Archive for September 2013
Over the years I’ve struggled to articulate why nonhuman objects are relevant to our understanding of the form societies take and questions of politics, only to encounter great difficulty. The problem, I think, is that objects and features of materiality are largely invisible. Oh sure, we see them about us all the time and interact with them in a trillion ways every day. Nonetheless, it’s very difficult to discern how they contribute to our action and are a condition for our action. Our action, I want to say, is never entirely our own, it never arises fully from us, but rather is a sort of collaboration or interaction with the features of the world about us. Action is interaction and those material features both afford our possibilities of action and constrain our possibilities of action.
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When someone has decided to consecrate his life to the seeking for the Divine, if he is sincere, that is to say, if the resolution is sincere and carried out sincerely, there is absolutely nothing to fear, because all that happens or will happen to him will lead him by the shortest way to this realisation.
That is the response of the Grace. People believe that the Grace means making everything smooth for all your life. It is not true.
The Grace works for the realisation of your aspiration and everything is arranged to gain the most prompt, the quickest realisation – so there is nothing to fear.
Fear comes with insincerity. If you want a comfortable life, agreeable circumstances, etc., you are putting conditions and restrictions, and then you can fear.
But it has no business in the sadhana!
Posted September 20, 2013on:
Sri Aurobindo has successively recounted the primary signs or statuses by which the divine worker can be identified. These signs are not outward signs but inner psychological states of consciousness. It is equality however that is required for the interface between spirit and manifested creation. Equality is the lynch-pin that creates the relationship of a simultaneous status or poise of the divine, infinite, free consciousness and the carrying out of action in whatever manner one is called upon to do in the world.
“Self-knowledge, desirelessness, impersonality, bliss, freedom from the modes of Nature, when withdrawn into themselves, self-absorbed, inactive, have no need of equality; for they take no cognisance of the things in which the opposition of equality and inequality arises. But the moment the spirit takes cognisance of and deals with the multiplicities, personalities, differences, inequalities of the action of Nature, it has to effectuate these other signs of…
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As I think through ethics, I find that I’m confronted with something of an antinomy. On the one hand, no ethical action is possible whatsoever without affect. It’s not just me saying this. The philosophical tradition as well as empirical evidence seems to suggest this. Those who have suffered brain damage to certain reasons of their brain become moral morons, unable to determine right action while nonetheless retaining reasoning skills (take that Kant!). But even Kant recognized this. In both the Groundwork and second Critique he argued that we have to have a special sort of affect– “respect for the moral law”, whatever that is –in order to become ethical agents. On the other hand, you can’t base an ethics on affect because, simply put, people don’t have the affects. This person experiences outrage with respect to that thing, while that person is completely indifferent. For this person…
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The Taittiriya Upanishad has a remarkable passage sometimes referred to as the “calculus of bliss”. It sets forth an ascending series of ever-higher states of bliss, Ananda, the serene inner state of joy that is the sign of the spiritual divine consciousness. Each state of being is calculated to be “a hundred and a hundred times” the former state. The first stage is that of the human being “Let there be a young man, excellent and lovely in his youth, a great student; let him have fair manners and a most firm heart and great strength of body, and let all this wide earth be full of wealth for his enjoying.” Ten stages of bliss later, each “a hundred and hundred fold” more intense than the prior stage, is the “bliss of the Eternal Spirit.” What is interesting is that the Upanishad equates this incalculable sum of bliss to be…
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One of the issues we all have to face, whether or not we are consciously trying to practice yoga, is how to deal with the obstacles, issues, and challenges that come upon us as we live our lives in the world. Spiritual seekers in fact have used the method of “avoidance” in order to focus on their spiritual practice while minimizing and limiting the impact of the world on their time, attention and psychological standpoint. As we have seen, however, this approach is extremely limited and does not address the wider questions of the purpose of the manifestation that the Gita forces us to acknowledge with its unflinching recognition of the need to live “in” the world while not being “of” the world in the sense of maintaining a poise of peace, equanimity, and desireless equality, without at the same time taking a haphazard or lackadaisical approach to action in…
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In his seminal small book The Mother, Sri Aurobindo devotes several pages to the issue of how to be a doer of divine works. “If you want to be a true doer of divine works, your first aim must be to be totally free from all desire and self-regarding ego.” Sri Aurobindo is taking up here and amplifying the Gita’s exposition of the true meaning of Karmayoga. By ridding oneself of the egoism of the “doer”, one is thereby liberated from the impulsion of desire, and Sri Aurobindo describes this as the second sign of the liberated man acting in the world.
“Outwardly the liberated man seems to undertake works of all kinds like other men, on a larger scale perhaps with a more powerful will and driving-force, for the might of the divine will works in his active nature; but from all his inceptions and undertakings the inferior concept…
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