Make Sri Aurobindo the ‘Voice of India and its Politics’ !


One Asit says:
“This summer, got to pondicherry. if you’ve never heard of aurobindo, then you sleep.
Reviewer Rakesh says:
“The message of the future. Every word read brings the seeker closer to that Reality.
A message of hope – the dawn of a new era – a divine life in a divine body on a divine earth.”
Reviewer Jeannine M. Desmarais says:
“Every word a meditation unto itself. Ok. I’m a fairly intelligent human being and have been on the spiritual path for a very long time. This book is so filled with profound revelation and is so deep that I have been reading it a paragraph at a time, putting it down and re-reading it. In other words, lectio divino is required to really absorb the profound teachings of Aurobindo’s work.

An amazing soul that has much to teach, but not an “easy” read by any means. If you don’t want to work, don’t get this book. If you have ever read a Shakespeare play through first with cliff notes and read every footnote to understand the language, then re-read the play with your new understanding and experienced the heartfelt pleasure of reading Shakespeare with a satisfying joy and deep amazement, you will know what I mean.”

Reviewer ECA says:
“This book is that good. Take your time & pursue it. Read all of the other 5 star reviews, then double it. This book is that good. Take your time & puruse it, read it, & reread it again & each time take away some enlightenment. This is one of my top 5 “go to” books. I just wish I had a hardback copy.”

Two phases of Indian politics !


Related articles:

(1) Direction-less Indian politics

(2) Make Sri Aurobindo Voice of Indian politics

India is not true India today; it is a pale shadow of the true India. Today it is tarnished with the borrowed ideas and tainted with an imposed life that are foreign to its body and spirit. This country is infected with an antibody pathogen of secularism, clamped with a concocted glory of “an idea of India” and undergoing the sufferance of a stale constitution. This India is ill and cannot stand on its own feet.

India is fearful and is still not free. For example, this India yet cannot dare to officially say that killing of humans, even if they happen to be ‘Kaffirs’ according to some definitions, is not permitted in this country; that holding these ‘Kaffirs’ as low-born, without status and not worthy of respect is not permitted in India; it cannot openly dare say that there is no place in this country for believing in and practicing, and propagating of such religious teachings; that even the very believing – what to talk of propagating or practicing – in such obnoxious ideas has no place in India; and, that there is need of an open policy to use science and to deploy technology to transform such thinking into something, which should be humane in nature and sublime in purpose. This India has no courage or will to declare that believing in and practicing and propagating of such religious teaching are against the fundamental law – constitution – of this land, against human reason and universally accepted morality of humanity.

It is bogged down by the weight of ‘political correctness’ of Indian democracy, as if democracy is an ultimate invention of collective social living. The irony of the situation is this India has to preserve this democracy by being politically correct for them whose history has no sympathy with the institutions of democracy. This India is still weak in the matter of its wealth – economy; it is yet to make available fundamental science to its population at mass scale and invent top rated technology to produce wealth. These are a few examples out of many instances of such weaknesses of this India of today

This country is fearful to say the truth. This India is not mentally free. It is culturally still slave; it has inferiority complex – in its thinking, language, literature, dress and habits. This India suffers from a slave mentality because of 1000 years’ slave history. As fish are not aware that they live in water surrounding them – unless fish are taken out of water – Indians are not aware of their slave mentality, until someone from foreign land points it out to them. In the first phase of its politics, India has to overcome these weaknesses.

In this first phase, India has to learn to become free and fearless and, respond to the challenges thrown to its existence with a living and assertive force; in this phase it has to become an invincible national power – a stable political force capable of nullifying fissiporace and divisive internal political elements. It has also to become an international power – a country that is reckoned with by the international community and that is listened to  for its concerns. This work is of transforming India from a third world country to a modern and advanced country.

In this phase, because of its circumstances, India may have to do many things – take many steps – that may not look reasonable, that may look transgressing the limits, that may be objected to by many elements, within India and outside of India. It is but natural and this country has to face such  tough resistance. Democracy – unlike dictatorship – has an inherent limitation in bringing a change in society. It is a political system that has to take into account diversified public voices in effecting a change and solving its problems. Therefore, unlike dictatorship it is slow – and sometimes unable – in bringing a desired change. It would be almost a miracle for democratic India if it is able to achieve what China achieved through dictatorship. India would need to be ruthless in overcoming its challanges and become a country that is advanced in science and technology to regain its former self – original, confident and forward looking India.

In brief, in this phase India has to learn to free itself from all the tainting blemishes, become fearless to demolish its internal obstacles and powerful enough to resist external pressures. This is exactly what today India is doing under the leadership of its Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is the duty of every right thinking person to support the government of India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help complete this first phase of Indian politics.

But this is not the end point of Indian politics and this country would need to embark on the next phase; it is not what India is all meant to do – that is, to become a powerful country to overawe others. India neither dreams of such an illicit pursuit nor it had such a history – history of thousands of years.

India dreams to achieve something else, something bigger, something now unthinkable by humans! It dreams to unlock Nature’s secrets for humans, to open the secret gates of mystic realities for humanity at large, to serve the ultimate interests of humanity. India, whether weak or strong, is not yet done.

The world should joyously welcome this rising of India – it is for the good of humanity that is suffering eternal pains!

India doesn’t aspire to become a Hindu theocratic nation; India does not want to become a ‘Hindu Pakistan’. India has a different aim. It is busy completing this first phase. It has yet to get ready to embark on a second phase of what it aims at. In the second phase it aims to achieve what is beyond all religions; that which is sublime in purpose; it would be an awakening of mankid to its destiny.

In the second phase, the new India full of spiritual energy will lead humanity to transgress itself beyond all religions and transform our race of animal-humans into the race of people who are equpped with higher plane of consciousness, which consciousness is divine in nature and universal in presence and, is beyond our mind and thoughts. This effort would not be restricted to any kind of nationalism but would embrace the whole humanity. It would be a collaborative project of huanity and not of any kind of competitive religious work. It would flung wide open the gates of occult mysteries for humanity, of which mysteries humans have been encountering here and there and now and then since ages – in the experiences of people like Buddha, Mahavira, Shankaracharya, Christ, Milerapa, Mira Bai, Guru Nanak, Raidas, Kabeer, Baba Fareed, Bulle Shah, Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo and millions like them in India and many other countries around the world.

The second phase of Indian politics would speak in the voice of Sri Aurobindo. In this second phase, cultural Hinduism of India would evolve into the universal spirituality. Even it seems likely that in the second phase, the new India may have to combat with – and convert – the cultural Hinduism into that higher and universal spirituality, which may have many serious repercussions for our present way of life, including our thinking, economy and politics. Such a comprehensive cultural and social transformation may not be palatable to many, who now live a happy life of cozy luxary of cultural Hinduism. After all, total transformation is not an easy thing. In one sentence, this total human transformation would be an integral Yoga – according one’s inclination or liking of devotion to Divine, actions devoted to Divine or devotion to knowledge of ultimate truth or reality – undertaken by humanity at large. It would a collaborative work of humanity with love, knowledge, conduct and surrender to Divine – or any of them according to one’s liking and choice. There would be no place for nationalism or any narrow consideration based on human mind.

Let the world welcome the efforts of India; let the world bear with the first phase of India’s politics and wait for its next – second – phase. In the meantime, let anyone having curiosity look into all these possibilities – possibilities that look incredible to us today. Let us dig into the writings of Sri Aurobindo and find out what he says about the destiny of human race on Earth in terms of its evolutionary journey and of the incredible possibilities waiting to open for our race. These possibilities are not an imaginary thing – a mental illusion – of a philosopher. The reality of acquisition of these incredible capabilities – capabilities that are possible for humans – is testified again and again by humans’ history in the life of individuals like Buddha, Christ and millions others like them. The only difference is that in the past they were acquired by individuals and not by our race as a whole and this time they would be acquired by our race  as a whole and not on an individual scale. This is the only difference. This is human destiny; this is the goal of humanity, towards which it has to move; this is the work, in which India has to involve itself – in its national life and its politic. What we humans are called upon to do today is to organise human society, which is made-up of its political, intellectual, economic and cultural components, in such a way that it is helpful to bring this transformation of our race.

“Reading” versus “Listening”: An observation of Indians’ habits


By : Kollengode S Venkataraman

Here are my general observations about the habits of Indians in “reading” versus “listening” context:

  1.  Indians in general —  even educated Indians  —  are not serious readers of books.  By “serious readers,” I am referring to readers who have the temperament to plough through difficult subjects unrelated to their narrow field of specialties, but subjects on politics, economics, sociology, history, religion and comparative religion, spirituality.  These are abstract topics.  They are reluctant investors in books.  With India’s 30% Anglicized and semi-Anglicized population (this is 300 million), when an English book written by an Indian author and published in India sells, say, 50,000 copies, they declare victory!!!!  It is more pathetic in regional languages.  It is the ground reality.

  2.  But these Indians, whether in India or abroad, may nor be good “readers,” but are good listeners.  This is understandable for deeply held cultural reasons.  All our Puranas, even Mahabharata, Yoga Vasistha, and Upanishads, etc were all addressed to people gathered under a tree or around a Sabha.  Even the great Buddha taught his followers in talks in Banares, etavana, Deer Parks, and other places, always tailoring his language to the needs and intellectual backgrounds of his audiences.  This tradition continues to this day.  Just see the thousands of people of all kinds of background sitting through 1 to 2 hours of pravachans, or listening to politicians in rallies.

Jaipur Literary Festival in Boulder, Colorado, US: An India-bashing occasion


By : Raghavendra

I attended the JLF@Boulder as a private delegate and as a sponsor (due to my association with a fine arts organization).

This is my first ever literary festival. I participated mostly as a listener and wanted know what’s being talked and discussed.

The organizers, particularly Sanjoy Roy, talked about having people from all positions, walks of life and opinions are being invited where they agree, or disagree, or agree to disagree, in a meeting some months ago.

I was particularly interested in the sessions on India related topics with Indian participants.

Here are some of those topics: ·

In Search of Sita:

The Indian Woman in Myth and Memory with Arshia Sattar and Namita Gokhale in conversation.  They mostly talked about victimhood of Sita and mapping it to the contemporary situations in the India society.

The injustices done by Rama to Sita with trial by fire on the suspicion of chastity, supposedly going on even in today’s India in different forms. Sattar said, being a Muslim woman and working on Indic studies, particularly on Ramayana, isn’t easy for her. Her measure of age of Ramayana is 2,500 years old and not a very old myth.

Rama is an abuser symbol in all sense with the male chauvinism suppressing Sita’s liberties.  They did show some snippets of ‘Sita Sings the Blues’.

It appeared they were trying to appeal the Boulder liberal crowd and including them in some way to seek social justices for women. Primarily projecting gender disparities as an issue.

Namita mentioned that over 10 years ago (while BJP in power) there were suppression of freedom of speech and it has come back again (indicating the present administration). She also quoted Javed Akhtar ‘In a society where women are worshipped it is a suspect and need be worried about them’. ·

Vijay Dandetha:

The Shakespeare of Rajasthan with Christi Merrill and Uday Kumar. This was a better session with Vijay Dandetha and his literary work, which was best presented.

On a private conversation with Uday Kumar, he mentioned these days airing any view as opposed to traditional ones, people are harassed (UR Anantamurthy) and most recent incident where MM Kalburgi was murdered.  ‘They’ seem to control the narratives as to what is to be said and what not, probably blaming the ‘Hindu right’ and referencing over to the top level of the present administration. ·

The Spoken Word: Celebrating Oral Literature: Vikram Chandra, Christi Merrill, Linda Hess, Marcia Douglas moderated by Claudia CraggI try to focus mostly on what Vikram Chandra said.

He mentioned about his new book ‘Geek Sublime’, a nonfiction work with Sanskrit in focus for technological application. Spoke more about Panini’s Ashtadhayaayi and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. ·

Special Delegate Session:  Enduring Wisdom of Asia with Vikram Chandra, Arshia Sattar and Shabnam Virmani. A general discuss on Vikram’s book.

Arshia again narrated on Ramayana (2,500 year old myth!), her favorite topic and expertise.

Shabnam talked about Sufi, Bhakti, Baul (??) and oral tradition of folklore.

Arshia in her sense talk about Dharma, Karma etc.  Vikram delved a bit in to spiritual and mystical nature of built in to Sanskrit language.

In Q & A, I mentioned about Rajiv’s concept of Open Architecture of Dharma and several world views existing within it.

Arshia exclaimed ‘oh Rajiv Malhotra’ and some in the audience murmured a bit. They might be knowing Rajiv’ work.

Arshia didn’t want to go in to the topic and she evaded by saying ‘oh the spiritual and mysticism again’ and moved on to next question.  ·

Matters of Faith:

Anosh Irani, Brian Aivars Catlos, Esther David, Kalyan Ray moderated by Arshia Sattar.

With Arshia Sattar sitting in the driving seat, took the opportunity to mention Indian History being rewritten and the government placing individuals of its choice, which need to be opposed.

Renaming of roads and other places were mentioned by her.

Kalyan Ray, a noted academic who teaches at County College of Morris, berated Hinduism and claimed to be a rational humanist.

He quoted often on Naasadiya Sookta, questioning who is beyond all this creation and beyond that.  ·

Gods Without Men:

Narrating the human condition:

Hari Kunzru, Vikram Chandra & Kalyan Ray in conversation with Nayana Currimbhoy. A bit repetitive from the topic. Matters of Faith conversations by Kalyan Ray.

Vikram mentions that spirituality left out of the liberal debate. Took a bit of middle ground.

The murder of the rationalist MM Kalburgi mentioned again by Arshia and said the right has stooped down to extreme violence.

She was very critical of the current administration for encouraging such acts.

One of the poets Arvind Krishna Mehrotra mentions Sanskrit should be taught to everyone, particularly erotic poetry. ·

Emerging Stories:

New Media Narratives:

David Barsamian, Rayan Gattis, Mihir Sharma with Maeve Conran. David Barsamian, a Boulder native, a talk show host for the local CPR, was deported from India years ago for trying to report human rights issues in Kashmir.

He says, Hindu Nationalists cannot tolerate any adverse mention on Kashmir. Making India a villain particularly related to Kashmir.

Mihir Sharma complains on politics, caste systems and say can’t keep his mouth shut and will say what he wants.

Mentions on Kashmir police brutality, torture camps and how the media builds the narratives and put them together. Happy about how Pankaj Mishra brings these in to light.·

India: A billion Aspirations:

Mihir Sharma, Saranath Banerjee, Rahul Jacob in conversation with Amitava Kumar.

This panel discussion trashed India into bits. Rahul Jacob said, government is just series of sloganeering (Make in India) in India and Abroad (ref. Mr. Modi) and parading the symbols.

Mihir said, there seem to be a huge poverty for ambition and there is nothing in sight for fulfilling the aspirations and promises.

Mihir, regaling India in every aspect, from 17 security checks of baggage claims to water to infrastructure problems.  India cannot be an exporting economy and US cannot buy anything from India which is substandard.

Saranath Banerjee (a graphic novelist) said unqualified people are in positions, while soft emotions are turned in to hard fundamentalism.

In all it was washing dirty laundry and getting appreciation from the audience.

While an academic from Naropa sitting on my left was horrified and disappointed with the discussion, an anti-Modi signatory sitting on my right was elated while the panelists raved and ranted.

Closing:

At the closing dinner there were some sparks between us (Naropa academic and I on one side) and Sanjoy Roy.

We were accused of not being aware of the day to day happenings in India, how their moves have been watched, as we sit in comfort in USA and draw conclusions.

All in all the entire even was one sided, projecting India in a negative stereotypes.

I wish there were moderate speakers to counter several arguments presented in panels mentioned above. Hopefully sense will prevail for the next edition.

Addition by : Come Carpentier

The Boulder-Jaipur Lit Festival reflects the conventional “liberal” viewpoint of the Indo-American academic Intelligentsia encumbered by a lot of rigid and standard convictions about “castes, cows and curry” and by the fashionable feminist and “anti-traditional” concept of coolness and modernity.

Unfortunately when they criticise the changes being made by the present government they are unable to explain why some sixty years of Nehruvian secular socialist policies have failed to substantially reduce the poverty and inequality which they deplore in India.

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