The Control of the Mind

To reject doubts means control of one’s thoughts – very certainly so. But the control of one’s thoughts is as necessary as the control of one’s vital desires and passions or the control of the movements of one’s body – for the yoga, and not for the yoga only. One cannot be a fully developed mental being even, if one has not a control of the thoughts, is not their observer, judge, master, – the mental Purusha, manomaya puruşasākşīanumantāīśvara. It is no more proper for the mental being to be the tennis-ball of unruly and uncontrollable thoughts than to be a rudderless ship in the storm of the desires and passions or a slave of either the inertia or the impulses of the body. I know it is more difficult because man being primarily a creature of mental Prakriti identifies himself with the movements of his mind and cannot at once dissociate himself and stand free from the swirl and eddies of the mind whirlpool. It is comparatively easy for him to put a control on his body, at least on a certain part of its movements; it is less easy but still very possible after a struggle to put a mental control on his vital impulsions and desires; but to sit like the Tantric yogi on the river, above the whirlpool of his thoughts, is less facile. Nevertheless, it can be done; all developed mental men, those who get beyond the average, have in one way or other or at least at certain times and for certain purposes to separate the two parts of the mind, the active part which is a factory of thoughts and the quiet masterful part which is at once a Witness and a Will, observing them, judging, rejecting, eliminating, accepting, ordering corrections and changes, the Master in the House of Mind, capable of self-empire, sāmrājya.

The yogi goes still farther; he is not only a master there, but even while in mind in a way, he gets out of it as it were and stands above or quite back from it and free. For him the image of the factory of thoughts is no longer quite valid; for he sees that thoughts come from outside, from the universal Mind or universal Nature, sometimes formed and distinct, sometimes unformed and then they are given shape somewhere in us. The principal business of our mind is either a response of acceptance or a refusal to these thought-waves (as also vital waves, subtle physical energy waves) or this giving a personal-mental form to thought-stuff (or vital movements) from the environing Nature-Force. It was my great debt to Lele that he showed me this. “Sit in meditation,” he said, “but do not think, look only at your mind; you will see thoughts coming into it; before they can enter throw these away from your mind till your mind is capable of entire silence.” I had never heard before of thoughts coming visibly into the mind from outside, but I did not think either of questioning the truth or the possibility, I simply sat down and did it. In a moment my mind became silent as a windless air on a high mountain summit and then I saw one thought and then another coming in a concrete way from outside; I flung them away before they could enter and take hold of the brain and in three days I was free. From that moment, in principle, the mental being in me became a free Intelligence, a universal Mind, not limited to the narrow circle of personal thought as a labourer in a thought factory, but a receiver of knowledge from all the hundred realms of being and free to choose what it willed in this vast sight-empire and thought-empire. I mention this only to emphasise that the possibilities of the mental being are not limited and that it can be the free Witness and Master in its own house. It is not to say that everybody can do it in the way I did it and with the same rapidity of the decisive movement (for, of course, the latter fullest developments of this new untrammelled mental power took time, many years) but a progressive freedom and mastery of one’s mind is perfectly within the possibilities of anyone who has the faith and the will to undertake it.

 
 
                                                                                                  – Sri Aurobindo

(Letters on Yoga, Vol. 24, pp. 1257- 1258)

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A New Political System Based on Indian Ideals

A New Political System

Based on Indian Ideals

 

Political thinkers, statesmen, policy makers, strategic visionaries, spiritual and national leaders, and others who are concerned about the future of India, and particularly in how we govern ourselves towards a future that we can be really proud of, would do well to reflect on the fact that the Indian constitution as it currently stands is by deliberate design completely bereft of any insight or input from our 10,000+ history of native governance, during most of which the populace of the sub-continent enjoyed the highest standards of material, social and spiritual living.  The current corruption and degradation in the homeland of dharma are directly traceable to our total and willful disconnect from the universal ideals that are founded on that profound concept, and our hope for awakening, correction, redemption, rejuvenation and renaissance therefore rests returning to our own genius in organizing society and nation, instead of having it be outsourced to the template of the alien British constitution, which is what we have slavishly copied and implemented since so-called Independence in 1947. 

And since our borrowed constitution is totally out of tune and alignment with our unique character, history, culture, values and ideals — all of which rest on the eternal principles of dharma and svadharma — it cannot but lead us disastrously astray in how we conduct ourselves at home and work, in society at large, and in how we run our nation’s affairs. 

We are therefore proposing a new system of governance based on the Indian ideal of dharma.  The development of this system is guided by key thoughts culled from the writings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo on topics very relevant to our current political situation, starting with our Constitution.

“The first thing that you ought to do is to change the Constitution in such a way that those people who combine honesty and capability should come to power. Normally, people who are honest are not capable, and those who are capable are not honest. Therefore it is very important that people who combine these two qualities should be able to come to power.”

                                                                                    India the Mother, Sri Aurobindo, p 204-205 

In the book The Ideal of Human Unity, Sri Aurobindo has described the quality of the present day politician in prescient terms:

“It is immaterial whether these (the politicians) belong to a governing class or emerge as in modern States from the mass partly by force of character, but much more by force of circumstances; nor does it make any essential difference that their aims and ideals are imposed nowadays more by the hypnotism of verbal persuasion than by overt and actual force. In either case, there is no guarantee that this ruling class or ruling body represents the best mind of the nation or its noblest aims or its highest instincts.

“…the modern politician in any part of the world…  does not represent the soul of a people or its aspirations. What he does usually represent is all the average pettiness, selfishness, egoism, self-deception that is about him and these he represents well enough as well as a great deal of mental incompetence and moral conventionality, timidity and pretence.

“Great issues often come to him for decision, but he does not deal with them greatly; high words and noble ideas are on his lips, but they become rapidly the claptrap of a partyThe disease and falsehood of modern political life is patent in every country of the world and only the hypnotised acquiescence of all, even of the intellectual classes, in the great organised sham, cloaks and prolongs the malady…”

CWSA Vol26 p 296-297

In the light of the above, and buttressed by our observations of the current Indian political scene, we may now assert that if any dramatic change or real improvement in our governance has to take place, then the first and essential requirement is that the quality of politicians and other decision-makers and power-wielders has to be of a much higher level.  Our primary challenge then is to develop a system based on our indigenous genius that will ensure this higher caliber and character of politician. A passage from the Mother’s writings is most noteworthy in this regard as we survey the vicious party politics of the present day.

“Politics is always limited by party, by ideas, by duties also—unless we prepare a government that has no party, a government that admits all ideas because it is above parties. Party is limitation; it is like a box: you go into the box (Mother laughs). Of course, if there were some people who had the courage to be in the government without a party—“We represent no party! We represent India”—that would be magnificent.

“Pull the consciousness up, up, above party.

 “And then, naturally, certain people who couldn’t come into political parties—that! that is truly working for tomorrow. Tomorrow it will be like that. All this turmoil is because the country must take the lead,  must  go above all these old political habits.”

“Government without party. Oh! it would be magnificent!”

 (25 May 1970: CWM, Vol.15, pp.426-28, emphasis added) 

In 1969, the Mother had given the following message to the then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi:

“Let India work for the future and take the lead. Thus she will recover her true place in the world.

“Since long it was the habit to govern through division and opposition. The time has come to govern through union, mutual understanding and collaboration.

“To choose a collaborator, the value of the man is more important than the party to which he belongs.

“The greatness of a country does not depend on the victory of a party, but on the union of all parties.”

And finally, a passage from Sri Aurobindo on what form of democracy is best for us:

“Parliamentary Government is not suited to India. But we always take up what the West has thrown off…. [In an ideal government for India,] there may be one Rashtrapati at the top with considerable powers so as to secure a continuity of policy, and an assembly representative of the nation. The provinces will combine into a federation united at the top, leaving ample scope to local bodies to make laws according to their local problems.”

(Evening Talks, Dec 27, 1938)

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Desiderata for a Better Democracy

We will now sum up the salient requirements, based on the above guiding thoughts, which a better model for democracy should meet:

1.  People in power at all levels, both in the Executive and in the Legislature, need to be both honest and capable.  Impeccable character and integrity coupled with high caliber professional competence should be the minimum desiderata for all politicians.

2.  Politicians must believe and accept unanimously that our country, our nation’s integrity and welfare is their highest and greatest priority; they must rise above all other loyalties – party or regional or religious or caste driven – to always put the country’s interests first.  Patriotism must be their highest mantra and national welfare their primary guiding principle.

3.  Politicians should subordinate their party interest and all other narrow interests to the national interest; they should work with concord and unity across party lines, despite differences of opinion or ideology, for the common welfare.

4.  Power has to be centralized in the most important and vital aspects of governance at the national level; but in all other areas there must a great deal of decentralisation, right up to the village level.

5.  The government must be truly representative of the people, that is to say it has to be really democratic in practice.

The first lesson we have to learn from the ancient Indian ideal of politics is that mass popularity and charisma cannot be the sole basis of political leadership. One of the surprising facts of modern society is that while specific standards of qualification, experience, skill, ability and aptitude are insisted upon for leadership positions in business, industry, commerce, education and other fields, no standards exist at all in the world of politics!  How can there be sound politics when the products of mass popularity become politicians and ministers? The simple fact which is unanimously recognised and practiced in all other sections of society – that a leader should have the right ethical values and professional abilities for the role — is totally ignored in modern democratic polity, which elects its political leaders by popular vote without setting any minimum qualifications for them. As a result, there has been a great deterioration in the quality of political leadership in popularity driven democracies.

Cultivating a New Genre of Leaders

In this regard, we may ask: What are the qualities we desire to see in a leader of the new order that we advocate?  A short list of essential attributes would include the following:

  1. He/She must have a consciousness which is higher than that of the mass of the populace.
  2. He must have exceeded his individual ego: his preferences and emotions, his personal likes and dislikes.
  3. He should have a sense of the universal consciousness which embraces the interests and aspirations of all who come under his management.
  4. He must be both wider and higher than the rest. It is only then that he can be trusted to strive for the collective welfare and carry others with him.
  5. He must identify himself with the true interests of the community and not let his own personal preferences interfere.  In other words, he must be able to forget himself!  Of course, it does not mean that he should be just a mouth-piece for the commonality.
  6. He should be a leader whose consciousness is above all manipulation, strong enough to impose itself correctively, warm enough to gain the acceptance and loyalty of right-thinking elements.

How can we cultivate such a cadre of leaders for the Indian body politic of the 21st century?

The first step is to educate citizens and voters on the ideals of true leadership and on the type of leaders who can bring the highest wellbeing to people and society. In this task, modern mass-media with its extensive reach can be a great help in educating the public, provided it can rise above its own agendas and biases to the true standards of professional journalism in a progressive society.

The second step is to ensure that certain basic mental and moral standards are met for contesting elections for public office.  Minimum educational qualifications, character attestations, including having no criminal records or charges pending, public service records and accomplishments, and other such indexes of worthiness for public service should be insisted upon before allowing candidacy to contest elections.

The third step is to educate elected officials on the ideals of leadership and governance and help them develop the psychological, moral and spiritual power needed to lead and govern in the right way. For example, in most of the corporates, managers and executives go through regular training and development programmes for upgrading their knowledge and skills, and many of them make systematic efforts to educate and groom their future leaders. Similar programmes have to be implemented in the political domain with immediate effect.

The fourth step is to promote creative thinking and research in political thought, governance and leadership.  If there can be a science of management for the business world, we can as well develop a shastra of governance for the world of political leadership.  In terms of a creative contribution to the modern era and yet rooted in our native wisdom, we should evolve and perfect a uniquely Indian model which is rooted in the knowledge and practice of dharma.

Designing a New Democracy

After these remarks on the leadership and educational changes needed to arrive at a higher order of democracy, we will now turn to the design of the new system, keeping in mind the following words of Sri Aurobindo:

“A system is in its very nature at once an effectuation and a limitation of the spirit; and yet we must have a science and art of life, a system of living. All that is needed is that the lines laid down should be large and noble, capable of evolution so that the spirit may more and more express itself in life, flexible even in its firmness so that it may absorb and harmonize new material and enlarge its variety and richness without losing its unity.”

CWSA VOL 20P232

We shall therefore propose a new system which is large and noble, capable of evolution to meet our needs organically, and which reflects the temperament and genius of the India psyche.   Its features and benefits can be debated in civic forums and it will gradually evolve to a version that best serves our interests.  We assert that it must meet two important purposes, whatever be its eventual form:

It must provide all possible facilities for cooperative action, prevent harmful waste and friction, and remove injustice.

It must help secure for every individual a just and equal chance of self-development and satisfaction to the extent of his powers and in the line of his nature.

 

 

The Dharma Connection

We will now link these thoughts on a new model of governance with the concept of Dharma.   Sri Aurobindo lays out the broad sweep of Dharma thus:

“A greater sovereign than the king was the Dharma, the religious, ethical, social, political, and customary law organically governing the life of the people. This impersonal authority was considered sacred and eternal in its spirit and the totality of its body, always characteristically the same, the changes organically and spontaneously brought about in its actual form by the evolution of the society; and it must be noted that with the Dharma no secular authority had any right of autocratic interference. The Brahmins themselves were recorders and exponents of the Dharma, not its creators nor authorised to make at will any changes, the king was only the guardian, executor and servant of the Dharma, charged to see to its observance and to prevent offences, serious irregularities and breaches. He himself was bound the first to obey it and observe the rigorous rule it laid on his personal life and action and on the province, powers and duties of his regal authority and office.

                                                                                 CWSA Vol20 p391-392

We may envision Dharma as the Constitution of the Universe, the mode of operation of all natural systems and human beings in concordance with the rta — the right way, the harmonious order — that sustains the worlds and evolves their beings.  The word Dharma connotes a combination of meanings from the etymological that which upholds to one’s personal nature and duty to the societal ideal of what is righteous, sustainable and just for the collective.  It is all of that and more, as Sri Aurobindo’s quote above reveals to us.  The sages have told us that while there is an eternal dharma, the Sanatana Dharma, guiding cosmic evolution, there are also time and space and person specific dharmas that apply to individuals and groups in ways relative to their unique evolutionary levels.  The purpose of dharma is to align each individual, given his or her unique position in the evolutionary ladder, with a mode and culture of living that will rapidly advance that person’s ascent up that ladder, while also serving society’s best interests with their special talents.  Dharma is, in effect, the law of progressive evolution at work through individuals and nations, guiding each soul to find its perfection and fulfillment in the symphony of the divine that is playing through all beings.  Hence the veneration of dharma in Indian civilization through all of history, and till recent times.

Dharma in Practice: A Lesson from the Ramayana

Turning now from general principles to how dharma at the leadership level worked in the past, in practice at the ground level, and to learn some vital lessons – eminently valid to our current problems — that our own history can teach us, let us recall a telling episode from the Ramayana.  As the dharma avatar of Maha Vishnu, Sri Rama was the very embodiment of dharma.  The Ramayana is a narrative of the perfect exemplification of dharma at every stage through the royal story of Rama — from his youth exploits to his marriage to Sita and exile to the forest, then the abduction of Sita concluding with his victory over Ravana to rescue her, followed by  his glorious coronation, and then his sad parting with Sita.  For our purpose here, it is that last part — the poignant and controversial story of Devi Sita’s exile – which is most instructive.

 Sri Rama, to dispel the persistent gossip among some of his subjects about Sita’s chastity due to her imprisonment under Ravana’s control for a long time, asks her stoically to leave the palace, though his own heart is broken in the process.  In asking Lakshmana to escort her to the forest, Rama was fulfilling his royal duties as a king, the Raja Dharma – the dharma of the king that demands that he abide by the wishes of his subjects and do his utmost to please them, without any consideration for his personal love or pain in any situation.  Such was the power of dharma in those days. 

Contrast that with today’s politicians who will smugly and ruthlessly cling to their power even in the face of any number of proven cases of egregious corruption or massive maladministration involving them.  They will challenge you to bring a majority vote complaint by ballot to unseat them if you can, as compared to Rama who sacrificed Sita for the sake of a handful of disgruntled peasants.  No matter the numbers or the societal level of the complainers, the hold of dharma was so strong in its embodiment Rama that he acted in the only way he could to abide fully by the higher authority it exercised even over him as the king.

Of course, Sri Rama has by this act become a target of feminists and gender activists for his cruel treatment of Devi Sita.   While the application of a modern perspective may raise controversial issues when used to analyze the past, this should not detract us from realizing that a critical lesson of dharma is being taught here, in this heart-rending moment when the Avatar of Vishnu in human royal form has to ask his Sri, his Lakshmi in the form of Sita, to be gone to redress a few citizens’ complaints.  The story illustrates powerfully and poignantly that a dharmic ruler will put the call of dharma above his personal interests. He will place duty above rights or personal interests, no matter how dire the consequences, and no matter how history may judge him. 

We quote again below the last para from Sri Aurobindo’s excerpt above, which may now be read in a new light with Sri Rama in mind as the supreme exemplar of political dharma:

“…the king was only the guardian, executor and servant of the Dharma, charged to see to its observance and to prevent offences, serious irregularities and breaches. He himself was bound the first to obey it and observe the rigorous rule it laid on his personal life and action and on the province, powers and duties of his regal authority and office.”

                                                                                         CWSA Vol20 p-392

 


Codes of Conduct Based on Dharma

In the modern context, we may broadly construe Raja Dharma as the duties, responsibilities and obligations expected of those aspiring to positions of public service or power.   Obviously, these are to be defined so as to serve the highest national interests and welfare.  So defined specifically for various levels of leadership from the national to the local, and for different branches of the executive, legislature and judiciary, modern codes of conduct based on dharma can be developed for all politicians, bureaucrats and other power-wielders of the land, both elective and appointed.  The sincere willingness and commitment to adhere to, uphold, and abide by the dharmic code of conduct that applies to them would be a necessary qualification, guaranteed by an oath if necessary, for all aspirants to public service in the new model we are proposing here.   Rigorous mental and moral education and discipline of leaders would also be a requirement to enable them to uphold the code of conduct, i.e. to uphold their individual dharmas as national servants.

Such changes will contribute greatly towards harnessing the highest intellectual, moral and spiritual energy of the community for uplifting the political life.  In ancient India, councils of ministers would comprise people of the highest character, wisdom and experience for guiding the ruler.  Guidance from the wisdom of seers and seekers of spiritual knowledge was also a priced input for making difficult decisions.  Value and respect for our traditional modes of governance is an integral part of the new system we would like to see bloom out of these time-tested dharmic practices.

The Varna Approach to Eliminating Corruption

Most political observers would agree that some form of corruption is endemic to most modern democracies.  In India the disease is particularly virulent and pervasive at all levels, to a degree where corruption is the accepted modus operandi for surviving and thriving in power and business.  The misuse and abuse of power by politicians and bureaucrats, babus and peons, clerks and magistrates, telephone technicians and 4G tycoons, to name a few have led to the mix-up of political and money interests so much as to have cost our nation thousands of lakhs of crores of rupees through various scams, preferred allocations, benami transactions, and a whole slew of egregious frauds perpetrated on our public assets and resources in the last two decades.

How can we root out this toxic virus of corruption when it has infected our national psyche so deeply?   How can this culture of corruption be changed, if its root is at the top of the national pyramid of leadership and its branches cascade down through various layers, like in the legendary asvatha tree, to the levels of the common man at the base of the structure?  This brings us to the issue of conflict of interest.  Any corruption incident also entails automatically a conflict of interest for at least one of the two involved parties, most often the person accepting a bribe or other payoff.  He or she has to violate their fidelity to their job title, role-based duties and responsibilities, i.e. their dharmic code of conduct as we have defined it above, to partake of the bribe or other opportunity for corruption.  Since the root cause of corruption is thus conflict of interest in the first place, the direct and most effective way to uproot this disease is by eliminating conflicts of interest totally.

 

If we look around modern society in so-called democracies, and this could apply to communist and despotic regimes as well since all regimens are happily addicted to corruption, we find that everything everywhere is tinged by conflicts of interest.  As a short list of examples, consider these diverse scenarios: politicians and other so-called public servants in India routinely siphon the best lands, forests, mines, and other resources to their families and cronies at ridiculously low prices;  businessmen, and even corporations, are allowed to fund elections so that they can bankroll the victory of  candidates who will promote their interests over public welfare; university researchers, on salaries and tenure, want a share of the profits that will come out of commercializing their discoveries and inventions made on public money.  In each of these instances, the conflict is broadly between a public interest and a private interest.  Corruption occurs when dharma is violated to pander to the private vested interest.   The role-based responsibilities or duties, or dharmic code is sacrificed to take care of their greed or other needs. 

In its original principle and proper application, the varna system of organizing society on four broad classes or categories of professions was the brilliant way devised by the rishis to avoid totally such conflicts of interest that are the root enablers of corruption.  In its broad principle and proper application, the varna system classifies human professions into four natural categories determined by their own innate inclinations and aspirations, called their svadharma, or individual dharma.  In modern terms, these classes are: a) the knowledge class comprising those who seek learning and wisdom of all kinds, as also teaching the same; b) the power class of politicians, leaders, bureaucrats, public servants, soldiers and other defense personnel; c) the money class of businessmen, agriculturists, traders and other wealth generators, and d) the service class comprising those who serve the other three professions in some useful capacity, such as providing labour.  

This system created a harmonious mode of transaction and interaction within the members of each class and between them, without placing people in the situations of conflict of interest and temptation that are the hallmark of our loosely organized professional society today.  In other words, the roots of corruption are avoided in such an ordering or work groups and professions.  This was accomplished by:

  1. Assigning duties and responsibilities specific to each varna and requiring adherence to one’s chosen svadharma, i.e. one’s voluntarily chosen profession,

 

  1. Providing clear guidelines to each class as to its do’s and dont’s to avoid conflict within the group and with other professions,
  2. Creating guild-like forums to self-monitor  and enforce norms and rules organically within the group,

 

  1. Ensuring that each person in society would know the perimeters of allowed, i.e dharmic, behavior relative to their role and the consequences of violating the same, and

 

  1. Providing a path of migration across the classes if a person wanting to transfer is proven to have the qualities for the new class,

Based on these lessons from the varna system that can help us root out corruption, we recommend the following measures for practical implementation to start addressing this problem seriously across the four mixed-up and conflicted classes of today:

  1. Establish and demarcate the boundaries of duties, responsibilities, rules and norms of behaviour for the ruling class (administrators, rulers, politicians, technocrats, bureaucrats, public servants, etc.) such that only people of impeccable character and moral standards, with a passion for public service and a commitment to national interest over all else are allowed to be a part of this group.

 

  1. Businessmen and others with avowed interests in other professions would be disqualified from belonging to the ruling class.  In particular, politicians with assets disproportionate to their legitimate sources of income would be automatically disqualified from contesting elections or standing for public office at any level. 

 

  1. Build a firewall between business interests and government officials, politicians, etc. such that money cannot influence or buy power, as is the norm today.  In particular, not a single rupee of corporate funding will be allowed to taint the public interest through financing of election campaigns of individuals.

 

  1. Screen and remove from the public payroll anyone whose main allegiance is not to his or her job, organization and nation.  Public jobs should not be entitlements to exploit for side income and then retire comfortably.  Rather they should be seen as ways to serve the national interest through self-less dharmic duty.

 

  1. Establish clear rules of conduct and standards for knowledge workers, so that their search for truth and knowledge is not tainted by coveting after money or power.  Ensure that people who are in roles of advisors or consultants to governments, think tanks, economic councils, etc. are not subject to conflicts of interests due to their role as investors, corporate employees, business lobbyists, and other vested interests.

 

Shifting to a Presidential System

The benefits of a dharma based system are more likely to be realized if we shift our Parliamentary system to a Presidential system, as was advocated by Sri Aurobindo in one of the quotes above.  This move would separate the legislative and the executive branches so that they will be independent of each other, thus removing undue influences or conflicts of interest between them that can lead to corruption or compromise governance for the national interest.

In our proposed new system, The President will be the Chief Executive, elected directly by the people.  The President must fulfill the following essential qualifications, in addition to the leadership qualities we have listed earlier: 1) He/She must have had at least twenty years of eminent public service in any capacity. 2) He/She must have a record of impeccable character.

It is inevitable that there will be a few candidates who will stand for the Presidency.  One can then adopt the French system of successive elections. However since our country is large and it will be very costly to have run-offelections, we propose that voters should indicate their 1st, 2nd and 3rd preferences. If after the first count, one candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, he is elected. If not, the candidate getting the lowest number of first preference votes is eliminated, the second preference voters who voted for him are then assigned to the other candidates, and so on till one of them gets more than 50%.

The President‘s term will be of a duration of five years and he can be removed only by impeachment. He/she may be allowed to stand for two terms only.  The President will select ministers from any qualified citizen of India, as per the criteria we have listed earlier.  Ministers must not be part of the Legislature. If selected from that body, the candidate must resign from the Legislature before assuming the minister role.

Ministers must have a long record of public service in any field; there must be no criminal case filed in any court against them. If there is any case pending, the Supreme Court must dispose it off within three months. If a minister is convicted, he/she loses the post and has to resign, otherwise they may continue.  Ministers will be allowed to attend and participate in the Legislature; however they will not be allowed to vote.

The present system of elections may continue. However, it must be made clear that the legislators have only one work to do and that is to make the laws for the country; their whole concentration should be focused on this and this alone.  Therefore they should be debarred from holding any office of profit or other post. They should be paid their salaries and nothing else. All laws made by Parliament will have to be finally approved and signed by the President. Voting as a duty must be made compulsory.

Here too there must be a careful scrutiny of those who aspire to be legislators. Candidates must have some a record of public service in some field in addition to professional qualifications and character credentials, and no criminal record. If there is a case against a legislator, the Supreme Court must dispose it off within three months. If convicted, the legislator loses the right to contest future elections.

It is important that the legislators represent the different classes and to ensure this a system of reservations may be introduced. In other words, the Lok Sabha must represent the four professional classes: the wo/men of knowledge, power, money and service.  As a suggestion, we could reserve 100 seats for each of the four classes. Thus 400 seats will be reserved and the remaining 142 seats will be open to all citizens of India.

 

Concluding Remarks

We have made the case that the governance of India must be based on time-tested and effective lessons from our own history and genius of dharma based polity.  The ideals of dharma have to be re-introduced to guide the welfare of the nation.  We must make dharma the touchstone of the new political order.   There must be stability and continuity in government from the currently corrupt and inefficient pseudo-democracy to the new dharmic model that is designed to avoid the root causes of corruption and ineffectual governance.  The present system may continue till the changes we propose are  discussed by concerned citizens and leaders at all levels and implemented in a wise sequence to make the new dharma based democracy a reality in India within a generation.  In this alignment with the natural order lies our renaissance and fulfillment as a great civilization, culture and country in the 21st century.

 

Om Tat Sat

 

 

Reason as the governor of human life and its limitations part1

Reason as the governor of human life and its limitations

 

This view of human life and of the process of our development, to which subjectivism readily leads us, gives us a truer vision of the place of the intellect in the human movement. We have seen that the intellect has a double working, dispassionate and interested, self-centred or subservient to movements not its own. The one is a disinterested pursuit of truth for the sake of Truth and of knowledge for the sake of Knowledge without any ulterior motive, with every consideration put away except the rule of keeping the eye on the object, on the fact under enquiry and finding out its truth, its process, its law. The other is coloured by the passion for practice, the desire to govern life by the truth discovered or the fascination of an idea which we labour to establish as the sovereign law of our life and action.

We have seen indeed that this is the superiority of reason over the other faculties of man that it is not confined to a separate absorbed action of its own, but plays upon all the others, discovers their law and truth, makes its discoveries serviceable to them and even in pursuing its own bent and end serves also their ends and arrives at a catholic utility. Man in fact does not live for knowledge alone; life in its widest sense is his principal preoccupation and he seeks knowledge for its utility to life much

more than for the pure pleasure of acquiring knowledge. But it is precisely in this putting of knowledge at the service of life that the human intellect falls into that confusion and imperfection which pursues all human action. So long as we pursue knowledge for its own sake, there is nothing to be said: the reason is performing its natural function; it is exercising securely its highest right. In

the work of the philosopher, the scientist, the savant labouring to add something to the stock of our ascertainable knowledge, there is as perfect a purity and satisfaction as in that of the poet and artist creating forms of beauty for the aesthetic delight of the race. Whatever individual error and limitation there may be, does not matter; for the collective and progressive knowledge of the race has gained the truth that has been discovered and may be trusted in time to get rid of the error. It is when it tries to

apply ideas to life that the human intellect stumbles and finds itself at fault.

Ordinarily, this is because in concerning itself with action the intelligence of man becomes at once partial and passionate and makes itself the servant of something other than the pure truth. But even if the intellect keeps itself as impartial and disinterested as possible,—and altogether impartial, altogether disinterested the human intellect cannot be unless it is content to arrive at an entire divorce from practice or a sort of large but ineffective tolerantism, eclecticism or sceptical curiosity,— still the truths it discovers or the ideas it promulgates become, the moment they are applied to life, the plaything of forces over which the reason has little control. Science pursuing its cold and even way has made discoveries which have served on one side a practical humanitarianism, on the other supplied monstrous weapons to egoism and mutual destruction; it has made possible a gigantic efficiency of organisation which has been used on one side for the economic and social amelioration of the nations and on the other for turning each into a colossal battering-ram of aggression, ruin and slaughter. It has given rise on the one side to a large rationalistic and altruistic humanitarianism, on the other it has justified a godless egoism, vitalism, vulgar will to power and success. It has drawn mankind together and given it a new hope and at the same time crushed it with the burden of a monstrous commercialism. Nor is this due, as is so often asserted, to its divorce from religion or to any lack of idealism. Idealistic philosophy has been equally at the service of the powers of good and evil and provided an intellectual conviction both for reaction and for progress. Organised religion itself has often enough in the past hounded men to crime and massacre and justified obscurantism and oppression.

VOLUME 25
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO P120

Meet tech billionaire and real life Iron Man Elon Musk

Meet tech billionaire and real life Iron Man Elon Musk

Most sensible businessmen would have quit while they were ahead when their first three rocket launches failed. But Elon Musk is not most businessmen.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk Photo: Art Streiber/August Image
 

By Andrew Smith

7:00AM GMT 04 Jan 2014

Comments31 Comments

 

By the time Elon Musk founded the company that would become PayPal, in 1999, he had already built and sold one internet business. But this time he hit the jackpot. Already wealthier than most of us will ever dream of being, he netted close to $180 million from PayPal’s sale to eBay, enough to retire at the age of 32, or to set up a venture capital fund and invest in hungry young entrepreneurs such as he once was – the conventional path for made men in California’s Silicon Valley.

But this is not what Musk did. Since the birth of the public internet in the mid-1990s, there have been complaints that, with the best minds of a generation focused either on finding new ways to play the stock market or on tinkering with software, the big picture was being lost. With so much novelty in the world, who has time to look up and dream of building moon bases or cathedrals?

The answer seems to be Elon Musk. In 2002 he launched SpaceX, a private company focused on shaking up the moribund space industry. Then a year later came Tesla Motors, a start-up car manufacturer that aimed to produce all-electric production cars, something mainstream manufacturers had tried to do and failed miserably. By any rational assessment, both projects were preposterous and doomed to fail, and when their originator voiced an ambition to colonise Mars, even admirers began to mention the word ‘hubris’ – destroyer of many a rich young net mogul. When Musk’s companies hit trouble, he was widely assumed to be through.

No. By the time we meet in late 2013, Elon Musk sits atop two billion-dollar corporations and appears to stand on the brink of changing the world in significant ways. Tesla’s first all-electric family car, the Model S saloon, hit US streets with the highest ratings ever conferred by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the influential Consumer Reports organisation, and went on to win several significant awards, while SpaceX has been contracted by Nasa to ferry cargo and ultimately people to the International Space Station, effectively replacing the Space Shuttle. What’s more, Musk has reduced the cost of reaching the ISS by a staggering 90 per cent, from $1 billion per mission to a mere $60 million, with more savings to follow.

Tesla’s second production car, the Model X, is unveiled, February 2012. Photo: Tim Rue/Bloomberg

As if this weren’t enough, he is chairman of the board and largest shareholder at the solar energy developers SolarCity, and recently made world news by publishing design studies for a solar-powered ‘Hyperloop’ rapid transit system, capable of reaching Birmingham from London in eight minutes (take that, HS2). He has just been named business person of the year by Fortune magazine, and in August, the day after Tesla officially moved into profit, Bloomberg estimated his personal wealth at $7.7 billion, making him the 162nd richest person in the world at the age of 42. Everything about him is mind boggling.

So if Hollywood gossip claims Musk as the model for Tony Stark, the genius engineer played by Robert Downey Jr in the Iron Man movies, it is easy to see why. If he succeeds with even half his plans, he will have made a more profound impact on the world than any living politician: if he doesn’t, such high-visibility failures could set his chosen causes back decades. Married to the British actress Talulah Riley, and with five young sons from his first marriage, Musk leads a life as colourful as the comic books he might have sprung from. So who is this boyish-looking half-man, half-screenwriter’s fantasy – and where on earth did he come from?

Needless to say, getting an audience with Elon Musk is akin to rocket science these days. In addition to flying his own jet between the Tesla plant near San Francisco and the LA headquarters of SpaceX, where he oversees a rapidly expanding launch schedule as CEO and chief designer, he appears to make a real effort to father his sons. I had been sceptical of the ‘Musk is Iron Man’ story until I met the film’s director-producer, Jon Favreau, in the SpaceX reception.

That ‘Iron Man’ story is PR embroidery, right?

‘No,’ Favreau told me affably. ‘It was the idea of this guy who could make anything happen. Which is Elon, you know? So we came to see him. He likes to say engineering is the closest thing to magic, and he really believes that.’

Elon Musk with his second wife, Talulah Riley, February 2013. Photo: Rex Features

Favreau further reveals that parts of Iron Man 2 were shot inside and outside SpaceX (‘Watch it again and you’ll see’), and that he is here to see Musk demonstrate a system for designing machinery by waving one’s hands in the air, like in the film.

So I am a little chastened as I step into the main SpaceX building, at which point the months of waiting, the delays and last-minute schedule changes simply fall away. How to describe the quirkiness of this place? The complex was once used for assembling jumbo jets and feels more like a film set than any film set I have ever visited.

The first thing you see on being ushered in and warned off photography (by government decree, this being classified US technology) is the enormous leg of an experimental vertical-take-off-and-landing ‘grasshopper’ rocket and, suspended above the shop floor, the seven-seater Dragon spaceship, which made history as the first commercial craft to dock with the International Space Station in May 2012. Beyond these, a large glass box houses the SpaceX mission control centre, in which a dozen or so young people stare at screens and projected images of a gargantuan, 27-engined Falcon Heavy rocket on its launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base. If the Heavy succeeds in reaching space, it will be earth’s most powerful rocket by a factor of two.

But the big surprise is not the rocket, it is the people in the control room. These are not the clean-shaven, white-shirted technicians of aerospace convention: they are bearded men in camouflage shorts and Pixies T-shirts; willowy young women in Indian skirts and sandals. Look around and you will see others riding trikes across the shop floor or discussing engineering problems over free frozen yogurt from an ice cream bar by the open-plan canteen. This is a rocket factory straight out of Silicon Valley, where hierarchy is worn lightly and so long as the work gets done, no one cares what you wear. Aerospace is notoriously shy of women, but Musk’s right-hand man, Gwynne Shotwell, is a woman. More radically still, in an outsource-happy industry, SpaceX claims that 70 to 80 per cent of its product is made here, under one roof, by its local US workforce.

Musk occupies a corner workstation near the front entrance. Twice I am given a time to meet him and twice ‘urgent business’ intervenes. When eventually I am led over, I find him in a white checked shirt, jeans and trainers staring intently at a computer screen. On his desk are scale models of a SpaceX Falcon and a Saturn V moon rocket, as well as a samurai sword with a stingray-leather handle, presented for services to space.

I have been warned that Musk’s manner can tend to be brusque, but my first impression is of time seeming to accelerate alarmingly the moment he turns and starts to speak, with conversation racing into the distance then abruptly pulling up, indicating that whatever might be said on a particular topic has been said and you’d better launch another into the space between you, fast, before something else rushes into the void.

He is taller and broader than expected from his boyish good looks and geek-god propensities, with the surprise build of a rugby player. I inadvertently make mention of his computer mouse and get a three-minute meditation on the evolution of the mouse as a tool. Still reeling from what I’ve seen in my first rocket factory, I wonder almost involuntarily whether the scale of what he has done ever scares him, and am surprised to see him relax at the ingenuousness of the question.

‘Yes. Yes,’ he smiles. ‘We started with just me at SpaceX and now it’s 3,000 people… It is kind of crazy.’

Elon Musk in front of the SpaceX Dragon capsule, April 2012. Photo: Polaris/Eyevine

So how did he get here? Musk was born 42 years ago in Pretoria, to a South African electrical engineer and Canadian model mother, Maye Musk. His childhood nickname was ‘Genius Boy’: he wrote and sold his first video game at age 12, but was bullied at school for being a smarty-pants. No less out of step with the Silicon Valley mainstream, he has clashed with peers including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, whoseFWD.us technology pressure group he left amid accusations of cynicism. Often described as a ‘disrupter’ – the most coveted epithet among libertarian-leaning techies such as Zuckerberg – Musk bridles at the term’s application to him.

‘In fact I’m often introduced on stage as someone who likes to disrupt and I’m, like…’ He pulls a surprised face. ‘And then the first thing I have to say is, “Wait, I don’t actually like to disrupt, that sounds… disruptive!”’ He laughs. ‘I’m much more inclined to say, “How can we make things better?” And a lot of my motivation comes from me personally looking at things that don’t work well and feeling a bit sad about how it would manifest in the future. And if that would result in an unhappy future, then it makes me unhappy. And so I want to fix it. That really is the motivation for me. I certainly don’t believe in disrupting things for the sake of it.

‘I mean, my original interest in electric cars and solar energy, which goes back to when I was in university, was not based on environmental concern, it was based on sustainability, in the sense of ensuring that civilisation can continue to progress. We’re finding new sources of oil, but they’re becoming increasingly difficult to access. That Deep Water Horizon disaster, the reason it was “Deep Water” is because the “Shallow Water Horizon” was gone!’

I have wondered whether this profoundly un-Silicon Valley desire to be socially useful stems from a childhood lived in apartheid South Africa, which he left at the age of 17 rather than serve in what he has called in the past ‘a fascist army’.

‘I’ve never thought about that. Yeah, it probably did,’ he says. ‘But don’t forget that I also read a lot of comic books as I was growing up, and I think that might have influenced me just as much. I mean, they’re always trying to save the world, with their underpants on the outside or these skin-tight iron suits, which is really pretty strange when you think about it. But they are trying to save the world.’ His eyes crinkle in laughter, and lest this claim be taken for facetiousness, he later gleefully confesses in an email to having named one of his sons after Professor Xavier of the X-Men.

The year Musk became properly interesting was 2008. Until then, adult life had gone almost embarrassingly to plan. Simultaneous degrees in physics and economics were followed by marriage to the fantasy writer Justine Wilson and the mid-1990 web-rush. With his brother Kimbal he founded Zip2, an online media services company which was sold to Compaq for $307 million in 1999, followed by X.com, which soon became PayPal, bringer of SpaceX and Tesla: so far, so good.

But then in 2008 three failed launches left SpaceX hanging in the balance, just as Tesla’s flagship Roadster hit every production problem under the sun. Footage of Musk addressing a crowd of angry Tesla customers still makes me shiver after three viewings and his subsequent admission that, ‘That’s as close as I’ve been to a nervous breakdown,’ rings uncomfortably true. Worse, his marriage had unravelled into an acrimonious and very public divorce.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket before launch in May 2012. Photo: Polaris / Eyevine

The sensible choice was for Musk to cut his losses and protect the $75 million he still had left. Instead, he poured the remains of his fortune into his businesses as if shaking a fist at the world. And as though from the same impulse, he met Talulah Riley in a London nightclub and proposed six weeks later, meaning that at the age of 23 she found herself living in a 20,000sq ft Bel Air mansion, part-guardian to five boisterous children and their disintegrating father, with an angry ex-wife in the background. None of this looks like fun, and there was little surprise when he and Riley parted a few years later (though they are now back together).

Musk’s nostrils flare as he contemplates that year, in which any rational observer imagined him finished. He rocks back in his chair and exhales deeply when asked just how close he was to the brink. ‘Both Tesla and SpaceX were very close to dying. SpaceX had our third launch failure: we just barely had enough resources to do a fourth, and if that had failed it would have been curtains. Fortunately, it worked, but even then we weren’t quite out of the woods.’

I find it hard to believe that he really had nothing squirrelled away.

‘No. Everything that I’ve earned up to today is in this. Eventually we were awarded a big contract from Nasa, but what a lot of people don’t understand is that up to that point all the funding had come from me.’

So he really would have been back to square one? ‘Yeah, absolutely,’ he smiles wearily. ‘In fact I would have been slightly worse than square one, since I would have owed money to my ex-wife, among others – ha ha.’

One of the things I most want to understand is why Musk didn’t do what any business coach – or vaguely sane person – would have advised, and walk away while he still had some personal security, putting the failure down to experience? Was it the blind belief of the extreme entrepreneur? Or pride? Or some entrepreneurial second sense? I wonder how much the SpaceX/Tesla story was planned in advance?

‘The truth is, it sort of crept up on me,’ he says mildly. ‘I didn’t expect SpaceX or Tesla to be successful. I thought they’d most likely fail.’

You did?

‘Oh sure. There were no good examples of rocket companies starting up and succeeding at that time.’

So this wasn’t a case of unshakeable faith in your ability to do this?

He actually laughs. ‘No! But I had to try. Someone did.’

So you knew the most likely outcome was you would lose everything, but did it anyway? That’s not business.

‘Sure. Absolutely. And it’s not like I lack some sort of a fear gene, by the way, I feel fear quite strongly.’ He smiles again. ‘I just thought, these are important things. And if Tesla were to fail, it would be held up as a warning for ever, a setback for electric cars in general. Same for SpaceX and commercial rocket companies. Everyone would have said, “That was pretty stupid because everyone knows that rockets are just done by huge government organisations.” And although I wasn’t running SolarCity, that almost came to an end in late 2008 too, because after the financial crisis hit, Morgan Stanley could not honour their financing commitments to it, because they literally did not have the money themselves. Many companies went under at that time – such as General Motors and Chrysler – and it’s quite hard to raise money as a start-up car company if General Motors is going bankrupt!’

He issues a full, almost joyful guffaw and then shrugs.‘But for me, I wasn’t concerned that I wouldn’t be able to eat. Living in America that’s not likely. I guess the worst that could happen would be that the kids had to go to public [state] school, which is not the end of the world – I mean, I went to public school, so…’

SpaceX Falcon 9 test rocket launches at Cape Canaveral, June 2010. Photo: AP Photo/John Raoux

Musk is not the only member of his net-bred generation to be infected with the space bug. Fellow tech moguls Jeff Bezos of Amazon and the celebrated game designer John Carmack are also developing spacecraft, if on a less ambitious scale. Musk was born in 1971, as the Apollo lunar programme was winding down, and I have often wondered whether he and his peers covet space from a sense of having missed the party.

‘Actually, I think my generation does feel a bit cheated by that. Or rather, disappointed that things didn’t progress from there. Because the expectation was always that there’d have been a base on the moon and that we’d have sent people to Mars by the time we’d grown up. In 2001 Arthur C Clarke based his whole story on that. And yet here we are in 2013 and the United States cannot even send a person into low-earth orbit. Nobody would have believed such an outcome back in 1969.’

What made him think he could change this?

‘It was probably just thinking that something needs to be done to advance the technology. I wasn’t sure how far we’d get, but if we could move the ball forward, that would be a good outcome. Now I think we ought to be able to improve it an awful lot. And maybe get all the way there.’

Of all Musk’s innovations, this might be the most radical: developing reusable rockets. Among other things, that Falcon Heavy on the pad at Vandenberg will be testing some rudimentary elements of a system that will allow rocket boosters to land back on earth rather than tumble into the ocean after one use. Many aerospace engineers consider this impossible to do cost-effectively, but Musk thinks they’re wrong. If so, SpaceX will be able to reach earth orbit for the cost of fuel alone, or about $200,000 – a step change in the conquest of space. And a vantage point from which Mars looks a lot closer.

Even so, his talk of colonising the red planet within 20 years looks fanciful even to believers. One Nasa employee speaks of a ‘giggle factor’ in relation to such talk.

‘If there’s a giggle factor, maybe it’s because Nasa have made so little progress in that direction,’ he retorts. ‘But I don’t think this is inevitable. If we can send a piece of machinery the size of a car to Mars [the rovers], we should be able to send people.’

At which point the question becomes why?

‘The overarching reason is that I think humanity needs to be on the path to becoming a multi-planet species, and to establishing life as we know it in more than one place. Fundamentally there are two reasons to go to Mars. One is defensive, as a form of life insurance, of preserving life, which we know can be wiped out by catastrophic events [such as comet strikes]. And the other is that it will be the greatest adventure ever. I personally am motivated more by the second, that it would be a fantastic and exciting adventure – even for individuals who don’t want to go. Just as when we went to the moon, it was only a handful of people who went, but in a sense all of humanity went there with them. And I’m hopeful that we can do it with considerably better life expectancy than the original English colonists in America. I mean, you did not want to be part of Jamestown! It was awful – they died of every conceivable thing you could imagine and were obliterated. But eventually we got America. Which, you know, is far from perfect, but on balance a force for good.’

SpaceX Dragon docking with the International Space Station, March 2013. Photo: AP Photo/NASA TV

Would he go himself?

He responds so casually it’s as if I’ve asked whether he wants sugar in his tea. ‘I’d like to, yeah.’

Would you take your kids?

‘Well, if they wanted to come. I’m not sure they will.’

You’d go and come back, or stay there?

‘In the best of circumstances I go, come back, stay here for a bit, and then when I’m, say, 75 years old, go again.’

You mean you want to retire to Mars?

‘Well, I’ve got to die somewhere, and where better than Mars? Be pretty cool!’

And I guess it would.

Should we take Elon Musk seriously? As a boy, he often withdrew into his own world so completely that he was feared deaf and had his adenoids removed. Now, interview over, I get a taste of what can be the result of such intense focus.

A campaign of badgering wins a test drive of the Model S, and it is an extraordinary experience. Seating up to seven, with a pair of backward-facing child seats to the rear and copious storage where a drive train would be in a petrol car, the Model S is quicker than an Aston Martin, corners as if on rails (thanks to the low placement of its heavy battery) and will ultimately be free – and carbon-free – to refuel at Tesla’s network of ‘Supercharging Stations’. As an upscale step on the way to a £20,000 family car Musk believes he can make, it is revelatory, and will be available in right-hand drive come spring.

The only cloud concerned a fire that broke out after a Model S battery was punctured by a nasty piece of highway debris, serving to underscore the risk attending the development of any new technology. Musk insists that under the circumstances his car performed better than a petrol car might have, but who knows? Only time will tell. Ominously for his competitors, though, a few weeks after our meeting SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon 9 v1.1, the next step on its stated path of creating the world’s largest rocket, the Falcon Heavy.

 

 
 
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A Task Unaccomplished

A Task Unaccomplished
THERE is no question so vital to the future of this nation
as the spirit in which we are to set about the regeneration
of our national life. Either India is rising again to fulfil the
function for which her past national life and development seem
to have prepared her, a leader of thought and faith, a defender of
spiritual truth and experience destined to correct the conclusions
of materialistic Science by the higher Science of which she has
the secret and in that power to influence the world’s civilisation,
or she is rising as a faithful pupil of Europe, a follower
of methods and ideas borrowed from the West, a copyist of
English politics and society. In the one case her aspiration must
be great, her faith unshakable, her efforts and sacrifices such
as to command the admiration of the world; in the other no
such greatness of soul is needed or possible;—a cautious, slow
and gradual progress involving no extraordinary effort and no
unusual sacrifices is sufficient for an end so small. In the one
case her destiny is to be a great nation remoulding and leading
the civilisation of the world, in the other it is to be a subordinate
part of the British Empire sharing in the social life, the political
privileges, the intellectual ideals and attainments of the Anglo-
Celtic race. These are the two ideals before us, and an ideal
is not mere breath, it is a thing compelling which determines
the spirit of our action and often fixes the method. No policy
can be successful which does not take into view the end to be
attained and the amount and nature of the effort needed to
effect it. The leader of industry who enters on a commercial
enterprise, first looks at the magnitude of his field and intended
output and equips himself with capital and plant accordingly,
and even if he cannot commence at once on the scale of his
ideal he holds it in view himself, puts it before the public in
issuing his prospectus and estimating the capital necessary, and

all the practical steps he takes are conceived in the light of his
original aspiration and ordered towards its achievement. So it is
with the political ventures of a nation. To place before himself
a great object and then to shrink in the name of expediency
from the expenditure and sacrifice called for in its pursuit is not
prudence but ineptitude. If you will be prudent, be prudent from
the beginning. Fix your object low and creep towards it. But if
you fix your object in the skies, it will not do to crawl on the
ground and because your eyes are sometimes lifted towards the
ideal imagine you are progressing while you murmur to those
behind, “Yes, yes, our ideal is in the skies because that is the place
for ideals, but we are on the ground and the ground is our proper
place of motion. Let us creep, let us creep.” Such inconsistency
will only dishearten the nation, unnerve its strength and confuse
its intelligence. You must either bring down your ideal to the
ground or find wings or aeroplane to lift you to the skies. There
is no middle course.
We believe that this nation is one which has developed itself
in the past on spiritual lines under the inspiration of a destiny
which is now coming to fulfilment. The peculiar seclusion
in which it was able to develop its individual temperament,
knowledge and ideas;—the manner in which the streams of the
world poured in upon and were absorbed by the calm ocean
of Indian spiritual life, recalling the great image in the Gita,—
even as the waters flow into the great tranquil and immeasurable
ocean, and the ocean is not perturbed;—the persistence
with which peculiar and original forms of society, religion and
philosophical thought were protected from disintegration up
till the destined moment;—the deferring of that disintegration
until the whole world outside had arrived at the point when the
great Indian ideal which these forms enshrined could embrace
all that it yet needed for its perfect self-expression, and be itself
embraced by an age starved by materialism and yearning for
a higher knowledge;—the sudden return of India upon itself
at a time when all that was peculiarly Indian seemed to wear
upon it the irrevocable death-sentence passed on all things that
in the human evolution are no longer needed;—the miraculous
94 Karmayogin, 3 July 1909
uprising and transformation of weakness into strength brought
about by that return;—all this seems to us to be not fortuitous
and accidental but inevitable and preordained in the decrees of
an over-ruling Providence. The rationalist looks on such beliefs
and aspirations as mysticism and jargon. When confronted with
the truths of Hinduism, the experience of deep thinkers and the
choice spirits of the race through thousands of years, he shouts
“Mysticism, mysticism!” and thinks he has conquered. To him
there is order, development, progress, evolution, enlightenment
in the history of Europe, but the past of India is an unsightly
mass of superstition and ignorance best torn out of the book
of human life. These thousands of years of our thought and
aspiration are a period of the least importance to us and the true
history of our progress only begins with the advent of European
education! The rest is a confused nightmare or a mere barren
lapse of time preparing nothing and leading to nothing. This
tone is still vocal in the organs of the now declining school of
the nineteenth century some of which preserve their influence in
the provinces where the balance in the struggle between the past
and the future has not inclined decidedly in favour of the latter.
In Bengal it is still represented by an undercurrent of the old
weakness and the old want of faith which struggles occasionally
to establish itself by a false appearance of philosophical weight
and wisdom. It cannot really believe that this is a movement
with a divine force within and a mighty future before it. The
only force it sees is the resentment against the Partition which in
its view is enough to explain everything that has happened, the
only future it envisages is reform and the reversal of the Partition.
Recently, however, the gospel of Nationalism has made so much
way that the organs of this school in Bengal have accepted many
of its conclusions and their writings are coloured by its leading
ideas. But the fundamental idea of the movement as a divine
manifestation purposing to raise up the nation not only for its
own fulfilment in India but for the work and service of the
world and therefore sure of its fulfilment, therefore independent
of individuals and superior to vicissitudes and difficulties, is one
which they cannot yet grasp. It is a sentiment which has been
growing upon us as the movement progressed, but it has not
yet been sufficiently put forward by the organs of Nationalism
itself, partly because the old idea of separating religion from
politics lingered, partly because the human aspects of the Nationalist
faith had to be established before we could rise to the
divine. But that divine aspect has to be established if we are to
have the faith and greatness of soul which can alone help us
in the tremendous developments the signs of the time portend.
There is plenty of weakness still lingering in the land and we
cannot allow it to take shelter under the cry of expediency and
rationality and seek to kill the faith and force that has been born
in the hearts of the young. The Karmayogin has taken its stand
on the rock of religion and its first object will be to combat
these reactionary tendencies and lead the nation forward into
the fuller light for which the Bande Mataram and other organs
of the new faith only prepared. The gospel of Nationalism has
not yet been fully preached; its most inspiring tenets have yet
to be established not only by the eloquence of the orator and
inspiration of the prophet but by the arguments of the logician,
the appeal to experience of the statesman and the harmonising
generalisations of the scientist.

VOLUME 8
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO P 93-95

Democracy is not a sure preservative of liberty

Democracy is by no means a sure preservative of liberty; on
the contrary, we see today the democratic system of government
march steadily towards such an organised annihilation
of individual liberty as could not have been dreamed of in the
old aristocratic and monarchical systems. It may be that from
the more violent and brutal forms of despotic oppression which
were associated with those systems, democracy has indeed delivered
those nations which have been fortunate enough to achieve
liberal forms of government, and that is no doubt a great gain.
It revives now only in periods of revolution and excitement,
often in the form of mob tyranny or a savage revolutionary
or reactionary repression. But there is a deprivation of liberty
which is more respectable in appearance, more subtle and systematised,
more mild in its method because it has a greater
force at its back, but for that very reason more effective and
pervading. The tyranny of the majority has become a familiar
phrase and its deadening effects have been depicted with a great
The Peril of the World-State 509
force of resentment by certain of the modern intellectuals;1 but
what the future promises us is something more formidable still,
the tyranny of the whole, of the self-hypnotised mass over its
constituent groups and units.2
This is a very remarkable development, the more so as in
the origins of the democratic movement individual freedom was
the ideal which it set in front both in ancient and modern times.
The Greeks associated democracy with two main ideas, first,
an effective and personal share by each citizen in the actual
government, legislation, administration of the community, secondly,
a great freedom of individual temperament and action.
But neither of these characteristics can flourish in the modern
type of democracy, although in the United States of America
there was at one time a tendency to a certain extent in this
direction. In large States, the personal share of each citizen in the
government cannot be effective; he can only have an equal share
—illusory for the individual although effective in the mass—in
the periodical choice of his legislators and administrators. Even
if these have not practically to be elected from a class which is
not the whole or even the majority of the community, at present
almost everywhere the middle class, still these legislators and
administrators do not really represent their electors. The Power
they represent is another, a formless and bodiless entity, which
has taken the place of monarch and aristocracy, that impersonal
group-being which assumes some sort of outward form and
body and conscious action in the hugemechanism of the modern
State. Against this power the individual is much more helpless
than he was against old oppressions. When he feels its pressure
grinding him into its uniform moulds, he has no resource except
either an impotent anarchism or else a retreat, still to some
extent possible, into the freedom of his soul or the freedom of
his intellectual being.

VOLUME 25
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SRI AUROBINDO P510-511

VK Singh controversy

Very Bold & Revealing.

  
VK Singh Controversy: Former Army Chief Attacks Indian Express Editor on Twitter – International Business Times

 1. The news item has appeared in DNA confirming the explosive revelations Gen.VK SIngh was forced to expose to defend the deliberate leaks by the MOD to vilify him. 
2. Iftikar Gilani@iftikargilani writes:
“More than VK, it was the former Ambassador David Mulford who had come up with startling disclosures of a money trail. During the tenure in New Delhi-(2003-09), he sent scores of cables to US State Dept. mentioning the vested interests of “Stake holders” in keeping the Kashmir pot boiling.” 
“In one of the cables leaked by Wikileaks, he says “Omar and Farooq Abdullah, descendants of the Sheikh who first figured out Delhi’s money game, live in fabulous houses in Srinagar and Delhi, wear matching Panerai Watches and serve Blue Label to guests and travel all over the World in First Class, courtesy Indian Govt.” 
He mentioned that State administration gets rivers of money for development but the Strets in J&K are appalling. 
Counter intelligence expert MK Dhar recalls in his book his recruiting a Muslim woman from Old Delhi, who was very efficient in getting counter intelligence even across the border, and such operations cost heavily through secret funding. 
Mulford even talks of a top separatist leader acquiring properties in Dubai, through intelligence agencies and a Minister for irrigation and flood control, now incidentally again in Omar Cabinet, embezzling funds to construct two large houses in Srinagar…… 
Mulford fears that once a deal is struck between Pak and India, Kashmiri elite truly worry that this flow offunds will dry up. The cables quoted even Mehbooba Mufti alleging that Intelligence paid Rs. 1 Cr. to Sajjad Gani Lone to support an independent candidate. 
When IB Chief MK Narayanan took over as NSA,in 2005, he ordered an audit of secret funds spent in J&K….. 
So, the MOD unwittingly forced Gen.VK SIngh open the can of worms to place the Govt. in an embarrassing position to either give him a copy of the charges against him or not under RTI, Notwithstanding the RTI application, Govt. will have to respond to the charges revealed by VK that every Minister was paid by the intelligence wing and with consent of the MOD/ GOI and more dirty linen is likely to be washed, VK trying his best to exonerate himself from these wild irresponsible accusations triggered by the dirty works wing of Congress oon after the Rewari meeting with Mody.
                                 —————————————-
Real story behind smear campaign agnst GenV K Singh
Here’s outcome of my fact finding work about Indian National Congress

 
 

 campaign against  with Narendra Modi

 
 

 and General V.K Singh

 
 

. Am reasonably confident this is what happened and what’s happening. I’ve pieced this together from numerous slivers of conversations with lots of people in the know.  
Mahesh Murthy.

1. General VK Singh is quite upright and incorruptible. However Shashi Kant Sharma

 
 

, the erstwhile and extremely corrupt Defence Secretary believes there’s money to be made for himself and people in the Congress through humongous arms deals. General VK Singh slows down some of these deals.

2. Panic strikes. Now the Congress believes it’s time to discredit and remove General VK Singh to make sure the kickback money comes in. So it works with Shekhar Gupta

 
 

 of the Indian Express

 
 

 to plant a front-page cock-and-bull story about Gen VK Singh planning a military coup. 

3. When that story comes out and is ridiculed, Shashi Kant Sharma and the Congress plants wrong date-of-birth documents and does court shenanigans to make sure that General VK Singh does not get his full term as Army Chief and ensures his premature retirement.

4. So General VK Singh goes out and the Congress-plant and allegedly corrupt General Bikram Singh

 
 

is brought in as Army Chief. 

5. Arms deals worth well over $50 billion are struck and announced within weeks of his taking over.

6. To ensure the continuance of kickbacks, even General Bikram Singh’s next-in-line is also readied to be the next corrupt chief-in-waiting.

7. Meanwhile, in an act out of a Kafka novel, and the clearest demonstration of “ulta chor bana kotwal”, the thief Shashi Kant Sharma is now made the policeman – CAG – the Comptroller and Auditor General of India with no precedent, consultation or qualifications. He replaces the uprightVinod Rai

 
 

 who caused the government no end of bother. What a masterstroke!

8. Shashi Kant Sharma as CAG now starts going after opposition leaders, per the fantastic game of chess set in place and time for the coming election. General VK Singh is considered to have been taken off the board by the gameplayers.

9. But then the unpredicted happens: General VK Singh cosies up to #NaMo and appears in public with him. General VK Singh is much loved in the army – and Modi’s talk to ex-servicemen goes very well.

10. The Congress is now worried. What if Modi comes to power – and makes Gen VK Singh the next Defence Minister. The worry grows.

11. Paranoia strikes – and the crap propaganda wing surfaces again. This time another cock-and-bull story to defame General VK Singh is put out – about being paid Rs. 1.2 cr to raise a mercenary army to topple the J&K Government.

12. That story also fizzles flat. 

13. Arms deals are now being accelerated. Kickbacks are piling up in Dubai – now that the Congress decided to move its money out of Switzerland.

14. There is some fear and desperation on the chess board. The game, for the Congress, isn’t going as planned.

15. We, the voters, are bemused. The Congress doesn’t give up easily. Too much money is involved. What other twists and turns will happen in the next few months?