The principle of self-determination – Sri Aurobindo

The principle of self-determination really means this that

within every living human creature, man, woman and child,

and equally within every distinct human collectivity growing or

grown, half developed or adult there is a self, a being, which

has the right to grow in its own way, to find itself, to make

its life a full and a satisfied instrument and image of its being.

This is the first principle which must contain and overtop all

others; the rest is a question of conditions, means, expedients,

accommodations, opportunities, capacities, limitations, none of

which must be allowed to abrogate the sovereignty of the first

essential principle. But it can only prevail if it is understood

with a right idea of this self and its needs and claims. The first

danger of the principle of self-determination, as of all others, is

that it may be interpreted, like most of the ideals of our human

existence in the past, in the light of the ego, its interests and

its will towards self-satisfaction. So interpreted it will carry us

no farther than before; we shall arrive at a point where our

principle is brought up short, fails us, turns into a false or a

half-true assertion of the mind and a convention of form which

covers realities that are quite the opposite of itself.

For the ego has inalienably the instinct of a double selfassertion,

its self-assertion against other egos and its selfassertion

by means of other egos; in all its expansion it is

impelled to subordinate their need to its own, to use them for

its own purpose and for that purpose to establish some kind of

control or domination or property in what it uses, whether by

force or by dexterity, openly or covertly, by absorption or by

some skilful turn of exploitation. Human lives cannot run upon

free parallels; for they are compelled by Nature continually to

meet, impinge on each other, intermix, and in the ego life that

means always a clash. The first idea of our reason suggests

that our human relations may be subjected to a mechanical

accommodation of interests which will get rid of the clash and

the strife; but this can only be done up to a certain point: at

best we diminish some of the violence and crude obviousness

of the clashing and the friction and give them a more subtle

and less grossly perceptible form. Within that subtler form the

principle of strife and exploitation continues; for always the

egoistic instinct must be to use the accommodations to which

it is obliged or induced to assent, as far as possible for its own

advantage, and it is only limited in this impulse by the limits

of its strength and capacity, by the sense of expediency and

consequence, by the perception of some necessity for respecting

other egoisms in order that its own egoism toomay be respected.

But these considerations can only tone down or hedge in the

desire of a gross or a subtle domination and exploitation of

others; they do not abrogate it.

CWSA Vol25 Self-Determination P 627

LibeLiberty in one shape or another among the most difficult aspirations – Sri Aurobindo

Liberty in one shape or another ranks among the most ancient

and certainly among the most difficult aspirations of our

race: it arises from a radical instinct of our being and is yet

opposed to all our circumstances; it is our eternal good and our

condition of perfection, but our temporal being has failed to find

its key. That perhaps is because true freedom is only possible if

we live in the infinite, live, as theVedanta bids us, in and from our

self-existent being; but our natural and temporal energies seek

for it at first not in ourselves, but in our external conditions.

This great indefinable thing, liberty, is in its highest and ultimate

sense a state of being; it is self living in itself and determining by

its own energy what it shall be inwardly and, eventually, by the

growth of a divine spiritual power within determining too what

it shall make of its external circumstances and environment;

that is the largest and freest sense of self-determination. But

when we start from the natural and temporal life, what we

practically come to mean by liberty is a convenient elbow-room

for our natural energies to satisfy themselves without being too

much impinged upon by the self-assertiveness of others. And

that is a difficult problem to solve, because the liberty of one,

immediately it begins to act, knocks up fatally against the liberty

of another; the free running of many in the same field means a

free chaos of collisions. That was at one time glorified under

the name of the competitive system, and dissatisfaction with its

results has led to the opposite idea of State socialism, which

supposes that the negation of individual liberty in the collective

being of the State can be made to amount by some mechanical

process to a positive sum of liberty nicely distributable to all in a

carefully guarded equality. The individual gives up his freedom

of action and possession to the State which in return doles out

to him a regulated liberty, let us say, a sufficient elbow-room

so parcelled out that he shall not at all butt into the ribs of his

neighbour. It is admirable in theory, logically quite unexceptionable,

but in practice, one suspects, it would amount to a very

oppressive, because a very mechanical slavery of the individual

to the community, or rather to something indefinite that calls

itself the community.

Experience has so far shown us that the human attempt

to arrive at a mechanical freedom has only resulted in a very

relative liberty and even that has been enjoyed for the most part

by some at the expense of others. It has amounted usually to the

rule of the majority by a minority, and many strange things have

been done in its name. Ancient liberty and democracy meant in

Greece the self-rule—variegated by periodical orgies of mutual

throat-cutting—of a smaller number of freemen of all ranks

who lived by the labour of a great mass of slaves. In recent

times liberty and democracy have been, and still are, a cant

assertion which veils under a skilfully moderated plutocratic

system the rule of an organised successful bourgeoisie over a

proletariate at first submissive, afterwards increasingly dissatisfied

and combined for recalcitrant self-assertion. The earliest

use of liberty and democracy by the emancipated proletariate

has been the crude forceful tyranny of an ill-organised labour

oligarchy over a quite disorganised peasantry and an impotently

recalcitrant bourgeoisie. And just as the glorious possession of

liberty by the community has been held to be consistent with

the oppression of four-fifths or three-fifths of the population

by the remaining fraction, so it has till lately been held to be

quite consistent with the complete subjection of one half of

mankind, the woman half, to the physically stronger male. The

series continues through a whole volume of anomalies, including

of course the gloriously beneficent and profitable exploitation

of subject peoples by emancipated nations who, it seems, are

entitled to that domination by their priesthood of the sacred cult

of freedom. They mean no doubt to extend it to the exploited at

some distant date, but take caremeanwhile to pay themselves the

full price of their holy office before they deliver the article. Even

the best machinery of this mechanical freedom yet discovered

amounts to the unmodified will of a bare majority, or rather

to its selection of a body of rulers who coerce in its name all

minorities and lead it to issues of which it has itself no clear

perception.

CWSA VOL 25 P 624 War and Self-Determination

The individuals who will most help the future of humanity in the new age

Therefore the individuals who will most help the future of

humanity in the new age will be those who will recognise a

spiritual evolution as the destiny and therefore the great need

of the human being. Even as the animal man has been largely

converted into a mentalised and at the top a highly mentalised

humanity, so too now or in the future an evolution or conversion—

it does not greatly matter which figure we use or

what theory we adopt to support it—of the present type of

humanity into a spiritualised humanity is the need of the race

and surely the intention of Nature; that evolution or conversion

will be their ideal and endeavour. They will be comparatively

indifferent to particular belief and form and leave men to resort

to the beliefs and forms to which they are naturally drawn. They

will only hold as essential the faith in this spiritual conversion,

the attempt to live it out and whatever knowledge—the form

of opinion into which it is thrown does not so much matter

—can be converted into this living. They will especially not

make the mistake of thinking that this change can be effected by

machinery and outward institutions; they will know and never

forget that it has to be lived out by each man inwardly or it can

never be made a reality for the kind. They will adopt in its heart

of meaning the inward view of the East which bids man seek

the secret of his destiny and salvation within; but also they will

accept, though with a different turn given to it, the importance

which theWest rightly attaches to life and to the making the best

we know and can attain the general rule of all life. They will not

make society a shadowy background to a few luminous spiritual

figures or a rigidly fenced and earth-bound root for the growth

of a comparatively rare and sterile flower of ascetic spirituality.

They will not accept the theory that the many must necessarily

remain for ever on the lower ranges of life and only a few climb

into the free air and the light, but will start from the standpoint

of the great spirits who have striven to regenerate the life of the

earth and held that faith in spite of all previous failure. Failures

must be originally numerous in everything great and difficult,

but the time comes when the experience of past failures can be

profitably used and the gate that so long resisted opens. In this

as in all great human aspirations and endeavours, an a priori

declaration of impossibility is a sign of ignorance and weakness,

and the motto of the aspirant’s endeavour must be the solvitur

ambulando of the discoverer. For by the doing the difficulty will

be solved. A true beginning has to be made; the rest is a work

for Time in its sudden achievements or its long patient labour.

Vedic Rishis – the ancestors of all Indians

excellent

MARIA WIRTH

Some five years ago there was a small news item in a national paper. At that time Jairam Ramesh was the minister of state for environment and forests and he had stated, ”India is losing at least 2000 patents every year on traditional formulations as the knowledge on these has never been documented.”

I wondered whether the politicians, administrators and academics actually knew where their ancient tradition is documented and what it contains. There is a big gap between the English speaking academics and the Vedic pandits. The former tend to think that they are superior and represent India’s intelligentsia. However there is great, often untapped knowledge in the other camp of Sanskrit pandits. Their knowledge might even be more crucial for a harmonious society. Sadly, both groups don’t meet because they don’t understand each other. If they would meet and exchange, India in all likelihood would be a frontrunner…

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Dilemma of martyred officer, just before he was killed

Dilemma of martyred officer, just before he was killed

New Delhi, January 29
His body was wrapped in a tri-colour today. A martyr he was. A brave soldier with a soft heart. A father of two teenage daughters and a 7 year old son, with a caring wife. Three days ago the family was flying high when Colonel Munindra Nath Rai was awarded a Republic Day gallantry medal-Yudh Seva medal (YSM).
Two days ago, he was standing in front of a house in a village in Tral area of South Kashmir, with two hard
core terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen trapped inside.
And the end game began to unfold in a very dramatic manner. As if, a scene from film Haidar was being reenacted…in real. Since a battal ion level operation was on, Commanding Officer of the unit, Colonel Rai was not only present there but leading from the front. A buddy and a J&K police constable was assisting him in the nerve breaking operation. The prize catch was inside, with all escape routes sealed perfectly. As the order to storm the house was to be given a yelling voice shattered the uneasy calm.
”Please don’t kill my son…” an old man with folded hands approached the officer.
”I will convince my son
to surrender,”father of the trapped terrorist was on his knees. Colonel Rai was faced with a very hard choice. To kill the militants or listen to the voice of a sobbing father?
The Colonel had earned a reputation of a brave officer having soft corners in his heart. Some months ago when entire Kashmir Valley submerged in flash floods, he was a man in full action.
He saved hundreds of lives. And he was the one who had sent a group of 50 apple-growers sometime back from the Valley to Shimla to learn the tricks of the trade so that they can earn more profit.
It was biting cold out there and the Colonel’s finger was placed on an icy trigger. He had to decide fast, either way–to storm the house or allow the father to go inside to make last attempt to convince his terrorist son to surrender.
And the Commanding officer opted for the latter.
Colonel Rai ordered not to fire. Everything came to a standstill. Soldiers involved in the operation stopped crawling around the house.
It must have been a very tense moment.
The father went inside the house. Nothing happened in next couple of minutes. Each passing moment was becoming tense for Colonel Rai, who was hoping that the old man will come out with his terrorist son. And suddenly the door flung open.
A blaze of fire started. Two hardcore terrorists were
raining the bullets.
Terrorists killed Colonel Rai, his buddy and the policeman before being gunned down by the troops.
Was he right when Colonel Rai decided to give the father a chance to go in and convince his son to surrender?
”Yes,” said Colonel Rohan Anand,spokesperson of the Army, who narrated the entire sequence of the Tral encounter.
”He wanted to give a chance to insaniyat(humanity),”he said. Colonel Anand said, ”Colonel Rai’s Whatsapp status sums up the mission of his life.
It says: Zindagi mein badi shiddat se nibhao apna kirdar, ki parda girne ke baad bhi taaliya bajti rahe (Play your role in life with such dedication that people applaud you even after your death).”

Dilemma of martyred officer, just before he was killed

Dilemma of martyred officer, just before he was killed
Newspoint Bureau
New Delhi, January 29
His body was wrapped in a tri-colour today. A martyr he was. A brave soldier with a soft heart. A father of two teenage daughters and a 7 year old son, with a caring wife. Three days ago the family was flying high when Colonel Munindra Nath Rai was awarded a Republic Day gallantry medal-Yudh Seva medal (YSM).
Two days ago, he was standing in front of a house in a village in Tral area of South Kashmir, with two hard
core terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen trapped inside.
And the end game began to unfold in a very dramatic manner. As if, a scene from film Haidar was being reenacted…in real. Since a battal ion level operation was on, Commanding Officer of the unit, Colonel Rai was not only present there but leading from the front. A buddy and a J&K police constable was assisting him in the nerve breaking operation. The prize catch was inside, with all escape routes sealed perfectly. As the order to storm the house was to be given a yelling voice shattered the uneasy calm.
”Please don’t kill my son…” an old man with folded hands approached the officer.
”I will convince my son
to surrender,”father of the trapped terrorist was on his knees. Colonel Rai was faced with a very hard choice. To kill the militants or listen to the voice of a sobbing father?
The Colonel had earned a reputation of a brave officer having soft corners in his heart. Some months ago when entire Kashmir Valley submerged in flash floods, he was a man in full action.
He saved hundreds of lives. And he was the one who had sent a group of 50 apple-growers sometime back from the Valley to Shimla to learn the tricks of the trade so that they can earn more profit.
It was biting cold out there and the Colonel’s finger was placed on an icy trigger. He had to decide fast, either way–to storm the house or allow the father to go inside to make last attempt to convince his terrorist son to surrender.
And the Commanding officer opted for the latter.
Colonel Rai ordered not to fire. Everything came to a standstill. Soldiers involved in the operation stopped crawling around the house.
It must have been a very tense moment.
The father went inside the house. Nothing happened in next couple of minutes. Each passing moment was becoming tense for Colonel Rai, who was hoping that the old man will come out with his terrorist son. And suddenly the door flung open.
A blaze of fire started. Two hardcore terrorists were
raining the bullets.
Terrorists killed Colonel Rai, his buddy and the policeman before being gunned down by the troops.
Was he right when Colonel Rai decided to give the father a chance to go in and convince his son to surrender?
”Yes,” said Colonel Rohan Anand,spokesperson of the Army, who narrated the entire sequence of the Tral encounter.
”He wanted to give a chance to insaniyat(humanity),”he said. Colonel Anand said, ”Colonel Rai’s Whatsapp status sums up the mission of his life.
It says: Zindagi mein badi shiddat se nibhao apna kirdar, ki parda girne ke baad bhi taaliya bajti rahe (Play your role in life with such dedication that people applaud you even after your death).”

The Mother

The One whom we adore as the Mother is the
divine Conscious Force that dominates all existence, one and yet
so many-sided that to follow her movement is impossible even for
the quickest mind and for the freest and most vast intelligence.
The Mother is the consciousness and force of the Supreme and far
above all she creates. But something of her ways can be seen and
felt through her embodiments and the more seizable because more
defined and limited temperament and action of the goddess forms
in whom she consents to be manifest to her creatures.