Tusar Nath Mohapatra

Archive for March 2013


The aim of this book is to argue that the mind-body problem is not just a local problem, having to do with the relation between mind, brain, and behavior in living animal organisms, but that it invades our understanding ofthe entire cosmos and its history. The physical sciences and evolutionary biology cannot be kept insulated from it, and I believe a true appreciation of the difficulty of the problem must eventually change our conception of the place of the physical sciences in describing the natural order.

So begins Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False (2012). I have thus far only read small chunks of Nagel’s book. I also found myself reading several reviews, including this one by biologist H. Allen Orr in The New York Review of Books, this one by conservative journalist and former Bush Sr. speech writer…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

Every scripture, whether sacred or secular, will necessarily contain within it certain Truths or at least aspects of the Truth, which represent part of the universally available experience of mankind. At the same time, the specific circumstances, details, form of language and assumptions made in the expression take on the cloak of the specific period and situation in which it was brought forth. It is important, when trying to obtain any deeper sense or value from any scriptural text, to be able to distinguish between the “eternal” and the “temporal” aspects of the teaching. The eternal portions can have value and provide guidance to people of virtually any period or circumstance, and they tend also to harmonise well with the universal truths expounded in other scriptures. The temporal portions, being necessarily circumscribed and limited, will tend to be less applicable and less able to be understood by others, whether separated…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

Human history, including modern history, is filled with the ongoing, and sometimes extremely violent, clash of beliefs. For most of our history, the battles were actually about physical control of resources or issues of protection or domination. Very little of belief or ideology entered into these battles, other than perhaps as a “window dressing” to make them appear to be something other than a play of the vital forces of greed, fear, power, domination and survival instincts.

As the mental principle has gained strength through the evolutionary process, however, we have seen an increasing tendency to battle over ideas, religious beliefs and ideologies, supported of course, or even secretly driven by the vital impulses of control and domination and extension. Sri Aurobindo addresses this issue: “The world abounds with Scriptures sacred and profane, with revelations and half-revelations, with religions and philosophies, sects and schools and systems. To these the many…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

It is not possible to fully understand the action of Karma solely by looking at the specific lines of energy of the physical, vital, mental and supramental levels. In the world we inhabit, these are always inextricably intertwined. While specific individuals may take their stand primarily within the framework of one or another of these levels, it is nevertheless obvious that they still must take into account the impact of the others. Focusing on the mental principles, for instance, does not absolve anyone from the demands and realities of the physical body or the vital impulsions.

It is therefore important to recognize the effects of this interaction and realize that we cannot truly understand Karma by analytical abstraction. The difficulties of the attempt to integrate the higher levels of consciousness into the world dominated by the physical and the vital forces has led the spiritual seeker to attempt to cut…

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Sri Aurobindo Center of Los Angeles

The first necessity is the practice of concentration of your consciousness within yourself. The ordinary human mind has an activity on the surface which veils the real Self. But there is another, a hidden consciousness within behind the  surface one in which we can become aware of the real Self and of a larger deeper truth of nature, can realise the Self and liberate and transform the nature. To quiet the surface mind and begin to live within is the object of this concentration. Of this true consciousness other than the superficial there are two main centres, one in the heart (not the physical heart, but the cardiac centre in the middle of the chest), one in the head. The concentration in the heart opens within and by following this inward opening and going deep one becomes aware of the soul or psychic being, the divine element in the individual…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

The usual conceptions of the law of Karma revolve around either the sense that there is some machinery that metes out precise responses to our actions; or else, that there is some tribunal somewhere that weighs and metes out rewards and punishments to us based on those deeds. Sri Aurobindo, however, has indicated that the truth behind the action is far more complex, as well as far more flexible than the popular concepts would acknowledge.

“No rigid narrow ethical law bound down to a petty human significance is here, no unprofitable wheel of a brutal cosmic justice automatically moved in the traces of man’s ignorant judgments and earthly desires and instincts. Not these artificial constructions but a thing spiritual and intimate to the deepest intention of Nature. The ascending march of the soul’s consciousness and experience as it emerges out of subconscient Matter and climbs to its own luminous divinity…

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Sri Aurobindo Studies

As we have seen the inadequacy of any concept of Karma that reduces it to some kind of reward and punishment system based on the expectations and desires of the vital life energy, it becomes relevant to ask what, then, is the law of Karma, and how does it relate to the higher energies of mental nature and beyond.

Sri Aurobindo’s response: “Meanwhile we get the clue to the higher law of Karma, of the output and returns of energy, and see it immediately and directly to be, what all law of Karma, really and ultimately, if at first covertly, is for man, a law of his spiritual evolution.”

He continues: “The true return to the act of virtue, to the ethically right output of his energy–his reward, if you will, and the sole recompense on which he has a right to insist,–is its return upon him in a growth…

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Tusar N. Mohapatra

Director, Savitri Era Learning Forum
SRA-102-C, Shipra Riviera, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad - 201014 (UP) India + 91 96500-65636
Aadhaar No. 3628 2075 7337
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.
Savitri Era of those who adore,
Om Sri Aurobindo & The Mother.

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