Monday, December 26, 2005
ELIMINATING SEX-CONSCIOUSNESS: A dress to fit and be comfortable withPeoples of different countries had different dresses with varied colours and shapes, which stroke wonder in one's heart. Dress is attuned to the climate of a country, a part of its culture. Indians in ancient time had two lengths of cloths as their main attire: Upper garment, uttariya and the lower one from the west, paridhana or vasana. In colder places a third garment was worn, draped like a mantle, called pravara. Differing in fashion of wearing, the same pieces of dresses, called dhoti, sari and chaddar were used to cover the body of all Indians of both sexes. Ladies in olden times perhaps kept the upper part of their bodies naked up to waist, as evidenced by the sculptures and paintings and confirmed by historians like A L Basham and James Ferguson. The Nayyar women of Kerala used to appear likewise in public until the recent past.In spite of innumerable foreign invasions the pith of Indian culture remained almost the same. In dress and fashion Muslim and Western influences have been more perceptible in recent time.Young ladies have almost discarded saris, mekhalas and such things. After salwar kameez, it is the time for trousers. It may be mentioned that trousers entered with the Sakas and Kushanas from the Central Asia. The Mother introduced white shorts and shirts with kitty caps way back in 1944, for the girl students who took part in games and athletics. Not merely for convenience, the most potent point was to eliminate sex-consciousness among the young people. To her critic she said that she came to break the conventions and superstitions. But she respected all cultures. She herself learnt wearing kimono in Japan, veil in Algeria and sari in India. One takes from others when the wind of fashion blows, but it is better not to give up one's own cultural treasure altogether. In diversity remains the unity, not necessarily in uniformity. AM
Friday, December 23, 2005
- The swadeshi movement was, from a Moderate point of view, a negation of the entire Congress project. As a partisan of the Moderates it gives me great satisfaction that Bengal’s greatest poet, Tagore, got it exactly right and her worst, Aurobindo Ghose, got it perfectly wrong.
Mukul Kesavan The Telegraph Sunday, May 29, 2005
- We move on to Aurobindo, who, again, at times propagated ideas uncannily similar to Islam, as in the wish to return to a Golden Age where all was truth and righteousness. Then we come to Vivekananda, to this writer the most ambivalent, and hence most appealing, of the four.
Ramachandra Guha The Telegraph Saturday, April 17, 2004
These are unreasonable remarks from fairly reasonable people. And, similar impressions have gained wide currency over the years through such supposed expert comments. By ticking off the versatile legacy of Sri Aurobindo in just one sentence is certainly cruel to his memory. It appears that he is still standing before the bar of the High Court of History.
Everybody is eminently entitled to her views but what is questionable is the methodology. It has become a fashion, or almost a compulsion of sorts, to mention the name of Sri Aurobindo as an appendage to others. But, why bring in his name at all, if only to show him in bad light?
For the fact is that, the very project of comparision in this manner, is arbitrary. Sri Aurobindo’s work in the political sphere begins when Swami Vivekananda is no longer there. Tagore is almost a spectator in the sidelines and Gandhi is yet to enter into the picture. And again, the tenor of their work, so dissimilar.
Each of the great men like these has contributed to areas of specific significance which come to form our national mosaic. But in manufacturing the synthetic metaphysics of The Life Divine and composing the epic, Savitri, Sri Aurobindo’s genius is unparalleled, not only in India but also in the whole world.
All writers may not be competent to perceive the nuances of poetry or philosophy. But then, they are expected to be honest enough not to beat someone with the wrong stick. It is only rarely that we read any independent assessment of Sri Aurobindo in the media. But his role is indispensable for the national regeneration everyone is hoping for.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
The convenient demarcation between secular and the sacred suits the academic approach. But for Sri Aurobindo this is a faulty notion because the causal aspect is eclipsed. The linkage between the two is less of the manner of an umbilical chord and more in the nature of interpenetrating imbrications. If our sensory and scientific construct of the world fails to accommodate such a picture, it must be understood as a lack.
Astronomy as an ancient passion has helped us to know about the outer universe. Astrology, too, by talking of stars and planets attunes us to their subtle influences. The different abodes of gods as described by various mythologies, also, permit us certain familiarity of the other worlds. But we rarely take their effect on our lives any seriously. And the task of Sri Aurobindo is to hammer the modern mind so as to rid it from secular superstitions.
The inner and the other worlds are a consistent theme in his poem, Savitri. Composed through the years from Quantum mechanics to nuclear holocaust, this modern epic puts a stamp of authority on the unseen fecund worlds and their inhabitants who are inextricably linked to our motions and emotions. To recognize this reality seriously, is what Savitri demands from its readers.
The different parts of our being and consciousness, as delineated by Sri Aurobindo in his Integral Yoga system, are nothing but the other worlds. We can well imagine our plights as puppets when disparate worlds are very much in the play to pull the strings. Somewhat similar to the insight offered by Baudrillard that it is the object which uses and employs us and not the other way round that we ordinarily perceive. But then, how do we benefit by this concept in our practical life?
That there runs a perpetual consonance between the seen and the unseen, might seem, at times, hard to digest, but a poetic impression can be allowed to swim aloft. The process should further deepen in the realm of creative imagination leading to a faint intellectual recognition. Since the notion runs counter to our egoistic autonomy, it is bound to take a long time to percolate down to the distant and defiant impulses. And regular recitation of Savitri helps here; its mantric effect casting its reach down to our body cells.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
- Firstly, it is my firm faith that whatever virtue, talent, education, knowledge and wealth God has given to me, belongs to him.
- Secondly, I must see God face to face.
- Thirdly, whereas others regard the country as an inert mass and know it in terms of plains, fields, forests, mountains and rivers, I look upon my country as the mother; I worship and adore her as the mother.
I have the power to redeem this fallen race... the fire-power of the Brahmin which is founded in knowledge... I was born with it... It is to accomplish this great mission that God sent me to the earth.
wrote to The Modern Review
Thursday, November 17, 2005
- The origin of life was the first step in the release of the imprisoned consciousness.
- The second step in this evolution was the development of intelligence in men and animals. These two steps were taken in nature without a conscious will on the part of the evolving forms.
But in man, for the first time nature becomes able to evolve by a conscious will within the instrument itself. This inward will does not come from a merely mental process. Instead it comes through a transformation of the mental into a supra (or greater than) mental consciousness which allows the descent of a higher principle into the world for the first time. Sri Aurobindo dubbed that higher principle supramental mind. Supramental mind comes from a plane of manifestation far above the merely mental plane that humans come into contact with. Although the term mind is used, this plane far transcends the logic and intellect that ordinary mind can reach. Cosmic Harmony - The State of Enlightenment
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Sri Aurobindo (79), the great seer and thinker of modern India, passed away at 1-30 a.m. on December 3 in his Ashram at Pondicherry. Though in indifferent health for over two weeks, suffering from kidney trouble, his end came unexpectedly, suddenly. The passing of the renowned seer plunged all of Pondicherry and its environs into deep mourning.Editorial comments: ``In an age of rampant materialism, incorruptible witnesses to the supremacy of the spirit are none too many. And when the great beacons go out, when a Gandhi, a Ramana, an Aurobindo withdraw from the mortal scene, the world is left visibly darker. ...Aurobindo's was a universal message and his marvellous mastery of the written word helped to secure for it respectful hearing across the barriers of race and language. For this prophet from India, the unity of the human family in Divine Consciousness was not merely a matter of faith; it was a goal practically to be realised.
``A shining page in our history records Aurobindo Ghosh's heroic part in the struggle for Indian freedom. Nurtured on the English poets, his ardent nature rallied early to the call of patriotism, spurning a life of elegant ease. He brought to public life a burning eloquence, a power of idealism, and a dynamic leadership which roused the land from end to end and destroyed that passive consent which had been the charter of Imperialism. But it was left to other hands to finish the great work which he had begun. Generations to come will honour his memory''.
Monday, October 24, 2005
She had visualized an economy without money circulation for Auroville and the community was to meet every one’s basic material needs. According to her, the ultimate aim of evolution is transformation of the physical. It is an extremely painful and difficult work that would require prolongation of life and might take centuries to realise. But there is also a theory advanced by at least one notable author that she conquered death and crossed over to the invisible subtle body leaving behind her physical which was a un- transformable residue.
Though The Celestine Prophecy is too simplistic and fantastic in details to her own experiences in the path of transformation, the Mother would have been happy to note the popularity of a book published in the U.S with the idea of self evolution as its chief thrust. For, she had said, in 1971, at the instance of publishing in the U.S. of On the Way to Supermanhood a book written by her confidante that described the essence and contours of the future world: “I personally have the feeling there is a close and invisible connection between America’s aspiration, as it is now, and the book. I have the feeling that’s where the center of transformation will be.” Cleary The Celestine Prophecy is a significant book.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
In that year  he returned to his birthplace, Calcutta, as the first Principal of the new Bengal National College. He resigned that post because of his increasingly active involvement in the Nationalist Movement. Sri Aurobindo was the first of the Nationalist leaders to insist on full independence for India as the goal of the movement, and for several years he lent all his considerable abilities and energies to this struggle. This led to him being arrested on a charge of treason and being kept in solitary confinement for almost a year as an 'under trial' prisoner in Alipore jail. During this time he had a number of fundamental spiritual experiences which convinced him of the truth of the "Sanatana Dharma" - the ancient spiritual knowledge and practice of India.After he was acquitted and released, this spiritual awareness led him to take refuge from continuing pursuit by the British authorities in Pondicherry, then part of French India, where he devoted himself intensively to the exploration of the new possibilities it opened up to him. Supported by his spiritual collaborator, The Mother, and using his new-found spiritual capacities, he continued to work tirelessly for the upliftment of India and the world. When India gained its Independence on 15.8.1947, he responded to the request for a message to his countrymen by speaking of five dreams that he had worked for, and which he now saw on the way to fulfilment. posted by Michael Hawkins Tuesday, July 19, 2005@ 9:57:00 AM
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Sunday, October 16, 2005
(By Jugal Kishore Mukherjee; Published by Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry)
“Do many Ashramites still aspire after and make an effort for the acquisition of spiritual consciousness?
Today the Ashram has 1200 regular inmates and also a good number of people from outside who participate in the Ashram life. However, in all this variety of external life (teaching, painting, plumbing, cooking, doll-making, to name but a few) there lies the danger of forgetting the primary goal. Genuflexion to the portraits or the Samadhi alone is not enough. Interweaving his argument with telling illustrations from The Life Divine, Jugalda seeks to educate the reader on the ideal group life where “the individuals constituting any collectivity should move away from their surface existence which is at present the field of unbridled play of ego and try to dwell more and more in their inner consciousnees.” Such an antahkarana-approach is not too easy to come by in this Age of Visual Culture. But then one has to exercise eternal vigilance not to succumb to the Tamas but hold on to “an ardent and one-pointed practice to reach the Goal”, though Jugalda finds this ideal conspicuous by its absence.
Jugalda understands the problems of those who deviate from the goal. There are reasons. The close concentration of a large number of people within a small space, the absence of a code of conduct spelt out in militarist terminology, a lack of stress on personal relationships are but some of them. Relationships have to work on the wavelength of the Divine and this is hard to achieve for human beings. And yet, Jugalda will neither compromise (no, our aim is not merely another cultural centre or religious retreat) nor give up the Aurobindonian ideal as an utopian dream. He finds many positive points for optimism. Freedom, yes. Permissiveness, no. Jugalda warns that permissiveness is an evil that should be rooted out on the spot. In the Ashram there are no subordinates. Everyone is a helper. The heads of sections are there only for administrative convenience.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Anticipating Buber, he (Vyasa) saw history as the encounter of the temporal and the eternal, the empirical and the transcendental; and anticipating Berdyaev, he saw in history a divine programme for divinising human existence.
I hero worshipped [Sri] Aurobindo in my college days; but now half a century later, I am terribly disappointed.
- His discussion of time and eternity is wholly derived from that of Boethius;
- Page after page in [The] Life Divine is watered down Plotinus.
- His vision of History has the bookishness of Hegel’s tidy schema, Spirit fulfilling its schedule of progress with no problem whatever.
But history is fatefully open ended, for man can abuse his freedom to become an Asura and wreck himself too thereby. Man can regress to a cannibal, Bhima drinking Duhsasana’s blood. Man may commit race-suicide, as nearly happened in Kurukshetra where only 9 men survived out of 18 vast armies.
I am afraid [Sri] Aurobindo’s inflated rhetoric does not see the terror and the tears at the heart of things. I must confess your casual rating of Vyasa and Berdyaev vis-a-vis [Sri] Aurobindo shocked me. [Krishna Chaitanya (Dr. K.K.Nair)]