Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Mother's remark about Hitler and Stalin

Gagdad Bob said... Interestingly, the Mother--Sri Aurobindo's collaborator--wrote of how Hitler was inhabited by a demon, or "asura," that would take control of him, whereas Stalin was actually a rarer type, in that he was literally without a human soul.I'll have to find the exact passage.
Bryan said... Hi Dr. Bob, Concerning the Mother's remark about Hitler and Stalin, does contemporary Western psychology have an explanation about what it means to be possessed by an asura on the one hand or not to have a soul on the other? Is an asura a particularly bad mind parasite?
Gagdad Bob said... Bryan--No, when you get into the realm of asuras, you're dealing with an entirely different ontology taking place on an another plane. There's a little footnote in my book to that effect, p. 285, f. 104. I spoke there only of higher entities. As for the lower ones, some people believe they are independent agents, others think they are quasi-independent human creations that have become detached from the psycho-cosmic system. When you look at the magnitude of nazi or Stalinist or Islamist evil, it seems to go beyond human bounds, beyond anything explainable by the categories and methods of psychology. Of course, psychologists can pretend they understand, But they're only pretending.
dilys said... Well, there seem to be people with especially discriminative levels of insight. I don't know the Mother, so have no opinion about her, but none of these taxonomies are impossible.
Gagdad Bob said... Bryan--The topic of the ontological status of evil is an important one. To a certain extent, it can only be illuminated by entering a tradition that talks about it and has a vocabulary for it. In other words, from the scientific viewpoint it's a de facto nonsense question. But so are most other matters of vital importance to human beings. posted by Gagdad Bob at 5:54 AM 20 comments
Tusar N Mohapatra said... It would be more appropriate to look at The Mother's identification of the four Asuras rather than selectively revile political adversaries...The emotions would be more nuanced once we recognise the perennial nature of the antagonism, best expressed in the Vedic imagery of Vritra, the serpent. The four Asuras represent an evolutionary road-block, they are yet to be annihilated. Only the Supramental Descent can handle that. The Mother simply asks us to collaborate, nothing more, nothing less.
Gagdad Bob said... Tusar-- You can wait for the Supramental Descent to vanquish evil. You can also wait for it to fix you breakfast in the morning. Something tells me you won't wait for the latter. Hunger is too important not to fight.
Will said... My new T-shirt reads: "I asked the Supramental Descent to prepare me a continental breakfast and all I got were these d*%# wheat thins."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

How did Auroville begin?

The concept of Auroville - an ideal township devoted to an experiment in human unity - came to the Mother as early as the 1930s. In the mid 1960s the Sri Aurobindo Society in Pondicherry proposed to Her that such a township should be started. She gave her blessings. The concept was then put before the Govt. of India, who gave their backing and took it to the General Assembly of UNESCO. In 1966 UNESCO passed a unanimous resolution commending it as a project of importance to the future of humanity, thereby giving their full encouragement.
The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity – in diversity. Today Auroville is recognised as the first and only internationally endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness, also concerned with - and practically researching into - sustainable living and the future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind.
On 28th February 1968 some 5,000 people assembled near the banyan tree at the centre of the future township for an inauguration ceremony attended by representatives of 124 nations, including all the States of India. The representatives brought with them some soil from their homeland, to be mixed in a white marble- clad, lotus-shaped urn, now sited at the focal point of the Amphitheatre. At the same time the Mother gave Auroville its 4-point Charter. shamantraveler 16th-Mar-2006 01:26 am

Friday, March 17, 2006

President of India visits Auroville

by Carel Auroville Today November 2004
On November 1, 2004 , the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, paid a visit to Auroville. Accompanied by the Lt. Governor of Pondicherry , the Chief Minister of Pondicherry and the Minister of Education, Tamil Nadu, the President arrived at the town-hall about 8 pm. where a representative section of about 60 Aurovilians was assembled. After listening to some presentations on Auroville and addressing the community, the President visited the Matrimandir.
Dr. Karan Singh, Chairman of the Auroville Foundation, welcomed the President on behalf of the Auroville community and the Auroville Foundation. He reminded how, in 1980, during the discussion on the Auroville Emergency Provisions Act, he had addressed the Indian Parliament saying that Auroville was an arrow shot into the future from the bow of Sri Aurobindo. "The bow is the tremendous spiritual achievement of Sri Aurobindo, the fiery prophet of Indian nationalism and the bringer of the supramental consciousness. The powerful vision of The Mother has stood at the roots of this unique multi-national and multi-racial township. In the 36 years of its existence the Aurovilians have, through their labour, devotion and dedication, changed a desert into an ocean of green with at its heart the spiritual centre, the Matrimandir.”
Dr. Karan Singh ended his welcome address with a recitation of Sri Aurobindo's poem ‘Rose of God,' which ends with the line ‘Make earth the home of the Wonderful and life beatitude's kiss.' Luigi of Auroville's Future gave a short introduction on Auroville's work. “We have all come because of the vision of evolution, of a new force that can change matter and spirit. Mother India, the land of universal spirituality, is nurturing this unique project, and there are no words to express the deepest gratitude of the Aurovilians coming from more than 40 countries who have received everything from their spiritual motherland.” Luigi demonstrated how Auroville has grown and has developed a network of national and international relationships, such as with the Government of India on various levels, with UNESCO, with the European Community and, through the city networking project, with many cities in India and abroad. “Auroville offers itself as a laboratory for research, studies and experimentation. Auroville's quest is to create a city fully dedicated to the future, which then could be recognized by UNESCO as a unique heritage site of the future.”
The President, aware of the international seminar on sustainable water resource management held in Auroville in September, had asked to be informed about salination of groundwater, in particular about the hydrological modelling of the saline intrusion in the Vanur aquifer. Gilles Boulicot from Water Harvest presented the problems in a nutshell. After having thanked the President for his inspiring message for the conference, Gilles explained that the problem of saline groundwater is not yet properly understood. The system of aquifers beneath Auroville is complex, and not yet sufficiently studied. Gilles showed how groundwater level in the Vanur aquifer, the main aquifer for the area, has gone down from 7 metres above sea level in 1975 to 37 metres below sea level now. Electro-conductivity tests indicate that the salinity in 2002 was relatively limited, but that today the entire area is above the acceptable limit for irrigation and drinking water extraction purposes. But it appears that the salination is not caused by seawater intrusion, but rather by a natural saline aquifer that is situated below the Vanur aquifer.
“There is an upward leakage from this underlying aquifer into the Vanur formation and the cause is rampant overextraction of water for irrigation purpose,” stated Gilles. “In the period 1981-1990 the extraction was twice the natural recharge. In the period 1991-2000 the yearly extraction was eight times the natural recharge. Today the extraction is twenty times the natural recharge. This is a very serious problem caused by bad management practices and inappropriate irrigation systems.” Gilles said that like Pondicherry , Auroville should also be facing groundwater salinity due to seawater intrusion, but for unknown reasons, this is not yet happening. “We assume that there is a natural barrier or a water barrier along the coast that checks the inflow of seawater. But we do not have enough information to prove this.”
Based on simple models and the data available, Gilles presented the expectation that already in 2010 one third of the aquifer would be contaminated, and that the entire aquifer would be saline by 2050. Gilles stressed that more studies will be required to determine the origin of salination and come up with means to battle it. He mentioned that cooperation between institutions and stakeholders of the area is required, such as with the Indian ONGC, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, which did an investigation in the area about five years ago but which has, so far, not agreed to share its data. Gilles concluded his presentation expressing his hope that Auroville will be instrumental to transform this area into a pilot area for sustainable development.
Tency concluded his brief presentation saying that, in Auroville, perfection in matter cannot be achieved unless there is also an inner perfection, as without that inner perfection, humanity will not change. The President took up on this very issue. “I have come here as a pilgrim, for you have a large mission, a mission that came from Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. When I heard your presentations how the barren land was transformed into a beautiful place I was moved and also by your concern for the water and the seawater ingress. Somebody once said that everything starts from the inner side, and if the inner side is ok, everything is ok. For what do you want to be? My answer to this question from a child was ‘to be a better human being'. And Auroville probably is the place which creates better human beings.”

The President visits Sri Aurobindo Ashram

The Hindu Saturday, Feb 22, 2003
Pondicherry Feb. 21. The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who inaugurated the Aravind Eye Hospital at Abishegapakkam, near here, told the gathering at the function that he and his friend, Rajam, while flying to Pondicherry from Chennai today, composed a short poem on the hospital chairman, G. Venkataswamy.
Dr. Kalam visited the Aurobindo Ashram. The President was received by the Managing Trustee, Manoj Das Gupta. Dr. Kalam visited the rooms of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. He had a talk with the children of the Sri Aurobindo International Education Centre, in the ashram. Devotees from different parts of the country thronged the Ashram to pay homage to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on the occasion of the Mother's 125th birth anniversary.

Aesthetics, technology, and social reform

Exhibition Opening and Lecture Golconde: The Introduction of Modernism in India
Tuesday, February 21, 6pm Graham Foundation, 4 West Burton Place, Chicago Extended through Thursday, May 25, 2006. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 10am to 4pm.
Sited on the coastal edge of the Bay of Bengal, Golconde, a dormitory for the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India, was designed by architects George Nakashima and Antonin Raymond. Golconde is a remarkable architectural edifice, seamlessly negotiating between the tenets of early modernist architecture while addressing the pragmatic impositions of a tropical context. Espousing radical economy and uncompromising construction standards, it proposes environmental sensitivity as a foundation for the design process. Completed in 1942, Golconde was the first reinforced, cast-in-place concrete building in India and clearly celebrates the modernist credo: architecture as the manifest union of aesthetics, technology, and social reform. This exhibition assembles construction drawings, architects' letters and journals, and extensive photographs of this extraordinary building.
Pankaj Vir Gupta and Christine Mueller are founders of the office of vir. mueller architects, which combines architectural research, education, and practice...Copies of Nature, Form, and Spirit: The Life and Legacy of George Nakashima by Mira Nakashima are available for purchase at the Graham Foundation. Back to program listing 2006 Graham Foundation posted by John @ 1:00 P

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The resistance of the body consciousness

There are lapses in my approach to the problem of the persistency of physical habits in the body; lapses, because there is still the resistance of the body consciousness to the transforming Power which often results in a chaotic movement in the consciousness, a thing too unreceptive to be worked upon. Lapses, also because the general ignorance of the body is too rigid and recalcitrant and is not responding to the Supramental Force. I have worked on the darker points that have been previously wrecked by the asuric forces and have put some order into them, but it is only an initial work and is still in its infancy. I intend to carry my programme in a rapid course of spiritual exigency to a point at which the asuric forces can no longer manifest any attack of any kind, especially on the body. posted by R Friday, April 30, 2004 at 12:20 PM Divine Gnosis

The enormity of the situation is weighing down on me, the sheer and formidable challenges thrown at me by the darker forces have only increased the resolve to fight and conquer, but the road ahead is not easy. I must find the Gnosis Power- which is at present stationed hardly an inch above my head or it is not even that and is less than an inch, touching there the upper skin- and give myself completely to it and its processes. Everything can be changed only by That and nothing other than that is the solution. posted by R Wednesday, April 28, 2004 at 12:35 PM Divine Gnosis

The Asura fears

Even for the most discerning and intelligent it is quite difficult to recognise the Asura behind his appearance, as it is a stolen body of the Divine Lord, stolen from a plane of divine formations. He is capable of stealing anything that comes across his way, people's faith and their little energies. He can create in their bodies diseases and lead them to a collapse, and save them from death by a wielding a miracle and claim to have saved them. He is a very powerful Asura, in fact the most powerful in his type. He is a direct appearance on earth, a formidable power that seeks to destroy the supramental work by trying to destroy the divine instruments.
I have to admit that I have not understood the Asura and his deceptive powers. It was only when the wrong and misplaced faith in the Demon, which has masqueraded as the Supreme Divine, was destroyed by the Divine Grace that I had come to understand the nature of that formidable being. My knowledge of the being transcends that of his own, his mysteries opened to me and his cruel powers neutralized so far in the plane from which he was casting a spell upon Arun and me. He is still a powerful enemy. It is not often that you come across a full-fledged anti-divine force as powerful as he can be, a great dark power, who cannot be restrained or opposed even by the Gods of the dawn, and the only Force which the Asura fears is Sri Aurobindo. posted by R Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 12:10 PM

A synthesis of yoga and modern science

Sam, Eric, and Andrew wanted to go back to Chennai that afternoon but me and Kayla decided that we wanted to stay another night, so they took the driver back and we said we would just take the bus back. We tried to stay at an Ashram guesthouse that night, but they had no rooms left – unfortunately they give preference to Hindus. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry was founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo and a Frenchwoman known as The Mother and propounds spiritual tenets the represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science. We visited it the next day and it was pretty cool to see, there were lots of people there meditating and whatnot – there was also a bookstore where I bought 11 books for about $8. Since the Ashram guesthouse was full we stayed at the Hotel de l’Orient, which was pretty nice (2000 Rupees a night, or $45). It was one of two high-end hotels in Pondicherry. posted by Kerri Perazone Location:Roxbury, New York, United States Tuesday, March 14, 2006 @ 9:18 PM

What exactly these people had done

Pondicherry, with its French heritage, is unlike any other part of India I've seen. It also contains a lot more westerners than anywhere I'd seen (before reaching Agra). Despite the hype I found that there were two attractions. The first is a chance to break from eating curry and rice, served on banana leaves, with your (right!) fingers and get some traditional French meals.
The second is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. "Founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo and a French woman known as the mother, this ashram . . . propounds spiritual tenets that represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science." (LP) The ashram seems to own half the town, a fact which has apparently caused some local contention. Visitors file passed the tomb of the founders which lie, well decorated, in the ashram courtyard. I stood in the unusual (for India) silence and wondered what exactly these people had done to leave so many people praying to a couple of corpses.
Neither of Pondicherry's attractions particularly grabbed me as firstly I don't like French food (except perhaps the bread and the seafood) and I'm quite happy to eat curry with my fingers (less washing up!) Secondly I found the devotion and condescension of the ashram devotees to be rather strange and almost pitiable. posted by Michael United Kingdom Monday, March 06, 2006 at 8:03 AM

Even adversity should be thanked

Last few months I have not posted anything here. I suppose I am not in a sufficiently "surrendered” state of mind to create words that bear the true imprint of thankfulness. I will wait until that occasion when I am seized by gratitude and my innards start throbbing with renewed awareness of how others contribute to my happiness.
Thankfulness is a state of mind. Even adversity should be thanked. Sri Aurobindo has once said thankfully about his year-long imprisonment in Alipore jail, “The only result of the wrath of the British government was that I found God.” posted by Sankaran Location: TAPMI, Manipal, Karnataka, India Tuesday, March 14, 2006 @ 11:13 PM My Gratitude

A force is always with you

Why does the Guru seem to be unhelpful at times of your difficulty? A force is always with you in the secret depths of your soul, a presence of the Divine Mother, a seed force of the Supramental Mahashakthi that sees the whole of your difficulties and much more of them in its infinite wisdom and glory of dynamic action. It sees and acts even before you expect it to act, it acts firstly in the sphere where everything meets in a mysterious destiny and from there the whole harmony proceeds through the layers of consciousness into final fulfilment. Aren’t we here speaking of the unfailing Grace of Sri Aurobindo? posted by R Thursday, February 19, 2004 at 7:38 PM
Am not really surprised at the results. These are an indication of an incomplete yogic process that has been set into motion ever since the obstacles and difficulties were seen. It is to be understood, not be otherwise, that the yogic force takes the difficulties of the nature one by one and not in a random ease of extraterrestrial spontaneity, which is perhaps why everything is taking time to accomplish in detail. There is always scope for improvement and experiment, but they have to be carried out in the full knowledge of the process and any immature attempt will only result in a failure.
The body yoga is terrestrial, and every method used, every process set into motion against the formidable opposition of forces of lower ignorance and falsehood and every movement of the lower ignorance taken into oneself for the transformation work must be carefully watched over and worked upon by the Supramental Shakthi. The yogin must remain upright and single-minded in his sole power of the truth-consciousness without fear or trepidation; always he must be in complete control of his both external and internal movements and not bogged down or retarded by the universal ignorance or inconscience and darkness of the asuras but act always in the wisdom of the infinite truth. The Divine Grace is with whom all the world opposes, for he is the worker, the transmuter of the divine vibration, the Gnosis that is his true nature even in the earth consciousness. posted by R Thursday, February 19, 2004 at 7:18 PM
Men trapped under the siege of human hypocrisy and divisions of ignorance and falsehood cannot see anything beyond the scope of physical science, and any instrumentation of progress towards human growth must be only scientific….. posted by R Friday, December 12, 2003 at 10:55 AM
The formation and fulfilment of the supramental being is greater than the emergence of the divine avatarhood. posted by R Wednesday, December 10, 2003 at 11:52 AM

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Indian Utopia
Everything you do here is for a higher purpose. If the ideal of human unity is achieved, it will be of immense significance beyond Auroville. But now the other side to Auroville rears its head: the conviction the 1,800 or so people here have that they are involved in a project of immense spiritual significance for the world, although most of the world has never even heard of it. posted by GoodLookiN! Thursday, August 25, 2005 @ 3:21 PM

Auroville, the city of human unity

We traveled through many ashrams, met many yogis and gurus. We became attracted to the works of Sri Aurobindo, a freedom fighter, mystic, and highly accomplished yogi who had lived much of his life in deep contemplation in Pondicherry, India. Joined in this work later by a Frenchwoman, Mirra Alfassa, who eventually came to be known as the Mother, his great task was to anchor into the collective consciousness of humanity what he referred to as the ‘supramental force’, a force that he claimed would most surely awaken humanity into her true evolutionary destiny as a supramental species, as far beyond the current human species as humanity is beyond those who have preceded us.
Grace and I spent much time in Auroville, the city of human unity founded by the Mother after the death of Sri Aurobindo. We connected deeply with the spirit of these two visionaries, and had some powerful glimpses of the supramental realms. We spent a lot of time meditating in the Matrimandir, a golden sphere in the center of Auroville, which represented a vehicle for the descent of this supramental force. posted by cynthia Sunday, October 09, 2005 @ 7:40 PM

Friday, March 10, 2006


The soul is there and the heart is there, mind is there. Now we are making plan. But you cannot hide the plan from the consciousness of Krsna. He is sitting there. That is superconsciousness. One, you know the Aurobindo. He was trying to get superconsciousness. His philosophy is superconscious. Everyone who is here knows about Aurobindo. The superconsciousness you cannot get. That is not possible. Superconsciousness is for Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 8th, 2006 at 8:36 am Bhagavad-gita 2.17, Hyderabad 11/22/1972 Bhagavad-gita 2.17, Mexico 2/17/1975 »Bhagavad-gita 2.17, London 8/23/1973 Listen Prabhupada

Embodiment of Mahashakti

India has attracted a succession of architects and artists, generals and writers from France. From Le Corbusier whom Chandigarh regards as its own and Roger Anger who designed Auroville, to Joseph Francois Dupleix who plagued the British in the Deccan in the 18th century.Yes, for some French people it’s always been Vive l’Inde.
And Francois Gaultier, the Frenchman from down South who leaves his own compatriots rather leery of his forth’right’ views today. And then, there’s the magic of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s camera and the spirit of The Mother, the Frenchwoman called Mirra whom Sri Aurobindo declared to be the embodiment of Mahashakti. VIP Frenchies at home in India RESHMI R DASGUPTA REUTERS [THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2006 02:42:41 AM] The Economic Times

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I regret not having stayed there

The scenery was undeniably picturesque. Whitewashed houses with colonnaded balconies dominated the scene and people of varied nationalities were walking past without a care in the world. Since it wasn’t a beach, the numbers of street peddlers were in minute quantities. I saw a couple of European kids, playing with their nannies. They were speaking in Tamil, with absolutely perfect clarity in their speech and the slightest of accents. It was Pondicherry, just the way I’d imagined it to be.
Aurobindo Ashram was just some distance away. The first thing that struck me about the Ashram the moment I entered it was its smallness. From what I’ve heard of the place I’d definitely expected something that was more extravagant. The ashram was structured such that a huge, imperfectly beautiful tree that branched out in a million directions was at the center. I think the tree must have been pretty old because there were beams placed below it for support. There were people of all kinds, sitting in various positions; some having a slightly dazed expression in their eyes, the others with their eyes closed. The common expression that everyone’s faces seemed to portray was that of peace. The ashram was well maintained and extremely clean which is probably why I regret not having stayed there.
We eventually decided to visit Auroville on our way back to Bangalore. The drive till there was good. The road was decent and there was the ocean, stretched out beside it allowing us glimpses of its vastness from time to time. Auroville struck me as a little weird- with its Utopian ideas, prospective villas that would be called Shanti, Gratitude, Horizon etc and human beings living in harmony with each other and that sort of thing. We were showed a short video and from what I saw, I thought the Matri Mandir seemed very similar to the Lotus Temple in Delhi. The Mandir was still under construction so we could just see it from outside after walking for about half an hour with the sun shining on us in all its glory. The walk back was much nicer after having a refreshing lemonade. I concentrated a lot more on the kind of people that were around.
Auroville was an interesting place and it made all of us think. Maybe that was one of the intentions of its creators. Pondicherry is a nice place. It could definitely do with a little less hype about the Ashram and so many other things but it’s nice nevertheless. posted by Sneha Nagesh Saturday, March 04, 2006 at 11:23 PM

It was easy to lose all sense of time

During my brief stay in Pondicherry, I often stood at the restaurant windows or sat on my balcony watching the waves come in and go out again. It was easy to lose all sense of time, and strangely enough time as we know it seemed so meaningless. Watching the sea, your mind is emptied of every petty thought and worry. This is the perfect place to read, and think, and write. I never tired of the sound of the sea, which filled my room, its muted roar as the waters crashed against the rocks a living presence forming the backdrop of my days.

I never tired of looking at the garden and the sea, watching the waves come in sometimes slowly, gently touching the rocks, sometimes falling upon the boulders restlessly, with a too-great intimacy. My first evening there, I forgot all about my order as I stood at the restaurant window. The waiter had to call me to let me know my tea had been served. I sipped my tea slowly, looking out at the sea, enjoying the breeze, and sometimes looking out on to the garden from the window on the wall opposite. Wednesday, March 01, 2006 posted by Nupur Sen @ 4:04 AM Bangalore, Karnataka

Thursday, March 02, 2006


When you are hit by strange things self-pity is something that drowns you completly. One of my freinds used to quote the same thing from the writings of Mother (Pondicherry Aurobindo Ashram), which I should say in the past kept me away from getting self-pity. posted by N.V.Balaji 5:11 PM Balaji Nerella Venkataramana Location:Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Vanity and capitalism!

Pondicherry used to be a French colony. This was very evident from the exponentially larger amounts of Frech travellers. It's a very quaint town with one major drawback: Auroville. Here is a little blurb on it:
Based on the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfalssa (a.k.a. "The Mother") , Auroville is a grand experiment in building human unity with the vision of becoming a universal township for 50,000 people. On February 28th, 1968 over 5,000 people from 124 nations assembled for the inauguration of Auroville. After the festivities ended, a handful of people remained to begin the task of transforming a devastated landscape into a vibrant ecosystem and a thriving international community. It worked. Today, Auroville extends over 2 square miles and is home to 1,900 members from 40 nations.
It sounds like a nice philosophy, but referring to yourself as "The Mother." Come on! Of the high horse, that's right get back down to Earth, Mother! Also, there was this super swanky store in Auroville. It was very poshe and didn't seem to promote univeral humanity but rather, vanity and capitalism. I complained the entire time we were in the store but ended up letting my hypocrasy get the best of me: I bought a cute little polka dot number. I never said I was perfect. posted by Hasina Wednesday, March 01, 2006 @ 10:58 PM