Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi’s “strange” meeting with CA Tegart on 25 June 1925

[3]Gandhi, Tegart and the Bengali Terrorist” by Sobhanlal Mukherjee, in The Statesman, Calcutta, 28 April, 2009 1:14 PM Special Article
Top cop and Swadeshi
Gandhi, Tegart And The Bengal Terrorist By Sobhanlal Mukherjee

The two articles by Mr Amiya K Samanta, published in The Statesman on 30 and 31 January 2009, are of tremendous historical importance. They throw light on Mahatma Gandhi’s “strange” meeting with CA Tegart, then the Police Commissioner of Calcutta, on 25 June 1925. The meeting was held at the residence of SR Das, who was then the Advocate-General of Bengal. Both Gandhi and Tegart had agreed that it would be a strictly private interaction, with no commitments from either side. In his personal papers, Tegart had left a signed copy of the main points discussed at the meeting. The data is available only in the archives of the Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge.

Through The Statesman, Mr Samanta has rendered signal service by publishing excerpts of Tegart’s notes. In the early years of the 20th century, educated, politically-conscious upper and lower middle class Bengali youth were generally concerned over terrorism, euphemistically described as “militant nationalism”, a trend that emerged after the first Partition of Bengal (1905). It took the form of the swadeshi movement. There was considerable confusion in the wake of the split in the Congress into moderates and extremists at the Surat session in 1907.

‘Do or die’

The British tried desperately to forestall a Bolshevik-type revolution in India by the young extremists. There was widespread condemnation of the Jalianwalabagh massacre on 13 April 1919. The youth of Bengal were gearing up for counter-violence in what they reckoned was a “do or die” situation. They disliked Gandhi’s pacifist “non-cooperation policy”, coupled with the Khilafat agitation. They rather welcomed the extremist strategy of Chittaranjan Das and his Swarajya Party, within the Congress. The main purpose of Gandhi’s meeting with Tegart in 1925, a year after Deshbandhu’s death, was to secure the release of all militants detained without trial. He also wanted the Ordinance of 1924 revoked in order to heal the “breach between the government and the people” in post-Deshbandhu Bengal. Indeed, he held out an olive branch. His policy was in accord with his ethics of non-violence and value-based politics. He even described the Bengali militants as patriotic gems, with noble intentions, an indomitable public spirit, and exemplary self-sacrifice for their country.

Gandhi informed Tegart that CR Das himself was disenchanted with contemporary Bengali militants. He reminded the Police Commissioner that Das, a barrister-at-law, had written to Lord Birkenhead, the Secretary of State for India, requesting him to go soft and explore the possibility of a rapprochement with the militants. Gandhi is recorded to have made certain frank admissions to Tegart. He admitted that the non-cooperation movement had failed as no deadline was fixed within which swaraj could be achieved. He even declined comment when Tegart remarked that Deshbandhu’s Swarajya Party experiment was also in the doldrums. Gandhi placed a “strange” proposal before Tegart ~ every militant be released on personal bond. He volunteered to negotiate with the terrorists. Tegart disagreed because such negotiations could not be an individual’s responsibility. It was the exclusive prerogative of the government. Tegart also examined the legalities of Gandhi’s proposal. It was too theoretical to imagine that a single revolutionary could be isolated and tutored to abjure violence. This would need a thorough review of the case history of each detainee.

Tegart, undoubtedly, had the Irishman’s sympathy for Indian militants. But as a disciplined and pragmatic police officer, he was aware of the stark reality. He relied only on facts. He had survived several murder attempts in Calcutta, but remained undaunted. He was as astute as the Mahatma. He made it clear to Gandhi that militants could not be so easily tackled. Gandhi told Tegart that those arrested on the basis of false or concocted reports filed by lower grade officers should be released. Tegart defended his subordinates, but assured Gandhi that he would definitely make an inquiry. How could he be so sure about his forthright assertion? I feel privileged to answer this question on the basis of what was recounted to me by my father, Haridas Mukherjee, who was a colleague of Tegart in the IB offices of the Bengal government. He had joined the police service in 1907 and was posted as Officer on Special Duty, Special Cell, dealing with Bengali terrorists.

The other notable members of the cell were three Special Superintendents, Fairweather Springfield, Pardy and Robertson who held independent charge of the “Source Money” meant for informers. The British officers could be distinctly identified with their Tory (Conservative) and Whig (Liberal) leanings. The British policies towards India and Ireland were influenced by the Whig-Tory equations. In spite of their political differences, the officers worked in the IB as a cohesive team. The British officers missed Subhas Chandra Bose as one of their colleagues in the ICS. They also regretted that a large number of talented young men had become militants and martyrs. Many among the officers had a profound respect for Indian culture and values. Fairweather borrowed from my father books on Indian mysticism and tantra.

Brayden had a keen interest in astrology and Indology. Pardy spent his leisure working out the crossword puzzles in The Statesman. Robertson was scrupulous in his handling of the “source” funds. There was little substance in Gandhi’s plea that Bengali militants were wrongly detained on the basis of false or concocted reports. Reports of constables, “writers” and “watchers”, were cross-verified by my father and his colleagues at the “history sheet section”. If at all there was any concoction, it was due to some gameplan of officers who wanted a higher share of the “source” money or such coveted prefixes as “Rai Saheb” or “Rai Bahadur” from the Raj. There was a strange case of an “ambitious” policeman who tried to wangle a promotion by implicating his son and his friends with militant activities. The plan boomeranged and he was promptly blacklisted by the IB.

Role model

Gandhi told Tegart that Jatin Mukherjee, generally referred to as “Bagha Jatin”, was “a divine personality”. Little did he know that Tegart had once told his colleagues that if Jatin were an Englishman, then the English people would have built his statue next to Nelson’s at Trafalgar Square. In his note to JE Francis of the India Office in 1926, he described Bengali terrorists as “the most selfless political workers in India”. Mr Samanta has supplemented his account with quotes from Amrita Bazar Patrika and Forward, two contemporary dailies that praised Tegart’s “devotion to duty”. He was my father’s role model, an ideal, people-friendly Commissioner of Police. He had set excellent paradigms of effective police administration. His work culture was marked by clockwork precision and remarkable efficiency.

He avoided notes in files and official formalities, in other words the overbearing burra sahib mentality. Cutting across the superior-subordinate divide, he took vital decisions over a cup of tea with colleagues. He had a prodigious memory, and knew the names and addresses of his colleagues, from the three Special Superintendents down to the constables. He believed in minimum force. Police excesses have marked recent developments in Naxalbari, Nandigram, and Lalgarh. Tegart would have refused to act as the “Chief Minister’s man” and obey party cadres. And he would never have intervened in civil marriages. The writer is a retired Professor of Political Science, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Every intellectual is always looking towards the West for approval

francois gautier Tuesday, April 28, 2009 THE KAFKAIAN STREAK OF INDIAN POLITICS

Kafka (1852–1931), was a Czech writer, most famous for his novels, the Trial, and the Metamorphosis, where the Absurd, the Grotesque and the Illogical were given a new life with impossible twists. The word ‘Kafkaian’ has today transcended the literary realm and is pertaining to real-life occurrences and situations that are incomprehensibly complex, bizarre, illogical, often with a sense of impending danger.

The term ‘Kafkaian’ could be very well applied to today’s politics in India, for things have gone to such a pitch of absurd, unfair, blatant and outrageous illogical state, that it baffles the mind. Yet neither the politicians, nor most of the press find anything wrong in it. [...]

India is all about equality and rising above castes, yet since 1947, politicians of this country, particularly the Congress, and later V.P Singh, Mulayam Singh, or Lalu Prasad, have hopelessly divided India along castes and religious lines. But Mayawati tops them all: she just gave a push to her prime ministerial aspirations, by promising Scheduled Caste status to 16 more castes if she came to power at the Centre. Can you think of a more Kafkaian way of obtaining votes? [...]

Ultimately democracy in India has become a Kafkaian affair, as it has been so perverted, so hijacked, to the point of absurd...The tragedy is that the Indian press does not play its role... The real problem is that India has been colonized for too long, contrary to China whose people remain proud of their culture and intensely nationalistic. It has resulted in a deep-rooted inferiority complex in the Indian psyche, whereas every intellectual is always looking towards the West for approval and Indians are so obsessed with having the western type of democracy, without adapting it to the Indian conditions.

The system has become so perverted that only radical surgery to remove the diseased parts will start the indispensable cleansing process. O Kafka, you should have been born in India…
Fran├žois Gautier

Auro Mira Service Society with the support of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, New Delhi brings light & learning to Kechla

Dark days no more for Kolab settlers Statesman - Kolkata, India
Statesman News Service KORAPUT, April 27:

“When we were disconnected from the mainland for the construction of the water reservoir on Kolab river, we had thought we were losing much from our lives. But things have changed over the last four to five years,” Balaram Muduli, the boatman in the water reservoir near Koraput, said. Many villages were submerged forcing a greater part of the population to migrate. While people who accepted the rehabilitation packages offered by the government and settled near Kotpad had their woes and challenges, it was worse for those who had to settle in the villages which were disconnected from the mainland of Koraput, he added.

Scores of villages including Kechla had to begin a new life with the support of a few country boats to meet their basic needs. These villages had to live without electricity despite the fact that the very hydroelectric project on Kolab river was set up at the cost of the harmonious life of the people of the region. Kechla, however, had got the attention of the district administration a few years back as a tourist spot for being a rich storehouse of Jain monuments and for the scenic beauty of the mountains beneath the reservoir waters. The SHG of Kechla was given two motor boats and the tourist department had introduced a weekly package for the tourists to visit the place from Koraput. People started enjoying the 30 minutes journey in the reservoir and a different life began to bloom for the villagers.

However, the real change in the lives of the villagers of Kechla came in 2005 when Auro Mira Service Society, with the support of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, New Delhi was set up at Kechla. While the society went ahead in establishing a learning centre, spread over nearly 30 acres of land, the community had a breath of fresh air with avenues of development reaching their doorstep. Now the centre is imparting education to the tribal children using the most advanced mode of teaching-learning process in its upcoming huge education complex.

While the construction of the building offered opportunities for skilled labour, like making cement bricks, many have become trained masons with the support of the society. “We have also been trained to manage our own boats by the society and also get support to run them without interruption,” added Balaram.

The first experiment of using solar energy in the learning centre of the society gave a new hope to see light for each of the villagers. Now each of 100 odd families in the village has one solar lamp each in their houses, being supplied by the Society, K Sukant, a member of the learning centre, said. The centre, over the years, apart from creating a special place in the hearts of people has offered direct work opportunities for at least 17 persons in its fruit orchard.

The centre has planted fruit trees from varieties of mangoes to lemon, watermelon and many more fruits apart from medicinal plants using the latest technique in agriculture. "This unique combination of creating opportunities for the simultaneous growth of the community and institution together would go a long way in establishing harmony in the disturbed lives of people suffering from the miseries of detachment from the main land,” said Sujay Pradhan, a leading coffee planter and social worker.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Puducherry potpourri

Shyam Srinivas Technical Blog Shyam Srinivas K has left a new comment on your post "Nashram!":

I like to introduce myself as Shyam, Webmaster of . I am an IT professional who love my native city, Pondicherry. Over the years I have entertained and helped many visitors to our city. It's been fun. However, one common feedback I have received from many of them has been that there is a lack of structured information about Pondicherry on the web.

So I decided to create a website with all the information that we believe a visitor might want. I realized that as we have lived here for more than two decades and have entertained so many guests, over time I have come up with a list of places that people seem to like. So I threw in a personal touch and came up with a list of places that we think will make you return to our city, and hopefully to this website. If you have a chance please visit

I would be really thankful if you can visit the site and provide me your valuable suggestions and feedbacks about the site. Thanks and Regards, Shyam Email: Website: Posted by Shyam Srinivas K to Savitri Era at 2:16 AM, April 27, 2009


Amitava Chakrabarty The Statesman Monday 27 April 2009

ANYBODY who has visited Pondicherry must have felt the eerie sense of tranquility in the air. Everything over there is replete with a sense of uncanny silence where the heart and mind can find solace. Probably because of the presence of the ashram and its disciplined devotees, who roam about with minimum interaction among themselves or the visitors, who automatically inculcate within them the discipline of the ashram that make the French Rivera of the East so calm and divine.

It is said that the great saint Agastha had his ashram over here. Probably it is for this reason and for the fact that this hamlet was immuned from the clutches of the British, that Rishi Aurobindo decided to establish his ashram over here. The British was still suspicious about his antecedents and considered him to be one of their principal adversaries though he was acquitted in the famous Alipore Bomb Case. He had no other options but to leave Bengal and settle in a French colony far off, to pursue the newly found divinity deep within him while he was in the lonely cell of the Alipore Central Jail between 1908 and1909. On 4 April 1910, he landed in Pondicherry for the first time and after years of Sadhana in internal Yoga he decided to set up his own ashram with only 24 disciples on 24 November 1926. Today, the ashram has become a gigantic institution disseminating the idea of higher spiritual consciousness for oneself and the community.

I happened to be in Puducherry (as Pondicherry is officially called now) a decade back and visited it recently for the second time and hardly saw any change in the ambience except a few more devotees and tourists. The same colonial heritage buildings, the same clean roads or rues, as they call in French, the same unhurried pace of the people, the same giant doors on walls decorated with bougainvillea, the same noisy surrender of waves of the Bay of Bengal on the rocky beach, all conspiring together to “give time a break”. In a few days Puducherry can take you in her ambit to lull your false ego and rejuvenate your battered soul. If you are willing for some meditation near the Samadhi Sthal, where the mortal remains of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is kept within the precincts of the ashram, you can even feel the magic of the soothing ambience creep into you.

The second visit gave me a strange sense of bliss, though the scorching summer sun was unrelenting. I stayed in the park guesthouse, which has a beautiful garden full of soft, carpet-like grass, ready to welcome your bare feet with its morning dew. I used to sit in a corner for a lonely recluse trying to reach out for my inner-self, which has been brutally subjugated by the urban world around me. After three consecutive days of this lonely practice I felt somewhat relived internally and was convinced to have added some spirituality in my consciousness. I was eager to stay for a few days more but compulsions back home barred my wish of continuing with this newfound rendezvous with myself.

Time’s break was over for me. But before leaving Pondicherry I made it a point to visit the famous churches. So I visited the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and was awestruck by the beautiful Gothic architecture. The gigantic columns holding the cross shaped arches, the fabulous inscriptions in the glass panes, the twin tower belfry, the sheen of the interior… all made me astounded. Amid that gigantism I came across a fragile lady clad in a tattered violet sari touching the illuminated glass pane, which had mother Mary etched upon it. Tears were rolling down her cheeks, I knew not for what. I couldn’t decipher whether she wanted something or was only there for the sake of faith. Then from the knot of the anchal of her sari she brought out a fifty-rupee note — must be her entire day’s earning — pressed her lips upon it, then worked her skinny hand up the glass so that it reached Mother Mary’s feet before dropping it in the drop-box.

I realised that to attain such level of devotion one had to grow up in the atmosphere, which Pondicherry offers. Personally, I have miles to go before I reach such level of selflessness.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sri Aurobindo warned against both physical and economic barbarism

Drawing the line between need and greed
Dr R Neerunjun Gopee

A letter in the The Economist of August 2008, which carried a special 8-page section on ‘The credit crunch, one year on,’ pointed out that ‘greed overcrowded our senses and sound judgement was thrown to the wind.’ Last month a friend sent me copies of two articles written by Sri Aurobindo about 90 years ago in which he had predicted that the economic age, after experiencing considerable success, would come crashing under its own mass – which is what is happening. He was not against materialism per se, but he emphasized that it was not sufficient if we wanted to lead a truly beautiful life.

Indeed, when we think about it carefully, we realize that we must not deny that it is material well-being that allows us the comfort to think of things beyond immediate physical needs once they have been satisfied. So the issue is not that of denying the necessity of material comforts – it is about equipping oneself to draw the line between need and greed.

Sri Aurobindo warned against both physical and economic barbarism – and we witness countless examples of both all the time. For him, the physical barbarian makes the excellence of the body and the development of physical force, health and prowess his standard and aim – think of doping in sports, a widespread phenomenon in our times, especially amongst top athletes, even Olympian icons. At the other end of the spectrum is the modern health professional’s conundrum, of the physical man who indulges so much that he is prey to what are known as the disease of affluence and which are driving the health costs to unsustainable extremes.

As for the ‘vitalistic or economic barbarian,’ as Sri Aurobindo defined him, the exclusive satisfaction of wants and the accumulation of possessions is his standard and aim. Under economic barbarism, the ideal man is not the cultured, noble, thoughtful or moral man. Rather, it is the successful man who concentrates on the accumulation of wealth and more wealth, the adding of possessions to possessions, opulence, show, pleasure, cumbrous luxury, a plethora of conveniences, life devoid of beauty and nobility.

In such a regime, politics and government are turned into a trade and profession and enjoyment itself is made a business. To such a natural unredeemed economic man, beauty is a nuisance, art and poetry are an ostentation and a means of advertisement. His idea of civilsation is comfort, of moral social respectability, and of politics exploitation. Sri Aurobindo is prescient in his warning that the opulent plutocrat and the successful mammoth capitalist and organizer of industry are the supermen of the commercial age and the true, if occult, rulers of its society. But nowadays, they do not care about being occult, so strong and protected they feel themselves to be.

But along with helping us to understand what is happening, the sage’s teachings also make an appeal for rethinking our way of life and give guidance for what to do in this situation. He advises that the vital or economic part of the life of man is undoubtedly an important element in the integral human existence, as much as the physical part – but must not exceed its place. A full and well-appointed life is desirable for man living in society, but on condition that it is also a true and beautiful life. And what is that true and beautiful life? That neither the life nor the body exist for their own sake, but as vehicle and instrument of a good higher than their own – subordinated to the superior needs of the mental being, chastened and purified by a greater law of truth, good and beauty before they can take their place in the integrality of human perfection.
RN Gopee Copyright © 2005 Mauritius Times.

Sanskrit texts carry the fundamental underlying ideas of humanity at the highest level

Home » Footprints » News Blog » Narendra Modi’s website launched in Sanskrit and Hindi

It has constantly been Shri Modi’s endeavour to reach out to an ever wider range of people as he firmly believes in this truism from the Rig VedaLet great ideas come from all sides”. He hopes that this site will encourage people from all strands of Indian society to participate in the growth of the nation, so that they too feel that they are a part of its future prosperity, through the sharing and contribution of ideas and thoughts on a variety of subjects.

Many people might deem it strange that one of the languages that the Chief Minister’s website can be viewed in is Sanskrit, which is today spoken by a very small number of people. However, the very aim of the site is to help diffuse this sacred language, which was used for scholarly discourse in ancient India.

The Chief Minister believes that Sanskrit texts carry the fundamental underlying ideas of humanity at the highest level, and is of great relevance to us even today, as we cannot build a prosperous future without understanding our roots. Echoing the views of three of the greatest Indian revolutionaries – Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, and Acharya Vinoba Bhave – that Sanskrit is the best way to integrate and revitalise India, the Chief Minister is determined to make Sanskrit the language of every Indian a reality.

Marx has used the principles of Hindu philosophy, without realising it

Understanding Marx Sir, ~

I refer to the letter of Debasis Sen (9 April) regarding my article on Marx (29-30 March). It is not possible to understand Marx using Anglo-American interpretation, which gives a very narrow view of the philosopher, but one needs to apply the Hindu philosophy to understand him. Marx’s basic inquiry was to find out ways to solve the problem of human alienation from its soul. According to Marx, the capitalistic production relationship system creates this alienation and it can be removed only under scientific socialism when a human being can rediscover himself and achieve full freedom from the bondage of class dominated state. That was the essence of Marxism as he has narrated in his writings (The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844).

Marxian materialism is related to the Sankhya system of philosophy. Sri Krishna says: “Ignorant man, but not the wise, say that Sankhya and Yoga are different paths; but he who gives all his soul to one reaches the end of the two” (Bhagvad Gita, ch 5, verse 4). Marx was one of those few wise men. According to him, all actions in social, economic and political spheres are interlinked and can be explained by a general theory. This is the echo of what Sri Krishna said: “All actions take place in time by the interweaving of the forces of nature” (Bhagvad Gita, ch 3, verse 27). “Those who ever follow my doctrine... find through pure work their freedom” (Bhagvad Gita, ch 3, verse 31).

Marx has analysed what kind of work and production relationship would free man from bondage of alienation from his inner soul and according to him only under scientific socialism that can be achieved. Thus, Marx has used the principles of Hindu philosophy, without realising it, to “discover the inner harmony of a man to shape his own life in the light of that harmony” (Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity).

After all, although they had never visited India, Marx and Engels gave us a correct explanation of the 1857 uprising. Rejecting the beef-pork theory of the British and their Indian followers, Marx-Engels explained that revolt in terms of extreme torture and humiliation the Indian sepoys witnessed the British were inflicting on fellow Indians, which resulted in the revolt.

The majority of the Indians who stood up against the British were not sepoys but “the unorganised peasants of India who fought the most powerful empire of the world to near defeat with limited resources and even more limited training. If there is a lesson to be learnt from this, it is that a people, once pushed into a corner, will fight for their basic right to live in freedom”. (Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels, The First Indian War of Independence 1857-1859).

One cannot find a better explanation of Indian history than that given by Marx-Engels. ~ Yours, etc., Dipak Basu, Nagasaki (Japan), 9 April.

Philosophers must be wary of becoming 'men (and women) of system'

Property is Civilisation from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy

Adam Smith’s writings on the decline of feudal-property relations in Britain shows an outstanding grasp of history and a deft hand at work, explaining the complex inter-actions between the ruling feudal lords and the newer, lower-order trading merchants. Smith confined his remarks to silver buckle buying by some of the Lords (he lived in a man’s world), but we can be sure that much of the trinkets, brooches, rings, rare perfumes, silks and such like were destined for the Lords’ women.

Smith’s point was that the merchant traders brought luxury goods for the Lords to buy, they were increasingly tempted dispose of the main sources of their political power – they’re armed retainers – which troubled the leading Lord, the King, and those would be Kings who eyed their throne, and oppressed the landed workers (hardly, incidentally, a ‘petty tyranny’; it served ‘petty’ ends, no doubt, but was brutal to its victims).

This was a long process, but the end result was an enfeebled aristocracy and a more vibrant merchant core, able to extract concessions from the king in parliament which gave them, eventually, an effective veto over the sovereign’s spending. These Liberties constituted the constitutional monarchy that was 18th-century Britain.

Markets only continue what the consequences of the origination of property did way back in pre-history: create wealth and, inevitably, inequality. The great agricultural societies, growing from a long history of hunter-gatherer subsistence economies from 11,000 years ago in a small segment of the earth’s surface, were noticeable by their inequality, which extended way beyond economic inequality to political and religious inequality.

The great empires of Egypt, Babylon, India and China, were dominated by ruling elites that managed the hydraulic mysteries and seasonal timing of everything about everyday life for the vast majority of their peoples. Their stone detritus of these former stone-built civilisations are spread across the Eurasian continents, north Africa, and in parts of central and south America.

Their predecessor stone-age detritus is spread all round the world, into modern times too, which was the fate of every human society that did not grow into shepherding and farming. Those, few, modern, aimlessly discontented, people who have notions of going back to what they call, the ‘simpler’ life of pre-history have no idea what that would involve, including the mass extermination of about 6 billion people.

For tens of millennia, the inequality of the world’s population remained constant, with a small elite monopolising the power, and almost everybody else living on subsistence and almost static per capita levels. That is until, again in parts of Europe, the 16th century as commercial society began, slowly, to revive after the thousand years of stagnation, Black Death, endless wars, and social strife, to where it roughly was at the fall of the Western Roman empire.

And within three centuries, in Britain, economics, technological and social change, the unprecedented steady, albeit minute rise in per capita incomes finally broke through the Malthusian Trap, ironically almost coterminous with its identification by Thomas Malthus.

These events created social inequalities of a new kind – that between societies that developed institutions capable of ensuring the necessary conditions for continuous, though small growth rates, and those societies – the majority – not capable for various reasons of breaking out of their subsistence economies. The unequal poor in the commercial societies were incomparably better off than those in the unequal traditional societies.

It is that comparative inequality that is the distinction brought about by the social evolution of early commercial societies into what became known as capitalism from the mid-19th century. It is a phenomenon that the Left do not acknowledge and the conservatives do not yet accept. There is nothing ordained about the existing arrangements of Big State capitalism or Big Welfare States that will ensure their continuation in their present forms.

The task of the philosopher, said Adam Smith, is to observe and seek to understand; it is not to do anything to intervene with panaceas and social engineering. Philosophers must be wary of becoming 'men (and women) of system' (TMS VI.II.2.17-18: 233-4)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sri Aurobindo doesnt need Francoise Gautier's endorsement, or lack of it to be judged

A Fatherhood More Equal?

Daily Letters 4 Apr, 2009 07:02:21PM (IST) One should however not lose sight of the fact that the similarities between the freedom-movement-era religious nationalism and contemporary Hindu right wing nationalism "are superficial while the points of difference are deep," as Heehs writes in this outstanding biography of Sri Aurobindo.

"Aurobindo favored an eclectic, basically Vedantic Hinduism, which he believed to be universal and 'the basis of the future world-religion.' But this 'wider Hinduism' was something that embraced 'Science and faith, Theism, Christianity, Mahomedanism and Buddhism and yet is none of these.' " (p. 99)

"The Hindu nation-builder," Sri Aurobindo wrote "shall not seek to superimpose his own ideals and methods on his Mohamedan brother, nor shall the Mohamedan, the Buddhist, or the Christian, seek to obliterate the essential characteristics of the Hindu culture and Hindu race." (Quoted in Heehs, p. 101)

Sri Aurobindo saw the interaction of Hindu and Muslim culture in India as an opportunity for the development of "a greater spiritual principle and formation which could reconcile the two or a political patriotism surmounting the religious struggle and uniting the two communities." (Quoted in Heehs, p. 118)

Those who believe that Sri Aurobindo turned more exclusively towards Hinduism in the later part of his life, might wish to consider his letter of November 1932 quoted by Heehs's in his study titled Nationalism, Religion, and Beyond (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2005, pp. 354-5):

"It is news to me that I have excluded Mahomedans from the Yoga. I have not done it any more than I have excluded Europeans or Christians. As for giving up one's past, if that means giving up the outer forms of the old religions, it is done as much by the Hindus here [in his Ashram in Pondicherry] as by the Mahomedans.... What is kept of Hinduism is Vedanta and Yoga in which Hinduism is one with Sufism of Islam and with the Christian mystics. But even here it is not Vedanta and Yoga in their traditional limits (their past), but widened and rid of many ideas that are peculiar to the Hindus. If I have used Sanskrit terms and figures, it is because I know them and do not know Persian and Arabic. I have not the slightest objection to anyone here drawing inspiration from Islamic sources if they agree with the Truth as Sufism agrees with it. On the other hand I have not the slightest objection to Hinduism being broken to pieces and disappearing from the face of the earth, if that is Divine Will. I have no attachment to past forms; what is Truth will always remain; the Truth alone matters." ULRICH MOHRHOFF PUDUCHERRY INDIA

Daily Letters 4 Apr, 2009 09:45:38PM (IST) India actually got independance on 15th August, birthday of swami aurobindo. While he was in jail for following violent approach for getting india's independance, he got the spiritual message that he could contribute more to india getting independance by working for it at the spiritual level. He escaped from the prison in bengal, went to pondichery not under brittish control, established yogaasram there. mother aaryavallee, born in france, joined him there.a yogi tuning up with the absolute can release spiritual forces which will influence human behaviour around in such a way that they overcome differences and work together to achieve even an apparently impossible goal! No wonder that india's independance arrived on the birthday of aurbindo ghosh!

The poems composed by subramhanya bhaaratee in tamil seeking divine help for india's freedom, also operating from pondichery only, were another spiritual contribution to the hastening of independance. If both these had instead got jailed in the andamaans, the basically nonviolent accomplishment of independence, attributed to Gandhi, could have been much delayed or even denied. God has His own ways of optimally using powerful souls for bringing about epochal developments in world history. V. SESHADRICHENNAI INDIA

Daily Letters 5 Apr, 2009 01:10:48AM (IST) Oh , this man Francois Gautier at it again. That an Englishman Hume founded the Congress may be revelation to this pretentious Frenchman with his borrowed sense of history, but had he asked an eight standard Indian schoolboy he would have been told as much. He would even more be surprised to know that there were eminent Indians who demanded full freedom even before Sri Aurobindo. So Gandhi's call for full freedom after Aurobindo is neither here nor there. Bringing this matter up without proper political context of the time is mischievous.

Incidentaly is he sure Peter Heeh's book is banned in Orissa or his tutors cooked up this for him , so taht another irrelevant issue hogs the headlines? MANISH BANERJEE KOLKATA INDIA

Daily Letters 5 Apr, 2009 01:30:45AM (IST) "It is news to me that I have excluded Mahomedans from the Yoga... " (Sri Aurobindo, quoted by Mohrhoff).

What a refreshing and inclusive exposition of religion, compared to the narrow-minded and exclusivist rants of Gautier and his cohorts! ANWAR PATEL DALLAS TX UNITED STATES

Daily Letters 6 Apr, 2009 09:26:49AM (IST) "India actually got independance on 15th August, birthday of Swami aurobindo". There can be no greater tribute than India getting independent on 15th August to Aurobindo. Whether it was done knowningly or unknowingly, 15th August is itself a magnificient tribute to Aurobindo. The fact that none of the leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, or others got this I Day attached to their birthday is itself Gitas message of action through detachment.

Gandhi should be compared to personalities in Kal Yug and not in other Yugs. Gandhi took the non-violent approach right from his arrival in India from South Africa, whereas Aurobindo , who was different as mentioned by Gautier, could not back non-violence, probably due to his earlier track record and stereotyping being a norm then would have prevented Aurobindo in becoming non-violent and instead he became a yogi.

The clinging to dynastic politics is the main reason for not teaching about Aurobindo and many others. As the cyberspace advances more and more Aurobindo's work will be available easily. GAJANAN SYDNEY AUSTRALIA

Daily Letters 7 Apr, 2009 01:22:43PM (IST) The intellectual capacity of our nation is in a serious danger. There is no other conclusion I can draw if someone can be so nescient about Sri Aurobindo (that too when one confesses about his ignorance) and still have the gall to write advice to "right thinking people".

Sri Aurobindo doesnt need Francoise Gautier's endorsement, or lack of it to be judged. That he is one of the most important freedom fighters that any revolution, anywhere on the earth has produced - important because of the steely intellectual backbone that he provided to our fight, is a fact known and acknowledged by people who have nothing to do with the history of our nationalism. Aurobindo's bust adorns the highest forum of this land, our national parliament, but our intellectuals will avoid him like a plague. What a curse for our nation. VARUN GARDE BENGALURU INDIA

Daily Letters 9 Apr, 2009 03:27:03PM (IST) Manish Bannerjee : Just while we are talking about facts,>> 2. He abandoned his fight for freedom midway

Sri Aurobindo returned from England in 1893 and actively served the cause of freedom struggle until 1912. Thats 19 years. I dont see a trace of gratitude in your arrogant voice for a person who gave the first widely reaching battle cry against the moderate policy of "petition, prayer and protest" to the British, and raised the banner of complete self rule; For someone about who Lord Minto had to write "I can only repeat that he is the most dangerous man we have to reckon with".

Several leaders tried to reach out to Sri Aurobindo after his retirement from active politics of the freedom struggle including Rabindranath, who met him in 1928 and had this to write about his impression of Aurobindo's work: "You have the Word and we are waiting to accept it from you. India will speak through your voice to the world, `Hearken to me!'... Years ago I saw Aurobindo in the atmosphere of his earlier heroic youth and I sang to him: `Aurobindo, accept the salutations from Rabindranath.' Today I saw him in a deeper atmosphere of a reticent richness of wisdom and again sang to him in silence: `Aurobindo, accept the salutations from Rabindranath!' "

Surely if Rabindranath had reasons to accept Aurobindo's wisdom in following his calling, I see no authority by which we can be harsh and judgemental about the same? And I still haven't brought up Gandhi in this.

>>& took recourse to religiion.

Aurobindo had this to say about religion: "... religion often considers spiritual life as made up of renunciation and mortification. Religion thus becomes a force that discourages life and it cannot, therefore, be a true law and guide for life." (quote from : "The present crisis"

2. He grew long hair & a beard & set up himself up as a saint.

Did he indeed? Are we trying to pull of something of a difference between Gandhi the bald, shaved and clean, and Aurobindo the stereotypical baba with long hair and beard? I dont see any other motive of bringing up these facial features as Aurobindo. Oh btw, long hair and beard had been with him ever since his incarceration in the Uttarpara Jail.

3 He also wrote unintelligible thick books on religion.

Would you agree that Intellibility of books/tomes cannot be certified by a Manish Bannerjee? Suffice to say that Aurobindo had been writing since before moving to Puducherry, but then his writings were about the freedom struggle, i.e. were probably more intelligible to minds radically opposed to anything but corporeal.

Culled from somewhere: His writings in the weekly 'Bande Mataram' captured the imagination of all of India. The then British editor of the Statesman of Calcutta wrote many years later in 1950, in the Manchester Guardian: "...It was in 1906, shortly after Curzon's retirement, that Sri Aurobindo and his friends started Bande was full of leading and special articles written in English with brilliance and pungency not hitherto attained in the Indian press. It was the most effective voice of what we then called nationalist extremism.." These Sir are the facts. VARUN GARDE BENGALURU INDIA

Daily Letters 9 Apr, 2009 11:40:22PM (IST) Heehs refers to a number of accounts by Aurobindo’s co-revolutionaries that mention Aurobindo’s direct involvement in terrorist activities, including the assassination attempt on Kingsford, in Muzaffarpur:

“Jadugopal Mukherjee and Arun Chandra Guha write of Aurobindo not only as the founder of the revolutionary party but also as a member of a Russian-style ‘revolutionary tribunal’ that sentenced an unpopular judge to death. One writer goes so far as to have Aurobindo literally give his blessing to the young men chosen to carry out this mission.”6 The files of the Home Department of the British Government also contained detailed reports on Aurobindo’s presence at the top of the chain of command in many terrorist operations (Heehs, 1998, p. 51). Incidentally, while Aurobindo was represented by the notable attorney C. R. Das in his trial and was acquitted, Khudiram was left to take his chances with the justice system. Tagore in Ghare Baire (1916) wrote apprehensively of the revolutionary leader Sandip fleeing the scene of unrest to save his own skin while his young disciple Amulya got killed in action. A parallel is evident, though Khudiram was not the only ‘soldier’ abandoned by his celebrity leaders and Aurobindo was not the only leader who did not take the fall for his subordinates, and Tagore denied any connection between his fictional character and Aurobindo."

While I've no problem with Mr. Vijay Agarwal's voyeurous interest in M.K. Gandhi's bedroom or his bathroom if that is his favourite past time and I do not argue against the British Gov. Gen. Mr. Atlee's's attributing the raison de etre of the British leaving India primarily due to the INA trial and the RIN mutiny. etc., but even Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose paiid his highest regard to M.K.gandhi and called him father of the nation, who really had felt the pulse of the ordinary and marginalised Indian population and carried them along in a mass struggle in a largely non-violent way, and really practiced what he preached, though personally, I am more for the revolutionary's way of Indian freedom struggle. SHYAMAL BARUA KOLKATA INDIA

Daily Letters 9 Apr, 2009 11:39:38PM (IST) Varun Garde :: Q: "Sri Aurobindo returned from England in 1893 and actively served the cause of freedom struggle until 1912. Thats 19 years. I dont see a trace of gratitude in your arrogant voice for a person who gave the first widely reaching battle cry against the moderate policy of "petition, prayer and protest" to the British, and raised the banner of complete self rule; For someone about who Lord Minto had to write "I can only repeat that he is the most dangerous man we have to reckon with".U/Q::

While thanking Mr. Varun Garde for his balanced view on the subject and bringing this debate to its natural conclusion, may I add few lines from Dr. Rinki Bhattacharya Mehta's, Univ. Of Illinois, reasearch work, "The Bhagavad gita, Pistol, and the Lone Bhadralok" ( pp77-98) as under:

"Aurobindo’s first contact with revolutionary ideas occurred as early as 1890, when he was in Cambridge, studying the classics and preparing for the Civil Service Examination. A recent volume by Elleke Boehmer (2002) details the influence of Irish nationalism on his thought, which would later intensify with his friendship with Margaret Noble, the Irish political activist who later came to be known as Nivedita, after she became Swami Vivekananda’s disciple (pp. 34-124). Boehmer speaks of Aurobindo’s continued support of armed revolutionary tactics that continued at least until his arrest in 1908. A significant current biographer of Aurobindo – Peter Heehs – has pointed out the lack of solid evidence for Aurobindo’s involvement with terrorist groups, especially Maniktala Secret Society of which his brother Barin was the leader. However, Heehs concurs with Amales Tripathi in the view that Aurobindo’s silences on the subject of his involvement spoke more than his non-admissions (Heehs, 1998, p. 43). It is significant that the Maniktala Secret Society grew out of the Calcutta Anushilan Samiti, an organization “founded in 1902 to promote physical, mental, and moral culture among Calcutta students” (Heehs, 1998, p. 18).

The ideological blueprint for this society came from Aurobindo’s Bhawani Mandir, or Bankim’s Anandamath, or both. Aurobindo, however, did not admit to knowledge of or involvement in terrorist activities at his trial that followed a 12-month incarceration, and he was acquitted. A sea-change is discernible in his writings following his prison term and acquittal. His earlier speeches and writings, while replete with references to Hindu mythological figures and allegories, more often than not dealt with direct, immediate political issues and events. His post imprisonment writings are exceptionally vague and general in nature, the political astuteness of his earlier articles drowned here in spiritual overtones. In his first significant public appearance, he spoke of the epiphanies he had in prison, and ended his speech with a revision of a particularly poignant political point he had made a year and a half earlier. I will touch upon the relevant portions of the two speeches that speak clearly of the ideological shift that had taken place in the speaker’s political worthwhile to remember, at this point, at least one young man – Khudiram Bose, who was hanged in 1910 for his attempt to kill Judge Douglas Kingsford – who probably received the instructions for the operation from Aurobindo, via middlemen. SHYAMAL BARUA KOLKATA INDIA

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Old Approach to the New History, Peter Heehs, Studies in History, Aug 1993

Rethinking the Politics and Ethics of Consumption: Dialogues with the Swadeshi Movements and Gandhi
Ananta Kumar Giri Journal of Human Values, Apr 2004; vol. 10: pp. 41 - 51.
...movement began as a protest against the partition of Bengal. Sri Aurobindo was one of the important leaders of the Swadeshi movement...and also to a wider project of social reconstruc- tion. Sri Aurobindo writes in Bande Mataram about the Swadeshi movement that... Check item Abstract Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker

Managerial Transformation for TQM: Indian Insights
Sanjoy Mukherjee Journal of Human Values, Apr 1998; vol. 4: pp. 77 - 93.
...his interpretation of the Gita, Sri Aurobindo clarifies this subtle point...Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, 1987), 77. 9. Sri Aurobindo, The Message of the Gita (Pondi- cherry : Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1977), 183. 10. Jiva is... Check item Abstract Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Sadhana and Nationalism: Yoga, akti and Des Seva in Subhas Chandra Bose
Mario Prayer South Asia Research, Apr 1997; vol. 17: pp. 37 - 70.
...My argument is that for Bose, differently from Aurobindo, submission to 4 Aurobindo and Subhas had many points in common: both received...For biographical accounts see H. U. Mukherji, Sri Aurobindo's political thought (1893-1908 (Calcutta, 1958... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

The Ethics of Modernity in Indian Politics: Past and Present
Victor A. Van Bijlert Journal of Human Values, Apr 2003; vol. 9: pp. 53 - 64.
...century.&dquo;I Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo can be called the greatest advocates...quite worried by the influence of Sri Aurobindo on these acts of defiance. be followed by trouble.' 17. Sri Aurobindo, Bande Mataram: Early Political... Check item Abstract Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Book Reviews : J.N. Mohanty, Essays on Indian Philosophy: Traditional and Modern. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995, xxxvii + 347 pp. Price not stated
S.K. ChakrabortyJournal of Human Values, Oct 1996; vol. 2: pp. 194 - 197.
...success- ful in reasoning out why Sri Aurobindo called him yogisreshtha--(the best...anticipates an implicit dualism even in Sri Aurobindo's 'double meaning' of vedic terms...philosophy of man, we may look up to Sri Aurobindo's works for a satis- fying answer... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Book Reviews
Journal of Human Values, Dec 2007; vol. 13: pp. 177 - 192.
...Oxford University Press , 1991. Aurobindo 1972, Essays on the Gita Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram . Book Reviews Contents...explanation of this verse is common. Sri Aurobindo (1972: 171) explained this verse... Check item Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker

Remaking the Body: the Transformation of Jacob Atabet
Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Jul 1978; vol. 18: pp. 81 - 86.
...twentieth century Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo, whose spirit breathes on every...his magnum opus The Life Divine Aurobindo (1949) criticizes the world-denying...human consciousness. REFERENCES AUROBINDO. The life divine. New York: India... Check item Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker

2 Passionate Sincerity in Indian Poetry in English
Devindra Kohli The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Jan 1974; vol. 9: pp. 20 - 34.
...considered to be 'the stilted, mystic-incense style of Sri Aurobindo, and the Romantic fireflies dancing through the neem...come to recognize that Toru Dutt, Sarojini Naidu and Sri Aurobindo 'have this great strength in common, though in varying... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Shyamala A. Narayan The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Jan 1978; vol. 13: pp. 111 - 129.
...English Studies III 125-48. Aurobindo, Sri Readings in Savithri Part X M.P...issue. The Advent XXXIV 1-4, Sri Aurobindo Ashram , Pondicherry 605002. Annual...per issue. The Advent XXXIV 1-4, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry 605002. Annual... Check item Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker

Shyamala A. Narayan The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Jan 1993; vol. 28: pp. 45 - 68.
...Deshpande, R.Y. All is Dream-Blaze 70pp Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education...Deshpande, R.Y. All is Dream-Blaze 70pp Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education...year. Mother India ed K.D. Sethna, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry 605002. Annual... Check item Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker

From 'IQ' Towards 'EQ'
Journal of Human Values, Oct 1996; vol. 2: pp. 95 - 96.
...lived ideals. To return to Aurobindo, in order to begin to move...rishzs or wisdom- workers, Aurobindo insists on the purification...rival Vishwamitra (see Aurobindo's short story: 'The human progress', said Sri Aurobindo. Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Editorial: From Servant Leader to Wisdom Leader
Journal of Human Values, Oct 1997; vol. 3: pp. 143 - 144.
...issue we may pro- fitably turn to Sri Aurobindo's distinction between the 'vitalistic...practice of wisdom leadership. Sri Aurobindo explains the implication of this...power to the universal great power. Sri Aurobindo does not deny the role of power... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Ethics in Public Administration: Classical Insights and Current Practices
N. Vittal Journal of Human Values, Apr 2001; vol. 7: pp. 5 - 20.
...jagrata, prapya varannibhodhata).~ Sri Aurobindo carried on that spiritual trad...launching the Ramakrishna Order. Sri Aurobindo is one of the brightest stars...was articulated beautifully by Sri Aurobindo as follows: Existence is not merely... Check item Abstract Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Ancient Wisdom for a Knowledge Society: A Worm's–eye View
N.R. Sheth Journal of Entrepreneurship, Sep 2005; vol. 14: pp. 91 - 102.
...Birth Centenary Library. Vol. 15, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry . Isherwood...state of mental de- velopment which Sri Aurobindo articulates as super-mind or super...Trust, Bombay and Ishopanishad by Sri Aurobindo published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram... Check item Abstract Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker

Wisdom Leadership: Leading Self by the SELF
S.K. Chakraborty Journal of Human Values, Oct 1995; vol. 1: pp. 205 - 220.
...the material, as well as the moral and the spiritual. Sri Aurobindo expresses this responsibility in these words:5 The true...ever before. The 'future' spiritual destiny of man that Sri Aurobindo speaks of was an unerring prognosis by the 'past' mind... Check item Abstract Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Shyamala A. Narayan The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Jan 1988; vol. 23: pp. 75 - 99.
...Tales (juvenile literature) 110pp Sri Aurobindo Ashram (Pondicherry) Rs20.00...Indian Literature 119 pp119-24. Aurobindo, Sri 'Humour in the Plays of Aurobindo...Mother India ed K. D. Sethna Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry 605002... Check item Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker

Shyamala A. Narayan The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Jan 1982; vol. 17: pp. 85 - 95.
...Sterling (New Delhi ) Rs65.00. Aurobindo, Sri A Comparative Study of The Divine...Commonwealth Literature ed Avadesh K. Sri- vastava Print House (Lucknow) Rs100...Criticism STUDIES OF INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS Aurobindo, Sri A Comparative Study of The Divine... Check item Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker

Annual Bibliography of Commonwealth Literature 1968
The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Jan 1973; vol. 8: pp. I - 106.
...Lectures on Savitri, A. B. Purani, 1?7 pp. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry 2, Rs-7-00, Visiorr and the lfork of Sri Aurobindo, K. D. Sethna, 217 pp. Sri Auro- bindo Ashram, Pondicherry 2, RS.l 5.00... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Shyamala A. Narayan The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Jan 1994; vol. 29: pp. 53 - 85.
...won the award for his book on Sri Aurobindo. Many other younger critics have...Devarajan Littcrit 36&37 pp101-16. Aurobindo, Sri Sri Aurobindo in Baroda ed Roshan...Mother India ed K.D. Sethna, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry 605002. Annual... Check item Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker

An Old Approach to the New History
Peter Heehs Studies in History, Aug 1993; vol. 9: pp. 279 - 288.
...An Old Approach to the New History Peter Heehs Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives and Research Library Pondicherry An Old Approach to the New History Peter Heehs Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives and Research Library Pondicherry Review... Check item Full Text (PDF) Table of Contents MatchMaker

Organizations are essential in passing on the hard-won knowledge from one generation to the next

Do Not Promote Religion Under the Guise of Spirituality Ian I. Mitroff Organization, May 2003; vol. 10: pp. 375 - 382....California, Los Angeles, USA Aurobindo, Sri (1993) The Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo's...regard to organized religion; see Aurobindo (1993). Do Not Promote Religion...Ordinarily Sacred (1992). References Aurobindo, Sri (1993) The Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo's... Check item Full Text (PDF) References Table of Contents MatchMaker

I believe deeply in the sanctity of work and of organizations. For better and for worse, work is the centerpiece of most people’s lives. Whether we like it or not, work is inextricably intertwined with our perpetual search for meaning. Work is an integral part of our spirituality, our search for ultimate meaning. I believe even more fervently that today’s organizations and today’s jobs are in serious need of redesign. Far too many pose a serious threat to the human soul.

The invention of organizations is one of humankind’s greatest achievements. Organizations are essential in passing on the hard-won knowledge from one generation to the next. Few things long-lasting can be accomplished without them. Thus, the fundamental choice is not between having or not having organizations; rather it is with regard to the kinds of organizations we choose to create. The fundamental choice is whether we will have organizations that promote human health and development, or organizations that promote sickness and dysfunction. [...]

One of the most important outcomes of the interviews was the finding that people seriously want the opportunity to realize their full potential as whole human beings both on and off the job. Second, they want to work for ethical organizations. Third, they want to do interesting work. And, although making money is certainly important, at best it is a distant fourth. First and foremost, people want to bring their the whole selves to work, the ‘complete package’ so to speak. [...]

If any religion is to be tolerated in the workplace, it is a ‘universal religion’, one that we are far from realizing (Fowler, 1995). And yet it is precisely the idea of a ‘universal religion’ that is synonymous with spirituality. 6:40 PM

Like Sri Aurobindo, determine an independent line on every major international question

Mental slaves The Statesman - Kolkata, India Thursday 23 April 2009

Although Indian intellectuals take pride in fierce independence, some have from time to time allowed themselves to be mentally enslaved by foreign hegemons. “Macaulay’s children”, like Janakinath Bose and Satyendranath Tagore, emerged from British-educated institutions in the late 19th century to buttress Western colonial rule. Without such articulate but pliant native collaborators, says historian Niall Ferguson, “British rule in India simply would not have worked.” Thankfully, India’s fertile soil also produced their foils. Seers like Aurobindo Ghosh, who wrote the stirring New Lamps for Old in 1893, named British imperialism for what it was ~ oppressive alien rule. Even as the intellectual space was being smothered by the colonial educational apparatus and its assembly line of privileged “natives”, the counter-narrative of nationalism could not be eradicated. [...]

The challenge before India’s intellectuals is to rise above the partisanship of pseudo-progressives and to determine an independent line on every major international question, be it Tibet, Sri Lanka or Myanmar. Should they fail to do so, India would be left burnishing “old lamps” of untruth and groping in the dark for a distinct place in world affairs. (The writer is a researcher on international affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Syracuse, New York) Other Perspective Coming home Robe of secularism falls off

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jyoti - The Flame

Jyoti - The Flame

A Monthly magazine for children & youth

Choudhury Satya Das, Editor

Plot No. - 1043, Mahanadi Vihar, Cuttack - 753004 (Orissa). Ph. (0671) 2442966 E-mail:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

J. Kepler attempts a nuanced reading sympathetic to the sentiments of some of the aggrieved

Overview Introduction Integral Yoga Sri Aurobindo The Mother Sitemap Fundamentalism Issues Reviews Academic Reviews Reviews at Amazon Annotated Documents Further Documents Standpoints Letters Bio Data Integral Yoga Sri Aurobindo The Mother Feedback about this site may be posted in the comments section to the Announcement of this site at SCIY (login required).

Introduction Reviews Selected reviews of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs.
Academic Reviews Reviews of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo published in academic journals. Read more...
Signed Reviews at Amazon This section contains all signed (Real Name) reviews of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo at Amazon (as of April 11, 2009). Read more...
A Discerning Tribute Part 1 (of 2) of a review of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Marcel Kvassay, originally published in AntiMatters 3 (1), 2009, pp 117–136. Read more...
Against the Grain and with the Grain While eschewing the colorful hyperboles of "Mahakali's wrath"–mongers, this review by J. Kepler attempts a nuanced reading sympathetic to the sentiments some of the aggrieved. Read more...
A Journey from the Human to the Perfect Fran├žois Gautier reviews The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. Read more...
Review in EnlightenNext The Lives of Sri Aurobindo reviewed by Ellen Daly for EnlightenNext magazine (USA), Fall/Winter 2008. Read more...
Review in Auroville Today The Lives of Sri Aurobindo reviewed by Alan for Auroville Today. Read more...

Review by RY Deshpande (with a Response by Debashish Banerji)
The Lives of Sri Aurobindo — a Controversial Biography by R.Y. Deshpande
Peter Heehs's Lives of Sri Aurobindo is a recent arrival in the thriving genre of biographies and professes itself to be founded on researched material. It essentially treats the subject as a human person, one in our nature, and not really as an exceptional yogi or a spiritual stalwart, and in the least as an incarnate. The book has been recently published by the Columbia University Press and appears to be rough on the sentiments of the devotees of the Mother and the Master. The author claims himself to be a meticulous professional historian and wants to present the life, howsoever remarkable it be, strictly as it should emerge from the documentary material. Read more...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

4th of April 2009 marks the beginning of the Centenary of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival at Puducherry

Significance of 4th April: 2009-2010 Manoj Das
Calm was the day, and through the trembling air, Sweet breathing Zephyrus did softly play.

Such a day was the 4th of April 1910 – but a day that was to give a momentous turn to the sequence of the unfolding human destiny.

That was the day Sri Aurobindo landed in Puducherry a hundred years ago. The destination was not his choice in the usual sense of the term. By then, in his own words, “I had accepted the rule of following the inner guidance implicitly and moving only as I was moved by the Divine.”

The Supreme’s command – Adesh – that had led him to Chandernagore in February 1910, came to him once again, this time directing him to Puducherry. Leaving Kolkata on the 31st of March by SS. Duplex, Sri Aurobindo, accompanied by a follower, Bejoy Nag, set foot on the shores of this town, chosen for him by Providence in the afternoon of the 4th of April. Another young follower, Suresh Chakravarty, had already arrived by train four days earlier and had met an outstanding nationalist, Mandayam Srinivasachariar and arrangements had been made for putting Sri Aurobindo up at the residence of Calve Shankar Chettiar, a distinguished resident of the town.

Sri Aurobindo’s would-be host and admirers proposed a grand reception for the Master on his arrival. But Suresh Chakravarty dissuaded them from doing so as Sri Aurobindo was coming incognito and his whereabouts must remain undisclosed.

While the Kolkata police was desperately searching for arresting him and deporting him if possible for an article in the Karmayogin, the journal he edited, which the British authorities interpreted as seditious, in the House of Commons in London Sir Ramsay Macdonald, leader of the Labour Party and the future Prime Minister read out the whole essay and challenged the government to point out where sedition lay. The case, like the historic Alipore Conspiracy Case, failed in the court of law.

The first phase of Sri Aurobindo’s life had been devoted to the struggle for India’s liberation from foreign domination. At Puducherry began the second phase of his struggle – for mankind’s liberation from its bondage to a colossal ignorance because of which all its aspirations for God, Light, Freedom, Bliss and Immortality remain unfulfilled or turn distorted. Sri Aurobindo remained engrossed in invoking a mighty spiritual consciousness that alone could transform man’s present life into a life Divine.

Amidst the gloom that had darkened India, this pristine home of spiritual quest, as well as the world today, Sri Aurobindo’s message brings a new light and faith. Conscientious people all over the world now realise that nothing can change without a change in human consciousness. Sri Aurobindo unfolds the inevitability of this evolutionary transformation. His message, instead of being an alternative to any social, philosophical or psychological theory, brings a sense of fulfilment to the age-old aspirations of mankind., What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world’s history is not a teaching, not even a revelation, but a decisive action direct from the Supreme, says the Mother.

The 4th of April 2009 marks the beginning of the Centenary of Sri Aurobindo’s arrival at Puducherry, the place that became the abode for his silent adventures in consciousness and where all his major works were written. As his vision is attracting the attention of the entire nation and the world more and more, Puducherry has the privilege of playing host to tens of thousands of seekers. It is in fitness of things that this great and significant occasion is celebrated in right spirit and manner. Manoj Das

Next Future - A monthly e-Magazine from Sri Aurobindo Society Apr 2009 Editorial Eternally Yours I aspire to be delivered... Living Words To conquer a desire... Significance of 4th April Manoj Das Flower of the Month Realisation Question of the Month What is the meaning of... Commentaries on Thoughts & Aphorisms Jnana The Mother Inspiring Thoughts, Powerful Words Science and Politics Subhas Chandra Bose Resurgent India The World of Sculptors Shonar Stories fromthe Upanishads The World Beyond Dr. Sampadananda Mishra Art of Life The Wisdom of God True News Because, He Saw Them... Creative Corner Knocking at Your Door Anahita Sanjana Integral Health The Adventure of Consciousness Dr.Alok Pandey Integral Education Education for Perfection-II S. Radhakrishnan Savitri Instalment-XV Mangesh Nadkarni Tales Told by Mystics Wanted a Scholar - Old & Bald Manoj Das Reflections The Constant Mantra Sri Aurobindo Spotlight The Lost Cow Nandlal Bose Write to Us About Us Archives/Downloads (C) Sri Aurobindo Society All rights reservesd worldwide

Monday, April 13, 2009

Gandhi himself was not much of a democrat because he ruled the Congress in a very authoritarian way

The Constitution long before the review by H.Y. Sharada Prasad Sunday, March 12, 2000

WHO is the author of our Constituion? To that, many people would say: "What a question! Every one knows it is Dr Ambedkar."
But Ambedkar himself shied away from claiming that title for two reasons. One, as he often pointed out, he was only giving expression to a consensus that had been reached after many compromises in the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly. Two, he could not hide the fact that in many areas the Constitution fell far short of what he would have liked.
But there is one man who literally wrote our Constitution. His name, little known, is Prem Behari Narain Raizada (Saxena), son of Brij Behari Narain Raizada of Delhi, although the family originally came from Rampur. The Constituent Assembly, which met on December 9, 1946, concluded its labours and adopted the Constitution on November 6, 1949. The entire document was then written out in his own hand by Prem Behari in a flowing italic style in the best calligraphic tradition of our country.
This original version was then signed by all the members of the Constituent Assembly in January 1950. The Constitution itself came into force on the 26th of that month. Photolithographed copies of it were then made at the office of the Survey of India in Dehra Dun.
I had seen a couple of them displayed in exhibitions and had marvelled at the quality of the craftsmanship, particularly because of the art work lavished on it by one of our most eminent painters, Nandalal Bose. Each page had a frame and at the beginning of each part of the Constitution, Nandalal Bose had depicted some scene from our national experience. In doing so he gave us a gallery of some of the greatest figures of our history.
And now I have become the proud possessor of a copy of this beautiful volume because the government had the welcome idea of reprinting it to mark the 50th anniversary of the Republic. Once again the work was entrusted to the Survey of India, which has done a splendid job of it.

The articles and clauses of the Constitution are available in various editions for the use of lawyers and legislators. But Nandalal Bose’s outstanding art work can be seen only by those who have access to this collectors’ item. It ought to be better known. To the best of my knowledge only the page which gives the Preamble which begins with the words "We the people of India...." has been reproduced and displayed in public offices. It would be a good idea if all the illustrations were brought out in the form of a separate publication, for they show an eminent artist contemplating our heritage from the Mohenjo Daro period to our own days.
The Vedic period is represented by a scene of gurukula and the epic period by a visual of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana returning homeward and another of Krishna propounding the Gita to Arjuna on the battlefield. Then there are depictions of the lives of the Buddha and Mahavira, followed by scenes from the courts of Ashoka and Vikramaditya. Other great figures of our history who are represented are Akbar, Shivaji, Guru Gobind Singh, Tipu Sultan, and Lakshmibai.
The freedom movement is delineated by line drawings of Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi march and his tour of Noakhali as the great peacemaker, and of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose saluting the Mahatma from abroad and asking for his blessings in the war of India’s liberation.
There are also beautiful renderings of our landscape and some of the masterpieces of our art. Even the decorations used for the borders exemplify in the Santiniketan style.

This is not a book I would turn to if I had to look up what the Constitution has said on any particular subject. For one thing, it does not contain an index. Nor does it have the amendments which have been adopted in the last half century. It is too large (16 inches by 12) and too heavy (3.75 kg) even to keep in one’s lap. But merely to look at the signatures of our founding fathers which are given at the end in the very colours of the various inks they had used arouses nostalgic memories.
There are 11 pages of these signatures which begin immediately below the list of languages in the Eighth Schedule. The first to sign appears to have been Jawaharlal Nehru. For some unexplained reason the first page has a preponderance of Constitution-makers from the South — B. Patthabhi Sitaramayya, N. Gopalaswami (without Ayyangar), O.P. Ramaswamy Reddy, Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer, Ammu Swaminathan, T. Prakasam, K. Santhanam, K. Venkata Rao, then an illegible name, then G. Durgabai, M. Thrumala Rau, M. Anantasayanam Iyengar and N. Sanjiva Reddy. The names of Abul Kalam Azad, Vallabhbhai Patel and B.R. Ambedkar appear in the first column of the next page along with those of Baldev Singh, Amrit Kaur, Jagjivan Ram, John Matthai, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Jairamdas Daulatram, K.C. Neogy, P. Subbarayan and C. Subramaniam. The very last signature is that of Feroze Gandhi. The president of the Constituent Assembly seems to have affixed his signatures after all the other members had signed. Nobody seems to have thought of leaving a special place for him, and so he has signed his name in the space next to the list of languages.
He has also signed in two languages, first in Devanagari and then in the Roman script. Most others have signed in English, the outstanding exceptions being Abul Kalam Azad in Urdu and Purushottam Das Tandon in Devanagari.
While almost all have managed to sign within the limited space provided, four or five have been unable to do so and their signatures extend well into the border. Particularly notable is the flourish of the signature of Dr Sachchidananda Sinha, the grand old man of Bihar who had the privilege of being the temporary chairman of the Assembly before Rajen Babu was elected to that position.
One signature which is not there in the Constitution is that of Mahatma Gandhi. He was no longer alive when the Constitution was adopted. But he was very much there when the Constituent Assembly met. One can say that without him there would have been no Constituent Assembly. Those who argue that all that the Assembly did was to rehash the Government of India Act of 1935 miss one important point — namely, that the Constitution is not just a charter of political freedoms but embodies something of the vision of social change that Mahatma Gandhi preached and practised.

It has sometimes been remarked that the Constituent Assembly did not provide organised representation for several segments of our population such as the Muslims, Hindu communal groups and the working classes. But this could be said of the founding fathers of the United States as well since the franchise there was then so notoriously narrow and did not provide representation for women, blacks and many sections of the propertyless.

It has also been remarked that Gandhi himself was not much of a democrat because he ruled the Congress in a very authoritarian way. But the miracle of Gandhi is that though born in a Dewan’s family, through his experiments with truth he evolved into the voice and symbol of the poorest of the poor. He shed raiment after raiment and became truly the shirtless one. Gandhi’s concern for the poor ran like a thread through the debates of the Constitution makers.
As for the Constituent Assembly itself, it is true that is was a creature of the British rulers’ statement of May 16, 1946. But as Jawaharlal Nehru, the main advocate for years of the idea of a Constituent Assembly drawing up free India’s scheme of governance, remarked in an editorial in the National Herald on July 16, 1946.: "It is certainly to some extent a creation of the British Power. But even more so it is a creation of circumstances which none can ignore. Taking birth out of the womb of the circumstances it will grow of itself and function as it chooses. Who is going to put an end to it or dissolve it? Lawyers and constitutionalists may ponder over these problems but there is something beyond the lawyer’s textbooks and precedent in these happening, and vital forces are at play..."
Elsewhere Jawaharlal Nehru declared that the Constituent Assembly would not be bound down by any conditions: "The Constituent Assembly as such is not bound by any conditions. The members of the Assembly can change anything and everything by mutual agreement...So far as we are concerned we shall act as a sovereign body. We are going to the Constituent Assembly in a constructive spirit, and not to create trouble or to wreck it. As long as we feel that the Constituent Assembly is drawing the charter of India’s freedom, we shall work in it."
When the Constituent Assembly met, the British had not yet quit India. In the very first few days it was apparent that it functioned exactly in the sovereign manner that Nehru had indicated when he said that everything would be guided by our own interpretation and everything would be examined in the context of Indian Independence.
In the end, the Constituent Assembly produced a document which, in the words of Dr Sunil Khilnani, "became a programmatic manifesto, setting out elaborate prescriptions for the shape of the future society...The Constitution did not see itself as merely expressing the already existing hopes and fears of the society; rather, it took the view that preferences had to be created and nurtured, that law should reform rather than merely express the morality and customs of society."
H.Y. Sharada Prasad is a former adviser to the Prime Minister of India. This review article appeared in The Asian Age, New Delhi. The illustrations are from another commemorative volume brought out by Taxman, New Delhi.