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Saturday, August 15
Sunday, June 7
by Debashish on June 7, 2009 04:46PM (PDT)
This is an annotated introduction to the first chapter of a recent book Knowledge and Human Liberation by Ananta Kumar Giri of the Madras Institute of Development Studies. The essay tries to engage Jurgen Habermas and Sri Aurobindo in a thought dialog. The potency of Jurgen Habermas (1929 - ) in a postmodern era has sustained itself due to the questions of human liberty, equality, ethics and understanding he has prioritized over those of knowledge, identity or experience. Habermas’ most powerful contribution to contemporary thought has been in the theorization of the “public sphere.” In elaborating its implications, Habermas focuses on what he calls “communicative reason.” Communicative rationality, according to him, is "oriented to achieving, sustaining and reviewing consensus - and indeed a consensus that rests on the intersubjective recognition of criticisable validity claims.” This discipline of intersubjective practice restores the lifeworld from its fragmentation under ideological or economic (commodified) alien consolidations. Thus Habermas’ communicative speech acts operate under an implicit faith in Human universality and its inevitable collective experience as social and individual knowledge, a continuation of the Enlightenment ideal.
A discplined intersubjective praxis of creative communication can very well be seen as a part of the social realization of an integral spiritual ideal in a plural field. Usually this has not been clearly described or prioritized by scholars and practitioners of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Non-Dualism, the emphasis having been directed towards the articulation of a universal (integral) Psychology, in terms taken from Sri Aurobindo’s own writing. But such denotative asocial descriptions have tended to subjugate phenomenological variety and social/cultural/personal experience. As a consequence, the danger of a totalitarian epistemology in the name (nomos) of Integral Theory has asserted itself with its own institutional disciplinary agents, who have increasingly tended to police out (violently if necessary, as the contemporary controversy related to the recent biography, The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, alarmingly and overwhelmingly demonstrates) all subjective interpretation of the way to this goal, and thus to the possibility of a plural realization of the Integral Yoga.
Against this background, the comparative and cross-cultural dialog between Habermas and Sri Aurobindo initiated by Ananta Giri is a salutary intervention. Using each to critique the limits and possibilities of the other, Giri shows how the rational assumptions of knowledge in the Enlightenment ideal lead to aporia which have been amply documented by postmodern thinkers, but which receive a higher validation through the transcendental ontology and praxis of Sri Aurobindo; just as the susceptibility to ontotheological abstraction and totalism of Sri Aurobindo’s phenomenology and praxis when reduced to an Integral Psychology, Integral Theory or Integral Religion can be safeguarded for a plural space through disciplines of intersubjective communication as developed by Habermas. more »
Monday, May 18
by Debashish on May 18, 2009 09:43PM (PDT)
Savitra's proposal is formulated in response to the aggressive and illegitimate tactics (whether considered in terms of civil or spiritual society) employed against Peter Heehs in the case pertaining to his recent biography The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, but it is not limited to or exclusively directed at the individuals mentioned in this case. He intends the Principle of this Proposal would apply to all -- regardless of age, gender, culture or nationality -- who violate basic civil and spiritual rights and codes of conduct. more »
Saturday, May 16
Wednesday, May 6
by Debashish on May 6, 2009 02:03PM (PDT)
Two of those involved in allegations and support of censorship, Ranade and Pandey, are invitees to this year’s AUM conference. They have both responded to our letter with justifications of their actions. Ranade has reiterated in his letter a list of his charges against the author and his book. Ranade also continues to stand firmly behind the writ to ban the book.
Friday, April 24
by Rich on April 24, 2009 02:08PM (PDT)
Reference: 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution
This is the first part of a longer meditation on the future bodies. I have entitled this section “Goodbye To All That” which is the title of Robert Graves autobiography in which he recounts his experiences in the trenches in WWI. What he is saying goodbye to is the passing of an era: of the naive, carefree, class based culture of Edwardian England, which did not survive the war. Sri Aurobindo wrote the passages referenced here at about the time the Edwardian era ended and the great war began. Because our views and valorization of nature are cultural constructions, to appreciate why Sri Aurobindo extrapolates a certain form of naturalism into the future body we must first excavate his conceptions of “what is natural.”
The context of his writing referenced here on evolution and the future body seems to flow naturally out of a post-romantic protestant view of Nature he must have been exposed to growing up in England which lived on well into the Edwardian era. To the British upper classes it was a view of nature as pristine, which they enjoyed in well manicured English country gardens, not yet smeared with the blood of the trenches. Above all nature was clearly distinct from the machinery given to us by culture.
In forming his view of nature Sri Aurobindo took account of Ruskin's, Carlyle's, and Arnold's critique of industrialism. This view of nature was certainly valuable for sacramentalizing nature at a time when the Industrial Revolution was rapidly desecrating it. Today however, the interpenetration of nature by information technologies and genetic engineering has added enough complexity to what it means to be natural/human that we can no longer escape environments which are increasingly mediated by technology. Electricity undergirds much of our phenomenological experience of the world, bio-technology sustains our physical presence in it. In such a brave new world the continuity of the already developed evolutionary form with all its biological naturalism seems to be a reality to which we have already said goodbye
But, what is important for us in Sri Aurobindo's vision of the future body .... more »
Sunday, April 19
by Debashish on April 19, 2009 12:18PM (PDT)
Dear SCIY readers,
Because Sraddhalu Ranade and Alok Pandey have been invited to the US for the AUM conference this year, we wish to place certain facts about them before those who may be considering support or sponsorship of these people or their projects. These facts concern their involvement in what we regard as promotion of religious fundamentalism, censorship, distortion of truth, and defiance of Ashram rules and authority carried out by Ranade and Pandey recently, so that you may assess any possible support for them.
To make people aware of the misleading activities of Ranade, Pandey, and others, and to increase awareness of an unfortunate growing trend among some who claim to be followers of Sri Aurobindo, a website has been started website, http://www.iyfundamentalism.info. more »
Sunday, January 25
by Debashish on January 25, 2009 04:02PM (PST)
In response to the exaggerated outrage of the anti-Lives proponents, Larry Seidlitz had penned his mild-mannered detailed review of the work, which was carried earlier in sciy (An Examination of the Criticism Against The Lives of Sri Aurobindo). Here we field another review which while eschewing the colorful hyperboles of "Mahakali's wrath"-mongers, attempts a nuanced reading sympathetic to the sentiments some of the aggrieved. more »
Saturday, January 10
by Rich on January 10, 2009 09:55AM (PST)
There is a movement of folks in Pondicherry who are so upset by the biography that Peter Heehs has written entitled The Lives of Sri Aurobindo that they have instigated a movement to discredit the author. Some people have even become so embolden as to try and have him ejected from the Ashram itself. The folks who have spurred this on have in the course of their attacks on Mr. Heehs openly distorted his text by decontextualizing portions of it or by a series of selective omissions to make it suit their own interpretation of events that facilitate their own story they wish to tell.
Because of this movement I have decided to post all the portions of the text that have been decontextualized or omitted and reprint them with corrections to demonstrate how the text from the book actually reads in its entire context. The portions of the text that have been lifted to suit the purposes of those with an agenda against the author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo are in black, the missing portions of the text that are needed to give the entire context of the narrative are in red. As everyone will see there is a lot of red in the text.: more »
by Debashish on January 10, 2009 09:45AM (PST)
by Debashish on January 10, 2009 09:35AM (PST)
Alan of Auroville Today interviewed Peter Heehs, author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, which has created such strong reactions among followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother at the Sri Aurobindo ashram and elsewhere. In this short, but pointed interview, one gets to hear Peter's voice on his book and its controversies. more »
Sunday, November 23
by Debashish on November 23, 2008 09:12PM (PST)
"The secret of success in Yoga is to regard it not as one of the aims to be pursued in life, but as the one and only aim, not as an important part of life, but as the whole of life." (Sri Aurobindo) more »
by Debashish on November 23, 2008 07:50PM (PST)
What is the post-human destiny to which we are called as humans in contemporary times? In this transcript of a talk given for the AUM conference in Los Angeles in 2003, Debashish Banerji compares Nietzsche's call for the Overman with that announced by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother to point to the similarities and differences. How can we pick our way through the maze of choices held up at this end-time of human becoming? Is it by remaining complacent or by using our wills or by surrender to a greater force than ours? And if so, what force - the vitalism of an unconscious Nature-force, the deceptive "universality" of the world market or an unpredictable future which calls our arduous attention? These and similar questions are posed and discussed in this article. more »
Tuesday, November 11
by Rich on November 11, 2008 01:34PM (PST)
From the beginning of time man has been preoccupied with the phenomenon of Consciousness. His understanding has found its expression in the religious and ritualistic texts.
The Aitareya Brahmana 25. 7 depicts Vedic ritual, agnihotra, as consisting of three priests: hotar, adhvaryu, and udgatar, reciting texts from Rig, Yajur and Sama Vedas, corresponding to the three spheres of the Sacrifice: earth, air and heaven, respectively. The fourth one—brahman, who is silent during the performance, observing all the actions as well as listening to all words uttered by the priests. His function is to be a witness of all what is happening and in case of some imperfection in action or in speech to cure and correct it in his mind, praya-citta.... more »
Monday, October 20
by Rich on October 20, 2008 07:20PM (PDT)
Due to the controversy over The Lives of Sri Aurobindo with many in the Aurobindo Ashram either screaming loudly or conspiring secretly to ban the book, I thought it was a good idea to put some context to the issue by exploring the history of book censorship. So I am reprinting here a list of some of the more notable banned or challenged books from the 20th Century. Its a history which unfortunately we seemed doomed to repeat in the 21st. more »
Tuesday, October 7
by Debashish on October 7, 2008 07:17PM (PDT)
... The personal yoga of Sri Aurobindo, as he himself once characterized it, was an "incalculable" one, leading from realization to realization in a journey without end. Through his life, Sri Aurobindo attempted to chart this journey in the form of a darshana (or philosophy) and a yoga (a process leading to experience and transformation). His earliest formulation to himself of this journey with its goals and processes is what he called the Sapta Chatusthaya (Seven Quartets) which form the background to his private notes to himself of his own yogic progress, kept mostly between 1912-1920 and now publshed as The Record of Yoga. Between 1914-1920, he wrote most of his major works in the serialized journal, Arya, where he outlined his yoga, philosophy of evolution and social philosophy in terms which may also be thought of as contemporaneous with the Record of Yoga. Particularly, in his principal work on yoga, The Synthesis of Yoga, the fourth part, the Yoga of Self-Perfection, can be thought of as a yoga of transformation, a new formulation for the future which followed the achievements of the more traditional yogas of Works, Knowledge and Divine Love, comprising respectively the first three parts of Sri Aurobindo's synthesis in this text. This Yoga of Self-Perfection can largely be correlated with the Sapta Chatusthaya and thus, the Record of Yoga.
Later, after 1926, we have Sri Aurobindo's Letters on Yoga and later still, after 1932, further revisions to his other texts, including the Synthesis of Yoga and the Life Divine. In these writings, Sri Aurobindo introduces a new terminology and what may seem new emphases to his yoga and darshana.
Richard Hartz, who works at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram archives, has studied Sri Aurobindo's texts and revisions intensively as an editor of his Complete Works and takes a historical view of the development of Sri Aurobindo's yoga and writing. Here, he raises and tries to answer some of the questions pertaining to the changes and revisions in Sri Aurobindo's understanding and teaching, by looking at the Record of Yoga, the Yoga of Self-Perfection and other key texts of Sri Aurobindo such as the Life Divine and Savitri. He also considers what may be the special contribution of Sri Aurobindo to the Indian tradition of yoga and touches on the part paid by Vivekananda as a precursor. ... more »
Friday, August 8
by Debashish on August 8, 2008 07:36PM (PDT)
This article attempts to sketch out Sri Aurobindo's contribution to the future of humanity as carried in his major texts. In doing so, it also tries to underline the cross-cultural nature of these texts and the disciplinary redefinitions implicit in them. more »
Friday, May 2
by Rich on May 2, 2008 09:38AM (PDT)
Available Today May 2nd 2008. "Here are details that are not only reliable but transparent in letting their sources speak. Throughout we hear the voices of Sri Aurobindo and his contemporaries. Peter Heehs has written the definitive biography and a superb introduction to the life and thought of Sri Aurobindo." — Stephen Phillips, professor of philosophy and Asian studies, University of Texas at Austin more »
A Review of Dipesh Chakrabarty's "Provincializing Europe" by Amit Chaudhuri (London Review of Books) Debashish
AntiMatters vol 3 no 4 is out koantum
Classicism, post-classicism and Ranjabati Sircar’s work: re-defining the terms of Indian contemporary dance discourses by Alessandra Lopez y Royo Debashish
LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji Debashish
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care - Bernard Stiegler