“In Matter Shall be Lit the Spirit’s Glow” – Prof. Mangesh V. Nadkarni

There is a school of thought that holds that spirituality is the master key of the Indian mind, and that India can best develop herself and serve humanity by drawing on her unparalleled spiritual legacy. This, I must admit, is not a point of view that finds favour with a large section of the opinion makers in the country. For them, spirituality is either religiosity of some sort, or else some kind of vague mystical predilection. According to many liberal thinkers, spirituality is a regressive state of mind because it turns its face away from the world and its challenges. Therefore they regard it as a dead weight around the neck of the country and believe that the sooner we get rid of this lumber, this dead wood of the past, the easier it will be for us to build a modern and progressive India.

I think that this negative attitude towards spirituality can be attributed to a number of reasons, of which the following are the most salient: first, this attitude is partly a hangover of the materialistic age which came to an end quite some time ago in the West but is still lingering among the intelligentsia of this country; second, there is a certain kind of spirituality which at one time did diminish and enervate the country; and third, those of us who champion the cause of spirituality have not been able to explain adequately in what ways spirituality can be a very potent resource, in fact, more potent than any other, for making our lives here on earth more fulfilling.

This paper is an attempt to look at this entire question of spirituality so that we can determine what about spirituality needs to be discarded and what deserves to be preserved and strengthened.

In his last address to his countrymen Sri Aurobindo cautioned them not to throw away their spiritual heritage in these words:
“It would be a tragic irony of fate if India were to throw away her spiritual heritage at the very moment when in the rest of the world there is more and more a turning towards her for spiritual help and a saving Light.”1

Spirituality is indeed the master key of the Indian mind. But this does not mean that India has been alive to the spirit but dead to the greatness of material life on earth. India has traditionally held that life cannot be fully understood or lived until we understand the right relation between the physical and the supra-physical. Man cannot understand the complexity of the universe with his superficial sight; there are greater powers beyond him and within him of which he is aware of only a small part, yet they give him the capacity to exceed himself. There are ranges of life beyond our present life, ranges of mind beyond our present mind, and above, there are splendours of the spirit. By training his will and knowledge man can conquer these ranges of mind and attain these splendours of God, and transform himself and life on earth. Ancient India set forth to find out the way to this spiritual perfection with a logical practicality, scientific sense and organised method which distinguished her mentality among ancient civilisations. This yearning to grapple with the infinite and possess it has characterised India and left its mark on her idealism, her character, her culture her art and philosophy and life.

But this is not all that ancient India was concerned with. Along with spirituality, the second hallmark of the ancient Indian civilisation was her stupendous vitality, her inexhaustible power and joy of life, her prolific creativeness. As Sri Aurobindo has observed: “For three thousand years at least—it is indeed much longer,—she has been creating abundantly and incessantly, lavishly, with an inexhaustible many-sidedness, republics and kingdoms and empires, philosophies and cosmogonies and sciences and creeds and arts and poems and all kinds of monuments, palaces and temples and public works, communities and societies and religious orders, laws and codes and rituals, physical sciences, psychic sciences, systems of Yoga, systems of politics and administration, arts spiritual, arts worldly, trades, industries, fine crafts,—the list is endless and in each item there is almost a plethora of activity. … She expands too outside her borders; her ships cross the ocean and the fine superfluity of her wealth brims over to Judaea and Egypt and Rome; her colonies spread her arts and epics and creeds in the Archipelago; her traces are found in the sands of Mesopotamia; her religions conquer China and Japan and spread westward as far as Palestine and Alexandria, and the figures of the Upanishads and the sayings of the Buddhists are re-echoed on the lips of Christ. Everywhere, as on her soil, so in her works there is the teeming of a superabundant energy of life.”2

Along with an ingrained spirituality and an inexhaustible vital creativity, there was a third power as Sri Aurobindo pointed out, namely, a strong intellectuality, at once austere and rich, robust and minute, powerful and delicate, massive in principle and curious in detail. India has pre-eminently been the land of dharma and shastra. She has searched tirelessly for inner truth and the law of each human and cosmic activity. There is no historical parallel for such an intellectual labour and activity.

If spirituality enabled India to build such an opulent material civilisation at one time, why is it then that so many people today distrust spirituality and are not willing to see it as a resource for rebuilding this country? This must be due to a basic misunderstanding about spirituality. But it seems to me that this misunderstanding itself has arisen because for the last 1,000 years and more what was regarded as spirituality acted as a strongly regressive force. This has lent credence to the belief that spirituality was responsible for the eventual downfall and stagnation of the country. While some may concede that spirituality was the greatest resource on which ancient India built its magnificent civilisation, an exaggerated negative aspect of India’s spirituality indeed seems to nave been one of the major causes of the decline and fall of this great civilisation. The modern critic therefore is not entirely wrong in ascribing the backwardness of this country to the role that spirituality has played in her history.

In the days of her glory the light of an integral spiritual ideal illumined every activity of her life. Then she began to drift off into a state of decadence as her consciousness began to be blinded by the glaring light of a mere ethical idealism. Indeed nothing precipitated the decline of the country so much as her acceptance of the anti-pragmatic ideal of monasticism and other-worldliness, which came with the advent of Buddhism. Ancient Indian culture in the Vedic times seems to have struck a balance between the life of external power and enjoyment and the life of the soul which lives in God. Buddhism disturbed this balance by exaggerating the emphasis on quiescence and the quiescent virtues of self-abnegation. It also set up a sharp distinction between monks and laymen, implying the definite inferiority of the latter. It also made the admission of men to the higher life all too facile, while it relegated worldly action to the lowest importance possible. “As a result, under its influence,” Sri Aurobindo said, “half the nation moved in the direction of spiritual passivity and negation, the other by a natural reaction plunged deep into a splendid but enervating materialism. Our race lost three parts of its ancient heroic manhood, its grasp on the world, its magnificently ordered polity and its noble social fabric.”3

A millennium and a half later Shankara succeeded in overthrowing the dominance of Buddhism as an institutional religion from the land of its birth. He must have had a vision of the true spirit of India and there can be no doubt about the deep spiritual character and fervour of his teachings. But in his effort to rehabilitate the Brahmavada of the Upanishads (what he considered to be the ancient monastic cult), he stressed the evanescence of life to a greater extent than even Buddhism did. This may have been effective in counteracting Buddhism but it failed to revive in the country its real creative soul. He was not able to discover that harmony between spirit and life by which alone the problem of India, nay, all human problems can be solved.4

The Buddha discovered a way of escaping from mental constructions, the constructions of mind in which are rooted the sufferings of mankind. But in this he overshot the mark by emphasising exclusively a transcendent realisation; Shankara continued to stress the evanescence of life and did not restore the balance upset by Buddhism by reviving the ancient integral spiritual ideal which grapples with the world in order to build in it a prosperous material world on a spiritual foundation. The Gita came between the Buddha and Shankara with a teaching opposed to that of both, but its teaching too came under the shadow of the great negation.

This lofty illusionism of Buddha and Shankara deprecated life as an unreality or a relative phenomenon, in the end not worth living. It placed an exclusive emphasis on the eternal and the imperishable and looked upon the phenomenal world as somehow of inferior value. Complete withdrawal from life came to be regarded as the means to the elevation of the spirit. Thus India was never able to shake off the deep impress of Buddhism5, Mayavada and other paths of escape from life; and though the country has managed to survive, it has not succeeded in recovering its old vitalising force. As Sri Aurobindo put it:
“… all voices are joined in one great consensus that not in this world of dualities can there be our kingdom of heaven, but beyond, whether in the joys of the eternal Vrindavan or the high beatitude of Brahmaloka, beyond all… in the featureless unity of the indefinable Existence. And through many centuries a great army of shining witnesses, saints and teachers, names sacred to Indian memory and dominant in Indian imagination, have borne always the same witness and swelled always the same lofty and distant appeal,—renunciation the sole path of knowledge, acceptation of physical life the act of the ignorant, cessation from birth the right use of human birth, the call of the Spirit, the recoil from Matter.”6

In India, the philosophy of world-negation was given formulations of supreme power and value by two of its greatest thinkers, Buddha and Shankara. There have also been, either in between these or later in time, other philosophies of considerable importance and formulated with much acumen of thought by men of genius and spiritual insight. Some of these were widely accepted. Some of these later formulations disputed with more or less force and success the conclusions of the metaphysical systems of Buddha and Shankara. But none has been put forward with an equal force of presentation or drive of personality or had a similar massive effect. Shankara in the historical process completes and replaces Buddha. These two philosophies have weighed with a tremendous power on India’s thought, religion and general character. The mighty shadow of these philosophies still broods everywhere.

I will give you a small example of how deeply ingrained this negative attitude towards life has become in India. An Indian singer who has been endowed with a prodigious talent and who has given great happiness to our people for many years now was asked by a journalist what her greatest wish was. She replied, “Not to be born again.”

In its long history of many millennia, two spiritual ideals seem to have appealed most to the Indian mind— the ideal of the rishi, best represented by Vyasa in the early phase of our history and by Sri Aurobindo in our own age, and the other, the ideal of the monk, represented by Buddha in the distant past and by other illustrious names sacred to our memory since then. The crucial difference between the two ideals can be characterised as follows.

The rishi aims at the liberation and perfection of the whole being of man; he aims not only at the liberation of the soul but also at the perfection of the instruments of the soul, namely, the physical, vital and mental beings of man. Furthermore, he aims at achieving this perfection here on earth. The monk, on the other hand, seeks primarily the liberation of his soul from its bondage to ignorance but refuses to acknowledge the claims of the instruments of the soul to perfection. The rishi accepts the claim of the Spirit and he also accepts the claim of matter because he believes that the Spirit is here to manifest itself in Matter in increasing degrees, and this leads him to the joyous acceptance of the world and of life. The monk, on the other hand, is so enamoured of the spirit that he refuses to accept matter, and this leads him to negate this world and life.

Thus the world-negating, nirvana-oriented spirituality has been one important influence in the decline and decadence of the Indian civilisation. This is not the paradigm of spirituality by which we can live any more. We need the other, world-affirming and dynamic paradigm of spirituality that dares to seek both the fulfilment of man in God and the perfection of life on this earth. This is the paradigm of spirituality most fully articulated in our times by Sri Aurobindo. And it is this life-affirming spirituality India needs most desperately today.

Of course, there is the paradigm of materialism, which has cast its spell on many of our liberal thinkers. We do not have the time here to evaluate this paradigm in any detail. Suffice it to say that in spite of its spectacular success in the West, a widespread weariness, a malaise has affected a significant minority of people there and they thirst after a more spiritual concept of happiness. This minority is now realising that one cannot get happiness by acquiring an abundance of finite things, no matter how rare and valuable these are. The Western value system itself is coming under scrutiny and is being found wanting. It is being seen more clearly that what it calls enlightened self-interest is often no more than selfishness glorified as the enhancement of the self. There is thus a growing dissatisfaction with the ability of the Western value system to govern individual lives. It has come under serious criticism at the hands of thinkers like Aldous Huxley, Arthur Koestler and Konrad Lorenz as the cause of many of the crises that humanity is facing today.

Until recently there was another aspect of the Western civilisation which the world was trying to emulate—the building of a Utopian society. In recent years, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the enthusiasm to imitate the West, however, seems to have diminished a great deal. The West has fervently tried for more than 200 years to bring happiness to man and society at large by transforming the outer world. Since the time of the French Revolution it has been trying to build a Utopia through social reform and revolution. Political systems have become a new branch of ethics and revolution has often been seen as the mode of establishing a Utopia by building a new political, economic and social system from top to bottom. The authors of a revolution have a model society in their mind, and since they think it is perfect, they feel they have the right to impose it on others and, if they meet with any dissent, to eliminate the dissenters. From Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution to Mao’s Chinese Revolution to Pol Pot in Cambodia, we have the story of grotesque and deadly excesses and failure. All the great Utopian dreams have failed to materialise. Outer social reform was supposed to replace the inner ethical reform but this effort has led to disaster. So once again the West is facing a vacuum even in the field in which it was thought to be the leader of the world, and even here it has started wondering if spirituality has anything to offer to it. Not only has the enlightenment of the 18th century but also the communism of Marx and Lenin have proved to be a god that failed.

I have argued that there is a spirituality that can harm and also a spirituality which can be a most potent resource for building the country. I have also suggested that the materialist way of bringing happiness to the individual and perfection to society has been proved ineffectual by recent history. I would now like to suggest that spirituality deserves a fresh look. In order to be able to do this, it is necessary for us to discard our prejudices against spirituality and try to understand what it really means and what its potential is. It is also necessary to distinguish spirituality from religion and morality with which it is often mistaken in popular discourse.

Let us begin with religion. What is religion? Religion is a formal, institutional system whose ultimate aim is to lead us to an experience of our true self and oneness with the divine. We normally live in our ignorant surface mind, chained to the ego and its self-centred desires and separated from our true self. Contact with our true self would bring us the awareness of our oneness with the divine and with all our fellow beings. But the religious life is still a movement of the same ignorant consciousness in which we normally live and it is governed by the dogmatic tenets and rules of some creed. What characterises true spiritual life is a change of consciousness out of the ignorance of a separate, selfish being into a consciousness of oneness with the divine. The religious life may be a first approach to the spiritual life but often it is no more than a turning about in a round of rites, rituals ands set ideas dominated by ignorance.

Morality is the attempt to guide our conduct by certain mental principles such as non-violence, altruism or humanitarianism. Morality deals with the regulation of man’s mind and vital life. A strict adherence to morality may prepare one for a spiritual life, but morality is not spirituality. Morality serves as a moral stop-gap which men are obliged to use until they can see things in the light of the spirit. The human ego with its baggage of sattwa, rajas and tamas is still the prism through which the light of truth is filtered in the moral realm.

What then is spirituality? It is certainly not any of the several things with which it is often wrongly identified, namely, possessing a high intellectuality, or being very idealistic, or being guided by very high ethical principles and leading a very austere life. Nor is an ardent mental belief and devotion in the heart spiritual in itself. These are, of course, all noble and good things of considerable value to the mind and to life, and they can be an excellent preparation for spirituality.

Spirituality is an awakening to the inner reality and the presence of the soul in us which is other than our mind, life and body. Sri Aurobindo describes this inner presence in us in these words:

This bodily appearance is not all;
The form deceives, the person is a mask;
Hid deep in man celestial powers can dwell.
His fragile ship conveys through the sea of years
An incognito of the Imperishable.
A spirit that is a flame of God abides,
A fiery portion of the Wonderful,
Artist of his own beauty and delight,
Immortal in our mortal poverty.7

He describes the inner spirit or soul in us as ‘an incognito of the Imperishable’. There is a presence in us, which travels in the ship of our body through the sea of time ‘incognito’—with its identity concealed under a disguise. Who is this imperishable that thus travels in us incognito? This is ‘the immortal, eternal and imperishable spirit’—a flame of God. Spirituality is an awakening to the presence of this spirit in us, this flame of God. Furthermore, it is a conscious attempt to know, to feel and to be in union with this greater reality, which not only inhabits our being but also pervades the entire universe and even transcends it. And finally, if the spirituality is dynamic, it uses the power of this unity to bring about a gradual transformation of our entire nature, our whole being.

This then is spirituality—the attempt to know and live in the highest self, the divine, all-embracing unity and to raise life in all its parts to the perfect values of our highest self.

Many of our rationalist friends may find this notion of an invisible soul, or spirit, or flame of God totally unacceptable since they regard as real only that which can be counted, weighed or somehow measured. This is an old debate which I don’t propose to get involved in here. I shall only say that those who deny the reality of all ‘invisibles’ and confine their attention solely to that which is measurable live in a poor world, so poor that they will eventually experience it as a meaningless wasteland unfit for human habitation. If we take this philosophic position to its logical conclusion, we will have to conclude that this creation is nothing but an accidental collocation of atoms, and then we will have to agree with Bertrand Russell that the only rational attitude to life is one of ‘unyielding despair’.

My primary purpose in this paper is not to prove the truth of the philosophic position of the spiritualist but to suggest that spirituality, if understood correctly, does not dampen our effort to make our earthly existence rich, fulfilling and perfect. In fact, I wish to contend that it is the greatest incentive we have available for making our life on earth rewarding and perfect.

A corollary to the primacy of the spirit in us is the purpose of this creation. Sri Aurobindo has given us a radically new perspective on the question why we are here on earth. This question has been answered differently by different philosophies. Buddhism does not believe in the existence of a soul and it does not hold that life has any meaning or purpose. Its main concern is to teach us how to do away with desires and dissolve the constituent elements of the fictitious ego-self. The aim of it all is to attain nirvana. Christianity regards life as a long preparation for the kingdom of God, and counsels its adherents to prepare themselves for the “treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through or steal”. Life in this world should be spent in piety and charity, the rewards of which will await us in heaven. The ascetic schools of Vedanta regard this life as a snare from which we should escape into the state of Brahman. They do not raise the question why the soul comes down at all and gets enmeshed in life if its only aim is to run away from it. For the Vaishnava, the world is a lila of the all-beautiful and the all-beloved, but a lila that is mysterious and without any definite meaning or purpose. On the whole the aim of the spiritual enterprise, according to all these philosophic approaches, is to withdraw from this world in order to enjoy an unbroken continuity of inner union with the divine.

Sri Aurobindo does not dodge or evade this question of life’s purpose. According to him the soul is here to manifest the divine in one of ‘his’ innumerable individual aspects. The world is not an illusion, nor is it an amorphous flux of chaotic possibilities; it is a progressive self-manifestation of the one omnipresent reality. The presence of the individual soul in the world is a definite proof of the presence of the divine here and of ‘his’ will for an eventual perfection in self-manifestation. In Savitri Sri Aurobindo explains to us the meaning of this great mysterious world—to make this world a vessel of Spirit’s force, to fashion in clay God’s perfect shape. The supreme divine has manifested as this world so that ‘he’ can realise here through matter all its infinite splendours.

To be guided by the spiritual ideal of Sri Aurobindo is the very opposite of regarding this life as a temporal vanity. His life-affirming spirituality does not oblige us to become monastic ascetics since it aims at perfection of life on earth.

This perfection is a rich and diverse out-flowering of life’s capacities and individual potentialities. True spirituality is not religion, is not the moulding of individual beings or the whole type of national being to suit the limited dogmas, forms or tenets of a particular religion. Such was and is the tendency of certain theocratic societies; clearly such an attempt would not only be undesirable but also impossible in India—a country full of the most diverse religious opinions and harbouring three distinct religions, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. In fact, spirituality is the only way of coping with a plurality of religions.

It is also a mistake to assume that spirituality obliges us to exclude worldly pursuits from our scope. We would be entirely free to pursue any of the great aims of life and tackle any of the great problems of the modern world. No desire for development, expansion, power, vigour, joy, light and perfection will remain unpursued. Spirituality does not belittle the mind, life or body. It gives them the greatest importance because they are the instruments of the manifestation of the spirit in this world. The hallmark of the ancient Indian civilisation was that it gave as much value to the soundness, growth and strength of the mind, life and body as the old Hellenic view or modern scientific thought, although for a different reason and motive. It gave free play to everything that serves the healthy fullness of life—the activity of reason, science and philosophy, the satisfaction of the aesthetic being through the many arts (great and small), the health and strength of the body, the material well-being, ease and opulence of the race.

And yet there is a great difference between the spiritual view and the purely material and mental view of existence. According to the material and mental view, the mind, life and body of man need growth and satisfaction because that is the aim of life. The spiritual view regards them as the means or instruments of his outer self and not as his whole being. There are other instruments of man’s being of which he normally remains unaware, for example, the instruments of his inner being, the subliminal mental, vital and physical. If these instruments also begin to function in him, he will be able to see the world as it really is, and not as a mere finite reality. The spiritual view makes him aware of the infinite behind all things finite and permits him to adjudge the value of the finite by higher infinite values. He then sees that all things here are an imperfect translation of these eternal values towards a true expression of which they are always trying to approximate. The spiritual view sees a greater reality than the apparent one not only behind man and the world but also within man and the world. It considers the soul, the self, the divine being in man as of the highest importance and holds that everything else in him must try to bring out his soul and express it; and it is this divine presence that man has to try to see through all appearances, and through it to find unity with his fellowmen. This self-awareness or soul-awareness then changes our whole normal view of things; even in pursuing all the aims of human life, it gives them a different sense and direction.

Consider for example the culture of the body. The materialist would say that the body has to be kept healthy, strong and efficient so that we can have a long life and a sound basis for our intellectual, emotional and physical satisfactions. The spiritualist would go beyond this. He would like the body not to be just an instrument for the enjoyment of life but a conscious instrument of the spirit. The physical is an expression of the spirit and its perfection should be a part of our agenda for complete human living. The body forms the basis for all our higher activity, which ends in the discovery and expression of the Divine in us. Even practically, if the body becomes a conscious instrument, the results of physical culture will be fuller, speedier and more perfect. Man can become healthy, strong and efficient with some kind of permanence only when he has contact with the consciousness of his inner self or with the universal consciousness beyond the limits of his ego. So the spiritualist’s programme for physical culture is much more comprehensive than the materialist’s and his rewards are also richer.

The same holds true for developing the mental, emotional and aesthetic parts of our being. In the mental view of life we need the full play of these parts so that they feel joy, satisfaction and fulfilment. But the spiritual view goes beyond this; it regards all these parts not as ends in themselves but as instruments and expressions of the spirit. They too must be encouraged to seek in the spirit for their diviner values; their growth, in subtlety, flexibility, intensity, power and comprehension will not merely be for self-enjoyment but for the fulfilment of god in themselves and the world. This pursuit will bring man closer to the divine reality in himself and the world, and tune his whole life to communion and unity with it.

The same law holds good in the domain of art. The aesthetic being of man must slowly rise towards its diviner possibilities. Its highest aim is to find the divine through beauty. The highest art is that which through its use of significant forms unseals the doors of the spirit. But in order to be able to reach this goal art must first try to see and depict man and Nature for their own characteristic truth and beauty. It is through this effort that the beauty of man and nature and life will gradually be revealed though art. Art should be subservient neither to religion nor to ethics nor utility nor scientific truth nor philosophic ideas. Art may make use of these but must follow its own swadharma.

Thus the spiritual aim will seek to fulfil itself in a fullness of life beyond the highest dreams of the mental and materialist view of man. The life governed by the spiritual ideal will not be in any sense poorer than the life we live now. In fact, as I have tried to show, the scope for our growth, enjoyment and fulfilment will be infinitely greater. And yet the mental man seems to have some undefined fear of the divine. Even if he is a believer in god, he would like to keep him at a certain distance from himself, and not too close. He would have the divine become human rather than the human become divine. In one of his letters Sri Aurobindo has addressed this issue and gives the reasons for our fear of the divine:

“Behind this fear there are usually two causes: first, there is the feeling of the vital that it will have to cease to be obscure, crude, muddy, egoistic, unrefined (spiritually), full of stimulating desires and small pleasures and interesting sufferings (for it shrinks even from the Ananda which will replace this); next there is some vague ignorant idea of the mind, due, I suppose, to the ascetic tradition, that the divine nature is something cold, bare, empty, austere, aloof, without the glorious riches of the egoistic human vital life. As if there were not a divine vital and as if that divine vital is not itself and, when it gets the means to manifest, will not make the life on earth also infinitely more full of beauty, love, radiance, warmth, fire, intensity and divine passion and capacity for bliss than the present impotent, suffering, pettily and transiently excited and soon tired vitality of the still so imperfect human creation.”8

I began this essay by pointing out that we have not adequately explained how spirituality can be a potent force for making our lives here on earth better and more fulfilling. What is perceived as spirituality is often a regressive force because it can be life-negating. I have shown here that there is a positive and life-affirming and life-transforming spirituality as well. Sri Aurobindo has brought this spirituality to us. His way of life and his method of spiritual practice are positive, not negative, life-affirming, not life-denying. His positive spirituality is the hope of man and the key to a divine life on earth. His vision is a golden bridge to our glorious future.

Notes
1. Sri Aurobindo: A Message to Andhra University (SABCL Vol. 26), p. 412.
2. Sri Aurobindo: The Renaissance in India (SABCL Vol. 14), pp. 401-02.
3. Sri Aurobindo: Notes on the Mahabharata (SABCL Vol. 3), p. 173.
4. Sisir Kumar Mitra: The Vision of India, Culture Publishers, Calcutta, p. 99.
5. It should be noted that this was only one side of Sri Aurobindo’s critique of Buddhism and its impact on life in India. In another context he said, “Buddhism was not solely a cloudy sublimation of Nirvana, nothingness, extinction and the tyrannous futility of Karma; it gave us a great and powerful discipline for the life of man on earth. The enormous positive effect it had on society and ethics and the creative impulse it imparted to art and though and in a less degree to literature, are a sufficient proof of the strong vitality of its method.” (Sri Aurobindo: The Foundations of Indian Culture (SABCL Vol. 14), pp. 179-80).
6. Sri Aurobindo: The Life Divine (SABCL Vol. 18), p. 23.
7. Sri Aurobindo: Savitri (SABCL, Vol. 28), p. 23.
8. Sri Aurobindo: Letters on Yoga (SABCL Vol. 22), pp. 89-90.


It is an edited transcript of a talk delivered as a Centenary Tribute to Sri Surendranath Jauhar, at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Delhi Branch, New Delhi, on 19 October 2003.

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