Sunday, June 28, 2009

Savitri is much more than a great poem

Sri Aurobindo's poetry and Rod's commentary

I want to thank very sincerely Robert for transcribing Rod's lectures. I am so glad that i got to read them, as in this case i find i can "get it" better through reading (and reciting the poetry outloud of course), than i could at the lectures themselves.

The introduction to English poetry and Sri Aurobindo's approach to it, filled in a big gap in my education. But more important than that was the fresh and intense perception, and reconfirmation, that Savitri is much more than a great poem, it is actually the Divine Word, bridging between our current state of consciousness and the supramental waiting to be perceived.

Being brought awake to that, through Rod's skillful illucidation, meant i spent hours after completing reading it in a state of heightened awareness. It seems to me that each such foray is part of the global awakening process, so on behalf of us all i thank Rod and Robert and Vladimir and of course Sri Aurobindo for helping move us in the direction of our common aspiration.

The Poetry of Sri Aurobindo: MANTRA, METRICS AND MEANING complete.pdf Rod Hemsell

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I treat texts as performative in a situated sense - I read a text within its social embeddedness and not psychologically

Re: A Matter of Mind by J. Kepler Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
by Debashish on Wed 24 Jun 2009 09:32 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

I'd like to clarify here that I'm not a proponent of the New Criticism movement, where the meaning of texts is only to be sought within their internal structure taken in isolation. I do hold that texts are related to their author, but in a much more complex way than the assumption of transparent psychological motives.

I treat texts as performative in a situated sense - where performances are creative acts of negotiation and communication and situated is to be understood historically and discursively. Thus I read a text within its social embeddedness and not psychologically. By performance here I don't mean that the production of a text is an entirely deliberate act but a creative act, which attempts to integrate a select array of plural discourses within its dialogic expression. I also avoid criticism, which assumes formal and ahistorical standards, seeing myself more as a cultural historian, who is interested in understanding what discourses are addressed in the text and how. DB

by Debashish on Thu 25 Jun 2009 12:48 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

A text in its own time (the writer's cultural milieu in which s/he is situated) and in present time (wrt contemporary concerns) stands as a negotiation among a variety of dicsourses. These are not merely echoes of personal voices or styles but ideological orientations which subsume a variety of standpoints. Important "authors" are like placeholders for such standpoints (author function). A text reveals itself to be a dialog with several such discourses.

Texts may be conscious of their dialogic nature to different degrees - to the extent of its originality as an integrative text, one can read various clear ideological positions and the stand taken in the text in relation to them. I made the difference between a deliberate production and a creative production to point to the fact that an author does not necessarily start out knowing what s/he is going to answer and how, but through a creative act brings these discourses into focus and relates itself to them.

Take The Life Divine for example. Sri Aurobindo is very conscious of the historicity of various discourses which provide different trajectories for human becoming and negotiates his integral ground by addressing all these. Outside of his own intent, contemporary thought has introduced new concerns (which are often old concerns in new bottles) which the text can be seen to have anticipated in certain ways and hence retains its fertility. The question of bias arises in a situated study very clearly. In untangling the discourses and their genealogies in a text, the biases of the text also reveal themselves. DB Reply

by Debashish on Thu 25 Jun 2009 01:04 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Literary or art critics have to use some standard by which to judge whether a work is good or bad. Such standards tend to be "true for all time" (ahistorical) and based on certain ideas of the value of style and form (formal). Or else, they attempt a psychological reading - as you say, by trying to judge whether a writer has prejudices or not. As I pointed out, to judge personal prejudices from writing is a dangerous and illegitimate reading in my opinion, since texts are opaque regarding author intent beyond a certain point. Only in some very obvious cases, usually lacking any complexity (eg. Mein Kampf) can such claims perhaps be legitimately made (not by me though).

On the issue of formal criticism, I don't believe in it. Culture prepares the ground of appreciation, though taste certainly has an intuition of beauty within such preparation. However, even this does not interest me. What is of concern to me is the way in which a text functions to take a stand in the culture of its time - this is the approach of cultural history as against that of literary or art criticism. Reply

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kautilya, Omar Khayyam, Firaq Gorakhpuri, & Ruskin Bond

TREASURE TROVE Bibliophile's Paradise
Times of India - ‎Jun 9, 2009, Sumit S Paul

It was 1953, College Street, Calcutta. An old professor of English, Rajnikant Chatterjee, would religiously come to College Street every evening and intently read and buy rare old books. At one such visit, he stumbled upon a few torn pages inside an equally hoary old book. Curious, he began to read and lo, those were the lost translations of the legendary English orientalist Sir Edward Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat-e-Umar Khayyam, written in Persian. Students of English literature all over the world are aware that Fitzgerald's English renditions of 11 exquisite quatrains weren't available till 1953.

Even Oxford and Cambridge varsities failed to find those 11 rubaiyat. But, Chatterjee luckily chanced upon them and because of him, the English translation of all the quatrains is available to students as well as readers. The world of literature is immensely grateful to Chatterjee and the famous College Street, dotted with dingy bookstalls, that have some of the rarest books in the world.

I make it a point to visit College Street on my every visit to the city. I spend a considerable amount of time with old books. What adds to such intellectually fruitful visits is the bargaining part. I once found eight odd copies of foreign editions from the Reader's Digest of 1934! I bargained hard and bought them for Rs 12 only. A casual visitor will not enjoy the ambience of College Street's small book shops, sardine-crammed with books of all hues and shades. You have to be a hardcore connoisseur of books to enjoy the place.

A few such bookshop owners are astoundingly well-read and help you pick up the most sought after books. Some of the rare books are so delicate that their pages have become like dry leaves and one has to handle them very carefully. I also found Raghupati Sahay 'Firaq' Gorakhpuri's first collection of ghazals, Zere-Aasmaan (Under the Sky), there. Very few copies of this book are available anywhere in the world and it's not available even in the library of Allahabad University, where Firaq taught English and Urdu for over three decades. The beauty of this stretch called College Street is its old world charm.

This nostalgic aura beckons you again and again. It is indeed a bibliophile's paradise. Whoever is thinking of visiting the city must visit College Street. Otherwise his sojourn will be as incomplete as visiting London and not going to Oxford Street.

Happy Khayyam Day Tehran Times - ‎May 17, 2009‎
Khayyam is chiefly known to English-speaking readers through the translation of a collection of his quatrains in The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1859), ...
Omar Khayyam: Persian Mathematician, Astronomer and Poet findingDulcinea Iran Honors Omar Khayyam's Day Fars News Agency
Iran observes Omar Khayyam day Haber 27 all 6 news articles »
Through the dusk an angel shape Economic Times - ‎Jun 8, 2009‎
For though we know he openly advocated a nihilistic lifestyle including dawn-to-dusk drinking, the Rubaiyat also contains the following quatrain: And this I ...
Iran, Russia Team Up for Omar Khayyam Biopic Cultural Heritage News - ‎Jun 10, 2009‎
Khayyam (1048-1123) is chiefly known to English-speaking readers through the translation of a collection of his quatrains in “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” ...
Vienna to unveil statues of Iranian scientists PRESS TV - ‎Jun 9, 2009‎
Omar Khayyam was an eminent Persian poet, astronomer and mathematician who is best known for his collection of quatrains (four-line poems) The Rubaiyat of ...
Statues of Iranian luminaries unveiled at UN Office in Vienna Tehran Times all 7 news articles »

This Bond, 75, depends on ghosts for ideas Press Trust of India - ‎May 19, 2009‎
Lucknow, May 19 (PTI) Writing comes naturally to Ruskin Bond, a stalwart of children's literature, who at 75, still finds it difficult to gauge the mood of ...

Views from the hilltop Indian Express - ‎Jun 11, 2009‎
Ruskin Bond's latest memoir, A Town Called Dehra, is beautifully written. It is set mostly in Dehra Dun, although other places do intrude (Shimla, Delhi). ...
Ruskin Bond turns 75 Express Buzz - ‎May 18, 2009‎
He is one of India's favourite writers, Ruskin Bond, whose writings have come to represent simplicity, calm, a delight in the small pleasures of life and a ...

Most Read Articles Indian Express ‎
1909 was the year in which the first near complete text of Kautilya's Arthashastra was published. Four years earlier, Rudrapatnam Shamashastry had ...
Alok Sheel: Of economists and historians Business Standard - ‎Jun 12, 2009‎
... Artha Shastra and Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah deliberated these matters over the ages, long before the classical economists of the seventeenth century. ...
Economics of War (and also peace) Lanka Business Online - ‎Jun 2, 2009‎
Kautilya, the Indian economist who lived in the fourth century BC, in his economic treatise, The Arthashastra, not only covered warfare but also advised the ...
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There are ample principles in the Arthashastra and Dharmashastras to justify protection of Nature as a duty and a systematic ecological theory can be ...
Friday evening honour roll - 8 Livemint - ‎May 29, 2009‎
Like its earlier Indian predecessor the Artha Shastra, which book was written primarily to educate a ruler -- in this case, Lorenzo de Medici -- in ...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Intuitably the synaptic is musical, replete with sweet voices, musical with repletion

Synapsis of the Muse from Fido the Yak by Fido the Yak
"The muse is the living voice, as each of us experiences it, of intuition. Intuition is a synaptic summation, our whole nervous system balancing and combining multivariate complexities in a single flash" (Free Play, pp. 39-40).

The synaptic describes the space between touches, the between that enables touch, that touch means. Touch also means the traversal of that space. How is it that touch is brought into that space, for an instant, that space just for touch?

Over and over we meet with a question of shared experience, a question of how experience could possibly surpass the bounds of self, the returning vibe, even as it reinforces them, harmonizes them, evokes the selfsame vibe. Intuitably the synaptic is musical, replete with sweet voices, musical with repletion. We desire to speak with the sweet voices.

Music for us is the loving voice of intimation, of listening wrapped into itself, repletorially, listening, completely open to the announcement to the world of the world, the world that appears instantly in its announcement, of voices on the street below, rising voices of the unsummed love. We desire to speak with the musical voice. The voice of the muse is instantly recognizable as being other than our own, though it resounds within us and without us, multifariously. We share in its vibrations. Synapsis.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lending a multi-dimensional approach to the art form: हबीब तनवीर को श्रद्धाजंलि

तनवीर को रंगकर्मियों ने दी श्रद्धांजलि
दैनिक जागरण - पिथौरागढ़।

प्रसिद्ध नाटककार, निर्देशक, लेखक, संगीतकार, हबीब तनवीर के निधन का समाचार मिलते ही जिले के रंगकर्मियों में शोक की लहर दौड़ गयी। अभिनय नाटय मंच से जुड़े कलाकारों ने मंगलवार को एक शोक सभा कर हबीब तनवीर को श्रद्धाजंलि दी। रंगकर्मियों ने कहा हबीब तनवीर के चले जाने से देश के रंगकर्म को अपूरणनीय क्षति हुई है। राजकीय सम्मान के साथ हुआ हबीब तनवीर कां अंतिम संस्कार दैनिक भास्कर बहुआयामी प्रतिभा के धनी थे तनवीर याहू! भारत दैनिक भास्कर - दैनिक भास्कर - दैनिक भास्कर - दैनिक भास्कर

An act of tribute
Indian Express - The year is 1975 and at the premises of FTII, for the first time ever in Pune, Habib Tanvir's play Charandas Chor is being staged. Tanvir sits with knitted ...
Theatrewallahs mourn the death of Habib Tanvir, the most modern ...
Indian Express - I have been amazed by the magic of his theatre for the last three decades, since the time I was a student. After graduating from the National School of ...
Country roads take me home
Indian Express - Lending a multi-dimensional approach to the art form, ensuring that theatre emerged decisive in predisposing people towards what he called a 'new era', ...
City mourns Habib Tanvir
Times of India - KOLKATA: Shock was on the face of every Kolkata theatre personality who heard of the death of Habib Tanvir on Monday morning. Some of them had developed ...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Dr. Raghunath Pani – noted teacher, educationist, scholar and cultural organizer

Sri Geetagovinda Pratisthana, Puducherry is a non-profit charitable trust engaged in the promotion and propagation of Indian and Orissan culture. The Founder: The Trust was founded in 2001 by Late Dr. Raghunath Pani – noted teacher, educationist, scholar and cultural organizer from Orissa who dedicated his entire life for holistic development of mind, body, heart and soul of his students through integral education based on the teachings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Dr Raghunath Pani composed a geeti-natya or dance-drama which weaved the life and legends of Jayadeva into the narrative of Geetagovinda in Odissi style in the early 1960s and played a vital role in popularizing this great classic...
The Founder: Dr Raghunath Pani was born on 20th July 1923 in the village Gurandi near Paralakhemundi of Ganjam district of Orissa state.

The Indian Scriptures and the Life Divine - Google Books Result by Binita Pani - 1993 - Social Science - 367 pages... daughter of Dr. Raghunath Pani, an eminent educationist, teacher and an exponent of Integral Education. She completed her Post- Graduate Degree in Philosophy in...

OrissaDiary » Entertainment News » Saregama releases Sampoorna Geetagovinda
Thursday, November 20, 2008 Dr Subas Pani who has composed music for Sampoorna Geetagovinda is a scholar researching on Jagannath, Jayadeva and Geetagovinda. His tryst with Jayadeva started almost half a century ago, when he was fortunate to be initiated into it by his father, the late Dr Raghunath Pani in the early 1960s. Ever since then, he has been engaged in research for more than two decades and has done his Ph.D. on “Rediscovering Jayadeva and Shree Geetagovinda in the Context of Historical and Cultural Heritage of Orissa”. Screenindia

Jaskiran Kapoor Posted: Thursday , Nov 20, 2008 at 2325 hrs IST
IE » Story Spiritual Scale In Geetagovinda, Dr Subas Pani surrenders to the simple essence of bhakti
It's called Jayadeva’s immortal creation, a total musical experience, one which escalates the mind, body and soul to a state of trance. “And it’s not just in the context of romance, but love at a spiritual level,” renowned scholar and composer, Dr Subas Pani introduces us to what was once the ‘oasis of culture’, Orissa, a centre for dissemination of Krishna bhakti, a historical place which gave us Geetagovinda. Out with a spiritual album on the same called the Sampoorna Geetagovinda, Dr Pani’s tryst with Jayadeva’s Geetagovinda began almost half a century ago when he was initiated into it by his father, Late Dr Raghunath Pani. “Ever since then, I’ve been engaged in research on Jayadeva, Geetagovinda and Jagannatha faith,” tells Dr Pani who has done his PhD on ‘Rediscovering Jayadeva and Shree Geetagovinda in the Context of Historical and Cultural Heritage of Orissa’. “Sampoorna Geetagovinda is a complete and unabridged version of Jayadeva’s immortal creation comprising all the 24 songs and 72 slokas,” he briefs us on the composition inspired by and steeped in the heritage of Orissa, especially the regional musical traditions prevailing around the great temple of Lord Jagannatha at Puri as well as the style and nuances of Odissi music and dance.

For Dr Pani Jayadeva’s Geetagovinda is one of the best examples of padavali sangeeta - poems meant for singing and dancing rather than for reading and recitation. “More than the virtuosity of music, it emphasises on emotions, on interpretation of love...what’s outstanding is the conversation play between Radha, Krishna and Sakhi and the beautiful dramatic appeal it lends.” Composed in the 12th century, Jayadeva’s Geetagovinda, is considered an Indian classic and a part of the world cultural heritage. It presents the story of the love play of Radha and Krishna, their separation, sufferings, anger, annoyance, supplications and the final re-union. “Each song depicts a situation, an expression of a mood, a dominant feeling or rasa. The slokas are continuations of the songs or links providing choreographic instructions or transition from one song to the next,” Dr Pani is now looking forward to taking it to the stage as a choreographed presentation.

“Hari smarana is a simple surrender, and it provides a pan Indian spiritual experience. Some believe Geetagovinda has medicinal powers, it relaxes you...that’s the beauty of India’s heritage and many precious gems and jewels waiting to be discovered.” For more log on to

Exhibition of dance photos by Dr. Susil Pani
March 23, 2009 Dr. Susil Pani is an eye doctor from the state of Orissa, now settled in Pondicherry. He hails from an illustrious family, his father being late Dr. Raghunath Pani who was an educationist, writer, dramatist, composer, and musician – both Carnatic Veena and Hindustani vocal singer. Dr. Susil Pani has been interested in photography from his college days and has been taking pictures on a variety of subjects. His interests include: Indian classical dance forms, temple cars, temples, stage photography, nature, etc. He has already presented solo photo exhibits of Indian classical and folk dances, spiritual significance of flowers, chariots of god: temple cars, general photography.

Through March 2009, an exhibition of his photos on Indian classical dances covering Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Manipuri, Kuchipudi and Mohiniattam are on show at the art gallery of Dakshinchitra, Chennai.

Why/when did Dr. Pani take up dance photography as a hobby? "I have been fascinated by the beautiful dancing figures from the temples, particularly Madurai Meenakshi temple during my long stay at Aravind Eye Hospital and during my travel to eye camps to all the nook and corners of Tamilnadu. But I did not have the money to buy a camera to take pictures. On shifting to Pondicherry, I got a Minolta auto focus SLR in 1996 and that started my journey. I used to attend dance, drama and music programs at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram theatre or school courtyard, sit silently and take photos without any flash only mostly on slides, quietly process and print them and enjoy the beauty and grace without understanding anything about dance, the dancer, etc. Only in April 2002 after coming in contact with renowned Odissi dancer Sangeeta Dash, I was further inspired. She prompted me to put up an exhibit on Indian dances at The Sri Aurobindo Ashram exhibition house in December 2002. She selected and put things in perspective, and a grand exhibition was done spanning four halls with more than two hundred photos."

How did this exhibition at Dakshinchitra come about? "As the purpose of my photos has been always a search for the lord, I did not think to venture out of Pondicherry. After visiting Dakshinchitra in Dec 2008, again it was Sangeeta Dash who coaxed me to try to put up an exhibition. She has been my inspiration all along and I have tried to concentrate on recreating the mood and to bring out the inner feelings of the dancer. So technique wise I am not an expert or trained at all. I use very basic equipment. As my aim has not been to venture into creating any name and fame as a photographer, I have not moved out much out of Pondicherry to take the pictures. God has been gracious to grant me opportunity at Pondicherry during festivals and I have made a few trips to Chidambaram. My search is still on."

Dancing figures from the temple cars of South India Text and photos: Dr. Susil Pani, Pondicherry
November 11, 2008
It is known that all the classical Indian dance forms have evolved from Natyashastra, the treatise supposed to have been written by sage Bharata. There are lot of evidences in the form of postures and inscriptions in temples all over the Indian subcontinent. The present study deals with the dancing figures seen in the temple cars of South India. The present day temple cars are made from wood which decays over a period of time. The temple cars are a big source of images telling stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas, Vedas, Upanishads, and other scriptures. There are presently more than nine hundred temple cars in Tamilnadu and Pondicherry. As it is not possible to cover all of them, only a representative sample is taken for the study to include cars from Pondicherry, Thiruvannamalai, Chidambaram, Kumbakonam, Nagapattinam, Avinashi, and Milam. The present study has been broadly classified into dancing figures relating to Shiva, Vishnu, Shakthi and others.
General view of a temple car
Dalamalika & Dwarapala Shiva Nataraja: The Cosmic Dancer Shiva as Nataraja is the cosmic dancer. He is the master and source of all the dance forms. He is also the source of all art forms – dance, music, drama, etc… Shiva as Nataraja taught all the art forms to Bharata muni, the rishi from Bharat Desh (the land of Bharata). Bharata muni is considered to be a rishi of the Vedic era. Some consider that Bharata muni refers to a number of rishis of the Vedic time. It is said that Lord Shiva instructed Bharata muni to write the Natyashastra. It is considered as the fifth Veda after the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda. Natyashastra literary means natya and shastra. Natya includes all art forms including dance, drama, music etc, shastra means the knowledge or codification and rules and regulations to be followed for the performance of Natya.
Most of the Shiva temples in south India have a separate shrine for Nataraja inside their temple premises. A separate hall called Nata mandapam is present next to the Nataraja shrine for the dance presentations. The temple of Chidambaram has Lord Nataraja as the main deity instead of the usual Shiva lingam.
Shiva is considered to have started all the one hundred and eight tandavas. These are presented as one hundred and eight Karanas. These are present in some of the temples including the Brihadeeswara temple of Tanjore and the gopurams of the Nataraja temple of Chidambaram. In the temple cars, the most common and most popular presentations are the Ananda Tandava, Rudra Tandava, Urdhava Tandava and Chatura Tandava.
Ananda tandava is the Dance of Bliss by Nataraja and forms the most common Tandava. Shiva in this form is four handed. The right hand in front is in Abhaya mudra while the backhand holds the damaru. The left hand in front usually is in Gajahasta and the back hand holds the Agni. The left leg is raised in kunchita pose and the right leg is firmly placed on the demon Apasmara. Shiva has a quiet, smiling but serene face. Behind Shiva, one may see many flying Vidyadharas. In some panels, one can see Goddess Parvati as Shivagamasundari next to Lord Shiva. In the Dance of Bliss, Shiva is self contained. He is the source of all creation, vibration and movement. The damaru represents this source. The right hand in Abhaya mudra, presents blessings by the Lord, hence the protection provided by him for the sustenance and maintenance of life. The back hand holding Agni or fire destroys the old so that the new can be created. The right leg is firmly placed on Apasmara – which shows the lord having full control over the ego and all the sense organs. The raised leg is the final path for salvation or moksha. The Lord delivers his devotees from the illusion or maya of the outer senses and ego to realize the truth and unite with the ‘Divine.’
Shiva in Urdhava tandava
Ananda tandavaThe Urdhava tandava Shiva as Urdhava Tandavamurti is very popular in the temple cars. It is usually presented in a panel of images to include other gods and goddess. The story behind the panel presentation is that long time ago, there was a great debate among the devotees of Lord Shiva and Parvati as to who was a greater dancer. Hence to resolve the issue a great competition was held between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Other gods are seen to accompany this great event. Nandi is seen playing the mridangam, Vishnu playing the cymbals, Saraswathi playing the veena, Ganapati playing the tanpura and Brahma either playing a stringed instrument or sitting as a judge. In the same panel, Parvati is seen in her Kali form, in a fierce dancing posture. It is said that she could excel Lord Shiva in all the tandavas. In the end, Shiva does Urdhava tandava. Urdha literally means raised up; in this tandava, Shiva is seen to raise his right leg vertically up with the foot of the leg facing the sky. This image of Shiva is called Urdha Tandavamurti. He plays the damaru with two hands in front. In some panels, the left leg is shown raised up; in one rare panel there are two images of Lord Shiva one with right leg raised and another with left leg raised placed side by side. Lord Shiva is seen with four arms but sometimes with eight arms. Two hands play the damaru and other two hands are in Suchi mudra.
Kali is seen with eight or ten hands holding many arms in the same panel in a dancing posture. In some she is seen accepting her Lord’s supremacy as she is not willing to raise her legs in the presence of men. In some she is seen below the image of Lord Shiva with folded hands; sometimes she is seen angry and dismayed and feels that Lord Shiva has tricked her as he is aware that she would not attempt such a movement in front of men.
It is also an indication that women in general should not attempt such extreme movement during dance presentation while men are allowed to do so. In fact this type of tandava forms a main dance item for the Mayurbhanj Chhau, Manipuri dance and some of the traditional martial art dances from Kerala and Tamilnadu.
Urdha tandava panelBrahma, Vishnu, Nandi and others in Urdha tandava panel Nandi is the vahana of Shiva - Parvati as seen in the Urdha tandava panel playing the mridangam – a drum. He is seen in zoomorphic form of having a human body with a bull’s face, one hand ready to strike the mridangam. He is also called as Nandikeswara – Nandi with the power of Eswara (Lord Shiva). Nandikeswara is also the name of the third century Indian author of the treatise Abhinayadarpana which deals in great detail, the shastra of abhinaya. Even till date, this is faithfully followed by all the classical Indian dancers for performing abhinaya.
Lord Brahma is seen sometimes with three faces (the front one hidden) either playing some musical instrument or seated on a lotus as a judge. Most of them have Goddess Saraswathi seated next to him, seated on a lotus playing the veena. Lord Vishnu is seen to be playing the cymbal or flute and supposed to maintain the tala of the dance duel. Ganapati is seen sometimes playing some musical instrument in the same panel.
Dancer between 2 yalis
Brahma playing the giniArdhanariswara It is said that the genesis of Ardhanariswara form of Lord Shiva and Parvati is the form of the Urdha tandavamurthi. At the end of the duel, Shiva and Parvati merge together to form Ardhanariswara. In this form, the right half is that of Shiva and the left half is that of Parvati. It declares that both are not separate but One. Shiva and Parvati do not exist separately but as one consciousness. Shiva is the purusha and Parvati is prakriti. While Shiva is the source, Parvati as Shakthi is the force for all action. Hence both Shiva and Parvati need to be present for all action, movement, vibration etc.
6 handed Shiva Nataraja in Chatura Tandavamurthi
Probably Sadashiva with 5 heads and 10 arms in dancing postureChatura Tandava There is an exclusive panel of Shiva tandava in the temple car of Villianur Shiva temple at Puducherry. In this panel, Shiva is showing not only his Ananda tandava and Urdha tandava but also his Chatura tandava. Shiva is seen as Sadashiva with five heads and ten arms in a classic chouka posture in Chatura Tandavamurthi. He is seen as eight handed Shiva in Urdha Tandavamurthi in the centre of the panel and four handed Ananda Tandavamurthi. Nandi is seen to play the mridangam, Saraswathi the veena, and Vishnu the gini (tiny cymbals).
Shiva in other dance forms Gajasura Samhara Murti In this image, Lord Shiva is seen to dance on the head of the elephant headed demon called Gajasura. He is supposed to have cut open the body of the elephant demon and danced on his head. He is with eight arms with four arms holding open the elephant’s stomach, one hand holding the damaru, another holding agni and his torso in extreme tribhanga with one leg bent up at the hip and bent at the knee and the other leg firmly placed on the head of the asura. Goddess Parvati is seen on the side holding a child.
Gajasura Samhara Murti
Shiva gana playing mridangam Shiva ganas The Shiva ganas and bhoota ganas are the devotees of Lord Shiva and hence are depicted in dance posture in the temple cars. In one image, a beautiful Shiva gana is seen seated with a mridangam on his lap, the right hand striking the drum and the left hand with a stick about to strike the other side. Some of the Shiva ganas are seen to play the drum, blow the trumpet, or play a stringed instrument. They are sometimes four handed.
Rare forms of Shiva In a rare panel presentation Lord Shiva is shown in six different dancing postures. In the first figure he is wearing the decorated mukuta and blowing a trumpet. The snake is around his neck. He is wearing a diamond necklace; the left hand is in posture, on his left is seated a Shiva gana with a knife and mace. Shiva is seated and the legs are bent, a lion cub at his right foot and a lady on the left foot.
The second figure shows the Lord with a sword and a shield in standing posture. He wears a mukuta decked with ornaments and appears to do a war dance, with the snake draped around him.
In the third figure, Lord Shiva is four handed, on a mythological animal (similar to makara) holding the snake and shield in the left hand and sword and animal’s mouth in the right hand. He is seen to squat firmly on the yali.
In the fourth figure, he is seen with a serene face, the snake around the neck, and two flying Vidyadharas on his two back hands, the two front hands relaxed on the sides. The Lord is seen resting on the right toes and left knee.
The fifth posture of Lord Shiva is similar to the Narasimha avatar of Lord Vishnu. He has a lion’s face with the sword and shield in the back hands and a knife in the right front hand and the left hand holding the snake.
In the last figure on the panel, Lord Shiva appears to do a dance with the mace in two hands. He is decorated with a mukuta, necklaces and decoration of beaded bridle around the waist and the upper thighs and a dagger firmly placed on the right thigh, the snake around the neck.
The entire panel of the six images of the Lord was done by the artist depicting many aspects of the Lord.
Nritta Ganapati
Nritta Ganapathi Being the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, Lord Ganesha is a master of dance. He is presented as dancing Ganesha and called as Nritta Ganapati or Nadana Ganesha or Aadum Pillayar in Tamil. In this form, he may have eight hands bearing the elephant goad, cakes, noose, an axe, tusk, a quoit called valaya and a ring. One hand in dancing pose, the legs are bent in Kunchita pose. Most of these figures are solitary and independent. In some rare forms, he is presented as ‘Pancha Mukha Nadana Ganapati.’ Here he has five faces and at the same time, is in dancing posture. Rarely is he present in the Urdha Tandava panel playing some musical instrument. In many of the dance presentations, Lord Ganesha is invoked by the Ganesha Vandana, some specific tandavas are performed called Ganesha Tandava.
Dance poses of Vishnu Balamurali Krishna: Lord Vishnu is seen in many dancing poses in this Krishna avatar. He is seen as Balamurali Krishna, playing the flute and enchanting the cows, gopis and the cowherd boys. Hence he is seen in beautiful tribhanga posture, standing and playing the murali (flute) while the calf, cows and others are surrounding him. As Muralidara, Lord Krishna is seen to play the murali under the Kadamba tree, drawing the gopis to him by his melodious music from his flute. In some panels, Krishna is seen along with Radha, both in dancing posture, while Krishna plays the flute.
Balamurali Krishna
Kalia damana Kaliadamana Lord Krishna is said to have jumped into the depths of river Yamuna to teach a lesson to Kalia, the great arrogant serpent king. He is seen to dance on the hood of the serpent Kalia, while holding the tail in the left hand. The right leg is firmly placed on the head of the serpent. The left leg is slightly bent, the body in classic tribhanga posture, the right hand in Abhaya hasta, blessing all those who seek his protection. Two Nagakanyas with folded hands are seen on his side, praying to the lord to spare the life of Kalia. Krishna destroys all the dark forces of ego represented by the black serpent Kalia and on surrender to him, he delivers and shows the path to the ‘Divine.’
Devotees dancing In many of these temple cars, the devotees are shown dancing, like a dancing sadhu with a beard holding a chouli in each hand .The chouli bearer and dwarapalas are also shown in classic tribhanga postures.
Male chouli bearer dancing

lady playing the lute Lute players Almost all temple cars have figures of lute players. They are usually ladies standing in tribhanga with one leg across the other, holding a stringed instrument and playing it with both the hands. It could be a tanpura or veena.
Saraswati playing veena

Ganga Devi on makara
Parvathi as Kali

Kali in her fierce dance Saraswathi, Ganga and Parvati Saraswathi is usually seen to be seated either on a raised platform or on a lotus. She is seen to play the tanpura or the veena. She is sometimes presented along with Brahma in the Urdhava tandava panel, otherwise independently. Her back hand may hold a lotus or in Abhaya hasta and a scroll. Ganga Devi is usually presented to be riding the mythological yali like figure called Makara. She is in tribhanga and playing the veena. She is usually decorated with necklaces around her waist and neck. Sometimes she is presented as descending, dancing finely on the locks of hair of Lord Shiva in his Gangadharamurthi avatar. In this independent panel, a Devi (mostly goddess Parvati) is seen in classic chouka posture with the hands joined together about to rise together. I have not included panels of ‘Dasavatar’ which is a very popular item of Odissi dance. Invariably the temple cars of Vishnu have a panel devoted to the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu – the Dasavatar panel. The stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas etc., are presented as dance items in all the Indian classical dances like Ashtanayaki, Sita Swayamvaram, Rama killing Ravana, Suryastaka, Asthasambhu to name only a few. These are also presented in the panels of the temple cars but will be out of scope of this short presentation.

Dr. Susil Pani is an eye doctor from the state of Orissa, now settled in the city of Puducherry. He comes from a very illustrious family, his father being late Dr. Raghunath Pani who was an educationist, writer, dramatist, composer, and musician – both Carnatic Veena and Hindustani vocal singer. Dr. Susil Pani has been interested in photography from his college days and has been taking pictures on a variety of subjects. His interests include: Indian classical dance forms, temple cars, temples, stage photography, nature, etc. He has already presented the following in solo photo exhibits: Indian classical and folk dances, spiritual significance of flowers, chariots of god: temple cars, general photography. He can be contacted at
Acknowledgement references: Stapati Guru Sri Rajamani and Mr. Bhuvansundaram: The Rathakaras Prof. Vijay Venugopal: French Institute of Pondicherry Prof. Raju Kali Doss: Temple cars of Tamilam Sangeeta Dash: Director Meera Dance Academy

I remain very critical of Aurobindo as a cultural theorist; some of the stuff I have written about on Hegel applies directly to Aurobindo

Daniel Gustav Anderson is presently a graduate student in Cultural Studies at George Mason University. His interests include critical theory, ecology, and European and South Asian traditions of dialectical thinking. He is the author of "Of Syntheses and Surprises: Toward a Critical Integral Theory" and "Such a Body We Must Create: New Theses on Integral Micropolitics", which have been published in Integral Review. Erik Scott Thornquist is a writer and independent researcher interested in applied linguistics, dramaturgy, chaos magick, and Buddhism. He lives and throws produce in Northern Idaho.
Nonviolence of Nonmetaphysics
An Interview with Daniel Gustav Anderson
This is a transcript of an interview Erik S. Thornquist conducted by email between 30 April and 26 May 2009. Integral World

How specifically did I become committed to integral theory? I was teaching English Literature surveys as a lecturer at the University of Idaho. My students were struck by some passages in Matthew Arnold that I had asked them to read, which reminded me of some materials I had been studying on my own in Aurobindo Ghose. I have long been an admirer of Aurobindo's poetic work, and had some notes on a paper regarding some problems in Aurobindo's poetry and also his theories of time and race. So I put all this together in a tidy package and submitted it on a lark to the Integral Review. The editors at that journal did a remarkable thing: they decided to publish it but more importantly they challenged me. I grumbled about it at the time but this was the best thing they could have done and I owe them an immense debt of gratitude for throwing this gauntlet down.

Take a step back: there are basically two tasks in any critical project, a negative one and a positive one (if you want to correlate these to the two interventions I propose in the micropolitics paper you may get some interesting results). I had done the negative task, which is to show how something is problematic. The positive task, of proposing something else, was left undone because I hadn't done that. The positive task is a commitment to something: not that, but this. Yes we can! It is an affirmation. If you affirm something to be true, you make a commitment to that truth claim. It is irresponsible to say the sky is green and then deny you ever said it when someone shows it to be black or blue or hazy gray. Later I was involved in organizing some conference panels on the subject. This is how I became committed to integral theory.

But it is a funny kind of commitment because it came on the heels of the negative, or strictly critical, task. I remain very critical of Aurobindo as a cultural theorist; some of the stuff I have written about on Hegel applies directly to Aurobindo and by extension Wilber, and yes, I did this intentionally. That aside, I was making positive claims for the value of something that I just showed to be unstable and problematic. This means, basically, that my job had to do with the revolutionizing or radicalization of integral theory, as pompous and ridiculous as that may sound.

I'm not a public or professional revolutionary; I am not a charismatic in the classical or Weberian sense. I have no business proclaiming myself as capable of bringing about the next stage in evolutionary paradigm-transformation or whatever, so I don't; it's a ridiculous gesture for anyone to make really. I am very uncomfortable with that kind of heroic self-fashioning, because it seems so dishonest, like false advertising. What does that mean, then, to put forward another way of doing integral theory? In part it means looking at how others have done it in the past and also to find people to collaborate with. I am a poor collaborator but I keep the invitation out in case someone might be interested.

Let me indulge in an analogy. Stanisaw Lem was a great science fiction writer. He made two observations on science fiction that are really appropriate to this situation in integral theory. The first is that it is wholly interesting, useful, productive because it gives a space in which to think the new. This is a utopian aspiration: science fiction at its best allows people to think big, to reflect on issues that are difficult to negotiate in the prosaica of constipated realist fiction or positivist philosophy, for instance. [...]

Re: Convergent evolution
Tony Clifton on Fri 05 Jun 2009 05:23 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

For instance the word "Life" calls forth specific meanings for us today however, the meanings we assign to Life now has changed over the centuries. Foucault tells us what we understand and define today as "Life", has its origins in the early late 18th early 19th century, when the science of biology was invented. Prior to the science of biology Life was explained as the opposite of Death.

After the advent of biology however, Life was assigned definite properties and became to be defined as "Organic" with its opposite taken to be whatever was "inorganic". Life then took on a different meaning that better lent itself to the new science of biology.

Similarly our understanding of phenomena like evolution (and especially evolutionary spirituality) is predicated on our situatedness in history and culture that correspond to an understanding of certain concepts given to us through language, whose meaning mutate over the course of history.

For example, Evelyn Fox Keller in her book Making Sense of Life (a most excellent history of biology in the 20th century) in speaking of current biological conceptions of life that some scientist wish to include within the category of life that include what is called artificial life, the self-organizing activity of cellular automata, computer simulations, robotics: [...]

Re: Postsecular Interrogations: AsiaSource Interview with Talal Asad Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
by Tony Clifton on Fri 05 Jun 2009 06:12 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

The idea of a subjective age is not something particular to Sri Aurobindo, but rather can be viewed as a concept that was very much part of the intellectual climate of the late 19th and early 20th. The belief in the emergence of a new consciousness from out of the subjective depths is fairly consistent with the work of many artist and philosophers of the era, so unless we wish to overly literalize our reading of Sri Aurobindo's text that will result in being constrained to some inevitable future we must take this into account when reading his formulation -albeit a unique one- of the Subjective Age.

Along with progress, the belief in the emergence of a new consciousness was one of the defining features of Modernism whose birth, Sri Aurobindo's own, follows on. The term Avante-Garde became the rallying cry of early modernist. Its initial meaning signifies an army marching on to create the new in the face of reactionary enemy fire. The mutation of a new form of poetic consciousness is also enunciated by Modernism, and this is something which Sri Aurobindo, a poet himself growing up in England must have also internalized.

An an example of the new consciousness which modernism sought Arthur Rimbaud in 1871 writes to his friend Paul Demeny: “The First Study of the man who wants to be a Poet is the knowledge of himself complete”. Although certainly his value system and method of enlightenment differed from Sri Aurobindo, Rimbaud also acknowledges the need to transcend the rational consciousness in achieving a new vision:

“A seer is made, not born, and must prepare himself for his vocation “by a long , gigantic and rational disorder of all his senses,. All forms of love, suffering, and madness he searches with himself” This is an “unspeakable torture when he needs all his faith, all his superhuman strength where he becomes all men; the great patient, the great criminal, the one accused -the supreme Scholar!”

Walt Whitman also elucidates the need for a poet to achieve a greater knowledge of himself and the world in his preface to Leaves of Grass where he writes the poet is a seer, he is complete in himself. On Stephen Mallame, Peter Gay writes in his study of Modernism, the key Modernist text explicit or implied”soul” “symbol” above all “consciousness” and :liberty” And they gave all modernists, poets naturally included, their assignment, They must strike through the mask of superficial celebration and mourning to reach the deep essence of their own soul. (Modernism Peter Gay 2008) Reply

Re: Postsecular Interrogations: AsiaSource Interview with Talal Asad Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
by Debashish on Fri 05 Jun 2009 07:12 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link

There seems to be a radical shift between early (mid 19th c) Modernism and the avant garde (late 19th c - 1950). Though French symbolism (Mallarme, Rimbaud, Baudelaire) are the forerunners in Poetry of this avant garde, and Sri Aurobindo seemed somewhat familiar with them, his own investment seems more in the earlier Modernism of Victor Hugo and Walt Whitman and the early Yeats of the Irish revolution. It is Eliot and Pound who are more properly the ones bringing the French Symbolist paradigm into the English language and they seem to have been somewhat after Sri Aurobindo's time in England.

Still, as you say, it is true that the idea of a Subjective Age is already being announced by Whitman, Hugo, Yeats, and in India, Tagore (who is Sri Aurobindo's senior by a decade). With these poets and ideologues however, it is more of a "dawn," all aspiration and little material engagement. Industrialism and Colonialism are realities but the major cultural revolutions are not yet in place critiquing the Material grounds of Modernity. This more hard edged sense of Modernism as "the battle" with an avant garde changes the tenor of culture in the early to mid 20th c.

Sri Aurobindo is on the margins of this movement. He has interesting things to say about Mallarme and Baudelaire and, according to Nirodbaran, was preparing to add a chapter to the Future Poetry dealing with this phase, but it remained an unfinished project. Interestingly though, the intensity of his call for a Subjective Age was more clearly articulated by the avant garde, particularly in German Modernism of the 1920-1935 (pre WWII) phase. DB Reply

Re: Poetry Time: 6 June 2009 Mirror of Tomorrow A Quick Selection from Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali
Milind on Sat 06 Jun 2009 06:52 AM IST Permanent Link

Ezra Pound's appreciation in 1912.. There is in him the stillness of nature. The poems do not seem to have been produced by storm or by ignition, but seem to show the normal habit of his mind. He is at one with nature, and finds no contradictions. And this is in sharp contrast with the Western mode, where man must be shown attempting to master nature if we are to have "great drama." (Ezra Pound in Fortnightly Review, 1 March 1913) Reply

Friday, June 05, 2009

The "craft" of writing

(title unknown) from enowning by enowning
Thinking is Craftwork, at Harvard.

It was a startling reminder that thesis-writing was an act of material as well metaphorical distillation. I had built a thesis out of books and notes and drafts, no differently than I had built a desk out of boards and pegs and paint over the previous summer. Martin Heidegger once wrote “Denken ist Handwerk”—thinking is craftwork. This observation, simple and revolutionary, contains within it the assertion that thinkers and intellectuals are bound into the same matrices of morality and creativity that control all humans who build things—that is, everyone.

Reading Resides in the Voice and in the Hands from Fido the Yak by Fido the Yak

Dermot Moran, commenting on Merleau-Ponty (blogged about at However Fallible and Perverse Egalitarianism), argues that seeing is tactile, that even when our gaze moves from one thing to another, "we do not drop into the invisible." After a thing drops from visual focus there remains a background of the visible, analogous to a tactile background that remains after something has been touched. Moran then presents what appears to be an exceptional case. "Reading is a kind of seeing that has transcended the seeing of the letters and marks on the page and resides in the pure incorporeality of the meanings," he says. I, having expressed the view here that reading is coporeal, will offer a few words to elaborate my sense of reading and then, hopefully, further a critical appreciation of reading. [...]

The case of reading does not appear to a simple matter of transcendence into pure incorporeality. As in the past, I ask that you attend to your own experiences of reading as you think about the issue. As much as the eyes, reading resides in the voice and in the hands. 12:13 PM

Ape Gestures and Language Evolution from Fido the Yak by Fido the Yak
Ape Gestures and Language Evolution, by Amy Pollick and Frans B. M. de Waal.

More families singing, dancing, playing music at home together

Home About Us About Music Together Our Mission and Philosophy Our History Research and Development

Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music program for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and the adults who love them. First offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement.

Music Together classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning.

On today’s pop music and “alienation” from The Daily Goose by Matthew
More families singing, dancing, playing music at home together is one of many obvious solutions.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

It is possible only when the mind falls silent. Savitri demands that throughout

Savitri: the Light of the Supreme Across the Path of the divine Event RY Deshpande
Sri Aurobindo was a master of English literature in its several branches and had taught poetry; he also showed the possibilities that are open to it, rather the direction in which it should move in future. No wonder with this vast professional background Tennyson’s phrase "divine event" should come to him with perfect naturalness when it is going to serve a definite purpose in developing his own composition. But in the alchemic process of spirituality the very phrase undergoes a most wonderful transformation.

The line “Across the path of the divine Event” is definitely coming from a “far-off” place, from a blue sky far high above our imagination and thought and feeling and perception; it is coming from some Overhead plane with its own sense of powerful rhythm and substance and wideness of vision. The best way to, so to say, understand the nature of the “divine Event” is therefore to rise to that overhead height. It is possible only when the mind falls silent. Savitri demands that throughout. It is in some omniscient hush only that its contents get revealed.

The huge foreboding mind of Night RY Deshpande
The purport of the yogic Savitri is well set right at the beginning in this crucial phrase the “mind of Night”. It is a difficulty lying across the path of the divine Event, the divine creation that will go and on for eternity, the luminous and ever-progressive possibilities of the Spirit manifesting in this mysterious evolutionary world. The focus is defined in these first two lines and the Yogi-Poet sets himself to work out the details in their thousandfold ramifications in the following 23 835 lines of the epic.

That also shows the great skill Sri Aurobindo as a poetic artist displays in formulating his vast and amazing composition. This is simply astounding, something incredible, beyond belief, inconceivable, something beyond the reach of mind. Yogic Savitri is all like that. How did he do it? But who can answer it?