Sunday, August 31, 2008

Man cannot be the end of millions of years of God's labour

4 billion years ago
The Earth was only a mass of heat, gasses and fumes, conditions that could never harness life.
The miracle
LIFE did appear on the face of the Earth.
2 million years ago ... 2 million years ago

There was no place for reason, will and intelligence in a world of blind animal instinct.
The miracle

MIND came into being with the appearance of man.
Man survived. He explored. He grew. He thought. He dreamed. He sang. He created and he destroyed. He leaped to the moon, he spanned the outer spaces, he fathomed the oceans and he penetrated the atom. It should have been a perfect world. It is not.
Every political principle man adopted, every national policy he conceived, every religious truth he believed, every moral structure he erected, almost every thing he created since his existence is falling apart with an urgency that was never before. But the root-cause of this crisis is neither social nor political, neither economic nor religious. This is an "Evolutionary Crisis", says Sri Aurobindo. Man cannot be the end of millions of years of God's labour. The journey that began with inanimate matter and has come so far cannot stop at the imperfection and the mediocrity that is man. It must go on...
Today... Today

We can see no hope for man. We cannot conceive of a species after man. We believe that man, as we know him, is here to stay.
The next miracle

The advent of a new being. The reign of a new consciousness. The establishment of a Divine life upon Earth.
"Man is a transitional being", said Sri Aurobindo, and for the first time in the history of the earth, man has the chance to exceed himself consciously; to make the choice and become part of an accelerated evolution; to aspire and emerge as a New Being.
sri aurobindo society

An Invitation to Voluntary Workers and Helpers
Our work has been expanding in many fields. Several new projects in education, health, Indian culture, management, science and technology, preparation of websites, films, CD Roms, audio CDs etc. have been taken up.
Many persons have expressed their wish that they would like to participate in these projects as volunteers. Earlier this would not have been possible with different persons located hundreds and thousands of miles apart. Now, with the rapid growth of the communication technology, it has become not only possible but it is becoming easier every day.
Hence we have decided to make a Database of Voluntary Workers and to try to give a shape to this activity in an organised manner. Those who would like to be actively involved in any of our projects may please fill up the enclosed form and send it to us. In case there are some columns where you don't have the required information, they my be left blank.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dharma is indeed action governed by the swabhāva

Re: Sri Aurobindo and the Future of Humanity: Integral Yoga--a Religion?
by RY Deshpande on Fri 29 Aug 2008 11:16 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

What is Religion? If we go by the Cicero interpretation then Religion will have the sense of ‘choosing’ or ‘going over again’ or ‘considering things carefully’, but that would miss the occult possibility present in the sense of binding or connecting them together. The root significance of ligare is to bind or connect together; this is also quite akin to the ancient Sanskrit dharma in its deeper and fundamental meaning and connotation, that which binds things together. Perhaps, therefore, instead of asking the question “What is Religion?”, an appropriate and meaningful inquiry which might shed more light on it could be “What is Dharma?” Let us see this aspect briefly.

But let’s remember that the Dharma is twofold—collective and individual. Etymologically the word Dharma is that which holds things together, on which things find support to be. In The Essays on the Gita Sri Aurobindo explains: it is the word which means “holding”, from the root dhŗ, to hold. It is the law, the norm, the rule of nature, action and life that holds them all together. The very first phrase of the Gita pregnantly considers the issue of human existence in the context of Dharma, existence as dharma-kşétra, the battlefield of truthful action. But the Teacher of the Gita goes even a step farther and says that whenever there’s the decline of the Dharma, he looses himself forth into birth, looses to halt the uprising of unrighteousness, looses forth for the deliverance of the good and the destruction of the evil-doers. And yet, even beyond that, is his birth which is principally to do the divine work.

That’s the purpose of the loosing forth of the Divine Being in this creation, “to give a spiritual mould of divine manhood into which the seeking soul of the human being can cast itself. It is to give a dharma, a religion,—not a mere creed, but a method of inner and outer living,—a way, a rule and law of self-moulding by which he can grow towards divinity. It is too, since this growth, this ascent is no mere isolated and individual phenomenon, but like all in the divine world-activities a collective business, a work and the work for the race, to assist the human march, to hold it together in its great crises, to break the forces of the downward gravitation when they grow too insistent, to uphold or restore the great dharma of the Godward law in man's nature, to prepare even, however far off, the kingdom of God, the victory of the seekers of light and perfection and the overthrow of those who fight for the continuance of the evil and the darkness.”

If such is the connotation of the word Dharma or Religion, the etymology already carrying profound esotericism in it, then perhaps there’s nothing wrong, nothing alarming in the Integral Yoga becoming such a Dharma or Religion, though it’s not yet exactly that. Dharma is indeed action governed by the swabhāva, “the essential law of one's nature”, and, in a sense, is inescapable. It’s an inherent power of one’s consciousness, the will and action being carried through its agency. It’s the condition of being driven from within, the positive thing that contributes to the individual’s as well as the collective’s growth, growth in the righteousness, in the dynamism of the expressive and operative truth possibilities.

But at a decisive stage in the spiritual life of an individual arrives a marvellous moment also when he is conjoined to abandon all the dharmas howsoever great they be, sarvadharmān parityajya, and he is told to take refuge in the supreme Lord himself. “Abandon all dharmas,” proclaims the Teacher, “give thyself to the Divine alone, to the supreme Godhead above and around and within thee: that is all that thou needest, that is the truest and greatest way, that is the real deliverance.”

In the essence of the Gita’s teachings, this is exactly what the Integral Yoga also upholds and recommends—encourages us to put ourselves in the hands of the Divine and allow him to do his work unhindered in us. Nothing else then need be really considered or weighed in the spiritual reckoning. We might get deluded by what people do or don’t do, but that’s altogether immaterial if the core truth is seized by the aspirant soul. My relationship is with my Godhead and it least concerns me how others behave, how others establish their relationships with their Godheads, at least in the immediate context. Where are the creeds here then, and where the rituals and the rites, and the stipulations of this and that and of not this and not that? But the beauty of the Integral Yoga is far beyond the “real deliverance” offered by the Gita. Of first importance in the Integral Yoga is the lending of ourselves for the divine action in every part of us, in our will and thought and feeling, in our soul and in our spirit, down to the physical. And the Mother’s supreme Mantra was: “What thou willest, What thou willest” operating in the very cells of her body.

The idea of the collective Dharma in a scriptural way was first given to us perhaps by the Teacher of the Gita himself, the concept of the Sanatan Dharma, the Eternal Law. It pervades in a mighty way in the entire Mahabharata. It was again given in a living way by Sri Krishna to Sri Aurobindo in the Alipore Jail, during the early period of his incarceration, in 1908. He reveals to us: “Sanatan Dharma is life itself; it is a thing that has not so much to be believed as lived. This is the Dharma that for the salvation of humanity was cherished in the seclusion of this peninsula from of old.” ...

What is sectarian in it, creedal, ritualistic, non-secular even mystical or esoteric in this Sanatana Dharma? That which was “perfected and developed through the Rishis, saints and Avatars” has been reasserted in the collective consciousness.

As a collective way of life the ancient traditions were founded on this Religion of Eternity, the Truth-movement in the expanding ways of life. Let us just see its remarkable presentation in the tale of Savitri as given to us by Vyasa in the Mahabharata. We may, by way of an example, make reference to the colloquy between Yama the God of Death and Savitri. Yama has snatched away the soul of her husband Satyavan and she is arguing with him that he should restore it for the fulfilment of the natural conduct of life based on the principles of the noble Dharma. She pleads:

“Following one’s own dharma, approved by those who are established in the Truth, one knows the path which takes one to the goal; such is the dharma which the sages hold to be excellent. Holy people ever abide in the dharma, and do not the sages despair, nor are they afflicted any time. Such a company or fellowship of the pious with the saints is never without rewards or fruits. Never is for them any fear from the saints. By the Truth the saints lead the sun; by askesis the saints uphold the earth; the past, present and future find their refuge in the saints. Noble persons in the midst of the saints have never any grief. Those endowed with nobility honour and serve the dharmic practices of eternal value; in that they strive for the supreme good of one another, and at each other do not look otherwise. Benedictions of the person established in the Truth go never unfulfilled; neither in them is the ill of selfishness, nor is there the wounded sense of lost pride; and because such three qualities are ever present in the saints, they are hailed as the protectors of the world.”

Young and bright Satyavan himself was conjoined in the dharma, he was dharmasamyukta, and was beautiful, and was an ocean of noble qualities.

The organization of the collective life based on the Truth-principles, following the Truth-Law, the Dharma, is the true basis of a harmonious working. The Mother did it in the Ashram and initiated it so on a much larger scale at Auroville. The chief concern is that the Truth-Law must flow in this vast manifestation with a thousand possibilities opening out for its expression...

If so, then, what’s there in all this, really, to cry foul and say that Integral Yoga has become or is becoming a Religion, the conventional religion as understood by the common masses? I don’t see anywhere in the teachings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo any such possibility; nor in practice enjoined by them. That does not mean that new aspirants don’t come with their earlier habits and ways of doing things, with their past samskāras, with their heavy baggages. Who would come without them? But if there’s the authentic inner call for the higher life, then nothing of the past should in reality discourage us. A well-focused pursuit—and that’s all that matters. And there are a thousand ways of engaging oneself in the pursuit.

All this can happen only when there’s the quiet receptivity in our souls, the soul looking for truth and beauty and joy and luminous power and knowledge. Ronjon has put a Mother’s Quote on August 23 as follows: “It is in the silence of your heart that the Divine will speak to you and will guide you and will lead you to your goal.” All religions will disappear when we listen to the Divine in the silence of our heart. But until then? Perhaps all that will be inconsequential from a spiritual point of view, not of much concern in the totality and the essentiality of things. ~ RYD Reply

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hitler saw the human individual as nothing more than a cell in a body, an ant in a nest

Hitler and Radical Darwinism: As Below, So Above
from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob

Genuine religion is a kind of absolute defense against bad ideologies, from the violent aggression of Nazism to the passive aggressiveness of blind Obamism. Conversely, virtually all bad ideologies -- the ones that do real damage -- become pseudo-religions, drawing on religious energy and emotion in the absence of religion.

Genuine religion puts one in touch with first principles that define man qua Man, and allow one to understand the adage, "as above, so below." But false religions such as Darwinism or Leftism always either obscure their first principles or fail to draw them out. As a result, they can't help lying, whether consciously or unconsciously. The dim ones -- which is most of them -- lie unconsciously, whereas the bright ones do so consciously and disingenuously. In fact, that's one of the difficulties in assessing a liberal. For example, Obama or Hillary are so "cosmically ignorant" (as PowerLine put it) about economics, one necessarily wonders: do they actually believe what they say? Or is it just demagoguery to stir up the masses? In short, are they stupid or evil?

The Darwinist cannot or will not see the reality of "as above, so below." Not only does he deny it, but to the extent that Darwinism reveals the truth of man, then the opposite must be true: "as below, so above." In other words, there is absolutely nothing -- not love, not truth, not art, not virtue -- that cannot be reduced to a battle down below for genetic survival. Translated to field of politics, it is reduced to a fight for power. People say it is unfair to blame Darwin for social Darwinism, but... well, Dupree calls bullshit, to put it indelicately. For again, to the extent that Darwinism reveals the truth of man, what on earth prevents us from applying the doctrine to the conduct of our lives?

This is most certainly how Hitler felt about it. Furthermore, he was at least clear-sighted enough to know who the real enemy was: the religious, beginning with the devils who were responsible for the whole thing, the Jews. In order to apply his new anti-religious religion, he had to extirpate the old religion root and branch. Jews were the root. The branches would come later.

Notice how Queeg, the radical Darwinist, has had to go about purging his blog of the religious. The underlying pattern is identical, again, because religion is the inoculation against bad or evil ideologies, so the battle against religion will always be at the front line of Cosmic War I, AKA the Forty Thousand Year War. This is what groups such as the ACLU are all about, regardless of what they say they are about. Again, many of its members are just stupid, like Queeg, while others are disingenuous. But underneath it all, they know that in order to advance their inhuman and anti-human agenda, they must eliminate the one force that would prevent it: religion.

Oddly enough, Hitler was actually more crafty and subtle than the ACLU. One of the things that marginalizes the ACLU in America is that they attack religion so brazenly. In Hitler's case, he knew that he had to progress in stages in order to gradually "Nazify" Christendom. If he had gone after Christianity more directly, more resistance would have arisen. And he didn't go after the Jews on the basis of religion. Rather, he first converted them to a race, again consistent with the principle of "as below, so above." In other words, their "evil" ideology could be reduced to a kind of genetic defect, and thus eliminated from the body of man.

One author has defined fascism as the violent resistance to transcendence. As such, the ACLU, or a person such as Queeg, is not a fascist, since they engage in non-violent resistance to transcendence. And yet, the distinction is not so clear cut, since the ACLU wants to use the law to gain a monopoly on religion (the religion of materialism), and the law is always backed by state violence. For example, school prayer is now against the law, meaning that, at the very least, you will lose your job if you violate the law. So that is certainly a kind of coercion that is backed by potential violence.

But at the same time, it's not so easy to say that fascism represents resistance to transcendence. Rather, it simply inverts it, so that transcendence will be sought from "below," in the emotions, instincts, and senses. What the Nazis sought was a kind of irrational religion, or religion purged of any kind of hierarchical ascent. A large part of this necessarily involved a disabling of the conscience, which is to the individual what real religion is to the collective.

Hitler was well aware, for example, of how the Ten Commandments represented a very real barrier to what might be called "transcendence through descent." He wanted to breed a new "race" of ecstatically violent men who would have no such scruples -- authentic born-again pagans with no "impure" Jewish conscience to get in the way. In this alternate religion, man could be totally fulfilled here on earth by transcending individuality from below. As Van Vrekhem writes, Hitler believed he "had been sent, and was constantly guided, to change the conscience and morality of man into something like the opposite of Christianity." This would be "a new system of values based on brutality and violence."

Hitler actually saw Christ as his precursor, in that he would be the "link," so to speak, between the Volk and their most primitive instincts. It was very much as if he were "word made flesh," except that in this case, the word was the primordial lie from below. Hitler said that, "Providence has predestined me to be the greatest liberator of humanity.... I liberate man... from the foul and humiliating pangs of a chimera called 'conscience' and 'morality,' and from the demands of a liberty and personal independence of which anyway only a few are capable." To the Christian teaching about the infinite value of the individual soul, "I oppose with icy clarity the liberating teaching of the nothingness and insignificance of the individual and his development within the concrete immortality of the nation." The Fuhrer would release "the mass of the believers from the burden of the free decision."

You see? Like nature herself, Hitler cared for the survival of the species, not the individual. Like a multiculturalist, he believed that eternity was concretely located in the group's essence, not in the fanciful individual soul: "Hitler saw the human individual as nothing more than a cell in a body, an ant in a nest." Hitler wrote that "the life of the individual should not be given such high value. A fly lays a million eggs, they all die. But flies survive." As Van Vrekhem notes, "the perspectives this opens reveal something of the real dimension of the evil to be discovered behind all the destruction and slaughter caused by this German Messiah."

At its very core, Hitler's vision was radically anti-Christian, anti-Enlightenment, anti-modernity, and anti-progress. Rather, his goal was to create a "Spartan totalitarianism, in which people would be smiling, healthy, fanatical, and soulless robots, totally integrated into the common body of the Volk and disdaining individual dignity as a kind of psychological leprosy." This new man would place will above intellect.

Here again this is the precise inversion of the religious man, for whom will is a prolongation of intellect, or "truth in action." But for the Nazi (or the Darwinist, for that matter), there is no truth. Rather, "truth" is just the prolongation of will into the illusory area of the "mind." Truth is a function of power, as any good deconstructionist knows. Thus, Hitler was in complete accord with your average de-Christianized leftist professor, that "the propaganda which produces the desired results is good and all other propaganda is bad."

*A reminder to the stupid: when I refer to "Darwinism," I am always talking about philosophical or metaphysical Darwinism, not the actual science. And before you get all sensitive and defensive, remember that the radical Darwinists such as Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris do not hesitate to call religion evil. I am merely responding in kind, for if one of these metaphysics is true, and you value Truth, then the other must inevitably be evil. to be continued....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Procession of Earth's consciousness moving toward ever higher levels of complexity, order, and Unity

'A New Experience of Time and a New World Order'
"INDIA", said the Mother "is a divinely chosen country with a unique spiritual heritage. She is not the earth, rivers and mountains, nor simply the collective name for the inhabitants of this land. India is a living being, conscious of her mission in the world and waiting for the exterior means of its manifestation.

India alone can lead the earth to peace and a new world order."
The Mother: "On the Destiny of India"

A realization no longer present in the consciousness of most people today is the supreme importance of Cosmology and the role it played in ancient civilizations. The Vedic, Egyptian and Greek cultures, for example, were obsessed with celestial correspondences and dedicated themselves to the discovery and refinement of the lived experience of precision and truth which they called Rtam, Ma'at and Akribeia. They built their temples and holy cities according to these principles because they were known to exert a harmonious influence on both the people and the state.

When their cities or temples were conquered, destroyed or became irrelevant in the face of newer, more divine manifestations, the society dissolved into confusion and chaos, for without this sacred order linking the worlds of the gods and man, a harmonious existence was simply not possible. With each collapse however, came a new manifestation, a more evolved body of spiritual knowledge and a greater understanding of the Cosmic Order.

Out of this rise and fall of civilizations and their religions, myths, and monuments, we can see the procession of Earth's consciousness moving toward ever higher levels of complexity, order, and Unity. And from this evolutionary perspective one cannot help but recognize the chaos and confusion that afflict us today as a symptom of a culture that has lost all sense of orientation and order. The world has fallen into a deep sleep from which it must now awaken. In order to do so, it must recover the cosmological knowledge the ancients possessed and the means to measure and apply these sacred principles to our modern lives.

As the most prescient Seer of our time, Thea has unveiled this supreme knowledge with a level of specificity unequalled by any past age. She has revealed it as the foundation of a new and emergent consciousness characterized by a perception of precision and unity, known as the Supermind.

One of the most tangible aspects of this new consciousness is a Supramental Cosmology that reveals India as the "Soul of the Earth" and the axis-mundi of our emerging Supramental species. In our Conference - Applications of The New Cosmology, we will examine these symbols and the knowledge of "The New Way" that makes possible an entirely new experience of Time and a new World Order.

From Programme Notes for 'Applications of the New Cosmology' conference sponsored by Aeon Centre of Cosmology in collaboration with The Movement for the Restoration of Vedic Wisdom, 20 - 26 September 2008.
For Information & Reservation Details contact Conference Coordinators:
In India: Dr. Patricia Heidt:
Aeon Centre of Cosmology, 0091-4542 230-245; Mobile: 0091-9245 396316
Outside India: Ms. Jeanette Caurant:
Aeon Group, USA 001 – 845 658 3068
from Lori Tompkins <>

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Man must aspire to go beyond his intellect


"What is the scope of your study ?" an Indian who had travelled to Athens asked Socrates, according to Aristoxenus, a disciple of Aristotle.
"We are trying to know man", replied Socrates. The Indian laughed. "How can you know man without first knowing God ?" was the Indian’s rejoinder.
The Indian psyche believed that man is only one of the numerous manifestations of a Primary Cause. He may be of great significance, but we cannot fully understand him if we view him as an independent phenomenon. He as well as everything else can be understood only when we understand THAT from which everything emerges.
This Upanishadic truth, considered for long as a mystic jargon by many, is fast tending to become a universal realisation. Everything in the phenomenal universe is related to one another because everything owes its origin to one thing—call it a Power, a Force, a Reality or Brahman or X. Also, because that essential X, in an evident or hidden form, is present in everything, that things are related to one another. This fact of inter-relationship of a grand unifying truth in Nature is tersely described by Paul Davies :
"Without electro-magnetism there would be no atoms, no chemistry or biology, and no heat or light from the sun. If there were no strong nuclear force then nuclei could not exist, and so again there would be no atoms or molecules, no chemistry or biology, nor would the sun and stars be able to generate heat and light from nuclear energy. Even the weak force plays a crucial role in shaping the universe. If it did not exist, the nuclear reactions in the sun and stars could not proceed, and supernovae would probably not occur, and the vital life-giving heavy elements would therefore be unable to permeate the universe. Life might well be impossible. When we remember that these four very different types of forces, each one vital for generating the complex structures that make our universe so active and interesting, all derive from a single, simple superforce, the ingenuity of it all literally boggles the mind."1
To know in its entirety any single phenomenon from its surface is well-nigh impossible. But if one could know the essential X, knowing itself assumes a new meaning, a new dimension.
To enable man to reach that point is to liberate him, and that was deemed to be the purpose of education. Sa vidya ya vimuktaye (Education liberates) says the Vishnu Purana.2
In a sense, the process of evolution itself is a process of liberation. The manifestation of the earliest forms of life as plants out of the apparently lifeless matter was a step towards liberation of the imprisoned consciousness. A far greater degree of freedom of consciousness—and an exercise of that freedom in infinitely variant ways—was possible with the emergence of the primeval creatures, from worms and insects to the whales and the dinosaur, from the birds to the beasts of incalculable varieties.3
That urge for freedom inherent in Nature, for releasing its possibilities and potentialities, received a new turn with the emergence of man, "at the bottom an animal, midway a citizen, and at the top a divine"as Henry Ward Beecher put it. And he added, "But the climate of this world is such that few ripen at the top."3
The process of education was set into motion to create the necessary climate for a proper ‘ripening’ of man—and long has been the history of this process, experience and intuition, necessity and curiosity, demands of environment and quest for the meaning of life, all contributing to it.
Man, needless to say, is the only creature who has never stopped growing. With relentless zeal he has not only adapted himself to the changing environment, but also has obliged the environment to adapt to his conveniences. Emerging from the world of primeval Nature he has created for himself new worlds—of art, architecture, literature, music, philosophy and spirituality. His activities and achievements in all these spheres have again meant nothing but the gradual realisation of his own potentialities, a joy in the freedom of expression, experience and adventure.
If the process of evolution itself is a movement of consciousness realising its own freedom from its bondage to material and other limitations, the 20th century, the era we are leaving behind, has witnessed the most momentous events and ideas ensuring greater freedom for man in several fronts. Imperialism, colonialism, monarchy and feudalism collapsed—all ensuring man’s social, political and economic freedom. Several revolutions and reformations, emancipation of women from social taboos and discrimination, end of apartheid—all point in the same direction. Science and technology have played their role in according a greater dignity to the individual.
But these facts of external freedom do not mean much unless they culminate in a freedom from ignorance. Sri Aurobindo believes that the realisation of such a freedom is not only a possibility, but also a certainty inherent in the very nature of evolutionary developments. The true role of education is in preparing and helping man to arrive there—at a new phase of evolution.
Man is neither an accident nor a freak of Nature. He is an evolving being, awaiting his fulfilment. Not doubt, he has come a long way from his primitive existence via a stage dominated by vital impulses, he has been a mental creature for long and has achieved marvels with his intelligence and intellect. Proud of intellect we may be, but as Einstein warns, "We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality."4
Man must aspire to go beyond his intellect.
But first the spirit’s ascent we must achieve
Out of the chasm from which our nature rose.
The soul must soar sovereign above the form
Our hearts we must inform with heavenly strength.
Surprise the animal with the occult god.
Then kindling the gold tongue of sacrifice,
Calling the powers of a bright hemisphere,
We shall shed the discredit of our mortal state,
Make the abysm a road for Heaven’s descent,
Acquaint our depths with the supernal Ray
And cleave the darkness with the mystic Fire.5
— Sri Aurobindo, Savitri
To view man from this angle presented by Sri Aurobindo and to visualise a system of education in keeping with such a destiny of man is a call for a grand adventure. It is time we respond to it. Aurobindo On Education by Manoj Das

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Mother sees palāsha as the Beginning of the Supramental Realisation

Re: Sri Aurobindo and the Future of Humanity
by RY Deshpande on Tue 12 Aug 2008 10:18 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

In an early letter to his younger brother Barin, Sri Aurobindo disclosed that he was engaged in a “severe and painful work”. Barin didn’t pursue it and request him to elaborate on the nature of that severe and painful work he was engaged in. But, much later, Sri Aurobindo gave some hints of this first in his narrative poem A God’s Labour and in some more details in Savitri.

What was the problem Sri Aurobindo was dealing with? But before we could see it, we will have to recognize the splendid imperative of the arrival of the Avatar who alone, and not human tapasya howsoever powerful it might be, could handle it. He will have to go into the domain of darkness, which is the birthplace of the antagonist Death. Thus the Yogin of Savitri enters the ashen abysses of creation to discover this wide world-failure’s cause. In terms of specific details we may say that this started happening around 1935. If we have an early suggestion of it, of this date, in A God’s Labour, its fuller account in the nature of the journey of the Traveller of the Worlds is given in Cantos Seven and Eight of Book Two of Savitri. If we have to get an idea of the kind of dark forces that are raging over the world, we might just read, for instance, Macbeth. It’s vivid with portentous signs and apt metaphors. Lady Macbeth is scared of the screaming and hooting of the owls and of the shrill cries of the crickets. Soon Lennox is alarmed by the ominous night bird that is the owl itself:

The night has been unruly: where we lay, Our chimneys were blown down; and as they say, Lamenting heard i’the air; strange screams of death. And prophesying with accents terrible Of dire combustion and confus’d events New hatch’d to the woeful time. The obscure bird Clamour’d the liveling night: some say the earth Was feverous and did shake.

Ghastlier than this feverous earth of the subconscient world, more ferocious than the “three weird sisters”, are the creatures living in the inconscient depths. Indeed, “terrible agencies the spirit allows” and the task is to overpower them, nay, is rather to eliminate them altogether by knocking off the base on which they stand. It is in that context that we have to see the purpose of the visit of Yogin into the depths of the unviewing and unviewed darkness of the Night.

The Poet of Savitri is sufficiently expressive to reveal to us what had transpired when he entered into this primordial darkness that prevails in the Non-being’s Void. Much more might have happened than is indicated, but even that little only goes to show the enormity of the “terrible Inane” defying the Spirit’s interminable Truth. We have in The Descent into Night a few action steps as follows:

He turned to find that wide world-failure’s cause. He sent his gaze into the formidable Infinity asleep. He saw the fount of the world’s lasting pain. He saw the body and visage of the dark Unseen. He followed the dim steps returning to the night. He passed the no-man’s-land without debate. He came into an armoured fierce domain. He witnessed the shadow depths of Life. His vision discovered Hell’s trade-mark. He wrestled with powers that snatched from mind its light. He entered a gaunt spiritual blank. He strove to shield his spirit from despair. His spirit became an empty listening gulf. His being from its own vision disappeared. His body was lapped by a tenebrous tongue. He must bear all this with hope of heaven estranged. He endured all, stilled the vain terror. He mastered the tides of Nature with a look. He met with his bare spirit naked Hell.

It will be rewarding to know the chronology as to how exactly the corresponding passages through the various drafts of Savitri developed. But as these are spiritual experiences in the nature of a poetic record we will have to observe some caution also; their sequence cannot be taken strictly as that of an event-by-event account. Yet an archival approach in dating these can shed interesting light vis-à-vis the yogic accomplishments. It seems that the prime seeds of these consequential developments had just started sprouting during the late ’20s and early ’30s. We may briefly trace these as follows.

The present version of The Descent into Night consisting of 609 lines essentially belongs to the 1942 draft which was revised and enlarged in the double column copy-text of 1944. But of the total number of lines of Canto Seven and Canto Eight put together there were hardly 60-70 lines present in the earlier draft of 1935-36 and of these scarcely a couple of lines existed prior to this. But then around this time the symbolic as against the legendary character of the epic had just started emerging more and more prominently. It became more experiential and pinpointed towards the transformative objective during the ’40s. Previous to this ‘first draft’ there was practically nothing in Savitri to indicate the grimness of the Night’s sway over the creation. This first draft—and A God’s Labour—therefore forms the first recorded statement of the Yogin’s stifling Assignation with the Night. In 1938 he had a rendezvous with her and, carrying God’s deathless light in his breast, he had gone there to woo her dark and dangerous heart; but he had no definite idea of how he would win her over. He, however, had the conviction that his celestial Friend is there always with him to help him and that his determined engagement with the Night would pave the path towards Immortality.

When the Avatar puts his foot on the soil of the Night, it indeed marks the beginning of the Everlasting Day. In Sri Aurobindo’s yoga-tapasya it means the first decisive step towards integral transformation. In its sequel great things happen,—including the upsurge of terrible forces. That this business with the jeopardous Night should have coincided with the Second World War when the Regiments of Darkness had heavily precipitated therefore does not come as a surprise. The fate of the evolutionary creation was hanging in the balance. But he came out victorious. Savitri informs us about that aspect of occult history. Here the symbol has certainly gone far ahead of the traditional legend.

Yet if we go into the deep past we have certain clues about the attempts which were made earlier. In this respect we have a very perceptive comment from David Frawley:

“It seems that the urge to transform the Earth consciousness was stronger in the earlier ages of light. It fell away during the worst of Kali Yuga, when it was enough for a few individuals to gain liberation and the collectivity was too caught in tamas. As we move back towards the ages of light it is arising again. The Rig Vedic Rishis were at the dawn of this cycle of civilisation and were mainly concerned with setting forth the seeds of the upcoming culture, particularly on a spiritual level, but also as the social order. It is hard to say whether physical transformation as Sri Aurobindo envisioned it was part of their yoga but we do have the tradition that many Rishis lived for long periods of time (which could have been done by various methods occult, tantric, yogic, ayurvedic). They seem to have included the idea of transforming physical matter as part of their long-term aspiration for humanity, but they were also aware of Asuric forces in the material world that are very difficult to overcome.”

Frawley further adds:

“The Rishis' pursuit of physical and spiritual rejuvenation is reflected in the Vedic knowledge of Soma. There were many types of Somas both external (prepared with herbs) and internal (produced through yogic practices like Pranayama) for rejuvenating body and mind and for gaining immorality on various levels. The Bhrigus were particularly known for their knowledge of rejuvenation. Even Brihaspati of the Angirasas sent his son Kacha to gain this knowledge from Shukra of the Bhrigus. Yet it is hard to tell whether the Rishis ever tried to, or were in a position to, create a naturally divine body such as Sri Aurobindo envisioned. This would require the most powerful form of Soma. It would be, as it were, a body naturally made of pure Soma, matter with the capacity of perpetually rejuvenating itself. Yet there is no reason to think that they were not aware of the possibility, given their pursuit of Soma on all levels. We could also describe this as bringing the Soma of Mahar Loka into the genetic matrix of physical matter. Of course the Asuras would try to prevent this as much as possible as this would mean the end of them.” But with the descent of Mahar itself in the earth-consciousness this cannot happen. Asuras are helpless against it. That was the truth seen by Sri Aurobindo and he worked towards it and firmly established it in the earth’s subtle-physical. Things now will happen in the dynamism of the Truth-consciousness itself.

In one of the Vedic Riks we have the description of Agastya digging into the darkness of the Night, khanan as it says. But the Rishi found it difficult to deal with the physical nature. He could not bring light to it. His body was afflicted with a triple poison and could not bear the sunlight. It was like an unbaked clay-pot, atapta tanu. Similarly, Rishi Vamadeva could live here in a divine body, divya tanu, only for sixteen years. These ancient Rishis certainly knew what could bring about the physical transformation, the Mahar or Supermind, but they did not know its full modus operandi. The attainment of immortality in the luminous worlds or divyaloka is one thing and its knowledge in mrityuloka is another. The aspect of dynamic immortality in the physical is the work of the executive Force and unless her incarnation takes place it cannot be accomplished. Though the intuition of her descent to bring about materially the transformation was there,—and that is what the significant legend of Savitri narrates,—the field, the necessary resplendent spiritual support, ādhāra, for its universal action was not yet ready then. The eighteen-year arduous tapasya of Aswapati, that is to say Sri Aurobindo, was exactly for preparing the ground for her transformative action. In that respect we see the importance of the radical step that was taken by him. In fact what he achieved he achieved precisely because Savitri that is the Mother in her full energetic splendour also accompanied him. This was not so earlier. Cycles of evolution had to be silently worked out to arrive at this point.

In this context we may also recall the great Vedic revelation in which we see Yama and our illustrious forefathers having together an ambrosial drink under Supalash Vriksha. The mention of supalāsha in the Rik is extraordinarily striking, particularly in association with Yama whom we take as the God of Death. The reference to a cluster of palāsha trees by Vyasa in his Savitri-narrative lifts up that narrative itself to another level of symbolism embodying in its richness a whole world of bright future possibilities. The botanical name of this tree is Butea Frondosa, which is popularly known as the Flame of the Forest. But the spiritual significance of it is far deeper than we can discern even from its poetic nomenclature. The Mother sees palāsha as the Beginning of the Supramental Realisation. That Yama should be linked up with it, enjoying the drink of immortality under its rich branches in the happy company of our forefathers and other gods, only indicates the centrality of his role in the entire process of supramentalisation of the physical. Here is the kind and gracious God who bestows on this creation the desirable boons of a glorious life in the splendours of the spirit. Yama shall thus fulfil himself terrestrially also.

That lends another meaning to the Savitri-legend itself. Savitri’s winning back the soul of Satyavan from Yama therefore acquires another sense that points towards this marvellous realisation. But in order that this should happen the dark sombre veil which has been worn by Yama must be removed. Radiant Savitri, the daughter of the Sun-God, alone can do that. In fact Yama has put on a double veil, the veil of the incorrigible Antagonist and the veil of the luminous Inveigler. Behind him is indeed present the loving Supreme himself. It was the removal of this double veil, this double transformation which was accomplished by Savitri. Thus behind the darkness of this creation she meets her bright father to receive authentic boons of divine life upon earth. The yoga-tapasya of Aswapati has thus borne the fruits of godly felicity.

Such possibly should be viewed as the Avataric action. Such possibly is the connotation of the Mother’s declaration dated 14 February 1961: “What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world’s history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action direct from the Supreme.” ~ RYD Reply

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hamann had the freedom of his failure not being obliged to meet the expectations of anyone

Hamann: Writings on Philosophy and Language Series: Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy Edited by Kenneth Haynes First published 2007 Brown University, Rhode Island. Note on the text, translation, and annotation:
All Hamann’s writings after his rediscovery of his Christian faith are densely allusive to the Bible... Many of Hamann’s essays react to the precise wording of another piece of writing... In general, I have avoided the temptation to simplify Hamann’s words... In addition, it has meant preserving the multilingual aspect of Hamann’s writing. Hamann believed that speaking a language, like having a body, was a fundamental aspect of human finitude. To present his writings in a seamless web of a single language would have betrayed both his practice and his convictions.
10:54 AM 11:20 AM

Hamann and theology
Hamann’s style has theological and philosophical implications, just as his theology has stylistic and philosophical ones, and his philosophy stylistic and theological ones. Theology is grammar, according to Hamann, who took the equation from Luther.6 Two Lutheran emphases in particular are strongly marked in his writing. The first is a theme found in all his writings, kenosis, the self-renunciation, self-emptying of God. This is the paradox in Christianity whereby power manifests itself in powerlessness, as omnipotence in the helplessness of an infant or divinity tortured and killed as a criminal. The biblical support comes mainly from the Sermon on the Mount and other parables (“so the last shall be first, and the first last”) and the kenotic hymn, so-called, of Philippians 2, one of Hamann’s base-texts. It is one of the main currents of interpretation of Christ’s crucifixion and marks especially the Lutheran (and Augustinian) tradition.

Hamann’s own style is kenotic insofar as it cultivates despised forms, makes rude references, and places unreasonable demands on readers; at a period when good taste was very highly praised, to write in bad taste could be kenotic. Hamann takes as the preeminent example of a kenotic style that of the New Testament. In the first of the Cloverleaf of Hellenistic Letters, he defends the Greek of the New Testament for the same reasons it was a scandal to literary men of his time: its impurity, as in the traces of Aramaic audible in its idiom; its lack of ornament and rhetoric; its lowliness and even degenerate condition relative to Attic standards. In the New Apology of the Letter h, Hamann argues even about orthography in these terms, which give him grounds to defend a useless, redundant, and traditional element of spelling.

Moreover, for Hamann kenosis is a principle of critique quite generally. His was a unique voice insisting that Frederick the Great was a tyrant and that the philosophical activity of the Berlin Enlightenment was a way of justifying Frederick’s despotism. The contrast between “Fritz in the purple cradle” (Frederick the Great) and “Fritz in praesepio” (Fritz, an average German, in a cradle) organizes his essays (see p. 102). To the Solomon of Prussia is an uncompromising indictment, and an occasionally scurrilous one, of Frederick the Great and the culture which supported and was supported by him. The title “Golgotha and Sheblimini!” (Hamann’s rebuttal to Moses Mendelssohn’s Jerusalem) sets up the same contrast: “Golgotha” is Calvary, where Christ was crucified, and “Sheblimini!,” Hebrew for “Sit thou at my right hand” (see Psalms 110:1 and Hebrews 1:13), is taken as the command by which Christ was exalted. Hamann believes that Mendelssohn’s arguments for religious toleration and natural law were complicit with the machinery of Frederick’s absolutist state – and not just Mendelssohn’s arguments, but those of the Berlin Enlighteners generally, all of whom Hamann suspected of seeking to give a blank check to secular power.

Throughout his career language was Hamann’s great theme. On August 6, 1784, he wrote to Johann Gottfried Herder, “If I were only as eloquent as Demosthenes, I would need to do no more than repeat one phrase three times: reason is language, Λóγος on this marrowbone I gnaw and will gnaw myself to death over it” (Briefe, vol. V, p. 177). Hamann’s understanding of language was always theological. In his earlier writings, he was concerned to emphasize the many and diverse phenomena involving language, denying primacy to its function of communicating propositions. He emphasized language, including the language of nature,7 as the means of God’s revelation to humankind. In his later writing, he began to understand language in sacramental terms that were closely informed by the Lutheran doctrine sometimes known as “consubstantiation” (though the term is contested). Unlike members of the Catholic and Calvinist confessions, Luther had insisted that both the body and blood of Christ and the bread and wine of the elements were present in the Eucharist, not only one or the other. 8 For Hamann, this became a means of distinguishing kinds of writing. Letter and spirit must both be present, body and symbol must co-inhere, if an utterance is to be authoritative (that is, a Machtwort, which transforms elements into a sacrament).

Hamann is often seen as a proponent of holism,9 and this is an adequate description so long as it is seen in the appropriate context. At least since Augustine, Christianity has insisted on the value of the letter (in contrast to the allegorizing of the Greeks) and on the value of the spirit (in contrast to the legalism of the Jews). A peculiar richness resulted from the presence of two distinct systems of truth obligation, and Hamann sought to preserve this, insisting on the unity of letter and spirit against what he took to be the impoverishing discourse of Enlightenment philosophy. Furthermore, holism is present above all in the incarnation of Christ, who unites human and divine attributes. Hamann, like Luther, invokes the doctrine of the communicatio idiomatum, whereby the attributes of each of the two natures are shared by the other in Christ. Hamann extends the principle, seeing in language the interrelation of human and divine generally.10

Hamann’s holism, then, has a primary theological orientation which lies behind his rejection of the opposition between, and even the dualism of, faith and reason, idealism and realism, objectivity and subjectivity, body and spirit. By the 1780s, Hamann formulates this rejection of opposites in another way, in “the one important exception to Hamann’s general refusal to appeal to a metaphysical principle,”11 the coincidentia oppositorum, the union of opposites (as they are experienced by us) in God. Hamann believes that human knowledge is piecemeal, contradictory, and not resolvable by philosophical analysis.

Holism motivates his attacks on Mendelssohn’s and Kant’s philosophies. To Mendelssohn’s argument that actions and convictions must be treated independently, Hamann replies that “actions without convictions and convictions without actions are a cleaving of complete and living duties into two dead halves” (p. 179), resulting in the dead body of the state and a scarecrow-ghost of a church. Of Kant’s distinction of the sensibility and the understanding, Hamann asks, “To what end is such a violent, unjustified, willful divorce of that which nature has joined together! Will not both branches wither and be dried up through a dichotomy and rupture of their common root?” (p. 212). -> 11:20 AM