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Re: orientalisation

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  • venkateshwara_reddy
    Dear Tom, (1) Has these constraints, like depravity and corruption of original religion, operated on sufi mystics? (2) Balu noted that Sufism in India has
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 10, 2005
      Dear Tom,

      (1) Has these constraints, like depravity and corruption of original
      religion, operated on sufi mystics?

      (2) Balu noted that Sufism in India has become more like Bhakti; given
      the preceeding, how have sufis operated within the ambit of religion?

      (3) Are there any similarities and contrasts between Sufi mystics and
      Christian ones?

      --- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, "tdekeukelaere"
      <tom.dekeukelaere@b...> wrote:
      > Satya asked what was oriental about the research project
      > Dear Satya,
      > In a sense, Balu's research project is interesting to Westerners
      > because it teaches things which are absent from the Western
      > tradition, as it also teaches why they are. In the Western tradition,
      > there is no knowledge about enlightenment. There are Christian
      > mystics but they operated within certain fixed boundaries. A few days
      > ago, there was a discussion on this topic with a Western advaitin. He
      > spoke the rather pagan language that said that all 'religions' taught
      > a way to God etc... He also said that what the Christian mystics are
      > doing was the same as what buddha or sankhara were pointing to. We
      > disputed this point. It was said that there are certain religious
      > attitudes deeply ingrained in the mystic that formed the *basis* of
      > his mystical practice and as such guided and limited the practice of
      > the mystic. There was the basically religious *attitude* that made
      > for the interpretation of the experiences, thus constraining them in
      > a Christian straight-jacket. For example, it was said that erotic
      > experiences could also form a legitimate way to knowledge about
      > oneself. Jakob's point was that in a Christian story, these
      > experiences have to be seen as instances of human corruption or
      > depravity, as Sins, the devil's instrument. And once you see them in
      > that way, the gate to selfknowledge by these experiences is closed.
      > So the point was that Christian mystical experience was not human
      > spiritual experience. Balu calls mystical experience something like a
      > handicapped version a *human* spirituality. For example, Christian
      > mystics have never taught their insights, no traditions were founded
      > etc... The point is, the research project can show us that there IS
      > such a thing as human spirituality and why there is no tradition of
      > spirituality in the West. So for Westerner's it provides new ways of
      > thinking about themselves and their tradition, new possibilities. It
      > also shows where a lot of such knowledge IS cultivated, i.e. in Indic
      > traditions; how not to understand them, i.e. in a religious way etc
      > etc.
      > I can tell another story. When I was in Delhi we were talking about
      > how India was different, how people acted differently. There was a
      > couple there, a Belgian girl and a Bengali boy. The girl said how her
      > boyfriend found it odd when she always insisted on thanking him,
      > saying thank you whenever he helped her out. He said he was just
      > doing what he thought was his to do, whereas her thanking him made
      > him feel as thought she experienced a debt towards him that needed to
      > be flattened out. The thank you created a sort of moral asymmetry he
      > was annoyed with sometimes. Now the thing about this example is that
      > you can say "These are cultural differences" and leave it at that,
      > but what is interesting about them is that for Westerners, the
      > reaction of the Indian people often teaches something about the
      > action that was being performed. In fact, thanking people all the
      > time DOES create a moral assymmetry; it is as if one wanted to come
      > out on top all the time. For a Westerner to have this insight about
      > one's culture he needs to learn about other cultures (or read
      > Nietzsche, for example). So, in a sense, learning about another
      > culture teaches you about your own...
      > Regards,
      > Tom
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