Sri Aurobindo and the Indian Mainstream

It is a common question why Sri Aurobindo is less recognised and even less read and understood by the Indian intelligentsia.

One of the reasons is a deliberate marginalisation of all leaders and revolutionaries from the general curriculum so as to promote one kind of ideology. Without going into politics we can just state that the process had started in the end of the nineteenth century when Sri Aurobindo had started writing in the Indu Prakash. The articles were found too radical and fiery of spirit for the moderate leaders who requested him to tone down the message. This rift between the two kinds of approaches towards political freedom of India eventually led to a widening of the gap and the final split of the then Indian Congress in 1907. Sri Aurobindo’s subsequent withdrawal to Pondicherry in 1910 where he had found his cave of tapasya was equally misunderstood by the average revolutionary of those times. From his conversations it is clear that he did not endorse Gandhi’s fetish about non-violence under any conditions as a national policy. The repercussions of the rift led to a systematic promotion of one type of ideology in free India to the exclusion of all others.

The second reason is perhaps the integral nature of Sri Aurobindo’s Thought. Until now mankind has been conditioned to the mental way of either-or leading to a false and artificial divide between the spiritual and material life. It is like the two negations that Sri Aurobindo speaks of in the Life Divine. The ascetic brand of spirituality refuses to admit Sri Aurobindo’s thought which integrates matter with the Spirit. On the other hand, the thorough going materialist refuses to admit the vast spiritual vision of Sri Aurobindo which flows with the sense of the Divine on all sides.

Of course, some people complain about Sri Aurobindo’s English being difficult, but that I think is not true. There are countless letters and most of the Mother’s books that give us the understanding of his yoga and work in a very simple way.

Perhaps the main reason is that Sri Aurobindo is too much into the Future. He belongs to the Future and such a luminous future that a humanity that tends to cling to its cynicism finds it very discomforting. What he brings for man is considered too good to be true and hence most discard it even without properly examining it. It is nothing else but the general resistance of the Inconscience showing up in humanity.

But surely there is a growing section of humanity world over that is seeking the promise of the Future. A new aspiration for integral life has arisen in humanity and it is these that are drawing nearer and nearer to Sri Aurobindo who alone gives us the complete understanding of creation and the radical and complete solution. This is the hope for the future. And this section of humanity is going to grow until the New Idea Force takes over the mind of humanity and starts working with a much greater intensity and rapidity.

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