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View Article  Comments in sciy on The Lives of Sri Aurobindo Controversy


Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs

Prisons We Choose to Live Inside by Doris Lessing - an Introduction by Diane Christine

Auroville Today Interview with Peter Heehs

Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism by Robert Jay Lifton

Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Debashish

Competing Visions of History in Internal Islamic Discourse and Islamic-Western Dialogue by Abdullahi A. An-Na'im

Representing Swami Vivekananda: Some Issues and Debates By Makarand Paranjape

Orissa court stays release of book on Sri Aurobindo (the next Satanic Verses -taindian news)

The Lives of Sri Aurobindo: the aggrieved victim by Rich Carlson

The Greyscale Between Religion and Spirituality by Rick Lipschutz

A Cultural Misunderstanding by Angiras

The Strange case of Dr. M and Mr. S by Angiras

  Larger Issues of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" Controversy     
Against the grain and With the Grain: A Short Review of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by J. Kepler

Reflections of an Evolutionary Activist: The Shadow of Fundamentalism in the Integral Yoga by Savitra

The Core Problem by Angiras



Jihad Vs. McWorld - the Introduction by Benjamin Barber:

Yoga, religion, and fundamentalism in the Integral Yoga Community by Lynda Lester:

The Evolution of Discourse and The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Rich Carlson:

Religious Nationalism and Transnationalism in a Global World by Mark Juergensmeyer

View Article  Conference: Fundamentalism and the Future

Conference Announcement: Fundamentalism and the Future
Friday, September 11 and Saturday, September 12, 2009
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
A two-day conference will be held Friday, September 11 and Saturday September 12 on the topic “Fundamentalism and the Future.” The conference will be at the California Institute of Integral studies in San Francisco, hosted by the Department of Asian and Comparative Religions. The conference organizers are Rich Carlson, Debashish Banerji and David Hutchinson. Registration is free. For details on the conference, location, and registration, please see http://fundamentalismandthefuture.com

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View Article  Twenty years on: how the fatwa on Salman Rushdie has gagged our society By Anthony Drew (The Observer)

The contemporary history of cutural coercion, of which the response by religious zealots to Peter Heehs' The Lives of Sri Aurobindo may be seen as an instance, draws its legacy from Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa on Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses:

It's 20 years since Iran's religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a death sentence on Salman Rushdie for 'insulting' Islam with his novel The Satanic Verses. The repercussions were profound - and are still being felt. Andrew Anthony traces the course of the affair, from book-burnings and firebombings to the dramatic impact it had on freedom of expression in a multicultural society:

Who would dare to write a book like The Satanic Verses nowadays? And if some brave or reckless author did dare, who would publish it? The signs in both cases are that no such writer or publisher is likely to appear, and for two reasons. The first and most obvious is fear. The Satanic Verses is a rich and complex literary novel, by turns ironic, fantastical and satirical. Despite what is often said, mostly by those who haven't read it, the book does not take direct aim at Islam or its prophet. Those sections that have caused the greatest controversy are contained within the dreams or nightmares of a character who is in the grip of psychosis. Which is to say that, even buried in the fevered subconscious of a disturbed character inside a work of fiction - a work of magical realism fiction! - there is no escape from literalist tyranny. Any sentence might turn out to be a death sentence. And few if any of even the boldest and most iconoclastic artists wish to run that risk.

The recent case of The Jewel of Medina, a work by Sherry Jones which is neither bold nor iconoclastic, exemplifies the problem. In 2007 the American publishers Random House bought the rights to this historical novel about the prophet Muhammad's wife Aisha. By all accounts the book is something of a cheesy romance. Jones herself believes it is a circumspect fiction which "portrays the prophet Muhammad as a gentle, compassionate, wise leader and man respectful toward women and his wives". But a professor of Middle Eastern studies named Denise Spellberg advised Random House that it might provoke violence. The publishers duly cancelled the publication.

"We stand firmly by our responsibility to support our authors and the free discussion of ideas, even those that may be construed as offensive by some," Random House explained in a statement. "However, a publisher must weigh that responsibility against others that it also bears, and in this instance we decided, after much deliberation, to postpone publication for the safety of the author, employees of Random House, booksellers and anyone who would be involved in distribution and sale of the novel."

This has become a familiar conceit in recent years: we defend the right of freedom of expression but prefer not to exercise it in situations that might endanger us. Random House publish Rushdie, and he was angered by what he saw as a capitulation to the threat of Islamic reprisals. "This is censorship by fear, and it sets a very bad precedent indeed," he said.

In Britain the book was taken up by the independent publisher, Gibson Square. But on 27 September last year the London home of Martin Rynja, Gibson Square's publisher, was firebombed. As things stand, the book's British publication is indefinitely postponed.

Nor is this self-censorship restricted to literature. Ramin Gray, associate director of the Royal Court Theatre, recently admitted that he would be reluctant to stage a play that was critical of Islam. "You would think twice," he said. "You'd have to take the play on its merits but given the time we're in, it's very hard because you'd worry that if you cause offence then the whole enterprise would become buried in a sea of controversy. It does make you tread carefully."

The expressed intention of [Khomeini's] fatwa was to defend and strengthen the clergy, and one of its effects in Britain has been to create a kind of pseudo-clergy, a class of Islamist intellectuals and militants who presume to speak not just for their co-religionists in Britain but 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide. At the same time, in the late 80s and early 90s, another clergy of fundamentalist preachers, often refugees from despotic Middle Eastern regimes, began to attract a disaffected constituency that had been radicalised by The Satanic Verses protests. As Hirsi Ali put it to me: "The paradox in the UK with regard to freedom of expression is that most of the radical literature and most of the radical mosques moved from Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and established themselves in the liberal West, where there is freedom of religion and expression, with the bizarre purpose of destroying those freedoms."

In the 20 years since the fatwa, the parameters of cultural debate in Britain and elsewhere have undoubtedly narrowed. If the Islam of Khomeini and other fundamentalists has played a key role in redefining what is and is not acceptable, then it is not the only factor. Other religions have also got in on the censorship act. In 2004 the play Behzti (Dishonour) was cancelled at the Birmingham Rep after a riot by Sikh protesters on the opening night. Christian groups too have taken to organising more intimidating protests - though with less success - against shows and productions they deem offensive.

Taken together they are all part of a multicultural accommodation that has come to determine the terms of public discourse. In hindsight, The Satanic Verses was published at a turning point in progressive politics. Throughout much of the 20th century a battle had been waged against discriminating on the basis of race (The Satanic Verses itself was avowedly anti-racist) and class. In other words, those aspects of humanity that are biologically inherited or socially imposed. For a variety of reasons, including the fall of the Berlin Wall later on in 1989 and the emergence of minority group activism, a new identity politics emerged. Class and race were replaced or trumped by culture.

The emphasis moved to combating cultural discrimination. All cultures were deemed equal, and therefore all components of culture - religion, tradition, beliefs - had to be protected from critical appraisal. Obviously culture is socially inherited, but in a free society it is also a matter of freedom of choice. The liberty to change your beliefs, reject your traditions and question your religion is what distinguishes individuals from members of an enforced collective. Such liberty necessitates the discussion and expression of ideas that may be unpalatable to others. Increasingly, therefore, this has become a process that is actively discouraged.
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View Article  A Matter of Mind by J. Kepler

At the core of much of the recent discussion and controversy in the Integral Yoga (IY) online community seems to lay the role of the mind and mental reasoning. Many statements from Sri Aurobindo and Mother could be quoted both praising the essential, enabling contributions of the mind, as well as criticizing the mind’s obstinate, obstructing features and liabilities. This dual nature of their commentary itself may point us in the right direction. It’s the particular use made of the mental faculty in a particular context that determines its helpful or harmful status.

Many quotes could be furnished where Sri Aurobindo and Mother state definitively that their teaching is a living spiritual path and not a set of fixed doctrines or dogmas to be religiously recited and referenced. But especially in documents that pertain to their own practice, in Sri Aurobindo’s case his Record of Yoga, in Mother’s case l'Agenda de Mère, and in other miscellaneous talks and letters by both of them, they exhibit a characteristic attitude and approach to mental formulation. This attitude is marked by a highly flexible and, one could even say, experimental approach to mental formulation of the vast spiritual experiences they passed through.

Considered in this light, the current Heehs controversy is perhaps best seen not as simply a flawed biography by a flawed ashramite who upset many devotees with his academic approach to evaluating Sri Aurobindo’s life. The controversy might also represent a stark and revealing light being cast upon the mental formations and constructions that have hardened among many associated with IY. All should be able to agree that the Mother’s approach is never a static one and she always seeks to propel us toward the future, breaking our comfortable habits of thinking and feeling as need be whenever our advance requires it. “her feet are rapid on the upward way.”   more »
View Article  A Proposal - Shifting From Words to Action by Savitra
Savitra's proposal is formulated in response to the aggressive and illegitimate tactics (whether considered in terms of civil or spiritual society) employed against Peter Heehs in the case pertaining to his recent biography The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, but it is not limited to or exclusively directed at the individuals mentioned in this case. He intends the Principle of this Proposal would apply to all -- regardless of age, gender, culture or nationality -- who violate basic civil and spiritual rights and codes of conduct.   more »
View Article  Law Suits, Sraddhalu and the Fraternity of Conspiracy Theorists
Tripathy is actively involved as an advocate as well. The proof of Tripathy's involvement is given below...    more »
View Article  Active Omissions: A Review of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Manoj - Annotated by Debashish

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View Article  Fundamentalism in Integral Yoga - New Website Announcement

Dear SCIY readers,

Because Sraddhalu Ranade and Alok Pandey have been invited to the US for the AUM conference this year, we wish to place certain facts about them before those who may be considering support or sponsorship of these people or their projects. These facts concern their involvement in what we regard as promotion of religious fundamentalism, censorship, distortion of truth, and defiance of Ashram rules and authority carried out by Ranade and Pandey recently, so that you may assess any possible support for them.

To make people aware of the misleading activities of Ranade, Pandey, and others, and to increase awareness of an unfortunate growing trend among some who claim to be followers of Sri Aurobindo, a website has been started website, http://www.iyfundamentalism.info.   more »
View Article  Filio's response to Sraddhalu on the SAICE list
Responses to Sraddhalu's amusing letter keep coming in. This one is from Filio, an ex-student of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram writing on the discussion list of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram International Centre of Education (SAICE).   more »
View Article  The Lives of Sri Aurobindo: the aggrieved victim

Therefore, it is ironic to watch those who claim to represent Sri Aurobindo ideals ignore the democratic character of his words and replace them with a militant interpretation of Hindu nationalism. This is evident in its failure to critically assess text that are viewed as hostile to their aspiration to seize the cultural interpretations of powerful institutions. In fact, words themselves are ignored by those claiming speaking rights for Sri Aurobindo. One leader (S) of the movement to censor the The Lives of Sri Aurobindo essentially declared that there is no need to read the book, that one can in fact can judge a book by its cover, or at least a paragraph. He says:

“Some people are insisting on the idea that unless you read the full book you cannot understand the context of a single line in it. That is ridiculous. One can easily see the context from within any complete unit of thought structure -- at the very least a paragraph and at the most a section or chapter" (2008)*

When such irrationality is loosed coupled with the xenophobic nationalism of the aggrieved victim there can only be trouble ahead.    more »
View Article  Peter, his book and/or the REAL ISSUES?! (from SAICE) by Aurofilio
Since Peter’s book got published we have heard voices from both sides. We are of course all too familiar with what the loud and vociferous critics of the book have had to say. But we have also heard people who have liked the book, drawn inspiration from it, got closer to Sri Aurobindo, etc.; in other words appreciated and benefited from it. And many others, the VAST majority, have just not bothered about it and have kept quiet.

Even the website www.thelivesofsriaurobindo.com, so strongly recommended by Peter’s critics could not prevent the following poll information (screenshot image of the result is also attached here) from appearing on its website some time last month:.

The Poll indicated: I find the book “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” by Peter Heehs to be: .

Offensive – 19 votes - 13% .

Deceptive – 18 votes - 13%

Boring – 10 votes - 7%

Representative – 63 votes - 45%

Useful – 113 votes - 82%

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View Article  The Evolution of Discourse and The Lives of Sri Aurobindo

When Sri Aurobindo left his body the evolution of consciousness did not suddenly cease. Namely, there have been several significant mutations of discourse regimes, in response to the advent of the practice of Critical Theory. It is my view that one can view this succession of discourse in the same light as one would the development of a future poetry; it is a representation of the evolution of language.

While it would be understandable for a traditional religion to discard the advent and development of styles of discourse which follow on the death of its founder, in a spiritual practice whose organizing idea is of the evolution of consciousness, to discard the ideas, movements, cultural logic, etc that are part and parcel of this development, would be its undoing.

Peter Heehs book is a critical biography written in a contemporary academic style, that is -as all contemporary academic styles - informed by Critical Theory. It is not surprising therefore, that it treats its subject in a manner appropriate for this type of discourse. The fact that those in a yoga whose unique major metaphysical premise is of the evolution of consciousness would criticize its language and method of inquiry because it follows a discursive style that is indicative of how consciousness has evolved over the past 58 years is nothing short of ironic. It is almost as if these reactionary followers of Integral Yoga in looking back to the past to co-opt modes of expression that have now become fossilized discursive practices, as consciousness has evolved into a new millennium, have begun looking backward to the past instead of forward to the future to complete the project of integral yoga. Such a backward looking view of the yoga can be understood to have flipped the goals of the Integral Yoga in substituting devolution for evolution.....   more »
View Article  Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism by Robert Jay Lifton
This is an edited excerpt from Chapter 22 of Robert Jay Lifton's book,"Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of 'Brainwashing' in China." Lifton, a psychiatrist and distinguished professor at the City University of New York, has studied the psychology of extremism for decades. He testified at the 1976 bank robbery trial of Patty Hearst about the theory of "coercive persuasion." First published in 1961, his book was reprinted in 1989 by the University of North Carolina Press. Lifton's analysis of "thought-reform" applied to cultic behavior is very instructive in our present space-time.   more »
View Article  Yoga, religion, and fundamentalism in the Integral Yoga Community by Lynda Lester

Lynda Lester made a great presentation at AUM 2007 on fundamentalist tendencies in Integral Yoga. We are happy to post it here:

Today I’d like to focus on the difference between yoga, religion, and fundamentalism in the Integral Yoga community. And because in a discussion like this we’re all coming from different cultures and orientations, my yoga might be your religion and someone else’s fundamentalism. So I thought I’d start out with some definitions....   more »
View Article  Savitra speaks out on The Lives of Sri Aurobindo

Until recently, I had not actually read Peter's book. So, despite the polarizing atmosphere and escalating polemics surrounding its publication, I refrained from taking a position or passing judgment. For how could I come to conclusions about something that I myself had not personally experienced?

As a published author myself, my own natural writing style tends more toward the creative rather than the academic or scholarly. So to be honest, I was not sure if I could wade through more than 400 pages of biographical details drawn from decades of archival research. After all, I was, I believed, sufficiently familiar with the essential outline and major events of Sri Aurobindo's life. And as a dedicated practitioner of Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga as well as a serious student of his own writings since the mid-1960s, having read all of his major works before coming to Pondicherry to meet the Mother, I wondered how I could possibly benefit from pouring through the micro-facts and minutia of such a figure whose Life was so much greater than the sum of its parts. I also had reservations about whether such an academic approach would turn out to be a boring compilation or disconnected series of meticulously-researched historical details which would simply drone on, failing both to hold my attention or hold together as a whole....   more »
View Article  The Strange Case of Dr. M and Mr. S

Sachidananda Mohanty is a Professor of English at the University of Hyderabad, India.
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View Article  Peter Heehs called to appear in Court

In an act of desperation the petitioner as well as those Ashramites who are conspiring against Peter Heehs are attempting to file criminal charges in this matter. Note that these charges are being filed under the following sections: Section 501 is “printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory” - Section 500 covers punishment for defamation; Section 275 (a) does not seem to exist though 275 covers sale of adulterated drugs.

The truth however, will not be denied. Not only will this case be dismissed but the truth regards the hypocrisy and malice of those persons who have seen fit to conspire in secret to take these actions will be unveiled for all to see.

The truth of this matter will be revealed in a forthcoming text that will be announced on SCIY. The voices of the ashramite leaders of the ex-communication movement will speak for themselves. What will become obvious is their disregarded for the spirit of the yoga as well as the rules and regulations of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram itself in persecuting a fellow sadhak.   more »
View Article  An examination of the criticism against The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Larry Seidlitz
This article continues the section of responses on The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by those who have read the book. In this essay, Larry Seidlitz, a resident and scholar at Pondicherry, examines the charges being made against the author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo and attempts to put to rest the exaggerations and misreadings which have been circulated by the ringleaders of the "anti-PH movement" and which have become "authorized truths" to a vast range of "followers" of these ringleaders, most of whom have not read the book.   more »
View Article  Representing Swami Vivekananda: Some Issues and Debates By Makarand Paranjape

Controversy surrounding the representation of a "nationalized" Indian mystic comes late to Sri Aurobindo. Pre-dating the latter in personal chronology as in nationalism and the modern articulation of a global Vedantic spirituality, Vivekananda precedes also in the matter of contemporary debates on representation. In the present 2005 piece by Makarand Paranjape, some of the recent histories of representation and the all too familiar stakes are rehearsed and can be instructive to our consideration of the present controversy raging around "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo." Who gets to authorize the representation? What are the relative uses of hagiographny and biography? Are not both of these varieties of fiction? What purposes do they serve? Where does cultural tradition come in? What is the place of hermeneutics in all this? Paranjape's reflections and call for a balanced realism is much needed for us to heed and reflect on in these times of myth-making and madness.   more »
View Article  Religious Nationalism and Transnationalism in a Global World by Mark Juergensmeyer

The rampant rise of religious nationalism and sectarian violence all over the world may have an intimate relation with contemporary neo-liberal globalization. Mark Juergensmeyer, director of global and international studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, presents his sociology of 21st century national and transnational religious sectarianism in a post-Enlightenment global context.   more »
View Article  Corrections to textual excerpts of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs
There is a movement of folks in Pondicherry who are so upset by the biography that Peter Heehs has written entitled The Lives of Sri Aurobindo that they have instigated a movement to discredit the author. Some people have even become so embolden as to try and have him ejected from the Ashram itself. The folks who have spurred this on have in the course of their attacks on Mr. Heehs openly distorted his text by decontextualizing portions of it or by a series of selective omissions to make it suit their own interpretation of events that facilitate their own story they wish to tell.

Because of this movement I have decided to post all the portions of the text that have been decontextualized or omitted and reprint them with corrections to demonstrate how the text from the book actually reads in its entire context. The portions of the text that have been lifted to suit the purposes of those with an agenda against the author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo are in black, the missing portions of the text that are needed to give the entire context of the narrative are in red. As everyone will see there is a lot of red in the text.:    more »
View Article  Competing Visions of History in Internal Islamic Discourse and Islamic-Western Dialogue - ABDULLAHI A. AN-NA'IM
Prof. An-Na'im in Jos, Nigeria

Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law. Originally from Sudan, An-Na'im is a disciple of nationalist leader and Islamic reformer and Sufi, Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, who was executed in 1985 by the regime of President Gaafar Nimeiry. Taha's pronouncement of his first political incarceration by the British is reminiscent of Sri Aurobindo's: "When I settled in prison I began to realize that I was brought there by my Lord and thence I started my Khalwah with Him."

An-Na'im's specialties include human rights in Islam and cross-cultural issues in human rights. He is the director of the Religion and Human Rights Program at Emory. He also participates in Emory's Center for the Study of Law and Religion. An-Naim was formerly the Executive Director of the African bureau of Human Rights Watch. He argues for a synergy and interdependence between human rights, religion, critical thought and secularism, instead of a dichotomy and incompatibility between them.   more »
View Article  The Mother: "No one with an atom of intelligence would fall into such a hole!"
In this passage from her Agenda (12 January 1961), the Mother comments on the pharisaic behavior of members of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The recent experience of the friend of Peter Heehs is the latest case in point.

"Consider the case of a woman with many friends, and these friends are very fond of her for her special capacities, her pleasant company, and because they feel they can always learn something from her. Then all of a sudden, through a quirk of circumstances, she finds herself socially ostracized.... In the world at large it seems quite normal, but when this happens here it always gives me a bit of a shock, in the sense that I say to myself, ‘So they’re still at that level! ...’ This is a primary stage. As long as you haven’t gone beyond this condition, you are unfit for yoga. Because truly, no one in such a rudimentary state is ready for yoga."   more »
View Article  The Mother's war for the Truth against all conceptions of the truth

Were Truth to manifest in such a way as to be seen and understood by all, they would be terrified by the enormity of their ignorance and false interpretation...   more »
View Article  The Greyscale Between Religion and Spirituality by Rick Lipschutz
Rick Lipschutz reflects here on the continuum which stretches from religion to spirituality. Drawing on the Mother's distinction between spiritual realization, spiritual philosophy, occultism and religion and her perception of a complementarity in their workings, the author calls for a more integral understanding of the yoga and its stages and processes.   more »
View Article  Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
Since some of my friends at the Sri Aurobindo ashram have expressed puzzlement at my stand against the "Brahmins of Pondicherry" in the matter of the book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, I am copying here a letter written by me to a senior and respected member of the ashram. That the views expressed here are not "popular" is well known. But I am wondering how many others who have read the book share any of these views. I would encourage them to express themselves in the comments following this posting.   more »
View Article  Orissa court stays release of book on Sri Aurobindo (Tainidan news)
Having edged out Texas, whose governor declares it a "willful state of ignorance", and now in second place, the High Court of Orissa seems to be closing the final intellectual gap, between itself and the State of Alaska, in a competition to determine cultural backwardness:

Alaska governor Sarah Palin who pressured librarians to ban books she objected to in Wasilla Ak

The recently appointed chief justice of the Orissa High Court, Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan who will decide if Sri Aurobindo's biography should be banned in India.

The Orissa High Court has stayed the release of a book on Sri Aurobindo in India over allegations that it has objectionable content and distorted facts about the late spiritual leader, a lawyer said Thursday.Geetanjali Bhattacharya, a devotee, filed a petition in the court seeking a ban on the book ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo’ and action against the writer, her lawyer Siddharta Das told IANS.

Bhattacharya alleges that the book by American Peter Heehs questions Sri Aurobindo’s character and integrity. The book was published in the US in May by Colombia Press. It was to be re-printed and sold by Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd in November.
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View Article  Auroville Today Interview with Peter Heehs
Alan of Auroville Today interviewed Peter Heehs, author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, which has created such strong reactions among followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother at the Sri Aurobindo ashram and elsewhere. In this short, but pointed interview, one gets to hear Peter's voice on his book and its controversies.   more »
View Article  Prisons We Choose to Live Inside - an Introduction by Diane Christine

Doris Lessing, 2007 Nobel awardee for Literature, gave a set of lectures in 1986, which were published under the name "Prisons We Choose to Live Inside." In this book, the author draws upon the lessons of history to show how easily the primitive instincts of human beings can and have been aroused and how manipulable we have shown ourselves to be under the pressure of rhetoric particularly by political, religious, ideological and commercial interests. But the lessons of the past seem to leave little trace on our subjective progress. Are we helplessly doomed to ever repeat the patterns of the unconscious group mind or can we emerge as a race to a level of freedom and choice? A good part of Sri Aurobindo's work also deals with these questions - and answers them from a much deeper place of realization. But what must we do to embody this? It is hoped that this short introduction by Diane Christine will whet our appetites to read the book and ponder its problems in our own lives.   more »
View Article  Jihad vs. McWorld by Benjamin R. Barber

Juergensmeyer's article on Religious Nationalism and Transnationalism in a Globalizing World, carried earlier in sciy, throws a clear interpretive light on our contemporary world situation, a context within which the present imbroglio in Pondicherry wrt. "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" may be framed (with whatever customized caveats). But perhaps the earliest intuitive ray on this dialectic fueling the present discourse was the publication in 1995 of Benjamin Barber's now classic study "Jihad vs. McWorld." The book itself was in fact preceded by a March 1992 article of the same name in The Atlantic by the author (which later became the Introduction chapter in the book). This article is worthy of our consideration (or reconsideration if already read) in the present circumstances.   more »