either...A section of the so-called Muslim leadership, devoid of common sense and ignorant of nationalist heritage, reacted to the Hindutva game plan along expected lines. Playing into the hands of Hindutva brigade 'Muslim leaders' like the Agra Mufti simply provided legitimacy to its strategy of Muslim-bashing.
Unfortunately, even a section of secular Muslims have shown panic reaction by declaring that Muslims should not object to the singing of this song. They innocently believe that Muslims by not singing this song are inviting wrath of Hindutva. They overlook the fact that even Dalits, Christians, Buddhists and other minorities, who have not raised objections against Vande Mataram, have not been spared by the Hindutva gang. The need of the hour is that we should not run away from a serious debate on the issue of the Vande Mataram under one pretext or the other. In order to know the truth and understand the whole controversy over Vande Mataram it is important to be familiar with the following facts which have been gathered from wide pre-Independence sources.
Vande Mataram was dogged by one controversy or another from the day it was first printed in Banga Darshan (edited by Bankimchandra Chatterjee) in 1875. It was a strange composition in the sense that it was written in two languages. The song consisted of 4 stanzas, the first two in Sanskrit and the rest in Bengali. Poet Navin Chandra Sen, a close friend, told Bankim after reading the song: "You see, it is all good, but the whole thing is spoilt by your potpourri of half Bengali and half Sanskrit. It reminds me of Govind Adhikari's Jatra songs. People do not like it."1 In fact, this song was not known by many despite the fact that Jadu Bhatt, a renowned singer of those days and a contemporary of Bankim, liked the song and set it to an attractive tune. The situation did not change even in 1882 when Bankim included this song in his controversial novel Anandmath. Rabindranath Tagore composed a new tune for this song in 1885 but despite its rendering by a very popular Bengali poet it did not attract much attention.
Interestingly, Vande Mataram which came to be known as the “national song” was composed by Bankim as a “Bengal anthem”, nothing more. The imagery of the countryside and references to Durga were certainly confined to Bengal. In this song he is seen concerned about Bengal only aloof from any emotional attachment to India. Even Sri Aurobindo (Aurobindo Ghose), propounder of Hindu nationalism in India, translated it as the "National Anthem of Bengal". Bankim, as we will see in the translation done by Aurobindo, referred to “seven crores” [70 million] of people worshipping motherland. This was the population of the then Bengal Province (which, besides what is now Bangladesh, included Bihar and Orissa too). So the crucial fact should not be missed that Vande Mataram touted as symbolizing “Mother India” was in fact meant to glorify Bengal only, a rather narrow and regional perspective.
Many are not aware that this song was scantly known during the lifetime of Bankim himself. In his lifetime it did not capture popular imagination though it was sung at all Congress sessions by people who identified Indian nationalism with Hindu ethos. It remained confined to a fringe group. In 1905 came Curzon's announcement of the partition of Bengal, and suddenly Vande Mataram turned into a national mantra, renting the skies with the protest against the partition of Bengal. Reacting quickly, the British government banned the song or even raising it as a slogan. People of Barisal in Bengal bore the brunt of police brutality for singing this song. Peasant leader Abdul Rasul, was presiding over the Bengal Congress provincial conference session of 1906 when hundreds were struck down and grievously injured for singing Vande Mataram. This brutality at Barisal popularized the song overnight. According to Bengalee of May 23, 1906, "an unprecedented procession of Hindus and Muslims singing national songs and crying Vande Mataram and Allah-o-Akbar passed through all the principal streets of the town. Both Hindus and Mussalmans carried Vande Mataram flags." It is interesting to know that while Vande Mataram was banned in Bengal, the British government allowed the Bengali Regiment to attack German trenches during the first world war with Vande Mataram on their lips.
Soon Vande Mataram became the opening note of all the Congress gatherings. And the two, Congress and Vande Mataram, became inseparable, until the early 1930s, when a new controversy about the song broke out within the ranks of the party. Sections of Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, South Indians, secular groups and even Arya Samajis, objected when the Congress decided to finalize it as the “national song”. Vande Mataram glorified idol worship, they argued, as it referred to only Hindu deities (it must be shocking for the present-day Hindutva brigade that the song does not even once refer to Ram), and that it expressed only a regional aspiration (it is partly in Bengali and allegorically talks of “Bengal” as India).
Another objection raised by Muslims and secular Indians said that Vande Mataram was part of the novel Anandmath, which glorified the annihilation of Muslims and not the British rule in India. This objection was very relevant, as even a cursory glance of the novel will prove. The novel was replete with glorification of incidents of “cleansing” of Muslims like the following one: "The rural people ran out to kill the Muslims while coming across them. In the night, some ones were organized in groups and going to the Muslim locality, they torched their houses and looted their everything. Many Muslims were killed; many of them shaved their beards, smeared their bodies with soil and started singing the name of Hari. When asked, they said, we were Hindus. The frightened Muslims rushed towards the town in group after group. The Muslims said, Allah, Allah! Is the Kortn Sareef (sic) (holy Koran) proved entirely wrong after so many days? We pray namaz five times but couldn't finish the sandal-pasted Hindus. All the universe is false."
Bankim's novel simultaneously glorified the colonial British rule. It portrayed the British masters as saviours of Hindus. This love for the British masters and exploiters was clearly visible in the last few lines of Anandmath. When the Hindu army (Santan rebels) was able to defeat Muslim rulers and move on to fight the British too, a mystic leader (Satyananda) appeared and told them: "Your mission has been successful. You have performed the well-being of the Mother. The English reign has been established. You give up the war and enmity-mood. There is no more enemy. The Englishman is our ally King. Moreover, none possesses such power who can win the war with the Englishmen ultimately." Thus the great leader of Hindu rebellion was finally able to convince Santans about the historic utility of the British Raj for the resurrection of the Hindu kingdom and many of them went to Himalayas renouncing this world. Anandmath, which heralded the Hindu nationalist movement, is full of such perceptions. Posted Online on Monday, 11 September 2006 21:45 IST

Monday, September 11, 2006

The transition to a global society

Dr Karan Singh
Moments come, which come but rarely in history, when quite perceptibly one age draws to a close and another dawns, when we stand poised between a collapsing past and an indeterminate future, when established landmarks disappear one by one, and we seem to be adrift on a boundless ocean stretching in all directions towards the horizon, when, in essence, to survive we need not merely a linear progression but a quantum jump in consciousness, not merely a reformulation of established concept but a paradigm shift in perception.Humanity has, in fact, reached just such a crossroads. It has been through many transitions in its long and tortuous history on this planet, but this time we are involved in what will surely be the most crucial and difficult of all the transitions we have encountered so far, the transition to a global society. The indications are now quite clear, although we may be too close to the event to grasp its immensity. Impelled by the explosion in science and technology over the last fifty years, all aspects of life on planet earth are undergoing a process of globalisation, as even a brief survey of some of the more tangible manifestations of this phenomenon will show.
Thomas Mann once said that in this age man's destiny leads him back to politics. Political activity is one of the most visible aspects of public life, and the current Westphalian model of the nation-state has dominated human history for the last few centuries. However, the nation-state itself now is being eroded by two contradictory forces. On the one hand nationalism in being transcended, the most dramatic example being the movement towards the European community. It is nothing short of astonishing that European nations which were at each others throats for centuries, and whose rivalries plunged the world repeatedly into wars of unsurpassed ferocity, should now have been able to overcome their age-old animosities and, despite continuing reservations, have been impelled by the sheer logic of economic survival to move towards a single economic and, ultimately, political entity.
Other regional groupings are also slowly moving in the same direction, and perhaps SAARC will ultimately follow suit. It is thus possible to visualize the present chaotic situation of almost two hundred nation-states moving steadily over the next few decades towards ten or twelve regional groupings. Perhaps it is a further integration between these regions that, before the end of the next century, could finally result in what Tennyson so eloquently described as "The Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World" and fulfill Sri Aurobindo's vision when he wrote on 15 August 1947 that "a new spirit of oneness will take hold of the human race".
The second force eroding the nation-state, or rather the artificial construct established by Marxist-Leninist dictatorship in Eastern and Central Europe, is the resurrection of ethnic and religious identities. The astounding implosion of the erstwhile Soviet Union has been an event of prime significance, because it shattered an artificial entity whose presence was distorting the inevitable transition to a global society by the negative polarization of the Cold War. As long as that lasted, the evolution of society stood frozen, as it were, and the forces of political growth remained in abeyance. It is a tribute to Mikhail Gorbachev that he was able to release tremendous democratizing forces, an act which, even if it ultimately cost him his Presidency, has assured for him an undying place in the annals of the human race. In fact the end of communism marks the beginning of post-modern history, not the end of it as some have asserted.
The explosion of Yugoslavia, a much smaller but far bloodier event, has also proved that if genuine nation states are themselves in the process of crisis, artificial ones can certainly no longer expect to survive. Way back in 1967 I happened to travel around India with President Tito. In the course of a conversation I asked him whether he didn't think that the constitution of Yugoslavia was too federal, and expressed the doubt that after his passing the country may break up. Pat came his answer – "If, after me, the republic decide to break, let them break." So even the maker of modern Yugoslavia was aware that the experiment could well turn out to be of a limited duration, although he could not have foreseen how violent the break up would be.
However, the collapse of communism leading to the break up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia does not, in the final analysis, contradict the globalisation thesis. Clearly what is happening is that the national entities so long subsumed under the Communist rubric need a period of freedom before they can start the process of transcendence. Communism, therefore, will at best have been able to delay the process of globalisation but will not, in the longer view, have been able to reverse it.If politics is in the process of globalisation, economic activity has for a long time transcended national boundaries. Economic and financial decisions now impinge upon the human race on a global basis. In particular, the rise of transnational corporations had introduced a powerful new element of globalisation which will increasingly erode national barriers. Economic compulsion has brought together the countries of Western Europe, and this factor will inevitably operate in other regions of the planet also. After the seemingly endless "Uruguay Round", a GATT agreement finally emerged, and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are triumphantly propagating what Reagan once called "the magic of the marketplace". Whether the magic turns out to be white or black depends, of course, on the nature of the economy involved, but for purposes of our present argument it is obvious that national boundaries are getting less and less important in the world economic context, and that this constitutes a powerful thrust towards the emerging global society.
Environmental problems are by definition global. The historic United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 highlighted this fact. Whereas the Stockholm Conference twenty years earlier was attended by only two heads of Government – the host Olaf Palme and our Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – the intervening twenty years brought home quite clearly that there are simply no partial solutions to such problems as global warming and attenuation of the ozone layer, river and ocean pollution, C02 emissions and biological diversity, deforestation and desertification. These reasons impelled over a hundred heads of State and Government to attend the Rio Summit. The growing awareness of the global nature of environmental problems and solutions is in fact one of the most tangible indications of the rapid emergence of a global society.The green movements and environmental activists throughout the world are in some ways pioneers of this new consciousness. From being regarded as far-out, fringe movements even a couple of decades ago, they have moved into centre stage, and governments throughout the world are obliged to take cognizance of their views. Indeed the whole concept of the planet as a living entity, the mother that has nurtured consciousness up from the slime of the primeval ocean to where it is today – GAIA in the Greek tradition, Bhavani Vasundhara in the Hindu – has become a powerful factor in the phenomenon of globalisation that is now gathering momentum. That most beautiful photograph ever taken, the one of planet Earth from outer space, stands as a glowing symbol of global awareness. It is as if we have seen our face in a mirror for the first time, for this shows our planet as it really is, a tiny speck of light and life against the unending vastnesses of outer space, so beautiful and yet so fragile.
Of all the factors impelling the movement into a global society, perhaps the most powerful is the multiple revolution in communications, triggered by space exploration and the development of satellite technology. When Yuri Gagarin first broke the space barrier, and Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, they were charting an entirely new course for human history. The sheer scientific and technological feats involved were staggering enough. That a creature on this planet could make the transition from cave to space station – so dramatically portrayed in Stanley Kubric's mind-bending film 2001: A Space Odyssey – in less than a hundred thousand years in astonishing. But the long range implications are likely to be truly momentous.Apart from other applications, the major impact of space or satellite exploration has been in the field of communications, radio and, more dramatically, television. The recent development of cable networks has virtually transformed human consciousness in large parts of the world, as it enables million of human beings scattered throughout the globe to witness programmes and events simultaneously. This global concentration of consciousness is unprecedented, and its impact still impossible to assess.
The cultural impact of television is also substantial. For the first time in human history a world language has emerged – English – which is a pre-requisite for a global civilization. This is not to say that English will replace other languages, but simply that it is rapidly becoming the link language for linguistic and national groups around the world. Rock music has, likewise, emerged as the first truly global music. Young people dance to the same beat whether in New York or New Delhi, Bombay or Beijing, Reykjavik or Rio de Janeiro. Similarly jeans are becoming a sort of global uniform for young people, and the cola drinks a global refreshment. These examples do not imply a value judgement. Many will continue to prefer Beethoven to the Beatles, champagne to Coca Cola. But the point is that the mass impact of the popular brands, whether in music or refreshment, is rapidly assuming global dimensions, thus building the foundations for a global society.Another factor that has made a tremendous impact on eroding national and linguistic barriers is the phenomenon of jet-age tourism. The world's largest industry in terms of annual turnover – larger even than petroleum or armaments – tourism now involves millions of people every year who leave the confines of their countries. Made possible by the development of jet airliner – itself a miracle of engineering technology – this massive tourist traffic is bringing people from different races and religions, linguistic and national groups together in an unprecedented manner. During a recent visit to the Great Wall of China, for instance, we encountered people drawn from at least a dozen countries and speaking a veritable babble of tongues, and visitors to the Taj Mahal or the Statue of Liberty are sure to have a similar experience. These tourists crisscrossing the globe are, as it were, spinning the warp and waft of the new garment of global consciousness that is steadily enveloping this planet.
All this adds up to an unprecedented and irreversible process which, for better or for worse, is inexorably influencing the people inhabiting this planet. Comfortable assumptions are being widely shaken, and we find ourselves hit by a typhoon of change which is pushing us willy-nilly into a global civilisation. While there have been many transitions in the long vistas of human history, the one to the global society has a major difference with earlier ones which makes it unique, and this relates to the time-scale involved. Previously many generations would elapse in the course of the transition, but this time round, time itself has telescoped, as a result of which the phenomenon which Alvin Toffler first termed "future shock" has become widespread. It is an amazing fact that almost all the seminal changes that are transforming our planet have taken place over the last fifty years, that is within the living memory of at least two generations of human beings still alive on the planet.Whether it is atomic power or jet aviation, television or computerization, robotics or organ transplants, satellite technology or space travel, genetic engineering or cybernetics, these and many more revolutionary developments took place in our own lifetimes. So rapid has been the pace of change that vast numbers of people seem to be numbed and disoriented. On the one hand the global society with all its myriad implications is rapidly emerging, while on the other the mindset of millions is still frozen in pre-global attitudes. It is this time-lag that is largely responsible for the curiously ambivalent state of the world today, in which contradictory movements and forces seem to be arising simultaneously in startling juxtaposition.It is clear that not all the implications of globalisation are positive. The very act of globalisation magnifies the original phenomenon which, if malign, assumes even more menacing dimensions. With terrorism having attained global dimensions, the real nightmare now lies in the possibility of a terrorist group getting hold of a nuclear weapon and using it for their malign purposes. The narcotics trade has now become so menacing that it threatens the very stability of societies and, in at least two countries, the very existence of the State itself. The multi-billion dollar drug trade, with the tremendous increase in addiction and drug-related crime, represents a malign underworld which is the dark shadow thrown by the glitter and glamour of Western civilisation. And the processes of its globalisation are inexorably widening its tentacles or encompass more and more societies in the developing world.The growth of violence, individual and collective, also has a global dimension. With all its amazing potential, television often becomes the vehicle for the most bloodcurdling violence and horror that now enters tens of million of living rooms around the world. The level of violence that many of the films shown on television contain, not to speak of a masochistic approach to evil, demoniac possession, horror and other such distortions of human consciousness, is posing a grave threat to balance and sanity of people throughout the world. What long range effect such films have on impressionable young minds can hardly be fathomed, but quite clearly this is a significant negative impact of the global revolution.
The AIDS pandemic has, in ten years, assumed truly alarming proportions, and has exploded on all continents cutting across barriers of nationality and religion, sex and sexual preference. If current forecasts are to be believed, by the end of the century tens of millions of human beings on this planet will be infected by the HIV virus, and millions will die from it every year, In some African countries it is feared that as much as one third of their populations could be wiped out, thus crippling their productive capacity and giving a major setback to their plans for economic development. The sheer human pain, physical and emotional, caused by AIDS is a truly tragic global burden. Sexual mores have changed greatly over the last few decades, but more than any particular form of sexual activity what has become so glaring now is the general level of promiscuity that pervades much of Western society. And this, through the process of globalisation, is now spreading throughout the world as videos have brought pornography into every home. Certainly there was the celebrated Kamasutra in India, but the activities were surely meant to be carried out in privacy rather than through the universal nudity of the television screen.
So while globalism has many positive aspects and is an irreversible process, it also has its menacing, darker side which we would do well to keep in mind, because unless we are able to develop a positive consciousness that can overcome this negativity, the whole transition could turn out to be abortive and, ultimately, self-destructive. Indeed, carrying further the analogy of transition and metamorphosis, one can liken the present global scenario to the time when a caterpillar enters the chrysalis before it becomes a butterfly. The experience could not be a pleasant one; there must be a terrible sense of constriction and crisis. But if it succeeds in undergoing that painful process, an ugly, earthbound worm is transformed into a beautiful, multi-coloured butterfly that can fly through the air rather than crawl on the leaf. Hopefully, that is what could happen to human consciousness provided we are able to make the transition to globalism safely.
The major question facing us, therefore, as we hurtle towards the end of this most violent and gory century in human history, is how to develop a consciousness that could sustain the emerging global society. What we need is a global 'dharma', a paradigm of thought that would stress co-operation in place of competition. convergence in place of conflict, holism in place of hedonism. For this we can turn to the great spiritual traditions of humanity, and I would like to explore briefly with you some of the universal concepts of the Vedanta, surely one of the high watermarks of world philosophy. "Mansarovar" 3, Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi - 110 003 Ph: 2611 1744, 2611 5291 Fax: 2687 3171

Sri Aurobindo's Five Dreams

Shri Gopal Bhattacharjee April 27, 1991
Sri Aurobindo had five dreams. His first dream related to the freedom of India. And yet this freedom was fissured. Sri Aurobindo explained why. He said that when he had initiated the movement for India's freedom, his consciousness was established at the Overmental level, and because of that the freedom was fissured, even though a way out had been offered with the Cripps mission. If Sri Aurobindo's consciousness had operated from the Supramental level, the freedom would have been whole. In his Independence-day message he says: "India is free but she has not achieved unity, only a fissured and broken freedom. But by whatever means, the division must and will go. For without it the destiny of India might be seriously impaired and even frustrated. But that must not be."
Sri Aurobindo's second dream was the freedom of the Asian peoples. After 1947 we find that gradually colonies have broken down and Asia has earned her freedom. Today most of these countries are politically and economically free. Japan is one of the largest economic powers in the world. South Korea and some of its neighbouring countries have made giant leaps in economy. India is still to take its economic leap. India's greatest problem - its enormous population - may well turn out to be its greatest asset. When that massive population gets down to work, when it begins to be productive, when it decides to build new things, that will mark India's resurgence as a mighty economic power. But more important will be its spiritual contribution for the rest of mankind.
The third dream of Sri Aurobindo was a compulsive movement towards world unity. In his scheme, world unity will not come in one single stroke. First there would be the formation of regional groups of countries co-operating with one another. These groups would then form the basis for the new world order. Don't we already find that his dream has at least in part been realised? Gorbachev's call for a united Europe and recent developments of a European Economic Community are illustrative of the fulfilment of Sri Aurobindo's dream.
His fourth dream was the re-emergence of India's spirituality. India would be the Guru of the world, the Mother said. Not necessarily in the form of saints going out of India to preach and establish Ashrams. More importantly Indian thought and philosophy is establishing itself in the world, primarily in the fields of science and psychology. It is establishing itself with the intelligentsia of the world, here, which is where it really counts.
The fifth dream was a new step in the evolution of human consciousness, a step beyond mind to the Truth-Mind. Here again we find philosophers and scientists responding first. Without exception every philosopher worth his name, every scientist worth his vision has proclaimed the possibility of a state beyond mind. Sir Arthur Eddington, Sir James Jeans, Erwin Schroedinger and a host of other illustrious men have all affirmed this. Many yogis have confirmed that after 1956, the year of the Supramental Manifestation, there has been a major precipitation in their yoga. Obstinate problems that have been dogging yogis all over the world have suddenly vanished, common barriers in yoga have suddenly crumbled. We have to take their word for it as we may not have experienced these things. All five of Sri Aurobindo's dreams are definitely in the process of realisation, precisely in the manner that he envisaged them.

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo guide the world events

A French writer commented that Sri Aurobindo was the only writer in the history of world literature who had started writing all of his five major works simultaneously and finished them within five years. His writings embraced a staggering breadth of subjects, from the meaning of the composition of the atom down to the subject of cruelty to animals. The Mother said that in his writings she saw intuition pouring down from above into his mind and saturating his thoughts and language.
Their Influence on World Events: Sri Aurobindo and The Mother had their own unique experiences with world events throughout their lives. For example, when the British were in retreat at Dunkirk, trying to avoid the German bombardment, Sri Aurobindo through a power of consciousness is said to have helped put the famous fog over the water, hiding the retreating boats from the Germans. Also in the early 194os when the Nazis raced across Europe, The Mother made a visit to Hitler himself. He regularly saw a bright illumined being in front of him who directed his actions in the war. It was in fact the god that he had worshiped and followed. One time Mother came in the being's place, though looking the same, telling Hitler to move some of his army to a second front in Russia. Hitler obliged. It was this decision that was to prove to be perhaps the main course of his downfall in the war.
"Mother's War": Sri Aurobindo called WWII "Mother's War" in that the Asuric [dark] forces working though the Nazis were trying to block the further progress of the spiritual Force on earth, which the Mother was the instrument of.
He Guides The Mother's Yoga: Mother was continually in touch with Sri Aurobindo after his passing. He continually spoke with her from the subtle plains giving her instructions and guiding her own development as she attempted to live a supramental life, including physically do the transformation to a supramental being. Mother discusses these interactions between the two throughout discussions with her disciple Satprem in The Agenda. All His Wishes Ultimately Fulfilled: Sri Aurobindo said that the world forces had always fulfilled his will, sooner or later...
In 1956, Sri Aurobindo's work from the subtle plane bore fruit. During the meditation in the playground on February 29, 1956, The Mother saw Her subtle body enlarging to the size of the universe and becoming golden... The Mother says that since its advent in 1956, when the Force first descended into the earthly sphere, It has effectively determined the course of earthly events. For example, the diffusion of the Cuban crisis, as well as the simultaneous inexplicable withdrawal of the Chinese from the Indian border when invasion was immanent were the results of the workings of the Force*. Finally, The Mother said that children born after 1962 have greater receptivity to this supramental Force and power. *It is also believed that this Force later in the 1980s brought Gorbachev to power and influence that led to the dismantling the Soviet system, ending the Cold War and avoiding an immanent global nuclear war...
August 15th: The Indian sage and seer Sri Aurobindo was born in India on August 15th, 1872. Though he took part in an extremist group to rid India of the scourge of English colonialism as a young man, he abandoned that pursuit early on for an inner life dedicated to the Spirit. He realized that if India was to be free, he needed to personally make the inner effort to bring it about. Centered in the deepest consciousness, he saw that India was free in the subtle plane, and then worked to make it reality in the material plane. After four decades of inner effort, his dream of Indian independence occurred in 1947. Actually it was on August 15th of that year, the same day as Sri Aurobindo's birth. Today the birth of the nation and its greatest spiritual sage are celebrated in tandem.
Sri Aurobindo also sought the wide emergence of Asia onto the world stage. For hundreds of years Asia remained relatively quiet, while Europe dominated much of the world. Then in the 1930s in the lead-up to WWII, Imperial Japan conquered one territory after another in pursuit of the resources it lacked. On August 15th, 1945 Japan surrendered, and the war in Asia was over. That also took place on Sri Aurobindo's birthday.
It has been said that Sri Aurobindo was the reincarnation of several renowned individuals, including Napoleon. Napoleon was born on August 15th, 1769, the same as his soul descendent, Sri Aurobindo. There are more connections, but I will resist describing them all, save one.
Sri Aurobindo's spiritual partner was Mira Alfassa, also known to her followers as “The Mother.” She was said to have been an incarnation of the Divine Mother, which in Indian metaphysics is essentially the intermediary being between the descending Spiritual Force and the earthly plane. In the West there is nothing quite the equivalent, although The Mother suggested that the worship of the Virgin -- i.e. Mary -- is based on the pagan belief in the Goddess, which is in essence the Divine Mother. In the West, the holiday known as the ‘Feast of the Assumption’ is celebrated in honor of Mary’s rising to heaven. It too occurred on August 15th, Sri Aurobindo’s birthday. It is significant because of his relationship to the Divine Mother.
Sri Aurobindo's influence on world events continues. He inwardly yearned for the emergence of Asia on the world stage, a movement that is now well under way. He also aspired for a prosperous India, which is also becoming a reality. Beyond that, Sri Aurobindo aspired that India rediscover her ancient spiritual past, but in a new form that would embrace life and include the evolutionary perceptions of modern existence. He believed that if India could have the multifaceted, dynamic experience of the Spirit, she could fulfill her role as Guru of the World. These developments would in turn be precursors of even greater changes -- including the unity of the nations of the world, and the spiritual transformation of humanity, ushering in a Divine life on earth.
His Previous Incarnations: Sri Aurobindo was known in his Ashram as the rebirth of Napoleon. Napoleon's birthday was also August 15th (the date of India won her independence). In his previous births, it was believed he was Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Krishna and many other persons too. Someone asked Sri Aurobindo whether he had been Shakespeare as well, but could not elicit an answer.
Rabindranath Tagore came to see Sri Aurobindo. During his 24 year silence, Sri Aurobindo had broken the rule a few times to meet visitors. Tagore was one of them. He came and saw Sri Aurobindo resplendent with the supramental energy. Tagore wanted Europe to know of Sri Aurobindo's yoga and his work. Before he left he pronounced, "The word is with you."
God Seeks Man Since 1956: Since 1956 when the Force descended on earth, God seeking Man more than Man seeking God has become a greater reality. We see no God, we see only how prosperous we are. Prosperity is the God for the householder. The Force came down on earth in 1956 but began to act through the governments in 1967. From then onwards its action is more and more pronounced. Just now Man is surrounded by a plethora of social opportunities. Psychologically it is greater. (Karmayogi) Additional Articles About His Life and Vision- The Age of Sri Aurobindo – Mother's Yoga (MSS) - Word format, July 15, 2002
The Mothers Service Society is an organization dedicated to further extending the ideas of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, and applying them in the areas of personal growth, business development, social development, economics, education, literature, and science. Over the last few decades the Society has been actively engaged in world economic and social forums, presenting breakthrough ideas in various areas of social development, and has worked in tandem with the highest governmental officials throughout the world in applying their ideas to real world economic and social problems. Many of the ideas of the society have been used throughout Growth Online site, including topics related to the individual, business, society, science, education, the universe, spirituality, and others.
FURTHER READING:
Additonal Thoughts on Sri Aurobindo
· To read an article that describes Sri Aurobindo's essential vision for the world, click here.
· To go to a site containing our interpretation of the key ideas of Sri Aurobindo, click
here.
· To go to our main site New Insights into the Life and Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, click
here.
· To read an overview of the life of The Mother, click
here.

An Era of Enlightenment

While reading V.S. Naipauls ‘An area of Darkness‘ I realized what people think of India. Moreover an Oscar to that book meant that his opinions about India were accepted as facts. I also see the intellectuals in this country thanking the British for they ‘United’ our nation and gave it an identity as nation. They claim that India was not a nation before British came here we were just a group of people. They civilized us, they brought us under one flag, and they made us a nation. Same history is taught in our textbooks and our respectable leaders like Nehru has confirmed it time to time.
Educated people of India along with the elite intellectuals in my opinion are far aways from the actual India that exists all over. That is why they fail to understand why India is worlds oldest nation. These intellectuals are just Macauley’s offspring who described them in his Minute as “who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.” ...
A reader might ask me “if Indians were not as described my Macauley. Why do today even our textbooks and intellectuals agree to what he said?” There is a very logical answer to this. During the muslim rule learning was considered to be traitorous and hence there were many limitation over learning also our brahmins kept the knowledge away from so called lower castes. British instead of identifying these problems and nurturing the existing system decided to invent a new system which could have enabled them to stay here for a loger period may be forever. They underestimated the strength of genes that we inherited from giants like Arybhatta, varahmihir and Cautilyaa which gave birth to Gandhi, Vivekananda and Aurobindo who enlightened the people. akshar.frihost.net This entry was posted on Sunday, September 10th, 2006 at 6:09 pm and is filed under Main Category.
Is it not futile to quarrel with the past? It is a mixed-bag, and we can’t do anything about it. And certainly, we can’t change the systems, education or otherwise. What we can really do, is at present with our eyes on the future. We can read the right things individually as well as in small groups. That would be the springboard for right action in our respective fields. For, theory, being the crux of any praxis, is more important.

Sri Aurobindo, Masanobu Fukuoka, Arne Naess, Robert Hart

Hi all. Another transition has occured; my final semester is under way and a solid 7 months of travelling radical experiential education is come to a close.Now is the time of production, of cultivation, of crafting and polishing to a smooth shine this DharmaFarmer.
But what is the path of the DharmaFarmer? The influential progenitors of the waning generation have played their part in the Great Movement, and now the waxing generation will do its own part. What will fill the space left by Aurobindo, Masanobu Fukuoka, Arne Naess, Robert Hart, etc?
For my part, I would like to focus my iteration of this Great Movement on the raising or refining of consciousness, and further articulating the use of spiritual practice or 'self-realization' as an agent or facilitator of the Great Movement. The Movement is called 'Great' because it is 'wide and deep', to borrow a Naess phrase. It is wide in that it has myriad descriptions and myriad functions; it is deep in that it addresses and satisfies many levels of the experiential being.
Part of the human experience, or at least my human experience, comes from discovering meaning and value in the world around us. For me, a deepening or refining of meaning comes easily or immediately when i am in an undisturbed, natural environment, such as a mature bamboo grove, or a silent pine stand in the snow, or a black-sand lagoon. Equally in certain human cultivated environments do I feel easily inspired, such as in temples and dojos, around community fires, and especially in permaculture gardens or forest gardens.
For me these experiences hold the values of humility, community, and interconnection (Buddha: Dependent Co-arising, Bhagavad Gita: Yoga, Ramana Maharshi: Brahma, etc).Humility seems to be subjective; that is, dependent on individual value judgements. A sense of community to me has a bit of personal valuation in it, but also is described by the sciences of biology and ecology. Interconnection as a state or idea is becoming more finely described by biology and ecology, as well as the newly emerged focus of convervation biology.
The OED has this definition for conservation biology: "the branch of biological science concerned with the conservation, management, and protection of vulnerable species, populations, and ecosystems." I wish to draw attention to the phrase 'concerned with'. This implies that this science is not a 'hard' science, but one that draws also from a philosophy or ethic. Hard science or categorizations of facts informs action in the case of conservation biology.
The path of the DharmaFarmer is the process of becoming wise individuals and wise communities, acting from a place of solid scientific information married with meaningful philosophical and ethical systems that we each hold on some level of our total being. The sciences of ecology, biology, physics, psychology, etc. are now merging with the timeless teachings of countless saints, charting out the cosmic truths of intimate and immediate connection between all beings and indeed all objects that exist in space-time.
This is my deepest theme for the DharmaFarmer: Unity. Going by many names and explained through many images and analogies, unity can be understood as a basic oneness, singleness, or wholeness of truth or experience.Not that A, B, and C are all 'the same' or 'equal'. Instead it is that A, B, and C are all qualities or expressions of '!', where '!' is incapturable with words or concepts. As the first line of Tao Te Ching reads, 'Tao can be talked about, but not the Eternal Tao.' In fact (relative in space-time), A, B, and C are not 'the same' or 'equal'. The diversity on the relative level cannot be overlooked, nor should it be. Abundant, ever-evolving diversity, i feel, is a virtue of this Unity or Oneness.
This is equatable to the 'chit' in sat-chit-ananda. It is sometimes translated as 'active consciousness' or 'creative consciousness'. Sat-chit-ananda is said to be the trifold expression of Godhead, advanced by the ancient Vedas as well as contemporary yogis and yoginis. 'Truth-consciousness-bliss' it reads. Truth is that which truly exists; consciousness is the active or creative expression of truth; and bliss is the experience of truth. 'Tat tvam asi' read the Upanishads. 'That thou art'. Brahman is Atman.
The trifold quality of Godhead is also the trifold quality of each diversified piece of Godhead. Each of us and the totality of us is the pure expression of Sat-chit-ananda, or so say certain saints.Now is a time where we begin to see scientists turning toward saints, and saints turning toward scientists. In truth, Siddhartha Guatama, Patanjali, and others were very strict scientists, taking nothing for granted in their experiments of yoga. It is also true that many of the renowned scientists of our time held a special space for super-mundane in their own personal lives.
Unity, if it is to be purely understood, must be illuminated as objectively as possible, as a theory, AND it must also be experienced consciously as a quality of existence. If unity is not brought to the level of personal experience, how can we expect this movement to be anything but intellectual masturbation?
The Great Movement must come from inside each of us, originating in our own personal experience of truth. It must catalyse individual as well as communal growth. The experience of unity must occur on the level of conscious experience. Now, given the working hypothesis of Unity, what are some scientific/human systems that acknowledge this and set out principles in line with this hypothesis?---posted by dharmafarmer 3:23 PM Sunday, September 10, 2006 Name: Justin Sarno Location:New England I am a student of agriculture and religion/philosophy at Hampshire College. My thesis focus is the philosophy and practice of self-realization as a means to ethical and ecologically sound livelihood. The DharmaFarmer: Self-Inquiry and Nature-Realization

Westerners will never ever acknowledge the greatness of Sri Aurobindo

Westerners will never ever acknowledge the greatness of Sri Aurobindo's work and philosophy. Swami Vivekananda had a similar problem. He was full of passion about bringing the high spiritual dharma of the East to the West. But because he was a brown skinned man from India he had no hope in hell of getting significant numbers of westerners to take much notice of him. That is one reason why he died at 33 years of age. He was literally worn out by the effort that it required.
They were (and still are) full of their western "christian" arrogance. This arrogance is alive and well (sic) in the Vatican and is a feature of all the USA right wing think tanks (why not feeling tanks??) and so called "religious" institutes etc. Check out First Things (FT) or Touchstone or Crux and their associated websites and blogs etc etc. The current issue of FT contains an essay The Orthodox Imperative which emphatically states that there is ONLY one source of "truth" in the world and that ALL other ways are inherently false and the breeding ground of all kinds of relativism. No ecumenism allowed--none! # posted by John : 7:25 AM
What a hoot especially when compared to your next posting re philosophy and feeling. And also the absolute anti-thesis of everything that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother taught and stood for. Rand's wisdomless "philosophy" was that of the loveless heart, the angular "philosophy" of the machine and its inevitable manifestation technocratic "civilization" --the "culture" of death!
The "philosophy" of anti-feeling, the "philosophy" of complete self-possession (there is only me!! and naked self interest). Its inevitable outcome being the war of all against all and everything. Very soberly described in this essay: 1. www.dabase.net/coop+tol.htm Plus this essay on the primacy of feeling and touch as the very essence of our humanity. 2. www.beezone.com/AdiDa/touch.htm Also The Asana of Science and Objectivism. www.aboutadidam.org/readings/asana_of_science/index.html # posted by John : 6:58 AM

The thrust on the market economy is a kind of correction

From: "umesh naik" To: tusarnmohapatra@mail.com Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2006 14:29:53 +0530
Dear Tusar,
Thankyou for the comment on the Blog -verslavenir. I am not at all familiar at the moment with this medium. It just sort of happenned on the computer. So it will develop slowly as I learn. I visited your blog and liked it immensely..... I teach economics at the M.S. University of Baroda. With reagrds, Umesh Naik
On 9/10/06, Tusar N. Mohapatra tusarnmohapatra@mail.com wrote:
Oh great! You are at the same place where Sri Aurobibdo too taught a century back. It is certainly a blessing for you. Blogs are now a great medium and we must extract the full advantage of this new technology. As regards your invitation to contribute, my hands are full at the moment, as you can see. However, you are free to re-run the posts from the archives, if you so like.
I'd be interested to know your views as to how to reconcile the present thrust on market economy with the ideals of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. That is the biggest theoretical challenge we encounter today, for writings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo on these aspects are rudimentary, and Auroville as an economic model is still in disarray.
On 9/11/06, umesh naik auroputra@gmail.com wrote: Tusar,
yes, there is a great deal of interpretation that requires to be done as regards current developments in the world and India in particular in the light of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. That is exactly what needs to be done if one wants to be relevant to the youth of today. I have seen a lot of sites which only reproduce extracts from their writings. This is certainly good, but one must also attempt to make sense of the woorld around us in the vision and spirit of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

We used to run a Youth Parliament here, where students found it very "happening" to come and discuss various issues, express themselves and discover their "identity". Unfortunately, some "sadhaks" felt the whole business was mundane and unspiritual. So there is a pause in the forum.

I am extremely happy you raised the question of the market. The thrust on the market economy is a kind of correction which is required at the moment. It is certainly not the end nor the only means. It will be superseded, but only when we have learnt the lessons it has to teach. I will get back to you on this as I have to rush for my class just now. Regards, Umesh
i have posted something on the blog as an instant response to your prompting...it is incomplete but still..Vers l'Avenir umesh naik I am an educator in Economics at the M.S.University of Baroda, Gujarat, India. This site is an expression of my interest in the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and a wish to present it to youth in a way that will make it meaningful to them in their life. Location: 304, Vedant Apts., 27, Urmi Society, Vadodara-390007. Gujarat, IN

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Eleanor Montgomery spent a lifetime devoted to The Mother's work

A foreign friend of India PREMA NANDAKUMAR The Hindu Tuesday, Oct 21, 2003
INDIA HAS been blessed with several foreign friends in the field of education ever since Sister Nivedita came to India and opened a school for women in Kolkata. Annie Besant, Ida Scudder, Mirra Alfassa (the Mother of the Pondicherry Ashram) are some of them. Eleanor Montgomery belongs to this illustrious lineage.
Having heard of Sri Aurobindo's writings and the manner in which Margaret Woodrow Wilson had found an anchor in them in the course of her spiritual strivings, Eleanor came to India and met the Mother of the Ashram at Pondicherry. This was in the early fifties. The Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education which had introduced new methods of teaching children caught her imagination. She asked the Mother in what manner she could help the Ashram work. The Mother replied, "Return to America and raise funds for the school."
The school was experimental and was meant to cater to the Ashram community. The children of the disciples attended the school which followed a Free Progress system in the light of the educational practices outlined by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. At the conclusion of the schooling, the children were given the freedom to choose whether or not to join the Ashram.
Mrs. Montgomery went to work immediately. Her friends and a yearly monetary gift from her financier husband, A. Moore Montgomery, helped her make a strong beginning to help the Ashram School. Later, the Mother advised Mrs. Montgomery to set up a trust for the purpose. So a foundation was incorporated in New York City under the name "Sri Aurobindo International Center Foundation, Inc." The Mother was to be the president and the original board consisted of Aurobindonians among whom were Mrs. Montgomery, Mr. Lee Russell, Elsie Calvert, and Dr. Marie Karelitz-Karry. The Foundation tried to help the Sri Aurobindo Ashram School at Pondicherry with encyclopaedias, educational books and materials, office equipment and supplies, and sports equipment. There were also special donations, such as the electronic organ Mother played (which can be heard on the many tapes recorded by the Ashram).
Mrs. Montgomery also formed a study group in New York City that met on a regular basis from 1955 to 1963. As hostess for the meetings, she brought noted personalities such as French Jesuit author Teilhard de Chardin and scholars from the Ashram and around the world to fulfil the organisation's mission of establishing "a centre of education and learning without distinction of race, nationality, caste, sex or creed so that such education might be provided without charge." Unfortunately when Mrs. Montgomery's husband passed away in 1963, there was a period of inaction till 1972. This being Sri Aurobindo's birth centenary year, there was a beautiful revival thanks to Udar Pinto coming from India to advise the Foundation. Presently the name of the Foundation was changed to the Foundation for World Education, to pursue the goals set by Sri Aurobindo for a globally integral future.
Mrs. Montgomery, after a lifetime devoted to the Mother's work passed away on the Mother's birthday on February 21, 1983. She left her entire estate to the Foundation. The Foundation is at present administered by a board headed by Margo MacLeod with Jeanne Korstange as the secretary. The main part of the work consists in granting money to incorporated non-profit organisations which support "the vision for a transformed world espoused by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother." Since 1983, over one million dollars has been distributed from the annual dividends and interest which Mrs. Montgomery's estate continues to generate.
Among notable grants by the Foundation are supporting the purchase of the crystal for the Matrimandir at Auroville, a student learning exchange from Auroville to the U.S., and projects of the Ashram Archives and school. The Foundation also helps in the publication of books that project the educational vision of Sri Aurobindo.