Friday, October 31, 2008

Sri Anirvan used to lecture at Sri Aurobindo Pathmandir at Coffee House building, College Street, Kolkata

from aju mukhopadhyay <> to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" <>
date 29 June 2008 12:44 subject Re: Fwd:
Sri Anirvan from Gautam Bhattacharya

Dear friends, Many are writing about the yogi Anirvan, as he was- I have not quite followed though it would be nice to research on him and if a comprehensive book is brought out. I do not know who Ms. Mrinalini is but I may say that I have Upanishat Prasanga - about Upanishad by Anirvan published by Burdwan University in three parts but the bindings are very bad so they can not be parted with and I have a book of poem by him- if any one is interested to publish I may translate the poems in it. I may say that he used to lecture at Sri Aurobindo Pathmandir at Coffee House building, College Street, Kolkata and Pathmandir people have published his book or books, may be- she may search there too. Good wishes, Aju Mukhopadhyay

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Heehs records some instances of western reaction to the outer trappings of devotional worship

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo: The aggrieved victim turned aggressor
by Rich on Fri 24 Oct 2008 10:56 AM PDT Permanent Link In the absence of social, educational, and economic reform to improve living conditions often solace is sought in other worldly pursuits of religion...

It is also true that Heehs records some instances of western reaction to the outer trappings of devotional worship and holds an ambiguous stance regarding these, but neither hagiography nor worship is restricted to “Indian culture” and Heehs’ reaction is a personal choice based on the history and continuing ills of religion in the west and the world and hardly a “cultural bias.”

Heehs here bases himself on his reading of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, repeated by them many times, that they did not want their teaching converted to a religion. Yet it is made to seem as if “hagiography” and “worship” is somehow quintessentially “Indian” and then the charge against Heehs can be effectively directed... Science, Culture and Integral Yoga 8:46 AM

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More effort is needed to explain the mystical basis of guruvada to the western mind

Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs - Re: The Regime of Quotation
by Debashish on Mon 20 Oct 2008 09:37 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

I see the use of the Mother's or Sri Aurobindo's quotation in this regard as entirely illegitimate and highly dangerous if made into a collective judgment in sadhana. A spiritual teacher's words are uttered in a context of time, place, circumstance and receipient's personality, as a force in action not as a law for the ignorant to use as a substitute for truth.

Neither Sri Aurobindo nor the Mother were automatons who would respond with the same words for all time. Unless one has identity in consciousness with them, one cannot assert their authority on the basis of words written or said in a certain context in the past. Apart from their own changes of perception, both Mother and Sri Aurobindo have spoken in several places of the fact that the external and internal conditions of the environment in question do not remain the same and actions have to deal with the circumstances of the present.

The words of the past are a help only to the person who is called upon to act. S/he should ponder these words, but his/her action can only be a will directed from within and a living choice. Moreover, the proper use of these words are in personal growth and action, their use by others to dictate behavior in general or in specific cases is an instance of the abuse known as religion.

Can one be sure that the Mother has not herself put the author in the place and time and given him the preparation needed to do excatly what he has done for her work? DB Reply Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

Guruvada, the mind and the devotion
by Debashish on Mon 20 Oct 2008 09:51 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Guruvada is a concept alien to the western mind and, on the surface, repugnant to its democratic ideal. I agree that more effort is needed to explain the mystical basis of guruvada to the western mind. Sri Aurobindo has some luminous explanations for guruvada.

On the issue of the place of devotion vs. the mind in the Integral Yoga, I would like to quote this passage from P's book, which gives a historical perspective to these things:

Mind is, as he said often in The Life Divine, "an instrument of Ignorance," not of knowledge. The seeker has to rise through mind "into some kind of fusing union with the supramental and build up in himself a level of supermind." This is what he had done in his own practice and he thought at first that others could follow his example. Some tried, but lacking his experience and balance, they could not repeat his success. Eventually he realized that the transformation he envisaged would be difficult if not impossible for others without a preliminary awakening of the psychic being, a development of such qualities as sincerity, devotion, and inner discrimination. To bring about this awakening was the primary aim of the sadhana under the Mother's guidance. (pg. 358) DB Reply Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Although Sri Aurobindo did not proclaim his own Divinity, it is demanded that the faithful invest him with such divinity

I am not attempting to "Aurobindo-ize" Christianity." Why Darwinists Reject Evolution from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob Sep 17, 2008.

I think he was influenced by both Christianity and western science -- including the theory of evolution -- and applied them to Indian metaphysics. So when Aurobindo talks about "divinizing matter" or reconciling all the levels of creation, he is really talking like an Orthodox Christian. It's all very Jewish as well. God is a Joke and Bill Maher is a Barbaric Idiot from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob Sep 22, 2008

Personally, I'm a Westernized Pakistani, who more or less gave up on all religions and religious practices many years ago. I thought it was all superstitious nonsense. However, I have recently been coming around and learning to respect and see the value of traditional ritualism...And sometimes, when I've had experiences of darker dimensions of Reality, I tell you, spontaneously prostrating to photographs of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother has gotten me out of an awful lot of trouble. -- by ned on Tue 05 Aug 2008 Permanent Link

Continuing to operate with all the trappings of traditional religious practices while claiming not to be a religion is a Huge contradiction and IMO has produced a myriad of unresolvable problems in the Integral Yoga community after Sri Aurobinodo's and Mother's passing. -- by Rich on Tue 05 Aug 2008 Permanent Link

there is not a shred of evidence you can offer to support your arguments that they were Gods. The best you can do is to supply texts which can only refer to themselves in endless tautology. by Rich on Sun 24 Aug 2008 Permanent Link

And of course there is Integral Yoga fundamentalism with its claims that its founders are gods or avatars and that similar to the Christian myth make the case for them descending to Earth to take up the suffering and redemption of humanity. True to all fundamentalist assumptions in this one the founders are seen to be infallible, beyond the scope of any critical inquiry... by Rich on Tue 23 Sep 2008 Permanent Link 11:39 AM

Although Sri Aurobindo did not proclaim his own Divinity, it is demanded that the faithful invest him with such divinity. Although none can demonstrate miracles, it is demanded those faithful to the yoga believe in a narrative of Origins which is exclusively supernatural. The supernatural is the domain of a few to interpret. Interpretations are decoded in culturally privileged ways... by Rich on Sun 19 Oct 2008 07:49 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Debabrata Ghosh has left a new comment on your post "Symbiosis": "Let a million freedom-flowers bloom Let us sing in a billion strong tongues May we unite in our aspirations To build the one Gnostic community."

YES. But it is not possible for a thinker or dreamer -who is in a specific religious fold-however great it is. We love to see flowers blooming in nature -not in a personal garden -protected by barbwires. Sri Aurobindo is not a groomed garden -he is the peak of the Himalayas-under which we find Nandan Kanan. Posted by Debabrata Ghosh to Tusar N Mohapatra at 12:53 PM, October 18, 2008

The Greyscale Between Religion and Spirituality by Rick Lipschutz
on Sun 26 Oct 2008 10:17 PM PDT Permanent Link

Religion brings us closer to the Divine; yoga brings Union with the Divine - we can't have one entirely without the other; but neither can we forget that our goal is a true spirituality founded on direct realization of the Spirit, and working always from there. Let me make clear and please note (since here I am trying to show the necessity of religion in the continuum, and not as the culmination!) that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother unequivocally did not found any new religion (even a more-universal or the most universal religion), but a Yoga based in a complete all-inclusive spirituality that would lead even beyond the transitional human condition to a direct power of Spirit in matter: the materialization of the free Spirit, individual and collective, in fulfilling, living action.

"All Life is Yoga," and to reach this goal, this seemingly distant culmination (which is probably only the beginning of a new and greater lift to something even more inclusive, or into another "category" beyond inclusive) - we need to make use of any and all materials and get to know realistically the materials we have at our disposal. As the Mother said, religion is one of those elements "true religion" and not "religionism" in Sri Aurobindo's earlier-quoted sense): physical actions, devotion - and I'm not saying here that devotion is only a religious phenomenon - far from it! Sri Aurobindo himself as he grew in his realizations grew ever so greatly in a spiritual Bhakti - worship, morality, some level of rules - these play a needed part, serve as a springboard to our spirituality, may give a needed (though temporary) form to our aspiration.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Any belittling or vulgarizing that sacred link is considered to be suicidal

Re: Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
by Vladimir on Tue 14 Oct 2008 09:35 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Rich, one important point.

The Religion in the West was not the same as it was in India. In the West the Church was obstructing the rational thinking with religious dogma from the medieval period onwards, introducing Inquisition and other persecutions. The mind in the West had to fight against the religious dogma, burning on the stakes of Holy Inquisition. In India this contradiction between rational thinking and religious dogma was never there. On the contrary the flourishing of the scientific thought and rational thinking was always preceded by the flourishing of religious movement. The religious movement was conducive to the rational thinking, and the creation of all sciences, shastras, always had a religious support.

This, as I think, is the biggest misunderstanding between the Western and the Indian perception.

On one hand you have Abrahamic religions: Christianity and Islam with their non-ending missionaries to convert the world to their own ways of thinking and belief-system and on the other hand Hinduism, where you cannot convert anyone: you are to be born a Hindu to become a Hindu. There were never missionaries of Hinduism anywhere in the world in the history of mankind. There were rivalries among Hindus, but not against the world.

In India religion and life go together. There is no religion against life or life against religion. It is one and the same thing here. It cannot impose itself or convert others.

Another important psychological point.

In India to gratify the Guru, who supports and in some way represents your growth of consciousness, is the way to grow spiritually. It is a psychological truth. More truly grateful you are in your heart more open you become to the influence of a higher consciousness. Any belittling or vulgarizing that sacred link is considered to be suicidal for you and other seekers on the same path. Therefore you have this strong reaction, in the whole system it feels as if you are poisoned.

If you understand this, you would not try to blame this strong reaction of those who found refuge in Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. And this fear of Inquisition, which all Westerners have, would not have a ground here in your interpretation. v Reply

One of the first tenets of religion is the self-justification of Ignorance on the basis of quotes

Re: Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
by Vladimir on Tue 14 Oct 2008 09:59 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Dear Rich and Debashish, I always respected your views and thoughts on Integral Yoga and Sri Aurobindo's studies, you know that, but somehow I cannot lie to myself about what I have read. I was also very friendly with PH and considered him to be of the same mindset. But to answer your question on falsehood. Falsehood is what makes a great thing small, and a small thing great; what disorients consciousness to a degree that nothings is clear anymore, for all words sound similar but they mean different things. I don't see any meaning in presenting Sri Aurobindo and the Mother without spiritual attitude. For how can you speak about Sri Aurobindo, the spiritual giant of our Time, in nonspiritual manner? Is it not a falsehood? It is like making nonexistent - existent, secondary - primary, superficial - essential, where we will end then?

Being Ukrainian by origin, born between West and East, I can see both perceptions, and in many points can sympathise with the Western view on things, especially related to matter and organisation of material life, but in this case of spiritual look I am totally Indian. I feel the presence of a higher consciousness in myself and I am grateful for it to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, because I recognise their presence and influence; I feel their guidance.

What PH attempted is to make out of the Supramental Avatar an ordinary human being in the name of smaller truths. This may seem to be noble for him and others who seek humanity in human beings but it is of a loss for all those who aspire to grow beyond it, what Sri Aurobindo really represented.

My point of view is this, that anything written by a sadhak about Sri Aurobindo which brings him down to an ordinary level and admits the reader to a sort of gossiping familiarity with him is an unfaithfulness to Him and His work. Good intentions are not sufficient; it is necessary that this should be understood by everybody. The Mother, 3 June 1939 Words of the Mother, Vol. 13, p. 27

Reply Re: Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
by Debashish on Tue 14 Oct 2008 11:07 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Vladimir, The quotes were presented out of context - in themselves and in respect of the entire work. Unless one reads the entire work, one cannot understand the intent and the place or even the meaning of any quote. I have read the book. I disagree completely with the view that the author has tried to make Sri Aurobindo into "an ordinary human being in the name of smaller truths." The impression of the book is unmistakable to me. It is of a person extraordinary from the beginning who charted a course between credulousness and incredibility as a scientist of consciousness and arrived at a goal which is a beacon for the future. DB

Reply Re: Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
by Rich on Tue 14 Oct 2008 01:57 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Vladimir I have also respected your perspective as well however to what you wrote...

Well to you he is a supramental avatar - perhaps he is to me too - this would be our interpretations based on faith but our actual interpretations may even differ greatly from each other as to what an Avatar or supramental mean. But to the rest of the world he is Sri Aurobindo a great philosopher yogi and a leader of a revolutionary independence movement. But with all due respect the perspective that he should only be portrayed -even by a Sadhak- as a spiritual figure comes exclusively from a religious perspective toward Sri Aurobindo. The founder of Integral Yoga as Religion. One in which no one should dare see him as anything else than what our personal faith tells us he is.

The current controversy seems to me to be the same perspective as those Christians who see Jesus as the Son of God, and persecute those who see him rather as the Son of Man - The current controversy also makes it perfectly clear that Integral Yoga has become for many exclusively a religion, with charges of blasphemy against someone who does not adhere to their orthodox conception of what a supramental Avatar is, and their willingness to censor and perpetrate violence against persons who hold different views or interpretations. However, especially in the 21st century no one can expect, Jew, Muslim, Christian, Hindu et al that everyone else is going to buy into their particular article of faith.

This book as I understand it is written for an introduction "to the rest of the world" particularly academics and graduate students as an introduction to his life. I know people who have approach Sri Aurobindo from a secular perspective and having read it come to feel he was something much more than all the mere historical figure they thought he was. Who among the orthodox has the right to prohibit one from accessing Sri Aurobindo and taking up the yoga by entering his thoughts from this book?

To those who think Sri Aurobindo was Divine. There is also a quote which I have come across in aphorism or somewhere where Sri Aurobindo obviously speaking to the orthodox asks who among you is so Great that you think you can defend the Divine? So its probably best here that we dont try to justify our actions with quotes, because they can go either way. Best to stick to a dialog that immediately does not condemn and react with intolerance against another for not accepting their own particular way of interpreting Sri Aurobindo or their method of presenting him to an audience outside the already faithful. There are so many levels of understanding that it is quite shocking that those professing to follow an "integral" path seem to want to reduce them all to one particular way of seeing the world. rich

The Regime of Quotation by Debashish on Tue 14 Oct 2008 11:16 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

One of the first tenets of religion is the self-justification of Ignorance on the basis of quotes. The Divine is reduced to a slot machine or ventriloquist's puppet which spits out the appropriate quote in a sonorous voice at the bidding of its master. And this becomes the "acceptable representation" with the threat of the electric chair behind it.

Reply Re: The Regime of Quotation by Srikanth on Tue 14 Oct 2008 12:12 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

It is pointless to want to convince everyone that the intellect is infallible. One doesn’t need to be a yogi to see how limited it can be. True, quotations can be taken out of context and misused…but the opposite is also true. Seeing them as mere quotations and as inapplicable when inconvenient or contending at all times that “the Divine” had wished to convey more (or other) than what the quotations suggest is equally an artifice and (a technically self-contradicting) conceit of the intellect. Thus, an intellectual standpoint can be as much steeped in ignorance and as intimidating when it threatens to label all those who oppose it as ignorant, unintellectual, or religious and to banish them, if not to the death-chamber, at least to the valley of the untouchables.

Reply Re: The Regime of Quotation by Debashish on Tue 14 Oct 2008 04:20 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

It stretches the imagination that someone may think this is a discussion about the infallibility of the intellect. The intellect, like all other faculties at our disposal in this discussion, is a power of the Ignorance. The entire discussion is about the arrogance of the Ignorance and in this case, the abuse of "quotations" to act as if it is a power of truth. The utility of the shatra is entirely personal, to aid in and test our inner experience in the growth of consciousness, not to enforce on others as a weapon of the Ignorance in the name of Knowledge. Reply

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

We must show to everyone that the followers of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are worth emulating

Superiority Complex of "some" of devotees of Sri Aurobindo.... Posted by Gopal on August 22, 2008 at 8:30pm Aspiration

there are some people among us who feel very superior over the others because they are the followers of Sri Aurobindo, or for practising Integral Yoga. They even go to an extent that they will announce the rest of the teachings, or philosophies are myth. some even tend to propagate the Masters vision like missionaries, though i have come across some words of The Master and The Mother to not to do so. they even like to overpower others beliefs.

Comment by mrinalini on October 5, 2008 at 9:24am

This is probably a bit late, but what I feel is that followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, instead of feeling superior, should feel that they are so fortunate in getting to know sri Aurobindo and the Mother and learn their teachings. Others have not been so fortunate. This does not mean that Aurobindo followers are superior.

Just as some people are born intelligent, some in wealthy families, some are fair, some are tall, some have leadership qualities, and so on, it is simply a question of being more fortunate. This should make us feel humble that we have such a wonderful opportunity, and HAVING that opportunity, we must be diligent and sincere in following the teachings. We must show to everyone that the followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are worth emulating, and that anyone may become a follower and gain spiritual ascension.

It is like being in Grade 1, then 2, 3, 4 and so one. Everyone is going to pass out of school! sooner or later! And everyone needs a helping hand. Who will give it? I know one person who always does, no matter who or what. I am sure you all know someone like that. Maybe it is you. Is it?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Are all Ashrams provincial?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Jeerleaders: Rich, Ulrich, Ned":

I have been reading with interest some of the posts on the controversy regarding Mr. P Heehs' Book. If you Sir claim to have the upper hand because you are rational and are in sympathy with the writer, the reader also expects you to be "fair". You have betrayed the shortcoming of your own attitude by terming "Ashram" as "provincial".

Are all Ashrams provincial? Are all persons in an/ the Ashram provincial. I wouldn't expect this in an intellectual conversation of the kind that you are all engaged in. Since you are all "rational", reasonable and project yourself as the more balanced you should exhibit some compassion. You could even be analytical and try to psychologically analyze why persons whom you condemn behave the way they seem to be behaving. Thats all - just a humble submission. Srinivasan Krishnan Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era at 11:59 PM, October 05, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sad to know even people like Ananda Reddy of SACAR institute are involved in this hate-campaign

Roy - a devotee has left a new comment on your post "Whether Heehs has actually "criticized the Master"...":

Extremely well-said. You having excellent clarity on this issue. We may not agree with PH, but crusade campaign against PH and even Ashram is un-SriAurobindonian to say the least. Sad to know even people like Ananda Reddy of SACAR institute are involved in this hate-campaign. How sad. And they claim to be followers of the master and teach LIFE DIVINE, the book of supreme integrality!!

If any response is needed, it has to be one-to-one, not mass. Let a better book be written? Thank you for reply once again. Posted by Roy - a devotee to Savitri Era at 11:24 PM, October 02, 2008

Jasmine symbolises purity, gladiolus is associated receptivity

Tamil Nadu - Tiruchi Some interesting facts of Sri Aurobindo and Mother
Flowers, according to Mother, are messengers of spirituality
— Photo: M. Moorthy Spiritual fragrance: Visitors at the photo exhibition of Sri Aurobindo and Mother in Tiruchi on Thursday. TIRUCHI: Staff Reporter
The Hindu Friday, Oct 03, 2008

‘Mother Mirra, the prime disciple of Sri Aurobindo, designed the earlier logo of State Bank of India.’ ‘Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam calls the book ‘Life Divine’ by Sri Aurobindo as the moral support that kept him going when he worked on the launch of Agni.’ Interesting titbits of such kind are in good number at the photo exhibition of Sri Aurobindo and Mother at K. A. P. Viswanatham Higher Secondary School on Thursday.
Organised by Sri Aurobindo Society, Tiruchi branch, as a part of its fifth anniversary celebrations, the exhibition features rare photographs of the Bengal-born yogi.
Pictures on Sri Aurobindo’s childhood, his participation in political meetings and watershed conferences held during Independence struggle were pinned at the expo. Mother’s life in France, her spiritually significant days in Japan and life at the Puducherry Ashram are vividly portrayed through pictures. Also on display were books authored by them.

There was breathtaking display of flowers, which, according to Mother, are messengers of spirituality. Every flower, she has said, has a spiritual significance. Lotus, lilac, gerbera, lemon grass, henna shrub, bougainvillea and astounding varieties of roses were aesthetically categorised and displayed, each attached to a slip carrying its spiritual role. For instance, jasmine symbolises purity, gladiolus is associated receptivity, orchid for Divine attachment, petunia for enthusiasm, water lily denotes wealth and tulsi, spiritual enhancement.
Devotees were ushered into a picturesque meditation centre, which has an elaborate flower arrangement. Books, pictures and posters of Aurobindo and Mother were put on sale.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Integral perspective reconciling the either/or debate about the avatarhood of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother

Re: Sri Aurobindo and the Future of Humanity
by ronjon on Sun 28 Sep 2008 01:48 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Thank you for this wise comment Debashish. I like its "integral" perspective, somehow reconciling the either/or debate about the avatarhood of Sri Aurobindo (& perhaps that of the Mother also?). To me, attempting to resolve such a profound question from the limited viewpoints of normal human consciousness is fruitless.

Sort of like scientific materialists attempting to prove/disprove the existence of the soul by weighing a body at the moment of death. I'd prefer to simply acknowledge the possibility of more expanded levels of consciousness in which direct personal experience may render the question moot. For me, your recount of your conversation with Nirodbaran rings with the elegant simplicity of a deep truth:

...I remember asking Sri Aurobindo's attendant Nirodbaran, whether he thought Sri Aurobindo was an avatar. He said he had tried in many ways to get Sri Auroboindo to confirm this proposition, but in vain. But, he went on to say, this question did not concern him anymore. In fact, he felt it was a question that ought not to concern anyone. For him, Sri Aurobindo surpassed the acme of human possibility and perfection and gave a goal to his aspiration. In the growth to this goal, it may be given to him to know what an avatar is and that Sri Aurobindo is an avatar. At that point, the question of avatarhood would make sense, but not now. These words of Nirod-da have stayed with me since then and have moulded my approach to Sri Aurobindo.

~ ronjon Science, Culture and Integral Yoga