Monday, September 14, 2020

Śaṅkara never refers to any experiences of his own

And while Śaṅkara was perhaps nondualism's purest and most famous exponent, it was taken up by many others in various ways – including by very different enemies of Śaṅkara. The later theistic thinker Rāmānuja wanted to assert against Śaṅkara that the plurality of things in the world is real, and yet he accepted Śaṅkara's basic nondualism: his philosophical system was called Viśiṣṭādvaita, differentiated or qualified nondualism. He aimed to produce a harmonious synthesis: the plurality of the world is not an illusion, as Śaṅkara would have it, but the parts of the divine One.

Now while Rāmānuja could be harshly critical of Śaṅkara himself, he remained in Śaṅkara's basic camp of loyalty to the Vedas and especially the Upaniṣads. Śaṅkara had much greater hostility to the Buddhists, who rejected the entirety of the Vedas and Upaniṣads. And yet – here is the striking thing – a very large number of Buddhists themselves accepted nondualism. The Yogācāra school had been taking up some form of nondualism since before Śaṅkara's time, enough that to other Vedāntic thinkers Śaṅkara's school just looked like the Buddhism they were familiar with; for that reason they even called him a "crypto-Buddhist" (pracchanna bauddha).

But it is crucial that most of the thinkers I've named here do not cite experience as the ground of their claims. Wilhelm Halbfass in India and Europe reminds us that Śaṅkara never refers to any experiences of his own; Chinese nondualists like Zhiyi didn't either, according to John McRae and Robert Sharf. But if anything, I think that nondualism's non-experiential provenance gives it more plausibility. That is, nondualism's exponents did not merely see it in an altered state of consciousness, but viewed it as somehow a logical necessity.

Cross-posted at Love of All Wisdom.

Amod Lele | August 30, 2020 at 9:55 pm | URL:


M SIVARAMAKRISHNAN - Spiritual and Corporeal Selves in India: Approaches in …, 2020
… A little later Swami Vivekananda's call for a spiritual regeneration–a new epistemology– helped to cement this identity further. With Sri Aurobindo, an integral, hermeneutic, developed Neo-Vedanta arrived! Page 33. 24 Chapter …

Divine and Divine-Human Speeches of the Devi: The Speech Contexts and the Dynamics of Authority in the Devi Gitas

A Mukhopadhyay - The Authority of Female Speech in Indian Goddess …, 2020
… The paradigm of the authority of Devi's speech that is manifested in the Devi Gitas gets reflected, in the twentieth century, in Aurobindo's epic, Savitri, where Ashwapaty's sadhana, his deep yogic meditation on the Divine Mother …

Two “Devis”, Two “Gurus” Speaking with Authority: Sarada Devi and Anandamayi Ma

A Mukhopadhyay - The Authority of Female Speech in Indian Goddess …, 2020
This chapter re-contextualizes the female gurus in Hinduism within the traditions of celebrating Devi's speech as encapsulating the ultimate spiritual authority. The female guru is often seen by her...

Modifying Masculinity: Tantric Culture, Female Speech and Reframed Masculinities

A Mukhopadhyay - The Authority of Female Speech in Indian Goddess …, 2020
… She is not just the Word that is possessed and utilized by men; rather, she is the mover of the words spoken by men. In Sri Aurobindo's Mother, we come across a continuous insistence on the aspirant's complete surrender to the divine feminine …


PA BLITSTEIN - The Historical Journal
… And precisely because this renaissance was not European, it may have inspired Toynbee's 'multiple renaissances' thesis. Aurobindo Ghose (or Sri Aurobindo,  an important nationalist activist and, after the s, a spiritual leader – is a good example …

[PDF] Ken Wilber's Problematic Relationship to Science

F Visser - INTEGRAL REVIEW, 2020
… to Spirit. In later works he reversed these terms (following Sri Aurobindo), with involution being the prior movement from Spirit to maya and evolution being the opposite and subsequent movement from maya to Spirit. (Wilber …

[HTML] Gandhi on Caturvarṇa and Niṣkāma Karma: A Re-interpretation

ER Mitra - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 2020
… This reading, while borrowing heavily from Shri Aurobindo's reading of Caturvarṇa, will seek to give it a more neutral and expansive direction, shorn of all associated suggestions of intransigence and empirical contingencies …

Cosmos and Consciousness: The Metaphysical Alternatives

RC Pradhan - Metaphysics of Consciousness, 2020
… Our universe cannot be conceived if we do not include these realities in the constitution of the universe. 9.4 Creation and Cosmic Consciousness: Sri Aurobindo and Nagel … 9.11 Mind and Spirit: The Cosmic Teleology in Sri Aurobindo's Metaphysics …

Matter, Life and Mind: Setting the Boundaries of the Mind in Advaita Vedanta

RC Pradhan - Metaphysics of Consciousness, 2020
… place in the universe. Mind is the most visible face of the universe in that the universe appears to be pervaded by the mind and consciousness (Sankara 1997a, b; Sri Aurobindo 1973) in its basic structure. Besides mind, there 

'Passive Resistance'in India, 1905–09

D Hardiman - The Nonviolent Struggle for Indian Freedom, 1905-19
… The important contribution of the Bengali nationalist, Aurobindo Ghose, in the development of this strategy is analyzed … The important contribution of the Bengali nationalist, Aurobindo Ghose, in the development of this strategy is analyzed …

[PDF] Exploring the Horizons of Change: A Study of Baby Kamble's The Prisons We Broke

A Narula
… Indian nationalism. However, in the post colonial era, the dalits soon understood that their culture was distinctly different from that of the caste Hindu … Kamble emphasises about the impact of two movies Sant Tukaram …

RC Pradhan - Metaphysics of Consciousness, 2020
… the engaged Self. Thus we are at the beginning of the new era in the philosophy of Self or consciousness because of the importance of the embodied consciousness in understanding man and the world. In Indian philosophy …

Monday, August 31, 2020

What led to ten centuries of decline

Mirra Alfassa, disciple of #SriAurobindo better known as 'The Mother' - the hidden freedom fighter for India's Independence. Read her full story at -

On these thoughts, you may enjoy looking at Henri Bergson's 'Creative evolution' and the Elan Vital. Also Sri Aurobindo's treatment of the Vedanta from a life affirming and evolutionary perspective.
I can suggest that universal consciousness is purely instinctual as opposed to self authoring and therefore non intercedent or participatory at our 'level'. At the 'god' level, consciousness does not plan, reflect or meta-cognize.

Hard to say. Gebser's drew from D.T. Suzuki's Zen on arationality, acknowledged Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga. 
You could also go back to William James, re: post-rationalism. 
But Gebser does develop a robust, phenomenological description for integral arationality in his work.

If you're interested in cosmological alternatives to mechanistic materialism, there are no better sources than Schelling & Whitehead.
In this dialogue, @aufgehendeRest (Christopher Satoor) & I discuss their historical context & continued relevance today

This year is the 250th birth anniversary of the great racist philosopher Hegel. Please do yourselves a favor, Indians, and read about Hegel’s force of history, the vigor in a civilization to churn the dialectic of change, and how Hegel thought Indians are devoid of that vitality.

This is Bishop Robert Caldwell, celebrated missionary and scholar, who published in 1856 the "Comparative grammar of Dravidian or South Indian Languages". 
It has a large appendix devoted to racist theories. In this thread, I will discuss them.
Bishop Caldwell might have long been dead, along with the British Empire of which he was a servant, but his theories about the Dravidian race are an active force in Indian politics. They are the mainstream dogma in books and academia.
But many people have not read them at all.

In order to understand our present predicament with any degree of accuracy, the present-day thinkers, scholars, academics and bureaucrats do require a holistic understanding of where the story began, at the turn of independence.

Book Review by Dr. Pingali Gopal: The Indian Renaissance, Sanjeev Sanyal (@sanjeevsanyal) looks at what led to ten centuries of decline and also examines the economic and social forces that are working together to transform India. @IndicAcademy #BookReview

Archives | Gandhi advocated that the untouchable castes give up meat-eating altogether. Yet he never asked the Brahmins and Baniyas who stood behind his “cow service” to graze cows or try their hand at leatherwork or agriculture. 
Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd:

Environmentalism in Hindu Thought Part II by Rahul Goswami (@rahul_goa): The Hindu View of Nature and the Environment. #Hinduism #Environment @IndicAcademy

Among the many things to fix democracy under a new administration, I would put reform of the federal bureaucracy near the top of the list:

Viruses are masters of coercion, @DavidEnard tells @kncukier. “They’re really like pirates hijacking a boat.” Listen to our "Babbage" podcast on how viruses have shaped the world—and humanity

Bollywood is Pakistan’s soft power. Narrative of evil, violent, superstitious Hindus constantly pushed. Even movies which cloak itself as “nationalist” featuring India’s armed forces subtlety push Pakistan agenda. Bollywood needs annihilation. If #SSR case can lead to it, good.

Missionaries come claiming to "save" natives from "social problems."
In India, the narrative is "caste" to hide the $billion resources of the evangelical war machine.
Africa was converted in the last 50 years with no "caste" It is still reeling from it.

"History will tell you that there’s always a thirst and a search for prophets at a time when there’s turbulence and transition" —@peterfrankopan 
Check out our history book recommendation interviews—370 published so far and counting...

Lest we forget that white supremacy and racial injustice are still endemic in America, we need to remember the Colfax massacre of 1873 and the lasting harm it wrought, write William Briggs and Jon Krakauer

Monday, August 17, 2020

Eric Weiss was an integral philosopher of Whitehead and Sri Aurobindo

Another teacher of mine, Eric Weiss, died yesterday.

He was an integral philosopher, scholar of A. N. Whitehead and Sri Aurobindo. 

Eric initiated me into the Whitehead mystery school back in my first semester at CIIS in Fall 2008. I was a night owl back then but still dragged

Something about internally related drops of experience perishing into objective immortality in the consequent nature of God... Again, no idea what that might mean at the time,

but the passion in his voice and the vortexes streaming from his eyes had me convinced it was worth trying to figure out. 

Bon voyage, Eric

PS- How auspicious that you passed on Aug 15, which is Sri Aurobindo's birthday as well as the date of the Assumption of Mary.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Probabilistic this-world karma

The fundamental issues are about karma, but they also encapsulate larger issues about Buddhist modernism. I say that the concept of karma is inherently eschatological-theodicean (I’ll say more about these Greek words below); Lele denies this, and says that the concept is inherently only eudaimonistic (another Greek word). Note that I don’t deny that the concept of karma has a eudaimonistic element. Rather, I say that this element by itself isn’t sufficient for what karma means, because the concept of karma necessarily includes eschatology and theodicy. So, the crucial issue is whether can you remove the eschatology-theodicy from the concept of karma and still legitimately claim to be talking about karma. Lele thinks you can, whereas I think you can’t.

What Lele does is to invent a new concept. He deletes the idea that karma operates across former and future lives. This immediately raises the problem of how karma can possibly work, given that many people act in good ways and experience bad results, and act in bad ways and experience
good results. Lele’s answer is that karma works probabilistically: good actions are more likely to produce experienced good results in this life, and bad actions are more likely to produce bad experienced results in this life. Karma is “probabilistic this-world karma.”

I’d call this shwarma, not karma.

If Lele were to say something like this, I’d have no objection (at least not yet). This is what philosophers do, in contrast to historians and philologists. He’d be owning up to cherry picking, and so wouldn’t be trying to have his cake and eat it too

(to mix metaphors). He’d be thinking as a Buddhist and as a cosmopolitanist (in
the philosophical sense of cosmopolitanism I advocate in Why I Am Not a
). I’d say, “I sympathize with your situation, more power to you,
let’s see what you can do, and let’s see how others inside and outside the tradition respond.” For me, the proof would be in the pudding (to add another metaphor).

In the case at
hand, the pudding is “probabilistic this-world karma.” This is the conceptual
engineering we’re being offered. I don’t think it works.

properly speaking applies to a scientific causal model. When we have a causal
model consisting of a set of variables, we can define a probability measure
over propositions about the variables and their values. But what is the model
in the case of eudaimonistic karma? What are the variables and parameters? Unless
we can specify these, we don’t really know what we’re talking about. Are we supposed
to use game theory and decision theory to answer these questions? But these
theories typically abstract away from individual moral virtue, which is the key
concept of eudaimonistic thought. These theories and the concept of karma don’t
seem to fit together very well.

I worry that we’re
dealing with the same kind of scientism that infects much of Buddhist
modernism. By “scientism” I mean using scientific concepts where they’re not
appropriate. “Eudaimonistic karma” is a normative concept. It refers to good
and bad individual mental intentions and actions. Normative concepts operate in
the logical space of reasons—the logical space of being able to justify what
you say in relation to norms and values. The concept of probability, however,
is a descriptive one that operates in the logical space of causes. When you say
“probabilistic karma” you just code switch between the normative and
descriptive languages without helping us to think about their relation.

There are other
problems. As I wrote before, ...

Evan Thompson

elisa freschi | August 11, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Tags: Gananath ObeyesekereStephen Harris | URL:

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Sri Aurobindo's concept of woman

Misc. References

SRI AUROBINDO'S CONCEPT OF WOMAN : A LITERARY ANALYSIS. By. Supervisor : (Prof. 3iala^har (Pane)a,. P. G. Department of English,. Sambalpur ...

Date, Time, Details. 2 Feb 2020. Sunday. 8 AM. Monthly Morning Walk *. 6 PM, AIM Magazine Reading and Discussion. 9 Feb 2020. Sunday. 6 PM. Thematic ...

Along with Sri Aurobindo, the Mother of Sri AurobindoAshram has been a major inspiration behind the founders of the Cultural Integration Fellowship: Mrs. Bina ...

A New Vision of Humanity's Future A selection of readings from the poet, political leader and sage, Sri Aurobindo and his co-worker, Mira Alfassa, will be read ...

Sri Aurobindo has said that – Throughout the Veda it is in the hymns which celebrate this strong and brilliant deity (Agni) that we find those which are the most ...

Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta, on August 15, 1872, at 5:00 am, the hour of dawn. The date is doubly important. Seventy-five years later, on August 15, 1947 ...

Sri Aurobindo Society · June 4, 2019 ·. THE MOTHER'S WORDS ON HER BLESSINGS. "My blessings are very dangerous. They cannot be for this one or for that ...

This is a non-affiliated site, run by and for devotees and followers of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. The site features talks and writings of Alok Pandey and ...

Date, Event. 02/28/2020 6:00 pm - 9:15 pm, South Indian Vegan Dinner and a Movie MATAGIRI SRI AUROBINDO CENTER, Mount Tremper NY. 02/29/2020

Referring to Sri Aurobindo's views on education, the Vice President said that education has to be holistic and it must be enlightening and empowering. “It should ...

Dear Colleagues, and Whit, Namaste
Nor science nor ontology nor a putative account of "spirituality" as if independent of them and of experience, can provide a final answer nor characterization of anything, they can only operate in a certain cognitive framework, which ultimately is that of the embodied mind. This is particularly so in relation to the (putative?) existence and constitution of quales, 

The case of Phi, Golden Mean, is most remarkable in pointing out to this and to a continuity of the embodied mind with that of a universe as if the mind would not be. If you wish, a panpsychism which does not imaginately require a self to sustain the cognitive framework nor for the universe at large to be such.This is what science as it stands on dualism actually does, and purportedly, quantum mechanics has broken the spell.

In other terms, as if the universe would have a design which can be done whether a partial subject is the case or not, or still the subject paradoxically excluded at large as the universe itself. Here the paradox arises from the joint continuity already mentioned, and the imaginative act of making this continuity redundant if not superfluous. For dualism, there is no such paradox since there is no such continuity, and thus, in the dualistic setting, science is "just so". So too is its ontology.
Diego Lucio Rapoport

To view this discussion on the web visit

Hi Deigo,
Can science account for the golden mean being beautiful, or is this akin to the beauty we often find in symmetries (and other geometric patterns), even those which become apparent through science?

There are science-like explanations, such as that we prefer symmetries just because symmetric faces and bodies are clues to genetic fitness. But beyond just-so stories, does science have any purchase on beauty at all? And ... should it? If it should, how should it develop it?
Best, Whit

Dear Colleagues, Namaste
That science has a limited conception of reality is beyond dispute, but this still misses that it further fails short of even mentioning the imaginal domain and its articulation as and in experience. This requires transcending duality, actually a logophysics, rooted in the Klein Bottle metaform.

The issue, as i see it, is not that science cannot account for aesthetics, which is not altogether correct (the Golden Mean), but rather that as has been developed following Plato's rejection of supradualism in the Presocratics, it has been hell bent in appropiation of Nature and directed to war.

When one reads that even the apologetics of music by Plato is in his own words a psyop medium to war, plus all the blabla about "beauty", then we are fully slapped hard into realising how deep this has gone from the very beginnings of this misappropiation. 
Diego Lucio Rapoport

Modern science reveals an extremely limited conception of reality, and should not be interpreted as explaining the whole story. Science may be able to quantify and predict certain phenomena, but it cannot account for the quality of beauty that this phenomena evokes within the observer. 
Humbly in service, 
Krishna Keshava Das
Serving Assistant
Princeton Bhakti Vedanta Institute of Spiritual Culture and Science

Living Organism ultimately has the Concept as its Substance
Śrīpād Bhakti Mādhava Purī Mahārāja, Ph.D. (Serving Director of Princeton Bhakti Vedanta Institute of Spiritual Culture and Science, NJ, USA: )

The living organism internally assimilates itself and produces itself. This self-consumption and self-production is its metabolism, by which it anabolizes and catabolizes, creates and destroys its own cellular substructure in order to maintain its own superstructural integrity. Likewise, the superstructural system assimilates the outer environment of which it is an integral participant. It both consumes and produces the environment in which it lives, but on a localized scale, unlike the totality of its destructive and constructive activity that occurs within itself. Reproduction is a production of itself as a totality but in a localized portion of the environment. It is a process of preservation of the species. 

Its inner metabolic process is the preservation of its particularity. Its assimilation and defense against the environment is the preservation of its individuality. And the reproduction of itself as a species is the preservation of its universality. The particular, individual and universal aspects of the living process are characteristic of what is called a Concept. A Concept has three aspects: universal, particular and individual. For example, in biology we speak of genus, species and specimen. Mammal is a genus (general or universal), whereas tiger is a particular species or kind of mammal, and the individual tiger that we meet in the jungle is a specimen. All three of these aspects are required in order to completely specify the individual identity of whatever is experienced.

The living organism, therefore, ultimately has the Concept as its substance when it is comprehended completely. Thus, the categories of understanding that seek to fix identities in their identity (e.g. A=A, B=B, etc.) cease to be applicable to the living organism whose participants do not possess isolated identities but are identified only in their mutual relations. Unlike chemical objects, the participants of a biological system are produced by as well as productive of the other participants.

United News of India-22-Feb-2020
She motivated Kayasree to become an engineer in future and take care of the Bahour lake as a custodian adding that the Sri Aurobindo Society will provide the ..

United News of India-20-Feb-2020
Puducherry, Feb 21 (UNI) A large number of devotees from different parts of the country and abroad thronged the Sri Aurobindo Ashram here on the occasion of ...

Times of India-18-Feb-2020
An audio recording of the Mother reading selected portions from the book, 'The Mother' by Sri Aurobindo will be played during the meditation session.

The Indian Express-17-Feb-2020
Guruji was also influenced by Sri Aurobindo's teaching that for the creator of the universe, Ma Bhagwati, we must become virtuous souls who can spread love ...

Supramental Consciousness in its embryonic state - February 28, 1968: Auroville was born, just two months before May 1968 sweeping whole Europe. #SriAurobindo February 28, 2020: Serious political and communa...

February 29: Supramental descent day- The red book hours: Discovering CG Jung's art mediums and creative process MA Janice Geller - Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 2019 … It, like many othe...

Sri Aurobindo, Pal, Tagore, Gandhi, and Savarkar - Their Villains are Vivekananda and Aurobindo, Not just Savarkar or 'Sangh Parivar' 20-May-2018 · After Savarkar and Sangh Parivar, it is Swami Vivekananda a...

Books have the power to transport us to faraway worlds - Kant's sublime, Hegel's absolute, Schopenhauer's will, Kierkegaard's passion, Marx's matter, Darwin's evolution, Nietzsche's overman, Bergson's élan vital,...

Uberman may come flying - If you harbour even an iota of desire to understand #TheMother & #SriAurobindo, here's a chance just at a glance. #SavitriEra: Sri Aurobindo's theoretical ..

My original contributions to understanding Sri Aurobindo - My original contributions to understanding or interpreting Sri Aurobindo can be summarised under a number of heads: 1) Against Hindutva, Mythology, & Astro...

Friday, February 21, 2020

Uberman may come flying

If you harbour even an iota of desire to understand #TheMother & #SriAurobindo, here's a chance just at a glance. #SavitriEra: Sri Aurobindo's theoretical salience @NathTusar Further:
I'm not much familiar and I will check. But I don't think Sri Aurobindo recognises them as Devatas; they are rather impersonal principles. Like, Varuna is Vastness, Mitra is Harmony, etc. Thus, all later philosophical formulations are deformations. Puranas and Epics are creative.
Please read 7 in the light of 10. All these are long term pictures and hence there's nothing to fear. But, even technology is perhaps forcing a more uniform cultural atmosphere, you will agree. Thanks.

D Frame
… While Hegel is descriptive, Aurobindo is proscriptive as the divine life, where a fully actualized existence is possible in ones lifetime. A gnostic life brings about personal accountability and benefits the species through altruism …
S Banerjee - Our Heritage, 2020
… ISSN: 0474-9030 Vol-68-Issue-51-February-2020 A Spiritual leader are the greatest leaders in all respect they get sincere support and faithful followers. Aurobindo is an example. Sri Aurobindo the freedom fighter …
Cosmic consciousness is the cardinal philosophy of human life. Sri Aurobindo's poetry reveals the cosmic purpose from the evolution through his Vedic verses. Human being lives in a material life their consciousness may acquire the …
V Jalan
… They advocated about aesthetics in their philosophies and considered it significant in fine arts. Sri Aurobindo and GWF Hegel also gave their theories on aesthetics in literature. They expansively explained the fundamentals of aesthetics and its importance in literature …
M Sivaramakrishnan - Creativity, 2019
Starting from the common agreement established in Aurobindo studies that The Life Divine (1914–1919; book form: 1939–1940) was Sri Aurobindo's (1872–1950) philosophical exploration of his ideals, while Savitri (manuscript form: 1916; separate …
B Mehra - 2020
… of women were used for our exploration. Also included were Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's keen … a collection of essays written by Nolini Kanta Gupta, one of the earliest associates and close disciples of Sri Aurobindo. The …
AO Atiemo
… Sometimes, it is used as a cover term for most manifestations of contemporary Hinduism as presented by the nineteenth century interpreters of Hindu traditions such as Rammohun Roy, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo Ghosh …
K Chaudhary - Our Heritage, 2020
… today, especially rural women. The Ramayana, the Adikavya-the first epic of Indians-as Aurobindo observed, is an epic that has "fashioned much of what is best and sweetest in the national character" of India. “There can …
… Thus, from Śaṅkarāchārya to Sri Aurobindo and Rabindra Nath Tagore all the savants of India have advocated this path to comprehend the 'ultimate reality' but which is unreachable by the flippant movements of passions …
NG Barnes, BR Singh, S Parayitam - … Journal of Yoga-Philosophy, Psychology and …, 2020
… However, one of the leading scholars on spirituality of the 20 th -century Sri Aurobindo propagated spirituality and maintained that it is dangerous to give excessive importance to sexual complexes by psychoanalysts, which …
GW Horowitz - 2019
… report the discovery of this larger Self or some facet of it. It has been called psychic being by Aurobindo, Over Soul by Emerson, Inner Man (1958), inner teacher, Higher Self, and so forth.” (129) This higher law, along with its many terms, is the overflowing spirit Emerson …
SL Shapoval - 2019
… In the 1930's, George Nakashima worked at Antonin Raymond's architectural firm in Tokyo and helped design and supervise the construction of the dormitory at Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India.16 The time George …
Given the curious tendency of people to convert ontological claims into value claims, I've come to suspect that there's some feature of our psychology that leads us to do this...
I get very impatient with debates in philosophy about who interpreted a philosopher better, or whether we should be Kantians or Hegelians or speculative realists, or whether Heidegger got it right or Badiou got it right. These all have merit and value, but they're not what I'm after. By larvalsubjects Read more of this post