Tusar Nath Mohapatra

Archive for January 2009

 from rydesh@gmail.com  to tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com  date 21 January 2009 04:20 www.mirroroftomorrow.org/blog/archives/2009/1/21/4064201.html

A Summary of the Sankhya Discussions

I’m compiling here excerpts of all the articles dealing with the Sankyha theory of material creation, articles posted during the last couple of weeks on the Mirror of Tomorrow. It is expected that a complete unified picture of the theme giving an overall view of the theory could be obtained from these presentations,—with the hope that they will be taken up for further studies in the context of the physical transformation aimed at by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, in their Yoga of Supramental Manifestation. The series had its earlier genesis in the author’s book entitled Narad’s Arrival at Madra published by the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Pondicherry (2006). The book itself is based essentially on the extraordinary opening passage of 83 lines of the Book of Fate of Sri Aurobindo’s epic Savitri.

The present series on the Mirror discussing the ancient Sankyha theory began with the talk Sri Aurobindo had given early in 1926, on 8 May, just a few months before his retirement towards the end of that year. It was noted down by his French scientist-disciple Pavitra and can be accessed at talk recorded by Pavitra. Thanks to Pavitra, we have extremely valuable insights available from it about the process of materialisation before reaching the gross stage of formation. It is felt that an intuitive understanding and grasp of the several aspects connected with it might give a sense of direction to the connected researches and, perhaps more importantly, to a poised opportunity to enter into its occult-yogic dimensions, we possibly lending ourselves to it.

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One of Buddhism’s main philosophical components is its ontology – the study of how things exist. A common misunderstanding is that Buddhists believe that ‘things don’t really exist’ or that ‘nothing exists’. In fact Buddhists believe that nothing exists by its own nature. All produced phenomena exist in dependence upon other phenomena – every cause is itself an effect of another cause.

A table does not exist by virtue of it’s innate ‘tableness’. It exists due to the timber and the joiner, and its possessing a flat surface, a certain number of legs etc. It also exists by identification with the ‘tableness’ that is present in the minds of the observers (but not in the table itself!). Tracing things further back, the timber exists in dependence upon acorns, soil, sun, rain etc, and the joiner exists in dependence upon his mother, father and the midwife.

In Buddhism, relationships such as cause and effect, structure and components, observer and observed are regarded as more fundamental aspects of existence than actual ‘things’. Even the mind is not a thing or a substance. The technical Buddhist term for the mind is the ‘Mental Continuum’. In western terminology we would regard Buddhism as a Process Philosophy.

Buddhist psychology is intended to be used for improving our state of mind. It is an applied science and is not usually presented as an abstract or academic discipline, because in order to understand it Buddhists are supposed to ‘walk their talk’. Practices include meditation, visualisation and mindfulness throughout the day.

When nineteenth century Europeans first studied Buddhism they were impressed by the rational aspects but were perplexed by some of the powerfully emotive and sometimes disturbing symbolism and visualisations. They ascribed these ‘tantric’ aspects to the corruption of a rationalistic philosophy by later mixing with primitive folklore and Shamanism. Then along came Freud and Jung.

First, let me emphasize just how much I love Badiou. Part of my militance against Badiou in certain posts arises from the anxiety of influence. I read Badiou for the first time towards the end of my dissertation work. I had read his Manifesto for Philosophy a year or so earlier, but it hadn’t left much of an impression of me because I simply wasn’t able to hear or understand what he was claiming. However, when I came across The Clamor of Being, all of this changed. Here was a work that was engaging Deleuze as a philosopher, brilliantly and carefully. This led me to the Ethics, which in turn led me to hone my French skills enough so I could read Being and Event prior to its translation. This was a period of great excitement for me. Badiou dared to say “truth”. He dared to give arguments.

Just like the title of Hallward’s famous edited collection, it felt as if it was possible, after Badiou, to think again. Indeed, this feeling was only confirmed by Hallward’s own study of Badiou along with his many articles. Where prior to Badiou we had a series of philosophical tribes, each engaged in their own dusty commentaries of master figures, Badiou’s ontology demanded argument. He was making substantial claims and suddenly, like the lifting of a cloud, it was possible once again to engage in something other than commentary, something other than “buggering philosophers to create a monstrous offspring”. Once again it had become possible to engage positions and worry over their claims.

Hallward’s study of Badiou did precisely this wonderfully. I feel in certain ways as if Badiou cured me of a particular institutional form through which philosophy was being done. Those were happy days. Each page was filled with a sort of excitement that provoked you to learn entirely new things like set theory and where you didn’t feel as if the aim of philosophy was simply to comment on the texts of the tradition. Suddenly an entire way of doing philosophy seemed as if it had passed and was but a bad dream.

Da is not the only person to note the “logic” of this kind of movement. This “movement” is also described by the Japanese Buddhist scholar Nagao in his various articles on Madhyamika and Yogachara.

This emphasis upon immanence is taken over by the Tantric schools such as the Vajrayana and Kashmiri Shaivism, both of which were heavily indebted to the Yogachara, and melded with the generally “world-centric” orientation of Tantrism. Historically, what the Vajrayana does is take the “three-fold turning” over from the Yogachara and apply it to a kind of “pseudo-historigraphy” so as to justify Tibetan Buddhism. There, inn the self-understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, we find the three “yanas,” Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana, where we once found the three “turnings.”

Something very similar could be done with the Hindu traditions of Samkhya, classical Advaita Vedanta, and Kashmiri Shaivism. One could probably extract just such a conception from the works of Abhivanagupta, who speaks of the Shaiva Kaula dharma as “transcending and including” all other traditions, including classical advaita vedanta, just as the elephant’s footprint obliterates the tracks of all other animals.

Da’s use of these ideas in Nirvanasara are not identical to the above, but he makes use of the same dialectical structure. Generally, he speaks of classical Advaita and classical Buddhism as reifying nirvikalpa samadhi and “classical nirvana” (or nirodha if we want to bring Goleman’s language into the picture as Ken does). According to Da, these traditions discriminate “nirvana” and nirvikalpa samadhi from the world. Da refers to these two traditions as two poles, one “realistic” and the other “idealistic” (an idea he may have picked up from Western scholars), but he calls both forms of “transcendentalism” and by this I take it that he means to say that both emphasize transcendence over immanence.

In Da’s writings, the term “discrimination” becomes a kind of catchword used when referring to “merely six stage” soteriological strategies. This idea, “discrimination” as a kind of “bug-bear, is, I believe, taken over from D.T. Suzuki’s translation of the Lanakavatara Sutra, a work, it should be noted that has a pronounced Yogachara orientation. Throughout his translation, Suzuki repeatedly translates the term “vikalpa,” which loosely means dichotmous or dualistic thinking, with the English term “discrimination.” This, as some reviewers have noted, is highly misleading as it does not differentiate vikalpa (bad) from viveka (good).

However, in at least one place in the text, the Sanskrit term “viveka” does indeed appear where Suzuki uses the term “discrimination; moreover, the Lankavatara does indeed repudiate viveka at this point. On this count and to this extent, both Suzuki and Da are correct: the general orientation of the Lankavatara is indeed one that emphasizes non-discrimination over discrimination; immanence over transcendence. It was for this reason that Da once called the Lankavatara a “seventh stage” text.

To return to my point about Ken’s most recent work, insofar as Ken still remains attached to such conceptions — which are clearly at work in his conception of “enlightenment” as “union” with objects — he still remains attached to a specific metaphysical conception and orienttion. To give a specific example, to say that immanence is “superior” to transcendence implies that one accepts the historiography that takes the Vajrayana as “superior” to Mahayana and “Hinayana.” Only a tantrika, a Vajrayanist or Kashmiri Shaiva, could say such a thing. For the rest of the tradition, historically speaking, we have been in a state of spiritual decline; this is the Kali Yuga, after all!)

It goes without saying that any such “historigraphy” is by its very nature teleological in nature. And to that extent is remains metaphysical at its core. Jan 17, 2009 Gaia Community: kelamuni’s Blog

Re: A Talk with Sri Aurobindo—Noted down by Pavitra
by RY Deshpande on Mon 05 Jan 2009 05:58 PM IST |  Profile |  Permanent Link
In physics particles of interaction are called bosons. It is in that sense these come under the description of Vayu–they are not themselves Vayu, they could be seen as manifestation of Vayu.

But for me there is a greater mystery, rather a puzzle, in physics. In it we have two types of particles: bosons as particles of interaction; fermions as particles of matter. Now if these are entirely two different entities, then how do they get changed from one into another? We have the process of annihilation and creation of particles in which fermions disappear and turn into bosons, and bosons become fermions.

And yet there is the push towards unification which sees both these types belonging to one single entity, from which bosons and fermions come out.

Pursuit is good, but there is so much of haziness that we may not be really able to talk anything with any degree of conviction.

~ RYD

Re: A Talk with Sri Aurobindo—Noted down by Pavitra

by RY Deshpande on Tue 06 Jan 2009 05:16 PM IST |  Profile |  Permanent Link
Particle physics, or for that matter physics on the whole, gives only a description, a formula, a prescription, a kind of operational detail, and hardly the knowledge of the material world. We have the famous matter-energy E-equals-mcsquare but what actually is the process behind this, their interchangeability, of one going into another—that we do not know. We have the description of fermions and bosons and one may reduce them to the description of the field theory, but that does not give any knowledge about them. If the granularity of matter has truth in it then physics must admit it in its understanding. It cannot be turned into the wizardry of wave-particle duality which is nothing but recognition of our inability to see the materiality of matter. In fact the fundamental, the central question is: what is it that constitutes the materiality of matter? Particles have spin,—all right; but there is a distinction also: fermions have half-integral multiples of spin and bosons integral-multiples including zero. Isn’t it a strange magic then that they can get converted into each other? A lot is hidden behind it from us. Take the familiar example: water is made of oxygen and hydrogen. But it has the properties of neither of them. Wherefrom have these new properties come in that combination, or how they disappear in their disassociation? We do not really know anything about it.

The Sankhya physics belongs to the domain of relatively subtle matter and it is our misplaced enthusiasm to connect it with our understanding of matter via modern physics. The particle of light, photon, for instance, is too heavy, too massive, too weighty to be linked up with the Sankhya description. You try to hold it in your palm and you feel its weight pressing it down. So the question is: how are the Sankhya elements describing its matter can give rise to our thick gross heavy inertial matter? What is the chemistry of this transition? We do not know that.

Narad had that knowledge and he could employ it when he took on a gross or sthūla form to enter into King Aswapati’s palace to deliver the Word of Fate. Can that knowledge be acquired? Can that come in our purview? Should it? Or is it too occult to become common-place knowledge? If this is the real difficulty of Sankhya materialization, then what about the arrival of the causal body, the body for the Gnostic beings? That is what the Mother was engaged with…

~ RYD

The Theory of Proto-Atoms 
Weblog:  Mirror of Tomorrow
Excerpt:  In the opening passage of the Book of Fate in Savitri, we have a complete description of the proto-atoms constituting our material world. The beginning of the objective universe starts from the Akash-element viewed as the etheric sea and goes down belo…
   

The Cosmology of the Integral Yoga

 

This paper contextualizes the need for holding a cosmological worldview, using the works of Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry as a foundation, then explores detailed and specific connections to the cosmology presented by Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga as an illuminative example. […]

Although Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry have identified the need for such a new cosmology, their approach still holds over many central presuppositions of the old cosmology – assumptions which may not be required, even if we are to keep the benefits and knowledge of science as an integral part of the new cosmology.  This very dilemma is actually already present in Swimme and Berry’s work, as indicated in the way they use language to describe the new story, as noted above. 

I propose, however, that the cosmology developed primarily by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, called the Integral Yoga, provides significant elements to the new story which can educate, heal, and guide us, while at the same time enjoying significant compatibility with the useful empirical elements of the old cosmology which should be carried forward.  Whereas Swimme’s cosmology provides a necessary recontextualization of the contemporary scientific worldview, it is not enough by itself, nor is it ultimately satisfactory for meeting Berry’s description for what the new story should look like. 

Aurobindo’s cosmology, on the other hand, incorporates an evolutionary perspective into a larger framework of cosmic development that includes a much more vast view of the potentiality of human consciousness and its relation to the universe and its Divine nature.  Just as much as Swimme’s cosmology deals directly with the details of material evolution, Aurobindo’s cosmology deals with the details of spiritual evolution.  Yet these two approaches, although seemingly on opposite sides, are not incompatible or mutually exclusive. 

In fact, Aurobindo’s cosmology provides a larger framework within which the best elements of the scientific cosmology can find a meaningful home, while the scientific cosmology provides detail of outer evolution lacking in the spiritually-oriented cosmology of the Integral Yoga.  Let us take a look at the basic details of Aurobindo’s Integral cosmology, so that we might better understand the extent and nature of this compatibility more thoroughly.

The Elements as an Archetype of Transformation: An Exploration of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire

Master’s Thesis, Consciousness Studies, JFK University, 2008

I propose that the alchemical cycle of the four elements Earth, Water, Air and Fire provides a useful and exact analogue for the processes of transformation of a wide variety of types, and as such can be considered an archetype.  The elemental cycle is a potent symbol for a transformative, qualitative language (logos) which has the potential to guide human consciousness towards lawful, holistic engagement with essentially any phenomenon.  When worked consistently, the elemental cycle leads us beyond ‘everyday’ modes of cognition to what could be called Imaginative, Inspirative, and Intuitive modes cognition.  In these modes, thinking no longer takes place ‘about’ a phenomenon, but ‘with’, ‘through’, and ‘within’ phenomena.  The elemental cycle provides a content, a method, and self-regulating feedback mechanisms for working with transformation, and can help engender a consciousness that can fruitfully dialogue with the interiority of the world by making it explicit.  Its power lies in its ability to act as a template and guide for the structuring of human consciousness; it is a tool which makes available a coherent, archetypal patterning which can help guide and transform a human consciousness in healthy and practical ways.  By making available new modes of consciousness, it helps us learn to see ourselves and the world in ways that allow for greater creativity and flexibility when faced with difficult or problematic situations. At the same time it illuminates and connects us with phenomena – both outer and inner – that might otherwise pass our notice.

This essay comprises a detailed study of the nature of the elements and the elemental cycle, through which it is hoped the reader may gain a solid enough foundation to work experimentally with the elemental cycle independently if desired.  Therefore, the cycle is introduced via a brief phenomenology of the individual elements, which are then connected, compared, and brought together to form a complete picture of the cycle.  The breadth of applicability of the cycle is then explored through a series of specific instances that also serve to illuminate the qualities of the cycle itself.  A report on third-party work with the elemental cycle provides complementary and contrasting experiences, while an in-depth review and application of the cycle to the nature of images opens up the complexities and demonstrates the recursive, self-generating quality of the cycle.  Lastly, an introductory series of practical steps and specific exercises, advice, and questions for each elemental stage is provided to help the reader use the cycle independently. Top | Next: Table of  

© 2008 Seth Miller | Design by Seth Miller | Alchemical.org

In the opening passage of the Book of Fate in Savitri, we have a complete description of the proto-atoms constituting our material world. The beginning of the objective universe starts from the Akash-element viewed as the etheric sea and goes down below to the dense form of the Prithvi-element. In the ether is the first stir, a vibration set into motion, Spandan with an urge towards the physical creation. Akash is the high substratum needed for the objects to come into existence, the subtlest, the finest support, the spiritual ādhāra for matter to exist. Sri Aurobindo writes, “…the nature of the action of cosmic Mind is the cause of atomic existence. Matter is a creation, and for its creation the infinitesimal, an extreme fragmentation of the infinite, was needed as the starting-point or basis. Ether may and does exist as an intangible, almost spiritual support of Matter, but as a phenomenon it does not seem, to our present knowledge at least, to be materially detectable. Subdivide the visible aggregate or the formal atom into essential atoms, break it up into the most infinitesimal dust of being, we shall still, because of the nature of the Mind and Life that formed them, arrive at some utmost atomic existence, unstable perhaps but always reconstituting itself in the eternal flux of force, phenomenally, and not at a mere unatomic extension incapable of contents … realities of pure existence, pure substance… are the reality underlying Matter, and not the phenomenon which we call Matter.” A body made from this pure existence, this pure substance accompanied with the truth-conscient dynamism has yet to be created. But presently Narad in the opening passage of the Book of Fate is passing from Mind into material things and therefore he picks up first the Akash-atom…

from  rydesh@gmail.com to  tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 5 January 2009 05:35 subject An article has been posted to Mirror of Tomorrow
Full article link: http://www.mirroroftomorrow.org/blog/_archives/2009/1/5/4046092.html
The Theory of Proto-Atoms


Tusar N. Mohapatra

Director, Savitri Era Learning Forum
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SELF posits a model of counselling and communicative action as an instrument in order to stimulate the public sphere. The model aims at supplementing the individual’s struggle for a successful social adjustment with more aspirational inputs so as to help one take an informed and balanced attitude towards life as well as society.
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Om Sri Aurobindo & The Mother.

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