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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Kanai Lal Dutt and Satyendra Nath Bose were sentenced to death

Confidential No. 2271-C
To the Chief Secretary to the Government of Bengal,
Calcutta, the
22nd. October 1908.

Sir,
In continuation of my letter No: 1965-C dated the 10th. September 1908, I have the honour to report for the information of Government, that the two Accused named Kanai Lal Dutt and Satyendra Nath Bose in the Alipore Jail Murder Case, were yesterday sentenced to death by the Hon’ble High Court, Calcutta.

I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant, F.L. Halliday Commissioner of Police, Calcutta. Government of Bengal, Political Department, Confidential File No. 160 (1-16) of 1908.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I don’t think the current crisis marks the end of neoliberalism and market fundamentalism

Crisis from The Pinocchio Theory by Steven Shaviro

Marx got capitalism right as to its structural tendencies; his mistake was to think that the inevitable, and in the long run inevitably worsening, crises to which capitalism is prone were the points at which the system itself could be overthrown. But in point of fact, not only are these crises so demoralizing that they effectively work to block any hope of action to make things different, they are positively useful to capitalist domination — and even perhaps necessary to that domination. Capitalism will never resolve its “contradictions”; and a crisis is the point at which these “contradictions” come to a head. But for that very reason, crisis is the point at which capitalism is able to reinvent itself, and prolong thhe “contradictions” that are its paradoxical conditions of possibility.

In other words, orgies of destruction of capital, such as we are witnessing now, are part and parcel of the “creative destruction” (Schumpeter’s term, very much following Marx’s observations) that is the modus operandi of capitalism. Individual capitalists may suffer (though usually far less than the rest of us do), but these convulsions clear up the system, unclog it, so that new rounds of exploitation and capital accumulation may then take place.

Crisis is the mechanism that transforms the abundance which capitalism produces into the condition of scarcity and deprivation which is necessary to its continued functioning. Or, crisis (as the flip side of manic speculation) is the way that Bataillean expenditure and excess can be reintroduced into the “restricted economy” of calculation and universal equivalence.

All this is why I don’t think the current crisis marks the end of neoliberalism and market fundamentalism. For the sole aim of all the government intervention that is happening now is precisely to restart (reboot) the currently clogged market. Whether it works or not is still open to quesiton; but if it does work, this will not mean a paradigm shift of any sort, but only the restoration of corporate and financial business as usual. In times of prosperity, the best we can hope for is trickle-down (though often even that is not guaranteed; the last twenty-five years have instead involved a redistribution of wealth from everyone else to the already-rich). But in times of crisis, recession, and depression, all we can hope for is to “share the pain” that the corporate and financial sector is feeling, and thereby to restore that sector at our own expense. The game is rigged, in times of prosperity and calamity alike.

But no matter what, the worst never leads to the better. Revolution will never come from sacrifice. It is only under conditions of (relative) prosperity and abundance — which capitalism does provide, after a manner, during one part of its cycle — that we will ever find the power to imagine things differently, and that people will have the motivation and the energy to devote themselves to hopes for the future, rather than being stuck in the moment-to-moment struggle for bare survival.

Abundance and non-commodified leisure are the only things that capitalism is unable to endure. Both the crazed accumulation and conspicuous consumption that characterized the financial sector over the last two decades, and the crazed destruction and disaccumulation that are overtaking that same sector today, serve the purpose of averting the threat of a generalized abundance and leisure for everybody. Abundance and leisure — which are technologically attainable, but economically unthinkable — must be revived as the basis for any sort of political struggle. Now more than ever is the time to (as Lenin’s Tomb suggested some years ago) “be unrealistic, demand the possible.”

Geography of Difference vs. Geography in Development

I am most fond of Krugman's pieces on economic geography, in particular on cities and the economic rationales for clustering. He almost single-handedly resurrected the importance of "location theory," an all-important but previously neglected branch of economics. Here is the best summary piece of Krugman's work in this area. I believe this work will continue to rise in influence.
***
The Role of Geography in Development
Paul Krugman
The New Economic Geography: Theoretical Principles ......... 2
Geographical Theories of the World Economy ......... 12
Regional Inequality within Developing Countries ........ 17
Policy and Primacy ........ 21
Chance and Necessity ....... 23
Geography and Policy......... 27
References..... 33
Abstract
The recent surge of interest in the role of economic geography in economic development has divided into two seemingly contradictory approaches. One approach emphasizes the role of inherent features of the landscape in shaping development patterns. This paper, however, mainly surveys the alternative approach, which stresses how the tension between "centripetal" forces, such as forward and backward linkages in production and increasing returns in transportation, and "centrifugal" forces, such as factor immobility and land rents, can produce a process of selforganization, in which more or less symmetric locations can end up playing very different economic roles.
Such processes can occur at several different levels. The paper discusses "geographical" models of the division of the world into industrial and nonindustrial countries, of the emergence of regional inequality within developing countries, and of the emergence of giant urban centers. The paper also argues that the conflict between "self-organizing" and "predestination" approaches to economic geography may be more apparent than real: natural features matter so much largely because they act as seeds around which cumulative processes crystallize, so that while geography may have been destiny in the past, it need not be in the future.
Finally, the paper discusses policy briefly, mainly in terms of why it is so hard to draw policy conclusions from these models.
***

This is not a good day for the science of Economics. A propagandist showing political partisanship has won the Nobel

On Paul Krugman's Nobel from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik
Paul Krugman, winner of this year's Nobel prize in Economics, is a Keynesian. He therefore believes in central banking, counterfeit money, and government sponsored consumption boosts as a way to beat recessions. He thinks the Austrian school of Economics is a "religion."

He ridicules the Austrian theory of the trade cycle. Yet, this prize, which is awarded by the Swedish central bank, comes at a time when public confidence in central banking is on the wane – especially in America, where Ron Paul keeps rolling on. His is a grassroots political movement against the Fed, against the bailout, all based on Austrian economics.

As a believer in Austrian economics myself, all I can say about this year's Nobel prize in Economics is that it represents a last ditch effort to bolster Keynesianism and central banking...

Krugman will use his increased prestige to advocate more socialism in the US. He is a Democrat and will probably make it to high office under Obama, who is likely to win. In any case, as Lew Rockwell writes, he will be "a loyal propagandist for endless currency depreciation."

Those who believe in "sound money" based on gold will have to watch from the sidelines as worthless government papers lose value with every passing day. They will have to watch propagandists like Krugman enjoy fame and glory as the poorest of the poor are robbed by the inflationists.

This is not a good day for the science of Economics. A propagandist whose columns show outright political partisanship has won the Nobel. But then, this is a prize given by a central bank. What else should we expect?

Monday, October 06, 2008

‘The Elusive Aryans’ talks about Danino's theory that there is no real evidence of an Aryan invasion

The French connection
Michel Danino and Nicole Elfi are taken in by the richness of Indian heritage and culture
Photo: K. Ananthan At Home Michel Danino and Nicole Elfi
It was a double bonanza — a 14-km early morning drive along the clean and green city outskirts and food for thought in a serene atmosphere at the foothills of Ayyasamy Hills, near Perur. “Take the road from Omsakthi temple in Theethipalayam village, it leads to a hill and you won’t miss the house, it is the only one,” says Michel Danino over phone. He is a French scholar who has made India his home for the past 31 years.
I follow his directions and spot his quaint house. I take in the view, walk past the bougainvillea blooms, meet his Indian mongrel pets, Tu tu and Tu toon and settle down to listen to him.
“I have just lodged a complaint with the District Forest Officer on the illegal cutting of two banyan trees from the neighbouring forest,” says Michel Danino, who has been in Coimbatore for three years now along with Nicole Elfi. “The Bhagavad Gita says fight for dharma. But in every field, people make sure that there is no answerability. This is because our politicians don’t trust our culture. Even the Arthashastra gives measures to control corruption,” says the scholar, who fought for the restoration of the Longwood Shola ecosystem in Kotagiri during his stay there.
Nicole came to India as a fussy Paris girl in a caravan 34 years ago and the immediate sense of belonging she felt when she stepped on the Indian soil kept her back. “It was like my mother was here,” she says and rushes to pick up the cell phone that is singing a polyphonic vande matram.

“Sri Aurobindo and the Mother pulled us to India,” they say. Michel and Nicole lived as a part of the international community in Aurovillefor a few years, did a lot of writing, editing and translation of the works about Sri Aurobindo and then shifted to the Nilgiris in 1982 and continued to work from there for 21 years.
His goal is to teach young Indians about the inherent strengths of Indian culture. “They should have a sense of pride in Indian culture and heritage. Be it the ecological traditions or the scientific and technological traditions, in Mathematics, Astronomy, aspects of Physics, Chemistry or Metallurgy, the achievements are high,” says Michel, who is the convener of International Forum for India’s Heritage, a network of scholars and thinkers.
His latest book ‘The Elusive Aryans’ released in French talks about his theory that there is no real evidence of an Aryan invasion. English version will follow. He has authored five books and some of his papers on India’s history have been published in academic journals. Michel who lectures at institutions such as the IITs says the present educational system denigrates the Indian culture in an indirect way. “Textbooks showcase it as primitive and ancient. Under NCERT, we conducted a survey among school students from class IX to XII to probe their minds regarding culture. It was a direct poll done among 11,000 students across 21 states in nine languages. We found that 60 per cent of the students were deeply dissatisfied and 90 per cent wanted to learn,” he adds.
Nicole has published a book on ‘The Living Roots, initiation to knowledge’ in French. History and the deeper side of Indian culture fascinate her.
Do they miss their hometown? “We are at home in India. We love chappathis and sambhar, yoga and everything Indian. After 14 years, we visited France only last year,” they say.
K. JESHI www.thehindu.com/mp/2008/10/04/stories/2008100454321400.htm

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Sri Aurobindo's Vedic way to impact the physical world

Spiritual revolution in the world
Scientists engaged in discovering the facts of evolution of the world and living organisms have concluded that Homo sapiens represent the completion of the evolutionary cycle of life on earth, through various stages over millions of years..
CJ: Shankarlal Purohit

MAN IS the only creature among millions of species on earth, gifted with intelligence and the ability to think. Scientists have declared man as the superior most creation. In spite of hefty efforts like the recent ’Big Bang experiment’, science is yet to conclude the principles behind evolution. Vedic philosophy says that the Rishis or seers discovered the principles of evolution long back - millions of years ago. Guru Siyag has announced the commencement of a “spiritual revolution in the world”, which will justify the “words of Vedic philosophy”, practically giving, on-the-spot results, just like modern science. Vedic philosophy is no more a theoretical subject; Guru Siyag has made thousands of seekers to practically experiment and realize the statements of Vedic philosophy, getting an answer to every question, even the evolution of universe.
Man’s endeavour to look into the potential of spirit is limited to the realm of psycho-physical research. In fact, research into deeper aspects of human mind always invariably ends with scientists probing the brain. This is because modern science cannot believe or perceive that human body and mind could be linked to another state of consciousness that exists beyond the limits of our physical world. The result is that the potential possibilities of spirit, vis-à-vis matter, have been left to the interpreters of religious spirituality. This has caused a neat division between scientists and religious leaders, making them look at each with a degree of suspicion and even hostility. Exploiting the physical world has resulted in the neglect of the great potential of the spiritual world with which human body and mind are closely linked. The progress in science and technology has led to greater physical comforts missing peace of mind, leading to competition, conflict, discord and internecine struggle in human society.

Sri Aurobindo, one of 20th century’s greatest spiritual masters and seers, accurately diagnosed the current crisis in human society as a result of imbalance in man’s treatment of matter and spirit. He argued through his incisive writings and speeches that mankind will not be at peace with itself unless it achieved a correct balance in exploring the potential of spirit and matter. Sri Aurobindo conducted his own independent research into Vedic scriptures to understand and experience the cosmic consciousness and its impact on the physical world. After nearly 40 years of practising what he called integral Yoga as part of his practical research, he made a startling discovery — man is not at the pinnacle of life’s evolutionary cycle on earth. Man is only a ‘transitional being’, yet to evolve further in the realm of spirit.
Vedic philosophy describes human body as the physical abode of soul. The soul is made up of seven sheaths – Annamaya Kosha (matter in the form of physical body sustained by intake of food), Pranamaya Kosha (the life force), Manomaya Kosha (mind as distinctly different from intelligence), Vigyanmayaa Kosh (intelligence), Aanandmaya Kosha (bliss or ceaseless joy not connected with body or mind), Chitta Kosha (spiritual wisdom) and Satta Kosha (the final state of merging with the infinite). The complete development of all the seven sheaths is necessary for man’s complete spiritual evolution. Man has developed the first four sheaths through the physical evolutionary process till date. What about completing the last three stages of his evolution? Sri Aurobindo, assisted by his French disciple known as the Mother, realized during his meditative states that the final evolution could happen only if the cosmic consciousness (which he described as Krishna’s supramental force) descended on earth. Both Sri Aurobindo and Mother, fired by an altruistic zeal to save mankind from imminent annihilation, dedicated themselves to the most arduous practice of Yoga for years to create a spiritual environment conducive to such descent. Their dedication bore fruit. On November 24, 1926, the Mother announced to a small group of Sri Aurobindo’s disciples that Krishna’s supramental force had descended on earth and assumed a human form. It was the day on which Guru Siyag was born.

Sri Aurobindo and Mother were convinced that the person, who had been thus chosen for the manifestation of the Krishna consciousness in the physical world, would himself undergo the last three stages of ‘Anand’, ‘Chit’ and ‘Sat’. The chosen one’s mission would be to bring about the kind of spiritual evolution that he had undergone himself. Sri Aurobindo and Mother were also convinced that if one man on earth underwent complete spiritual revolution, it was practically possible for millions of others to experience this divine transformation, by following the same method. They were aware of the evolution of the Chosen one to be subject to all the trials and tribulations that were part of every human life. They knew that eventually the chosen one would be made fully conscious of his real mission on earth. This happened in 1969 when Guru Siyag achieved the Gayatri Siddhi in the wee hours of a winter morning in a Rajasthan town. He was engulfed in the divine light of the supramental force, changing his life forever. In the distant coastal town of Pondichery in southern India, the Mother, who was always connected with cosmic consciousness, instantly received the vibrations of this momentous happening. She simply said her own mission was complete, as Krishna’s supramental force had become active that day. Given below is an excerpt from Mother’s writings of the vision she saw: “November 26/27, 1968: Powerful and prolonged infiltration of supramental forces into the “body” everywhere at the same time, as though the whole body “bathed” in the forces that entered everywhere at the same time with a slight friction, the head down to the neck was the last receptive region. In 1969, on January 1, 1969 at two o’clock in the morning a consciousness descended on the earth’s atmosphere and “settled” there. It was the most marvellous descent, full of light, force, power, joy and peace and suffused the ‘whole’ earth.”
It is the Indian spiritual belief that all the saints and true spiritual masters work in unison at a subtle consciousness level for the betterment of mankind. So, it was with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Their own practice of Yoga was actually the spadework for the spiritual revolution of mankind. Merinews World