Friday, December 29, 2006

We, the blind people and leaders

Editorial Ananda Reddy [ Central Page Journal Main Page ]
"Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow " August 2006 Volume VII Issue II
After a self-preparatory period of thirteen years at Baroda, Sri Aurobindo shifted to Bengal in 1906 to actively participate in the freedom movement of India. To “create a free and united India” through a revolutionary movement was his first dream, nay it was his mission. He once wrote:
“I know I have the strength to deliver this fallen race. This feeling is not new in me, it is not of today. I was born with it, it is in my very marrow. God sent me to earth to accomplish this great mission.”
The method of his revolt was to use the power of his word, especially through the Bande Mataram, which shook up the very slumbering soul of India! As the Mother said later: “His words inspired them [the revolutionaries] to sacrifice their lives for the glory of India.” Whatever he had to do for the Indian politics he did in five brief years from 1906 to 1910. He laid out the programmes for the future leaders of the country to take up and provided the momentum necessary for the work of the freedom struggle to continue. Once he was assured of India’s freedom (which he declared in his prediction of January 1910), he withdrew to Pondicherry to continue with his greater mission of liberating the human race itself and not just India, though India’s liberation was the first and most needed step in his plan of liberating humanity!
A hundred years have passed since Sri Aurobindo played his role as the leader of Indian Nationalism, and almost fifty nine years since India’s independence. The seer-politician has given his vision of a resurrected India and has lent us his ‘strength’, but we, the blind people and leaders, have not been able to carry forward the work and have landed in the very situation that Sri Aurobindo had been apprehensive about:
“But the old communal division into Hindus and Muslims seems now to have hardened into a permanent political division of the country. It is to be hoped that this settled fact will not be accepted as settled for ever or as anything more than a temporary expedient. For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even crippled: civil strife may remain always possible, possible even a new invasion and foreign conquest. India’s internal development and prosperity may be impeded, her position among the nations weakened, her destiny impaired or even frustrated.”
The present day reality of the country’s security and the terrorism that is spreading unabated has certainly weakened us and impeded our prosperity—all because of the first division into two nations!

Salute to Sri Aurobindo

RASH BEHARI BOSE Tokyo, 11 March 1942
This is a salute to him to whose inspiring call we owe the birth of positive Indian nationalism. Sri Aurobindo is the foremost of those seers of Indian nationalism, who are still hale and hearty and due to whose burning speech and thundering pen, patriotism came to have a fresh and profound meaning for modern Indians. To him this salute is offered.
If spiritual culture is granted to be the soul of the Indian nation, then Sri Aurobindo is a living embodiment of it. He has succeeded in measuring the depths of its mysteries, which are as old as the Indian nation itself. Today he is seen leading a life of silence in communion with God, having fully realised that silence is the precursor of mighty creation. This salute is offered to him.
Sri Aurobindo’s faith and ways of searching after the ultimate truth accord well with the faith and ways of the noblest of Sufis, the mystics of Islam. And in the eyes of hundreds of millions of Hindus he is a Yogi of a very high order. Thus, in him is seen harmonized the essence of those two noble faiths, Hinduism and Islam, on the balanced fusion of whose spirits depends the rejuvenation of future Indian culture and the re-establishment of the future Indian State. This salute is offered to him.
Sri Aurobindo has long realised the true mission of India. According to him a free India would serve the world by preaching to it the great heritage of her spiritual culture. Today Mother India stands to be free from foreign bondage. The time seems to be ripe for Sri Aurobindo to come forward, as he did decades ago, and give us lead in the fulfilment of Mother India’s national mission. This salute is offered to him with a prayer that he may respond to the call of the Mother.
This salute is offered to him in the time-honoured Indian custom of asking for the blessings of the elders and pioneers before undertaking a great and noble task. May he be pleased with my fresh determination to do my bit in the cause of making India of the Indians and Asia of the Asiatics. I salute you, Sri Aurobindo. Bande Mataram! * Courtesy: Sri Aurobindo and the Freedom of India, 1995

Monday, December 25, 2006

Common economic interests of nations make war futile

Angell, Sir Norman, 1872?–1967, British internationalist and economist, whose name originally was Ralph Norman Angell Lane. He came to fame with The Great Illusion (1910, rev. ed. 1933), in which he posited that the common economic interests of nations make war futile. At the close of World War I he worked for a generous peace and international cooperation. In Peace with the Dictators? (1938) he attacked the British Conservative party's policy of condoning Japanese and Italian aggression. After World War II he urged unity among the Western democracies in such works as Defence and the English-speaking Role (1958). Knighted in 1931, Norman Angell was awarded the 1933 Nobel Peace Prize. Directory > People > Encyclopedia - People
He is most widely remembered for his work of 1909, Europe's Optical Illusion, known as The Great Illusion in America. The pacifist movie The Grand Illusion was deliberately given its title in reference to his book. The thesis of that work is commonly (and incorrectly) described as saying that the integration of the economies of European countries had grown to such a degree that war between them was unimaginable, making militarism obsolete.
However this is not what Angell actually argued. His central argument was that war between modern powers was futile in the sense that no matter what the outcome, he thought both the losing and the victorious nations would be economically worse off than they would have been had they avoided war. Some have contested that the two World Wars that took place after The Great Illusion was published were in fact a tragic confirmation of his thesis. Other historians have argued that Angell disregarded the reality of the complex situation in Europe with its alliances, hatreds and rivalries between nations and therefore he was being utopian. Directory > Reference > Wikipedia

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Not By Compulsion but by Choice, I decided to live in Orissa

Tathagata Satpathy
Editor, Dharitri & Member of Lok Sabha (BJD)
I am sure there are many well meaning people out there and their concern for Orissa must be genuine. However I consider am unworthy of advising/preaching/finding faults. Not by compulsion but by choice I decided to live in Orissa and do my little bit for the state. That is precisely what I am doing. Living in the state, creating economic opportunities and employment for more than 350 educated people (only Oriyas) siglehandedly (well, almost), paying back loans and paying taxes, obeying traffic rules, not paying chaanda for any puja nor putting up loudspeakers and disturbing the peace, not encroaching on public or private lands nor constructing illegal structures, visiting my electorate regularly and trying for redressal of the varied problems (sometimes unsuccessful and sometimes successful, inspite of the horrible bureaucrazy), making efforts to create sustainable assets with the MP Local Area Development Fund. I am not boasting but truly, all this and so much more keeps me totally busy. Therefore, I wish you and all your friends victory in your efforts.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Darabar Sahitya Sansad, Sodhua

I had been to one NGO named "Darabar Sahitya Sansad" yesterday and spent a day there and visited their workshop. I find one and only NGO, working in the coastal remote Orissa, which has able to make meaningful impact in the community. Mr Kedar Choudhry and his team of 30 social workers are restlessly working for bringing a change in those 47 panchayat project areas of Puri district. They are doing an excellent work in those areas, particularly in forming SHG and increasing the living condition of women. They are also very active in the smooth conduct of Palli Sabha and become a greatest factor of change, particularly in the life of women becoming self reliant.

In Orissa coastal belt, I think this is the NGO which has lots of credibility in working with the community. They should be promoted and encuraged to their latest micro-finance venture through SHGs. Those who want to visit their work can write to Kedar Babu directly or you can also talk to me. sachi
Darabar Sahitya Sansad At- Sodhua, PO- Dalakasoti Via- Balipatana, Dt- Khurda Orissa - 752102 India Tel: 91-0674-2468529 Mobile: 98610 22440 email:
Sachi Satapathy, Coordinator, Orissa Politics Platform (For Details Log on to Editor, Orissa Vision 2020, Youth Vision 2020. Winner Infosys Young Achiever's Finalist Award-2005 (Social Work) Mobile-(0)9937630599

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Global Voices offers links from bridge blogs around the world

Global Bloggers: Let your voice be heard! Join the global conversation. Help people around the world find about about your blog, podcasts, and other online creations. Raise global awareness about what bloggers in your country and region are talking about.
Here’s how all bloggers - everywhere - can join the Global Voices movement:
Help us figure out what we should be linking to
Every weekday, Global Voices offers links from bridge blogs around the world in our daily “Global Links” section. (”Bridge blogs” are blogs from a country or region that speak to a global audience - see more detailed definition below.) Our editors track hundreds of blogs from their region each day via their RSS aggregators.
Covering the global blogosphere every day is a daunting task. To make sure we don’t miss blog posts you think are important, please send us the links! Just email: When you send the email, it’s always most helpful if you can include not only the URL web address, but also a sentence or two about where the blogger is writing from and why you think it’s a story the world needs to know about.

A philosopher’s case for donating more than you’re comfortable with

By PETER SINGER The Times Magazine NYT Published: December 17, 2006
What is a human life worth? You may not want to put a price tag on a it. But if we really had to, most of us would agree that the value of a human life would be in the millions. Consistent with the foundations of our democracy and our frequently professed belief in the inherent dignity of human beings, we would also agree that all humans are created equal, at least to the extent of denying that differences of sex, ethnicity, nationality and place of residence change the value of a human life.
With Christmas approaching, and Americans writing checks to their favorite charities, it’s a good time to ask how these two beliefs — that a human life, if it can be priced at all, is worth millions, and that the factors I have mentioned do not alter the value of a human life — square with our actions. Perhaps this year such questions lurk beneath the surface of more family discussions than usual, for it has been an extraordinary year for philanthropy, especially philanthropy to fight global poverty...
Peter Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp professor of bioethics at the Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He is the author of many books, including most recently “The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter.”

He whom we saw yesterday is on earth

In search of an Indian wellspring Deccan Herald - India - Sunday - March 5, 2006 by Bhuvana Sankaranarayanan
The third great western sanyasini was Mirra Richard (note the small spelling difference). On 29 March 1914, she made the following note after a meeting with Sri Aurobindo, who was influenced by the Irish freedom struggle and Irish poets who shaped his philosophy, which included Integral Yoga and Life Divine: "It matters not if there are hundreds of beings plunged in the densest ignorance. He whom we saw yesterday is on earth. His presence is enough to prove that a day will come when darkness shall be transformed to light, when Thy reign shall indeed be established on earth." Richards stayed on in Pondicherry, working on compiling and editing the works of Aurobindo for many years. Renowned literary critic K R Srinivasa Iyengar records the return of Madame Richard to Pondicherry in April 1920. After Sri Aurobindo experienced ‘the descent of Krishna in the physical’ she took full charge of the ashram and came to be seen as ‘the Mother’.
One does not know what noble motive, what spiritual hot-headed idea drove these intellectual, articulate Western women to become spokeswomen for Indian nationalism and spiritualism. What is the spring of secret strength and energy that made them adapt to an alien cause? What made them spokeswomen and arbiters for, what was then, the future nation of India? As the titles of Gandhiji's autobiographies go, perhaps they were experimenting or wrestling with the truisms of their lives or perhaps, as the new title of the book edited by Mira for the Mahatma runs: God is Truth.

Indian Yoga has found a niche in China

Culture and China: Indian Yoga : China is on the road to a great cultural transformation. That is the take today in modern(ising) China. The so-called Cultural Revolution was the outcome of an ideological war. Its work, whatever it was, is over. China is now open to a diverse range of cultural influences. The dragon is slow to wake, is cautious and careful, but nevertheless, is preparing to walk the global ramp. Indian Yoga has found a niche in China. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou all have flourishing yoga centres. Posted by umesh naik at 8:04 PM Saturday, December 02, 2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Human Transformation and Overcoming the Problems of Life

For 10,000 years humanity has labored to raise itself up. Yet even now there is great suffering, anguish, disease, hunger, poverty, pain, ignorance, and falsehood. All of the movements, political and social, have so far failed to really remedy these problems. Things remain for the most part the same. Man suffers, he experiences pain, he experiences the endless ups and downs of life. Religion, though noble in its intent, has also failed to solve these problems. It has merely helped us cope with them. It has not changed their fundamental nature.
To change their fundamental nature one needs to understand the processes that caused them to become the way they are. Then we need to understand the necessary methods and techniques to overcome these limitations. Throughout his life Sri Aurobindo endeavored to do both. With such an understanding we are better prepared to take the right actions in life that enable the permanent transformation in life that we seek; so that the problems of the individual, of the community, of the society, of life on earth cease to exist; now and forever.
He said that by transforming our own nature, by opening to the spirit, the divisions and dualities of life gradually give way. By rising above the inherent limitations of our physical, vital, and mental functioning to the higher mental functioning and spirit beyond; by moving inward into the depths of our being where we touch our inner spirit and soul, which itself calls to the greater spirit above, we are lead to our higher nature and consciousness. From that poise we can then extend that personal transformation to our surroundings, to others, to our businesses and communities, to our nations and to the world at large.
Through this process we begin to replace our normal functioning and consciousness, rooted in unconsciousness, ignorance, falsehood, and ego, with a higher consciousness, a spirit, a Force above, that we can call into our lives to further enable our progress. By overcoming our limiting nature, by opening to this Divine force, we begin to see a life of emotional pain receding, a life of physical pain giving way, and a life of mental confusion and ignorance changing into one of insight, knowledge, understanding, intuition, truth, harmony, unity, and oneness of purpose. Living our lives from this higher nature we come to see life continually cooperating with us in every way. We work in harmony with others; we experience a wonder of perfection and truth in all our activities, in all circumstance and situations of life. We come upon the infinite potentials and possibilities of life.
Thus Sri Aurobindo reveals to us the methods and powers of life and spirit, and sets us on a road of transformation from our lower to our higher nature and consciousness.
Eventually we witness the development of a new type of individual, living a life unprecedented in human history. A life of spiritual oneness, of infinite potential, of perfect execution, and infinite accomplishment and delight. Further on, over time there is an increase of the numbers of such individuals, culminating in a collective of these individuals, who in essence become pioneers of what Sri Aurobindo called "a divine life on earth." Sandip's space -

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New US Congress brings with it religious firsts

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 11, 2006: (HPI note: This rather lengthy article is included in HPI for the informative snapshot it gives of the ever-changing American religious scene.)
The new US Congress will, for the first time, include a Muslim, two Buddhists, more Jews than Episcopalians, and the highest-ranking Mormon in congressional history. Roman Catholics remain the largest single faith group in Congress, accounting for 29 percent of all members of the House and Senate, followed by Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews and Episcopalians.
While Catholics in Congress are nearly 2-to-1 Democrats, the most lopsidedly Democratic groups are Jews and those not affiliated with any religion. Of the 43 Jewish members of Congress, there is only one Jewish Republican in the House and two in the Senate. The six religiously unaffiliated members of the House are all Democrats. The most Republican groups are the small band of Christian Scient ists in the House (all five are Republican), and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (12 Republicans and three Democrats) -- though the top-ranking Mormon in the history of Congress will be Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the incoming Democratic majority leader.
Baptists divide along partisan lines defined by race. Black Baptists, like all black members of Congress, are Democrats, while most white Baptists are Republicans. Notable exceptions include incoming House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. , and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., who will serve as president pro tem in the new Senate, making him third in succession to the presidency after the vice president and House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif...For Buddhists and Muslims, the 110th Congress represents their first congressional representation. Religion News Service

I was fortunate enough to be born in the United States

I must have discovered Wilber in the early 1980’s, when I read his first book, the Spectrum of Consciousness. I read every subsequent book through what is considered his magnum opus, Sex, Ecology and Spirituality, which was published in 1995. Since then I have had only more of a passing acquaintance with his work, which seems to have shifted into a more public phase. I went over to his website and saw that he is at work on a new book on “integral politics,” The Many Faces of Terrorism. Although it is nonfiction, it sounds like Ayn Rand’s nonfiction, in the sense that it is basically a format to express his philosophy. The website has a couple of chapters, including one entitled "Integral Politics, Or, Out of the Prison of Partiality...."
Let’s just read what he has to say and see how it squares with our views of things. I’ll pull out whatever passages intrigue me and seem worthy of comment. Most of this chapter is in the form of a press conference in which one of the main characters, Charles, outlines the theory of “integral politics,” the central idea being that any political philosophy will have to address “all quadrants and all levels” in order to be truly effective. Those who follow Wilber’s work know that there are four quadrants and approximately 1,817 vertical levels and stages of human development. The quadrants, if I remember correctly, are interior individual, interior collective, exterior individual, and exterior collective. I’m oversimplifying here, but “interior individual” has to do with realms of the mind, soul and spirit, while “interior collective” has to do with cultural beliefs.
The “exterior collective” has to do with political and economic organization, while “exterior individual” has to do with our body, brain and neurology.At the press conference, Charles first describes what he regards as the essential difference between Democrat and Republican, or Left and the Right: “Here’s an easy way to tell. If you ask the simple question -- Why do human beings suffer? -- you will get two major answers. The Right will say, You suffer because of yourself; the Left will say, You suffer because of someone else." I think this is a fair characterization, as I have said the same thing myself on a number of occasions.
However, the first thing that occurs to me is that the answer to the question depends upon where you were lucky or unlucky enough to have been born. In my case, since I was fortunate enough to be born in the United States in the second half of the 20th century, I am privileged to know that almost all of my problems have been self-inflicted (either for conscious or for unconscious reasons rooted in childhood; technically the latter ones aren’t my fault, but they would have become my fault if I had done nothing to address them, i.e., seek psychotherapy). Also, a certain unlucky roll of the genetic dice gave me diabetes, but this is easily compensated for by other genetic blessings, such as a relative absence of back hair. When it comes to the exterior individual, if it's not one thing, it's another.
Where I have been a “victim,” it was generally because I was a victim of bad information from people I unwisely trusted -- the overwhelming majority of which having come from the left -- especially in college. Yes, I was a victim of progressivism in college. There I learned such drivel as that men and women are basically identical, that religion has caused more death and violence in the world than secular philosophies, that capitalism is fundamentally unfair, that America is a racist, sexist, homophobic, and imperialist country, that all truth and morality are relative (except for that absolute statement), and that all cultures except ours are equally beautiful and that it is wrong to judge them (that’s only a partial list of the nonsense that an educated person must unlearn)...12/11/2006 03:26:12 PM One Cosmos Under God Robert W. Godwin

Limits of American politics

Marko Says: December 11th, 2006 at 10:41 am I think it is good that the Integral Movement includes intiatives like Integral Review. They certainly seem to be a good addition to existing players in the field. Wilber is a strong theorizer on spirituality, these guys will be better on other fields where he is weaker, f.i. politics and Physics & Mathematics.
I don’t even consider Wilber’s integral politics integral at all, it stays very much within the limits of American politics both in his ideas which are very much filtered and biased by his American background (f.i about the war in Iraq) as in the ground covered. On his blog he announced the presentation of his Integral Politics but when I start reading it he went on and on about the Republican and Democrats. There is a lot more in political science and practise then that of the USA! The article could better be called American politics seen from the four quadrants.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Are we still not blind as Aurobindo said in the past?

Sri Aurobindo was twenty-one when he wrote a series of nine articles, “New Lamps for Old”:
August 21, 1893
“Our actual enemy is not any force exterior to ourselves, but our own crying weaknesses, our cowardice, our selfishness, our hypocrisy, our purblind sentimentalism.” Aurobindo
August 28, 1893
“I say, of the Congress, then, this—that its aims are mistaken—in brief, that we are at present the blind led, if not by the blind, at any rate by the one-eyed….The Mother is not in our hearts, in our brains, in our arms.” Aurobindo
By Premendra Agrawal
posted on Sunday, December 10, 2006 11:01 AM

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fraud by India Infoline Ltd.

In May ’06 I was persuaded by Shri Dharmender Singh of India Infoline Ltd., Ghaziabad to open an account with them with the assurance that there were no monthly charges. I was not given any password for on-line dealing, and as a result I never operated online. Subsequently, I purchased equity worth Rs.10,000/= off-line.

Now I learn that, they have introduced a monthly levy of Rs.1000/= for on-line facility and without informing me they have sold out my equity holding of Rs.10,000/= and refunded only Rs.2300/= to me. This is fraud and they are not replying to my e-mails. Such is the ethical culture our companies are adopting for their survival. websites, and .

Economic barbarism

Re: "Two myths that keep the world poor," by Vandana Shiva by Rich on Tue 05 Dec 2006 12:23 PM PST Profile Permanent Link a report out today shows that the richest 2% of the world's adult populations owns more than 50% of the world's wealth, In my estimation this, and what Shiva brings up in this article is what Sri Aurobindo refers to in the Human Cycle as economic barbarism.
Re: Richest 2% owns > 50% of world's wealth by rjon on Tue 05 Dec 2006 06:37 PM PST Profile Permanent Link Thanks for this reference Rich. I just posted the UNU-WIDER report on SCIY

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Early History of Harvard University

Harvard University, which celebrated its 350th anniversary in 1986, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Founded 16 years after the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, the University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 18,000 degree candidates, including undergraduates and students in 10 principal academic units. An additional 13,000 students are enrolled in one or more courses in the Harvard Extension School. Over 14,000 people work at Harvard, including more than 2,000 faculty. There are also 7,000 faculty appointments in affiliated teaching hospitals.
Seven presidents of the United States – John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Rutherford B. Hayes, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and George W. Bush – were graduates of Harvard. Its faculty have produced more than 40 Nobel laureates.
On June 9, 1650, the Great and General Court of Massachusetts approved Harvard President Henry Dunster's charter of incorporation. The Charter of 1650 established the President and Fellows of Harvard College (a.k.a the Harvard Corporation), a seven-member board that is the oldest corporation in the Western Hemisphere.
Harvard College was established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was named for its first benefactor, John Harvard of Charlestown, a young minister who, upon his death in 1638, left his library and half his estate to the new institution. Harvard's first scholarship fund was created in 1643 with a gift from Ann Radcliffe, Lady Mowlson.
During its early years, the College offered a classic academic course based on the English university model but consistent with the prevailing Puritan philosophy of the first colonists. Although many of its early graduates became ministers in Puritan congregations throughout New England, the College was never formally affiliated with a specific religious denomination. An early brochure, published in 1643, justified the College's existence: "To advance Learning and perpetuate it to Posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministry to the Churches." <> next > Recent History

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Great minds discuss ideas

From: "Sachi Satapathy" Subject: Tusar N. Mohapatra and Rabi Kanungo on Forum modalities: All should follow this. Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 16:25:44 +0530 From: Tusar N. Mohapatra Date: Nov 30, 2006 5:04 PM Subject: Re: Lets Come Back to Our Discussion on Media To: Sachi Satapathy Open letter to Sachi

This forum has again been trapped by negativism, fault-finding, and criticism. It is a vicious circle, and you achieve zilch.

  • Politicians are doing their job, leave them alone
  • Media as an industry is doing fine, let it grow
  • Police, bureaucrats, judiciary etc. are functioning well within their constraints
  • NGOs have well-adapted to the system in their struggle for survival.
  • Profit-booking and bribe-taking are ancient traits that no one can cure
Keeping in view what Prafulla Mahanta achieved in Assam, it would be better to concentrate on economics instead and collaborate with the market. One concrete project by this forum can have a multiplier effect than thousands of critical letters circulated. Most of our so-called intellectuals harbour a harmful anti-market mindset. Orissa with its unspoilt environs can be totally transformed if we allow the market forces to operate. Then our individual opinions would not matter. From the pricing of the minerals to the preservation of monuments, everything will be taken care of by the logic of the market.
Run a debate on these aspects. Once we formulate the macro-view, any small time politician can execute them at the micro-level. Policy-making is the job of the Brahmin, the visionary who juggles with knowledge and ideas. For that you need distance, a bit of disinterestedness too, from the levers of power.
Name: Tusar N. Mohapatra, Director, Savitri Era Learning Forum.
Location: SRA-102-C, Shipra Riviera, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad, U.P. - 201012 , Ph: 0120-2605636, India
+ + +
Dear Sachi Babu,
I have been reading various topics in your portal for quite long days and it comes up like a good forum for discussion, at least for Oriya people who have concern for Orissa. Point of disappointment in Sudhanshu Babu's mind is very genuine. Dynamism of our thinking process is so queer and obsessive that unless we are careful, it is hard to become impartial. Lack of impartiality never can render any intellectual fruition. There is an old saying: Great mind discuss ideas; average mind discuss events and ordinary mind discuss persons. Thank you.
Rabi Kanungo, Writer and Columnist, General Secretary, Intellectual Forum, Rourkela.

Big things have put us in the crossroads of crisis and insecurity

From: Mahesh Mahadarshee Date: Dec 5, 2006 2:50 PM Subject: where i stand on Vedanta University To: Sachi Satapathy
My fellow concerned Oriyas,
Of the issues confronting Orissa, the University proposed to be set up by Vedanta concerns me the most.That Mr Chief Minister has committed 10,000 acres area to Vedanta makes me wonder whether all eyes and ears of Mr CM are doing there job in the manner they do.One earlier posting has already highlighted the areal extent occupied by eminent educational institutions in the country. The University of Hyderabad, that occupies largest 2300 acres, has not utilized the whole occupied area after 30 years of its existence; still, it has emerged as one of the internationally recognized centre of learning and research. After all, I am more concerned about the way Govt. of Orissa formulates its human resource development policy and the policy of land utilization.
Even as the whole approach to development has shifted towards "SMALL AND SUSTAINABLE " projects, our Chief Minister has earned good name for conceiving of "BIG" projects. Big dams failed to control flood, and results in the diametrical opposite consequences;Big technology (high yielding varieties) turned "green revolution" into "brown", and recently big economic proects (SEZ) with another set of false promises. Besides, big educational enterprises have been recognized to harness the human resourses of the most youthful country in the world.
Every educated person knows how the Big things have put us in the crossroads of crisis and insecurity. Food Security, not to mention nutritional security, is again in crisis. The population of the country has been estimated at nearly1500 million by 2050.450 million tones food will be required to feed the mid-century population. Productivity has already reached plateu. Soil fertility is on the continuous decline. Genetic engineering has not yet cleared its bio-safety issues. In this context,the value of land is more important than anything else. As far as human resource development is concerned, the story will be very lengthy. The astute entrepreneurs have capitalized on the "bubble boom" economy that has bred hybrid employments overnight. There has been serious concern about the quality of the faculty as well as the students.
The McKinsey has surveyed that 75 % of technical graduates and 90 % of general graduates are unemployable in the country. Besides,if we talk about the capabilities required for leadership and innovation, India is in dire straits. The state-of-the-art infrastrucuter is not the hallmark of educational institutes. I personally know some people who are in debt trap after passing out from KIIT and other so called temples of higher learning.The institutes like KIIT has misled the career of many prospective students. The values sought to be achieved by our society have been shattered by corporate educational institutes.
Let this debate continue. I expect all concerned oriyas to put forward their opinion. Let's say an emphatic "NO" to Vedanta University. Suggest how to redesign the existing institutions funded and controlled by the Government.
Regards, Mahesh-- MAHESH MAHADARSHEE Research Scholar, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
-- Sachi Satapathy Coordinator, Orissa Politics Platform (For Details Log on to ) Editor, Orissa Vision 2020, Youth Vision 2020.Winner Infosys Young Achiever's Finalist Award-2005 (Social Work)Mobile-(0)9937630599

There is shame attached to some of these professions

The ironically named progressive left is an inverse image of this evolutionary complementarity. This is because it rejects both the creative destruction of capitalism and the restraints of tradition. Therefore, it is static where it should be dynamic, and dynamic where it should be static. It is as if they want to stop the world and “freeze frame” one version of capitalism, which is why, for example, they oppose free trade. While free trade is always beneficial in the long run, it is obviously going to displace some people and some occupations. It is as if the progressive is an “economic traditionalist,” transferring the resistance to change to the immament realm of economics instead of the spiritual realm of transcendent essences. I know this is true, because it is what I used to believe when I was a liberal.
For example, I grew up at a time when most people worked for large corporations that gave their employees generous pensions and health benefits. As such, it seemed "natural" or normative. In reality, this was just a brief phase of American capitalism, lasting from the mid-1950’s through the 1970’s. But backward looking progressives act as if this aberration was “in the nature of things.” They have a similar attitude toward factory jobs in heavy industry, as if we could somehow go back in time and preserve these high-wage, low-skill jobs. But while the progressive is thoroughly backward looking with regard to economics, he is the opposite with regard to the spiritual realm.
For him, mankind was basically worthless until the scientific revolution, mired as he was in myth, magic, and superstition. Rather, the only reliable way to understand the world is through the scientific method, which has the effect of throwing overboard centuries of truly priceless accumulated spiritual wisdom. It literally severs man from his deepest metaphysical roots and ruptures his vertical continuity. In reality, it destroys the very possibility of man in the archetypal sense -- i.e., actualizing his "spiritual blueprint." A new kind of man is born out of this progressive spiritual inversion. Yesterday we spoke of castes and of “spiritual DNA.” Progressives, starting with Karl Marx, waged an assault on labor, eliminating its spiritual significance and reducing it to a mindless, collective “proletariat.” You might say that the left honors labor in the same way they honor the military: both are losers.
Again, it is amazing how much things can change in a mere generation. It’s not as if I grew up that long ago -- the 1960’s -- but I didn’t know anyone who obsessed over what he was going to do for a living when he grew up, nor did anyone care what anyone’s father did for a living. There was much more of an idea that it didn’t really matter what you did for a living, and that all work was noble. Maybe I was naive, but I never gave it a second thought that my friends’ fathers included a plumber, a retail clerk, a lawyer, a janitor, an accountant, a bricklayer, a liquor store owner, and various other occupations.
Today it’s as if there is shame attached to some of these professions, undoubtedly due to the abiding progressive contempt for those they presume to speak for. I personally cannot say that I’m any happier as a psychologist than I was as a retail clerk those 12 years. In many ways, I preferred manual work because it freed up my mind for higher things, while being a professional clogs up your brain with annoying "intermediary" trivialities. I am generally lost among the intellectual proletariat that takes this intermediate realm seriously. Yesterday someone characterized my caste as “priest artisan,” but perhaps “laborer priest” is more like it -- a blue backward collar worker.
Ever since it came into existence, the United States has been the key to the material and spiritual progress of mankind. The founders were well aware of this fact, having chosen the image of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt as the state seal. Clearly, Moses was not merely leading the Jews from physical slavery to economic freedom, but from spiritual shackles to the higher possibility of vertical liftoff in the desert. posted by Gagdad Bob at 12/04/2006 07:18:00 AM 30 comments links to this post One Cosmos Under God Robert W. Godwin

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Equality and authority

Posted on Fri, Nov. 24, 2006 The Economy Revealed: Why understanding economics is hard By Andrew Cassel Inquirer Columnist
I finally understand why economics is so hard for many people to grasp.
It's not because of complexity. The rules of supply and demand aren't inherently more difficult to fathom than those that apply to, say, politics, or cooking, or sports.
Yet while most people have no trouble wrapping their brains around these subjects - indeed, millions will be eagerly absorbing their finer points this weekend - (What are you watching: Meet the Press, celebrity chefs or college football?) - few have a similar appetite for economics.
And now I know why, thanks to Alan Fiske.
Fiske, a professor of anthropology at UCLA who previously taught at Penn and Bryn Mawr, has devoted decades of research to disentangling human relationships. He's studied communities all over the world, comparing cultures in West Africa with those in Europe and America.
His conclusion: Just as every human language is composed of the same grammatical elements (subjects, verbs, etc.), all relationships are built from exactly four kinds of interactions.
Fiske labels these communal sharing, equality matching, authority ranking and market pricing. Here's what he means:
Communal sharing is how you treat your immediate family: All for one and one for all. Or as Marx put it: From each according to ability, to each according to need.
Equality matching, by contrast, means we all take turns. From kindergarten to the town meeting, it's all about fair shares, reciprocity, doing your part.
Authority ranking is how tribes function, not to mention armies, corporations and governments. Know your place, obey orders, and hail to the chief.
Market pricing, of course, is the basis of economics. It's what we do whenever we weigh costs and benefits, trade up (or down), save or invest.
Don't get Fiske wrong: He's not saying that each relationship in your life fits into one of these four slots. Rather, these are paradigms - mental models - that we use to help make sense of our interactions.
When there are conflicts, moreover, Fiske maintains it's often because we aren't all using the same model.
For example, you might see housework as a communal-sharing function, while your spouse approaches it as equality-matching. Neither is wrong, yet you still end up angry or guilty when the laundry isn't done.
The same problem can afflict whole societies, as Fiske described to me recently. "The Danes pride themselves on being fair," he said. "They can't understand why they don't get along with their Middle Eastern immigrants."
But Fiske does: "The immigrants expect authority ranking. The Danes expect strict equality matching. Each side sees people constantly violating the models."
To call this a far-reaching theory is probably a gross understatement. The more I think about it, the more it seems to fit and explain.
Does the boss have a leadership problem? Maybe it's because she has a communal-sharing model in her head, while the troops are mainly into authority-ranking. Or vice versa.
But what is particularly interesting is the role of market pricing, which Fiske speculates might have been the last to evolve in our prehistoric ancestors' brains.
It makes sense. For hunter-gatherers in small bands, sharing, matching and ranking were probably as fundamental to survival as eating and breeding. But market pricing involves complex choices based on mathematical ratios.
"It's the difference between addition and subtraction on one hand, multiplication and division on the other," Fiske says.
Commerce and global trade, of course, require a finely honed version of the market-pricing model. But if humans developed this model relatively late, it might well be less than universal, even today.
In other words, to have an intuitive grasp of economics, you might just need to take a step or two up the evolutionary ladder.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

We can no longer count on endless economic growth

The End of Ingenuity The New York Times Published: November 29, 2006
Humankind’s energy and climate problems are intimately connected. Petroleum’s falling energy return on investment will encourage many economies to burn more coal (which in many parts of the world still has a relatively good E.R.O.I.), but coal emits far more greenhouse-inducing carbon dioxide for every unit of useful energy obtained than other energy sources. Also, many potential solutions to climate change — like moving water to newly arid regions or building dikes and relocating communities along vulnerable coastlines — will require huge amounts of energy.
Without a doubt, mankind can find ways to push back these constraints on global growth with market-driven innovation on energy supply, efficient use of energy and pollution cleanup. But we probably can’t push them back indefinitely, because our species’ capacity to innovate, and to deliver the fruits of that innovation when and where they’re needed, isn’t infinite.
Sometimes even the best scientific minds can’t crack a technical problem quickly (take, for instance, the painfully slow evolution of battery technology in recent decades), sometimes market prices give entrepreneurs poor price signals (gasoline today is still far too cheap to encourage quick innovation in fuel-efficient vehicles) and, most important, sometimes there just isn’t the political will to back the institutional and technological changes needed.
We can see glaring examples of such failures of innovation even in the United States — home to the world’s most dynamic economy. Despite decades of increasingly dire warnings about the risks of dependence on foreign energy, the country now imports two-thirds of its oil; and during the last 20 years, despite increasingly clear scientific evidence regarding the dangers of climate change, the country’s output of carbon dioxide has increased by a fifth.
As the price of energy rises and as the planet gets hotter, we need significantly higher investment in innovation throughout society, from governments and corporations to universities. Perhaps the most urgent step, if humankind is going to return to coal as its major energy source, is to figure out ways of safely disposing of coal’s harmful carbon dioxide — probably underground.
But in the larger sense, we really need to start thinking hard about how our societies — especially those that are already very rich — can maintain their social and political stability, and satisfy the aspirations of their citizens, when we can no longer count on endless economic growth.
Thomas Homer-Dixon, director of the Trudeau Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto, is the author of “The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization.” More Articles in Opinion » Related Articles
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Monday, November 20, 2006

Globalisation needs a global mindset

Infocus: India Infoline News Service / Mumbai Nov 18, 2006 12:01 Industry leaders say the biggest challenge is to change internal mindsets to think and compete globally, and create an environment of innovation
The key challenges facing Indian companies as they morph into global corporations are innovation, efficiency and recognizing and responding to challenges in radically different markets and geographies in a holistic manner, according to the leaders of the Indian industry. Participating in a panel discussion on 'Globalising Indian business - the challenges,' at the fourth Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi on Friday, the head honchos of Indian companies that have emerged as global players concluded that the biggest challenge was to change internal mindsets to think and compete globally, and create an environment of innovation.
Kicking off the discussion, Baba Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Forge, outlined the lessons he had learnt while transforming an 'old economy', low-technology component company into a capital and technology-intensive multinational. "The challenge was to go from a local component manufacturer to a global product manufacturer" and set new global benchmarks through constant research and development, Kalyani said.
Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra & Mahindra, discussed the 'fungibility' of the global marketplace. Any decision taken in any market will have to reflect global strategy, he stressed. Responding to a query from session moderator Raju Narisetti, Editor, HT Business Paper, Mahindra said that the index for benchmarking the globalization of a company was to measure the 'globalness' of one's response to a new challenge.
Tulsi Tanti, Chairman and Managing Director, Suzlon, outlined a unique route to globalization. The wind energy major had no option but to go global from the start, as the main market for its products lay overseas. Today, the Pune-based Suzlon's global marketing headquarters are in Denmark, the world's alternative energy capital. While Indian technology skills and cost advantages are leveraged in the research area, the marketing arm functions completely independently, under a supervisory board.
Vijay Mallya, Chairman, UB Group, also stressed the need for letting go of controls on professional managers. "Indian managers need to be given the chance and the confidence to perform," Mallya said. "Indian managers are as good as the best in the world," adding, "you need to give them the freedom to operate while maintaining strict accountability for delivery." Agreed Mahindra, "You cannot run a global company as a mom and pop shop."

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Democracy and St. Derrida

Edward Berge Says: November 15th, 2006 at 7:58 pm From Caputo’s referenced article above: “Without sovereignty, without being: unconditionality, the coming God and Derrida’s democracy to come”:
Derrida’s is a faith without religion or religious institutions, without theocracy and without a church, a faith in the unconditional and the incalculable. But this faith is also what Derrida means by reason (V, 211). Reason is a movement back and forth between the incalculable and the calculable, calculating always in the face of the incalculability, keeping calculability open to the incalculable. While the irrational for Kant lay in allowing reason to be overcome by something other, reason for Derrida is precisely defined by its openness to the other, to the event, to the future, its desire for the incalculable and the unconditional, for the promise. Reason is not measured by consensus, as for Habermas, which would always present a certain closure and compromise, but by the promise, which is open ended.
Anything as fetching and as haunting as this “democracy to come” would also be what Derrida calls “undeconstructible,” and it would relate to existing and highly deconstructible democracies just the way justice, which is unconditional, is related to the force of law, where laws are always positive and conditional. The democracy to come, s’il y en a, is not deconstructible, while existing democratic polities and juridical systems, which enjoy the prestige of being and the power of the possible, are deconstructible. The democracy to come, accordingly, is impossible, the impossible (PTT, 134), which solicits us from afar, demanding the impossible of us, as the object of a desire beyond desire for something unforeseeable to come. That alone should be enough to tell us that “deconstruction” is the least bad word for a profoundly affirmative undertaking to unearth the most deeply buried and unfulfilled promises lodged in our least bad words—words like “justice” and “democracy,” the “gift” and “forgiveness,” “friendship” and “hospitality.”
What does the democracy to come call for? If the call comes from the heart of a promise lodged deep within the word democracy, and if it calls to us democrats who are not yet democrats, what does it say? Like any call of conscience worthy of the name, in Heidegger or Levinas, say, it pronounces us guilty, guilty of being the basis of a nullity, of not yet being democrats, infinitely responsible to respond to the call to be or become democratic, asking us to put off the old way and to turn around.
…democracy today is suffering from an auto-immune disease….Democracy today is a victim of the “strange illogical logic” by which a living thing destroys the very thing that is meant to fortify (munis) it against attack by a foreign body (V, 173)….. So democracies often think that if, as a practical matter, they are to survive, they must make themselves safe from democracy and learn how to tolerate anti-democratic forces within their own bodies. Thus, in order to make the American way of life safe against the threat of terrorists who threaten democracy, Attorney General John Ashcroft wants to abridge the democratic rights of American citizens (V, 64-65), or the rights of prisoners being held inGuantanamo Bay, even as the Rehnquist court has seen fit to profoundly abridge the civil liberties of Americans to keep the streets of democracy safe….An absolute democracy could bring a democratic end to democracy; that risk is built right into democracy….The art of governing democratically is to know when democracy should suppress its own immunities to the undemocratic and attack itself (autos)—in the interests of democracy, of course.
To have faith in democracy is to trust and have faith in the many, to give up the rule of the sovereign one or few and share it among the many, among the “people,” come what may….So if we were true to this idea of democracy, we would end up with another and more radical idea of auto-immunity, one that is not simply self-destructive but rather breaks down the “ipseity” of the “self,” its mastery and autonomy (V, 71), in order to open the self to sharing with “the other.” That in turn would require a revolutionary turn, in which we would reverse the model that democracy follows from one of autonomy to one of “heteronomy” (V, 154), where the one would agree to be governed by the many, the self by the others, those among whom one is too. The symbiotic effect of undoing the idea of political sovereignty would be to have redescribed the autonomous self in terms of the other in the self, as a self that is not identical with itself, a self that is always already divided within itself, inhabited by the other, a complex of many selves….Auto-immunity then will mean the right to criticize oneself (V, 126).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Future friendly infrastructure

"Ecology and Auroville’s Development Planning," by Rod Hemsell by rjon on Tue 14 Nov 2006 03:05 PM PST Permanent Link
Two extremely significant reports published in the past two years must be considered essential to Auroville’s planning: Limits to Growth – The 30 Year Update (2004) and “Living Planet Report 2006” [LPR]. The latter, published by WWF and the Global Footprint Network came out just last month and is available online at the Global Footprint Network website. The former, written by Dennis Meadows (husband of Suzanne MacDonald, founder of Merriam Hill Center and Geocommons programs in Auroville) and others, is the excellent follow up to the 1972 Limits to Growth, and the 1992 Beyond the Limits to Growth. These studies are based on the best data, collected and refined over many years and submitted to the highest current level of technological analysis and thoughtful interpretation.
A couple of striking conclusions: “Moderate United Nations Projections suggest that humanity’s ecological footprint will grow to double the earth’s capacity within five decades. The lifespan of infrastructure put in place today to a large extent determines resource consumption for decades to come and can lock humanity into this risky scenario (LPR 2006).”
And from Limits to Gowth – The 30 Year Update: “The set of possible futures includes a great variety of paths. There may be abrupt collapse; it is also possible there may be a smooth transition to sustainability. But the possible futures do not include indefinite growth in physical throughput. The only real choices are to bring the throughputs that support human activities down to sustainable levels through human choice, human technology and human organization, or to let nature force the decision through lack of food, energy, or materials, or through an increasingly unhealthy environment (p.13).”
I have gathered from the LPR data that India’s current level of consumption (ecological footprint) is .8 gha (global hectares per capita) - already double India’s biocapacity of .4 gha, although it is significantly below humanity’s consumption level of 2.2 gha, which is 25% above the planet’s biocapacity of 1.18 gha. At India’s current level of exponential economic growth (7.5%) and population growth (1.7%), its economy will quadruple and its population will double by 2050.
If Auroville doesn’t take this situation seriously and manifest a viable alternative infrastructure and economy that works, its real reason for existing, along with humanity’s as a whole, may never be realized. “The assets we create can be future friendly or not. Transport and infrastructure become traps if they can only operate on a large footprint. In contrast, future friendly infrastructure – cities designed as resource efficient with carbon neutral building and pedestrian and public oriented transport systems – can support a high quality of life with a small footprint (LPR).”- end - Posted to: Main Page PROMISE & PERIL .. Perilous SUSTAINABILITY DEVELOPMENT .. India AUROVILLE .. Ideas for AV Next: Forests begin to revive as global devastation of trees is reversed recommendations

by David Harvey
by Richard Peet
by Phil J Hubbard

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Entrepreneurs are active participants, human virtues at the core

It is apparent that there is the likelihood that the economic system, built on one vain imagining after another, will come tumbling down. We may be able to prevent this, or at least, we can now provide a sure and solid foundation for the economy of the future. The divine microeconomy theory is a study of the core, in a manner of speaking, of what is at the heart of the economy. It turns out that it is the human virtues, the attributes of God, which serve as the wellspring of the economy. These are what we value and they are reflected in some degree in everything that we do. All of us participate in the economy either latently or actively. Entrepreneurs are active participants and the ripple effect of their involvement reaches everyone. In truth it is the economy that provides the practical arena for us to discover and polish the gems of our inherent capacity.

This book, DIVINE MICROECONOMY– A Tapestry of Human Virtues, breaks new ground. It seamlessly bridges economic science and religion using the subjectivist methodology of classical liberalism. This book heralds in an economic science that is compatible with an ever-advancing civilization and with human liberty based on justice and unity...
DIVINE MICROECONOMY - A Tapestry of Human Virtues (2006) extends the divine economy theory into the realm of the individual, identifying the source of all economic value, and giving special attention to the action of entrepreneurs.
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The final fulfilment of the Vedantic ideal in politics

Constructing nation as family: Gandhi, Ambedkar, and postnationality Socialist Review, 1999 by Dayal, Samir
The appeal to the past is not, of course, new. H.F. Owen notes that the Nationalist Movement in India may be divided into three periods:
(1) the 1870s-1890s, the period of Moderate pre-eminence, essentially British in its intellectual provenance;
(2) the 1890s-1914: the struggle between the Moderates (like Ram Mohun Roy, Ranade, and Gokhale) and the Extremists; and
(3) 1914-1947: the period of "agitational politics and Gandhi's leadership."
Even before the First World War, as Owen points out, the Extremists were reasserting a pie-British Hindu Indian past. (See H.F. Owen, "The Nationalist Movement," in A Cultural of India, ed. A.L. Basham [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975], p. 391). He cites for instance Aurobindo's idea of self-government of India as "'the fulfilment of the ancient life of India under modem conditions' and 'the final fulfilment of the Vedantic ideal in politics' " (cited in Owen, p. 392).
Owen usefully reminds us that in this appeal to the past the Extremists were "the political counterpart to the Hindu revivalist movements of the last third of the nineteenth century, represented by such organizations as the Sanatana Dharma Mahamandal, the Arya Samaj, the Theosophical Society, and the Ramakrishna Mission." Particularly important is his observation that both Hindu revivalism and Extremist nationalism were hybrids, springing from Western and indigenous sources.
Their indigenous sources were obvious enough-the conscious turning back to the Vedas, the Gita, and Vedanta; the defence of Hindu ideas and worship against the criticism of missionaries and liberals; the movements to reclaim Hindu converts to Islam and Christianity initiated in the 1890s; the public festivals in honour of the Hindu god, Ganesh, and the Hindu hero-king, Sivaji; and the invocation of the Mother Goddess as an embodiment of both Bengal and India, to be cherished and restored, and as witness to the oaths of patriotic conspiracy (P. 392). However, recent scholarship has challenged Owen's notion that this appeal to the past was merely imitative of Western models.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Human beings cannot help being religious

Radical secularists are rarely neutral about God -- in fact, they are obviously burning with passion about spiritual matters. Secular leftism merely replaces one God with another, but in so doing, destroys man. Human beings cannot help being religious. One of the benefits of religion --properly understood -- is that it prevents the mind from regressing into the magical worldview that preceded its development. Sophisticated secularists believe they are making progress by leaving the “superstitions” of religion behind, but this is rarely the case. As Chesterson said, instead of believing “nothing,” they tend to believe in “anything,” which is where the pseudo-religion of contemporary liberalism -- that is, leftism -- rushes in to fill the void. posted by Gagdad Bob at 11/06/2006 08:15:00 AM 26 comments links to this post One Cosmos Under God Robert W. Godwin

Monday, November 06, 2006

A sacred and eternal journey

Swamy's wake-up call to Hindus - II
The tide of Hindutva was inaugurated by Raj Narain Bose (maternal grand father of Aurobindo Ghosh) and Nav Gopal Mitra in undivided Bengal in the 19th century. Two strong currents of thoughts, ideals, and aspirations met together and strove for supremacy in Bengal in those days. One was a current of Hindu Nationalism - of the revived life, culture and ideals of the nation that had lain dormant for centuries and had been discarded as 'lower and primitive' by the first batch of English-educated Hindus, especially in Bengal. The other was the current of Indo-Anglicism - the onrushing life, culture and ideals of the foreign rulers of the land, which, expressing themselves through British law and administration on the one side, and the new schools and universities on the other, threatened to swamp and drown the original culture and character of the people going back to the dawn of history.
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee offered the next milestone for those marching on the road of Hindutva by the publication of his novel Anand Mutt in 1882. Swami Vivekananda awakened the Indians and the Western world to the glorious wisdom of Hindutva. Swami Dayananda Saraswathi, founder of Arya Samaj, made us aware of our glorious Vedic heritage. Aurobindo Ghosh was another sage whose thinking enriched the philosophy of Hindutva. In 1909 he wrote: 'An Indian Nationalism, largely Hindu in its spirit and traditions, because the Hindu made the land and the people and persists, by the greatness of his past, his civilization and his culture, and his invincible virility. The 'Nation Idea' India never had.
By this I mean the political idea of the Nation. It is a modern growth. But we had in India the cultural and spiritual idea of the Nation'. This is the quintessence of Hindutva. Bal Gangadar Tilak, Vir Savarkar, Dr Hegdewar, Guruji Golwalkar have all built up this great edifice of Hindutva. Hindutva is not a word but a history. Hinduism is only a derivative, a fraction or a part of Hindutva or Hinduness!! Dr Subramanian Swamy's new book clearly proves that our struggle for establishing a Hindu Nation based on Hindutva is a continuing movement, and not a condition; a sacred and eternal journey and not a harbour.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Outmoded Freudian view that religion is an escape into fantasy

Not to re-belabor the point, but the existence of God can be proved with metaphysical certitude. However, the atheists are correct in asserting that this does alone does not prove that God is good, that Brahma or Jehovah is the “real” God, or that God cares about us. Furthermore, while the jnani can prove the existence of God with pure metaphysics, this is cold comfort to the bhakta or raja yogi, who take the next step of loving or knowing (and therefore being loved or known by) God. One can actually prove that God--the necessary being--is necessarily good, but I don’t want to go there, for we’ll both just get dirty, but the pig will enjoy it.
This is another way of saying that you can easily prove the existence of God to yourself--as billions have--but not to others who are not inclined to believe the evidence and who are not gifted with the intellect of the jnani. (By the way, another willful mischaracterization of my view. This is not to say that atheists are not “intellectual”--which they generally are--or that I am not impressed by the triple-digit IQ of the semitic lover of pork products. I use the word intellect in its traditional sense as that which may comprehend higher knowledge with metaphysical certitude, i.e., the nous, buddhi, or psychic being [in Aurobindo’s terminology]).
On to yesterday’s conference. As a way of dealing with the tedium, I took copious notes throughout, which should be good for several posts. Let me start with the good, because there were a few interesting points. You may have known that 96% of Americans believe in God. But perhaps you did not know that 87% are aware of a need for personal spiritual growth, and that 49% have experienced God’s presence in the past 24 hours.
Did you also know that 82% of psychologists say that religion is beneficial to mental health, and that they are right? There is a very high correlation between religion and mental health, just as there is a high correlation between mental illness--especially substance abuse--and an absence of involvement in religion or spiritual practice. (It is a truism that substance abuse is an illness from which one may usually only be saved by a spiritual experience.) It has been empirically proven again and again that the presence of religion is a “protective” factor and that its absence is a risk factor for mental illness (which demolishes the outmoded Freudian view that religion is somehow an escape into fantasy, since if that were true, we would see more general pathological processes in believers). For that matter, it has also been empirically proven that the absence of religion has serious health consequences, in that religious people live longer and healthier lives in general.
There was also some interesting information on what is called in the literature Quantum Change. As someone with a psychoanalytic background, I can tell you that this kind of sudden, dramatic, and permanent change--which happens all the time--is something that traditional psychological models can in no way account for. I would guess that most of my readers, like me, have been vouchsafed at least one of these “peak experiences” (which are also peek experiences, in that they involve a lifting of the veil and a peek into the larger reality from which we had been previously alienated). These experiences--documented ad nauseam in books such as Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism or William James Varieties of Religious Experience--are always accompanied by a powerful, instantaneous, and unchallengeable recognition of their truth...
One of the most famous “quantum conversions” was that of Pascal, which vividly demonstrates the difference between the jnani “God of the philosophers” and the God that shatters all of our little cognitive containers like a cheap birthday suit, whatever that means. posted by Gagdad Bob at 7:24 AM One Cosmos Under God Robert W. Godwin 37 comments links to this post

Friday, October 27, 2006

Harried by religion

All religions suck ... except Jainism
Militant atheist Sam Harris has been making quite a stir lately with his best-selling polemics against religion and his in-your-face public appearances:
… [while] debating a former priest before a packed auditorium… he condemns the God of the Old Testament for a host of sins, including support for slavery. He drop-kicks the New Testament, likening the story of Jesus to a fairy tale. He savages the Koran, calling it “a manifesto for religious divisiveness…” [Link]
He goes beyond the usual attacks on fundamentalists to attack moderates for being “enablers” and apologists for more extreme actions:
Religious moderates, Harris says in his patient and imperturbable style, have immunized religion from rational discussion by nurturing the idea that faith is so personal and private that it is beyond criticism, even when horrific crimes are committed in its name. [Link]
He sees all religion as fundamentally dangerous, especially in the post 9/11 world:
… he demonstrates the behavior he believes atheists should adopt when talking with Christians. “Nonbelievers like myself stand beside you,” he writes, addressing his imaginary opponent, “dumbstruck by the Muslim hordes who chant death to whole nations of the living. But we stand dumbstruck by you as well - by your denial of tangible reality, by the suffering you create in service to your religious myths, and by your attachment to an imaginary God…” [Link]
The worst part, Harris says, is this: Because Christians and Jews cling to their “delusions,” they are in no position to criticize Muslims for theirs. And, as he italicizes it in his new book for maximum effect, ” most Muslims are utterly deranged by their religious faith.” [Italics his] [Link]
Despite his deep and abiding enmity to all religions, he finds one acceptable:
He endorses Jainism, a religion-philosophy from India that finds God in the unchanging traits of the human soul. But everyone who organizes his or her life around an ancient text that purports to convey the words and sentiments of God — Harris would like you to surrender your prayers, history and traditions. You are welcome to check out Jainism, but Harris recommends that you accept his conclusion, which is that we live in a universe without God. Deal with it. [Link]
Continued » ennis at 06:56 PM in Religion · 87 comments · Direct link · Email post

Zenith of patriotic ardour

A novel whose central message is so frighteningly obscurantist
Opinion > ASHOK MITRA The Telegraph Friday, October 13, 2006
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s first publication in 1856, when he was barely eighteen, was a slim volume consisting of both prose and poetry. Twenty years later, he published a volume exclusively of verse. He gradually moved away and concentrated on works of fiction. That marked the beginning, really and truly, of modern Bengali literature...
Vandemataram cannot be detached from Anandamath. The song is integrally linked to the novel; it cannot be considered without taking into account the central message the novel conveys. Bankim was one of the greatest writers this country has produced. His Bengali prose has an incomparable majesty. He deserves all the homage the nation is capable of offering to a writer of his stature. Even so, how does one tear oneself away from the horridness of the last chapter of Anandamath, where the messiah-like character commands the crusading sannyasi, Satyananda Thakur, along the following lines:
“Do lay down you arms. Your deed is done, the musalman rule has been crushed. There is no particular hurry to establish a Hindu raj immediately; that task could wait. It is a good thing the British have taken over; the Enlightenment their rule would bring is bound to transcend us to a state of beatitude which in turn would assist us usher in the sanatan Hindu dharma”?
Indians will have to make up their mind. A song associated with a novel whose central message is so frighteningly obscurantist is ill suited to unite a nation that professes to take pride in its diversity. It was, therefore, plain silly on the part of the ministry of human resource development to issue the kind of circular it did, which has been responsible for exhuming a long-buried controversy.
This is not to dispute the fact that Vandemataram as an invocatory slogan did lift hundreds of thousands of our countrymen to the zenith of patriotic ardour during the freedom movement: it had a tremendous relevance in that phase. Unfortunately, sections of the Hindu community debased its sanctity by using Vandemataram as a sectarian war cry from the late Twenties onwards to counter the Muslim orison of Allah-ho-Akbar during the communal riots in different parts of the country. What was once deployed to divide the nation cannot possibly unify it.