Tag Archives: savitri

THE WORD AND ITS PUBLIC SPACE

First, we need to define what is the Word, as there are so many words floating around today in the Public Space, that it has become a cacophony…

In the Beginning, as we all know, There was Silence before the Word.

In the words of India’s great poet, philosopher, revolutionary and Yogi, Sri Aurobindo:

“It was the hour before the Gods awake. 

Across the path of the divine Event 

The huge foreboding mind of Night, alone

In her unlit temple of eternity,

Lay stretched immobile upon SILENCE’s marge…”

Thus, the first primeval sound, coming out of Silence, as the Animate, started replacing the Inanimate, is the sound ‘Hmmmmmmmm’, like a cosmic humming.

Out of this original sound was born the first mantras: OM for the Hindus, AUM for the Buddhists and Jains, Amen for the Christians, Amin for the Muslims…

What is it meaning of AUM or OM or AMIN? Don’t intellectualize it: just close your eyes, watch your breath for a few seconds and pronounce it thrice slowly and clearly, and then observe what’s happening in you. You will now have had the experience of the first sound of this Universe and understood why it remains the most important one, out of which all other sounds, in whichever languages, today and yesterday, derive….

Then we need to define what is Public Space

For a long time the Public Space was largely unoccupied and there still was mostly silence. Though writing was invented, some say in Mesopotamia, 5000  years ago, some say in the Saraswati-Indus civilization, in 5400 BC, it did not occupy much space and led to no cacophony. In France, in the old days, heralds would announce royal decrees at each street corners of cities, along with the beating of the drums.. .

After that came the invention of the Printing Press – which the West credits to Gutenberg – but which existed much before him in Asia , though Gutenberg’s Bible was probably the first mass produced book. A corner of the Public Space became occupied.

Then, the newspapers appeared. The Romans had some form of newsletters (the Senate’s proceedings), but it’s only in the 16th century, in Germany and Italy, that the first public-circulated newspapers saw the light.

Henceforth arrived the Radio, invented by Marconi officially, but actually experimented by many before him – including the Indian JC. Bose in Calcutta in 1896. And the cacophony of the world started. By the mid 20’s, 605 radio stations were broadcasting to millions in the USA.

Then Television made its entry in Scotland in 1926, invented by John Logie Baird. But it’s not till the 50’s that it became popular specially, in the mid 60’s as colour TV first appeared in the US. The Public Space started not only getting crowded, but influencing people’s opinions.

The birth of Internet Protocol Suit happened in 1982, again in the US, and by the mid 90’s, thanks to the birth of Social Media, the Public space had become a cacophony.

Yes, the Word is occupying it. But it’s overcrowded there. Not only that, but we live now in a virtual world of second hand opinions, which have a huge sway on billions of people, who lack first hand knowledge. Whoever reads what is said on India in mainstream newspapers or televisions in the West, knows that it’s mostly about the sensational, the clichéd and sometimes even the false. It is true that the freedom and the lack of politically correct control in the Social Media have made it the space which reflects in the most faithful manner the feelings of the People at large. But the cacophony remains…

How to go back to the some harmony? How does a journalist or a writer find his or her true inspiration, that is not fueled by alcohol, drugs or sleepless nights?

We need to revert back to the Silence to find true Intuition. In India there are tools that can help you do that: Pranayama meditation, or Hata yoga. These tools can be practiced by all, regardless of their ethnicity or religion: does the air we breathe around us have a religion or a race, asks @SriSri? The simple silent repeating of your God’s name in your heart region will also induce a quieting of the mind, that will leave space for true inspiration. And 20 mnts of daily of yoga will help the body be the vessel of a quieter mind.

Then in this Silence will we find our own Private Space and be able to communicate in a better and true manner onto the Public Space

OM

François Gautier

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The lives of Sri Aurobindo

François Gautier

Source: Express buzz

First Published : 27 Feb 2009 03:52:00 AM IST

There is no greater mystery than the Divine incarnating Itself upon earth, what in India is called the Avatar or the Guru concept. It is also a story of Ultimate Sacrifice: Jesus Christ was crucified physically, but every guru is crucified by his or her disciples, even if he or she does not end on a cross. It is the mysterious alchemy of how the All-Perfect, the All-Powerful, agrees to don a human body, along with not only the suffering that goes with it, but also the imperfections a human life is endowed with, which makes it so powerful. Peter Heehs, an American historian, who lives in the Sri Aurobindo ashram, Puducherry, has attempted to recount the life of 20th century’s greatest avatar, in The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (Columbia University Press, May 2008). It created a furore even before it was released in India, as extracts were circulated on the Net. This led to a lot of unpleasantness for Heehs.

Someone slapped a case against him in Orissa, stopping the book from being published in India. He was asked to leave the archives of the Sri Aurobindo ashram, where he worked for two decades; and it is rumoured that he was even assaulted by a student of the Sri Aurobindo school. All biographies of gurus and saints face a painful choice: should they paint over human blemishes and glorify them, as it helps the devotees better focus on the divine? Or should they give the entire picture of a journey from the human to the perfect? Most religious texts and scriptures have chosen the first option. But Peter Heehs went for the second one — and we are grateful for that. For his work will be regarded by future generations as the absolute biography of Sri Aurobindo, avatar extraordinary, poet, revolutionary, philosopher and yogi. Not only is the book remarkably well researched but, as the title indicates, he has really covered all aspects of Sri Aurobindo’s life. When an Avatar or a Master comes upon earth, he or she delivers a teaching adapted to the times, the language and the mentality of the period, for they always live in the present moment. But when the Master goes — and sometimes even during his or her lifetime — the disciples start the process of making a religion out of their teaching and make him or her in their own little image. Thus many of the sadhaks of the Mother have swept under the carpet Sri Aurobindo’s revolutionary years, which are very important, as he is the true father of the Indian nation, being the first to openly ask for outright independence.

Most of today’s disciples in the ashram or Auroville do not know, for instance, that Sri Aurobindo allowed his brother Barin to manufacture bombs in his own house and secretly endorsed early assassinations of select Britons, thereby re-enacting 5,000 years later Krishna’s message to Arjuna. But how does that tally with ideas about spirituality, which we basically associate with non-violence? This aspect of Sri Aurobindo’s life, protecting dharma, standing for what is good and true and noble, by force, if necessary, is today ignored and not applied to the enemies of modern India. It is difficult to write about something close to us, as one often tries to make a distance by being too critical. It is thus true that Heehs is harsh in some of his assessments — but not where he has been pilloried by disciples of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Like most Western Indologists, for instance, he has a deep suspicion of Hinduism. He therefore glosses over the famous Uttarpara speech, where Sri Aurobindo clearly defines what he calls the Sanatana Dharma, as the spirituality which is contained in the Hindu religion: “That which we call the Hindu religion is really the eternal religion, because it is the universal religion which embraces all others”.

But Peter only mentions that “left wing critics use the Uttarpara speech as a proof that Sri Aurobindo’s nationalism was Hindu to the core; and right-wing enthusiasts regard the speech as an expression of the imperishable Indian spirit” (p.187). Heehs also passes some judgments on Sri Aurobindo, which are at best puerile: he calls him “intransigent”, which tended “to limit his effectiveness” (p.212); he also finds “his poetry and prose outdated” (p.414). But Savitri, Sri Aurobindo’s Magnum Opus, will be read hundreds of years from now, and compared to the Iliad and the Odyssey, with the prophetic and supramental element added. This stated, I have to say that reading this book has been one of the most uplifting literary experiences: it has refreshed and upgraded my relationship with Sri Aurobindo. I have understood better the extraordinary mystery of avatarhood and the terrible sacrifice made by all great gurus of all religions.

The rhythms of that book accompanied me in my sleep, primed my mornings and touched my heart to the deepest. Thank you, Peter Heehs. I hope some sensible judge will quickly lift the ban and that all your detractors will have the courage to read this remarkable biography and change their opinions.