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View Article  Topics within "Integral Yoga" Category
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View Article  Darshan Day Message: Justice! (Heehs case stayed by Orissa High Court)

As reported by the Hindu, Justice A. S. Naidu of the Orissa High Court has stayed proceedings in a criminal case against Peter Heehs in the court of the subdivisional magistrate, Cuttack. This means, for those unfamiliar with legal terminology, that the case has been taken from the hands of the magistrate, and that all proceedings in the case have been halted until the matter is disposed of by the High Court. In addition the High Court has quashed (nullified) an order that had been passed by the subdivisional magistrate. The fact that the case in the lower court was stayed even before the magistrate was given a chance to hear it shows that the High Court found it to be fundamentally unsound in law

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View Article  Integral Psychology – Theorizing its Disciplinary Boundaries

The following is a revised transcript of a talk given by me at the Cultural Integration Fellowship, San Francisco in 2008 and carried in the current edition of Sraddha, a journal of the Sri Aurobindo Bhavan, Kolkata.

In this, I bring into dialog the epistemic boundaries of the western academic discipline of Psychology and Sri Aurobindo's formulation of Integral Yoga, so as to reflect on the disciplinary formation of a field of Integral Psychology. What would such a field hold out and how would it impact the existing assumptions of both Psychology and Yoga? The insertion of such a discipline into the academy is not a trivial task. It is a project fraught with danger and possibility, which needs to be carefully negotiated. - db   more »
View Article  Sri Aurobindo's Integral Education in Contemporary Higher Education

Sri Aurobindo envisaged the goal of human becoming as a transformed society and civilization based on the expressions of an integral consciousness. However, in keeping with the collective dimension of this goal, a transformed society was envisaged by him not merely as the end result of individual transformations, but as the dynamically transforming life-context or field which would allow and facilitate individual transformation. Seen from this standpoint, the social discipline of education, meant to “socialize,” “in-form” and inculcate the cultural, knowledge and epistemological skills of the social habitus for individual engagement takes on a changed meaning related to a new phenomenology, epistemology and teleology of human and social becoming. Integral Education then becomes a socially acknowledged and authorized praxis of the Integral Yoga or at least the pedagogical condition for its social possibility and collective transformation.

Though much has been written and several attempts at implementation made to formulate Integral Education as a form of child education, the higher educational possibilities and ramifications of Integral Education have remained largely untheorized. This paper is an attempt to think through some of these possibilties and implementations. Debashish Banerji is the educational coordinator of The University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles.   more »
View Article  Fascism and False Guru Sects (Kheper.net)

It seems that many of the attributes of authoritarian regimes, listed above, also define authoritarian cults and cultic and abusive guru movements. The reason is that in both cases there is a highly narcissistic but also fearful and shadow-projecting individual or individuals at the top, who through giving in to adverse entities, acts in a way to supress any creativity, originality, individuality, authentic spirituality or anything else that threatens the ideology, belief-system, personal worldview, or hypersensitive ego of the leader or leadership.   more »
View Article  Spiritual Authoritarianism (P2P)

A link from a cyber-buddy Michel Bauwens whose P2P foundation is cutting edge with respect to clearing an open source horizon for progressive social agency in a increasingly interconnected society forced to navigate the communication nodes and commercial portals of corportist networks on the world wide web

It occurs to me that we should perhaps refine the terminology we are broadly labeling as Fundamentalism. Spiritual Authoritarianism further nuances meaning here and I believe better describes certain events and persons with respect to the IY Community and The Lives of Sri Aurobindo...   more »
View Article  • India and Europe by Wilhelm Halbfass
With the ascendency to Indian politics of the Bharatiya Janata Party, a plethora of literature has appeared paying serious attention to the phenomenon of "Neo-Hinduism" in India, and by and large relating it to fascist possibilities. This postcolonial literature, swelling the shelves over the last five years, has piggybacked onto a larger more international body of postmodern writing on nationalism and its dangers that has been growing in stridency ever since the pseudo-religion ...   more »
View Article  100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: The Illusion of Human Progress and the Ideal of Human Unity (part 5 of 6)

... In this context progress can be seen as a social ideology that corresponds to other hijacked evolutionary ideologies reflected in the German Idealism of “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”, and Herbert Spencer's “progressive evolution”. All the above ideas at one time or another have been utilized by those with couched power agendas for their use value in aligning different races and cultures along a scale of graduated being in which the European was seen to be the most highly evolved. A close reading of Sri Aurobindo however, will show that he had no such agenda. This fact should be understood properly before moving on to consider Sri Aurobindo's view of human progress.

Although in many ways Sri Aurobindo was certainly a visionary in his view of history he did not claim to be a prophet. The impossible burden of proof placed on prophecy is not lost on him. Even the future of poetry it seems can not be anticipated twenty five years years hence:

“ The gods of life and still more the gods of mind are so incalculably self-creative that even when we can distinguish the main lines of which the working runs or has so far run, we are still unable to foresee with any certainty what turn they will take or of what new thing they are the labor.  It is therefore impossible to predict what the future poetry will actually be like. We can see where we stand today but we cannot see where we shall stand a quarter century hence” (Sri Aurobindo FP p.1972)

If this be the case with the life gods of poetry how much more is this so with the gods governing human history. Indeed how could one expect him to anticipate the developments in subsequent years when he wrote this optimistic assessment of the future in his 1909 essay Process and Evolution:

It is not likely that the immediate future of the democratic tendency will satisfy the utmost dreams of the lover of liberty who seeks an anarchist freedom, or of the lover of equality who tries to establish a socialistic dead level, or of the lover of fraternity who dreams of a world-embracing communism. But some harmonization of this great ideal is undoubtedly the immediate future of the human race. Once the old forces of despotism, inequality and unbridled competition, after they have been once more overthrown, a process of gradual samyama will be performed by which what has remained of them will be regarded as the disappearing vestiges of a dead reality and without any further violent coercion be transformed slowly and steadily out of existence.” 

Of course what followed were the two great wars that almost destroyed civilizations and the partition of his beloved India. It seems like a harmonization in the immediate future was not to be in the cards dealt by history.....

For Sri Aurobindo the question of human progress is, as almost everything he wrote about, complex. While he believes in 1909 that human progress is the agent of change and writes: “ Whether we take the modern scientific or the ancient Hindu standpoint the progress of humanity is a fact.”(Aurobindo 1909) by the early 1940s his view seems to have notably altered and he writes:

“the idea of human progress itself is very probably an illusion, for there is no sign that man, once emerged from the animal stage, has radically progressed during his race-history; at most he has advanced in knowledge of the physical world, in Science, in the handling of his surroundings, in his purely external and utilitarian use of the secret laws of Nature....

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View Article  Response to Sraddhalu, Alok letter of May 10th on Heehs reintegration
In your letter of May 10th 2009 you say that you speak only for yourselves, but then propose what Peter and the Trustees should do, as if you speak for the entire Integral Yoga community. Since you both made the allegations against Peter in the first place, you cannot disassociate yourself from the discussion or process.

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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  David Hutchinson, Debashish Banerji and Rich Carlson Respond to Sraddhalu

Two of those involved in allegations and support of censorship, Ranade and Pandey, are invitees to this year’s AUM conference. They have both responded to our letter with justifications of their actions. Ranade has reiterated in his letter a list of his charges against the author and his book. Ranade also continues to stand firmly behind the writ to ban the book.

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View Article  SCIY Response to Sraddhalu
There were several distortions of the truth in a recent letter (May 1st) by Sraddhalu regards the IYF site and SCIY and the associated people responsible for them. While the former site is of interest the later site SCIY is what concerns me because it is the only one in which I have participated in as a co-constructor and editor. Aside from the fact that these assertions are clearly libelous, I wish here to demonstrate to Sraddhalu the reasons for his factual errors, in the hope he will correct them in future correspondence.I will only speak to the issues he raises against SCIY and hope the other distortion of facts will be addressed elsewhere.   more »
View Article  Sri Aurobindo: Man or Messiah by Carter Phipps (EnlightenNext executive editor comments on Heehs affair)

Doesn’t exactly sound like the raw material for a scandal, does it? But that’s what is unfolding right now in the world of Aurobindo—which includes the Ashram in India, Auroville, and many supporters and students worldwide. A few individuals have started a campaign against the book calling it malicious and claiming that it maligns the legacy of this great Indian figure. Not only that, they have even convinced the Indian legal system to temporarily stay publication of the book. And they have tried to kick Peter Heehs out of the ashram in India where he has lived for many years. Basically, it sounds like a mess, and it’s causing a split in those who are passionate about Aurobindo’s legacy and work. The good news is that Heehs’s supporters are fighting back and have stated a website called Integral Yoga Fundamentalism, in which they document the controversy and provide updates. This is an excerpt from the site:   more »
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  100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution (complete text with links)

As the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origins of Species take place this year, it is easy to overlook the fact that 2009 also marks the 100th anniversary of Sri Aurobindo's first major text on evolution and consciousness. In Process and Evolution and Yoga and Human Evolution (1909) Sri Aurobindo begins to comprehensively articulate his vision of human evolution. Just as Darwin's book became the foundation for a science of evolution, what has been called evolutionary spirituality can be traced back to Sri Aurobindo's work. Many are acknowledging this bi-centennial year of Darwin's birth with a reassessment of his work in light of what we now know about evolution it therefore, also seems to be a good time to reassess Sri Aurobindo's vision of human evolution in terms of our contemporary understanding of the phenomena......

Even though his view of history is essentially cyclic he starts his consideration of evolution by writing in Yoga and Human Evolution (1909) the following:

“Whether we take the modern scientific or the ancient Hindu standpoint the progress of humanity is a fact” (Aurobindo)

However, by the early1940s when he is revising the last chapters of The Life Divine he writes:

“the idea of human progress itself is very probably an illusion, for there is no sign that man, once emerged from the animal stage, has radically progressed during his race-history; at most he has advanced in knowledge of the physical world, in Science, in the handling of his surroundings, in his purely external and utilitarian use of the secret laws of Nature “ (Aurobindo 1949 p832)....

There are six sections in this paper:

I) Why Sri Aurobindo would not believe in Intelligent Design
2) Darwinian Fundamentalism: reductionism, pluralism, play
3) Anticipating Science & Society
4) Complexity and the Dialectics of the Visible and Invisible
5) The Illusion of Human Progress and the Ideal of Human Unity
6) The Dialectics of Biology and Culture: science, ecology & economics    more »
View Article  100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: Why Sri Aurobindo would not believe in Intelligent Design (part 1 of 6)

While the purpose Sri Aurobindo gives to evolution lends it directionality and transcendence. The fact that he presents a teleology as central to his views does not necessarily mean that his perspective squares with the contemporary theory known as Intelligent Design. Sri Aurobindo's teleology does not square with the fundamentalist view of the religions in the Abrahamic tradition, all of whom have found a common cause in the ideology of intelligent design, and who dismiss evolutionary biology because they find it threatening to their faith....

So called scientific theories of intelligent design often simply present a facade for creationist teaching. Although some Christian organizations have called on scientist not affiliated with their religious faith to discount evolutionary biology these scientist certainly represent a minority view in the scientific community at large. For instance, the faith based Discovery Institute, who is on the forefront of arguing that creationism be taught in American public school, has chosen to employ several scientist, some of whom claim to be atheist, to argue in support of their position...

While Sri Aurobindo does not buy into its materialist reduction of life, and openly voices his objection to the chauvinism of science, he does keep open the possibility that certain Darwinian mechanisms such as natural selection are at work in evolution, even if they can not by themselves fully account for it. While acknowledging the limitations of science he certainly does not seem to find its theories that diverge from his own threatening rather, he contextualizes them in accordance with his own integral comprehension of the world. In the following passage in his essay on Materialism (1915) he defers to science by referencing a religious text:.....

“we have not to hide our face from it any more than could Arjuna from the terrible figure of the Divine on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, or attempt to escape and evade it as Shiva, when there rose around him the many stupendous forms of the original Energy, fled from the vision of it to this and that quarter, forgetful of his own godhead. We must look existence in the face in whatever aspect it confronts us and be strong to find within as well as behind it the Divine.

Materialistic science had the courage to look at this universal truth with level eyes, to accept it calmly as a starting point and to inquire whether it was not after all the whole formula of universal being. Physical science must necessarily to its own first view be materialistic, because so long as it deals with the physical, it has for its own truth's sake to be physical both in its standpoint and method”    more »