Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ram Mohan was doing something different

The second half of Skholiast‘s interview with Amod Lele
Unquestioning acceptance of received wisdom is not philosophy, though faith-seeking-understanding is. I’m not enough of an anthropologist to say whether this is a human universal, but I suspect not, in that challenging received wisdom can be something of a luxury; when it’s a real question whether you can feed your family, you’ll probably just think what you’re supposed to think, and that’s as much wisdom as you need. 
I find myself quite unimpressed by ideas like “conceptual colonialism” – even when applied to India, but far more so for China and Japan, which were not actually colonized. I’ve long been troubled by the prevalence of, for lack of a better word, white guilt: that is, in this context, the idea that a history of racism and colonialism means that the West and its categories should be assumed wrong, as if racism and colonialism were not things other cultures indulged in when they had the chance. “Philosophy” is of course not a word native to Asia, but neither is any other word in the English language. Translation is always a tricky business, but I think the word “philosophy” in this sense does a fine job of capturing what Rāmānuja and Xunzi and Dōgen are doing. [...]

In some ways my way of really engaging with something is to react against it. And I do find truth often emerges from conflict. That’s another theme I see coming up here, in the questions about Buddhist sectarianism and Ayn Rand: the differences between traditions can be productive in our attempts to find truth. I’ve been talking a lot with another friend who finds my ideas on hermeneutics a little weird, specifically the idea that one reads texts most productively by letting them challenge oneself (he even calls that the “Lele Doctrine”). But that’s certainly been what I’ve found: we need ideas sufficiently different from our own that they shock us enough to react against them (though not so different that we can’t even imagine what their truth would mean). In my experience at least, I’d say that’s how we really learn, that’s how we grow. [...]

And conversely: the scholarship on Asian religions and Asian philosophy for the past thirty, forty years, has increasingly become this mind-numbingly dull drumbeat of a critique of everybody who’s talked about the subject before, of people like Ram Mohan Roy, Vivekananda, Radhakrishnan: saying “Ha, ha, look at these stupid people and how wrong they all got it. Aren’t we so great because we’re so much smarter, and we know the tradition really wasn’t that way?” And yet, the thing about that line of critique is that there’s very rarely any sort of constructive alternative advanced—

S: It doesn’t tell us what they tradition was, just what it wasn’t.

A.L.: Well, they do kind of try to tell us what the tradition was; but what they don’t try to tell us is what the tradition could be. What Roy and Vivekananda, and Walpola Rahula, and Olcott, and [Anagarika] Dharmapala, and all of those people who get taken as whipping-boys today – what they were trying to do was re-invigorate their traditions, and provide them with the resources to be constructive contributors to the dialogue of the world. I read all this stuff from Don Lopez, and all these other people from the past forty years, as basically saying “shut up, go back in your hole, you can’t do that, the real tradition was what was there in 1500” – in a way that closes off that dialogue. It tries to portray these people, people like Vivekananda, as orientalists who had no respect for their tradition. But it seems to me that it’s people like Lopez who have a much deeper disrespect for the tradition, in that they want to pose this radical disjuncture, where the tradition is somehow not allowed to change and update itself.
I think what was really going on – well, the problem with Vivekananda and so on was that they didn’t really have enough of a historical awareness, they weren’t quite willing to admit that they were doing something new. But I think that where we need to go now is a willingness to do something new. Nobody now, or at least, very few people now, and certainly not scholars of Buddhism like Lopez, will ever tell you that Chinese Buddhism is illegitimate because it made all these incredible modifications to Indian Buddhism, to the point that it was completely unrecognizable compared to what the historical Buddha would have taught – even though it did all that. There are many ways in which the gap between Pali Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism is much larger than the gap between Pali Buddhism and the Buddhism of an Olcott or a Dharmapala. They’ll never say that Chinese Buddhism is illegitimate, but they’re so ready to dump on, you know, modern hippie Buddhism, and say, well, that’s illegitimate. Even when it differs less. So part of that philosophical task, of constructive dialogue now, is accepting that some sort of modification of a tradition is a legitimate part of that tradition. While giving the respect that we want to give to the ancients, we should be ready to accept some amount of modification, change, perhaps even modernization, and reasoned differentiation.
And I’m seeing some encouraging signs, in books like Andrew Nicholson’s Unifying Hinduism, and David McMahan’s Making of Buddhist Modernism, where people are saying, for instance: “Yes, what Ram Mohan was doing was something different from what came before him, but he also wasn’t just making it up. He was reading quite widely and thoroughly, he was engaged in the debates of his time, and cognizant of the debates going on in this world that really wasn’t influenced by the British. He was bringing them into this British environment, and made of them something different by doing so, but something that still had a connection to the tradition that came before it.” (The first half of this interview is here) [I am a Buddhist]

Critical Reflections on the Humanities and Social Sciences Posted by larvalsubjects [6] Comments
This article by Clive Hamilton, I think, marks what is at stake in the New Materialisms and some of the Speculative Realisms. The issue is not some hackneyed attempt to champion the sciences and objectivity over meaning, but to draw attention to the material dimensions of how we dwell and live. Today, more than ever, we need to reflect on whether the tools of deconstruction, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, Marxist critical theory, and semiotics are adequate to thinking the world we dwell in and how these theoretical orientations might erase the fundamental materiality of existence. This erasure is so thorough that it’s difficult to even discern when working within these theoretical frames for, after all, one can only see what one can see, and being is here reduced to meaning. This critical reflection is not undertaken to erase these methodologies– quite the contrary –but to mark their limits, note their blindspots, and develop a theoretical frame capable of both preserving what is vital in these forms of thought and of moving beyond those limitations. This is what is at stake in the critique of correlationism. Materiality is not phenomenality, a lived experience, a meaning, nor a text – though it can affect all of these things – but something with its own dynamics and forms of power. We need a form of theory capable of thinking that and that avoids the urge to treat everything as texts, meanings, and correlates of intentions.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sri Aurobindo maps out the structure of the universe

Context, Culture and Worship: The Quest for "Indian-ness" - Page 50
The other instance of an appeal for a religion-less age comes from Sri Aurobindo.... 47 See, S.K. Maitra, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo, Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1941, 1965. appeal made by Bonhoeffer and ...

The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in ... - Page 15
Thomas Berry, ‎Mary Evelyn Tucker - 2009 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
The first is Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950), intellectually one of the most creative of the spiritual personalities of modern ... at Cambridge, where he came under the influence of Henri Berg- son (1859-1941) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844- 1900).

The Hindu Tradition: Readings in Oriental Thought - Page 326
Ainslie T. Embree, ‎William Theodore de Bary - 2011 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
... while the other two, Mohandas Gandhi and Aurobindo Chose, lived lives that at points contradicted normal patterns of both Indian and Western experience. Rabindrandth Tagore (1861-1941) was the son of Debendranath Tagore, who had ...

Living Your Divine Life: Experience God's Glory, Absolute ...
Orest Bedrij - 2009 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Srinivasa, K. R. Sri Aurobindo: A Biography and a History. 2 vols. Pondicherry India, 1980. Stein, Edith. Finite and Eternal ... London: Oxford University Press, lnc., 1941 Tatia, Nathmal. Studies in Jaina Philosophy. Banares, India: Jaina Culture  ...

The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America - Page 157
she wrote to Elsie in 1941. “I can only say that I have faith that because I aspire to reach the Highest I shall one day do so and that I have,” in Aurobindo and the Mother, “the MARGARET WOODROW WILSON “TURNS HINDU” 157.

The Democratic Predicament: Cultural Diversity in Europe and ...
Jyotirmaya Tripathy, ‎Sudarsan Padmanabhan - 2014 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Sri Aurobindo, Human Cycles, Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1962. Strydom, Piet ... The Mahatma and the Poet: Letters and Debates Between Gandhi and Tagore 1915–1941, New Delhi: National Book Trust, 1997a [1928]. ———, 'The  ...

Indian Writing in English - Page 202
Ed. Mohit K. Ray - 2003 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
In their vast spiritual journeys, Sri Aurobindo maps out his version of the structure of the universe and its meaning. ... Rabindranath Tagore Tagore (1861-1941) is one of the Finest products of Indian renaissance, who comes closest to Sri  ...

Studying Hinduism: Key Concepts and Methods - Page 276
Sushil Mittal, ‎Gene Thursby - 2009 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Aurobindo, Sri [Aurobindo Ghose]. 1997. Karmayogin: Political Writings and Speeches 1909–1910. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Aurobindo, Sri [Aurobindo Ghose]. ... 1941–42 (1348 Bengali era) [1888].Dharmatattva. Calcutta: Bangiya  ...

The Persistence of Religion: An Essay on Tantrism and Sri ... - Page 132
Kees W. Bolle - 1971 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Zurich: Rascher, 1941. Kapali Sastry, T.V., Further Lights: The Veda and the Tantra. Pondicherry: Ashram, 1951. — — , Lights on the Ancients. Madras: SriAurobindo Library, 1954. Keith, A. B., The Religion and Philosophy of the Vedas and  ...

100 Significant Pre-Independence Speeches
H. D. Sharma - 2012 - ‎Preview
The Ashram grew around Aurobindo and he found enough time to meditate, do yoga, think deeply and write. ... Whenfreedom cameon the 15August 1941(it happened tobe Aurobindo's seventy fifth birthday) he was requested by the All India  ...

Space-Time Continuum - Page 119
As the above poem shows, the point in infinities of Aurobindo is not a stable one, but rather a vibrant one, infused with the vitality to ... Quoted by F. O. Mattheissen, American Renaissance (1941; London: Oxford University Press, 1966), p.

Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin-de-Siècle ... - Page 120
Leela Gandhi - 2006 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
As late as 1941, frustrated by his sense of the mishandling by Congress officials of the "Cripps Proposals," which offered dominion status to India in exchange for the promise of unequivocal commitment to the allied war effort, Sri Aurobindo  ...

Structural Depths of Indian Thought: - Page 545
P. T. Raju - 1985 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Aurobindo is acquainted with the evolutionist philosophies of the West, but is dissatisfied with them, for they cannot explain why ... Rabindranath Tagore Tagore (1861-1941) is not an academical philosopher, although trained in philosophy,  ...

The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy - Page 179
Jay L. Garfield, ‎William Edelglass - 2011 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Aurobindo's The Renaissance in India (1918) is a classic from this period. He sees the Indian ... Two cultural icons, nonacademic philosophers with pan-Indian and 

New Educational Philosophy - Page 205
The Mother joined in 1941. The Ashram became world famous. It became the centre of integral yoga and integral education. Sri Aurobindo's Dream of Indian Renaissance. Bharat is Devabhumi (the land of gods), Aryabhumi and Punyabhumi.

India Divided 1947
K. C. Yadav - 1998 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
described, in the later half of 1941, as one of unwillingness to part with power, making the minorities problem an ... It is unnecessary to refer in detail to the ill- fated Cripps Mission of 1942, except to say that Sri Aurobindo (whom I had not seen  ...

Christian Inculturation in India - Page 32
Paul M. Collins - 2007 - ‎Preview
The other instance of an appeal for a religion- less age comes from SriAurobindo . He argues that the time had ... (London, 1971), pp. 280-1, 282. 40 See, S.K. Maitra, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo, ( Pondicherry, 1941.

Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics, and Power in the Study of ... - Page 348
Hugh B. Urban - 2007 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Sri Aurobindo on Himself and the Mother. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Asram Press, 1953. The Supramental Manifestation and Other Writings. ... Town and Country, April 1941, pp. 50, 53, 92-93, 98-100. Gordon, James The Golden Guru: The  ...

Philosophy The Power Of Ideas - Page 604
... (1770-1831) John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) v Manelouise Janssen-Jurnet (1941- ) James Rachels (1941-2003) Susan ... (1659-1719) Rabindranath Tagore (1861 -1941) Mohandas Ghandi (1869- 948) Aurobindo Ghose 1872-1950) Ca os  ...

Approaching Humankind: Towards an Intercultural Humanism
Jörn Rüsen - 2013 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
It may be asked why Aurobindo's ideas, essentially spiritual in nature, should be regarded as a form of humanism. It maybe said that his conception of ... a deep human significance. Rabindranath Tagore Tagore (1861–1941), a poet, artist and ...

Love and the Idea of Europe - Page 172
IV} published between 1933 and 1939, and translator of Shri Aurobindo and D.H. Lawrence. 53. ... moved to Marseilles, where Simone began to contribute to Cahiers, which published her essay on the Iliad in December 1940- January1941.

Recovering Liberties: Indian Thought in the Age of ...
C. A. Bayly - 2011 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Equally, Recovering Liberties contributes to the rapidly developing field of global intellectual history, demonstrating that the ideas we associate with major Western thinkers – Mills, Comte, Spencer and Marx – were received and ...

Women and Men in Love: European Identities in the Twentieth ...
Luisa Passerini - 2012 - ‎Preview
... of poetry (Battements I, II, III, IV) published between 1933 and 1939, and translator of Shri Aurobindo and D.H. Lawrence. ... During the period from September 1941 to the end of the year, Weil wrote two essays on science especially for  ...

Evolutionary Faith: Rediscovering God in Our Great Story - Page 12
1941), John Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829), and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin ( 1881–1955). ... profound than our Western approaches; this strand is eminently represented by the great Indian philosopher and mystic Sri Aurobindo (1939, 1963).

Science and the Indian Tradition: When Einstein Met Tagore
36 G.H. Langley, Sri Aurobindo, Royal India and Pakistan Society, n.d. 37Aurobindo, TheLife Divine, Book 1, Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1970, p. 45. ... Modern India and the West, Oxford: Oxford University Press,1941, p.242.

Foundations and Applications of Indian Psychology - Page 76
An introduction to the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry: Sri AurobindoAshram. (Original work published 1941). Mathew, R. J. (2001). The true path: Western science and the quest for Yoga. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing.

Human Values and Education - Page 529
Aruna Goel, ‎S. L. Goel - 2005 - ‎Preview
Ghose, Aurobindo, Hymns of the Atris, Arya 2-3-4, Pondicherry; 1915-16- 17. Ghose, Aurobindo, Life Value of Indian Philosophy, CR 63, May, 1937. Ginsberg ...Isha Upanishad, Ed. Ghose, Aurobindo, Arya Publishing House, Calcutta, 1941 .