A New Synthesis of Yoga as a necessity to overcome the impasse of modernity - Skype - Track 401 (29 September 2008)

Debasish: Kireet ji it is so nice to be with you again today and to resume our exploration of new synthesis of yoga for overcoming the impasse of modernity topic that we are considering and I wanted to touch on some of the things you introduced last time and also make a comment and then continue for today. I have circulated late I think last night a passage from The Life Divine that you spoke about last time. And just to touch on what you introduced, you started with three of the major difficulties that lie in our path today. The first is the hugeness of machinery and the complexity of machinery in which we seem to be enmeshed in a variety of ways today. We are conditioned by very large systems of machinery both visible and invisible. The second one was the two principle sort of facultative or properties, qualities of the human being that seem to be the principle ways by which we define ourselves and which we are utilising to deal with our world and these are egoism and rationality. And you touched on the fact that one of the great difficulties from the modern age at some level we feel distinctly the limits of both of these, but there is also a complete refusal to go beyond them. I heard you talk about a limitation or reduction of the human ideal to a kind of an economic ideal of life. On economicism or a kind of concentration these were really the forms of the different conditions that you touched on last time. And then you also pointed to the fact that right from the early beginnings of the modern age, from the time of the French Revolution, philosophers like Emmanuel Kant had a sense of these problems, particularly the problems of egoism and rationality and seeking for some other kind of principle by which we may live our lives and we may say this kind of a philosophical impasse is also sensed acutely by post-modern philosophers today. But it seems that both the problem of machinery being conditioned are being made into subjects by visible forms of machinery as well as the problem of the limits of reason are very acutely understood and seen by the post-modern philosophers who have so far as to claim there is a anti-humanist result. But apparently somehow they have not been able to find the solution. They recognise this impasse and they may point to a solution but the science of a alternate life or alternate way of overcoming this has not been evident to any one of them. This was one comment I wanted to make and the other thing that you introduced from The Life Divine were four kinds of ways, or the four solutions that the human mind, the modern mind has devised towards the overcoming of the problem of the harmony between the individual and the collective that man and society, their relationship is one of the major problems and particularly in today’s worlds which has become so very interdependent, this is a very, very major problem. And so what has humanity done to address this problem and you looked at the four solutions that Sri Aurobindo has introduced. Actually you just touched on them because we were at the end of our period by then. And four solutions are what I have circulated to the whole group, three of them. In a sense he starts with a search for a perfect economic society by the powers of reason and science and he moves on in the very same paragraph to talk about the reaction to this coming to a kind of subversion of the individual ego in what he considered as a nation-soul. But nation-soul more like a blind life impulse and a kind of a submersion into some sort of a retrogression of consciousness. Then the other one that it introduces is a kind of internationalism and a sort of by which again the ego is coerced into some sort of what Sri Aurobindo calls a possibility of a termite civilisation. Then the next one he considers is not so much submergence of the individual by coercion but in a sense by consent. So by processes of the enlightenment of the will and the reason through education, through socialisation, we may arrive at some kind of a consent of the individual to agree to the process of social perfectibility and putting their shoulder to the wheel of human progress. So these are the four that Sri Aurobindo introduces and these are the three sort of facts that he introduces. And I wanted to make a brief comment about these that when Sri Aurobindo was writing this chapter and this paragraph it was just after the Second World War, it was revised apparently and so he can govern the spectre of rise of all subjectivism of a very dangerous kind of nationalism was too much in the air as aftermath of the Second World War. So when he is talking about the nation-soul over there and the danger of misunderstanding the nation-soul this is very much what he is thinking about.

Now in today’s world to some extent perhaps this danger does not exist in the same way because there is a suspicion regarding this idea of nationalism to this degree of the submersion of the individual. But at the same time it may have risen in another form in that we find a large number of irrational philosophies and religions are now making their aim as the reaction to this rational drive for progress. And whether fundamentalists Islam or a variety of cults, in America we find so many cults including cults based on Hindu gurus etc. that seem to offer some kind of non-rational solution but they are all limited and in some ways they all demand a kind of orthodoxy, unquestioning belief is a surrender to some sort of unquestioned non-rational form of living. So I wanted to just touch on that Kireet ji. One more I wanted to point on and that is the spectre of the submersion of the individual into the socialist state which is the second one that he is introducing there that is to some extent seems to seems to be somewhat averted or at least displaced. So we have now that particular kind of machinery is the machine of socialism that has been replaced somehow by a different kind of which seems to give the individual greater freedom but actually conditions the individual and even gives the various kinds of life styles and desires by which the individual live through very subtle methods of propaganda and of market control. So I wanted to sort of touch on that as well and then you know we are left in a condition where today machinery seems to have become rather subtle but it is still very much controlling us and even the forms of education that we have today are really forms of control by which subjectivities are manufactured so that we become such kinds of people who push the wheel of progress in a rational and in a sort of a egoistic manner and do see that the refusal to move into higher domain of consciousness or recognise the impasse. I am sorry for taking this long time.