Monday, July 31, 2006

Integral Paradigm and Theory of Everything

Biography of Alan Kazlev, in his own words November 2005
I was born in East London, South Africa, on 13th February, 1958...My parents, who disliked the Apartheidt regime, emigrated to Australia when I was 4. Since then I've lived in Sydney, Grafton, Sydney (again), Deniliquin (country NSW), and Melbourne. I went to La Trobe University, Melbourne where I did an Arts degree, majoring in Philosophy, learning about phenomenology from Moshe Kroy and Indian philosophy
I set up my first website in May 1998; this was the original Kheper site. Over the years this has grown greatly, and branched out into several other sites. I have always had an attraction for really grand projects, and each of the three sites I maintain and participate in are huge innovative endevours; one, Kheper, [is] an encyclopaedic coverage of esoteric and alternative knowledge...
I am currently working on a new Integral Paradigm and Theory of Everything that will provide a framework for explaining all possible states of conscious and existence, all phenomena, all things, and so on. This is a very hedgehogish activity; the last person who tried something like this was (and is) the American transpersonalist-integralist philosopher Ken Wilber (see his "AQAL" Integral philosophy), and with all due respect to Mr Wilber I don't thing he has done a very good job (here's why). Time will tell if my own alternative is any better. Integrative Spirituality

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Joseph Vrinte vs. Georges Van Vrekhem

Friday, July 28, 2006 Experience in an integral way Towards a Larger Definition of the Integral: An Aurobindonian vision and a critique of the Wilberian paradigm, Part One: Historical and Comparative use of "Integral" M. Alan Kazlev
The Dutch spiritual psychologist Joseph Vrinte, a long time student of Sri Aurobindo and resident of Auroville, the universal village dedicated to his teachings, presents an intriguing attempt at a comparison of Sri Aurobindo and Wilber in his book The Perennial Quest for a Psychology with a Soul.[25] As yet I have only glanced at, and not read, the book, so I cannot presume to write any sort of review, so it may be that many of my comments here are totally in error. If so, I welcome feedback and corrections.
Dr Vrinte's methodology and conclusions apparently differ radically from my own, because (so it seems from my cursorary review) he only looks at Aurobindo from the mental level. In his book, Vrinte presents a sympathetic but scholarly intellectual overview of both Aurobindo and Wilber's integral worldviews, both of which he is clearly familiar with, and taking care not to unduly favour either. In fact he is among the few students of Sri Aurobindo's teachings to present Wilber in a highly positive manner (even if he does ultimately come out on the side of Sri Aurobindo as the greater thinker). His conclusion is that while both have much that is worthwhile to say, ultimately neither is perfect; Sri Aurobindo views need to be modified to accommodate present-day knowledge (this is Wilber's critique too – see sect 3-i), while Wilber's current integral views may well likewise come to be seen as naïve.[26]
Not withstanding the goodwill and sincerity in Vrinte's work, and the interesting material it contains, I cannot agree with this methodology of mental comparison, or with these conclusions, simply because they is limited to the intellectual plane of understanding, and this just doesn't work once you start looking at things like spiritual revelation. And while it is doubtless true that Sri Aurobindo's interpretation of, for example, Freudian psychology is dismissive, and his coverage of subjects like, say, sociology, minimal, the point is that, unlike Wilber, he is not interested in presenting an intellectual “theory of everything”.
Rather he, along with the Mother, are providing a visionary revelation, in which words are just the gateways to a deeper spiritual awakening. This sort of “integral” is not intellectual, but yogic. And of course this is the same with spiritual and mystical teachings in general; if you approach them even in a sympathetic intuitive intellectual (let alone a more sceptical rational-intellectual!) manner, without the actual experience, the participation mystique as phenomenologists of religion like Mircea Eliade would call it, it is impossible to appreciate what is being described.
I had to myself let go of my attachment to intellect before I could realise this and experience it in an integral (sensu Aurobindo) way. In fact this very recent realisation (not just in a merely intellectual way which I had before, but in a more complete way) has been one of the main turning points of my own intellectual and spiritual development, and forced me to completely revise the central thesis and argument of my present book in progress (currently tentatively titled Evolution, Metapmorphosis, and Divinisation). // posted by Tusar N Mohapatra @ 6:37 AM
Friday, December 02, 2005 le surhomme, the transitional being Review of Beyond Man by Georges Van Vrekhem By Carel Thieme from The Awakening Ray, Jan/Feb 1998, p. 34-35
If any persons from India's political history, philosophical thought and spiritual greatness can be labeled as The Great Unknown, they are Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Few indeed know about Sri Aurobindo's role as one of the leaders of India's early independence movement; or of his theory of evolution beyond mankind; or of his and The Mother's occult action on world events. Even less is their true mission known: to bring down on earth a higher level of consciousness, called by Sri Aurobindo "the Supermind", in order to make a divine life on earth possible. For, says Sri Aurobindo, "Evolution is not finished; reason is not the last word nor the reasoning animal the supreme figure of Nature. As man emerged out of the animal, so out of man the superman emerges."
The book comes as an unexpected, agreeable and timely surprise, in this 125th year of Sri Aurobindo's birthday and the 50th anniversary of India's freedom, to which not only Sri Aurobindo but also The Mother have contributed so much. While reading, one starts to realize how much outward facts are determined by interventions from other levels of consciousness, for which those facts are only the external appearances and signs. The writer has presented us the biographical material in this context, for instance when explaining Sri Aurobindo's and The Mother's occult action on world events.
In Beyond Man, the importance of the transitional being, called in French by The Mother "le surhomme" is stressed. The Mother, announcing the descent of the consciousness of the 'surhomme' in January 1969, explains that, just as in every other great leap in evolution, this time too transitory beings or races will appear. They, born like all of us from human parents, but manifesting a certain degree of a supramental consciousness, will in turn find the key for the creation of the supramental beings. This important element in the evolution, first described by Sri Aurobindo in 'The Supramental Manifestation Upon Earth' and afterwards time and again elaborated upon by The Mother, has rarely been given due attention. It is one of several illuminations in this important book.
It is unavoidable in a book of this magnitude that some prevailing standpoints and opinions on the life and work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother are being put into question. But Van Vrekhem's comments are always restrained and worded in a language of moderation. He clearly has been writing in a spirit of understanding, inclusion and construction. His guiding idea seems to have been to consider all Aurobindonians as one family. So doing, Beyond Man shuns no important point or argument, but it is never polemical. Beyond Man is being published by Paragon House in fall 1998 under the title Beyond the Human Species: the Life and Work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother // posted by Tusar N Mohapatra @ 11:00 AM

Friday, July 28, 2006

Personal spiritual experience

Edward Berge Says: July 28th, 2006 at 8:35 am I don’t see Ken’s work as materialistic and/or just intellectual. He doesn’t reduce the psychic, subtle or causal to the material plane, he just explains that all inner consciousness states and stages have outer manifestations. And those outer “bodies” or containers can be subtle and causal, not just physical.
As to just being intellectual, Ken goes into great detail about the higher states and stages of consciousness and the necessity for one to take up such practices to experience them. Ken himself is a life-long meditation practitioner, as are many if not most or all of the rest of us in this movement. But to talk about those experiences, to put them in an understandable context, requires that we rationally reconstruct them in language and theories and models. Even Aurobindo did this. Ken’s writings and system, just as much as Aurobindo’s, are based on personal spiritual experience.
Mushin Says: July 28th, 2006 at 4:14 am Your last link wasn’t there anymore, so now I found it here: WH’s Blog - Tagged with Disingenious Duplicity

Multi-perspectival flexiverse & egalitarian spirituality

Mushin said...Being regarded as a spiritual teacher by some myself I do have some first hand experience in projections and counter-projections. I grew wary of that some years ago, and then wrote an article "Why God does not need a Throne”. I would see things a bit different now, but it marks well the place that I left the vertical spirituality’s path from. So yes, more and more I’m moving towards a more ‘egalitarian’ spirituality. Which doesn’t for one moment mean that I disregard excellence and authority. But authority must be willing – to be ‘true’ authority – to answer compassionately to what is being put before it as a consequence of its position…
I rather think we’re here to create new homes, maybe even enter into this big project you’re hinting at: the Transformation of matter itself. (I haven’t read any Aurobindo but might do so in the future…). What would sum up my present ‘field of view’ is this: We participate in a multi-perspectival flexiverse (Hawkins started with that term very recently) and are co-creating it with all beings physical and non-physical alike. Much Love, Mushin 3:41 AM

Black & write

The little wonder of 'Black', wants to be a writer Friday Jul 28, 2006 PTI
CHENNAI: Ayesha Kapoor, who shot into limelight with her laurel-winning performance as a deaf, mute and blind girl in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's bollywood blockbuster Black, is more keen to become a writer than an actress. Ayesha, who received the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) award recently for the best supporting artiste for her role in the film, says she had acted only in a few school plays prior to landing the role in "Black". Ayesha is not doing any movies at present but will consider if any good roles come by. "I am too young to decide now, if I will take up acting as a profession," she says. Ayesha is modest about her performance in "Black". "I was nervous initially, playing opposite Amitabh Bachchan but then it was fun," she says. Ayesha says she is more interested in becoming a writer. She likes to read and listen to music. She is passionate about horses and goes to a riding school.
Though the movie made her a star, the sixth standard student who stays in Auroville near Pondicherry does not watch Bollywood movies but loves Hollywood flicks."I love to watch Hollywood movies. I love so many actors that it is difficult to single one out as my favourite," she says in reply to a question. Ayesha has three brothers. She is the youngest. "No one is into acting," she says. Her father Dilip Kapoor is a businessman and mother also works. Asked if her friends at school treat her differently, she says "for them, I am just Ayesha. "Ayesha used to play a "bit of football" but then gave it up and was never interested in cricket. Apart from the IIFA award, Ayesha has won the BBC Asian Network Award, POGO award, Stardust award, SCREEN, Apsara and Zee Cine Award for her role in the film.

Dr Venkataswamy passed away on July 7

Eye Hospital Founder a Beacon Light for Ophthalmologists: Kalam 24 Jul 2006
The late G Venkataswamy, founder of Madurai-based Aravind Eye hospital, was a 'beacon light' for ophthalmologists and eye care centres across India, President A P J Abdul Kalam said. The 'new concept' formulated by Venkataswamy in his hospital - curing 30 well off patients and using that money to provide free medical care to 70 poor patients -- had proved to all concerned that it is a self-sustaining proposition, Kalam said.
He was addressing a prayer meeting held here yesterday titled 'honouring the light', through video conferencing from the Rashtrapathi Bhavan in Delhi in memory of Dr Venkataswamy, who passed away on July 7. The President said Dr Venkataswamy had throughout his life worked for total elimination of avoidable blindness. Besides bringing in the latest technology and techniques, the doctor had trained several pioneers in the field, who are now all over the world, Kalam said.
Recalling his first visit to the hospital to visit a friend being treated there, the President said he saw for himself that all patients were given equal priority and equal care, irrespective of their status. "It was a divine environment. It did not look like a hospital. It virtually looked like a Temple", the President said. Other speakers included Vijay Poddar of the Sri Aurobindo society in Pondicherry, R Kausalya Devi, managing trustee of Gandhigram Trust near here and G N Rao of the L V Prasad eye institute in Hyderabad. Source:PTI News

Sri Aurobindo Ashram-sponsored Centres of Education

Pondicherry plans to tap e-learning for toning up school education S. Nadarajan Infrastructure development to get priority; orientation courses for teachers planned Thursday, The Hindu Jul 27, 2006
PONDICHERRY: The Pondicherry Government plans to improve the quality of school education through e-learning. In an interview to The Hindu here on Wednesday, Education Minister M. O. H. F. Shahjahan said a blueprint had been prepared. With the help of a centralised laboratory, teachers would train students in e-learning. He said infrastructure development, orientation courses for teachers and helping children overcome their disability to learn fast would be the other thrust areas.
Mr. Shahjahan said the Government was also keen on reducing the book load. Compact discs would be used in place of books. Soon, computers would be installed in all schools. There would be a computer for every five students. A coaching centre to prepare students for various professional courses was also on the anvil. To encourage opening of kindergarten schools, anganwadis would be made a hub of educational activities and would run the LKG and UKG system. Outsourcing would be resorted to for ensuring academic development of government schools.
Mr. Shahjahan said the Education Advisory Committee would meet periodically to plan and review implementation of schemes. Leading institutions and Aurobindo Ashram-sponsored Centres of Education would be roped in to improve quality in government schools.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sri Aurobindo’s light and the Mother’s love

Review of Anie Nunnally's "The Golden Path" by Mangesh Nadkarni by Debashish on Wed 07 Dec 2005 12:22 AM PST Permanent Link
This is indeed a gem of a book. I have been enthusiastically recommending it to people who want an insider’s view of the integral yoga of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It is neither a handbook of the philosophy of integral yoga nor a guide to the practice of it. It does something special; it opens for you a whole new world which very few know exists – the world illumined by Sri Aurobindo’s light and the Mother’s love. It gives you the imaginative experience of directly bathing in the effulgence of their grace.

Anie Nunnally’s book is a set of interviews with twelve people whose lives have been transformed by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It has answered for me several questions I have always wanted to ask but would never have been able to ask. This is because my questions pertained to the inner lives of sadhaks, some of whom I have observed from a distance for many years now, but a sadhak’s inner life is always very private and personal. Most of the people whom the author has interviewed in this book are brilliant people in their own right and would have won outstanding success in the world outside. What is it that held them captive for life to this yoga and what is it they have achieved by their single-minded pursuit of a spiritual life under Sri Aurobindo and the Mother? These were my questions and I find them answered here in a large measure. You get here some idea of what treasures of inner felicity and fulfilment have been bequeathed to each one of them by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
Anie’s subjects are all illustrious Aurobindonians. Amal is an oustanding poet and critic, and is one of the most brilliant academic minds India has produced in our time. Udar had a degree in aeronautical engineering from the London University; he founded the Harpagon Atelier and was one of the personal secretaries to the Mother. Gauri Pinto, his daughter, has been a teacher in the Sri Aurobindo School of International Education. Tehmi Masalwalla was a poet, translator and teacher all her life. Sunanda Poddar was associated for years with SABDA and is currently the caretaker of “Srismriti”, the Mother’s Museum. Richard Pearson is a teacher, botanist, and editor of Flowers and Their Messages. Jhumur Bhattacharya is a teacher at Knowledge and has taught for many years Savitri, Life Divine, and Mother’s Entretiens. Anurakta (Anthony David Rochelle) was until recently the Manager of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Hand Made Paper Factory.
Anu Purani has been a teacher, writer and dancer. Aster Patel received a Ph.D. from Sorbonne and has taught at Knowledge and worked for Auroville for many years. Krishna Tewari is a retired two-star Major general of the Indian army and is in charge of Auroville Archives. Amrit Iriyama, a Japanese American, has worked for many years at the Matrimandir Gardens and Nursery. Each one of interviewed disciples is a like a quarry of precious stones and the author has delved deep into their yogic beings and brought out for us many a diamond of dazzling beauty. I am afraid we may not have space more than one of them here. Science, Culture & Integral Yoga Celebrating truth, beauty and the evolution of a higher and truer life ...

Summary of some of Mother's Supramental experiences

February 1956 -- The first Supramental manifestation (p.69)

September 12, 1956 -- A Supramental being enters Mother (p.85)

February 1958 -- The Supramental ship (p.137)

October 1958 -- Mother becomes the Supreme Lord (p.198)

November 1958 -- The spring from the mental inconscient to the Supramental, as generator of all creation (p.225)

July 24-25 1959 -- First penetration of the Supramental force into Mother's body (p.325-330)

May 24, 1960 -- Physical ego disintegrates, nothing but the Force, Supreme Action, the Supreme Lord manifesting through the eternal Mother. Existence, Consciousness, Bliss was there. (p.371-374)

MOTHER'S AGENDA Summary of Key Points Growth online

The Mother - Mirra Alfassa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the spiritual partner of Sri Aurobindo. Mirra Alfassa, later Morisset and Richard (February 21, 1878 - November 17, 1973) but better known as The Mother, was the spiritual partner of Sri Aurobindo. She was born in Paris to Turkish and Egyptian parents and came to his ashram on March 29, 1914 visiting Pondicherry several times and finally settling there in 1920. After November 24, 1926, when Sri Aurobindo retired into seclusion, she supervised the organization of his ashram and institutes. She became the leader of the community after Sri Aurobindo's death in 1950. She died in 1973. The experiences of the last thirty years of her life were captured in the 13-volume work The Agenda. In those years she attempted the physical transformation of her body in order to become what she felt was the first of a new type of human individual by opening to the Supramental Truth Consciousness, a new power of spirit that Sri Aurobindo had allegedly discovered. Her followers and those of Sri Aurobindo consider(ed) her an incarnation of the Divine Mother, hence her name "the Mother." The Divine Mother is, according to her followers, the feminine aspect of the Divine consciousness and spirit.

Wiki biography of the Mother

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
If I choose as personal preference one spiritual teaching and system of yoga over others, it is that of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The current project here is not just to elucidate various elements of their teaching, but also mention a few individuals associated with them. In addition I have completely rewritten the previous wiki biography of the Mother
Pages I've Created:
Topics (various): Arya (journal) - Central being (rather stubby) - Chit-Tapas (stubby) - Delight (Sri Aurobindo) - Gnostic being - Inner being - Integral education - Integral yoga - Intermediate zone - Letters on Yoga - The Life Divine - Mental (Sri Aurobindo) - The Mother (book) (stub) - Mother's Agenda - Mother India (journal) - Outer being - Physical (Sri Aurobindo) - Psychic being - Psychicisation - Spiritualisation - Subtle physical - Supermind (rather stubby) Supramentalisation - Vital (Sri Aurobindo)
Biographies: Amal Kiran - Champaklal - Rod Hemsell (stub) - Nirodbaran - Nolini Kanta Gupta - Ram Shankar Misra - M.P. Pandit - Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet - Pavitra - Sujata Nahar (stub) - Satprem - Indra Sen - Luc Venet (brief stub) - Georges van Vrekhem (stub)
Templates: Template:Sri Aurobindo - Template:Triple transformation
Pages I've Contributed Substantially To:
Biographies: Sri Aurobindo - Mirra Alfassa - The Mother
Here is my website, blog (on and blog on zaadz) M Alan Kazlev

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The New Vision

m alan kazlev said...Hi Barin Great to see your new blog! If it is anything like your highly inspirational blog on Zaadz (which it will be no doubt) I'm sure it will be a great success! Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's sublime teachings deserve to be more widely known, and you are doing a superb service in helping to bring that about. 2:32 PM
Barin said...Hi Alan, For me, you are a great discovery! The Will of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother is also acting through you, as I feel and find. I feel both of us together with Tusar can make a great force, acting as Their instruments. Barin 25-07-2006 9:27 AM
m alan kazlev said...hi Barin Yes true! 7:46 PM

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Not Jerusalem but rather Auroville, which means "City of Dawn"

Passage to India By Carol Kort
When Roy left for Auroville, which describes itself as an experimental "universal town belonging to nobody in particular, where men and women from all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities," my parents were terribly alarmed. But they assumed that their prodigal son would return home once he had gotten the Indian mishagas (craziness) out of his system.
That was thirty-two years ago. Roy still lives in Auroville, named after his guru and its founder, Sri Aurobindo, an Indian revolutionary who became a philosopher, poet, and mystic. Aurobindo and Mira Richard, also known as The Mother (both have died), created the ashram as a spiritual retreat; more than 1,000 Aurovillians live and work together in settlements surrounding the ashram. What they have in common is the "spiritual pursuit of a higher level of human existence."
At times it seemed that The Mother was more important to Roy than our mother. Instead of spending the holidays with his Jewish relatives in New Jersey or Florida, Roy has an extended family in Auroville, including his wife Gillian, a non-Jewish Australian craftswoman and astrologist...Roy practices certain Native American traditions and rituals, in addition to prayers inspired by his guru. In other words, Roy's spirituality, at least in practice, seems to combine aspects of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Native Americanism--but no Judaism.
I wish Roy could see that being a Jew now is very different from what he remembers at the stodgy, rigid Hebrew school he was forced to attend. He would like the healing services and the New Age aspects of Reform Judaism. I am sorry he didn't come to my daughters' Bat Mitzvahs: I think he would have enjoyed the personalized, multifaceted ceremonies that combined poetry, music, and family participation. In fact, at one of them, a friend stood on the bimah (podium) and read a passage by Sri Aurobindo in Roy's honor, and in his absence.
I am also sad that he has missed our jovial, modernized seders (ritual meals) and festive Hanukkah parties. I think he and his wife would have had fun, and that perhaps Roy might have embraced at least some aspects of his Jewish identity. But . . . perhaps not. He is far away, physically and spiritually, and that often leaves me feeling like I don't really have a brother. Yet I admire his decision to aspire to a life of contemplation and self-development. It hasn't always been easy, for him or for me, but he seems to have found his spiritual place on earth. It isn't centered in Jerusalem, "City of Gold," but rather in Auroville, which means "City of Dawn."
Carol Kort co-edited two books on parenting and is the author of American Women Writers and co-author of American Women in the Visual Arts. She has also written books for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and articles for The New York Times Education Life Magazine and The Boston Sunday Globe Magazine

I was moved by the silence and the simplicity

Our next place was that all important place that lies on "Rue De La Marine" just the next parallel street from Manakula Vinayagar Temple the "Aurobindo Ashram", one place I have no age and the vision to describe….if you want please visit, to know what Aurobindo and Mother really thought and meant years back.
I was moved by the silence and the simplicity of how they both lived. People, especially Indians, believe me you have many more things in live than a US H1-B Visa, Renault or Ferrari, Apri Bike, and Promenade stay. No preaching………We spent around 1 hour hovering around the photographs, the small exhibition which is there with all the stuff that Mother used and an old library where they used to read...
We at last found a small road with a very small signboard showing "Auroville." Ramya you really let us down…….you should have told us that there will be no board you idiots ASK when you don't know anything, but at that moment we were like French the city was ours….The road from the main ECR towards Auroville is a treat to travel, amongst the dense forests and some really beautiful houses; it is just the kind of way a bike traveler will enjoy with some uphill stuff set amongst small streamy roads….You can find some 2-3 villages dotting the path.
Auroville founded by "Mirra Alfassa" (Mother as they fondly call her). Again, you can visit to get a glimpse of what these fellas do………….Please do not visit Auroville on Sundays, as many of their activities are limited and even entry to the Mandir is restricted.We entered Auroville, spent a session at the "Auroville Visitors' Centre" which houses the thoughts and vision of Sri Aurobindo and there is a 5 minute video presentation on Auroville, which will definitely throw light on what this Universal City is about. 5 minutes is just not enough to describe this almost 5 decade long journey.
Having done with it, we settled down at "The Right Path Café" which serves French delicacies inside Auroville (to be honest this was also suggested by Rums….). We ordered a variety of Pizzas, Natural syrups, Chic with salads, Kulfis, and Vanilla-Mango dip, and above all Kolar ordered the dish of the trip "Ragi Galleti with Cheese and Salad." I bet we did not know what will arrive on our table until it (Galleti) landed, it was nothing but Ragi Dosa filled with cottage cheese...
We tried to get a glimpse of the Mandir, but we could not do it. We roamed sometime inside Auroville and we started our last leg of our journey towards the much-hyped "Sunday market," which is only open on Sundays. Here in this market you can just buy anything from safety pin that too made in Japan to Poison Perfumes for just Rs.40. posted by Jaaman Nair @ 1:29 PM July 1, 2006 to July 2, 2006

The role and essence of womanhood

Friday, July 14 aside aurobindo ashram
in pondicherry exile (rebels in pre?war-time) the cambridge-educated aurobindo (& mates) formed an upper-caste monastic-type community - to investigate the apparent supernatural (time of annie besant, conan granny, i believe) - in the light of (a renewed interest in the) hindu , and other religious wisdom.
male-oriented, they doubtless tended (they still do in india - despite kali, after whom my second daughter is named. "the white kali" as i used to parade the little blonde beast through side streets where local kids would gather to stare ... only to be CLEARED BY a 3-year-old outrider or police escort. i reminisce again) to patronise the role and essence of womanhood - till it INCARNATED in their way can i get them in auroville to incorporate my views into their not so far. they go all silent and unresponsive if i & let live hugh....yes but what about all the needless stupid suffering ?
so sorry, you see i identify if at all with needless suffering and what about the ideals of your founder ? -- you wonder why they go off line ? ? no, you don't. others don't, either.... for 28+ years it's been one disappointment after another for my family. one non-member stayed here with us throughout alma's last year of illness, and so in a sense he saved the human race, too. there's always a saving grace and i say that, as one might say, "advisedly" posted by obol at 2:39 AM


Monday, June 05, 2006 Pondicherry moncheri... ...definitely a place worth to see. the old-city with a french mediterranean flair, untypically Indian (kind of) clean and organized, good restaurants all around... it was a great and relaxing week-end in spite of the almost unbearing heat. We were a bunch of people coming here (about 15 all together) and stayed in some reed-cottages at the beach of AUROVILLE.
Very hippie-indian-travelling-like and definitely very charming. Now everyone left apart of myself and I am exploring the old city with my roller bike and try to get in to this travelling-freedom-feeling. Well, yesterday it felt kind of strange all of a sudden to be totally alone after being surrounded by so many poeple all the time, all the more because it is low-season here and in this small reed-cottage resort I was and am the only-lonely guest:-) well, the resort is owned and led by an Ukrainian mid-aged lady who seems to enjoy a more easy-going and confortable way of life here at the Bay of Bengal, worshipping THE MOTHER (like almost everyone here) and avoiding the beach in front of the resort (because of the STARING, STARING, STARING... of the male local visitors here; no further comment!!!).
Now I must introduce you to THE MOTHER (I just visited her tomb before here in the city; she died 1973); THE icon of Pondicherry and founder of AUROVILLE, the community who lives here nearby, trying collectively to become in unison with the cosmos. Yesterday we went there for a visit; I must say, their credo is interesting and remarkable. unfortunately, it is not really possible to get in contact with the people living there. Only the visitor center, a documentery on a screen and some exhibitions reveal the philosophy and the living-style of the community. I imagined something like an Israelian Kibbutz, but it was different.
The area where the people live is huge, and is covered with a planted forest. every kilometre on the road appears another house or community building behind the trees. And the standard is definitely 'Western'. Everything is clean and organized und trotz den vielen einheimischen Touristen keine Abfallberge am Wegrand. The place seems to be a Western Enclave and reminded me more on a better-class-resort than on a kibbutz. It was interesting to see it. Unfortunately the MATRIMANDIR = the soul of the community = a giant golden golfball in the center of the area is under construction and therefore not open to the public. well, we could see it from the outside (located in the middle of artificial island) and took a few pictures.
The MATRIMANDIR contains a huge cristal which has the function of an altar or somehting like that. The inhabitants of AUROVILLE visit this building for the sake of meditation. They appereantly don't worship anything there in contrast to the tomb of THE MOTHER and SRI AUROBINDO (her Indian Guru Companion - also in the tomb!!!); here, the visitors (I saw only Indians) fall on their knees and pray silently:
SILENTLY!!!! this way of praying is definitely imported from France, where THE MOTHER comes from (even though she is of Egyptian-Turkish origin; well she claimed to be not from this planet anyway). Yes, Pondicherry moncheri; AUROVILLE; THE MOTHER; THE MATRIMANDIR; SRI AUROBINDO.... interesting to see and watch and observe. I think I'll stay another day and then try to get to the mountains again to flee the terrible humid heat here. Still, Pondicherry is a highlight in the South of India. Au revoir. Mi scho. posted by mischo@asia at 12:38 AM the world is NOT flat mischo@asia Location:Bangalore, Karnataka, India: originally from Zurich, Switzerland of Swiss/Czech origin, currently doing a trainee-ship in Bangalore, India and trying hard to get to know and understand the depths of the overwhelming Indian cosmos...2 Comments:
Erik said... Nice to read about your Auroville visit, guess I was close by but only managed to see the beach and to drink some FRENCH red wine. It was really a good weekend though! Now I'm in Manali, waiting for the rain outside the internet-cafe to stop... heading on to Leh as soon as the road opens again, it was closed yesterday due to snow in the high passes. Please write about your visit in the mountains in the south and how it is different from ugly Ooty. And hey, I even understood the german you wrote! Cheers and take care! /Erik 5:04 AM
Mr. Simpleton said... the real name of the place is EUROVILLE - now check out this video about the fact that the invasion has been going on for a little while already: 9:50 AM

Violence is not necessary in the education of children

To: cc: Subject: a hasty retreat Ask yourself, and think for a moment ‘Why is it bad to discipline a child by hitting them?’ What did you get? Did after all of your ruminating did you come up with ‘It just is?’ It’s difficult isn’t it? It takes time to even formulate an idea against such a preposterous idea. It took me a while to come up with:
1) Violence causes emotional and psychological scars that can grow into debilitating emotional disturbances now in and in their adult lives.
2) The child closes down to real education and learns only how to avoid a perilously close, waving stick.
3) They stop sharing, fear of loosing a pencil and therefore being hit, is a stronger motivator than sharing pencils and learning together. A healthy society is one which shares and loves. One that with it’s own security can go on to develop, invent, organize. And
4) and probably the most important, it hurts and feels bad.
But violence fits in nicely with the closed Nepali society here. Bound by religion, adults having been beaten as children, show zero emotion. I don’t know if they have feelings, or can’t relate to them, or simply can’t show them. They are closed books. So how can they relate to others emotions? They have in-scalable walls fortressing anything remotely personal. Maybe from living in such big families, or such a repressed Hindu society. Sri Aurobindo Orphanage - The Terror of Truth posted by julia at 3:54 AM

It is mostly a ashram for foreigners away from the city

After freshening up we headed straight for the ocean front. It is a rocky shore with a road similar to Mumbai's Marine drive but of a smaller scale. It was quite a sight, all decked up just for our visit ! Small festive lights were being put up along the road and also on the Govt offices that dot most part of this water front street. There were also 3 ships from the Navy positionedquite close to the shore. It was only in the evening that these decorations blossomed. The 3 ships with their outline also lit with numerous lights provided a perfect backdrop to offshore festivities. Pondicherry was celebrating India's independence.
We however didn't while away our time waiting for the sun to set and see the lights spring up along the road. After some honest appreciation of the blue sea and some Masala dose at a seaside eatery, we headed for Auroville. It is an offshoot of the famous Aurobindo ashram and is situated about 10 km from the main city. You reach it by taking a deviation from the ECR (East coast road) and driving through some 8 km of dusty road. It is mostly a ashram for foreigners away from the city. The main tourist attraction at Auroville is the "Matri Mandir", a spherical structure which is mounted with a large number of circular brass scales on the outside and is presumed to be lit up by a single ray of sunlight reflected by numerous reflectors on the inside. We scouted around Auroville in circles for the beach road only to find out from a cycle riding, kurta cladden foreigner that its on the other side of the ECR !
The Auroville beach was a regular beach and not very spectacular. It was also pretty crowded and looked dirty. We spent half an hour gazing at the sea and then headed back for the Pondicherry ocean front which was just begining to light up. After spending some time there we returned back to the hotel to get ready for some exclusive French dinner! posted by Shaks @ 9:21 AM Wednesday, April 19, 2006 The French connection - Pondicherry

Sri Aurobindo Ashram is one of the most popular with Westerners

Next day we left around 9:00 although the agenda had said we were to leave 6:30 a.m. We drove three hours to Pondicherry. We were once again delighted to have good roads to travel on: they were recently paved, had shoulder most of the way and even had four lanes for a while. Pondicherry has a lovely colonial French section of town, where we stayed in a wonderful colonial inn. It was stucco with colored concrete floors. My favorite part was the bathrooms with pedestal sinks and color washed walls. The shower had little arched alcoves for your shampoo, etc. This is a much simpler accommodation so it cost around $40. a night.
Pondicherry came under French rule in the mid-18th century and was finally returned to India 1954. A canal originally divided the town. On one side was Ville Blanche (that would be French for white) and the other side was (you guessed it) Ville Noir (black) for the Indian population. Let me just say, there is a distinct difference between the two sides. The streets of the old French area are cobbled and the waterfront was designed to resemble Nice. I am not sure what it looked like before the tsunami but now there is a pretty ugly seawall of large stones.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram was founded in 1926 and it is one of the most popular with Westerners and is the most affluent. There are many businesses in Pondicherry with their name: travel agency, jewelry shop, bookstore, clothing and craft stores, etc. The Aurobindo group, the Alliance Française and other bodies undertook an extensive restoration of the French quarter a number of years ago. Many houses and institutions in the streets between the waterfront and the canal are now very chic and gentrified, the gardens blooming with flowering trees and bougainvillea. The overall impression is one of gleaming whitewashed residences and a concern for maintaining high standards that you don’t find in most of India.
It was a wee bit oxymoronic to sit in our outdoor dining area at the hotel, with its thatched roof, feeling like you were in France, although we were in southern India and hearing waiters speak French and the radio playing country and western music from a US satellite radio station in Nashville! posted by Ron & Tricia @ 8:37 PM

The massive globe-shaped temple

Having made excellent time, on we returned to the intersection, waiting for the bus to Auroville. In front of us, a neat little whitewashed clapboarded church with praises to Jesus in lurid, capital letters. Sat in front on the wooden planks next to the driver, the only place available. The journey was spectacular. One takes the East Coast Road, with the sea almost always visible, making a stunning view, almost like the race-tracks on the computer games one plays. A lot of the coastal flora had been flattened by the tsunami, and often we came across wooden thatched houses comprising little villages that had been rebuilt with aid.
As Pondi approached, the white-sands were even more pristine. We alighted at a random road spot in baking heat. The villagers and cows watched us placidly as we covered our heads with knapsack (A) and shirt (I). Finally a wizened, frail hand-rickshaw driver, probably plying these roads from Narasimha Varman's time, took pity on us and painstakingly pedalled us, inch by inch in the blazing open-topped 45 degree celsius heat, to the intersection ("cutting") for Auroville. Felt ashamed to have made him haul us like that with the force of his body. Also ironic to see that he made no demand for money, content to take whatever we gave him. While the autorickshaw guy had to be negotiated down from some ridiculous price, like the latest round of the WTO round of talks.
From there we took an autorickshaw for the eight-odd kilometres to Auroville. It's like going to a mini-France. A couple hot French hunks and femmes cycling or motor-biking contently up and down in the BLISTERING heat without a stitch of clothing on their torsos. We stopped for a pee near some shrubbery. Smiled at a passing bearded red Frenchie and said "Bonjour"."Salut!". he smiled back."La vie est belle?", he asked."Ouais", I smiled back.
Somehow, I didn't feel the oppressive heat so much anymore. We finally reached the MATRIMANDIR (or the temple of the Mother). On the way Ani gave me a good rudimentary knowledge of the intricate philosophy that governs the Auroville movement. Or as it is known to some of the lesser intellectually inclined - just dope and chill! Trooped into the visitor center, full of respectful, Tamilian families. We were shown a video on the place, and then asked to walk to the MATRIMANDIR. The walk was pretty though hot and dusty. We finally came to the temple... which was under renovation so we couldn't enter! DANG!!
The massive globe-shaped temple is covered with brilliantly shining solar panels, being installed one by one. Talk to watchman there. Initially abrasive, he relented as we conversed and in the end, he was euphoric to meet someone from Bombay (where he spend the decade of the sixties of the last century). He said in his Madrasi Hindi: "Aapako dyakha jee, hamako saba yaada aaya - Latha Mangeshkar, Dev Anand, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, saba yaada aaya!"Lovely nutritious salad and rice lunch at the Matri café. There were goras only, and they shared the limited number of portable fans to maximise benefit. We were kindly passed one fan. Had a lovely hibiscus flower syrup drink, to go with the power of flowers philosophy of Ma that A. mentioned. Had glasses and glasses of it.
Took the same rick to Pondicherry, where I bought some photo film. On to Aurobindo + Ma's samadhi at the Ashram in the French quarter. We'd timed ourselves excellently. As we placed our shoes at the counter across the street, the ashram had just opened. Pretty French and Tamoul girls glid by on bikes with flowers in the front basket. Little Rue de la This, Rue de la That signs at every street corner, with the cutest French architectured houses all around. Delightful!!
At the samadhi, we placed our heads on the cool marble and looked at the intricate arrangement of flowers which are supposed to have a lot of power. Meditated there for a while, felt very peaceful. Smiled beatifically at everyone, and was smiled beatifically back at by a cute Frenchy, and this sleepy, spiritual smiling continued till A. prodded me in the ribs and hissed it was time to move on. Went to the library. Here, the mother's books have been displayed in all languages on Earth (plus a few from other solar systems). posted by Wild Reeds at 10:01 AM 20 comments

Perfect symphony if we can once enter into sympathy with the One

05 July 2006 Aurobindo Kicks @$$ The rains continue, relentlessly. And yet, Aurobindo is here to help us. In case you weren't moved by previous exhortations to seek out Aurobindo and read of him deeply, perhaps a direct installment will add a little oomph to the recommendation that you check his books out and read them, out loud, slowly:
Since, then, eternal and immutable delight of being moving out into infinite and variable delight of becoming is the root of the whole matter, we have to conceive one indivisible conscious Being behind all our experiences supporting them by its inalienable delight and effecting by its movement the variations of pleasure, pain and neutral indifference in our sensational existence. That is our real self; the mental being subject to the triple vibration can only be a representation of our real self put in front for the purposes of that sensational experience of things which is the first rhythm of our divided consciousness in its response and reaction to the multiple contacts of the universe. It is an imperfect response, a tangled and discordant rhythm preparing and preluding the full and unified play of the conscious Being in us; it is not the true and perfect symphony that may be ours if we can once enter into sympathy with the One in all variations and attune ourselves to the absolute and universal diapason.
If this view be right, then certain consequences inevitably impose themselves. In the first place, since in our depths we ourselves are that One, since in the reality of our being we are the indivisible All-Consciousness and therefore the inalienable All-Bliss, the disposition of our sensational experience in the three vibrations of pain, pleasure and indifference can only be a superficial arrangement created by that limited part of ourselves which is uppermost in our waking consciousness. Behind there must be something in us,--much vaster, profounder, truer than the superficial consciousness,--which takes delight impartially in all experience; it is that delight which secretly supports the superficial mental being and enables it to persevere through all labours, sufferings and ordeals in the agitated movement of the Becoming. That which we call ourselves is only a trembling ray on the surface; behind is all the vast subconscient, the vast superconscient profiting by all these surface experiences and imposing them on its external self which it exposes as a sort of sensitive covering to the contacts of the world; itself veiled, it receives these contacts and assimilates them into the values of a truer, a profounder, a mastering and creative experience. Out of its depths it returns them to the surface in forms of strength, character, knowledge, impulsion whose roots are mysterious to us because our mind moves and quivers on the surface and has not learned to concentrate itself and live in the depths.
In our ordinary life this truth is hiding from us or only dimly glimpsed at times or imperfectly held and conceived. But if we learn to live within, we infallibly awaken to this presence within us which is our more real self, a presence profound, calm, joyous and puissant of which the world is not the master--a presence which, if it is not the Lord Himself, is the radiation of the Lord within. We are aware of it within supporting and helping the apparent and superficial self and smiling at its pleasures and pains as at the error and passion of a little child. And if we can go back into ourselves and identify ourselves, not with our superficial experience, but with that radiant penumbra of the Divine, we can live in that attitude towards the contacts from the world and, standing back in our entire consciousness from the pleasures and pains of the body, vital being and mind, possess them as experiences whose nature being superficial does not touch or impose itself on our core and real being. In the entirely expressive Sanskrit terms, there is an anandamaya behind the manomaya, a vast Bliss-Self behind the limited mental self, and the latter is only a shadowy image and disturbed reflection of the former. The truth of ourselves lies within and not on the surface.
Again this triple vibration of pleasure, pain, indifference, being superficial, being an arrangement and result of our imperfect evolution, can have in it no absoluteness, no necessity. There is no real obligations on us to return to a particular contact, a particular response of pleasure, pain or neutral reaction, there is only an obligation of habit. We feel pleasure or pain in a particular contact because that is the habit our nature has formed, because that is the constant relation the recipient has established with the contact. It is within our competence to return quite the opposite response, pleasure where we used to have pain, pain where we used to have pleasure. It is equally within our competence to accustom the superficial being to return instead of the mechanical reactions of pleasure, pain and indifference that free reply of inalienable delight which is the constant experience of the true and vast Bliss-Self within us. And this is a greater conquest, a still deeper and more complete self-possession than a glad and detached reception in the depths of the habitual reactions on the surface. For it is no longer a mere acceptance without subjection, a free acquiescence in imperfect values of experience, but enables us to convert imperfect into perfect, false into true values,--the constant but veritable delight of the spirit in things taking the place of the dualities experienced by the mental being.(The Life Divine, pgs. 113-115)...(Special thanks go to Chris Holmes, who purchased the copy of The Life Divine that made its way to Wayanad) posted by permacultist @ 12:35

Center for Integral Education

The CIE mission and methodologies are inspired by the Integral Education philosophy of Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa (a.k.a., the Mother). For more than half century there has been a highly developed body of theory and successful practice at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education in Pondicherry, India. Our approach offers a New Education
for a New Consciousness
for a New Humanity
for a New World!
We strive to inspire the highest and best that each person we come into contact with has to offer. We invite you to join us on this wonderful journey.
Integral High School - Our Future Dream
Our long-term plan is to create and maintain a full K-12 school, with all the facilities required for a complete Integral Education program. This includes provisions for physical education (gymnasium, track and field, yoga center, swimming pool, etc.), vital education (department for the visual and creative arts and music, world cultural center, auditorium, drama theater), mental education (library, technology lab, science and physics labs, botanical gardens), and spiritual education (library of spiritual texts, meditation hall, community center).
In addition to these facilities, CIE envisions the creation of an Integral Education teacher training and certification program, curriculum development and educational research department, as well as a continuing education program for CIE graduates, their families, and other interested members of the community at large. CIE will also sponsor events, speakers, and educational research that support the integral needs of our children and our society.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Yoga is not a religion

Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga are considered the four main Yogas, but there are many other types. Yoga is not a religion though it is central to Hinduism. In Hinduism, Yoga is considered to be a path to attain enlightenment. The earliest written accounts of Yoga appear in the Rig Veda, which began to be codified between 1500 and 1200 BC. Important Hindu texts establishing the basis for Yoga include the Upanishads, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavadgita and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
The word "Yoga" derives from the Sanskrit root yuj ("to yoke"). It is translated as "union of the individual Atma or soul with the Paramatma, the universal soul. In essence, one who performs Yoga may loosely be referred to as a Yogi or in Sanskrit as Yogin for male and Yogini for female. These designations are actually intended for advanced practitioners who have reached a certain spiritual level. Some notable Yogis were Shankaracharya from the Jnana Yoga tradition; Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was a Bhakti Yogi and Sri Aurobindo developed and practiced Integral Yoga, a culmination of the four main Yogas. The Bhagavadgita famously distinguishes several types of "Yoga", corresponding to the duties and nature of people, capturing the essence and at the same time going into the details about the various Yogas and the philosophies behind them.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

You put pictures in people's eyes

"The surgery is an art," Dr. Natchiar says. "You work in such a tiny space, and if you create a beautiful job, the painting is worth so much money. You put pictures in people's eyes. You paint them stunning flowers, their children's faces, or lines that are clear and sharp."
There was also the pain of a terrible conflict in his life. He had been schooled in perfection by his father, and now he was barely able to work. What saved him from despair, says Dr. V., was meeting the philosopher Sri Aurobindo, a rebel in the Free India movement who had opened an ashram in Pondicherry. From Aurobindo, Dr. V. learned meditation and found a purpose: He came to believe that man has not reached the highest level of evolution, but that evolution will continue for several more stages until a higher intelligence is created. "Even the body has to be more perfect so that a new creature will result," says Dr. V.
But spiritual teachings, inspirational and useful as they may be, still are not enough. "I am not an idea man," says Dr. V. "The task is not to aspire to some heaven but to make everyday life divine." When he switched to ophthalmology, he had to train himself to hold a knife and to perform cataract surgery despite his physical pain.
I ask Dr. V. a simple question designed to get him to talk about his unique vision: "What are your gifts?" I ask him. Dr. V. replies, "People thank me for giving them sight." This is no error of translation, no slipup of English. Dr. V. considers his gifts to be the things that he has given others, not what he possesses. Here is another clue to the mystery: The reward for work is not what you get out of it but what you become from it. Harriet Rubin ( is a Fast Company senior writer and the author of The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women (Doubleday, 1997) and Soloing: Realizing Your Life's Ambition (HarperCollins, 1999). Contact Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy by email (, or learn more about the Aravind Eye Hospitals on the Web (

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Conquering Time and Space

I fondly remember your advice to read The Life Divine at Matru Vihar, Sundargarh. # posted by Tusar N Mohapatra : 3:17 PM

Oh, that was about twenty years back! Thank you for remembering me. We have again met conquering Time and Space! Let us remain in contact henceforth. I am extremely happy and joyous to see and go through your Blog! Barin 21-07-2006 # posted by Barindranath Chaki : 4:09 PM

Barindranath Chaki said... At last I have reached your new blog, Alan. Today, Tusar Mohapatra has also written to me and I visited his Blog. He remembers me that I advised him to read The Life Divine some 20 years back. Also, I have received an email from Insight asking me to send an article. And I have started writing the article. I thank you for all this! Barin 21-07-2006 8:08 AM
From: "M Alan Kazlev" To: Subject: Integral Transformation - new blog Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 08:48:41 +1000
Dear Tusar
I've been very impressed by your Savitri Era Learning Forum for some time now. Just to let you know I've just set up a new blog, and have added a link to two of your excellent blogs. This blog is still pretty rough; i need to add more content. But for what it's worth, here it is The second paragraph sums up what this blog is about. best regards m alan

Evolutionary Edge

"Evolutionary Letter 3," Barbara Marx Hubbard's "Evolutionary Edge" by rjon on June 17, 2006 01:24AM
Here's one example of the many, many people and organizations inspired by the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and deeply involved in "the wake up call for humanity." Barbara is an old friend and former colleague who is an amazing example of someone who has been deeply vitalized by personal experiences of the sacred. (She's well over 70 years old and keeps on going in spite of a serious bout with cancer that would have hospitalized or killed most of us.)
"It is clear that we have reached “Critical Mess.” Our problems cannot be resolved by doing more of the same. The dysynergy among these problems is rapidly leading to devolution. Yet, out of the crisis, even in the last few months since the awareness of global warming, there has been an increase in mass awakening. This crisis is vital for the next stage of our evolution. It is the wake up call for humanity. ..." more » Leave Comment Permanent Link

12 -> 102

Nirod'da by Rich on July 17, 2006 03:45 PM (PDT) from Mauna:
This is to inform the community that Nirodbaran quietly slipped into other regions this evening, July 17th, at 7.50 pm, at the age of 102. Dr. Nirodbaran, a real friend and supporter of Auroville, has been living some 70 years in the Ashram, as personal physician of Sri Aurobindo, as well as his scribe and correspondent, and as poet in his own right. Through his written work he was, and is, for many a door into Sri Aurobindo's worlds..,- a door through which he now may enter to join THEM to whom he dedicated his entire life..
OM ~ A last homage can be paid to this dear friend and remarkable being during the entire day tomorrow, Wednesday 18th, when his body will lay in state in his premises in the Ashram's main compound. Farewell, dear Nirod'da, we will always remember you, with deep gratitudeand love. more » Comments (1) Permanent Link

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Spare an awed thought for the unseen intelligence

FirstSoul food, please Bharat Savur Business Line Columns Friday, Jul 14, 2006
High thinking
Elevating thoughts increase our energy and heighten our sense of well-being. Food becomes secondary. You don't lose your taste for it... you just don't attach excess importance to it. Certainly, eating does increase the brain-calming chemical serotonin and other natural tranquillisers in the body, which give us that secure, cosy, and satisfied feeling. So do have elevating thoughts and an elevating attitude. Practise elevated awareness at every opportunity. When commuting to work, allow yourself to be moved by the sincerity and purpose writ on the faces of fellow commuters or the roadside tea-vendor. See the innocence and dignity of the industrious little shoeshine boy. Admire the scenic blueness of the sky and spare an awed thought for the unseen intelligence that creates it. Imbibe joy from the spread of floral splendour — "See heaven in a wild flower," said poet William Blake.
The music of the masters
Mix only with the masters as far as possible. "Sri Aurobindo observes, "Cheerfulness is the music of the soul." While St. Augustine offers a gentle sagely humour: "I was pulled up to God through His Grace. I came down because of my weight." So how much food do you really need in your stomach when your mind and being are so sated with spiritual sustenance?

No chemicals, no preservatives

Secret Service: At this obscure bakery, breads and cookies come just the way you’d want them — fresh, healthy and baked to perfection Namita Kohli The Indian Express Tuesday , July 04, 2006
At about eight in the morning, the smell of freshly baked bread beckons you. Follow the trail and you end up at a humble bakery with typically yellow and soot-covered walls at Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Once inside, you discover other temptations: spongy chocolate and coconut cakes, ginger and peanut biscuits and, of course, breads. All of which find their way into little packets worth Rs 10-20 at the grocery store in the Ashram premises.
Besides being freshly prepared every day, what makes these products special is the ingredients. ‘‘No chemicals, no preservatives, no eggs and no artificial colours or flavours are used,’’ says Shyamanand, who not only heads the bakery but also teaches baking to students at the ashram in six-month courses. ‘‘Just some soda does the trick,’’ he adds.
So every morning, Shyamanand, along with four of his students, bakes close to 25 kg of cakes — chocolate, apple, banana or peach — nearly 100-120 biscuits in atta, elaichi, kaju and jira flavours, and breads in good numbers.
The bakery is attached to the Mother’s International School, and that is where a good share of its clientele comes from. ‘‘Right now, the school is closed. Once it opens, there’s a lot of rush. The children especially love the chocolate cake we bake,’’ says Shyamanand, as he fetches a fresh batch of breads from the oven.
‘‘Our bread is fortified with atta, while the biscuits, like the special mother biscuits, with besan,’’ informs a plucky Sunil Kumar, a student. People like Kumar undergo a six-month training at the kitchen and bakery, all free of cost. ‘‘I want to join the army after finishing the course here,’’ says the 21-year-old, as he packs the bread to be sent to the store.
At the store, there are always the regulars trooping in for some fresh delights. Says Dr Vijaya Kumar, a resident of Vasant Kunj: ‘‘The breads and cakes are much healthier than the standard fare available in the market. I prefer coming down every two or three days to this place, instead of buying the regular bread from shops.’’ Who says health food is boring?

Monday, July 17, 2006


25 years ago this laboratory was born Partho Indian Express: Monday, July 17, 2006 The writer
It was 1983, my last year in college. I was a good student, a topper. All set to go to the UK for higher studies in literature. And even then, in that heady romanticism of early youth, I recall that the first experience of reading words that were to echo a hundred times in the caverns of my being: man is a transitional being. It was nearly four years later that I returned to Sri Aurobindo and that stupendous theme of his life-work that envisioned man’s ascent to a “divine supermanhood”.
Divine supermanhood? Something had happened when I’d read those words, something that took me more than ten years to figure out. I knew I had found the theme of my life. All that remained then was to set out on the journey and follow the theme to its source. That’s when I came to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi, having “renounced” the everyday life of the world in a fit of existential madness, searching for that Holy Grail of divine supermanhood. But everyone around me was busy living the same mundane existence.
I entered mirambika. Really a playfield that passed itself off as a school. A few rooms that did not look like rooms. Grown-ups that did not look or behave like grown-ups. And children who did look and behave as children. I was told mirambika was a free progress school. Free progress? Oh, that’s Mother’s idea of how education should be, I was told — from the inside out: first awaken the soul in the child, and then work outward, allowing everything else, mind, emotions, body, to be remoulded in the light of the soul. How? Simple, one finds the soul in oneself. And that was the beginning of a lifelong journey. One just finds the soul. And then one plays with children. And things happen.
It is still very simple. Except that grown-ups now look and behave like grown-ups. And children are just beginning to behave a bit like grown-ups. Maybe it’s the times. Maybe it’s Delhi. Maybe it’s the soul itself, following some secret law of its own, working out things of which we have no idea. Because mirambika is not just an education system, it is a laboratory of the future, a laboratory tentatively walking towards divine supermanhood. The writer is a former principal of mirambika, which completed 25 years last

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Failure to offload ‘baggage' some of us have been carrying

Auroville Today November 2005 “There is no fundamental difference” - Alan An introduction to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Auroville relationship
As Mother made clear, the Ashram and Auroville issued from the same high source of inspiration. However, she was often asked to clarify the relationship between the two. As early as her first detailed conversation about Auroville, in June 1965, she stated that neither she nor the Ashram would actually move to Auroville (although she might visit). Auroville, she explained, is “the contact with the outside world”. A few months after the inauguration of Auroville she further clarified, “The Ashram will keep its true role of pioneer, inspirer and guide. Auroville is the attempt towards collective realization.” Thus Mother stressed from the very beginning two of the characteristics which distinguish Auroville from the Ashram – the fact that it is more ‘outward', more involved with the texture and challenges of the ‘real' world, and the emphasis upon collective action as opposed to the more individualistic yoga of the Ashram.
The first settlers in Auroville were predominantly Western, and many were strongly influenced by the anti-authoritarian attitudes of the 1960s. In appearance, attitude and behaviour they represented a totally different world from that of the highly-regulated, overwhelmingly Indian-populated Ashram in Pondicherry . Some Ashramites must have wondered who these strange people were, and why Mother was welcoming them without imposing on them the same admission conditions and discipline as prevailed in the Ashram. Was there, perhaps, a fundamental difference between the ideal of the Ashram and Auroville? Mother replied, “There is no fundamental difference in the attitude towards the future and towards the service of the Divine. But the people of the Ashram are considered to have consecrated their lives to yoga (except, of course, the students...). Whereas in Auroville, the simple goodwill to make a collective experiment for the progress of humanity is sufficient to gain admittance.”
In 1969, she wrote her fullest explication of the Ashram-Auroville relationship for a UNESCO committee. “The task of giving a concrete form to Sri Aurobindo's vision was entrusted to The Mother. The creation of a new world, a new humanity, a new society expressing and embodying the new consciousness is the work she has undertaken. By the very nature of things, it is a collective ideal that calls for a collective effort so that it may be realized in terms of an integral human perfection. The Ashram founded and built by The Mother was the first step towards the accomplishment of this goal. The project of Auroville is the next step, more exterior, which seeks to widen the base of this attempt to establish harmony between soul and body, spirit and nature, heaven and earth, in the collective life of mankind.” And the next year she added, “The Ashram is the central consciousness, Auroville is one of the outward expressions. In both places equally the work is done for the Divine.”
The latter sentence seemed particularly aimed at those who felt that the early Aurovilians were not at all the right material for hastening the advent of a new world. And this was not just the perception of certain Indian Ashramites. In a famous conversation of 10th January, 1970 , Satprem reports an Italian disciple suggesting that the Ashramites should join Aurovilians in building the Matrimandir, “because without the inner force of the people of the Ashram mingling with the Aurovilians, the people from Auroville will remain what they are.” The Aurovilians, he explained, are not “receptive enough to do the work”, they are “full of arrogance, of incomprehension, they only see the outside of things”. He concluded that the “breach” between Auroville and the Ashram could only be healed if the Ashramites and Aurovilians worked together. However, to Satprem's obvious astonishment, Mother replies, “As for myself, I don't find it (the breach) wide enough...It isn't at all the same plane.” And she goes on to explain that she didn't want Ashramites to be infected by the bad habits of some Aurovilians. As if to reinforce this concern, her next message regarding the Ashram-Auroville relationship was precipitated by an Aurovilian misbehaving in the Ashram playground, resulting in a call to ban entry to all Aurovilians.
“Being an Aurovilian is not at all the same thing as being a member of the Ashram and living the Ashram life,” she wrote, and went on to say that only those Aurovilians who had been in the Ashram before the birth of Auroville had the right to attend playground activities. There followed what seemed to be a blizzard of messages from Mother to the Aurovilians on topics like the need to tell the truth, to avoid violence and to go beyond egotistical limitations. When, in March 1972, a fire completely destroyed the Toujours Mieux workshop in Aspirations, Satprem asked her if this was due to “a wrong attitude over there?” “Yes. Oh, they're all quarrelling among themselves! And some even disobey deliberately, they refuse to recognize any authority.”
Interestingly, however, Mother stated that “I do not want to make rules for Auroville as I did for the Ashram.” And even if she was forced to make one exception (regarding drugs), she continued to be, from the point of view of some Ashramites, extremely lenient in her attitude to some Aurovilians, allowing some of them chance after chance to reform their behaviour. She wanted, it seems, the Aurovilians to progress not through obedience to imposed rules, as in the Ashram, but through the practical discovery that the old habits, “like smoking, drinking and, of course, drugs...all that, it is as if you were cutting pieces off your being.” In any case, she said, there would be a natural weeding-out. “The power of the realization – of the sincerity of the realization – is such that it's unbearable to those who are insincere.”
In spite of Mother's strictures and the increasing scepticism of a few Ashramites concerning the viability of the Auroville experiment, throughout these years many Ashramites and students from the Ashram School continued to come to Auroville. Some worked on the Matrimandir, others taught in Aspiration School or helped with physical education.After Mother's passing, however, there was a progressive worsening of the relationship with the main office-holders of the Sri Aurobindo Society (SAS) whom, it was felt, wanted to run Auroville as their personal project. The situation deteriorated to such an extent that, in 1980, the Government of India passed the Auroville (Emergency Provisions) Act, temporarily taking the management of the project out of the hands of the SAS.
The conflict was clearly with the SAS rather than with the Ashram, and throughout this difficult period many Aurovilians and Ashramites continued to visit each other just as before and maintained deep friendships. However, there were incidents which, for some individuals, weakened their links with the other community. For example, the Ashram teachers working at Aspiration School were very distressed when, in the mid 1970s, they were put before an ultimatum which required them to either join Auroville or stop teaching there. Even though the reason had more to do with radical educational theories than opposition to Ashramites, the decision of the Ashram teachers to stop coming reflected their feeling that they were no longer welcome. On the other hand, when the Ashram trustees refused to support the Aurovilians, choosing to remain aloof from the conflict, some Aurovilians felt betrayed. Similarly, those Aurovilians close to Satprem were dismayed by the way they believed the Ashram authorities had mistreated him in pursuit of the Agenda tapes. The publication of Mother's Agenda, which contained strong comments on certain Ashramites and certain aspects of the Ashram, coupled with Satprem's pronouncement that the Ashram was dead, further reinforced a feeling in some Aurovilians that Auroville need have nothing to do with that institution.
In recent years, however, there has been much more interchange between the two communities. This is due to a number of factors. The passing of the Auroville Foundation Act in 1988, which finally took away the right of the SAS to manage Auroville and gave Auroville its own legal status, gave Aurovilians a renewed confidence in their independence and allowed many of the psychological battlements to be dismantled. Then the opening of the Chamber in August, 1991, resulted in a significant increase in the number of Ashramites visiting Matrimandir. A few years later, another bridge was put in place when Savitri Bhavan began inviting Ashramites to give talks to Aurovilians on different aspects of the yoga: these have proved very popular. Alongside this there has been an increasing cultural interchange, of which the recent joint art exhibition is only the latest manifestation. And, of course, new people have joined Auroville who have little knowledge of or interest in the old stories, while former antagonists have gained greater understanding of each other's perspectives over the years.
Obviously, Mother created a very different ethos, or ‘work environment', for the Ashram and Auroville, and sometimes the differences have been misunderstood or over-amplified. Ashramites, for example, have been stereotyped as over-devotional, hidebound by tradition and unwilling to experiment, while Aurovilians have been seen as ‘vital', undisciplined and more interested in outer manifestation than inner development. Partly, this reflects different cultural centres of gravity in the two communities, as well as the failure to offload ‘baggage' some of us have been carrying for many years, if not many lives. It's worth remembering, however, that when Mother talked of the need to be receptive to the new consciousness and to prepare the world for a new creation, she made absolutely no distinction between Auroville and the Ashram. For her, they are clearly one. Home > Journals & Media > Journals > Auroville Today > November 2005 Current issue Archive copies Auroville Adventure