Tuesday, December 26, 2006

This is the Truth Sri Aurobindo has brought for us

Barindranath Chaki Monday, December 25, 2006
The Next Evolution The Next Evolution1As we generally know, this earth is a field of Evolution. Evolution is the history of life on earth, which has been well said by Darwin. According to him, man is the consequence of an evolution. But Darwin has stated nothing with reference to evolution after the appearance of Homo Neanderthal, or of Homo Sapiens at the latest. He told us nothing about any evolution after the appearance of man on earth, or even about the purpose why man was evolved at all.
And his view was a scientific truth, limited to the epistemology of Science. Science discovers and finds the Truth, which is but only a partial aspect of the whole Truth; it does not go beyond the senses, beyond the apparent, even with the help of logic. It is based on the experiences of the senses.Reason and logic are the means of finding Truth, but they cannot be the only means or the whole of the means. An integral seeker of the complete Truth, even a true student of Philosophy, realizes this. There are other methods or means...Science, not to speak of the human commonsense, has not seen beyond the mortal imperfect Man.
  • Is man the final word in Evolution, in the entire Manifestation in Nature on earth?
  • Has Nature remained satisfied having reached at something through Evolution which is so incomplete, so imperfect, so ignorant and so incapable such as man?
  • How can he be the last thing? Of course, Mankind has many lofty and high Aspirations and Dreams and Hopes! Will they fail?

Man has to know himself, strive towards Perfection and transcend himself. Out of man, the superman has to emerge. That is the goal of this Manifestation, as it has been said by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. That is purpose and goal of Evolution, of onward movement of the Supernature. That is the reason why men would evolved further beyond the Homo Neanderthal, even beyond the Homo Sapiens. Man has to go beyond the limits of mind and reason, scale newer and higher heights of Consciousness and ascend the Supramental Consciousness, and bring in the Dreams and Hopes! Will they fail? Man has to know himself, strive towards Perfection and transcend himself. Out of man, the superman has to emerge.

The advent of the supramental race is THE NEXT EVOLUTION. The Advent of the Supramental Race on earth is the goal of this Manifestation, as it has been said by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. That is purpose and goal of Evolution, of onward movement of the Supernature. That is the reason why men would evolved further beyond the Homo Neanderthal, even beyond the Homo Sapiens. Man has to go beyond the limits of mind and reason, scale newer and higher heights of Consciousness and ascend the Supramental Consciousness, and bring in the supramental race on earth. This is the Truth Sri Aurobindo has brought for us. We have to live for this Goal, this Truth. Posted by Barin at 11:12 PM

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Hindu Upanishads? Excellent. The caste system? Very bad

Monday, October 24, 2005 Cosmic Solidarity, Part One: A River out of Eden
posted by Gagdad Bob at 10/24/2005 07:00:00 PM
The other day over at Shrinkwrapped there was yet another story that falls under the heading, "History is What Happens When the MSM is Chasing Other News." The MSM, in their endless quest to magnify the momentary a thousand times beyond its importance, can always be counted on to miss the world-historical forest for the journalistic trees.

The world-historical development to which I am referring has to do with the Bush administration's efforts to create a new Anglo-Hindu alliance. It is now the policy, or "Grand Strategy of the United States," to assist India in becoming "a major world power in the 21st century."

Shrinkwrapped quotes the website Indus Valley Rising for a perspective on what this suggests geopolitically:

"India and America have long wanted to like each other but, on account of India's Cold War alliance with the former Soviet Union, couldn't. Both have much in common: they were formerly colonized by Britain; both threw off the yoke of Britain, their colonial master (even if India did so 170+ years later than the American colonies); the more educated members of each country speak English; and the people in both countries--to varying degrees--appreciate their British heritage. With the end of the Cold War, the adversarial relationship between America, leader of the West, and India, the cradle of Hindu civilization, has started to thaw.

"With the U.S. State Department's declared policy of helping India become a world power, aid and cooperation between India and America--and thus aid and cooperation between Hindu Civilization and Western Civilization--is beginning to take place at levels which will alter the balance of power in the world. How this alliance will affect each country and each civilization will not be known for some time. What we should know is that the U.S. State Department's declaration of policy toward India is an important event that, in time, will affect the world."


Affect the world, indeed. As I posted on Shrinkwrapped, I believe that this represents a world-historical development of the highest order. I think of a world-historical moment as a point in which vertical energies pour down from above, either helping mankind to evolve to the next phase, or breaking up some kind of evolutionary impasse, in which human beings cannot get beyond themselves. For example, one world-historical moment is known as the "axial age," a period of general spiritual awakening when all of the initial major revelations of mankind were downloaded: the Old Testament prophets, the Greek mystery schools, the Vedic seers of the Upanishads, the Tao te Ching and Confucius in China.
If you are Christian, you probably have no difficulty understanding the incarnation of Jesus as a sort of depth charge dropped down into history from on high. The temporal reverberations from that spiritual shock wave continue to wash ashore over the present. After all, even if you don't believe in Christ, you are nevertheless the benefactor of his presence, say, in the decisive manner in which he affected the thinking of the American founders.

In Hinduism, an "avatar" refers to an incarnation of the divine. Unlike Christianity, they believe there have been many avatars, and yet, this principle is not really at odds with either Christianity or Judaism. That is, you can think of an avatar as something short of a literal manifestation of the one God; many righteous rabbis and saints would qualify as avatars, not necessarily as a literal descent of the divine, but perhaps as embodiments of an ascent to holiness or to the divine.

In my view, there have also clearly been non-religious avatars that have had a singular effect on the general evolution of mankind. The American founders would be prime examples. Other examples would have to include Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Isaac Newton, William Shakespeare, Martin Luther King, and many others, both detected and undetected by history. It is easy to misunderstand this point, so I will post on it in more detail later, but there are certain personages who appear on the historical stage at precisely the right time and place, to either "rescue" mankind or advance it to a new level of moral, political, or aesthetic understanding.
These world-historical characters are often consciously aware of the fact that they have been seized by a higher power in order to accomplish a mission. This can be confused with narcissistic inflation, but it is really quite different. Winston Churchill was clearly aware of this force. As was Abraham Lincoln. When Martin Luther King said that he had been to the mountain top, he wasn't engaging in hyperbole. He had been. Our elites continue to mock Ronald Reagan, but it is obvious to me that he embodied the mythological (in the positive sense of the term) essence of America in a way that transcended his own personality. History will tell if the unlikely figure of George Bush appeared at the right time and place to combat a new incarnation of the dark force that impedes and drags down mankind's progress.


Evolution requires time and experimentation. If you stand back from world history and view it in the widest possible context, you can think of it as a journey out of Africa that began some 60,000 to 75,000 years ago, with various search parties setting out to discover what they could. Various cultures and civilizations may be thought if as the embodiments of the discoveries and solutions these groups came up with, some good, some bad, some perfectly awful. Only now are we in a position to call a new meeting to order and compare and contrast what these different groups found in their world-historical journeys. And I'm not talking abut the U.N., which actually has the opposite function: to justify and maintain the worst in mankind.

What I am advocating represents multiculturalism in a positive sense, because it doesn't mean accepting any and all cultural nonsense as beautiful and helpful, as does the left. Rather, our task is to critically examine what various human groups have discovered or developed, and keep the good and throw out the bad. For example, Chinese Taoism? Good. Chinese food? Even better! Chinese Maoism? Bad. The Hindu Upanishads? Excellent. The caste system? Very bad. The American constitution? Unsurpassed. American materialism? Troubling. Etc.


A primordial fork in the road took place in mankind's evolutionary journey sometime after the 10th century BC, when both the Torah and Upanishads appeared, signifying a split between what might be called the Abrahamic and Brahmanic traditions.

Since we are wading in it, we are pretty familiar with the path the Biblical stream took, winding its way through Jesus, the late Roman Empire, Western Christendom, the scientific revolution, the American founding, etc. Most of my readers probably don't know much about the other stream that began with the Vedas. The reason why this split is so important is because it represented two differing conceptions of ultimate reality, one seeing it as more radically transcendent (the Judeo-Christian stream), the other as immanent in the world (the Vedic stream). (There is actually a bit of both in each, but there is a clear emphasis on one or the other, that is, transcendence vs. immanence.)

The word "veda" simply means knowledge. Each of the four Vedas is divided into two parts: work and knowledge. The former deals with myths, hymns, prayers, and instructions for rites and ceremonies--mantras, incantations, ritual formulas, etc. The second part concerns itself with the highest experiential basis of religious truth. These latter, more metaphysical Vedas are collectively known as the Upanishads.

Vedanta represents the esoteric core of Hinduism. Veda-anta actually means "end of the Vedas," and can be taken both literally and metaphorically. That is, the Upanishads not only appear at the end of the Vedas, but also represent the "end" of relative knowledge--they represent a special kind of knowledge that transcends both ordinary and scriptural knowledge. It is knowledge of the direct experience of ultimate reality.

There are one hundred eight Upanishads, but only ten have come to be known as the principal Upanishads. The literal meaning of Upanishad is something like "sitting near devotedly," but may also be understood as "secret teaching," for this is a kind of special knowledge that may only be handed down from "one who knows," from a guru who has experienced the ultimate reality to an earnest disciple who seeks it. This is a kind of knowledge that is very much bound up with a radical notion of liberty, for it "destroys the bonds of ignorance and leads to the supreme goal of liberation."

The Upanishads are different than the scripture of the Bible, in that they do not record historical events, revelations, or prophecies, but the direct experiences of the Vedic saints and seers. Their main conclusion--or "I-witness" testimony--is that the ultimate reality beyond name and form, or Brahman, the Self of the universe, the eternal I AM, abides deep within each individual, or Atman. Ultimately, Atman and Brahman are One. Well, not exactly. It is perhaps more accurate to say that they are not-two. Importantly, the Atman is not to be confused with our surface ego. Rather, it is the indestructible and changeless Self behind the superficial personality. It is actually located not in the mind but the heart. A Vedantin would consider it the beating heart of the living cosmos.


One of the reasons why the United States represented such an evolutionary advance over past nations is that it was the first to consciously embody Judeo-Christian principles. That is, there had been Christian nations, but never before an explicitly Judeo-Christian one. I won't outline the entire argument here, but an excellent book that summarizes the evidence is "On Two Wings," by Michael Novak. In total contrast to the crude anti-Semitism of Europe (which continues to this day), the American founders were deeply influenced not just by Christianity, but Judaism. For example, John Adams wrote, "I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation." Thomas Jefferson saw the United States as "God's American Israel," leading human beings out af a decadent Europe to a new way of life.

I believe America and the world are at another evolutionary crossroads, or perhaps even impasse. Yes, the modern children of Israel successfully escaped the decadent world of Europe for the new American frontier. That frontier expanded westward, until there was no frontier left, so it expanded upward into space, downward into the oceans, and "beneath" the illusion of solid materiality, into the subatomic world. Where is the new frontier for the American children of Israel?

It is into the only truly infinite frontier-- the inward frontier explored and mapped out by the forgotten little search party with whom we parted ways three thousand years ago: the lost tribe of the "Brahmanic'" peoples. PART TWO TOMORROW One Cosmos Under God Robert W. Godwin

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Purpose of life and the afterlife

'Mysteries of Death, Fate, Karma and Rebirth' by Jugal Kishore Mukherjee
Reviewed by Debashish Banerji on Sun 16 Oct 2005 03:21 AM PDT Permanent Link
Shortly after his masterly exposition on the practice of the integral yoga, Shri Jugal Kishore Mukherjee has come out with a slim but packed volume on the rather grim and esoteric subject of death, rebirth and karma. The subject itself is shrouded in mystery as noted in the Mahabharata with the question asked by the yaksha of the lake to Yudhisthira: “What is the most amazing thing in human life?” Yudhisthira’s answer relates to a fundamental and universal human incapacity to deal adequately with death: “The most amazing thing is this, that all human beings die but each person conducts himself as if there is no death.” Though the yaksha approves of this answer, we can ask ourselves the question as to why this is so. I may hazard two guesses for an answer:
(1) to the inmost being death has no reality, so it cannot give any finality to it in its life-experience;
(2) to the outer being, death represents the fear either of the unknowable or of the extinction of consciousness, and it readily suppresses this fear through a wholesale socially sanctioned denial.
Perhaps there is a little of both of these in all of us, but whatever be the truth, it goes to highlight the enigma that death presents to all human beings, an unanswered mystery and anxiety we either ignore or can at best speculate about. Acknowledging this hidden enigma at the center of human existence, Jugal Kishore starts his exposition by fore-fronting the fear of death and analyzing its causes.

In today’s materialistic age, which sees consciousness as an accidental epiphenomenon of matter, the popular widespread belief denies any persistence to consciousness after death. But in other times and in cultures not invested in the materialistic standpoint, there are a variety of alternate ideas regarding the “other side.” All these admit of an afterlife beyond death, but differ often radically about its character and purpose. Jugal Kishore explores all these varieties of approaches and brings them into comparative focus against what Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have to say about this subject. For example, the Judeo-Christian tradition holds that there is only one life and a soul which persists beyond the death of the body, but goes to sleep until a Day of Judgement when God decrees eternal heaven or eternal hell based on its one life on earth. Pythagorean Greece, on the other hand, believed in a soul which is immortal inhabiting the body and a form of earthly rebirth of this soul or “transmigration” after death, by which they meant the assumption of a continuous succession of physical bodies from life to life without any respite.
Indic thought, such as Buddhism and the various Hindu schools also believe in rebirth but unlike the Greeks, the consciousness after death passes through a succession of invisible worlds before being reborn in a new body on earth. However, here too there are a variety of differences, from the belief in a soul inhabiting the body for Hindus to a soulless non-substantial persistence of consciousness driven by the momentum of desire for the Buddhists. Indic thought also includes a rationale for the nature of life-experiences based on the accumulation of “karma”, a ledger of good or bad deeds which leave inexorable and universal consequences outlasting one’s lifetime. Jugal Kishore, following Sri Aurobindo points out that these theories combine two disparate motives, not always integrated into a consistent scheme – on the one hand, a moral system of reward and punishment and on the other, a metaphysical explanation for the purpose of human life on earth. Most modern day Hindu or Buddhist understandings of human life and rebirth, for example, are pessimistic in nature, life on earth seen as an entrapment in a wheel of karma (karma-chakra) over which we have little or no control and from which the best we can aspire for is eventual escape, the cessation of rebirth.

To these notions of life, death, psychic persistence of consciousness, rebirth and karma, Jugal Kishore brings the light of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s explanations. The sources he draws on for these mainly include Sri Aurobindo’s The Problem of Rebirth, The Life Divine and his Letters on Yoga and the Mother’s Questions and Answers. In this regard, the question may be asked as to whether this is merely a believers’ lesson book in yet another relative and speculative theory on these mysteries of the invisible or whether there is anything more objective about this presentation. The answer, implicit in this work as in most other works by this author, lies in the overwhelming sense of the integral perfection of the view presented in the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. One of the principal intuitions of the ancient western world, carried over into modern times through the assumptions of Science, is that the universe is ultimately simple and that its apparent complexity can be explained by a single or at most a very few rational principles.
Modern Enlightenment philosophy assumes this cosmic rationality to be identical with the human faculty of reason and seeks to find the one law systemically uniting all other laws through rational enquiry. But as Sri Aurobindo points out, human reason works by piecing together fragments and arrives, thereby only at larger fragments masquerading as wholes. The intuition of a cosmic rationality, on the other hand, proceeds from an overmental or supramental source of unity and proportional harmony which is compact even in its infinite extension and seamlessly one. Its integrality is evidenced in the overmastering presence of the whole in itself and in every part. It is this of which the Upanishad says purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udachyate, purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavashishyate. And it is this which impresses itself in its undeniable reality in the ideas and writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother - which, in their absolute consistency and miraculous integrality, make them different from other relative attempts at explanation.

As in all his other works, Jugal Kishore marshalls a most impressive set of quotes from the Master and the Mother to make his points. He clarifies the closely knit ideas relating to death as part of the perpetual process of life and to the evolution of consciousness through the progressive growth of the psychic being in its mastery over mental, vital and physical nature and the further infinite expression of higher powers of consciousness that form the bases of Sri Aurobindo’s description of life, death and rebirth. He indicates the inner necessity and meaning of karma as a temporary automatism of universal nature aiding such an evolution and the possibility and means of overcoming it through growth of consciousness, divine Grace or yogic intervention. He describes the occult process of the inner being’s journey through the non-physical worlds and the soul’s part in this journey and its long or short sleep of assimilation in the psychic world before rebirth.
And finally, as a most edifying last chapter, he addresses “some knotty problems of rebirth” in question form with relevant quotes from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother as the answers. As a final conclusion to this last chapter, he raises the question which forms the distant fringe of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother’s vision of a supramental life – “Is death necessary?” Sri Aurobindo’s philosophical view on this, stated briefly is that if indeed, as he maintains, humankind is here to fully realize its divinity in time and space, it must translate the eternity which is an essential attribute of this divinity into temporal terms as perpetuity – in other words, a mastery of the physical consciousness which amounts to a physical immortality. The author draws attention to his earlier work The Destiny of the Body which addresses this question centrally before closing the present work.

Overall, I would recommend this book as an impressive work which sheds light on all the innumerable complexities of death, the purpose of life, the afterlife, karma and rebirth, as taught by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in an integral view of human existence and its destiny.
by Ron on Mon 17 Oct 2005 04:35 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link Thanks for this very interesting book review Debashish. I've just created a new Topic named "Book Reviews" (within the Category "NEW TOPICS"), and have placed your posting there in addition to where you placed it within INTEGRAL YOGA > Philosophy/Metaphysics and the Main Page. Did Jugal Kishore reference Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's direct memories of their own past lives? Perhaps as a form of 'knowledge by identity' of the actual facts of death, rebirth & karma? - I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about claims of such memories ...
by Debashish on Tue 18 Oct 2005 07:40 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link No, he does not refer to Sri Aurobindo or the Mother's "past lives". His book is more like a philosophical exposition of the subject, but also aimed at giving certain practical attitude pointers relevant to the sadhana. Re. knowledge of past lives as a form of knowledge by identity, Mother suggests that this would constitute a part of total knowledge. They have spoken here and there about their own past lives, but did not make too much of it, since it is likely to be romanticized by people who have not arrived at the means to know these things themselves.

Savitri takes us to that source of true sense

Foreword to Jugal Kishore Mukherjee’s The Ascent of Sight in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri published in 2001 by the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. by RY Deshpande on Fri 15 Dec 2006 07:28 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
From Galileo to Hubble telescope in our nearer sky has been a long leap of science. The sight that would show us the dark spots on the sun has now travelled to the farthest reaches of the universe. Yet the end doesn’t seem to be in sight. The 240-cm eye looking at the galaxies receding swiftly away from us is puzzled at the miracle that lies beyond its gaze. So also is the microscopic vision scanning distances in the atomic world. It all seems to be a wavy dance with the substantial entities masked behind the instrument’s alertness. Designed with one of the objectives of studying the universe and put in the orbit at a cost of $1.5 billion, the Hubble is a marvel of technology unparalleled in history. It weighs 11 tons on earth, is 13.2 m in length and has a diameter of 4.2 m at its maximum. But the cold universe doesn’t breathe life in its amazing peep. This eye cannot show us the “invisible day of our night”— to use Arjava’s phrase.
In that respect our eye spans sights beyond sight. It enables us to see objects at variable distances and under different conditions of light. An incredible biological evolution has brought out a complex structure by which this wonder is achieved. For an optician our eye may simply be an advanced camera bearing many similarities with its functioning. But an ophthalmologist looks at it in some other details. If the cornea, the iris, the pupil and the lens act like an optical system controlling and focusing light rays onto the retina, the retina senses them and creates impulses that are sent through the optic nerve to the brain. Macula, a small specialised area in the retina, contains certain specific light sensitive cells that allow us to see fine details. The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain. It carries the impulses to it where they are interpreted as images. In the entire process the optical aspect slowly starts becoming a mini-computer with several layers of information getting processed in a complex sequence until the object is recognised by us.
But there are eyes and eyes. Once in a while we experience the “artifice of eternity”. There are also eyes that draw “peacefulness from tarns on mountain tops”. Abanindranath Tagore affirmed that “every artist must first weave to his own design a dream-catcher’s net.” In that endeavour he must develop a sight almost yogic in character and from that should come the arts of painting and sculpture. He must mould “Time’s clay to everlasting Art”. When one has not trained one’s vision one sees imprecisely, says the Mother. Plato’s eye views a wonderful world of forms of which things are just remote copies here. A technique, rather a faculty of vision that sees objects with another sensitivity, has been highly specialised in India. A seer’s knowledge is a visioned truth and that is why it is called a darshana. But sight does not stop simply at seeing the metaphysics of the world or in defining a shape for the abstract. Perhaps it goes pretty far beyond to grasp the form standing behind the formless. There seems to be another eyesight which, without the instrumental aid, can see remote distances both in space and time. Let us take some examples.
In the Ramayana we come to the episode after the abduction of Sita when the efforts to locate her whereabouts are on. The party sent by Sugriva to find her has arrived at the inaccessible Vindhya Mountain. But as yet there is no success in fulfilling the difficult mission, as there are no clues available to carry out the search. While all were in a state of despondency Sampati, the elder brother of Jatayu who was killed by Ravana, approaches them for his own reasons. But soon he understands the nature of the task they are engaged in. Seeing their helpless plight Sampati tells them that he could easily see the presence of Sita in the far Ashoka Vana in the south some 100 yojanas (1200 km) away from that place. He also tells them that he could spot her there unmistakably, for he belongs to that class of birds whose flight is the highest in the sky; by the potency of his birth he has that natural sight to see objects at great distances. Sampati also tells the party about the prediction made by the Rishi Nishakara who could, by the power of his tapasya, foresee future events, that Rama would succeed in getting Sita back.
We have been told about the third eye of Shiva. It has another power. The bodacious demons were causing havoc and the world was in trouble. The gods were concerned, but they were also helpless. They knew that if only Shiva married and begot a son could the menace be stopped. This son of Shiva alone could become the leader of the divine army and their rescuer. But Shiva was absorbed in meditation and none dared disturb him. There was however a sense of urgency and hence Kamadeva was sent by the gods to arouse Shiva’s passion for Parvati. But when Shiva opened his third eye Kamadeva was burned to ashes. In the meanwhile, however, the deed was done and Skanda was born. Later, at the pleading of Kamadeva’s wife Rati, her husband was revived. This is an eye that is turned towards action in the destruction of all that is evil, a destruction by which the divine task is furthered.
It is said that in the case of a Yogin the third eye in the middle of the forehead becomes visible during deep meditation. This eye is also known as the star of the East, or the inner eye, or the dove descending from heaven; it is the eye of intuition which can open in him and show to him the worlds otherwise lying hidden from sight. Since the third eye will give him whatever he asks for, it is important that the Yogin should possess a certain capacity, adhikāra, to hold the gifts ensuing from its occult power which, if misused, can prove to be disastrous. The gift is meant to further his spiritual progress.
According to the Tibetan lore the third eye is “the director of energy or force, and thus an instrument of the will of the Spirit… It is the eye of the inner vision, and he who has opened it can direct and control the energy of matter, see all things in the Eternal Now, and therefore be in touch with causes more than with effects, read the ākāshic records, and see clairvoyantly… It is through the medium of this ‘all-seeing eye’ that the Adept can at any moment put Himself in touch with his disciples anywhere.”
In the Gita, the war reporter Sanjaya had televisionic eye by which he could see all the events taking place on the battlefield; thus he could narrate the happenings to the blind king Dhritarashtra. This sight was a gift he had received from Vyasa. We are also told in the Gita that the “human eye can see only the outward appearances of things or make out of them separate symbol forms, each of them significant of only a few aspects of the eternal Mystery.” But Arjuna wished to see the imperishable Self of the pre-eminent Being. He was given a divine eye, divya chakshu. With that the Master of the great Yoga showed him his supreme Form. Arjuna saw what was never seen before. “Neither by the study of Vedas and sacrifices, nor by gifts and universal rites or severe austerities,” Arjuna is told, “can this form be seen.” The infinite Godhead with the cosmic manifestation spreading in its splendour everywhere is what he saw with that sight.
But it was a sight that brought the vision of the Time-Spirit specifically poised for the destruction of nations. It was an “overwhelming appalling” form, and Arjuna was eager to see the earlier reassuring gracious form, close to him, friendly and intimate, approachable to him, familiar and dear to his heart. The sight that was granted to him was too great to bear. It was a sight meant to see one particular aspect of the supreme and the sights that lie beyond it can open out only by going to the worlds past the cosmic manifestation. The ascent of sight has to continue not only to see the triple glory in the superconscient but also its manifestive play in this material creation. Rare is such a sight even for the Yogins to possess.
We have in St. Matthew the following: “The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” If it is in connection with the treasures of heaven which can be spotted by this eye, then it is a luminous seeing by which everything becomes luminous; by it even the body becomes full of light,—a remarkable revelation indeed. When in Savitri Sri Aurobindo says that Aswapati saw the Omnipotent’s flaming pioneers crowding the amber stairs of birth, certainly he must have seen them with the supramental sight. In it alone is the infallibility of the vision. He saw the sun-eyed children with the eyes brighter than even their eyes. Is that the ultimate sight? Although it is a supramental sight, here it is a sight which is only in a certain context, the context of the evolutionary need to make the next decisive leap. There is also the gaze of two tranquil eyes that look into man’s and see the god to come. In the entire Aurobindonian fulfilment there is the topaz wonder looking at rapt divinities in all forms.
When one reads Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri one opens oneself to the infinity of sight. It is not only an inspired mantra with the power to establish fully what it utters, but is also a revelatory vision that gives to the unmanifest a luminous shape in manifestation. In it the silence speaks of forms that can become living realities even in this material creation. Within, without, around, everywhere there is the splendid urge to make those realities patent upon earth in the triple richness of the truth-conscient happiness. The supreme sense of delight gathers in its essentiality all the other senses.
Jugal Kishore Mukherjee in his beautiful study of the ascent of sight aptly draws our attention to Sri Aurobindo’s explicit statement about it: “This essential sense [sanjñān] is the original capacity of consciousness to feel in itself all that consciousness has formed and to feel it in all the essential properties and operations of that which has form, whether represented materially by vibration of sound or images of light or any other physical symbol.” It is here in sanjñān that we have the primary source of all perception. Savitri takes us to that source of true sense.
Tracing the various degrees of sight-perception the author takes us from sightless sight of the inconscience, through its ascending grades, all the way up to the superconscient sight. The Upanishadic golden lid is lifted, and is left behind the cosmic gaze of Overmind, and at once one has the Sachchidananda vision of all existence. It is a sight by which the ultimate reality sees itself dynamically in manifestation. Sachchidananda sees himself by the supramental sight, sees his own being and the entire manifestation of himself, beyond space and time, as much as in space and time, the omnipresent reality in its splendid vastness. What otherwise appears dark assumes significance in its full operative sense. Such are the Sachchidanandaic realities in the world. RYD

Intellectually rigorous thinkers need not all be scholars

joe perez Says: December 15th, 2006 at 11:42 am Marko: Rather than responding quickly to you, let me take your remarks as an invitation for me to spend more time digesting the thinkers you mention at Integral World. I have read some of their writings, but not enough to have formed the conclusion as you have that they have successfully attacked ideas at the “root, core, base, heart of the matter.” Furthermore, these thinkers often approach Integral Theory from a perspective that really is outside my level of strong interest or expertise.
If I viewed Integral as primarily a content-full body of dogmas about human nature rather than a meta-framework in itself agnostic regarding the nature of the liquids that can be poured into its wineskins (or if I were employed full-time as an integral theorist!), then I would probably place a high priority on understanding every possible theoretical dispute and articulating cogent responses to them. Fortunately, I see such preoccupations with theory as largely unnecessary to my own life and work. I think it’s great there are forums such as the AQAL Journal and ARINA for substantive scholarly discussions and less formal forums such as Integral World and the blogosphere for airing ideas that are less fleshed out or not well suited for an academic audience.
Intellectually rigorous thinkers need not all be scholars, nor take it upon themselves to settle every theoretical dispute imaginable! Even if it takes me weeks or months to get around, say, to reading and evaluating whether or not Andy’s ideas about social holons completely discredit Wilber’s AQAL model, by keeping tabs on the serious literature I can benefit from the collective wisdom of scholars whose specialties allow them to delve into these matters with greater thoroughness than any non-specialist is able. If someone offers a criticism of Integral that is wholly and irredeemably damning (and I’ve seen none), then that’s the sort of thing that does tend to get noticed, get talked about, and set the agenda for further research or analysis.
In conclusion, as a matter of just continuing to do research on Integral, I will spend more time at Integral World and perhaps will post more thoughts about what I find there on my blog or elsewhere. But it’s difficult for me to articulate why I am not looking forward to this research work. It’s also difficult to express without pushing people’s buttons or causing offense.
But basically I feel that a person’s writing often does allow a sort of window into their heart and soul, and their shadows. And my impression of the writing at Integral World at this admittedly quite subjective and emotional perspective is that it usually doesn’t connect with me. I see very little heart and soul, lots of unacknowledged shadow, and lots of egos spinning intellectual boobytraps and masculinist marking of territory. These thinkers often turn around and project onto Wilber many of their disowned attributes (and so far as I know, they may very well be right about Wilber, but that’s entirely besides the point). In short, while I am sure I have much to learn by spending more time at Integral World, I don’t think these are the lessons in Wilber’s “blunders” necessarily intended by the writers there.

Friday, December 01, 2006

But things are also changing in qualitative ways

Progressive Thought and the Denial of History
We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. --C. S. Lewis
In one respect, history represents constant change and novelty. But in another respect, it involves constant repetition of the same themes. In this regard, it is somewhat analogous to music, where you have a certain rhythm, bass line, and chordal structure, on top of which is the melody. But the melody is constrained by the structure. Often we notice the historical melody to the exclusion of the droning and repetitive bass line. Primitive societies abhor change, and do everything within their power to prevent, deny, or undo it. Often, when change happens suddenly, these cultures will simply assimilate the novelty into their old system of belief.However, one far-sighted observation of the psychoanalyst W.R. Bion is that many modern human groups are every bit as primitive. While they might have a veneer of civilization, their more basic function is to structure existence and to allay anxiety.
You see this, for example, in very obvious cases such as the NAACP, the ACLU, or the feminist movement. While these groups once had an instrumental purpose, now their only function is to provide a cognitive template for the world of the people who belong to them, and to reinforce the structure through contact with like-minded people -- people who share the same anxieties. It's not even a pleasant world. Rather, it is a dark, paranoid, and conspiratorial world. And yet, the paranoid world of the far left is preferable to the ambiguity of the real world. Human beings have an amazing capacity to deny change and to live in the past. Then again, if viewed through the lens of Darwinian evolution, this should not be surprising. After all, evolution did not design us to be happy, or well adjusted, or even to know reality. Rather, in our horizontal aspect, we were specifically selected to survive and adapt to a certain environment. All successful species are stuck in a rut of adaptation. Humans are no different. The majority of cultural beliefs are not adaptations to external reality but adaptations to internal reality -- they help to alleviate anxiety and uncertainty and to structure existence.
After World War II, anthropologists discovered primitive groups that had been entirely static and had never "entered" history. Their belief systems were entirely structured around various benevolent and malevolent tribal spirits. Upon noticing American soldiers and their boats loaded down with riches that were distributed to the population, they did not alter their basic conception of reality. Rather, they simply incorporated the American G.I.s into a "cargo cult," and gave their old gods a new identity. Time and change were successfully warded off.On the bottom floor of the primitve group psyche there is an abiding sense that time is not progressive. Rather, time is the enemy. It does not advance, but wears away and corrodes. Things that unexpectedly develop in time, like, say, President Bush, the conservative movement, or the threat of Islamic terrorism, are not exactly denied. Rather, they are regarded as bizarre aberrations -- they are not really real.
For the progressive, their reality has been stolen and a false one has been inserted. I mean this literally, for example, with regard to the ineradicable obsession with the 2000 election. It is not so much that an election was "stolen." Rather, the feeling is that their beautiful reality has been purloined. But this is just a small reflection of the more pervasive sentiment in the dead and dying liberal MSM that reality went off the rails in approximately 1980, with the ascendancy of Reaganism. It is as if they are constantly trying to undo that tragic mistake and force reality back into the little liberal box that once contained it (and them). In order to deny the corrosive effect of time and change, primitive groups enact rituals to reassert the original divine order.
This is why you can see that the left is so astonishingly ritualistic in their thinking. For their philosophy, like any religious philosophy, revolves around certain iconographic symbols that abide outside time. They are "forever." They need only be evoked, like magical incantations, and we are back in the comfortable tribal delusions of the 1960's: "War is not the answer." "America is a racist, sexist, homophobic country." "Culture of corruption." "Tax cuts for the rich." "Be Very Afraid, the world is cooling/warming." "Global Orgasm for Peace." This is the otherwise inexplicable appeal of that cliche-ridden empty suit, Barack Obama.Like the Islamists, the "progressive" is animated by a beautiful ideal located in the distant past.
In truth, it never really existed. Rather, it is purely archetypal and precedes any particular "thoughts" about it. Once it is embraced, it then produces its own thoughts. The formality of a thinker is not required. If you peruse, say, huffingtonpost or dailykos, you will see that the memes that are reflexively channelled there are overwhelmingly angry, paranoid, and alarmist. In reality, this represents alarm over the fact that time really does exist, and rage at the fact that the wider world does not mirror their tribal ideal. The progressive party is the nostalgic party that actually wishes to deny history and escape from time. Perhaps I should again emphasize how common this is, both in individuals and in groups. Freud, for example, said that the neurotic "suffers from reminisences."
For what is a neurosis but a perpetual replaying of events of the past that are superimposed on the present, the constant structuring of reality in terms of the timeless unconscious? Similarly, the progressive navigates through life while keeping his eyes riveted on the rear view mirror. Therefore, the same things keep mysteriously happening. It's positively eery: Bush is Nixon. Iraq is Vietnam. The terrorist intercept program is the White House enemy list. The Valerie Plame matter is Watergate. Clearly, these progressive cargo-cultists think that all the economic gifts brought to us by those two tax-cutting bwanas, Reagan and Bush, really arrived courtesy of the old big government gods. The archaic community lives in a tribal memory that is impervious to the ravages of time.
But as reality increasingly deviates from the sacred memory, it is the duty of every tribal member to renew, reassert and rejuvenate the ideal through rituals of various kinds. You can see these primitive magicians at dailykos, going through their various rituals and Ghost Dances, raging against reality, desperately trying to cleanse and "renew" it. For primitive groups, time is terror. Therefore, it is no surprise that we routinely hear from the left that "George Bush is the world's biggest terrorist." That he is, in the sense that he has no respect for the tribal ways of the progressive mind and its sacred, eternal myths. In the long run, in most merely quantitative ways, things always get better, as science and capitalism -- not progressivism -- assure that.
The economy is humming along with low unemployment and interest rates, people are living longer than ever, the environment has never been cleaner in my lifetime, crime rates and illegitimacy are much lower than the recent past, more people own homes and attend college than ever. These are all the things progressives supposedly care about, but the better things get, the worse they feel. But things are also changing in qualitative ways: materialism and spiritual exhaustion, neopaganism, barbarous entertainment, cognitively repressive political correctness, the cult of the body, sexual license, self-worship, moral relativism, multi-culturalism... Why aren't progressives more grateful? Still not primitive enough? posted by Gagdad Bob at 11/30/2006 06:35:00 AM 24 comments links to this post One Cosmos Under God Robert W. Godwin