Prof. Kireet Joshi: If you don’t have a question, I can put a question, is it allowed?
Prof. Kireet Joshi: You know this problem that I am exploring with all of us here is a problem which requires the study of The Human Cycle, The Life Divine, Synthesis of Yoga Na also the great book called The Supramental Manifestation on the Earth. And I do not know if our friends who are here, I can get a background as to how much of these four books they are acquainted, so that you know whenever I come here on Friday evening on this table, I ask myself, whether I am not taking too much of your time in expounding certain things but if I knew that you have already a background of this or that or that, it will help me to modulate myself and not to bother you too much with something that you do not wish to enter into.
Now is it possible for me to have from each one of you, some kind of an idea as to how much you think I should be dealing in regard to these books and what kind of treatment would you like me to follow, so that I am always aware that everybody has pressure of time and I should not encroach upon any one and one should not feel that somebody’s time is wasted. I would like to therefore to understand how much I should talk and on what to talk and to what extent you’ll like this to go on? Because this topic is of such a large measure that one can go on for one full year or one can finish in three lectures, or four lectures. Because I want to receive from you as to what extent, whether you would like to finish the exposition in the next two lectures, or next three, four lectures; so what is your measure, I will be happy to learn about it so that I can summarise or I can expand according to what you would like to have, anybody to answer this question?
Participant: If no one else, I certainly have an answer. I like the formula very much and speaking for myself, I feel that the time that we have is short, I have lots of free time, o it may not be very representative. But I really like a format that we have and I hate to put it in any limited type of framework. The place, at which Debashish features for instance his lead book group on The Life Divine, is I think very fine. I would kind of like to see a workshop with you, just continuing as long as it can.
Prof. Kireet Joshi: Thank you. I must assure that I will not like to go beyond at the most ten sessions with you. Is that a good measure for all the members here?
Debashish: Kireet bhai actually if somebody wants to say something about it, they are welcome. But I think you don’t need to feel constrained with any number of sittings on this Kireet bhai because I also feel that we have embarked on this journey with completely open sort of ocean in front of us. So you know it is such an important topic and it really depends on the state of consciousness of those who are listening to you and to your own inspiration and what and how they would like to, or we would like to collectively develop this. So I encourage you to just keep yourself open to the possibility of its developing, as it enfolds itself.
Prof. Kireet Joshi: All right.
Debashish: Also Kireet bhai from my knowledge people are not speaking up, I just wanted to mention that just from my personal interactions with all these participants that are gathered around you, they all have fair amount of reading into all the texts that you have mentioned. We have actually most of these people have been studying Life Divine together for quite some time and also we have had occasion to study together various parts of The Synthesis of Yoga as well as most of them have personally studied The Synthesis. You know The Human Cycle many of us have studied together; I have been leading study groups at The Sri Aurobindo Centre in Los Angeles. And most of them have also read it themselves, so what you have around you are fairly well–informed students of Sri Aurobindo, they have read all the texts to some good degree, so their familiarity is fairly good. I think the level at which you are pitching your discussions is very, very nice and I think everybody appreciates them very much because it is an extremely cogent and it brings us into an engagement into the real issues of what our problems today are and as you said provide the background for the full reception of Sri Aurobindo’s guidance.
Prof. Kireet Joshi: Good, I’ll try to then do my best and now I’ll continue. I feel very happy myself to be talking about this, it gives me a great opportunity to learn once again to go through these works.
Debashish: I wanted to since we have little time left, I wanted to one more comment regarding what sort of lecture……..I was mentioning that one aspect of what you addressed us today was this beautiful sweep of Western philosophy in a nutshell pointing out how the problem of rationality and its various dimensions have been covered through the history of modern Western philosophy. I also wanted to touch briefly on this issue of post–modernism and what is regarding the ultra–relativism of post–modernism ……
Prof. Kireet Joshi: You spoke of ultra–relativism.
Debashish: I was speaking of the ultra–relativism as a possibility and also as you said a fall into some kind of irrationality, we can see that in its beginnings one of the founding figures in post–modernism is Martin Heidegger and he is a very brilliant philosopher, one can open us to spiritual dimensions as well. There is a fabled law in his life; people talk a lot which is that he became member of Nazi party. All his philosophy could not prevent him from going in that false direction but also I think as a result of that the post–modern philosophers could followed Martin Heidegger have been very conscious and critical of this particular aspect, so that there is within post–modernism itself, particularly against any form of dogma or any form of social control by rational…... I was saying that within the control of post–modernism there is a purifying impulse and I was saying that may be that an internal movement within the form of philosophy itself and purification remains to be seen how far it will lead out of what might be called a ultra–relativism and a possibility of, that is all I wanted to say.
Prof. Kireet Joshi: I lost you but I would like to comment on what you said, can I? You know I think that if you all agree, we could spend some time next time on a brief survey that you can make on the history of Reason from modern times to post–modernism and in the light of the claims of religion and the claims of spirituality. Because it is a subject on which we all need to go into some depth to be able to understand how to come out of the impasse. Even if you have understood where the impasse is, you see the impasse is that Reason has led to the present condition and Reason is now not able to move forward as it ought to or as it can. And even if it can and ought to it still needs a supra–rational light. Now this is the basic point that we need to be precise about and that can be done if for example, you have made a very good study of post–modernism, which I have not but I would like to learn from you something more about it and maybe that we can have a short discussion on what is reason, exactly, what is rationality, and what is spirituality? It will be a good subject, for example we have one session only on this subject: what is rationality? And how we can, where it is arrested and why is it arrested and how it can move forward?
Debashish: I think that would be wonderful, I will not presume to give whole background but I can say a few words next time on the movement of post–modernism and how it addresses the issue of rationality and as well as of irrationality both these, then we can proceed from that end.
Participant: Because you know we are talking of post–modernism and the relativism of knowledge and that is just one part of the post–modernism and the other part is the critique of power and power structures and chief among them is the critique of this whole power structure of what we are calling machinery here. And then for the next time we can also consider the not just the limitation of rationality but Sri Aurobindo talks about a progressive evolution and one can look back and see during the time we were riding the notions of progress were wed to the idea of evolution. And of course since the two wars, you know progress led us on to the abyss of total destruction, there has been a huge critique in post–modernism regards this notion of progress were progressive evolution and perhaps it is something that we can touch on next time after once this idea of progressive evolution.