The Need to Translate Sri Aurobindo and the Mother into Arabic
Early in the 20th Century, in India, Sri Aurobindo had major experiences that crystallized in a new vision for humanity; at about the same time, the Mother, then living in Paris, had the same vision. They both foresaw, unknown to each other, the dawn of a new consciousness of Oneness unifying humans with the entire existence, and changing them into nobler and higher beings, endowed with more knowledge and self-mastery, and thus gradually transforming earthly life into a “Life Divine”[i].
Today, early in the 21st Century, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are considered by thousands all over the world to be among the greatest spiritual figures of modern times. We find the number of those deriving guidance from their teachings rising steadily, their works being translated into most of the major world languages; books, dissertations, radio stations, songs and videos being dedicated to them. We also find that several communities around the globe, most notably the international city of Auroville in South India, have been modeled on their vision and teachings[ii]. For all these reasons and many more, the translator finds it is time Sri Aurobindo and the Mother should enter the sphere of awareness of the Arabic reader.
We can witness today a new consciousness of Oneness penetrating, at an ever- accelerating pace, the entire globe. The signs of unification are unmistakable: in politics and trade, in technology and science, on the web and other media, in culture and sports, and even in fashion and entertainment. Unexpected ways of living and modes of interaction are dramatically improving the quality of life in many countries of the world. The spreading of this consciousness has become for many the only hope for saving a world besieged by war, environmental degradation, social inequality, famine, fundamentalism and radicalism.
A most efficient antidote for fundamentalism, oppression and violence can be found in Indian thought which has given humanity over millennia the most sublime notions of All-unity and the most vivid examples of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Seeing the Divine everywhere and in all beings, Indian thought has always called for reverence, compassion and gentleness, not only toward other human beings, but toward all forms of animate and inanimate life. The Divine is worshipped in India, not only as the omnipotent Creator, but also as the Mother of the Universe, who not only cares for the smallest of her creations, but also feels them as intimate parts of her own being. In this worldview, violence against humans, animals or nature would be violence against the Divine Mother herself. The main attitude of Indian thought towards the Divine is not just an attitude of veneration and awe, but also, and foremost, that of love and adoration. Though Sri Aurobindo and the Mother based themselves on Indian thought, they did not stop there: they were equally at home in Western thought, and in a perfect synthesis of both, they fashioned their own sublime vision that aims at realizing heaven on earth.
The teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, referred to as the Integral Yoga, are about a new consciousness and about practical psychology[iii] and have nothing to do with religious ideologies[iv] or with world renunciation or with occultism and so-called supra-normal phenomena. They hold rather that man is a transitional being evolving to the “beyond man” or “superman”[v] and that humans are capable of consciously participating in their own evolution. These teachings are about transforming the human into a higher and nobler being, a transformation that can be carried out methodically and without recourse to occult powers or artificial “miracles”. In the same way as science discovers the laws governing the outer working of Nature and uses these laws to change the physical world, yoga discovers the laws that govern the inner workings of Nature and utilizes them to effect the transformation of mankind itself. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother did not conceal the difficulty of their yoga. They maintained that although the transformation of human nature was considered impossible in the past due to its extreme difficulty, it can be done and concrete results can be achieved within one human life-span.
The Integral Yoga is a yoga of self-giving to the Divine and requires not only a long preparation and an integral education of the being, but also sincerity, fortitude and one-pointed determination. It is evident that these are matters that cannot be attained overnight. Fortunately though, the difficulty applies only to the early stages of practice. Many of those who have practiced the Integral Yoga long enough with dedication, have testified that, in the measure that their nature was transformed, a power, greater than their own, took up the charge of their progress, so that, in its advanced stages, the practice became a happy and spontaneous progression from “light to light”, and from “joy to joy”.
The aim of the Integral Yoga is not an escape from this world to a world of peace and bliss beyond, but rather the transformation of this very life from a life beset with misery, violence, sorrow and pain, to a “Life Divine”. Nor does the Integral Yoga lay down a uniform path for everyone to follow but shows each individual how to develop and walk his/her own path guided by his/her own inner Light. It does not promise rewards in this life or in a life hereafter, though rewards, unexpected and undreamt of, are sure to come.
The readers who will appreciate and benefit the most from the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are those who are able to see that Truth has many facets and are thus open to accept the validity of views other than their own inherited beliefs. These teachings require a mind supple and flexible enough to recognize that the same words can carry different shades of meaning depending on their context, and on whether they are meant in a literal, metaphorical or poetical sense.
The works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother do not disclose themselves fully on a first or a hasty reading. One has often to reread them and to allow oneself enough time for truly understanding and assimilating.
Those who follow this path experience a noticeable change in their own consciousness, and as a result of that, positive change in their lives. They find themselves pursuing their inner quest and journey free from fear and doubt. By slowly discovering the true value of things, they become able to look with a smile upon many of the life problems that had hitherto seemed intractable to them. They learn to work with greater energy and to find joy in whatever work they may be doing and to derive happiness from things they did not even notice before. They discover that they need less material things, while being yet able to surround themselves with abundance, beauty, serenity and meaning. They discover that the joy of self-giving far outweighs the joys they used to claim from life and others. They experience how the growing peace within themselves reflects positively on their health and learn how to avoid and even heal many of the minor ailments that used formerly to trouble them.
And finally, they become in a far better position to overcome their own weaknesses and resistances, to discern the meaning of things that happens to them, and to perceive the Grace that is guiding every step of their lives.
When we follow sincerely our own calling and persevere on our chosen path, we arrive one day at the highest truth: that all beings are but different modes and manifestations of the One and Multiple Supreme, and that we are, therefore, entitled to and capable of realizing Him in ourselves and manifesting Him in our lives.
May the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother bring the Arabic reader as much peace, strength and happiness as they have brought me, and much more…
[i] The title of one of Sri Aurobindo’s major works
[ii] More at http://www.auroville.org
[iii] “Yoga is nothing but practical psychology”, Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, CWSA Vols.23-24 p. 44
[iv] “I may say that it is far from my purpose to propagate any religion, new or old, for humanity in the future. A way to be opened that is still blocked, not a religion to be founded, is my conception of the matter.” Sri Aurobindo, Letters On Himself and The Ashram CWSA Vol. 35 p. 696
[v] The being that will replace man as the next step in natural evolution whose mind will attain to the Supermind or the Truth Consciousness.
The article has originally appeared at http://www.sriaurobindo-inarabic.com/
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