Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sraddha published by Sri Aurobindo Centre for Research in Social Sciences, Kolkata

Notes on Authors Sraddha - August 2010 
Alok Pandey is a seeker on the path of Integral Yoga. A psychiatrist by profession, he has had several encounters with death during the course of his medical practice. A philosopher by temperament, he raised several issues and sought answers to these both within and without. It is only when he came in touch with Sri Aurobindo and the Mother that he found these issues abundantly answered. He has been working in the field of psychiatry with a spiritual approach for more than 15 years. He has developed a working concept of integral health and integral psychology which he is using in his life and practice. He is one of the founders of Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Integral Health and Research (SAIIIHR), Pondicherry.
Amalendu De, M.A, D.Litt, F.A.S., retired as Guru Nanak Professor of Indian History, Jadavpur University. Subsequently he served as the General Secretary and President of the Asiatic Society and rose to prominence as a distinguished historian of the country. He has thrown new light on Sri Aurobindo’s role in the freedom movement of our country. His research works are innumerable.
Dasharathi Sengupta, born in January, 1941, was an  Asst.Prof.of Political Science in West Bengal Education Service.His basic interest is in Political Philosophy.It is this which has led him  to  become a student of Sri Aurobindo’s political ideas in the later  days of his teaching career spanning roughly four decades.
Debashish Banerji is an English Literature graduate from Elphinstone College, Bombay University and an MA in Computer Science, University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA. A former President of the East-West Cultural Centre and Sri Aurobindo Centre, Los Angeles, USA, from 1992-2005, he has a PhD in Indian Art History from University of California , Los Angeles. He teaches Art History at the Pasadena City College and Indian Studies at the University of Philosophical Research, Los Angeles, USA. He has been a longstanding student of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga and its contemporary relevance, on which subjects he has spoken and written extensively.
Georges Van Vrekhem (b.1935) is a Flemish speaking Belgian who writes in English. He became well-known in his country as a journalist, poet and playwright. For some time he was the artistic manager of a professional theatre company. He gave numerous talks and presentations in America, Europe and India. He got first acquainted with the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in 1964. In 1970 he joined the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, and in 1978 he became a member of Auroville, where he is still living and writing.
   He wrote  Beyond Man, the Life and Work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother (1997),  The Mother, the Story of Her Life (2000),  Overman, the Intermediary between the Human and the Supramental Being (2000),  Patterns of the Present, in the Light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (2001), The Mother: the Divine Shakti (2003) and  Hitler and His God – The Background to the Nazi Phenomenon (2006).    Books by him are translated into Dutch, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. He was awarded the Sri Aurobindo Puraskar for 2006 by Sri Aurobindo Samiti, Kolkata.
Kireet Joshi (b. 1931) studied philosophy and law at the Bombay University. He was selected for the I.A.S. in 1955 but in 1956, he resigned in order to devote himself at Pondicherry to the study and practice of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. He taught Philosophy and Psychology at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education at Pondicherry and participated in numerous educational experiments under the direct guidance of The Mother.
   In 1976, the Government of India invited him to be Education Adviser in the Ministry of Education. In 1983, he was appointed Special Secretary to the Government of India, a post he held until 1988. He was Member-Secretary of Indian Council of Philosophical Research from 1981-1990. He was also Member-Secretary of Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan from 1987-1993. He was the Vice-Chairman of the UNESCO Institute of Education, Hamburg from 1987-1989.
   From 1999-2004, he was the Chairman of Auroville Foundation. From 2004-2006, he was Chairman of Indian Council of Philosophical Research. From 2006-2008, he was Editorial Fellow of the Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture. Curremtly, he is Education Adviser to the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Kundan Singh  A devotee and servant of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Kundan Singh, Ph.D. is an adjunct faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto and the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), San Francisco from where he also obtained his doctorate in Humanities.
   An author of a recently published book titled “The Evolution of Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo, Sri Ramakrishna, and Swami Vivekananda,” and a few book chapters and journal articles like “Beyond Postmodernism: Towards a Future Psychology,” “Relativism, Self-Referentiality, and Beyond Mind,” and “Relativism and Its Relevance for Psychology,”  his areas of research include Integral Yoga of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Contemporary and  Traditional Vedanta, Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, Sufism of the Indian subcontinent, Indian Psychology, Transpersonal Psychology, Social Psychology, Depth Psychology, Postmodern Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Epistemology, Critical Thought and Deconstruction, Cross-cultural Psychology and East-West Studies among a few others. He can be contacted at
Prema Nandakumar obtained her Ph.D  in 1961 for her study of Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem Savitri.  Since then, she has been an independent researcher, publishing critical and biographical works. As a translator, her career spans half a
century, with the UNESCO publishing her book on Subramania Bharati.  Dr. Nandakumar’s translation into English of Manimekalai, the ancient Buddhist epic in Tamil has been received with enthusiasm. She is also a creative writer in English and Tamil.  One of her recent  publications is K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, a monograph on her father for Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi (2008). Dr. Nandakumar is a frequent keynote speaker and draws her inspiration from sources as varied as the Vedas, ancient Hindu and Buddhist epics, ancient and modern Indian literature.  She is a recipient of several awards, including the Sri Aurobindo Puraskar and Panditha Ratna.
Ranajit Sarkar (b.1932) At the age of 12 he joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry; studied and later taught there at the International Centre of Education. In 1965 went to France, studied at the Sorbonne; he got his doctorate at the University of Aix-Marseille. From 1970 until his retirement he taught Sanskrit literature and Indian culture at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He has published poems, literary studies and Sri Aurobindo’s thoughts. He lives in the Netherlands.
Richard Hartz studied philosophy at Yale University and received an M.A. in South Asian languages and literature from the University of Washington. He has worked in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives since 1980.
Saurendranath Basu is a retired Reader In English. Apart from his academic pursuits – he did valuable research work on Sir Herbert Read, the English poet and critic of art and poetry – he is primarily interested in a reconciliation between the facts and philosophy of life. Thus having made profitable contact with some great creative minds, especially Rabindranath, he passes his days now reading Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and writing on them in the hope that they would open their door for him some day.
Sonia Dyne, born and educated in England, graduated from St Anne’s College, Oxford in 1956 with a degree in Modern Languages. Soon afterwards she went to Singapore where she married and raised a family.  She remained there for nearly 50 years, working as a teacher and free lance editor, and continuing her language studies with a post graduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics. In 1973 she made the life changing discovery of Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri and later became a member of the Sri Aurobindo Society of Singapore. At the request of the late Devan Nair, she took over the Chairmanship of the Society and remained in that office for almost 20 years. Following a visit to Auroville in 1979, she took a keen interest in the development of the township. Currently she is a Board member of Auroville International and a trustee of Auroville International UK.
Swami Pratyagatmananda Saraswati (1880-1973), who in earlier life was known as Pramathanath Mukhopadhyaya, was one of the brightest luminaries of 19th  century Bengal, who shed light on various aspects of life: political, historical, philosophical as well as mystical. The first nationalist resurgence of India, which had its roots in Bengal, drew this brilliant young man when he had just completed his academic career and he decided to dedicate himself to the service of the motherland by holding up the ancient ideal of education and culture through his mighty pen. Equally at home in Sanskrit, English and Bengali, with a style all his own, he made a rich contribution to various newspapers, periodicals, journals and also wrote voluminous books, being invited to deliver lectures by the University of Calcutta and other learned societies.
   A colleague of Sri Aurobindo at the National Council of Education and also of Ramendrasundar Trivedi in the Ripon College as well as a collaborator with Arthur Avalon, pseudonym of Sir John Woodroffe, Pramathanath developed, very early in life, a wide philosophical outlook, which sought to synthesise the modern scientific spirit of enquiry with the ancient intuitive method of approach to reality. He firmly believed that what the ancient Rishis have left for us has a deep scientific basis and it is for us to explore it with the help of modern science. It is this belief that led him to interpret the age-old Vedanta through modern mathematical terms and symbols and in this way he was absolutely unique and original.
   Later in life when he withdrew himself in his own inmost sanctuary, his one and sole preoccupation was to discover the rationale of Mantras and Tantras. On the pattern of the Vedanta Sutras, he wrote in Sanskrit his Japa-Sutram in four adhyas (chapters) and four padas (sections) and an exhaustive commentary thereon in Bengali, which have been published in six big volumes, running to more than 2000 pages. This may be considered his magnum opus, in which is reflected his poetical genius, literary talent as well as his philosophical insight.
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