November 10, 2005

We do not belong to the past dawns

There are many ways of approaching Sri Aurobindo, but the light that one can gain from him, as Joshi (1998b) noted, will depend upon the height and breadth of one’s own quest. It is in raising most comprehensive questions in their profundity relating to the world and its future possibilities and the role that we are required to play as also how we should prepare ourselves to fulfil that role that we shall find the real relevance of Sri Aurobindo and find ourselves truly equipped to study him and the supra-mental consciousness that he has discovered and brought down on the earth.
Three fundamental problems which gave direction to the spiritual quest and philosophical thinking and helped to fashion Sri Aurobindo’s major theories, relate to
  • the paradox of the national life of India,
  • the supposed conflict between spirituality and action, and
  • the evolution of man.

The search for solutions to these problems relates to the unique and creative tension in his own experience between spirituality and politics, both during his years of political activity and during his four decades of sadhana (spiritual discipline) at Pondicherry (Chaudhuri, 1972; McDermott, 1972). Aurobindo’s writings provide the needed force for action, realization and transformation which is reflected in his philosophy arrived at through inner experience.

Two phrases that surge out of Sri Aurobindo’s writings that sum up his message are:
  • ‘Integral perfection’ and
  • ‘Spiritual religion of humanity’.

His call for integrality and synthesis is most distinctively reflected in his statements: ‘We of the coming day stand at the head of a new age of development which must lead to such a new and larger synthesis. [...] We do not belong to the past dawns, but to the noons of the future’ (in Joshi, 1998b, p .3). To attain integral perfection, Sri Aurobindo has found education to be critical. M.K. Raina, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), ©UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, 2000

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