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I am resuming this blog after a lapse of almost 4 months. I am trying to find something to fit in the present situation in India. Alliances for convenience seem to be the trend at this time. I dont see the passion that our freedom fighters had for our country and its well-being. Just read this letter of Sri Aurobindo to His countrymen extracted from “Bande Mataram”.

(An incomplete essay from the period before the partition of Bengal.)

Unity
An open letter to those

who despair of their Country
To the sons of our mother Bharat who disclaim their sonhood,
to the children of languor and selfishness, to the wooers of safety
& ease, to the fathers of despair and death—greeting.
To those who impugning the holiness of their Mother refuse
to lift her out of danger lest they defile their own spotless hands,
to those who call on her to purify herself before they will save
her from the imminent & already descending sword of Death,
—greeting.
Lastly to those who love & perhaps have striven for her but
having now grown themselves faint and hopeless bid others to
despair and cease,—to them also greeting.
Brothers,—for whether unwise friends or selfish enemies of
my Mother, you are still her children,—there is a common voice
among you spreading dismay and weakness in the hearts of the
people; for you say to each other and to all who would speak
to you of their country, “Let us leave these things and look to
our daily bread; this nation must perish but let us at least and
our children try to live while live we can. We are fallen and
depraved and our sins grow upon us day by day; we suffer &
are oppressed and oppression increases with every setting of the
sun; we are weak and languid and our weakness grows weaker
and our languor more languid every time the sun rises in the east.
We are sick and broken; we are idle and cowardly; we perish
every year from famine and plague; disease decimates us, with
every decade poverty annihilates family after family; where there
were a hundred in one house, there are now ten; where there was
once a flourishing village, the leopard and the jackal will soon
inhabit. God is adverse to us and ourselves our worst enemies;
we are decaying from within and smitten from without. The
sword has been taken out of our hands and the bread is being
taken out of our mouths. Worst of all we are disunited beyond
hope of union and without union we must ere long perish. It
may be five decades or it may be ten, but very soon this great
and ancient nation will have perished from the face of the earth
and the negro or the Malay will inherit the homes of our fathers
& till the fields to glut the pockets & serve the pleasure of
the Englishman or the Russian. Meanwhile it is well that the
Congress should meet once a year & deceive the country with
an appearance of life; that there should be posts for the children
of the soil with enough salary to keep a few from starving, that
a soulless education should suck the vigour & sweetness out of
body&heart&brain of our children while flattering them with
the vain lie that they are educated & enlightened; for so shall
the nation die peacefully of a sort of euthanasia lapped in lies &
comforted with delusions and not violently & in a whirlwind of
horror and a great darkness of fear & suffering.”
With such Siren song do you slay the hearts of those who
have still force and courage to strive against Fate and would
rescue our Mother out of the hands of destruction. Yet I would
willingly believe that matricides though you are, it is in ignorance.
Come therefore, let us reason calmly together.
Is it indeed [incomplete]

– sri Aurobindo

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The BookI am going to write about a book by Kosha Shah, who is a resident of Auroville (www.auroville.org.in). She deals with India and her neighbours in South Asia. The book is published by Auroville Arts and is priced at Rs. 80. It has 84 pages and is divided into 7 chapters. There is both an introduction and a conclusion. There is a message in the beginning and an annexure at the end. The author provides us with a bibliography at the end.

The author has been for the last several years researching and working with the large body of thought of Sri Aurobindo with particular reference to his Social and Political writings. In this book she deals with issues concerning South Asia and India treating them in the light of Sri Aurobindo and Mother’s vision, thoughts, messages, recommendations on the subject.

It would be a good idea to introduce the readers to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother; hence, a brief biography.

Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872. At the age of seven he was taken to England for education and in 1890 went up to King’s College, Cambridge. Here he stood in the first class in the Classical Tripos and also passed the final examination for the Indian Civil Service. Returning to India in 1893, he worked for the next thirteen years in the Princely State of Baroda in the service of the Maharaja and as a professor in Baroda College. During this period he also joined a revolutionary society and took a leading role in secret preparations for an uprising against the British Government in India.

After the Partition of Bengal in 1905, Sri Aurobindo quit his post in Baroda and went to Calcutta, where he soon became one of the leaders of the Nationalist movement. He was the first political leader in India to openly put forward, in his journal Bande Mataram, the ideal of complete independence for the country. Prosecuted twice for sedition and once for conspiracy, he was released each time for lack of evidence.

Sri Aurobindo had begun the practice of Yoga in 1905 in Baroda. In 1908 he had the first of several fundamental spiritual realisations. In 1910 he withdrew from politics and went to Pondicherry in order to devote himself entirely to his inner spiritual life and work. During his forty years in Pondicherry he evolved a new method of spiritual practice, which he called the Integral Yoga. Its aim is a spiritual realisation that not only liberates man’s consciousness but also transforms his nature. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, the Mother, he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Among his many writings are The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga and Savitri. Sri Aurobindo left his body on 5 December 1950.

The Mother was born Mirra Alfassa in Paris on 21 February 1878. A pupil at the Academie Julian, she became an accomplished artist, and also excelled as a pianist and writer. Interested in occultism, she visited Tlemcen, Algeria, in 1905 and l906 to study with the adept Max Theon and his wife. Her primary interest, however, was spiritual development. In Paris she founded a group of spiritual seekers and gave talks to various groups.

In 1914 the Mother voyaged to Pondicherry to meet Sri Aurobindo, whom she at once recognised as the one who for many years had inwardly guided her spiritual development. After a stay of eleven months she was obliged to return to France due to the outbreak of the First World War. A year later she went to Japan for a period of four years.

In April 1920 the Mother rejoined Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry. When the Sri Aurobindo Ashram was formed in November 1926, Sri Aurobindo entrusted its full material and spiritual charge to the Mother. Under her guidance, which continued for nearly fifty years, the Ashram grew into a large, many-faceted spiritual community. In 1952 she established Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, and in 1968 an international township, Auroville. The Mother left her body on l7 November 1973.

The Independance Day message of Sri Aurobindo issued by him on August 15th 1947 forms the forward to the book. Sri Aurobindo was a freedom fighter Himself and was the first person who demanded full freedom from the British as a leader in the Freedom Struggle. In this message, he articulates his his dreams:

– of a revolutionary movement which would create a free and united India,

– for the resurgence and liberation of the peoples of Asia and her return to her great role in the progress of human civilization

– for a world-union forming the outer basis of a fairer , brighter and nobler life for all mankind,

– the spiritual gift of India to the world which he says had already begun.

– A step in evolution which would raise man to a higher and larger consciousness and begin the solution of the problem which have perplexed and vexed him since he first began to think and to dream of individual perfection and a perfect society.

He concludes with a pregnant sentence: “Such is the content which I put into date of India’s liberation; whether or how far this hope will be justified depends upon the new and free India.”

The partition was a tragedy of immense dimensions. Lord Mountbatten in 1971 aggrieved by the genocide in Bangladesh uttered that he regretted partition at that moment like never before. The partition was a result of a colonial power which excelled in the ancient Roman strategy of divide and rule. Families were separated from families, friends from friends, properties and estates were abandoned overnight, a blood bath followed and the nightmare of the partition days still haunt many of the people of the sub-continent. “The partition must go,” said Sri Aurobindo.  

In the introduction, the author discusses the first dream of Sri Aurobindo outlined in his Independance Day Message and speaks of the first positive step taken by the regional confederation: South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation (SAARC).

The first chapter deals with South Asia, the Indian Sub-Continent and beyond. In this chapter, the diversity in the racial origins  and religious inclinations of the people of South Asia has been discussed. The author points out to a certain homogeneity amongst the people of the sub-continent irrespective of their racial past. Describing the true map of India which is what Mother envisaged as the real and undivided India, one can see it till today in the Playground of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The Mother is quoted here:

“The map was made after the partition.

It is the map of the true India in spite of all passing appearances, and it will always remain the map of the true India, whatever people may think about it.”

Fatima Bhutto, the granddaughter of the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto talked about the South Asian region last week during her visit to Jaipur, India and said the greater India comprised India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar. “It’s her vision”, she said, “to see that these sister nations build bridges and end their differences”.

To be continued . . .

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This is my first blog post. I have chosen the Lotus as my header. Lotus is India‘s National Flower. I also believe that India is like the Lotus. With all the dirty politics around, we know that India has something which is pure gold. India has its own original world vision and thats what we have to re invent and interpret for the future. The young deserve the best and one has to turn to India‘s infinite wisdom to inspire the youth and provide them with an agenda for the future. I am going to start with a classic piece of writing of Sri Aurobindo.“It has been driven home to us by experience after experience, that not in the strength of a raw unmoralised European enthusiasm shall we conquer. Indians, it is the spirituality of India, the sadhana of India, tapasya, jnanam, shakti that must make us free and great. And these great things of the East are ill-rendered by their inferior English equivalents, discipline, philosophy, strength. Tapasya is more than discipline; it is the materialisation in ourselves by spiritual means of the divine energy creative, preservative and destructive. Jnanam is more than philosophy, it is the inspired and direct knowledge which comes of what our ancients called drishti, spiritual sight. Shakti is more than strength, it is the universal energy which moves the stars, made individual. It is the East thatmust conquer in India’s uprising. It is the Yogin who must stand behind the

political leader or manifest within him; Ramdas must be born in one body with Shivaji, Mazzini mingle with Cavour. The divorce of intellect and spirit, strength and purity may help a European revolution, but by a European strength we shall not conquer. The movements of the last century failed because they were too purely intellectual and had not an enlightened heart behind them. Nationalism has striven to supply the deficiency; it has poured the inspirations of the heart into a swifter and more discerning intellectual activity. But Nationalism also has been defective; it has been Indian in sentiment and aspiration, European in practice and actuality.

 I hope to be able to bring writings on how to apply the principles of Integral Yoga propounded by Sri Aurobindo into various areas of development. I also invite contributions by young Indians on contemporary subjects and on how to resolve various problems faced by our country. To conclude:  

 

“Our first necessity, if India is to survive and do her appointed work in the world, is that the youth of India should learn to think, – to think on all subjects, to think independently, fruitfully, going to the heart of things, not stopped by their surface, free of prejudgments, shearing sophism and prejudice asunder as with a sharp sword, smiting down obscurantism of all kinds as with the mace of Bhima…”. (India‘s Rebirth by Sri Aurobindo).   

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