Tuesday, December 26, 2006

To bring the ashram to the student

Ashrams are forever Kiran Seth THE TIMES OF INDIA 26 Dec, 2006
As a child, my parents took me to many ashrams. I have fond memories of watching The Mother playing tennis at Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, of the smell of freshly baked brown bread and of witnessing the table football game there. I remember the serenity of the Shahenshahi Ashram in Rajpur, the beautiful bhajans of the Swamiji and the gushing waterfall not very far away.

The Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh was very special. Swami Chidananda had an all-pervading glow in his eyes. He would attract people without saying anything. As I grew up I visited ashrams in different parts of the world, all by myself.

I went to the retreat of Swami Muktananda in the Catskill mountains in New York, stayed at a monastery in France where the monks meditated with Gregorian chants, practised dhrupad at the ashrams of Ustad Aminuddin Dagar in Kolkata and Ustad Fariduddin Dagar at Panvel, visited the gurukuls of Shri Ammanur Madhava Chakyar in Irinjalakuda and Pandit Kishan Maharaj in Varanasi, attended a two-week camp at the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger and visited many other ashrams.

These experiences helped me realise that ashrams are scientific laboratories where inmates experiment with their lives, following the results of research carried out by our ancestors and directed step by step by the gurus.

All of us do not have to live in an ashram but as Swami Niranjananda Saraswati of the Munger Ashram says, we should visit a true ashram at least once a year.

What we call spirituality is at one level a scientific method of applying distilled wisdom and information on a large scale. This truth has been verified by perceptive people at various places at different points of time. We know that Einstein was a great scientist and Otto Hahn a great technologist who converted his theories into an actual fission reaction — the atomic bomb, which later engineers replicated for more useful purposes, namely, atomic energy.

Similarly, Jesus Christ was the originator of some very great concepts which his apostles used to propagate a method of good living; the church copied this prototype and spread it in an organised manner.

We could be the engineers who could use ideas developed in different ashrams to enhance our own lives. Different methods have been developed to connect with our inner selves and each human being would have a natural preference for a particular method. The more the number of routes, the more the number of people likely to reach the goal.

Each true ashram provides us with a route traversed initially by the original master. Taking ideas from these various ashrams, we can come up with a route which is most suited to each one of us. The atmosphere of total giving at the Sivananda Ashram, the humility, even of the Abbot of the monastery in France, the intensity in Ustad Aminuddin Dagar's ashram and the rigorous riyaz at Ustad Fariduddin Dagar's ashram have left indelible marks on my being.

Today, young people visit different cities in the world during their vacations, take up fancy jobs or simply while away their time. Very few visit ashrams. The SPIC MACAY National School Intensive, which will be held from December 26-31 at Modern School, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi, is an attempt to bring the ashram to the student.

As the saying goes, if the mountain does not come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain. Children attending the Intensive will do yoga and meditation from 4-7 a.m., have holistic food, do shramdaan, hear talks and attend workshops by inspiring dancers, singers, artists, puppeteers and yoga-charyas, watch film classics and witness performances by top artistes of our country for five days.

This will include a full night of classical music by five great musicians. It will give them an experience of staying in the proximity of great masters in different areas of human endeavour, learning from them and watching them perform. May this experience enrich the lives of many of my young friends. The writer is founder, SPIC MACAY.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Characters as though they were real people

The outcome of the five years as Professor of Poetry in Oxford were A. C. Bradley’s two major works, Shakespearean Tragedy, published in 1904, and Oxford Lectures on Poetry, published in 1909. All his published work was originally delivered as lectures. A. C. Bradley pedagogical manner and his self-confidence made him to a real guide for many students to the meaning of Shakespeare.
Though Bradley has sometimes been criticised for writing of Shakespeare's characters as though they were real people, his book is probably the most influential single work of Shakespearean criticism ever published. It has been reprinted more than two dozen times and is itself the subject of a scholarly book, Katherine Cooke's A. C. Bradley and His Influence in Twentieth-Century Shakespeare Criticism (Oxford: Clarendon, 1972)[2].
However, more recently his work has been greatly discredited by many, often said to make anachronistic errors and attempt to apply late 19th century conceptions of morality to early 17th century society. Since the 1980's, the importance of poststructuralist methods of criticism has resulted in students turning away from his work. His other works were: Poetry for Poetry's Sake (1901), A Commentary on Tennyson's In Memoriam (1901), and A Miscellany (1929). Directory > Reference > Wikipedia

Poetry would replace religion

Some consider Arnold to be the bridge between Romanticism and Modernism. His use of symbolic landscapes was typical of the Romantic era, while his skeptical and pessimistic perspective was typical of the Modern era. The rationalistic tendency of certain of his writings gave offence to many readers, and the sufficiency of his equipment in scholarship for dealing with some of the subjects which he handled was called in question; but he undoubtedly exercised a stimulating influence on his time; his writings are characterised by the finest culture, high purpose, sincerity, and a style of great distinction, and much of his poetry has an exquisite and subtle beauty, though here also it has been doubted whether high culture and wide knowledge of poetry did not sometimes take the place of true poetic fire. Henry James wrote that Matthew Arnold's poetry will appeal to those who "like their pleasures rare" and who like to hear the poet "taking breath." Directory > Reference > Wikipedia
Arnold's verse is characterized by restraint, directness, and symmetry. Though he believed that poetry should be objective, his verse exemplifies the romantic pessimism of the 19th cent., an age torn between science and religion. His feelings of spiritual isolation are reflected in such poems as “Dover Beach” and “Isolation: To Marguerite.”
Arnold was the apostle of a new culture, one that would pursue perfection through a knowledge and understanding of the best that has been thought and said in the world. He attacked the taste and manners of 19th-century English society, particularly as displayed by the “Philistines,” the narrow and provincial middle class. Strongly believing that the welfare of a nation is contingent upon its intellectual life, he proclaimed that intellectual life is best served by an unrestricted, objective criticism that is free from personal, political, and practical considerations. Directory > People > Encyclopedia - People
Culture and Anarchy (1869), his central work of criticism, is a masterpiece of ridicule as well as a searching analysis of Victorian society. In a later essay, “The Study of Poetry,” he argued that, in an age of crumbling creeds, poetry would replace religion and that therefore readers would have to understand how to distinguish the best poetry from the inferior. Directory > Reference > Britannica Concise Arnold, Matthew

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Soulful flutes, silky guitar and piano tell the story

An epic musical interpretation of a timeless love story, rich with piano, strings, flute, wind chimes and lush, angelic textures. These twelve gentle, romantic songs transport the listener to 5th century B.C. India where the Princess Savitri discovers that true love can conquer death.
The Emerald Way refers to the moment in life when a pivotal choice must be made - to choose the way that is customary and expected of us - or to head down the overgrown hidden path leading to the unknown. In Savitri by Sri Aurobindo, Savitri discovers that Satyavan has only one year left to live. She must decide whether or not she will stay with him in the emerald forest or search for a new love. Soulful flutes, silky guitar and piano tell the story, accompanied by lush strings, harp and chimes blending into 2002's signature sound, renowned for comfort and deep relaxation. Enjoy your musical journey!... Add 9 links to ed2k client Electronic Music Collection: http://eMusic.pisem.net/

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Penthesilea stands apart in her fiery epic grandeur

When Collected Poems and Plays appeared in 1942 on Sri Aurobindo's seventieth birthday, readers were overwhelmed at once by the rich and varied content of the two sumptuous volumes. But easily the most unexpected item was Ilion - an epic fragment running to 381 lines - at the end of the second volume, given as if in illustration of Sri Aurobindo's views on the adaptability of quantitative hexameters in English verse...Homering Homer in the fullness of the delineation and the gorgeousness of the imagery. In attempting a continuation of the Iliad of Homer, Sri Aurobindo was taking no small risk, but it was also an irresistible challenge...The Penthesilea-Achilles motif had been obscurely essayed by Sri Aurobindo earlier in the narrative poems Uloupie and Chitrangada, both incomplete, referred to in an earlier chapter (IV. vi). The warrior-woman, and the heroic hero - the forged antagonism, the fateful attraction! ...
In Sri Aurobindo's play, Eric, as we saw earlier (Chapter VI), the end-note is "not Thor... but Freya"; in Perseus the Deliverer, the change is from ruthless Poseidon's to enlightened Pallas Athene's rule. There is on the terrestrial as well as the cosmic scale a continual push of evolution - from war and revenge to peace and compassion, from the reign of violence and hate to the rule of reason and enlightenment - and behind the monumental clash of arms and the destruction of the towered city and the doom of empire, obscure forces are at work to usher in a new era, to compel new life to rise phoenix-like out of the ashes of the old...
The bold "unwomanly" woman, woman as uncompromising Shakti, had been sketched earlier by Sri Aurobindo in Vidula (after the Mahabharata), in Chitrangada, in Cleopatra of Rodogune, of Aslaug of Eric, in Cassiopea of Perseus the Deliverer; and Andromeda was the portrait of a woman fearless as well as compassionate, her Shakti playing the role of triumphant Grace rather than that of ruthless power. But Penthesilea still stands apart in her fiery epic grandeur. She comes partly as the would-be saviour of Troy and partly - or chiefly - as the seeker of Achilles, half in hate and half in love. Staking all, daring all, she is the committed uncalculating woman made up of beauty and love and valour and hate. Nevertheless, she is neither the whole nor the really wholesome efflorescence of Woman as Shakti. In the Western tradition, Penthesilea could be linked with Atlanta and Artemis and even Ishtar of the still earlier myths. But Sri Aurobindo sees her in other possible lights as well.
- K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar from "Sri Aurobindo - a biography and a history"revised and enlarged fourth edition August 1985 (The first edition in 1945 had been carefully revised by Sri Aurobindo himself before publishing) Chapter 25 "Poet of Yoga" - Subchapter 4 (pages 618-625)published by Sri Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherrydiffusion by SABDA

What is Integral Aestheticism?

What is Integral Aestheticism? The answer cannot be made in a one simple sentence because integral and aesthetics can be regarded as highly symbolic and abstract. Should art remained as art instead of theorizing it? Is there need for anyone to theorize what art is and can be, what music does to people... what integral art is supposed to aim for? Is there need for artists to write treatise on art? I do think that artists' visions are far different from many others...but artists communicate with their work of arts... should artists also theorize what there art is? theory only confines it... theory relies on logic. Theory is boxed ... theory equals ism... ideology. an interesting paradox is when integral theory is called integral theory. If the theory denotes the truth, theory must be contradictory to a certain extent. Cecilia Suhr 8:35 PM - 1 Comments Friday, December 15, 2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

One may keep reading the epic for half a century

"The Ascent of Sight in Sri Aurobindo's Savitri" - by J.K. Mukherjee Review by Prema Nandakumar Sabda Newsletter, June 2002: sabdsriaurobindoashram.org/pdf/news/jun2002.pdfa. by rjon on Fri 15 Dec 2006 06:12 PM PST Permanent Link
Re-reading Savitri is ever a new experience. One may keep reading the epic for half a century like Jugalda, and each reading brings a fresh insight into the inexhaustible springs of the narrative. The process of ascent from an ordinary seeing to the spiritual vision in the higher ranges of thought and beyond as stated in Savitri is a fascinating phenomenon. Especially so, when Jugalda is our Paraclete. As always, Jugalda does not tease us with an impossible mystic diction. He is the ideal acharya who swoops down like the eagle in the classroom and then rises slowly and majestically past the green crests of life holding the hands of the reader-student.
In the course of his precise teaching, he jots down points for us to memorise and meditate upon as we go about our chores. There are the innumerable references to “sight” (also allied terms like gaze, eye) with or without adjectives in the epic. The physical eye’s co-extensive association with the inner eye of consciousness is a marvel that defies explanation. Eight elements are at play in this act and no object or thought can be seen in clinical isolation, for necessarily we have the riches of all our yesterdays and the possibilties of all our tomorrows converging in the present moment of time. The same object can be seen from many stances and thus it may acquire different contours as well. What we see in the physical is not the same as what we perceive in the subtle-physical. Such a two-fold vision (the surface and the inscape) is familiar enough for many aspirants in their spiritual journey. The physical sight is, of course, woefully limited to the “here”: on the other hand, visions bring the aspirant into “a first contact with the Divine in his forms and powers”. It was because Sri Aurobindo plunged his spiritual gaze “into the siege of mist” that the lines of Savitri appeared before him. As he wrote in a 1947 letter: “Savitri is the record of a seeing”; hence the Mother’s advice that reading Savitri is yoga. The reading repeatedly turns our gaze inward and helps us rise in consciousness; the rise being in proportion to the aspirations of the reader.
Pointing out significant passages from the epic where every rift is loaded with spiritual ore, Jugalda also speaks of the pitfalls in taking up the yoga of consciousness-probe without a proper guide. By keeping oneself safe from the allure of false visions and tempting sights, it should be possible to stand at the threshold of sight in the Superconscient, since “there is a range of being and consciousness far transcending all these elements of our constitution, which is superconscient to all the other provinces of our existence.” The supramental sight, of course has the capacity to see “the Eternal’s many-sided-oneness”. It does not miss any attention to detail, nor does it ignore the Whole. In the supramental seeing, time also gets annihilated, since there is no artificial barrier imposed on what needs be understood as an eternal present in an “unpartitioned time-vision”. The Ascent of Sight concludes with an enormously challenging question: Does the Divine have a supra-physical form for being envisioned? Or is the Supreme formless? Jugalda, rising from the milky ocean of Aurobindoneana with droplets of Aurobindonian phrases dripping, gives the answer with gentle understanding. Form and Formlessness are not mutually exclusive after all. We are dealing with “Absolute Existence as a reality” and its mystery is illimitable. Well, the Flute Player of Brindaban could not have appeared from a positive zero!
There is then the possibility that the supramental transformation might change our sense of sight (physical, spiritual) also and give us a natural sense of unity which is the need of today’s fractured world. One may conclude reading The Ascent of Sight; but the conclusion also begins our own personal endeavour to tune our physical sight with the psychic and the spiritual. For such is the magic of the teacher in Jugalda who can transform a student of today into an achiever of tomorrow.Prema Nandakumar

Hymn of Affirmation

Amal-kiran—the Fire-Worshipper R. Y. Deshpande
Sri Aurobindo’s modernism does not rest at all in the sordid and the ugly. In him there is a kind of assimilated richness. He exploits, so to say, everything that can tellingly if not revealingly serve his purpose. Kalidasian moods of seasons and the featurelessness of Nirvana, for example, are as important to it as Homeric similes or the correlative expressions of the Modernists. It is so because his epics or short lyrical verses come from an original source of inspiration inaccessible to us. That incapacity of ours cannot be a reflection on the quality of his creations. Thus Savitri is full of Rasas—Madhura, Karuna, Vatsalya, Adbhuta, Veera, Bibhatsa, Shanta, etc. Quintessentially, however, it is founded on the Shanta. It is in this great Silence that the Epic was born—Silence the true home of Overhead Poetry. To really appreciate it one has to enter into it. Poetry is not only image and symbol; it is also sound and silence; if there is sight’s sound, there is also sound’s sight. And when leMusicien deSilence becomes one with leMusicien de Son we have an unsurpassable marvel.
Listen to Ezra Pound: “When we know more of overtones we shall see that the tempo of every masterpiece is absolute, and is exactly set by some further law of rhythmic accord. Whence it should be possible to show that any given rhythm implies about it a complete musical form, perfect, complete. Ergo, the rhythm set in a line of poetry connects its symphony, which, had we a little more skill, we could score for orchestra.” If one is deaf to these sounds, to these rhythmic accords, to these happinesses rushing from the creative possibilities of the inevitable Word, then what can the creative poet do? In the Overhead Poetry as given to us by Sri Aurobindo what we have are the perfect rhythm and thought-substance and soul-vision fused into one, the supreme Mantra itself.
Sri Aurobindo wrote prophetically, long ago, that the future poetry “transcending the more intellectualised or externally vital and sensational expression” would speak “wholly in the language of an intuitive mind and vision and imagination, intuitive sense, intuitive emotion, intuitive vital feeling, which can seize in a peculiarly intimate light of knowledge by a spiritual identity the inmost thought, sight, image, sense, life, feeling of that which it is missioned to utter. The voice of poetry comes from a region above us, a plane of our being above and beyond our personal intelligence, a supermind which sees things in their inmost and largest truth by a spiritual identity and a lustrous effulgency and rapture and its native language is a revelatory, inspired, intuitive word limpid or subtly vibrant or densely packed with the glory of this ecstasy.” He saw five suns of truth-beauty-delight-life-spirit in the sky of poetry waiting for us to receive their glow and warmth. Our creative endeavour should be to open ourselves to them.
Students who graduated themselves from Sri Aurobindo’s Department of Poetry received magnificences of these suns in Sri Aurobindo’s plenty. “The silent wonders of eternity” that were waiting for the inspired utterance suddenly found in rock-hewn images the quivering lips that speak of the blue skies and the golden truths. We witness the ear of ears and the eye of eyes waking to the subtleties of sense and sound, marvelling at the mystery of God’s creation even in Time. Not only did Sri Aurobindo himself write seizing “the absolute in shapes that pass”; he also encouraged actively and positively his disciples who came forward to participate in such an apocalyptic adventure.
Amal-kiran was one among the most prominent practitioners of this new poetry, Poetry of the Future. He invoked heaven’s light in the inner chamber and called out the occult fire from the depths of the being to take the form of the deeply expressive and intuitive Word. His was the Hymn of Affirmation welcoming the Aurobindonian Muse, a chant in the praise of Ahana of the Eternal. Glory to the New Dawn appearing on the poetic horizon!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Literature and The Evolution of Consciousness

Kishore Gandhi (editor) (Jan 1985) (ISBN: 0391023578)
Contributors include R. W. Kutzen, Roland Fivaz, Max Nann, C. C. Narasimhaiah, Vinod Sena, T. Devadoss, Karan Singh, Prem Kripal, R. A. Dave, S. Kandaswami, J. L. W. Cheyne, Omolara-Ogundipe-Leslie, and many more.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Integral music

Call for Musicians Cecilia Suhr
I am looking for musicians in and around NYC area who are influenced by Ken Wilber and Sri Aurobindo, Integral Theory, or who associate their music with Avant Garde... It's not just for playing music but also for a dissertation research. Thanks much love, cecilia suhr. 12:32 AM -Tuesday, December 05, 2006 #

Saturday, December 02, 2006

By comparison with artistic time, real time is unbearably tedious

Some thoughts on artistic time and real time: Some kinds of artistic creation, like painting, are experienced across space - we understand them by organising all their elements visually at the same time. Others, like music or film or written narrative, unfold in a linear fashion and are experienced across time. Further, the pleasure we derive from them has its source not just in their subject matter, their content, but in how they unfold over time - how they speed up and slow down, the particular direction they take and the sequence in which their parts are presented.
If we reflect upon our aesthetic experience we realise that time as we experience it in artworks is far more intense, more "rich" with sensory detail and with feeling, than time as we know it in real life. In the best works of art not a moment is wasted: every word, every note, or every shot seems essential. By comparison with artistic time, real time is almost unbearably tedious in its aimlessness, vacancy and sheer sprawl. When we say we opened a book or put on a CD to "pass the time", we are actually saying something quite significant. One of the reasons why we need art is because it allows us not just to forget our own selves (as I argue here, here and here) but also to transcend the quotidian experience and slow time to which we are irrevocably yoked.
Of course, human beings possesses the resources to fill time up, to infuse it with urgency and meaning, even without art. Those resources are the memory and the imagination, the two pillars of human life, and they allow us to prepare our own homemade version of artistic time. Each one of us has a private corpus of memories of the most significant events of our lives, memories we are always reexamining and reinterpreting. What has transpired once in our lives is replayed hundreds of times in the private theatre of our minds, with the inessential details sifted out as they would have been in a work of art. And on the other hand there is the imagination, which takes unrelated elements or inchoate yearnings and, by shaping them into a sequence or a whole, creates the same satisfying richness that we derive from art.
It might be said that our memories and our fantasies are our private works of art, only occasionally sensed or glimpsed by others but constantly in our own sights. They are our way of overcoming the tyranny of the present moment, of substituting the inessential with the essential. Even more than in behaviour and in speech, they are where we are most fully ourselves. In fact, art forms like the novel are premised upon this idea, that the dredging up of a person's interior life reveals what is most essential about him or her.
Even so artistic time, itself a product of the human imagination, has a special glow. Putting down a book, or leaving a movie hall, we cross the border from one kind of time to another, and wonder if somehow our lives could not be freighted with the same richness and intensity. Of course, this is a chimerical wish: reality will never support it. But on the rare instances that we do manage to live for extended periods in a state of elevated feeling, we often find the only parallel for that experience in the intensity of artistic time. "I felt suddenly as if I could hear life's music", we say, or "It was like I was a character in a novel". Chandrahas, 1:36 PM email this to a friend permalink (13) comments Thursday, November 02, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

Top Ten Odia Songs

Tusar N Mohapatra said... Landmark Top Ten
Sri Lokanath 1960
Nirmala Mishra

Parinama 1960
Akshay Mohanty

Suryamukhi 1963
Pranab Kishor Pattanaik

Amada bata 1964
Nirmala Mishra

Ka 1966
Akshaya Kumar Mohanty

Arundhati 1967
Mohd. Rafi

Kie kahara 1968
Akshaya Mohanty, Shipra Bose

Stree 1968
Akshaya Kumar Mohanty

Adina megha 1969
Trupti Das

Mamata 1975
Pranab Kishor Pattanaik

Enchanting world of Odia movie music: With films like Anutapa, SSS, Sautuni, and Ahuti (unfinished), Odia film songs entered a more confident and creative epoch. List of songs continues from the previous page. [TNM55]

Anutapa (1977)
Nida bhara rati madhu jhara janha - Nirmala Mishra
Nupura kahinki mun - Tansen Singh
Samar Salim Simon (1978)
Hrudayara ei shunyataku - Sekhar Ghosh 
Mu je eka pagala bhanra - Tansen singh
Sakhi Gopinatha (1978)
Jamuna jaa-na jaa-na Jamuna kadamba Manna Dey
Sautuni (1979)
Emiti rati se je abhula smruti Pranab Kishor Pattanaik, Bhubaneswari Mishra
Jay ma Mangala (1980)
Aji e mana chhana chhana tanu-re S. Janaki
Ulka (1981)
Abhimanini e - Arati Mukherjee
Abhilasha (1984)
Ei jhuma jhuma golapi bela-re Arati Mukherjee & Hariharan 
Manini (1986)
Mun paradeshi chadhei - Mohd. AzizAnuradha & Kavita Krishnamurthy

Mohd.Aziz-'Mun Paradesi Chadhei Gaaeebara Swapna Nei..' in Odia Movie 'Maanini' - YouTube

Jan 15, 2012 - Uploaded by odia melody
Mohd.Aziz-'Mun Paradesi Chadhei Gaaeebara Swapna Nei..' in Odia Movie 

Anuradha & Kavita Krishnamurthy-'Mun Paradesi Chadhei..' in Odia Movie 'Maanini' - YouTube

Jan 15, 2012 - Uploaded by odia melody
Anuradha & Kavita Krishnamurthy-'Mun Paradesi Chadhei..' in Odia Movie ... Aziz -'Mun Paradesi Chadhei Gaaeebara Swapna Nei..' in Odia  ...