July 27, 2009

Seven Dedicated Lives by Sunayana Panda Sunayana Panda’s blog New Book

At long last and after much effort my first book is out. It’s a collection of my essays which came out in The Golden Chain. The text was already written but the experience of actually getting the book published and printed was totally new, and many lessons have been learnt from it.

Seven Dedicated Lives, as the book is called, is meant for those who know the Sri Aurobindo Ashram only from far and who are not familiar with the early years of the institution...

I hope everyone enjoys reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing the essays.
The book is available through, or in India from SABDA.


The Hindu : Other States - Orissa News : Annual meet Monday, Jul 27, 2009
The district level annual meeting of Sri Aurobindo Pathachakra units of Koraput district was held at Koraput on Sunday. Addressing the gathering Nirakar Bhai of Matru Bhavan, Cuttack narrated the significance of the five dreams of Sri Aurobindo which he had seen on the basis of the inherent strength of the soul of India to excel crossing all the difficult barriers.

Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sammilani - Speech By Gadadhar Mishra (Mamu) MP3
By Gadadhar Mishra (Mamu) Music Audio clips Rediff ishare. Uploaded by: Chelapila On Mon, 27 Jul 2009 07:32:44 +0530 Tags : Sri_Aurobindo_Karmi_Sammi ( More info )

Sri Aurobindo Karmi Sammilani - Speech By Babuli Bhai MP3
By Babuli Bhai Music Audio clips MP3 Featured music: Rediff ishare. Uploaded by: Chelapila on Jul 27, 2009

Uploaded by: Chelapila on Jul 27, 2009

July 24, 2009

Fresh from

Walter Benjamin and the Architecture of Modernity
by Andrew Benjamin and Charles Rice (eds.)
Walter Benjamin is universally recognized as one of the key thinkers of modernity: his writings on politics, language, literature, media, theology and law have had an incalculable influence on contemporary thought. Yet the problem of architecture in and for Benjamin’s work remains relatively underexamined. Does Benjamin’s project have an architecture and, if so, how does this architecture affect the explicit propositions that he offers us? In what ways are Benjamin’s writings centrally caught up with architectural concerns, from the redevelopment of major urban centres to the movements that individuals can make within the new spaces of modern cities? How can Benjamin’s theses help us to understand the secret architectures of the present? This volume takes up the architectural challenge in a number of innovative ways, collecting essays by both well-known and emerging scholars on time in cinema, the problem of kitsch, the design of graves and tombs, the orders of road-signs, childhood experience in modern cities, and much more. Engaged, interdisciplinary, bristling with insights, the essays in this collection will constitute an indispensable supplement to the work of Walter Benjamin, as well as providing a guide to some of the obscurities of our own present. Read more...

The Italian Difference: Between Nihilism and Biopolitics
by Lorenzo Chiesa and Alberto Toscano (eds.)
This volume brings together essays by different generations of Italian thinkers which address, whether in affirmative, problematizing or genealogical registers, the entanglement of philosophical speculation and political proposition within recent Italian thought. Nihilism and biopolitics, two concepts that have played a very prominent role in theoretical discussions in Italy, serve as the thematic foci around which the collection orbits, as it seeks to define the historical and geographical particularity of these notions as well their continuing impact on an international debate. The volume also covers the debate around ‘weak thought’ (pensiero debole), the feminist thinking of sexual difference, the re-emergence of political anthropology and the question of communism. The contributors provide contrasting narratives of the development of post-war Italian thought and trace paths out of the theoretical and political impasses of the present—against what Negri, in the text from which the volume takes its name, calls ‘the Italian desert’. Read more...

Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics
by Graham Harman - This book is the first treatment of Bruno Latour specifically as a philosopher. Part One covers four key works in Latour’s career in metaphysics: Irreductions, Science in Action, We Have Never Been Modern, and Pandora’s Hope. In Part Two, the author identifies Latour’s key contributions to ontology, while criticizing his focus on the relational character of actors at the expense of their autonomous reality. Read more...

The Charmed Circle of Ideology: A Critique of Laclau and Mouffe, Butler and Zizek
by Geoff Boucher
Set against the collapse of social theory into a theory of ideological discourse, Geoff Boucher sets to work a rigorous mapping of the contemporary field, targeting the relativist implications of this new form of philosophical idealism. Offering a detailed and immanent critique Boucher concentrates his critical attention on the ‘postmarxism’ of Laclau and Mouffe, Butler and Žižek. Combining close reading and careful exposition with polemical intent, Boucher links the relativism exemplified in these contemporary theoretical trends to unresolved philosophical problems of modernity. In conclusion Boucher points to ‘intersubjectivity’ as an exit from postmarxist theory’s charmed circle of ideology. Read more...

Reading Hegel: The Introductions
by G.W.F. Hegel (edited and introduced by Aakash Singh and Rimina Mohapatra)
Hegel’s brilliant Introductions, provided all together here, offer a panoramic overview of his grand system. The Introductions are the most accessible of Hegel’s writings, concisely and clearly laying out the Hegelian project. Although each Introduction deals with the distinct theme of the text which it introduces, ultimately they are all inextricably linked together: the natural result of Hegel’s systematic method. As the Editors’ Introduction demonstrates, Hegel’s thought comes across as a system where all particulars take their respective places along the ‘circle’ of knowledge. Thus, each chapter in the book presents an element of this edifice. Read more... home contact us news links login

July 19, 2009

I made a point of becoming competent in Islamic philosophy after arriving in Egypt

Re: Amartya Sen on his idea of justice out of London—by Hasan Suroor
Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sun 19 Jul 2009 04:11 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

[But it’s an interesting question, how we decide the nationality of a philosopher. To take one example, I’d call Santayana an American philosopher, but not Whitehead. Although Santayana was pretty “exotic” for an American university professor, he did spend much of his childhood in Boston. And though he left America permanently at some point, he evolved and worked at his best in the United States, though he was nowhere near as attached to the country as most Americans who are reading this.

Whitehead is an interesting case, since he didn’t really blossom qua philosopher until reaching Harvard. But come on, he was an Englishman to the core.

What about T.S. Eliot? I consider him an American with English affectations, though perhaps that’s too harsh… People do have the right to emigrate, after all, and Eliot did his poetic work in England.

Was Plotinus an “Egyptian” philosopher, or a “Roman” philosopher? I would say Egyptian. But if he had moved to Rome as a small boy without studying in Alexandria, I might change my mind. Many of the Roman Emperors, after all, were not Roman in the least, but Rome was their theater of action, and hence we call them Roman.

Ethnicity should not be a major part of the story. Whenever an international newspaper says “Cleopatra was actually Greek,” there’s always some annoyed educated Egyptian writing a good letter to the editor to point out that, whatever her DNA looked like, Cleopatra’s family had been in Egypt for generations, she grew up in Egypt, etc. Cleopatra was certainly Egyptian, as much as I’m American rather than Czech.

What I consider myself to be is an American expat. Maybe if I get to be about 60 and haven’t moved, it would be time to realize that the majority of my life had been spent in Egypt and the vast majority of my work done here, and perhaps I could count as Egyptian at that point. I now haven’t set foot in the USA for two-and-a-half years (a personal record for me). second, Middle Eastern or American? from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)] Reply

July 13, 2009

We must return to the foundational principles and values of our nation

India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part A
RY Deshpande on Mon 22 Jun 2009 04:18 AM IST Permanent Link Cosmos India is rich

Even today India is rich in every respect. Indians may be poor but India is not poor. The soul of the country is as bright as the sun in a clear cloudless summer sky. But it is unfortunate that we do not live in it. We do not live in the brightness of that splendour, in its wonderful day. We do not know our own souls. We have lost contact with our inner being. We are sleeping the dark sleep of mediaeval ages.

The unfortunate history of the last thousand years is weighing heavily on our mind and heart and body, on our spirit. But the backlash of time must be set aright. We must return to the foundational principles and values of our nation. We must see the causes, as to where exactly we had failed. We must awake to the call of Vivekananda, of Prabuddha Bharata, to the inspiration and message of Eternal India.

Mirror of Tomorrow Recent Articles
India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part G
India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part F
Sanatan Dharma: VII—the Fourfold Order of Society
Poetry Time: 11 July 2009—the Poetry of Li Bai [IV]
Enchanting Korba—by Chitra Ramaswamy
India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part E
Road to Phoenix Park
New Lamps for Old VI—by Sri Aurobindo
India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part D
Sanatan Dharma: VI—the Social Foundations for India
Poetry Time: 4 July 2009—the Poetry of Li Bai [III]
Straight Talk on Realization, Learning, and the Individual—by Swami Vivekananda
Picturesque Pasts—by Bill Kirkman
Trojan Horses—a Warning from the Owl
New Lamps for Old V—by Sri Aurobindo

July 12, 2009

Aurobindonian Yoga provides an opportunity to the Titanic forces to get transformed and surrender

(a project of Mirravision Trust)
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Comparative Studies

In downloads section, we give 3 research papers to act as models for researchers. The first named "Reflections on a Comprehensive Approach to Psychotherapy" builds up a solid theoretical foundation for practical psychotherapy suited for a contemporary international community that bases itself on a spiritual perspective. It simultaneously deals with a deep comparison between the ideas of Sri Aurobindo and Jung.

The 2nd paper titled "Non-local Research and Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy" tries to build up a systematic consciousness approach to a conceptually difficult subject like "Non-local research" with convincing experimental and case-based justifications.

The 3rd research paper titled "WHITE SHADOW-PERSONA:WITH A COMMENTARY ON THE DA VINCI CODE" offers interesting insights about the concept of Titanic or Asuric forces vis-a-vis Divine forces from a writer who has knowledge both of Yungian analysis and the Aurobindonian perspective. As a result, this integration offered by a comparative study becomes richer and moves towards an East-West synthesis. In the Indian tradition, the Devil has manifested from the Divine and in the end, will go back to the Divine. The return has been conventionally a result of a defeat in the hands of the Divine Forces but the Aurobindonian Yoga also provides an opportunity to the Titanic forces to get transformed and surrender! (This paper also gives an impressionistic commentary on the Da Vinci Code.)

The 4th research paper titled "The Caste System Of India - An Aurobindonian Perspective" gives an innovative direction to approach the caste system of India from an Aurobindonian perspective. An original Vedic seed-idea gave rise to Caturvarna as a social construct that later drifted into a system of castes which though decadent still survives in the Indian mind-set. The same seed-idea without losing its spiritual significance can be used to construct a personality paradigm in consonance with the time-spirit. Such a solution would be more acceptable to the Indian psyche rather than a superficial approach.

This section will have both current research monographs as well as selected monographs from our archives having heuristic value. In Downloads section, such an archival monograph is presented as: "The Organismic Psychology of Andras Angyal in Relation to Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy of Integral Nondualism".

1. Nomenclature Apropos of Sri Aurobindo's Psychological System : A historical Note and Reappraisal (Published in Mother India , Vol. LVIII, No. 10 , 2005. in Sri Aurobindo Ashram journal - Dr. Soumitra Basu and Dr. K. Krishna Mohan
2. Non - Local Research and Sri Aurobindo’s Philosophy (Published in "I nit iat ion - Spiritual Insights on Life, Art, and Psychology" by "Sri Aurobindo Society, Hyderabad" : First Edition, 2004) - Michael Miovic
3. The Organismic Psychology of Andras Angyal in Relation to Sri Aurobindo’s Philosophy of Integral Nondualism (Published in "The Integral Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo - A Commemorative Symposium Edited by Haridas Chaudhuri and Frederic Spiegelberg" by GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD.) - HARD P. MARSH
4. sychotherapy - a spiritual approach - Alok Pandey
5. The Amazing phenomenon of extra-sensory perception of nuclear structure and subatomic particles - Dr. Mahadeva Srinivasan
7. The Caste System Of India - An Aurobindonian Perspective - Dr. Soumitra Basu
8. Time and Health - Dr. Soumitra Basu

July 10, 2009

Problems of contemporary man in the light of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy

MSM 2008 THEME: MEDICINE, MENTAL HEALTH, SCIENCE, RELIGION AND WELL BEING Year : 2009 Volume : 7 Issue : 1 Page : 110-127
Humanity at the Crossroads: Does Sri Aurobindo offer an alternative?
Shakuntala A Singh1, Ajai R Singh2 (1 Dept. of Philosophy, Joshi-Bedekar College, Thane; Deputy Editor, Mens Sana Monographs, India 2 M.D. Psychiatrist. Editor, Mens Sana Monographs, India)

I.1. To say that Sri Aurobindo is not easy to comprehend would be a huge understatement, if nothing else. While that can dissuade a number of people from going any further, it can motivate a number of others to study him that much more closely. Let us hope that some of us fall in the latter category.

I.2. Moreover, Sri Aurobindo has written prolifically and has expressed himself on a vast array of topics. This makes it all the more important to study his teachings, while also making him more liable to the barbs of critics itching to point out loopholes; and there are quite a few of these around: we mean critics with this attitude, not loopholes. Let us also hope that at least some of us do not belong to that category.

I.3. Humanity today is indeed passing through numerous crises, and yet surviving. While we all, no doubt, wish to continue to evolve through all this survival (hopefully even reaching the supramental state promised by the great seer of Pondicherry), our concerns here are a little more pedestrian. We propose to look into some of the problems of contemporary man as an individual, a member of society, a citizen of his country, as a component of this world and of nature itself. Come to think of it, these concerns are not all that pedestrian after all.

I.4. Some concepts like Science, Nature, Matter, Mental Being, Mana-purusa, Prana-purusa and Citta-purusa, Nation-ego and Nation-soul, True and False Subjectivism, World-state and World-union, and the Religion of Humanism will be the focus of this paper. Why not the rest, you may ask. Well, not that the others are not important. But we believe these particular concepts deserve our focus here. Especially so today, as humanity finds itself at the crossroads, and searches, rather gingerly, for some tentative answers, which may hopefully translate into permanent solutions. [...]

IV.2. The challenge that Sri Aurobindo throws to orthodox or organized religion is but appropriate: That man must be sacred to man, regardless of all distinctions. A religion that uplifts man on the spiritual plane, that helps acknowledge and bind the essential humanity across ideological/cultural/geographical boundaries, without spreading hatred or superiority/exclusivity amongst its followers, that alone can be a true religion.

Moreover, in sustaining and perpetuating the outer symbols and structures of religion, man may forget to resurrect the inner spiritual symbols and structures, which alone can sustain true religiosity. Such symbols, when honestly searched for, will only lead to respect for all humans and even all living forms. It will also forge mutual respect and understanding of the diverse religions of the world and help generate a quest to underscore the essential spiritual unity which underlies these diverse religious strands.

Also, any religion which neglects the advancement of man's spiritual quest so as to sustain its dogmas and rituals and to command blind obedience will, in the final analysis, turn out to be promoting a false God. Sri Aurobindo's accent on the religion of humanity is to make organized religion beware of the dangers of fossilization and make us aware once again of the fundamental tenet of humanism that: Man is the measure of all things. [27]

July 09, 2009

Intellect and reason are despised by Sri Aurobindo as inadequate and improper

Sri Aurobindo and Karl Marx: integral sociology and dialectical sociology‎ - Page 146 by Debi Prasad Chattopadhyaya - Political Science - 1988 - 336 pages
Also in the field of ethics Sri Aurobindo is against objectivism and rationalism as specially defined by him. His main criticism against reason, ...
The Political Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 387 by V. P. Varma - Philosophy - 1998 - 494 pages
But Aurobindo thinks a perfect society cannot be built merely by reason. ... 1 Bulletin of Physical Education, (Sri Aurobindo Ashrama. ...
The integral advaitism of Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 63 by Rāmacandra Miśra - Philosophy - 1998 - 437 pages
... more difficult must it be for our reason," further observes Sri Aurobindo, ... In all its workings and operations, the Infinite has undeniably a reason, ...
Sri Aurobindo and the theories of evolution: a critical and comparative ...‎ - Page 283 by Rama Shanker Srivastava - Evolution - 1968 - 464 pages
From Sri Aurobindo's point of view, this is his cardinal mistake. Spirit can never be identified with Reason. For Sri Aurobindo, there are several rungs in ...
Sri Aurobindo and Iqbal: a comparative study of their philosophy‎ - Page 54 by M. Rafique - 1974 - 213 pages
In short, we see that both Sri Aurobindo and Iqbal maintain that Reason or Thought or Mind is infinite in its reaches and that Reason itself develops into ...
Concepts of reason and intuition: with special reference to Sri Aurobindo, K ...‎ - Page 12 by Ramesh Chandra Sinha - Philosophy - 1981 - 234 pages
Sri Aurobindo observes, "Reason using the intelligent will for the ordering of the inner and the outer life is undoubtedly the highest developed faculty of ...
Contemporary relevance of Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 124 by Kishor Gandhi - Health & Fitness - 1973 - 343 pages
Frankly speaking, while Sri Aurobindo gives reason its due, he is never tired of exposing the hollowness of its lofty claims. Reason is stated to be ...
The integral philosophy of Sri Aurobindo: a commemorative symposium‎ - Page 74 by Haridas Chaudhuri, Frederic Spiegelberg - 1960 - 350 pages
opposed to the view which looks upon reason with its principle of causality ... In the following passage from The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo explains this ...
Talks with Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 285 by Nirod Baran Chakravarty, Aurobindo Ghose - Health & Fitness - 1989 - 384 pages
His actions and discourses don't seem to have been inspired from the human mind. SRI AUROBINDO: He used human reason and logic in his discourses. ...
Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 166 by Nirodbaran, Nirod Baran Chakravarty, Aurobindo Ghose - Biography & Autobiography - 1974
SRI AUROBINDO: It always does, you know. But it comes back too, if you allow it. MYSELF: The tragedy is that I know nothing of its reason of arrival and ...
The philosophy of Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 47 by Ram Nath Sharma - Health & Fitness - 1963 - 191 pages
"But", as Sri Aurobindo points out, "if the intellect is surrendered, open, quiet, receptive, there is no reason why it should not be a means of reception ...
The social philosophy of Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 170 by Ram Nath Sharma - History - 1980 - 230 pages
As Sri Aurobindo points out, "If reason is to play any decisive part, it must be an intuitive rather than an intellectual reason, touched always by ...
The lives of Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 390 by Peter Heehs - Religion - 2008 - 496 pages
Perhaps for this reason, Sri Aurobindo agreed to read the manuscripts of biographies by KR Srinivasa Iyengar, a professor of English at a south Indian ...
Towards eternity; Sri Aurobindo birth centenary volume, 15th August 1972‎ - Page 276 by Aurobindo Ghose, V. Madhusudan Reddy - Health & Fitness - 1973 - 526 pages
The evolutionary role of reason lacks "its essential primary". 6 It is, as Sri Aurobindo says, imprisoned in the act, that is, it is not under any one ...
The philosophy of Sri Aurobindo in the light of the Gospel‎ - Page 40 by Eva Olsson - Hinduism - 1959 - 73 pages
But Hegel identifies Spirit with Reason, which standpoint Sri Aurobindo must of course condemn. For him reason is not the Ultimate Reality; several steps ...
Sri Aurobindo critical considerations‎ - Page 219 by O. P. Mathur - Poetry - 1997 - 247 pages
To our reason the working of the logic of the Infinite appears as magic. So we should not conclude that there is no logic in the Absolute. Sri Aurobindo ...
Twelve years with Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 247 by Nirodbaran - Philosophy - 1972 - 289 pages
I know nothing of its reason of arrival and departure. It has no railway time-table." Sri Aurobindo: "No reason. Only unreason or super-reason. ...
Sri Aurobindo: a centenary tribute‎ - Page 65 by Aurobindo Ghose, K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar - 1974 - 346 pages
Can the collectivist organisation of human affairs be rightly called the unfolding of human reason?8 Sri Aurobindo has raised a very pertinent question in ...
Sri Aurobindo: A Biography and a History‎ - Page 950 by K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar - 1972
Sri Aurobindo had no taste for that kind of harness, and perhaps no talent either. Then comes the main reason: The central reason, however, is that I am no ...
Sri Aurobindo: a biography and a history‎ - Page 1101 by K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar - 1972
Sri Aurobindo had certainly little in common with the popular conception of a Yogi — a ... But this implies that the nation is ordinarily led by reason. ...
Sri Aurobindo Ghose‎ - Page 3 by Verinder Grover, Aurobindo Ghose - Biography & Autobiography - 1993 - 620 pages
1 ENGLISH OBDURACY AND ITS REASON SRI AUROBINDO We seriously invite our Moderate friends to ask themselves for a reason as to why Englishmen should ...
Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 141 by Sisirkumar Mitra - Health & Fitness - 1972 - 215 pages
This is the true reason of my inability to respond to your call.' In October the same year Dr. Munje personally called to persuade Sri Aurobindo to accept ...
The literary criticism of Sri Aurobindo, with special reference to poetry‎ - Page 230 by Shree Krishna Prasad, Aurobindo Ghose - Literary Criticism - 1974 - 487 pages
It is doubtful whether reason as we usually know it, "is the noblest portion ... As Sri Aurobindo reminds us, "the poetic delight and beauty are born of a ...
Sri Aurobindo: an interpretation‎ - Page 157 by V. C. Joshi, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library - Health & Fitness - 1973 - 174 pages
The age of reason seems to give in to a new age of subjectivity. Meanwhile the progress of reason in the social, ... Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle, p. ...
Nirodbaran's correspondence with Sri Aurobindo: the complete set‎ - Page 134 by Nirodbaran, Aurobindo Ghose - Hindus - 1984 - 1188 pages
Whose reason? The reason in different men comes to different, ... 1 During the time of Darshan, Sri Aurobindo suspended all correspondence. ...
Sri Aurobindo: archives and research‎ - Page 72 by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust - Health & Fitness - 1981
In the case being considered, the manuscripts show that Sri Aurobindo wrote ... Sri Aurobindo's meaning is simply that the supramental reason is "the ...
The Educational doctrines of Plato and Sri Aurobindo: a comparative study‎ - Page 26 by S. P. Singh - Education - 1992 - 186 pages
Sri Aurobindo accepts that the reason is the highest developed faculty of man at present but it is not competent to reveal the integral reality. ...
Sri Aurobindo and the future of man: a study in synthesis‎ - Page 168 by Sanat Kumar Banerji - Philosophy - 1974 - 208 pages
From this however one need not jump to the conclusion that Sri Aurobindo holds reason as of no account in the human endeavour. Quite on the contrary, ...
Realization of God according to Sri Aurobindo: a study of a neo-Hindu vision ...‎ - Page 293 by George Nedumpalakunnel - Spiritual life - 1979 - 308 pages
Intellect and reason are in general despised by Aurobindo as inadequate and improper ... Cf. also, Deutsch, E.: Sri Aurobindo's interpretation of spiritual
The integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo‎ by Ram Shankar Misra - Philosophy - 1957 - 410 pages Page 83
3 Though Sri Aurobindo does not give supreme importance to reason, does not consider it the sole and most reliable means of knowledge, yet he does not ...
Sri Aurobindo and Bergson: a synthetic study‎ - Page 144 by Abhoy Chandra Bhattacharya - Health & Fitness - 1972 - 282 pages
Total human evo- The human reason is the highest developed lution also has ... Thus, Sri Aurobindo thinks that mind is not the highest end of evolution and ...
Sri Aurobindo: a descriptive bibliography‎ by Hari Krishen Kaul - Philosophy - 1972 - 222 pages Page 189
(KD Sethna) B245 Realisation in the Ashram: an unpublished letter. (Sri Aurobindo) J4 Reason and beyond reason. (Sri Aurobindo; comp. by ...
The philosophy of Sri Aurobindo: his idea of evolution ‎by Joseph Veliyathil - Evolution - 1972 - 97 pages Page 7
The faculty of reason enables man to arrive at conceptions. According to Aurobindo reason has two kinds of activities, "mixed or dependent, ...
An introduction to the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 35 by Susil Kumar Maitra - Philosophy - 1945 - 112 pages
From this brief sketch of the intuitive process as understood by Sri Aurobindo, it would appear that the reason why he does not regard it as the highest ...
The Yoga of Patanjali and the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo ‎by G. M. L. Shrivastava - Yoga - 1987 - 194 pages Page 76
Intuition is not the discriminating reason or logical intellect, it is something higher than intellect of Buddhi. As Sri Aurobindo writes, "Even the purest ...
Understanding thoughts of Sri Aurobindo ‎by Indrani Sanyal, Krishna Roy, Jadavpur University. Centre for Sri Aurobindo Studies - Philosophy, Indic - 2007 - 317 pages Page 30
To our reason the working of the logic of the infinite appears as magic. So we should not conclude that there is no logic in the Absolute. Sri Aurobindo ...
Sri Aurobindo: a garland of tributes‎ - Page 203 by Arabinda Basu - Health & Fitness - 1973 - 252 pages
This adequacy is amplified too by the action of a reason which fathoms and ... Here Sri Aurobindo asserts in his characteristically trenchant and plastic ...
Human values in management‎ - Page 214 by Ananda Das Gupta - Business & Economics - 2004 - 291 pages
The Spiritual Foundations of Moral Consciousness: The Agenda of Sri Aurobindo Habermas uses rational argumentation as the key to the realization of moral ...
Sri Aurobindo and the new thought in Indian politics: Being a study in the ...‎ - Page 126 by Aurobindo Ghose, Haridāsa Mukhopādhyāẏa, Haridas Mukherjee, Uma Mukherjee, Bande mataram, Calcutta - History - 1964 - 393 pages
The leaders of the country lacked perception, that sensitive touch with the soul of the people, without which leadership forfeits the reason of its being. ...
History, society, and polity: integral sociology of Sri Aurobindo‎ - Page 237 by Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya - Yoga - 1976 - 281 pages
While for Sri Aurobindo the foundation and true nature of freedom is spirituality, Russell highlights the relevance of reason, calm and dispassionate reason ...

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have opened the way for a postmodern participative spirituality for the future

Re: Towards a Postcolonial Modernity: AsiaSource Interview with Partha Chatterjee
Debashish on Sat 04 Jul 2009 09:45 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Chatterjee's thinking is extermely nuanced as this interview shows. What he calls for is a high standard of creative engagement in living cultures, which may represent themselves in terms of strategic essentialisms to be given an identity within the state, but need to deconstruct these esentialisms continuously in engagement with an expanding pluralism both within and outside their boundaries.

In this sense, Chatterjee himself represents the expanding discourse of the Bengal Renaissance, which he rethinks in terms of postcolonialism and postmodernity.

One may posit something similar for Sri Aurobindo (and the Mother) vis-a-vis the ashram and Auroville. The cultural nationalism in which the local self-governance of the ashram is founded needs to be seen as intentionally progressive in its engagement with a spiritual internationalism, as discursively elaborated in the text of The Human Cycle and The Ideal of Human Unity. The pratical basis for such a dialectic was set up by the Mother through the founding of the neighboring city-community of Auroville, based in its areligious trans-national ideals and political charter. [...]

Here, though Chatterjee is thinking more in terms of grassroots cultural movements, including local mystic sects and reformist leaders, he is also indefatigably in praise for the ways in which cultural movements such as the Bengal Renaissance or Gandhian nationalism adapted non-western cultural histories creatively in engagement with colonialisam. The postcolonial legacies of such movements, sometimes institutionalized in local habituses such as Tagore's Vishwabharati or Sri Aurobindo's ashram could also be seen as offering fertile grounds for such creative extensions - if they could develop the spiritual resources for pluralism in their languaging and social expressions. DB by Debashish on Sat 04 Jul 2009 10:36 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link [...]

The question of education and welfare at the local levels is an important one, as you point out. But here one must be careful that a western liberal education forming post-Enlightenment subjects disciplined to produce and consume the ideological and material products of global capitalism would defeat the possibility of any alternate postmodernity. To develop mediational pedagogies which enable local populations to engage creatively in the realm of ideas with the mainstream and become the producers of alternate definitions of human becoming and ideological and material products which can intentionally modify or transform global modernity is the possibility towards which Chatterjee is pointing. (I believe this is also the social aspect of Sri Aurobindo's ideal for his ashram or the Mother's for Auroville). But in the final analysis, it is not so much education from above but local creativity which Chatterjee points to as the necessary component. DB [...]

by Debashish on Sun 05 Jul 2009 08:32 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
In fact this is what Chatterjee is addressing in that it is important for grassroots emergence of these constituents and their accomodation at the local level itself rather than abstractly at the state level. For their emergence education is necessary, but such an education should come from the development of creative expressions from below rather than the state based engineering as you point out. The subaltern studies movement began with a study (by Ranajit Guha) of adivasi involvement in nationalist politics through the Birsa Munda led revolt. This revolt had its own ideas and strategies developed from within and not imposed by the mainstream middle-class nationalism. Chatterjee is pointing out that this had been possible during the anti-colonial period, it should be possible again today in the post-colonial period. Some catalysts and some education is needed, but the creativity has to come from below and first seek its own identity at the local level where it can be accomodated within the lived culture of its habitus. It is when local identities are abstracted and made into state level categories that monolithic and exclusionary divisions occur, such as with the national politicization of religion and caste. DB [...]

Both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, in their words and deeds, whether in writings such as The Ideal of Human Unity or the Charter of Auroville, give evidence of a most sophisticated espousal of the ideals of modernity moving towards a posthumanist and postsecular fulfillment. Moreover, in the absence of teachers with the same level of consciousness possessed by them, they have discouraged the perpetuation of the guru-shishya system in terms of succession and have opened the way for a postmodern participative spirituality for the future.

The cultic abuse of such a system within the Sri Aurobindo community however is not difficult to observe today, though in some senses, more subtle. The sloganeering of Aurobindian buzzwords, the cultic proliferation of the guru trinket industry, the emergence of teachers in the power vacuum left by the departure of the leaders, the creation of a simplified and fundamentalistic version of the Integral Yoga by such teachers, the social ostracism and persecution of those deviating from such mainstream formulae of the IY, the exercising of subtle (and not so subtle) forms of occult fear psychoses, the control of information by overt and psychological means - are all being practiced without much objection from the community. The recent case of Peter Heehs' biography of Sri Aurobindo has brought this out into the limelight, but to many within the community, such limelight is unfortunately taken to be the ordinary light of day. DB Re: Fascism and False Guru Sects ( Debashish Wed 08 Jul 2009 03:21 PM PDT [...]

Re: The Resonant Soul: Gaston Bachelard and the Magical Surface of Air by Robert Sardello Debashish Tue 07 Jul 2009 02:08 PM PDT Here's where the Integral Yoga demands a framework of comparative hermeneutics to extend its perception if it is to arrive at a universal epistemology. A universal epistemology cannot be a monolithic metaphysics but a burgeoning cross-cultural dialog. Bachelard's "reverie" can map interestingly into Sri Arobindo's phenomenology of knowledge. "Aurobindonians" who remain stuck in the vocabulary of Sri Aurobindo too readily dismiss any such alternate formulations as irrelevant, but in the process deny themselves the benefit of a practical approach to certain possibilities of consciousness as well of course of the sheer poetic delight of a mystic enjoyment.

REVIEW Understanding Thoughts of Sri Aurobindo — Articles by various authors Sartre, an existentialist, also follows in the shadow of Nietzsche... but in any case, with Bhattacharya's characterization, we find the hazy boundaries of the post-human beginning to loom from the writings of Sartre... I may mention though, in passing, that Bhattacharya may have found more fruitful ground for comparison and a more richly developed theory of intersubjectivity in Sartre's contemporary, Maurice Merleau-Ponty. — Debashish Banerji

Debashish Banerji has a doctorate in Art History, and teaches courses in South Asian, East Asian, and Islamic Art History in Los Angeles, USA. He also teaches online courses in Indian Philosophy and is Director of the International Centre for Integral Studies at New Delhi. December 2007 8:14 AM

July 07, 2009

Sri Aurobindo as Statesman, Political Columnist, National Leader, Educationist, Poet, Philosopher and Yogi

The Integral Vision of the Mother
Sri Aurobindo for the New Age

– The Institute of Integral Yoga Psychology, Mirravision Trust has offered to hold a series of workshops with the captioned title. Under its auspices the first National workshop will be held to commemorate the historical centenary events connected with the Bengal Phase (Banga Parva) of Sri Aurobindo’s Active Political Life viz. the Alipore Bomb Trial (1908-1909), his release from the jail (May 6, 1909) and his famous Uttarpara Speech (May 30, 1909). The present workshop has been entitled as follows: Sri Aurobindo’s Political Life, the Alipore Bomb Trial and his Uttarpara Speech – A Centennial Perspective
– THE VENUE: National Library Auditorium, Alipore, Kolkata,
– DATES: August 1 & 2, 2009; 10 AM – 5 PM (on both dates).

– This workshop is important for several reasons:
1. Sri Aurobindo was the first person to publicly articulate the demand for complete independence.
2. Sri Aurobindo’s intense and compact political life in the first decade of the 20th century was primarily aimed to construct the idea of India as a Nation as a settled fact in the psyche of the race. This built up the foundation of Nationalism which was later used by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in their own innovative ways.
3. Sri Aurobindo’s concept of Nationalism denotes a dynamic movement that progresses beyond internationalism to a spiritual universalism. He was a seer – a mystic par excellence but has the pragmatism that both socio-economic and spiritual freedoms in political servitude were sheer impossibilities.
4. A centennial reappraisal of his thought is not a mere homage as it has actually taken a century for his ideas, too futuristic at inception, to get consolidated in the general consciousness of the global mind-set. The élan vital of that nationalistic time-spirit has the potentiality to widen, deepen and elevate our vision of a new world-order where India plays the role of the soul-rejuvenator of the globe.


The workshop will be conducted from 10 am to 5 pm on August 1 and 2, 2009. The salient themes of discussion following Sri Aurobindo’s Political discourse will include:

1. An overview of Sri Aurobindo’s Nationalistic politics during 1893 to 1910 – with an introduction to the multi-faceted genius of Sri Aurobindo such as Statesman, Political Columnist, National Leader, Educationist, Poet, Philosopher and Yogi.
2. Proletariat, Bourgeois, Emergent polity in Indian context.
3. Economic considerations – His support to Drain Theory, Famine Reporting, Coinage of the term ‘Swaraj’ and its link up with ‘Swadeshi’.
4. The village as self-reliant yet non-isolated unit, Panchayat Raj, Swadeshi Industries.
5. The building up of the Nation and its notional difference with the State idea, the ideation of Composite Nationalism – formulation of the explicit demand for Complete Independence of India and pleading for Socialistic Democracy –a true initiative of complete decolonization.
6. Sri Aurobindo’s political agenda of passive resistance and active resistance elucidating these strategies with their materialization through the realistic steps of Swadeshi (Nationalism), Swaraj (Self-rule), National Education, Arbitration, Constitutional form of Agitation, Demands for the ‘Rights of Association’ etc. in the light of ‘selective assimilation’ of the ideals of the nationalism emerging in Ireland and Japan such as Parnellism and Samurai culture under the dominant discourse of the doctrine of Political Vedantism.
7. Reappraisal of Morley-Minto Reforms and its later implications.
8. Sri Aurobindo’s conceptualization of the idea of an open armed revolt along with the exploration of its underlying ideological similarities and differences with the militant political movements of Europe such as Sinn Fein, Bakunin etc. – the application of the theory of Just war of Bhagavad Gita and its ethical imports.
9. The Alipore Bomb Trial – Facts, C.R. Das’s arguments, Beachcroft’s judgment and significance.
10. Revelations of Prison experiences for the future of India by Sri Aurobindo.
11. Sri Aurobindo’s creative writings viz. Poetry, Drama and Art during his political life as contribution to Indian Renaissance.
12. National Education and its pedagogies.
13. Concept of Sanatan Dharma – its import as Perennial Philosophy and significance of Sri Aurobindo’s famous Uttarpara Speech.
14. Nationalism to Internationalism, en route to Spiritual Universalism – Reason for leaving Active Politics and a glimpse of Sri Aurobindo’s Socio-Political Agenda for the New Age.

The themes will be presented for discussion and interaction by a multi-disciplinary panel of experts representing the various social sciences (viz. law, political science, economics, journalism, history, psychology, education and anthropology), philosophy, physical and biological sciences, politics and spirituality.


Mirravision Trust is a non-profit, public charitable trust formed to study, design and apply the thoughts of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in the field of social sciences and allied disciplines and deliverance of its benefits to the humanity at large. One of its projects is The Institute of Integral Yoga Psychology ( Mirravision Trust is registered at Pondicherry and has its offices at Pondicherry and Kolkata.


1. The papers on the aforesaid themes are to be deposited by the invited
Scholars one week in advance and the collection of the these papers will be published in the form of proceedings of the Seminar after necessary editing work subsequently. The scholars who like to make PowerPoint Presentations through Laptops and LCD projector will be provided with the facility upon bringing the necessary files in their own removable media (with an advanced copy being sent to us by e-mail).

2. Appropriate arrangement for Food, Lodging and Transport for the Speakers, Moderators and Observer Delegates from outside will be provided by the Institution organizing the seminar on confirmation.

3. The papers finally presented in the Seminar along with the ones sent for this purpose by outstanding scholars will be published in the book of proceedings of the stated Seminar.

Dr. Soumitra Basu,
Mirravision Trust
09433060156 (M).

Worshop Secretariat:
Nilkuthi, 13M, Dhirendra Nath Ghosh Road,
Kolkata 700 025.
Tele-fax: 03324552727
Sugandha Jain (09831241456); Amit Dutta (9830061391); Dibyendu Mukherjee (03325327044 / 03325463685); Rajesh Kumar Sanghai (09339486904); Sagar Mal Sharma (09339124521), Asim Ghosal (9433240021); S.V. Prasad (09339652656); Aurnabha Some (09330971599); Subhomoy Paul (09883090074).
Regd. Office: Castle Apartment, Block H, 7, Akkaparadesi Madam Street, Pondicherry 605003. Sharmila Basu (Trustee) 04132333359, 09629864047.

Kolkata Office: 273, Block-A, Bangur Avenue, Kolkata 700 055. 03325740514.

New Delhi contact: Mukesh Vatsa (Trustee), Ex-judge. 35, Nizamuddin East, New Delhi (09811131195)

from DIBYENDU MUKHERJEE to Tusar Mohapatra, R Y Deshpande
date 7 July 2009 00:48 subject Information of National Workshop on Sri Aurobindo

July 03, 2009

Education could no more be divorced from politics than it could be divorced from religion and morals


Arabinda Ghosh. To this movement, Indian Nationalism owes the emerging into prominence of a quiet, unostentatious, young Hindu, who was till then comparatively obscure, holding his soul in patience and waiting for opportunities to send currents of the greatest strength into the nation's system. He was gathering energy. His name was Arabinda Ghosh. Arabinda had received first class education in England. The headmaster of the school, where he studied before joining the university, is reported to have said that during the 25 to 30 years he had been in charge of the school, Arabinda Ghosh was by far the most richly endowed in intellectual capacity of any of the students that had come under his charge.

At Cambridge he distinguished himself in European classics and took first class honours. He passed the Indian Civil Service examinations with credit, but failed in the test for horsemanship. Never did a failure prove more a blessing than in his case.

He was in the service of His Highness, the Maharaja of Baroda, 5 drawing a salary of about 500 pounds sterling, when his country's call came to him. He listened to it readily, gave up his post and agreed to be the principal of the National College on ten pounds a month. We are told by one who worked with him for some time that he did not support the "declaration of the National Council of Education" about their non-political attitude. He could not appreciate this needless dread, as they thought, of offending official susceptibilities. He, however, accepted the verdict of the majority and began his work. But his position as " the nominal head of the National College, controlled by men " who " differed from him in their political views and opinions, became almost from the very beginning anomalous."

This was rather unfortunate. Arabinda Ghosh had received the best modern education that any man of his country and generation could expect to have. He had for some years been a teacher of youth in Baroda and had acquired considerable experience in his art. He had clearly realised the spirit and actualities of the life of his nation, and knew how the most advanced principles of pedagogy could be successfully worked into a thoroughly national system of education in India. He knew that the foundations of national independence and national greatness must be laid in a strong and advanced system of national education. He had a political ideal, no doubt ; but politics meant to him much more than is ordinarily understood by the term. It was not a game of expediency, but a "school of human character" which acted and reacted on the life of the nation. "Education could no more be divorced from politics," in his opinion, " than it could be divorced from religion and morals. Any system of education that helps such isolation and division between the various organic relations of life is mediaeval and not modern."

The monied leaders of the National Council of Education movement, however, could not accept Arabinda's principles. "They were not free from the fear of possible official opposition, which, if once aroused, would make their work, they thought, absolutely impossible. They had a real dread of the bureaucracy" whom they were not prepared to defy. Experience has shown that they were quite mistaken if they thought they could develop their scheme of education without rousing the fears and the bitterest opposition of the bureaucracy, even after declaring the non-political character of their scheme.

Never before in the history of the human race was it so well realised as now that the school is the nursery of the man and the citizen. Lord Curzon realised it in full and it was his aim to curtail or, if possible, crush the nationalist influences in the schools and colleges managed and conducted by Indian agencies. It was his desire to introduce the English element in all these institutions and to put them under English control. He had invited European missionaries to the Secret Educational Conference at Simla, but not a single Indian, Hindu or Mohammedan. He could not trust them (i. e., the Indians) with his ideas. Hence the need of secrecy.

The National Council of Education was supposed to be working against the spirit of his policy. He was gone, but the bureaucracy who were identified with his wishes, views and schemes, were there. It was impossible that they would let the Bengalees, whoever they might be, build up a system of education and a network of educational institutions, that not only would owe nothing to the Government but were also to be quite free of official or English control and of English influence.

Then, the very circumstances under which the National College was born and the National Schools affiliated to it were opened, gave them a political character. The Government and the bureaucracy were opposed to the students taking any part in the boycott movement; the Bengalee leaders wanted them to do so, and hence the National College and the National Schools. It was an open challenge — a revolt. Arabinda Ghosh was identified with this revolt, and with him were associated a whole group of powerful writers and speakers, all men of high individuality and lofty ideals and of pure character. They accepted the decision of the majority about the non-political character of the college, but no one could deprive them of the use of their pen and tongue. Any attempt to do that might have been fatal to the scheme. They started journals and preached the gospel of political and economic and educational independence in the clearest language.

They were all men of education and knew their history well. They fully realised what the consequences were likely to be, and they were prepared for it. They were prepared to suffer for their propaganda, but they were not yet prepared for violence.

The Nationalist Press. They started a number of papers in Bengalee and also in English, in which they gave their ideas to the people. The Sandhya and the Bande Mataram, as two of the new papers were called, became their classrooms. In a few months the face and the spirit of Bengal was changed. The press, the pulpit, the platform, the writers of prose and poetry, composers of music and playwrights, all were filled with the spirit of nationalism. Bande Mataram (Hail Motherland) was the cry of the day. It was chanted in schools, in colleges, in streets, in houses, in public squares, almost everywhere. Even the government offices and the compounds of the private residences of European officials resounded with it. [...]

Arabinda Ghosh — Vedantist and Sivarajist. It is difficult to say to which of these classes, if to either at all, Arabinda Ghosh belonged or still belongs. At one time it was believed that he belonged to the first class, to which most of the other Bengalee extremists belonged, but whether that belief was right and whether he still thinks on the same lines, it is difficult to say. One thing is certain, that he was and is quite unlike Har Dayal in his line of thought. In intellectual acumen and in scholastic accomplishments he is perhaps superior to Har Dayal, but above all he is deeply religious and spiritual. He is a worshipper of Krishna and is a high-souled Vedantist.

Even simpler and more ascetic in his life and habits than Har Dayal, he is for an all-around development of Indian Nationalism. His notions of life and morality are pre-eminently Hindu and he believes in the spiritual mission of his people. His views may better be gathered from an interview, which he recently gave to a correspondent of The Hindu, of Madras. We quote the interview almost bodily and in the words of the interviewer. 1915

Sri Aurobindo was thoroughly acquainted with Darwinism

13. July 2, 2009 11:41 am Link July 2, 2009, 7:44 am The Non-Evolution By Nicholas Wade

Both this article and the book reviewed are pretty pallid stuff. It amazes me that people who dare to write on such an important topic assume they can do so intelligently with no knowledge of the history of philosophy, theology, and comparative religion. They apparently have not read Theosophy, which pioneered the notion of spiritual evolution through H. P. Blavatsky and her many disciples, nor Sri Aurobindo, who followed up this path brilliantly and was thoroughly acquainted with Darwinism, nor Teilhard de Chardin who attempted with great insight to reconcile scientific evolution with Christian understanding. This has not been a new subject for two hundred years; indeed Hegel in the time of Napoleon made human spiritual evolution the basis of his historical dialectic. It is sad that the pallid scientism of the current generation is unacquainted with all these rich texts which could color, extend, and enliven it (if not make it utterly pointless).

Hugh Higgins

July 02, 2009

The Life Divine should sometimes also be read aloud




Sri Aurobindo has devoted twenty years of yogic force to writing poetry that he thought could change things, change minds and bring down god into the lives of men. It was a very serious undertaking. He has written guidelines to help us, as well as the poems. If we are going to make use of these poems, then we first of all have to do something which he said is very far from our training and conditioned abilities. No age, he says, has been farther removed from the ability to appreciate, understand, and use this kind of poetry. We should take that seriously. We have to read and to hear the poem. […]

That’s why The Life Divine should sometimes also be read aloud. There are passages in The Life Divine where he is paraphrasing the Bhagavad-Gita and there are paragraphs and full pages of pure Upanishadic speech. If you are trying to read it line by line and para by para with your mind to figure out what he is saying, I assure you, you will miss all of it. [...] One of the points that I hope will penetrate everyone’s understanding is that it is necessary to dwell upon these poems and listen to them very un-interpretively, nonmentally. […]

He says in the essay that goes along with these experimental poems, On Quantitative Metre, that this is a new transformational mantric poetry, which conveys directly to the hearing the meaning. Here he stops being theoretical and philosophical, or teaching in the conventional sense, and he takes on the role of transmitting from the infinite hearing the sound, which changes us; the vibrational structure of the disciple is informed and altered by the sound. The only way to understand this is to practice it. With Sri Aurobindo poetry becomes practice. These poems were not written for The Literary Review or for mass circulation. We are here in this continuum of exposure in order to discover something that is not well known, and it is quite extraordinary. […]

Another thing that I recommend, even though it doesn’t get you where you want to be, is that it is useful as an exercise from time to time to go through a poem line by line; read aloud through it a couple of times and note the metrics, the metric structure. You will run into things that are difficult and you will not be able to figure it out. Then after a few more times it starts to shift, and finally you find the groove. This is just a demonstration that the truth of the poem, with respect to either the structure or the meaning, does not appear immediately in the consciousness, even if there is a very subtle receptivity, because the sound weight is the thing Sri Aurobindo is using. It is the tool he uses to change the vibrational structure of the being. There is a shift, you can feel the presence at one level, and ultimately you can pass into the absolute identity with what he is seeing. That is the outcome he wants. A new consciousness begins to understand something new. He doesn’t want us to get the idea. Everybody can get the idea. […]

If we practice Sri Aurobindo’s yoga of poetry, it can be very similar to a daily or weekly visit to the Matrimandir chamber. You can take a Canto of Savitri, or one or two short poems dealing with a certain spiritual consciousness, and immerse yourself in those poems for half an hour or an hour and you are transported into a completely different vibrational range. It can be a practice like going to the Matrimandir occasionally to become transparent. I have no doubt that Sri Aurobindo intended that. His poems are attempts to capture a certain vibration that carries a consciousness of a reality and he has concentrated on communicating these various planes and types of experience in the poems. So, we will know at a certain moment that we have received that intention. Then you can go back to it and gradually familiarize yourself with that way of seeing. And it is very specific. […]

We have to remember that Sri Aurobindo has been practicing this Supramental Yoga for twenty years, pulling this force down into his body, and there is nothing else but that. It‘s illimitable energy. He is conveying that; this is his experience. We need to be aware that Sri Aurobindo’s poetry is about energies, qualities, ideas that are beyond our normal range.

Imagine harmonizing in sound all the richness of cosmic emotion. That is Sri Aurobindo’s idea of the poetry of the future, which he was in fact to write himself. For these ideas were written in 1922, and Savitri was composed especially between 1930 and 1950. This is the type of mantric poetry that he is trying to achieve in the poems that we have just read, also written between 1930 and 1950. The long essay on quantitative metre that we have been studying was written in 1942, when he was already well into the writing of Savitri, and both are elaborations of what he had envisioned two decades earlier.

The silence becomes the background of the sonic subtleties and tonalities but, they are always there against the Silence in the background, not in the foreground. Establishing that Silence in that poem, that immobility, that touch of immortality is the backround for this intuitive exploration of all the subtleties of existence. There are no reactions in that, there is only bringing to light everything that is there in existence, painful, or joyful, or beautiful or terrible. […]

The poetry shows you a vision through metaphor and simile of something like we saw in Shelley’s description of the battle of good and evil: first there was the storm roiling around and then there was a calmness in the middle of the storm and then there came the two symbolic creatures fighting in the air until finally one falls into the sea and swims into the bosom of the soul herself sitting on a rock at the water’s edge. We have a powerful metaphor of this battle of good and evil raging around us, especially at that time when the French Revolution was going on, being observed from above and from within by the poet. So in Savitri also, we find line after line, page after page, utilizing exactly this form and expressing this kind of spiritual view of things. Shelley wasn’t telling us about the French Revolution; he was telling us about the Eagle and the Snake, about the universal forces of Evil and Good, and especially about his deep inner vision and feeling of those things. […]

Those who know Greek and who have understood Sri Aurobindo’s close affinity to the Greek poets – Amal Kiran being one of those, – have recognized that Sri Aurobindo was equally a master of Greek and Latin as he was of Sanskrit and English. When you study Ilion you find out all about the gods of the Greeks, in great detail. Sri Aurobindo was unbelievably closely attuned to that realm of beings, those realities. He commented somewhere that reading Homer in the original was literally to bring the gods down from Mount Olympus, to make them live. He did it. He reincarnated the whole pantheon of Greek gods and goddesses in this book called Ilion. It is amazing, it is extraordinary. It raises another question for me that is closely aligned with the later chapters of The Life Divine and our evolutionary exploration, where at one point Sri Aurobindo goes into a very elaborate and totally incomprehensible description of the planes of existence above the physical, the vital, and the mental. […]

One of the things that is possible through a mantric epic overmind poetry is a glimpse of the meaning of time, the reality itself, a glimpse of the reality of power itself, a glimpse of the reality of beauty itself. (These are more interesting than time we suppose.) A glimpse of the reality of love itself. I would suggest that one of the reasons why Sri Aurobindo was preoccupied with Ilion is exactly this. He was interested in communicating these realities. His whole experiment with poetry was to create a language that makes it possible to do that. Now, as we also learned in the early stages of this course, this is a poetry of sound. You absolutely cannot hear the meaning of Ilion by reading the page.

The big question then is, how does it sound? Not, what does it mean? What is the sound of the meaning of time? If it is possible to know the answer to that question, then this poem Ilion says it. So it is important. And it belongs to Sri Aurobindo’s very particular, special art and theory of poetry. We at least should have a grasp of it in our bank of stored impressions, which fade surprisingly quickly. And then, fortunately it also exists on the page, so we can recover it from time to time.