But it was Hegel, among all German thinkers, who had the deepest and most enduring impact on Western thought and identity. It is often forgotten that his work was a reaction against the Romantics’ passion for India’s past. He borrowed Indian ideas (such as monism) while debating Indologists to argue against the value of Indian civilization. He posited that the West, and only the West, was the agent of history and teleology. India was the ‘frozen other’, which he used as a foil to define the West.
28 Jun 2014
19 Jun 2014
[Being Different by Rajiv Malhotra (published by Harper Collins, 2011) is a must read not only for young Indians of modern India, especially those who are ashamed of being Hindus, but also for the followers and disciples of Sri Aurobindo, who have sometimes the misguided notion that Sri Aurobindo rejected Hinduism. The first effect the book has on you is that it makes you proud of being a Hindu, of Being Different from what the West wants you to be. One of the frequent accusations of Westerners on India is that it is a Chaos not only materially but also spiritually, and that there is no Order, which is so prominent in the West. Rajiv Malhotra brilliantly explains this point and analyses the nature and reason for this difference between Westerners and Indians. The Chaos, he says, is only apparent for people who look only for one Order whereas Indians have learnt to live with multiple orders from times immemorial, and have therefore acquired a far greater complexity of mind and attitude than Westerners. I reproduce below an excerpt from Being Different by Rajiv Malhotra. -- by Krish Patwardhan]
12 Jun 2014
Sridharan: Prophet cum Historian Benimadhav Mohanty Speaks, or shall we say more appropriately, Beni Speaks Nonsense Again!
The following is a forward sent to the SAICE forum by Benimadhav Mohanty, an SAICE product! (The quality of academic production in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Centre of Education, Pondicherry, certainly seems to have hit the rock bottom. It is perhaps time to infuse some foreign funding to raise the standards!) What Benimadhav has forwarded on 8 June, 2014 is an atrocious rant on Hinduism by another ex-student to his brother in Australia. Benimadhav finds this “interesting” to read and forwards it to the rest of the SAICE alumni as if they are eagerly waiting to lap up this hate speech on Hindus. Now Benimadhav cannot simply shrug away his responsibility by saying that he has not written it, because it is he who has found it worthy of attention and brought it to the notice of the other members of the SAICE forum. As for the author of the piece itself, he should either be behind bars or sent to a madhouse. But I will nevertheless respond intellectually to this foam spewing hatred of the Hindus. As I don’t know the name of this frustrated ex-student, let me call him Anti-Hindu for the sake of convenience.
7 Jun 2014
SRI AUROBINDO: Somebody has said that I have a great similarity to Hegel because I used the word "synthesis" and he speaks of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. But I must confess I have no idea of what Hegel says.
Western philosophies are so mental and dry. They seem to lead to nothing, only mental gymnastics trying to find out things like, "What is judgment?" and "What is not judgment?" They appear to be written for the purpose of using the mind, not for finding or arriving at the Truth.
(Nirodbaran, Talks with Sri Aurobindo (2001), 18 January 1939, pp 172-73)
1 Jun 2014
Situating Sri Aurobindo – A Reader, edited by Peter Heehs and published by Oxford University Press in 2013, is one of those arid unreadable books, the heavy metaphysical content of which simply puts you off. The book is almost entirely a compilation of articles by professors in American Universities who evaluate, analyse, dissect, compare, and situate Sri Aurobindo within the framework of their disciplines. Though most of the essays are surprisingly favourable assessments of Sri Aurobindo, considering that they have been chosen by Peter Heehs, one still gets the impression (except in a few cases) that the professors are straying beyond their legitimate and natural boundaries. Understanding Sri Aurobindo certainly needs some spiritual empathy, and that comes from a little inward opening, even if it be only a drop of genuine spiritual experience. Otherwise one commits not only spiritual but intellectual errors such as some of these professors have made, despite the expertise in their own fields. I bring to the notice of our readers one such major misunderstanding by Professor Steve Odin of the University of Hawai’i, which should be set right before it spreads further in the academic world. I quote below his conclusion with regard to Sri Aurobindo and Hegel: