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

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Durkheim, Marx, Weber, and Simmel were deeply interested in religion

In the Taittiriya Upanishad, Bhrigu is asked by his Guru to (spiritually) realize : "Matter is Conscious!". The ancients believed that Matter was also a form of Consciousness and that this fact could be uncovered through Yoga. This consciousness within Matter discloses itself as the will in the atom, the symmetry of the crystals, the fatigue in metals, etc. There is an Intuition in Matter which holds the action of the material world from the electron to the sun and planets and their contents.
To the modern rational mind, any such proposition seems preposterous and untenable. Modern science has found that Matter and Energy are interchangeable but it has not yet been able to resolve the mind-body dichotomy. On this topic, Sri Aurobindo said, "Only by an extension of the field of our consciousness or an unhoped-for increase in our instruments of knowledge can the ancient quarrel be decided."[1] In the absence of such an advance on either side, all one can do for now is examine and anticipate the possibilities...
Einstein’s theory of relativity, in layman terms, states that time slows and length contracts with increasing speed of the observer. At the speed of light, time stops (in subjective terms). Something similar occurs in the occult worlds which exist hidden behind our physical world. The Universe with its physical and supraphysical worlds is a manifestation of Consciousness with different orders of Space-Time. The Yogi by shifting the center of his consciousness is able to awaken in these occult worlds. As one goes higher up the planes of consciousness, the perception of Time changes while Space becomes more flexible and no longer exhibits the fixed laws seen here in the physical world.
I would like to suggest that sociology, and particularly sociology of religion, can benefit greatly from a thorough examination of its epistemological bases. I say that sociology of religion would particularly benefit from this kind of revision because, just as Western modernity stabilized itself as a relatively unified and hegemonic “subject” against an exoticized, genderized, and racialized Oriental other through a denial of coevalness, so did sociology posit religion as its primitive, traditional, supernatural, enchanted, and sentimental other. This foundational process of otherization explains why the fathers of the discipline---Durkheim, Marx, Weber, and Simmel---were not only deeply interested in religion, but made the sociology of religion the epistemological point of departure for their theories of society. For them, religion was the “womb of civilization,” the source of our elementary collective representations, ideologies, and this-worldly or other-worldly dispositions.
Whose history is it anyway? By Aseem Shukla, co-founder, Hindu American Foundation Associate Professor in urologic surgery at the University of Minnesota medical school. Co-founder and board member of Hindu American Foundation. The Washington Post, Wednesday, March 17, 2010
As a surgeon working in the medical school of a large university, I hold my academic freedom as sacrosanct. My own writings, even here on On Faith, are a reflection of the liberty I presume and cannot compromise. But this freedom comes with a sober responsibility. When I publish manuscripts and books, I am personally responsible for the veracity of the contents, statistical calculations, and scientific conclusions. These are not always empirical, and much editorializing is demanded. But my freedom is predicated on the accuracy of my work and the fairness of my conclusions. And errors, or playing fast and loose with editorial privilege in fact, if purposeful, can lead to harsh legal and ethical repercussions.
An "alternative" rendering is, of course, Doniger's right. But when venturing into the alternate, if the factual is deprecated and editorializing privileged, if the treatment of a religion adhered to by over a billion is rendered unrecognizable in its iteration, a door is opened to bias, spin and errors. Over the last year, these are what many believe to have uncovered, and the ramifications are real.
Whose History Is It Anyway? + Response to Wendy Doniger's Response
April 28-30, 2010, SIEPR Conference Room, Landau Economics Building GET MAP 579 Serra Mall at Galvez, Stanford, CA 94305-6015 Restrictions All sessions are free and open to the public. Meals and social events are for conference speakers and special guests only. The Event
Nation-building and nationalism are dynamic forces in South Asia, even after six decades of independence and still influenced by the colonial legacy of political, economic and cultural strategies of the British Raj.  The different countries of South Asia have had some similar experiences (such as the rural-urban divide) and some different ones (politics, new media).   The two-day conference will discuss nationhood in the countries of South Asia from different perspectives - historical, political, economic, religious, literary, film, drama, cross-border, etc. Sponsors & Co-sponsors Rafiq Dossani, Center for South Asia, Stanford University, Vinod Aggarwal, European Union Center for Excellence, University of California, Berkeley, Stephen Stedman, Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford University, Vishnu Sharma, India Community Center, Milpitas

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