Monday, April 2, 2012

Sri Aurobindo showed how to perceive politics from the standpoint of spirituality

No legal cover for journalists refusing to divulge source Times of India – Manoj Mitta, TNN Apr 2, 2012, 05.44AM IST
In another stirring instance from the colonial era, Bipin Chandra Pal, who ran a daily called Bande Mataram, refused to confirm if Sri Aurobindo was the author of an anonymous article for which the latter was being tried for sedition. While Aurobindo was acquitted in 1907, Pal himself was sent to jail for six months for refusing to depose against him. The sacrifices made by Pal and Kavyabirsharad appear to have been in vain as independent India has not so far redressed the statutory lacuna that had landed them in jail during the colonial period…
Kaliprasanna Kavyabisharad, editor of Bengali publication Hitabadi, refused to name the author of a poem published in his paper. He was jailed for nine months Bipin Chandra Pal, who ran a daily called Bande Mataram, refused to confirm whether Sri Aurobindo was author of an anonymous article. Pal was jailed for six months… The rationale of the privilege otherwise recognized around the world is that journalists will be unable to play the role of a watchdog unless they can guarantee confidentiality to their sources. It is a departure from the general rule that everybody has a legal obligation to give evidence.  

There is in Sri Aurobindo a revolutionary, a poet, a philosopher, a visionary of evolution. He is not only the explorer of consciousness, but the builder of a new world. For evolution is not over: “Man is a transitional being,” he wrote at the beginning of the century. This now classic introduction to Sri Aurobindo (in a new edition and translation) not only tells us the story of his life, in itself a remarkable adventure; Satprem also takes us along in a methodical exploration of Sri Aurobindo’s “integral yoga,” showing how it leads to a “divine rehabilitation of Matter” and gives our painful evolution its meaning and hope.
“We have denied the Divinity in Matter to confine it in our holy places, and now Matter is taking its revenge — we called it crude, and crude it is. As long as we accept this Imbalance, there is no hope for the earth: we will swing from one pole to the other — both equally false — from material enjoyment to spiritual austerity, without ever finding our plenitude. We need both the vigor of Matter and the fresh waters of the Spirit…. Now the time may have come at last to unveil the Mysteries and to recover the complete truth of the two poles within a third position, which is neither that of the materialists nor that of the spiritualists.” Satprem

Khurshid Alam engages Jitendra Sharma in an interview with his concept of Man in Aurobindo's poetry on his recently released title, Concept of Man in Sri Aurobindo's Poetry. CLRI Que 1: Hi Jitendra, can you share the reason why you selected Sri Aurobindo Ghose’s works as your research topic while there are so many Indian writers in English? Particularly now there are a good number of Man Booker Prize winners also.
Ans: Sri Aurobindo, a great politician, philosopher, freedom-fighter, mystic, literary critic and Yogi, considered himself primarily a poet. He had an integral vision of life and spirituality. Sri Aurobindo’s poetry has already carved a niche for itself. His vast poetry, encompassing many forms and moods, expresses an enormous variety of emotions. All this provided me with a wide creative space for research…
In the psyche of humanity, Superman has always been an archetype. Around 1900, the notion of the superman became common in European philosophy. Many philosophers along with Friedrich Nietzsche tried to put forth theories and suggestions to alleviate human misery and improve the human condition. But it is extremely difficult to transform matter, the earth and Man.
Sri Aurobindo, based on a great and perfect philosophy, advocated an ideal world of social equality, fraternity and freedom. He showed how to perceive politics from the standpoint of spirituality. After clearing the incompleteness of Marx’s philosophy, he presented his integral philosophy in which the elements of the east and the west, past and future, science and religion, heart and mind, which seem contradictory to us, are presented in a beautifully synthesised image. Sri Aurobindo has a vision of the possibility of a divine life for man upon the earth. Sri Aurobindo emphasises the complementarities rather than the oppositions of Eastern and Western philosophies. He believes that all humans are of the same divine origin.

Criticism by Bhaskar Roy Barman - Contemporary Literary Review ... SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2012 Savitri and Satyavan by Bhaskar Roy Barman
I shall discuss in this paper Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem, Savitri, based upon the Savitri-Satyavan legend in the Mahabharata, one of the two epics that India glories in, the other epic being the Ramayana. Many important and distinguished writers have written in English and in their native languages no mean number of stories, novels and poems, drawing upon a myriad of the legends in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana…
As I have hinted at, Aurobinda Ghosh (universally known as Sri Aurobindo), considered one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century, presented the literary world with the epic poem Savitri developed on the marrow of the Savitri-and-Satyavan episode…
The central myth in Aurobindo’s poetry, the myth of freedom, based, as it is, upon the dialectical struggle between the worlds of appearance and reality, matter and spirit, evil and good, and death and divine life, presses home the evolutionary value of human life and points up, as well, the quest of the soul for the state of being to be realized through an intuitive process of self-discovery and awareness of the infinite. It aims to ascend from the inconsistent state to the wakeful state through spiritual journey up the stairs of the world, the manifold planes of existence, the states of becoming, thus to experience, while ascending the stairs of the world, complete identity with substantive reality and the totality of being through inward expansion and synthesis. This Indian and romantic view of the soul’s ability to experience infinitude and to attain liberty from the deterministic order of lower nature inaugurates the core of Savitri. In fact Sri Aurobindo’s imagination foreglimpses and conjures up the idea of earth being a humankind’s ideal home, where one’s soul, by eschewing its egotistical selfhood in order to completely surrender itself to, and, by merging through common humanity with, universal consciousness, experiences joy and fulfilment.
Hence, Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri is often described as quintessentially an epic for the modern man, as it epitomizes his primary concerns and his existential angst. By ‘modern man’ is universally meant humanity which has reached a stage where he has achieved the highest and best consciousness; but he has not found himself rid of the age-old problems of death, suffering, inadequacy and ignorance. The inadequacy and the ignorance of man manifest themselves in the display of inequality, corruption, terrorism which brings about their suffering. Born out of Sri Aurobindo’s concern for humankind and its future, Savitri portrays the precise nature of the crisis humankind has come to grips with and suggests a way to tackle it. It is often said of Savitri with immunity that it deals with such a vast and grand theme –the revelation of the ranges of consciousness - as no other epic before has ever attempted.

Sri Aurobindo Devotees Prayer Centre: Pushpanjali and prayers to Sri Annai, Sasibalika Vidya Mandir, Azad Road, 9.30 a.m.; Sri Annai Meditation Centre, W 7C, Kovaipudur, 4 p.m.

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