January 11, 2006

Sri Aurobindo’s audacious vision

Makarand Paranjape DAILY NEWS & ANALYSIS, November 24, 2005
The main purpose of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga is to help individuals and the human race evolve to a higher plane of consciousness. He held this necessary and inevitable because ‘homo sapiens’ is not the final step in evolution. He believed, as in Vedic wisdom, that behind all appearances of diversity and imperfection lies the Divine, which manifests as the cosmos. But this Divine is dynamic, compelled by its own nature to seek higher manifestations of its own innate perfection. Evolution proceeds from matter, to life, to mind, where most evolutionary biologists stopped. Beyond the mind are realms of higher consciousness, which mystics and sages have glimpsed.
Sri Aurobindo’s contribution was his discovery and description of the Supermind, a plane just below the Absolute, but far above the relative. The great task of transformation could be accomplished by bringing ‘down’ the Supermind to earth consciousness. Sri Aurobindo’s agenda was more far-reaching than anything hitherto imagined.
The purpose of yoga — individual liberation — did not necessarily help the world, he thought. The entire human species needed to evolve to a higher level of consciousness if we were to solve our problems of war, disease, destruction of our habitat, and ultimately, death. Earlier, evolution was involuntary; with the emergence of the human species, it becomes co-operative. We are co-creators of our destinies, nature’s associates in evolution, God’s partners, no less. Rather than harking back to the past, we must work for a future which will be more glorious and fulfilling.
Sri Aurobindo’s sadhana method, Integral Yoga, synthesises all four yogas: bhakti, karma, jnana and raja yoga. He and the Mother led a large community of practitioners in this yoga at their ashram in Pondicherry. In the ultimate analysis, Sri Aurobindo offered an encyclopedic and vastly enriching possibility of human transformation through a vision which was as systematically worked out as it was audaciously inspiring. Today is Sri Aurobindo’s Sidhi day DNA

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