Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Greece could be thought of as West Asia: A troubled history from Schelling to Wilber

Purushottama: Schelling and Sri Aurobindo on Good and Evil by ... By debbanerji
In this book chapter from
Jason M. Wirth's The Conspiracy of Life: Meditations on Schelling and His Time, the legacy of Indology in Schelling's work is explored through a comparative meditation on Sri Aurobindo's Essays on the Gita. […]
Schelling’s primary access to the Bhagavad-Gita, his most cherished Indian text, came to him
through the translations by two of his former colleagues and friends, the Schlegel Brothers. August Schlegel, the first husband of Schelling
’s beloved first wife Caroline, was the first German to receive a chair of Sanskrit studies in Bonn and had translated the Gita into Latin. Friedrich Schlegel, author of the influential yet problematic 1808 Uber die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier, with which Schelling was already engaged in the Freedom essay, translated the Gita into German.
Contrary to the tendency to elevate the West to the status of the only properly philosophical set of cultures and the true children of the Greeks, Schelling discovered the Indian heritage buried within the Greeks. ”Perhaps there are still strongly devout souls who are inclined to derive . . . the Greek teachings on the Gods from India. One could certainly not refute such a belief ” (II/2, 465). For Schelling, Greek mythology originated in India, and hence Greek mythology and, eventually, Greek philosophy should be considered a flower of South Asia. Indeed, Schelling implied, correctly I think, that in a profound way, Greece could be thought of as West Asia. Certainly the assumption about this proximity had long faded, and Schelling was enthusiastic about reinvigorating the dialogue. In 1808 Schelling wrote to August Schlegel and argued that an entire Academy for Asian Studies should be founded and that a formal mission should be dispatched to the East to facilitate these studies.15 […]
Aurobindo, following the Gita, named this belonging together of the three potencies, Purushottama “The impersonal Brahman is not the very last word, not the utterly highest secret of our being. . . . God is an ever unmanifest Infinite ever self-impelled to manifest himself in the finite” (EG, 124).
Brahman is both the body and the nonbody, both kshara and akshara. “To see that we have to look through its silence to the Purushottama, and he in his divine greatness possesses both the Akshara and the Kshara; he is seated in all immobility, but he manifests himself in the movement and in all the actions of cosmic nature” (EG, 125). The secret that once revealed brings forth the s;anti, the peace beyond peace, that only bhakti, only love, can produce, can be said in the word Purusottama or what Schelling once called early in his thinking, die Weltseele, the world soul.
At the very end of the Philosophy of Mythology lectures, Schelling claimed that the aim of philosophy was not preparation for state examinations, but a vitalization of spirit so that one “could stand before the tear [der Ris] and be afraid of no appearance” (II/2, 673). It is to awaken to the dance of God, to love Maya as the play or lila of the Good. This is the beginning of what Schelling called “philosophical religion,” that is, not the capacity to sublimate the history of religion in a great pantheon of spiritual accomplishments, but the capacity of reason to trace the unprethinkable life of its Other, the life always still to come, the life that emerges in “complete independence of reason” (I/11, 250).
For Schelling, the aim of thinking is finally, a kind of Nirvana, found, if rarely, even in philosophy. “This ocean of becoming is only the outer appearance of the God that comes forth in separated qualities.” Yet inwardly this God, like all humans who know Nirvana, who are empty of substantialistic essence, “remains, underneath all of the mutability of its external existence, inwardly equal to itself in deep calm, a heart full of love and affection for creatures” (II/2, 520). God’s creatures, having passed the test of the separation of forces, seek to unite with it in its original nothingness and emptiness. This union in nothingness is the rebirth of what Schelling called in The Ages of the World  “the will that wills nothing” (AW, 239). This uncoercive, philosophical will can lead the way to that difficult Freedom beyond dogma and creed, beyond totalizing first principles, where one can love all Indias, all creatures, all places, and all times.

[Mr. Trivedi has an empirically demonstrated capacity to alter the atomic and molecular structure of phenomena simply through his conscious intentionality. Ken Wilber]
Wilber has recently endorsed another guru, Trivedi, including the latter’s magical powers. This blog post questions the endorsement and raises some significant points. But I especially like Julian’s comment to the post, mainly because they echo many of my own concerns in an IPS thread exploring the same: the naive acceptance of absolute enlightenment based on consciousness as primary to the universe tied to a metaphysics of transcendent spirit, all of which feed into Wilber’s delusions of grandeur. This seems rampant in so-called integral circles and is hardly “postmetaphysical.”

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