Saturday, January 28, 2006


Teach the ignorant and misled people what Dharma and goodness is, and tell them that their clergy are telling them lies, asking them to believe that they and their ancestors are naturally evil beings and only they and their bookish gods can save them. The purpose should be to bring the fundamental differences out in the open so that people can view both sides more clearly. The last but not the least of the objectives is the updating of Hindu Dharma based on the teachings of modern-day Acharyas like Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, and the living ones such as Sri Sri Ravishankar and Mata Amruthanandamayi. # posted by swamijyoti @ 1:37 AM

Evolution through Culture and Diversity

Science aims to uncover objective truths and is focused on uncovering the nature of the material world. Art, religion, culture and diversity explore the subjective dimension to life and nature. Even scientists have an interior dimension that springs out hypothesis to be validated empirically. Today the rapid advances in objective science have been at the expense of subjective interior growth. There is a growing awareness that the views of Buddha, Freud and Einstein all need to be honored as a part of the evolutionary cycle.
In a small way we hope to restore the balance. Our vehicle for change will be Indian Culture and Diversity. Through our association with eminent writers, classical musicians, musicologists, dancers, photographers and historians we will help seekers observe, absorb and connect. Potential experiences include music appreciation workshops, self development corporate training workshops, performing art concerts and creative therapy. The programs are set in beautiful distant places which enable self reflection. We embrace interactive technologies for education in a manner which fosters learning through teachers.
In fact, India is home to, what became over time, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam (including Sufism) and their various strains. The pluralism sowed the seeds for profusion in the realm of artistic traditions, architecture, healing and science. The territorial idea of India came about after the British administratively tied the subcontinent together. Culturally, select historians maintain that India’s unified cultural consciousnesses emerged from the times of the great Indian teacher of Advaita, Adi Shankarcharya. In the 10th century, he travelled the four corners of the country and set up institutions of learning that research existential questions and popularize Vedanta among other Hindu ideals to this day.
The secular nature of the highest Indian thoughts saw Sufi saints, bhakti (devotion) exponents, Sikh gurus, Jain munis and Buddhist monks along with their various strains co-exist with Harmony.From the late 19th till the mid 20th Century, India's fibre was built by exemplary human beings who integrated the best of Western with Eastern thought. Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda are but a few remarkable human beings who transformed the lives of people in India. They cut through the ossification of Indian thought and blazed through the lives of millions with love, compassion and strength.
Modern India on several objective indicators is a failed state. The high ideals of our great leaders have given way to corruption, nepotism, illiteracy and unemployment. Yet, there are today exceptional human beings who carry with them wisdom of the past and passion for today.
Our Offering
Travel seeking knowledge, wisdom and a broader worldview was a key facet to travel in ancient times. The great travellers of yesteryears went in search of knowledge and brought back stories and wisdom of distant lands home. Huan Tsang left China in 629 and travelled for 16 years through Turkestan, Bactria, and Tashkent where he came in contact with Western culture. Then he went on through Kashmir and down to India along the Ganges. He studied Sanskrit and Buddhist philosophy and collected Buddhist scriptures. On his return to China in 645, he translated the sacred books of Buddhism from Sanskrit into Chinese and founded, in China, a Buddhist school.
We hope to, in our tiny little way, to bring about connecting renaissance by bringing Indian heritage and culture (historical and contemporary) to you. Bombay Heritage Walks, Journeys of Truth influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Temple Tours in South India, Introduction to Vedanta, Adi Shankara tour in Himalayas, Jain Temple Architecture and Philosophy, Indian festivals, Buddhist exploration, Tour of Indian Cinema, Vaishnav Traditions, and Sufi Thought are some of our offerings. Soulitudes Home Himalayan Tales Creative Exploration Jungle Rules Enable Change Cricket Safari Civilization Unveiled We the People Contact us himalayan village sonapani

Friday, January 27, 2006

Aryan Invasion Theory

In the original AIT , it was proposed that Dravidian were tribal and it was Aryans who brought civilization. This piece of slopism was not unintentional, the intention was to establish a precedence for current colonialism as bringing civilizations to barbarians, as Guru Aurobindo remarked that AIT was conceived because European couldn't afford to be seen as rapacious horde, which as colonialist they were. This precedence was later adapted by Islamic intellectuals to claim superiority over Hinduism . In a most twisted fashion it was accepted by some Hindus to curry favour with their masters (Mahatma Gandhi one among them). Intellectuals like Swami Vivekananda and Guru Aurobindo opposed this false notion of Aryans , but vested interest always ensured the objection was always buried. The purpose of this was to show Indians as the inferior race and Europeans as master race.
Past is never an established fact. posted by doubtinggaurav Friday, January 27, 2006 @ 5:20 PM

Sri Aurobindo: A Greater Evolution

Sri Aurobindo: A Greater Evolution is the Real Goal of Humanity " The coming of a spiritual age must be preceded by the appearance of an increasing number of individuals who are no longer satisfied with the normal intellectual, vital, and physical existence of man, but perceive that a greater evolution is the real goal of humanity and attempt to effect it in themselves, to lead others to it, and to make it the recognized goal of the race. In proportion as they succeed and to the degree to which they carry this evolution, the yet unrealized potentiality which they represent will become an actual possibility of the future." Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle posted by Psychological Explorations Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 10:56 AM

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Where have they gone

Where have they gone, the heroes such as Swami Vivekanand and Sri Aurobindo?
The lions have departed and the asses and baboons hold court.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Auroville collection

From incense and essential oils, hand made paper products, ceramic to the hand painted silks, the Auroville collection at the new shop `Ocean' is a must-see. The Hindu Tuesday, Jul 30, 2002
ONE OF the momentous discoveries of the ancient rishis was the fourth level of human existence beyond the matter, life and mind, which is immortality. "The rishis read the riddle of death and found the secret of immortality," Sri Aurobindo had said. Also known as the supramental plane, he envisaged this to be the next step in the evolutionary ladder wherein the higher power associated would help transform the conditions of human existence. In confluence with this philosophy of higher plane of living exists the cultural, international, industrial and residential zones comprising the galaxy town plan at Auroville, situated at about eight kilometres from Pondicherry.
That work, even manual work, is sometimes indispensable for inner discovery- about 1,500 residents from 30 countries across the world depict a unique synthesis working with the local villages to create pieces of art at the burgeoning handicraft and small-scale industry here. And what one gets to observe, as end results are works of fusion - the ethnic flavour laced with an international look, and functionality at the core.

The beauty of the future

Sublime guide MANOJ DAS pays tribute to The Mother of Aurobindo Ashram on her 125th birth anniversary on February 21. The Hindu Sunday, Feb 16, 2003
THE genius who not only propounded colossal ideas but also put them into practice, the visionary who dared to launch the process of transfiguring the vision into gross reality, is widely known as the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram though, in truth, Sri Aurobindo Ashram is of the Mother, as is the Auroville, the `city of dawn' which she designed for a new community of seekers from all over the world aspiring to transcend racial prejudices, religious differences as well as egoistic preferences and become the forerunners of a spiritual future.
Her ministry had been multiple. She was the guide for all who pursued the Yoga of Sri Aurobindo; she was more than a physical mother to everyone who turned to her; she was the teacher nonpareil who could explain the complexities and profundities of the Aurobindonian lore in a style transparent and simple. A painter of great accomplishment in her early life, she imparted beauty and harmony to anything she handled.
But it will not be a correct approach to our understanding the Mother if we look at these achievements as ends in themselves. They are only waves on the ocean of consciousness in the laboratory of Sri Aurobindo's action and hers.
This is directed at transforming human consciousness, the mental, into supramental. That is the raison d'etre of evolution. In fact mankind at present is passing through an evolutionary crisis, said Sri Aurobindo, and it will experience no sense of fulfillment in its quest for God, Light, Freedom, Bliss and immortality — the primeval seeking that ever remains green — until this transformation had been accomplished.
The Mother remained engrossed in the method of Yoga revealed by Sri Aurobindo, in the integral mystic adventure that would enable the Supramental consciousness to establish itself in man, but without even slightly slackening her preoccupation with the material world, for the world was no illusion, but a veiled figure of the Divine on its way to becoming `the Spirit's manifest home'. Hence she brought a shine of perfection to everything she touched, for everything contained Divine potentiality.
How was this marvel of a personality possible? "Do not ask questions about the details of the material existence of this body; they are in themselves of no interest and must not attract attention," was her message to the renowned savant, T. V. Kapali Sastry, way back in 1958.
Indeed, she was such a living experience, from simply sweet to indescribably profound for whoever met her and was receptive enough, that factual aspects of her life receded into background. She is generally described as French though she was only a French citizen, her parents having settled down in Paris only a year before her birth in 1878, her mother being Egyptian, her roots deep down in the dynasty of the legendary Pharaohs — and her father of Turkish origin.
Named Mirra, she knew as a child that she belonged to no nation, not even to humanity, but to the infinity. Guided by an inner certitude, she visited the French colony of Pondicherry in 1914 (Sri Aurobindo had settled down there in 1910), met the Master and was left in no doubt about her destiny. But that was also the moment when she felt reassured of her vision of human destiny, of the half-animal, ignorant man of the day hiding deep within him the splendour of divinity, the hopelessly limited groping mental creature of today inevitably evolving into a Supramental being in days to come.
The World War I began and she had to go back, but only to return to Pondicherry in 1920 and never to leave it. "The reminiscences will be short," she once said. "I came to India to meet Sri Aurobindo. When he left his body, I continued to live here in order to do his work which is, by serving the Truth and enlightening mankind, to hasten the rule of Divine's Love upon earth."
This is how she explains the significance of Sri Aurobindo: `Sri Aurobindo came to tell the world of the beauty of the future that must be realised. He came to give not a hope but a certitude of the splendour towards which the world moves. The world is not an unfortunate accident, it is a marvel that moves towards its expression.'
Her diagnosis of the Indian condition as it is and her optimism about its future is a solace for all: "India has become the symbol representing all the difficulties of modern humanity," she said and added, "India will become the land of its resurrection, the resurrection of a higher and truer life."
Sri Aurobindo pioneered India's struggle for independence in the early 20th Century; later he devoted himself for the liberation of mankind from its bondage to inertia and ego. The Mother expected India to take the leadership of the world for the achievement of this freedom without which all other freedoms are practically futile. She poured every moment of her life in awakening us to this truth. Seeing through the Birth Centenary of Sri Aurobindo in 1972, she departed the next year, on November 17. But their vision and optimism continue to spread to pastures new.

Spirituality is the spirit of the future

Staunch Aurobindonian, teacher and author, Manoj Das gave a speech recently in New Delhi, India, on the future of mankind, as envisioned in the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo By Niladri Moitra Life Positive, February 2002
The 20th century has seen more momentous events taking place than all the previous centuries. It witnessed the collapse of imperialism, colonialism, feudalism and monarchy. The 1980s saw a dreaded disease threatening mankind—AIDS, and then came the upsurge of terrorism. Amidst all this, one thing that has grown over the years is freedom. And the growth of freedom of the spirit is what the divine has planned as the next step in evolution.
I am optimistic about the future. India can contribute to the transformation process by itself following this path, opening up spiritually, and transcending religious creeds. Spirituality is the spirit of the future. India has to become more aware of Sri Aurobindo's vision for there is a great tradition of spiritual receptivity in India. Once they become conscious of Sri Aurobindo, that will be their greatest contribution to the transformation of the world.
Vedas are the revelations of human consciousness. Sri Aurobindo had said that India had all the potentiality of scientific advancement, but it went the wrong way. The philosophy of illusionism, that practical life is maya (illusion), sabotaged the whole process of India's integral development. Those who took spirituality as asceticism became a class apart; others who could not afford to leave this world took themselves as doomed to be prisoners of Maya This dichotomy between a life of spirituality and the worldly life is the greatest danger that India has ever experienced.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Mrinalini Devi

Organiser Home > 2004 Issues > November 28, 04 World of Women Lesser-known better half Mrinalini Devi: Her life & commitment
Generally we tend to give importance to eminent personalities. While speeches, essays, poems, books on their life are written, we have to delve deep into memory to recall the contributions made by their life partners through thick and thin. Many narratives corroborate this. Lakshman is considered a brave warrior and devoted brother but all this was made possible by his loving and brilliant wife Urmilla. Similarly, behind Siddartha's long penance and enlightenment lay the strength of his beautiful and intelligent wife Yashodhra. The auspicious role of presenting the characters of these two women goes to national poet Shri Maithilisharan Gupt through his epic poems, Saket and Yashodhara and for which the purposeful literature is ever grateful.
Mrinalini was born in a house surrounded by heavenly beauty in Shillong. She was the daughter of an England-returned high government official, Shri Bhupalchandra Basu. On the other hand, barrister Manmohan Ghose's grandson and Dr Krishandhan Ghose's son, Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta and educated in an English social and culture, in both Darjeeling and England. On returning to Calcutta, Aurobindo took to reading Bankim Chandra's literature with interest and acquried knowledge on Indian culture and civilisation. As soon as he expressed his desire to marry, the local guardian of Mrinalini, Shri Girishchandra Bose, invited Sri Aurobindo to his house. In his first glance of her, Aurobindo accepted Mrinalini as his wife.
The first year of their marriage was pleasant for both. Soon Mrinalini Devi had to return to her father's house in Shillong. Despite wanting it immensely, it could not be made possible for her to return to reside with her husband in Baroda. She had to stay either at the house of Sri Aurobindo's maternal uncle or else in her parental home at Shillong. For a short time they stayed together in a rented house in Calcutta, but Sri Aurobindo could not find time to spare for Mrinalini Devi. One day in 1908, in early morning hours at 4 a.m., the police of the British administration raided their house and on finding sand brought from Dakshineshwar, mistook it to be powder for making bombs and took him away. The incident landed such a blow on Mrinalini's heart that she lost all faith in God. She said, "Had God been omnipotent, then such wrong behaviour would not have been meted out to such an innocent soul." Sri Aurobindo was God for her: "I have observed the divine light of God in him. Whenever he looked at me, it seemed as though some dreamy eyes with their illuminating rays were inflaming my entire body."
Once, Aurobindo fell sick, then Mrinalini devoted herself with full life and vigour to looking after him. With this love-filled care, Aurobindo soon recovered from his illness. She was an embodiment of love. All the people who came in contact with her, experienced her love and care personally. Mrinalini had a deep zeal towards English language and used to lay special stress on accurate pronunciation and purity of grammar. She once said, "If Sri Aurobindo has to be understood properly and has to be emulated, then it is necessary to have good knowledge of English." In spite of his constant preoccupation, Sri Aurobindo wrote many letters to his loving wife; here it would be relevant to mention a few.
On the death of Mrinalini's brother, Aurobindo, while consoling her, wrote: "Unhappiness invariably surrounds happiness. Keeping the mind still, the only way out is to offer all happiness and sorrow at God's feet." He wrote thus about himself: "You must have realised that the one with whom your future is linked, he is a strange man, whose views, efforts desires and aspirations, all are unusual, which the people describe as madness. But if he succeeds then that man will be called a talented and great man."Pointing towards Mrinalini's nature, Sri Aurobindo said, "There is a fault in your nature and it is because you are too simple; you listen to all and that disturbs the mind and the mind fails to develop. Concentration has to be improved; on listening to a person, it is necessary to fulfill the work with a firm mind by fixing the goal.
Your tendency is towards doing good to others and making self-sacrifices. By praying to God you will acquire strength. Pray while mediating that for fulfilling your husband's life, goal and for meeting God, you will not place any obstruction in his path; you will always support him."The path shown by Sri Aurobindo seemed difficult in their period of togetherness but began to appear easy in their estrangement. She took to reading literature written by Swami Vivekananda and Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and to meditating. She sang bhakti songs and hymns, wore simple clothes, ate a frugal diet.Sri Aurobindo, in his editorials in Karmayogini and Dharma, wrote: "At the end of dwapar yuga, I was born as Lord Krishna's elder son Aniruddha while Mrinalini was born as my wife Usha (King Bali's daughter).
Ours is a relationship of many lives."After 17 long years of separation, in December1918, she received Sri Aurobindo's letter saying, "My period of penance is over. I have reached my goal and acquired siddhi (enlightenment). I have to do a lot of work for the world. Now you can come and become my companion in this work." Her father decided to send Mrinalini Devi to Pondicherry and the government granted the permission too; but God had ordained otherwise. Mrinalini Devi fell victim to a bout of malaria that had spread like an endemic in the city. The impact of the blow to her heart received when her husband had been taken prisoner had been so immense that its mere memory was enough to strike a fatal blow and on December 17, 1918, she collapsed. Her soul left to reach her husband's ashram in Pondicherry. (Translated from Kendra Bharati, August, 2004.)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The individual should harmonise his life

Home > 2004 Issues > August 01, 04 Business & Economy An economic policy for India By Dr Dipak Basu Organiser Home (The writer is professor in Economics at Nagasaki University, Japan.)
The Hindu view of life is that the personal life of an individual is ultimately subject to the same universal law as of all nature. The fundamental principle is the ‘theory of karma’, which says that each action eventually causes a certain effect. Everything in nature, from abstract thought to practical action, is determined and directed by this law. Man sets himself the goal of freeing himself from the bondage of nature. The meaning of a man´s life, according to the Indian culture, “is the awareness of the soul to its bondage and its efforts to stand up and assert itself” (Romain Rolland, 1944).
According to the message of Krishna in ‘Bhagawat Gita’, this freedom can only be achieved by karma yoga or selfless work and gnana yoga or pure knowledge (Bhagawat Gita, Ch. 3, Verse 3; 1983). Karma yoga recommends working for the sake of the work itself, not for the fruits of the work. Work without pay, absence of attachment to the result, generally to the point of complete disregard for one´s personal interest, complete selflessness is the karma yoga. This is essentially opposite to the ‘utilitarianism’, which is the philosophy of ‘globalisation’.
Sri Aurobindo (1947) has explained it further. Principal contradiction of human life is that between the individual and society or aggregate, the essence of ideal law of human development demands that the individual should harmonise his life with the life of the social aggregate. Individualism, the ideal of Western culture, propagated by the ‘globalisation’ process, does not correspond to the ideal view of life according to this universal law of nature.

The greatest sage of the twentieth century

Posted by: mike Mar 2, 2005 11:36:50 AM Thanks for the link, Matt, I never heard of Benthamite Utilitarianism, but much of it seems to be good common sense to me. I chuckled a bit as I read Layard's piece, imagining George Bush or any average American understanding this stuff. ("Me must grab more-more-MORE".)
Where I differ strongly, as you also do, is Layard's idea that government can or should be in the business of promoting happiness. Best for government to have policies that will bring the poorest out of poverty, then let them try to figure out what is their own source of happiness.
You, for instance, believe you can achieve some happiness through the purchase and use of the newest cool stuff. That is a distinctly American take, which is the source of our greatness and also our potential downfall. Our endless need for the new is why this country is always on the leading edge, materially, but in the end, satiation is all we get, not happiness. The new stuff is a distraction from the real stuff and in time, becomes an addiction, which we are witnessing on a national scale.
Sri Aurobindo, who is in my opinion, the greatest sage of the twentieth century, says what we all seek from life is delight. That seems like just the word to me. It connotes a joy in living that transcends the too philosophical "happiness". We have a feeling that delight is somehow our birthright, but getting it naturally is hard and often a rare experience, so the materialists (us) turn to materials. The use of alcohol, opiates and psychotropics are all attempts to get delight. Obviously they do not last and I believe nature demands that artificial highs lead to compensating lows, so the more materials we rely on, the deeper our depressions.
The way to happiness and delight that has staying power? That's much harder than popping a brew. Go inside, to the source. I won't attempt to define that source, but as recent brain scans of meditating monks have shown, the quantity of happiness and delight that can be tapped is vastly greater. Om, shanti. The End of the Op-Ed Main Exectuting Minors » Politics as Hedonism

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Peace through the spectrum of beauty, creativeness and art

Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram Natalia Kravtchenko, Vladimir Zaitsev
From ancient, miraculous stones build the steps of the future. Nicholas Roerich
CULTURE OF PEACE Edited by BAIDYANATH SARASWATI 1999, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
When one considers the problem of peace, immediately we think of its opposites, aggression and war. It is a cornerstone dilemma of many generations:
  • What are the roots of violence?
  • What are the reasons for human impatience and cruelty?
  • What is the way to protect ourselves from violence and preserve peace?
  • Is peace an unfulfilled dream of humanity?

In the ancient texts of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity and other world teachings we find very profound considerations and real concern about peace. Presently we would like to suggest that we take a look at the problem of peace through the spectrum of beauty, creativeness and art. We regard beauty and art as the most powerful mediums in the process of mutual understanding of different nations and their peaceful coexistence.

In the recent past noble and lofty ideas of art and beauty were considered idealistic, superficial and abstract conceptions. Human consciousness, narrowed by modern technocratic civilization, moved back the achievements of culture maintaining an idea of its material impracticality. In spite of this in human history we observe another process — everything striving towards cultural constructiveness and unselfish knowledge created brilliant epochs of renaissance, and on the contrary every departure from the foundations of beauty, from culture has always brought destruction and decay. It is also a fact that old, forcible methods do not solve present conflicts and contradictions, they only increase tensions and the threat of war.
It seems to us that the present scientific and technological development took the form of a desert mirage: when it is far it gives the impression of prosperity, stability and development, but when we reach it this disappears and in front of us is the whole range of modern problems. The most serious and crucial amongst them is the threat of the use of nuclear weapons. In this reality all our present achievements, innovations and progress look meaningless unless we approach the real understanding of peace.
One would be able to reach it when the difference between mechanical civilization and the coming culture of the spirit is realized. ‘For man intellectually developed,’ writes Sri Aurobindo, ‘mighty in scientific knowledge and the mastery of gross and subtle nature, using the elements as his servants and the world as his footstool, but undeveloped in heart and spirit, becomes only an inferior kind of asura (demon), using the power of a demigod to satisfy animal nature.’ Observing the historical panorama one may find that civilization is created during a few decades, while culture is based upon achievements of thousands years.
At present we have what painters call mistake in perspective. Instead of going on the vertical level, in other words the change from within, spiritual development and growth, the modern way of progress turns towards the horizontal plane, change from outside, the way of material prosperity and widening of technocratic might. The last does not fulfil the qualitative role in the change of human society. It does not reach the depths of consciousness and spirit of man. It was never said, ‘the hand kills not, but the thought’. It is true that the idea of killing another living being is already its potential realization. As a matter of fact a war is not outward disaster, it is an expression of ignorance and of the absolute absence of the culture of the heart.
The continuous process of man’s isolation from nature, increasing of emotional, personal gaps between people, the loss of cultural and spiritual values of past generations, have reduced the capacity of man in sensitiveness and receptivity. He misses the sense of beauty of being (existence), no more does he consider himself a part of infinite creation. Hermit Zosima in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov contemplates: ‘What is hell? It is inability to love, to feel unity with the world in all its forms.’ Thus the link between different worlds is distorted.
From childhood the sense of unity is a natural feeling for man, there is need, thirst in a child for communication and friendship with the outer world. Slowly his mind impresses on its screen all prejudices, conventional divisions: political, social, religious, national, domestic, all the atavisms of society; he becomes a certain screw in a grandiose machine. In hierarchy, where people are separated between one’s people and strangers, rich and poor, etc., a man completely loses feelings of community and identity with his environment. The serene world of his childhood is revealed to him as strange and hostile.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mukul Kesavan runs amuck

The martyrdom of St Dada Indrajit Hazra HindustanTimes December 17, 2005
The howling came primarily from India’s ‘Chosen People’, the Bengalis. His exit as captain and player was immediately seen as modern non-Bengali India’s extension of Lord Macaulay’s infamous minutes on the codification and westernisation of criminal law, where he stated that the Bengalis were “physically fragile” and “moral cowards”, adding that they were “habitual liars, evaders, connivers and frauds”.
Suddenly, it became clear why everyone outside Bengal (barring Shyam Benegal, perhaps) sneers at Manikda’s movies, makes jokes about men from Shantiniketan and women like Mamata Banerjee. It was worse because Sourav Ganguly had overturned the stereotype of the effete Bengali as player, as captain, as man.
In fact, come to think of it, it was the Irishman W.B. Yeats — not any non-Bengali Indian! — who saw the genius in Rabindranath Tagore and introduced Gurudev to the rest of the world and ultimately led him to the Nobel. And wasn’t it jury members at Cannes, Berlin and the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who feted the great Satyajit Ray — and not any non-Bengali Indians?
Earlier this week, when Ganguly’s name didn’t make it to the team list of the third Test against Sri Lanka, the ghosts of Aurobindo Ghose (in his revolutionary avatar, of course), Subhas Chandra Bose and a million other ‘sidelined’ Bengalis joined in to protest against the crime committed against a people. But this time round, the rest of India seemed to have also joined in.
Comment by Tusar N Mohapatra
What a contrast! Mukul Kesavan runs amuck and calls Sri Aurobindo the worst poet of Bengal [Telegraph Sunday, May 29, 2005], and not even a whimper of protest.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

To love my country is my religion

Once, Sri Aurobindo asked a group of students in Calcutta: "For what purpose are you studying? If you are going to make use of education for the benefit of the nation persue your studies. Otherwise, you better burn your books. If you are studying only out of selfish motives, the education is of no value at all. If you intent only on earning a living, you may as well beg from door to door. You must be prepared to sacrifice yourselves for your Motherland".
He wrote "Breathes there the man with soul so dead who never to himself had said: This is my mother-tongue. To love my country is my religion."

Sri Aurobindo's teachings

G. Narasimha Raghavan, Chennai Opinion- Letters to the Editor The Hindu Saturday, Aug 16, 2003
Sir, — This is with reference to "Concepts behind Sri Aurobindo's teachings" (Aug. 12). There is not only a need to accommodate Sri Aurobindo's 'value education' in the curricula, but also to 'reform' the entire system on his lines of 'Integral Education.' Education must involve community development programmes, the importance of physical exercise in the holistic-spiritual education system, and a pedagogy which brings about changes in one's attitudes relying on self-change.

Life-perfecting dynamic spiritual values

Concepts behind Sri Aurobindo's teachings S.V. SABNIS The Hindu Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003
THE IDEAL system of "Integral education with free progress system" as envisaged by the Mother is a unique system governed and guided by the soul, as against the present education system governed and guided by mind. There are only two authenticated schools, one at Pondicherry (residential) and another at Delhi (non-residential) imparting the "Integral education with free progress system". Neither the Central Government nor the State Governments (except Orissa), have recognised the Integral education system so far. It may take long time from now for our nation to embrace this ideal system by the Governmental or Non-governmental departments of education as it is not job-oriented.
When such a circumstance exists, a golden bridge has to be built between the present system of education and the said Integral education system as an immediate forward step. Hence, with a view to construct this golden bridge between the two systems, it is felt necessary to introduce the `moral and dynamic spiritual values' as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in the form of textbooks and guide books, class wise in order to impart value oriented education from standard one to standard 10 or 12. Be it noted that these life-perfecting dynamic spiritual values are absolutely secular and transcend creedal religions.
Various Commissions and Committees on education have furnished reports since 1949 successively to the Union Ministry of Education to inculcate Universal human values of truth, peace, love, co-operation and those emanating from our Constitution such as patriotism and democratic decision-making. With this background, the National Policy on Education (NPE) was approved by the Parliament in May, 1986, and the Programme of Action (POA) for its implementation in August, 1986. The NPE emphasised on "value education" for cultivation of social and moral values. The policy states that in our present culturally plural society, education should foster universal and eternal, oriented towards the unity and integration of our people in conformity with secularism and eliminate obscurantism, religious fanaticism, violence, superstition and fatalism. A list of such moral and social values (84 numbers) occurring in different documents of the various Commissions and Committees, was compiled by the NCERT. These values are in conformity with the fundamental duties of an Indian citizen enshrined in Article 51A of the Indian Constitution, which affirms, adopts and enacts Human Rights proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948 under "Universal Declaration of Human Rights".
Despite these documentations on "value education", it is unfortunate that it has not been possible by the Education Departments of the Government of India and State Governments to implement these recommendations in essence, nor has it been possible by the CBSE — so far guided by the NCERT and its NRCVE (National Research Centre on Value Education) to evolve and adopt specific curricula and class wise syllabus for textbooks on value education from class I to class 10, even though there are more than 6000 schools in India and abroad managed by the CBSE. This, it is reported, is mainly due to the complexities of the modern Indian society with a heterogeneous population, having diversities of religious beliefs and practices and social status, and the consequent presence of young students of different castes, creeds and economic status in the same classroom of a school. Another reason being put forth for not encouraging class wise textbooks and guidebooks is that the values are interrelated and are to be lived rather than taught. But, proliferation of mostly trivial and a few useful textbooks on moral values class wise for State and Centrally run schools across the nation continues progressively. These textbooks (which are neither approved by the education departments of State or Central Governments) are usually printed by interested and business oriented publication agencies sponsored by the educational institutions concerned. But, it is unfortunate that there is no printed textbook available as on date on the dynamic spiritual values as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
The most predominant lacuna in all the above stated is the NCERT documents on value education is the non-inclusion of the concept of genuine (dynamic) spirituality, which transcends all religions and is meant not for rejection of life and the world but to conquer them by the power of Spirit. In fact, the entire voluminous literature in general, and Integral education with free progress system in particular as given to humanity by Aurobindo and the Mother, constitute the best treatise on value education. A very meaningful 16-paged document on education under the caption, "Two cardinal points of Education" was presented by P. B. Saint Hilaire (Pavitra) in September, 1965 on behalf of Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry, as per the kind directions of the Mother to the Education Commission, G.O.I. as a sequel to the visit of D. S. Kothari — Education Commission to Sri Aurobindo Ashram in April, 1964 and Dr. K. G. Saiyidain in July 1965 for a detailed system of the pattern of this new education — Integral education with free progress system. However, the NCERT has not adopted so far any suggestion given by the authorities of Integral education.
It is gratifying to note that CBSE Chairman Ashok Ganguly, who personally visited Sri Aurobindo Complex, J. P. Nagar, Bangalore, and the school run by it on March 31, 2003 was appraised and fully convinced of the necessity and usefulness of the life-perfecting dynamic spiritual values envisaged by Aurobindo, and of the efforts put in by the school authorities towards the introduction of these values in the textbooks and guide books for s tandards one and two of the school. He gladly consented for our printing and publishing the said textbooks and guide books class wise, starting fromstandard one and leading up to standard 10 and assured that these textbooks, if founds suitable, could be used in other CBSE schools across the nation. In fact, these textbooks and guidebooks for standards can be translated in different vernacular languages in due course gradually, and be used by all schools in the nation for the ultimate good of future society.
Indian Renaissance has to be achieved progressively on the basis of our ancient Indian heritage on one hand and by introducing the dynamic spiritual values for future society on the other hand. It is the present young children who shall constitute the great future society. In this regard, a relevant extract of the inspired speech by Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for Education, delivered at Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry, on December 3, 2002, is worth citing; "Aurobindo has spoken of history and of human sciences and his writings are filled with a new uplifting vision that vibrates centrally with the message of spiritual brotherhood".
Obviously, our first and foremost duty in this regard would be to train the teachers intensively who can fully understand the concepts behind Aurobindo's teachings, yoga, Integral education and dynamic spiritual values, beyond all creedal religions, and practice them in their daily life so that they can be the leading examples to their students for learning and imbibing the said values.

India’s true destiny

Sri Aurobindo’s View of Indian Culture - Part II by Michel Danino
That brings us to the slower but crucial collective level. Sri Aurobindo always laid great stress on education. He himself had the best European education while in Cambridge, and, between 1897 and 1906, was a professor in the Baroda State College, then in the Bengal National College. So he knew the question in depth. And he had hopes in the young.
Our call is to young India. It is the young who must be the builders of the new world - not those who accept the competitive individualism, the capitalism or the materialistic communism of the West as India’s future ideal, not those who are enslaved to ol d religious formulas and cannot believe in the acceptance and transformation of life by the spirit, but all who are free in mind and heart to accept a completer truth and labour for a greater ideal.
Sri Aurobindo never tired of calling for what he termed "a national education." He gave this brief definition for it : [It is] the education which starting with the past and making full use of the present builds up a great nation. Whoever wishes to cut off the nation from its past is no friend of our national growth. Whoever fails to take advantage of the present is losin g us the battle of life. We must therefore save for India all that she has stored up of knowledge, character and noble thought in her immemorial past. We must acquire for her the best knowledge that Europe can give her and assimilate it to her own peculia r type of national temperament. We must introduce the best methods of teaching humanity has developed, whether modern or ancient. And all these we must harmonise into a system which will be impregnated with the spirit of self-reliance so as to build up me n and not machines.
Sri Aurobindo had little love for British education in India, which he called a "mercenary and soulless education," and for its debilitating influence on the "the innate possibilities" of the Indian brain. "In India," he said, "the students generally ha ve great capacities, but the system of education represses and destroys these capacities." As in every field, he wanted India to carve out her own path courageously : The greatest knowledge and the greatest riches man can possess are [India’s] by inheritance ; she has that for which all mankind is waiting. [...] But the full soul rich with the inheritance of the past, the widening gains of the present, and the large po tentiality of the future, can come only by a system of National Education. It cannot come by any extension or imitation of the system of the existing universities with its radically false principles, its vicious and mechanical methods, its dead-alive rout ine tradition and its narrow and sightless spirit. Only a new spirit and a new body born from the heart of the Nation and full of the light and hope of its resurgence can create it.
It is beyond this brief presentation to spell out the features of a national education as Sri Aurobindo envisioned it ; let me just mention that he laid great stress on the cultivation of powers of thought and concentration, which runs counter to the present system of rote learning. The student had to be trained to think freely and deeply : "I believe that the main cause of India’s weakness," Sri Aurobindo observed in 1920, "is not subjection, nor poverty, nor a lack of spirituality or Dharma, but a diminution of thought-power, the spread of ignorance in the motherland of Knowledge. Everywhere I see an inability or unwillingness to think." Sri Aurobindo also insisted on mastery of one’s mother-tongue, on the teaching of Sanskrit, which he certainly did not regard as a "dead language," on artistic values based on the old spirit of Indian art, all of which he saw as essential to the integral development of the child’s personality. In short, nothing whether Indian or Western was rejected, but all had to be integrated in the Indian spirit. This is clearly not the line Indian education has taken.
If we see today that nothing even of the Mahabharata or the Ramayana is taught to an Indian child, we can measure the abyss to be bridged. That the greatest epics of mankind should be thrown away on the absurd and erroneous pretext that they are "religious" is beyond the comprehension of an impartial observer. A German or French or English child will be taught something of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, because they are regarded as the root of European culture, and somehow present in the European consciousness. He will not be asked to worship Zeus or Athena, but will be shown how the Ancients saw and experienced the world and the human being. But Indian epics, a hundred times richer and vaster in human experience, a thousand times more present in the Indian consciousness, will not be taught to an Indian child. Not to speak of other important texts such as the beautiful Tamil epics, Shilappadikaram and Manimekhalai. Even the ! ! ! ! Panchatantra and countless other highly educational collections of Indian stories - even folk stories - are ruled out.
The result is that young Indians are increasingly deprived from their rightful heritage, cut off from their deeper roots. I have often found myself in the curious position of explaining to some of them the symbolic meaning of an ancient Indian myth, for i nstance - or, worse, of having to narrate the myth itself. Again, a French or English child will be given at least some semblance of cultural identity, whatever its worth ; but here, in this country which not long ago had the most living culture in the wo rld, a child is given no nourishing food - only some insipid, unappetizing hodgepodge, cooked in the West and pickled in India. This means that in the name of some irrational principles, India as an entity is throwing away some of its most precious treasu res. As Sri Aurobindo put it : Ancient India’s culture, attacked by European modernism, overpowered in the material field, betrayed by the indifference of her children, may perish for ever along with the soul of the nation that holds it in its keeping.
Certainly some aberration worked upon the minds of those who devised Indian education after Independence. Or perhaps they devised nothing but were content with dusting off Macaulay’s brainchild. It is painful to see that the teaching of Sanskrit is almost systematically discouraged in India ; it is painful to see that the deepest knowledge of the human being, that of yogic science, is discarded in favour of shallow Western psychology or psychoanalysis ; it is painful to see that the average Indian student never even hears the name of Sri Aurobindo, who did so much for his country ; and that, generally, Western intellectualism at its worst is the only food given to a nation whom Sri Aurobindo described as once the "deepest-thoughted."
India will certainly be compelled to address these central questions in the very near future, even as the Western edifice crumbles. Again and again, in the clearest and strongest terms, Sri Aurobindo asserted that India can never survive as a nation if sh e neglects or rejects what was always the source of her strength. Again and again, he saw India as the key to humanity’s rebirth.
In 1948, just two years before his passing, Sri Aurobindo said in a message to the Andhra University : It would be a tragic irony of fate if India were to throw away her spiritual heritage at the very moment when in the rest of the world there is more and more a turning towards her for spiritual help and a saving Light. This must not and will surely not ha ppen ; but it cannot be said that the danger is not there. There are indeed other numerous and difficult problems that face this country or will very soon face it. No doubt we will win through, but we must not disguise from ourselves the fact that after these long years of subjection and its cramping and impairing effects a great inner as well as outer liberation and change, a vast inner and outer progress is needed if we are to fulfil India’s true destiny.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sri Aurobindo spoke of Sanatana Dharma

The intellectual scene in Post-independence India ----A speech of S. Gurumurthy given to IIT Chennai. posted by sandeep Monday, January 16, 2006 @ 12:49 AM
Let us see the pre-independence background, the intellectual content of India. See the kind of personalities who led the Indian mind Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Gandhiji, Tilak- giants in their own way. Most of them were involved in politics, active politics, day-to-day politics, handling men, walking on the road, addressing meetings, solving problems between their followers. And, meeting the challenges posed by the enemy, the conspiracies hatched against them. They were handling everything, yet, they were maintaining an intellectual supremacy, and an originality which history has recorded.
Sri Aurobindo spoke of Sanatana Dharma as the nationalism of India. He didn't rank it as a philosophy. He brought it down to the level ofemotional consciousness. Swami Vivekananda spoke of spiritual nationalism; it was the same Swami who spoke of Universal brotherhood. For them philosophy was not removed from the ground reality. The nation was at the core of their philosophy. Swami Vivekananda was called the "patriot monk". Mahatma Gandhi spoke of Rama Rajya. Bankim Chandra wrote Bande Maataram. The song, the slogans in it, the mantra in it made hundreds of people kiss the gallows smilingly and many others went to jail. It transformed the life of the people. This was the intellectual scene, this was the content. This is what powered the intellectual as well as the mass movement in India. This was the core of India, the soul of the Indian freedom movement.
And now, coming to what is the position today. Everything that drove the freedom movement - everything that constituted the soul of the freedom movement, whether it is the Ram rajya of Gandhiji or Sanaatana Dharma of Sri Aurobindo or the spiritual patriotism of Vivekananda or the soul stirring Vande Maataram song, came to be regarded not only as unsecular but as sectarian, communal and even as something harmful to the country. Thus, there was a reversal, a perversion of the Indian mind.
When Sri Aurobindo came to Pondicherry in search of a new light. He used to get five rupees from a friend and four persons used to live on this. A cup of tea was one of the luxuries they used to have everyday in the morning, on the Pondicherry beach. Sri Aurobindo used to always look at a mystic called Kullachamy (Subramanya Bharati has written a poem about him). He used to behave like a madman, wandering here and there, throwing stones ... One, day he came near Sri Aurobindo, lifted his cup of tea and emptied it in front of him. Then he showed the empty cup to him, placed it on the table and went away. Sri Aurobindo's friends were angry and wanted to chasehim. Sri Aurobindo stopped them and said, "This is the kind of instruction I had been expecting from him. He wants me to empty my mind and start thinking afresh."

India can never cease to be India

This paper was presented at a seminar on “Decolonization and its Cultural Problems” organized by N. V. Krishna Warrior Smaraka Trust at Tripunithura (Kerala) on 9-10 October 1999.
As we know, besides their primary object of plunder, they viewed—or perhaps justified—their presence in India as a “divinely ordained” civilizing mission. They spoke of Britain as “the most enlightened and philanthropic nation in the world”[1] and of “the justifiable pride which the cultivated members of a civilised community feel in the beneficent exercise of dominion and in the performance by their nation of the noble task of spreading the highest kind of civilisation.”[2]
Our educational policies systematically discourage the teaching of Sanskrit, and one wonders again whether that is in deference to Macaulay, who found that great language (though he confessed he knew none of it !) to be “barren of useful knowledge.” In the same vein, the Indian epics, the Veda or the Upanishads stand no chance, and students will almost never hear about them at school. Even Indian languages are subtly or not so subtly given a lower status than English, with the result that many deep scholars or writers who chose to express themselves in their mother-tongues (I have of course N. V. Krishna Warrior in mind) remain totally unknown beyond their States, while textbooks are crowded with second-rate thinkers who happened to write in English.
The message they actually conveyed was that no Indian element was tolerable in education, while they are perfectly satisfied with an education that, at the start of the century, Sri Aurobindo called “soulless and mercenary,”[13] and which has now degenerated further into a stultifying, mechanical routine that kills our children’s natural intelligence and talent. They find nothing wrong with maiming young brains and hearts, but will be up in arms if we speak of teaching India’s heritage.
In Sri Aurobindo’s words :... Ancient India’s culture, attacked by European modernism, overpowered in the material field, betrayed by the indifference of her children, may perish for ever along with the soul of the nation that holds it in its keeping.[16]
Some ninety years ago already, Sri Aurobindo observed :They will not allow things or ideas contrary to European notions to be anything but superstitious, barbarous, harmful and benighted, they will not suffer what is praised and practised in Europe to be anything but rational and enlightened...[18]
Looking Ahead: The deeper meaning of this transitory dark phase has been expressed thus by Sri Aurobindo:The spirit and ideals of India had come to be confined in a mould which, however beautiful, was too narrow and slender to bear the mighty burden of our future. When that happens, the mould has to be broken and even the ideal lost for a while, in order to be recovered free of constraint and limitation.[20]
Permit me to quote Sri Aurobindo once more :We must begin by accepting nothing on trust from any source whatsoever, by questioning everything and forming our own conclusions. We need not fear that we shall by that process cease to be Indians or fall into the danger of abandoning Hinduism. India can never cease to be India or Hinduism to be Hinduism, if we really think for ourselves. It is only if we allow Europe to think for us that India is in danger of becoming an ill-executed and foolish copy of Europe.[22] posted by sandeep Monday, January 16, 2006 @ 1:12 AM

The transformation of human nature

Famous Personality - Know this person: SRI AUROBINDO was born in Kolkata on August 15, 1872. In 1879, at the age of seven, he was taken with his two elder brothers to England for education and lived there for fourteen years. Brought up at first in an English family at Manchester, he joined St. Paul's School in London in 1884 and in 1890 went from it with a senior classical scholarship to King's College, Cambridge, where he studied for two years. In 1890 he passed also the open competition for the Indian Civil Service, but at the end of two years of probation failed to present himself at the riding examination and was disqualified for the Service. At this time the Gaekwar of Baroda was in London. Aurobindo saw him, obtained an appointment in the Baroda Service and left England for India, arriving there in February, 1893.
For 13 years Sri Aurobindo would be immersed in Western culture - which would eventually reward his academic prowess with social situation in his country (under British rule). After a abundant laurels. In 1893, at the age of twenty, his Cambridge degree in his pocket, he returned to India to find a profoundly revolting political and sew years spent between a teaching post of French and English at the College of Baroda and the private secretariat of the local maharaja, Sri Aurobindo moved to Kolkata and entered the political fray. Simultaneously, he set out on his inner quest not to escape into higher worlds of consciousness, but as a means of sharpening his revolutionary action against the British occupation.
As editor of the daily Bande Mataram (Hail to Mother India) and leader of the Extremist Party, he would soon be suspected of participating in a criminal attempt against a British magistrate, and he would spend a year in prison while awaiting trial. That year of forced isolation made him realize that the occupation of his country by a foreign power was but one aspect of a much vaster problem: the transformation of human nature. "It is not just a revolt against the British empire that we must wage, but a revolt against the whole universal Nature!" he exclaimed.
Acquitted but still pursued and spied on by the British police, he had to take refuge in French India, in Pondicherry, where he arrived in 1910. This is where he spent the rest of his life until 1950, in the "ashram" that gradually formed around him under the supervision of Mother, who joined him in 1920. His written work, mostly composed between 1914 and 1920, comprises poetry, plays, "philosophy" and an enormous body of letters to try to explain to his disciples what he was doing in the silence of his room. Krishna's Space January 16 3:25 PM Permalink

From Goddess to Mother

While personification of the nation is one to which we are now accustomed, the shift that has taken place here, from nation as goddess to a more earthly figure is crucial. A parallel can also be observed in Sri Aurobindo's ways of looking at Bharat Mata. Writing in 1920, he remarks, ... the Bharat Mata that we ritually worshipped in the Congress was artificially constructed, she was the companion and favourite mistress of the British, not our mother .... The day we have that undivided vision of the image of the mother, the independence, unity and progress of India will be facilitated.
But Aurobindo warned that the vision had to be one that was not divided by religion. He concluded, "... if we hope to have a vision of the mother by invoking the indu's mother or establishing Hindu nationalism, having made a cardinal error we would be deprived of the full expression of our nationhood. [8] khayalat posted by sadan Monday, January 16, 2006 My earlier article on Bharat Mata 4:09 PM The article is taken here from:

Multiculturalism is not denial of religion

A Celebration Of Faith By AMULYA GANGULI The Times of India Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Multiculturalism is under attack again. After Samuel Huntington followed up his clash of civilisations theory with a warning about the US losing its core Anglo-Protestant culture because of the influx of immigrants of various faiths, two British clergymen expressed the same fear about their country losing its identity. If you take the Christian faith out of British identity, what have you got left, asked George Carey, a former archbishop of Canterbury. Earlier, the Ugandan-born archbishop of York, John Sentamu, said that multiculturalism has seemed to imply, wrongly for me, that let other cultures be allowed to express themselves but do not let the majority culture tell us its glories, its struggles, its joys, its pains.
All this hand-wringing is the result of the tendency in Britain and the US to avoid referring to Christmas and use non-religious words instead, as President George Bush’s cards greeted their recipients on the occasion of the holiday season without mentioning Christmas. But a misunderstanding is involved here. Since the white Europeans on both sides of the Atlantic are still not accustomed to the concept of a multicultural society, they believe that the use of Christian terms will offend the non-Christians among them. The whites probably also believe that the Christian symbolism might be interpreted as a reassertion of their sense of superiority, which has long characterised their behaviour towards the blacks and browns, especially as colonial masters.
But if they are serious about retaining their multicultural label, they may well turn to India for a lesson since the multi-culti system, as V S Naipaul derisively calls the concept, has prevailed in this country for centuries. Unlike in the West, where it is virtually equated with atheism, multiculturalism in India is a celebration of religions, not their denial. What is more, with the growth of the advertisement industry, more and more occasions are being marked for festivities from Valentine’s Day to Karwa Chauth, not to mention Diwali, Christmas and Eid.
Yet, this is nothing new. Even the Mughal emperors (though not Aurangzeb) observed Diwali and Nauroz, the Parsi new year, and if Aurangzeb banned these, he banned music, poetry and dancing, too, along with the drinking of wine and the consumption of opium. The tradition of different communities participating in each other’s festivals lasted till the early 20th century with Hindus routinely taking part in the Muharram processions. Indeed, it was to wean them away from this practice that Tilak started the Ganesh festival in Maharashtra. It was apparently to emphasise this aspect of communitarian life in India that Gandhi had passages read from the holy books of all the major religions before his prayer meetings.
The belief, therefore, that multiculturalism and secularism mean keeping a distance from religion, if they are not positively antireligious, is incorrect. While secularism implies that the state should be neutral in the matter of religion, multiculturalism in India means nothing other than a joyful cohabitation of people of all faiths. It is obvious that India has achieved this sense of tolerance and accommodation over centuries, going back to the edicts of Ashoka, underlining the essential doctrine of controlling one’s speech so as not to extol one’s own sect or disparage another’s. Seventeen centuries later, Akbar reinforced this ideal. As Nehru pointed out, neither was a Hindu; one was a Buddhist and the other a Muslim, but it was India speaking through them.
That India was a land of harmony where everyone could live his own life was known in the neighbourhood. So, when the Zoroastrians of Persia felt that their religion was in danger from the invading Muslims, where else could they go but to India? And when, 12 centuries later, the Tibetans felt similarly threatened in their homeland, they chose India. It is this essence of every religion thriving in a multicultural polity which is being misinterpreted in the West. What the official group there seems to believe is the need for the virtual obliteration of all religions, and especially the dominant one, so that a nondenominational national personality can emerge. Inevitably, this attempt, which has been described as silly by the British clerics, has led to a backlash in favour of core values.
There is little doubt that the situation in Europe and America has been complicated by the paranoia about Islamic terrorism. But even if this threat did not exist, the racial complex of the whites would have made it difficult for them to accept large numbers of coloured aliens in their midst. Yet, they are fighting a losing battle because borders cannot be sealed in today’s interdependent world. Nor will it be easy either to coerce the immigrants to submit to the compulsions of the core culture or to erase all religions from public life. Both attempts will create tension instead of eradicating it. The best course, therefore, is to worship all the gods with gusto. The writer is a political commentator. # posted by Tusar N Mohapatra Tuesday, January 17, 2006: 11:38 AM

Monday, January 16, 2006

Kochi: Chairman and chief mentor of Infosys, Mr NR Narayana Murthy appeal the government to interfere less in higher education system of the country. Receiving the honorary doctoral degrees (D.Sc.) from the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) he said higher education should be free from government control and government should allow more academic freedom and innovation in the higher education system in the country. Dr. Narayanamurthy said that institutes of higher education must stay relevant in a changing world, but Government regulation in higher education system had limited the ability of colleges and universities to adapt and change.
Because of this, the country had failed to build world-class institutions, he added. World-class institutions were not built through government mandate and control, but through academic freedom, innovation and pursuit of excellence. "We must provide our institutions with the freedom to take risks and foster bold, new initiatives for growth. Higher education in India must be allowed to function as an industry in a free-market environment."

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Save nation, lead non-Cong alliance: Mulayam to Left

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday spoke of the possibility of all non-Congress parties, including the BJP coming together under a common programme and asked the Left parties to lead such an alternative. "The countdown has started ... The people know that the Congress-led Government has not been able to achieve anything in the last 18 months. Instead, price rise and conspiracies against non-Congress leaders have marked the rule," Mr Yadav said in an interview to Zee News.
Mr Yadav said the issue today was one of "saving the country" and our view "is that time has come for the Left to provide the leadership if they could do so. They have already lost two opportunities," according to a release issued by the channel. Mr Yadav said even the BJP can join the alternative after shedding its Hindutva, Ayodhya and Article 370 agenda. PTI/The Pioneer Saturday, January 14, 2006

Uphold the rule of law

When the State compromises The Veerappans thrive The strength of a government is not so much the weapons in its arsenal as the courage of conviction of its leaders and their determination to uphold the rule of law.
The point is that the State, whatever the provocation, cannot compromise on principle. During the freedom struggle, the enlightened leadership of the Congress did not approve of the terrorist methods people like Aurobindo advocated. However patriotic the Bhagat Singhs and Khudiram Boses might have been, their ways were unacceptable. The only exception made was when the Congress defended the action of those who conspired in the sensational killing in Pune over a century ago which was, perhaps, the first act of terrorism. It’s this willingness to compromise that is exploited by the Veerappans. The State must at all times uphold the rule of law. A.J.Phillip The Indian Express November 20, 2000

Our heritage

The first thing to do before restoring old sites is to convince the public of the importance of our past. Until this is done even among intelligent people you will find some apathy. There are some who argue that the past is burdening India. But have we truely learned all there is about our past? India's strength is in her past as according to Sri Aurobindo, Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, and others. We find all the main great spiritual teachers agreeing on this point. Krishnamurti was one of the few great teachers who lacked an appreciation for the past, but he was also influenced by Marxist ideas - a man of his time. Our heritage helps us in many ways: tourism, knowledge, national pride, beatification of India, etc. list can go on and on. Posted by: Raj, United Kingdom, 28-06-2005 at 0241 hours IST Monumental sights The Indian Express

United India: A Dream

© Aju Mukhopadhyay, Bhavan's Journal, January 2004 Sri Aurobindo’s Action, March 2004
During the 1946-48 conflict, the people of the country in general did not want a vivisection of Bharat Mata. Congress Working Committee had to pass the resolution of partition with votes, 29 in favour and 15 against, in spite of M. K. Gandhi’s pleading to vote in favour of it. West Bengal Assembly accepted it as a matter of routine, but rejected the division on the basis of religion, as a matter of principle, as Sri Aurobindo had advised. The partition was a national holocaust. Some of the then leaders in the forefront could not manage it otherwise, or it suited them.
On the eve of independence Sri Aurobindo said that partition must go, divided India should be united, otherwise it would be very weak. Subsequently he visioned a united India more than once, even in 1950. Mother had a map of united India, deliberately made. She advised the Indian Prime Minister in 1965, to fight until the two countries were united. Similarly she encouraged another Prime Minister in 1971.
Earlier, Shyamaprasad Mukherjee had gone to Kashmir for its unification. According to Mother, he was the only man in India who could understand Sri Aurobindo to some extent. ‘He could have done,’ Mother said. But he was assassinated there, Mother said on 7 June 1967, though not officially. On 18 December, 1971 Mother found a solution. She said, ‘It won’t be done through battle: the different parts of Pakistan will demand separation. There are five of them. And by separating, they‘ll join India- to form a sort of confederation. That’s how it will be done.’

We know that Sri Aurobindo wanted federation of States for a World Union. Bangladesh has been separated though it does not present a happy picture. A federation of small States around India would accomplish a happier result in the long run. SAARC and such organizations may be a preamble to it.

Big powers have enough time and money to broke between countries in conflicting situations but they have not been able to really ease the situation anywhere. They have their own motive. While China unite scattered countries by force, in the name of Motherland, we go on shouting ‘Cross border, cross border’. Men, pristine nature and environment are brutally destroyed daily. A very unpleasant situation has been continuing. Some way has to be found out to ease the situation. India should strongly stand its ground, end infiltration and try for unification of the severed parts of Kashmir.

Though division is a political reality, it is not true reality. India’s position in the world should be accepted by all the peoples of erstwhile India as the Mother, who nurtured all her children from time immemorial. India has the largest number of Muslims among the countries. If united, Muslim population in India would be increased but they would be more benefited while living with other Indians. By unification the civilization of the subcontinent would recover its lost face.

Time may come for unity in the shape of federation, if not otherwise. That may be a safe political solution. A permanent peace will descend in the sub-continent, even other where, to a great extent, when people rationally give up the idea of proselytizing. In a modern world spirituality should outlive religions. A theocratic state is beyond the modern time spirit.

The Partition of Bengal: The role of Sri Aurobindo

© Aju Mukhopadhyay, Sri Aurobindo’s Action, September 2005
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Hindu Mela, founded by the elders of Tagore family, Debendranath Tagore with Rajnarain Bose and others, was still functioning. Swami Vivekananda’s lectures about Hindu sanatana dharma or eternal religion, his whipping criticism of his countrymen, his words of awakening were vibrant in the air. It was a period of Japan’s victory over Russia. A call for Asian freedom from colonial rules was heard. The great thinkers were dreaming of a united Asia. Kakujo Okakura, the artist and art critic, wrote, ‘Asia is one’ as the first words of his book- Ideals of the East.
Sister Nivedita, the Irish disciple of Swami Vivekananda, was a great force in thought and action. She had contacts with the secret societies. Sri Aurobindo in Baroda, Thakur Ram Singh and others in Maharashtra, P. Mitra and others in Bengal, Lala Lajpat Rai and others in Punjab and other places were secretly preparing their plans. Okakura, Havel, Nivedita and A. Coomarswamy revered the spiritual aspect of Indian art, which influenced Abanindranath Tagore much and he, through his art, brought the uniqueness of it. The Dawn Society was founded by Satish Chandra Mukerjee for the physical, mental and spiritual development of the youth. Though the great ideas of freedom from oppression and the ways of attaining it were engaging the minds of the educated people, it did not yet percolate to the mass-mind. The country was in the process of awakening.
Job Charnok’s choice of Calcutta (1690) as the place of their settlement decided its fate to be the capital of India. Gradually it became the centre of revolutionary activities, the crucible of revolutionary ideas. Calcutta being the capital of India had a distinct role to play. Bengalis comprised the vast majority of Bengal. Lord Curzon visited the Indian subcontinent four times before he became the viceroy of India. After he took charge in 1899, he found that Bengal was a vast province with Orissa, Bihar, Chhotanagpur, West and East Bengal and that Bengalis, irrespective of religious affiliations, were walking hand in hand. To safeguard the position of British monarchy, Curzon proposed through the Calcutta gazette of 3 December 1903, for the convenience of administration, to divide the province into two. One by joining North and East Bengal with Assam and the other by bringing Orissa and Bihar together with the rest of West Bengal. Let us hear now from a historian, the result of such a division-
‘Lord Curzon had written to the Secretary of State for India that he would dig the grave of the Indian National Congress before laying down his office, but in fact by partitioning Bengal he laid the foundation stone of the tomb of the British empire in India.’(R.C.Majumdar. History of Modern Bengal. Calcutta; 1981. Part-2, p.16)
Curzon visited East Bengal, conferred with Nawab Salimulla of Dacca, lend him a large sum at small interest and tempted him with the prospect of enhanced influence and prestige in the proposed province which would have a Muslim majority. This jesture of communal discrimination shown by Curzon became thenceforth a permanent strategy of the British Indian policy. Under the scheme Hindu Bengalis would be minority in both the provinces. It would split the Bengali speaking population and set the two religious communities against each other. Of the large number of meetings thereafter, more than 500 were held in East Bengal alone. Indian National Congress passed resolutions condemning the proposal in 1903 and 1904. Separating Bihar and Orissa from Bengal would solve the administrative problem, it was suggested.
On 11 January 1905, 300 representatives met in a conference under the chairmanship of Sir Henri Cotton, a friend of India and a retired chief commissioner of Assam. They proposed an alternative arrangement for the administrative convenience, which was to separate Bihar and Chhotanagpur from Bengal and to separate Sylhet and Coochbihar, two Bengali speaking areas, from Assam, to be tagged to Bengal. About 3000 meetings, with gathering between 500 and 50000, comprising of Hindus and Muslims at different places, condemned the Government actions and demanded the undoing of the proposed partition. The press, both English and regional language, condemned the action. Sakharam Ganesh Deuskar, a Marathi journalist and writer settled in Bengal, wrote Desher Katha, baring the selfish motives and actions of the English. Rabindranath Tagore vehemently opposed the partition, wrote many fiery articles and read them, delivered lectures in meetings.
Government’s divide and rule policy and curtailment of education policy continued. Lord Macaulay got his University Bill passed, which made the college education dearer. But the true education continued in full force, as supported by Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee, the Vice Chancellor of the Calcutta University. By another scheme of reform of education, the Government on 11 March 1904, announced the plan of formulating and teaching of languages according to different dialects. Bengali language was divided into four, Bihari into three. Poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote and read out essays pointing out the motives behind such moves.
Krishna Kumar Mitra, uncle of Aurobindo Ghose and editor of Sanjibani, urged in his paper on 13 July 1905, to boycott British goods and Government employees. In a public meeting at Bagerhat on 16 July, such proposal and more were accepted. On 7 August 1905 there was a historic meeting in the Town Hall of Calcutta attended by intellectuals, leaders and students- all the rank and file. 5000 strong student body marched wearing black badges to the hall, shouting slogans. The hall was overcrowded, the gathering outside was overwhelming. The partition was called unfair and illegitimate. Resolution was made to continue the struggle until the partition was annulled, while unanimously accepting the proposal to boycott the British goods. This was the day when Bande Mataram became the symbol and slogan of the movement. Later it became the slogan in the mouths of all the revolutionaries throughout the country, It became the national anthem of free India. People died in the field uttering this mantra.
Boycott spread to other parts of India. People, aggrieved with the colonisers’ attitude of oppression, joined the army of agitators, which included the zamindars and some notable Muslim leaders like Abdul Rasul, Abdul Halim Guznavi, Yusuf Khan Bahadur, Muhammad Ismail Chowdhury and Liaquat Hossain Khan. National education became a part of their programme. Poets like Rabindranath Tagore, Dwijendralal Roy, Rajanikanta Sen wrote patriotic songs. Volumes of swadeshi literature were created to become a part of Bengali literary treasure.
But Gokhale was not exactly in favour of boycott. Besides him other great Congress leaders like Surendranath Banerjee, Bipin Chandra Paul and many others led the movement. Most of them, except Bipin Chandra Paul, were later known as the moderate leaders. Though Tagore was not in favour of appeal, of mendicant policies, as Sri Aurobindo used the term to mark the moderates in the pages of Induprakash, he was a poet, not a radical political leader and activist. The nationalists, also known as extremists, emerged after the break up of Congress at Surat in 1907. They gradually influenced the Congress more and took the leadership in their hands. The movement grew to heights, covering the entire India under their leadership, to be termed as swadeshi movement.
Bipin Chandra gave a series of lectures in Madras in 1907. ‘Our swaraj will not be Hindu or Mohammedan; it will be Indian swaraj.’ He said there. Brahmabandhab Upadhyay, editor of Sandhya, too wrote fiery articles, spoke in favour of the movement. Militancy spread abroad. Shyamaji Krishna Verma founded Home Rule Society and India House in London in 1905 and started campaign against Curzon. Madam Cama began to edit Bande Mataram from Paris, propagating revolutionary ideas. Chempakraman Pillai started Indian National Party in Barlin. Virendranath Chattopadhyay, Dr. Abdul Hufiz and others joined it. Gadar party was formed by Hardyal and Sohan Singh Bhakna in San Francisco, U S A. Gadar movement spread to Canada.
While a leader of the secret revolutionary societies at Baroda, he encouraged his followers in Bengal to fight tooth and nail against the proposal for partition. He gave a clarion call to all revolutionaries to dedicate their lives for the freedom of their motherland through a booklet, Bhavani Mandir. He wrote a daring pamphlet from Baroda, titled No Compromise, when the Government announced the programme of the partition of Bengal. No press in Calcutta was ready to publish it. Abinash Bhattacharjee and others made arrangement with one Kulkarni, a Maharashtrian revolutionary, who composed it overnight. It was published anonymously and distributed in thousands.
He virtually gave up his lucrative job of a Vice Principle of the Baroda College to join as the first Principal of the first national college at Calcutta under National Education council, at much less a remuneration. He took long leave from 18 June 1906 and never rejoined the Baroda College. The idea was to get full opportunity to fight against the partition and to lead the country toward full freedom from foreign rules. He began writing fiery articles in Bengali advocating armed revolt in Jugantar, which ran as per his guidance. In the English language paper Bande Mataram, de facto edited by him without his name anywhere, he wrote as a political thinker, a spokesperson of the nationalist group. From time to time he raised the problem of partition and advocated to his countrymen against any prayer and petition for its revocation. He challenged the British and wrote in Bande Mataram on 4 September 1906,
‘The present movement has welded the masses and the classes together; and it is therefore not likely to be cowed down by any threat of violence from any quarter. And all these tend to show that both the evils which the Partition was designed to work, have no chance of being realized, whether the Partition is kept up or it is evoked or modified. But still we want the revocation of this Partition, because such a revocation will prove the helplessness of the Government in the face of the present agitation, and a practical confession of the defeat.’
In Bande Mataram he wrote elaborately about the passive resistance, advocated the policy of non-cooperation, boycott, national education, national arbitration and swadeshi. He was behind the demand of swaraj in the Calcutta Congress in 1906 and persistently gave the call of Purna swaraj, full freedom from foreign rule through Bande Mataram in 1907 and after. He advocated both passive resistance and violence, to be used as weapons, as per the need of the hour. ‘It is the nature of the pressure which determines the nature of the resistance’, he wrote. Even after his jail term for a year in 1908-09, he led the country in revolutionary paths through his papers, Dharma and Karmayogin.
The followers of his great revolutionary ideas were Kshudiram Bose, Bagha Jatin, Bhagat Singh, Chandrasekhar Azad, Rashbehari Basu, Subhas Chandra Bose and such others. Mahatma Gandhi followed his ideals of passive resistance and non-cooperation. Gandhi advocated non-violent methods but the freedom struggle proceeded through both violent and non-violent methods. While Sri Aurobindo retired from active politics 1910, the country achieved freedom in 1947, mainly by following the paths shown by him. During the last seven years before the independence, all the then big leaders, including M. K. Gandhi, were in jail. The country moved forward through freedom struggle, mostly violent in nature. AT last the leaders, including Gandhi, agreed to and advocated for the partition of the country. The price of freedom was the partition of the country.
The partition of Bengal was annulled on 7 August 1911...Aurobindo Ghose, the former revolutionary, wrote a letter from Pondicherry soon after the incident, probably in January 1913, to his disciple Motilal Roy at Chandernagore. He mentioned among other things, ‘About the Tantrik yoga; your experiment in the smashana was a daring one- but it seems to have been efficiently and skillfully carried out, and the success is highly gratifying’( Pondicherry; SABCL. Vol-26. p.428). This was written in coded language, signed Kali, a pseudonym. Tankrit Yoga stood for revolutionary activity and smashana stood for Delhi, as explained by Arun Chandra dutta, in his Light to Superlight (Calcutta; Prabartak Publishers. 1972).
Aurobindo Ghose still had contacts with some of the revolutionaries but Sri Aurobindo the yogi, who was regularly doing sadhana to develop different yogic faculties, was engaged in helping the injured Lord Hardinge to recover through is silent yogic actions. These he did not write in any letter but were discovered from his jottings about his progresses in yoga, kept here and there. Portions from two such entries may be quoted to clear the point.
  • 31.12.1912: ‘The Viceroy’s health is following exactly the movement of the Will which was that the pain should be relieved within December 31st and the healing of the wounds fulfilled in January. This morning’s news is that there is no longer any discomfort from the wounds, although the healing will take some weeks.’ (Sri Aurobindo Archives and Research. Pondicherry; Sri Aurobindo Ashram. April 1987. p.52)
  • 15.1.1913: ‘The Viceroy’s health has almost answered to the Aishwarya as within the first fortnight . . . . the trikaldrishti is fulfilled in both the favourable and the adverse movements. . . .’ (ibid. p.82)

Both Motilal Roy and Rashbehari Basu were from the then French enclave, Chandernagore. Both of them were behind the bomb throwing action. None of their actions were inspired by hate but as duty of the warriors in the field of revolution.