Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Sri Aurobindo anticipated present day human rights discourse

Debating Vivekananda: A Reader ed. by A. Raghuramaraju
DT McGetchin - Philosophy East and West, 2017
Reviewed by
Debating Vivekananda: A Reader. Edited by A. Raghuramaraju. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014
The first debate is about the extent and limits of Vivekananda's impact. There are his classmates and political figures such as Nehru who argue for his importance. The strikingly contrarian voice in this otherwise flattering section is that of Delhi University historian Prabha Dixit, who challenges time-honored beliefs such as that Vivekananda's travels in the West were groundbreaking (p. 22); she points out that well over a century before Vivekananda visited them, Westerners such as Hastings and Jones and generations of German Indologists were interested in India and studied it extensively, and not just from a closet in England, as James Mill advocated in his History of British India (1817). She rather argues that Vivekananda had only passing interest as an exotic new personality, a plaything of the rich. This question of extent of interest is always hard to measure. Perhaps it is best to be conservative and assume low numbers and influence unless one has non-anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Religious and missionary interests can be notoriously unreliable as they may be promoting their agenda.
Another issue Dixit confronts is a subtheme throughout the volume, the notion that Vivekananda was working behind the scenes for Indian independence, secretly inspiring revolutionaries. Rather, Dixit argues, Vivekananda sat on the sidelines, refusing to get involved in politics, which was his official position, and apparently not just a clever dodge to avoid imperial entanglements with the authorities. Likewise, his disciples followed his lead and, Dixit argues, did largely nothing during the decades of struggle through independence, which is not unprecedented if one considers the turn that Sri Aurobindo Ghose made toward introspection after his 1908 trial. If Vivekananda was conservative, supporting the status quo and providing a foundation for Hindu nationalism, cultivating division rather than brotherhood, despite some of his rhetoric (p. 39), what was the relation between religion and activism? The degree to which Vivekananda did help develop an India lobby and networks that helped Indians like the Ghadar (revolt) movement during the First World War is certainly worthy of further study.

OOK] Hindu Images and their Worship with special reference to Vaisnavism: A philosophical-theological inquiry

JJ Lipner - 2017 - books.google.com
Hinduism comprises perhaps the major cluster of religio-cultural traditions of India, and it can play a valuable role in helping us understand the nature of religion and human responses to life. Hindu image-worship lies at the core of what counts for Hinduism–up-front

The Royal Nation and Global Intellectual History: Monarchic Routes to Conceptualizing National Unity
M Banerjee - Transnational Histories of the'Royal Nation', 2017
... The politician Aurobindo Ghose (1872–1950) is representative of this irony, as (in a dramatic sketch authored around 1910) he subordinated the national monarch to the will of the people-nation: ... 56. Aurobindo Ghose (2003), The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo, vol. ...

It does seem quite idle and meaningless to say or write anything that adds little value to the subject in mind; and as the Mother has said so pertinently, when you do not have anything worthwhile to speak or write remain silent. The best homage we can pay to Sri  Aurobindo in our onward journey towards a higher and higher level of consciousness is to read carefully and with attention all that he has written and said.  We shall find answers to all we need to know. Let us concentrate all our energies and consecrate all of ourselves, in each and every part of our being, to the  Mother’s second and final coming, which can be termed as ‘the tangible sign of the sure  Victory over the adverse forces’  (KR Srinivasa Iyengar:  On the Mother, 4th  rev ed, 1994,p.857 )
Arup Basu

Contents Sincerity Rig  Veda - Gayatri Mandala Apree  Sukta  -  Apree Devata Upanishads – II Sri  Aurobindo:  The Ideal  Teacher The Emergent Spiritual Evolution The Ideal of Human Unity: Some Reflections Sri  Aurobindo:  The Prophet of Nationalism — (II) Roots of  Violence — Negating the Individual’s Self-Determination in Education: Alternative Insights from Sri  Aurobindo Towards Integral Prosperity: A Yogic Paradigm A Commentary on Sri Aurobindo’s Theory of Poetics Notes On  Authors Mother Srimat Anirvan Debashish Banerji Prema Nandakumar Alok Pandey Aparna Banerjee Anurag Banerjee Anirban Ganguly M.S. Srinivasan Rudrashis Datta Cover : Painting  by  Giles Herdman

Aparna Banerjee “The perfection of the individual in a perfected society or eventually in a perfected humanity understanding perfection always in a relative and progressive sense — is the inevitable aim of Nature.” — Sri Aurobindo The Ideal of Human Unity  does not offer the vision of a future human society that will be based on a shared oneness in which differences between individual human beings and groups will get erased. Sri Aurobindo with his deep knowledge of history was aware how it is very natural for us to get involved in strife based on group differences and claim for separateness of groups on that basis. Living in society with a moderate amount of tolerance towards others is necessary that man cannot avoid. But  as long as it is a small group, the sharing of similar ideas, customs and ideals as well as language and way of life, makes for a better harmony between individuals and collectivities. As we aim to form larger communities, this becomes more and more difficult. Writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, Sri  Aurobindo already notes correctly that the material advancement due largely to scientific discoveries “…have made our earth so small that its vastest kingdoms seem now no more than the provinces of a single country.”1  Today the processes of globalisation are fast changing the world; this is something everyone has to deal with consciously or unconsciously. In some sense the globe is definitely shrinking. The widespread availability of satellite television, the internet with the virtual ‘social network’ services, have narrowed down national and cultural distances, making interpersonal communication across countries and cultures move to a level of global nearness.  At a different level, there is an increasing demand and consumption of global, cultural goods — food, dress, cosmetics as well as more options for immigration to the developed countries. Pursuing education and earning better pay in a foreign land are common options now. S´raddha-   April 2017 [...]

The mistake lies in the fact that when policies are approved as advantageous to all members of a cultural group that has, so far, been marginalised, they actually end up favouring some members over others.in fact, minority groups can oppress their own internal minorities like the poor, women etc. 
Secondly, cultural toleration of minority groups should not be unconditional; for it may hamper the development of a feeling of common identity as against a group identity based upon difference.  
Thirdly, multiculturalism often manifests the tendency to view people from other cultures as more different than they actually are. It is true that today we live within the same country while accepting at the same time, sharp differences among groups within it. These are hybrid cultures that apparently seem to overcome to some extent the rigidity of cultural boundaries. But, in so far as there are other cultures that are perceived as different and normatively judged to be wrong, the conflict between them will continue. 
Fourthly, multicultural studies have a tendency to emphasise the internal homogeneity of cultural groups, overlooking the possibility of disagreement among members about accepting prevalent normative principles in the face of emerging new ideas. 
Fifthly, the ideal of equality of all cultural groups is not an easy and uniform idea that is acceptable to all. There remains always the scope for conflicting interpretations. Thus, access to education for all may be an ideal of equality; but, if we ask whether higher education should be open to all, there is the possibility of endless debates (especially in a country like India where castebased reservation policy for facilitating access of human resources to all, is operative). [...]

Sri Aurobindo, despite the possibility of being described as an idle dreamer, is very much aware of the difficulties that stand in the way of his ideal of human unity. His erudition in history — both national and international, cannot be doubted; he knows that we are still not ready to embrace a unity that accommodates both unity and difference. Any system can work only if it corresponds with people’s sentiments. But there are many forces working against this of which national and international egoism are the foremost. A religion of humanty finds its answer in a deeper brotherhood which has its clue in a ‘yet unfounded law of love’. But until this latent driving force becomes manifest in men, we have to keep looking for free human unity intellectually. References 1. Sri  Auroindo, The Human cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity War and Self-Determination [...]

Roots of  Violence — Negating the Individual’s Self-Determination in Education:  Alternative Insights from Sri  Aurobindo Anirban Ganguly 
Some Initial Thoughts  —  Prologue: Writing ‘A  Preface on National Education’  in his philosophical monthly Arya  nearly nine decades ago Sri Aurobindo formulated a definition of what he perceived to be a ‘true and living education’. Such an education according to him had to definitely take into consideration and work out certain fundamental perspectives; it had to take into account ‘the individual in his commonness and in his uniqueness, the nation or people and universal humanity’1. He further continued defining a ‘true and living education’ by stating that such an education must ensure a full scope of the inherent potential in the individual to develop and at the same time it ought to help the individual enter into a ‘right relation with the life, mind and soul of the people to which he belongs and [also] with that great total life, mind and soul of humanity of which he himself is a unit and his people or nation a living, a separate and yet inseparable member.’2 A dual aspect emerges from these observations, one, that the individual ought to be treated as what he is i.e. as ‘an individual’, Sri  Aurobindo opposes here the concept of an industrial-education mindset which merely looks at the pupil as a uniform entity and encourages him to undergo the rigours of a uniform syllabus, following a routine method, to achieve a routine objective neglecting the individual’s propensities, inclinations and needs – treating him as a product to be tailor-made to market requirements and brands – overlooking what has been termed as the individual’s  svadharma  – ‘truth of one’s inner movement’. This approach therefore obstructs the right working out of one’s own law of action –  svadharma su-anusthitah3  providing little space for variations and S´raddha-   April 2017

Similar to the ‘spiritual embryo’  Sri  Aurobindo’s metaphysical presupposition regarding the individual refuses to see man as simply a mechanical element or commodity but instead as ‘a portion of the Divinity enwrapped in mind and body, a conscious manifestation in Nature of the universal self and spirit [and] at the summit of his ascent man is bound to rise to something greater than his physical, vital and mental personalities, to his spiritual being. And therein lies the supreme manifestation of the soul of man…’ his ultimate  raison d’ĂȘtre ‘his real  paramartha and highest  purusartha’ [Jugal Kishore Mukherjee,  Principles and Goals of Integral Education, 2005, p.10.] Education, Sri  Aurobindo contends, must give the individual that scope of self-fulfilment. He was also in a sense anticipating the present day human rights discourse albeit from a different perspective and stressing the aspect of a cooperative-fulfilment as opposed to a competitive one. 
It would be appropriate to point out here that eight decades after Sri  Aurobindo had written this the Earth Charter-2000 while placing as one of the principal demands the need to ‘promote a culture of tolerance, non-violence and peace’ emphasised that it was necessary to ‘Recognise that peace is the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.’(16.f) This then is to be the initiating vision for developing a culture of peace through education and of an education that recognise the intrinsic worth of the individual. [Source: http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/2000/10/the_earth_charter.html]

owards Integral Prosperity: A Yogic Paradigm 
M.S. Srinivasan 
Abstract: We are as a species in a stage of crucial evolutionary transition towards a new cycle of evolution in the non-material, moral and spiritual dimension. Economics, business and management cannot escape from this evolutionary imperative.  We need a new paradigm of economics and management based on the inner growth of human beings.  Here comes the importance of the Indian science of yoga, which can perhaps provide the path that will lead to the higher evolution of the economic, commercial and industrial life of humanity. The main objective of this article is to arrive at a new vision of management based on the principles of yoga. The article provides a conceptual and strategic framework for this higher evolution of business and economics based on the concept of integral prosperity. Key Perspectives:  science of accelerated evolution; evolving corporate; yogic paradigm; vision of integral prosperity; strategic path. 
Introduction: In our modern age, we have achieved tremendous growth in our external life, mainly in the material, economic and technological dimensions. In this curve of progress, we have perhaps reached the saturation point.  Any further growth in this direction is ecologically and psychologically unsustainable. Future growth has to be in the non-material, internal, psychological and spiritual dimensions, which lead to inner fulfilment of human beings. This inner change, transformation and fulfilment are likely to be the paradigm of the future. So, in order to survive and prosper in this future world, individuals, groups and institutions, including Business and Management, have to think out how to prepare and adapt themselves to this future change. What is the new paradigm which will help us as individuals and groups to steer ourselves successfully into the future world? [...]

So in the integral view, yoga means neither the physical asanas of hathayoga nor an exclusively spiritual approach based on a world-denying or life-rejecting contemplation. In this approach the path of yoga is defined as a process or a science by which we can raise our consciousness from the ego-centric mind with reason as the highest faculty to an egoless and universal consciousness of our own highest spiritual self, beyond mind, with higher faculties beyond reason. Yoga is the process by which this ascent to the higher consciousness can be realised through a path of conscious and accelerated inner evolution. This inner evolution proceeds through a rapid awakening of the ethical, aesthetic and spiritual faculties in the human being and a progressive elevation of the motives of action from the physical-vital to mental-moral and further on to the spiritual levels. The yogic approach means an approach based on the principles of this broader evolutionary vision of yoga. The aim of this yogic approach is to create a management culture, which leads to this higher evolution of the individual and the collectivity in the psychological and spiritual dimension and a harmonious self-expression of the fruits of this inner evolution in the outer life, enriching the quality of the corporate life as a whole. S´raddha-   April 2017 

The New Indian Express-30-Apr-2017
... of Christ, the exile of Krishna in Brindavan and the colloquy with Arjuna on the field of Kuruksetra,” scribbled Sri Aurobindo in a notebook way back in 1913.

1 day ago - BlockedUnblock FollowFollowing. Founder @goldenlatitude. I love Sanskrit in as much as I love English Poetry and Prose. Found my calling in Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. May 1 ...