February 21, 2006

Sri Aurobindo is a multi-facetted genius

“My father, Prof. Madhusudan Reddy got inspired to start a Sri Aurobindo university in Hyderabad ,” explains Ananda... "You see, Sri Aurobindo is often exclusively referred to as a yogi or a mystic or a poet. But that is a disservice to Sri Aurobindo, who is a multi-facetted genius. In the Orientation Programme we highlight nine different aspects of Sri Aurobindo's genius. He has expressed himself through many aspects, and each of them can be the basis for a study in itself: history, psychology, philosophy, Vedic and Upanishadic knowledge, literature, poetry.
"The Mother's works are no less important. For example, her Entretiens contain an enormous amount of applied psychology, and her yoga in the cells of her body is not even understood.” He gives an example from his own field, that of philosophy. “When you study Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine with The University of Tomorrow, you will be asked to study not only Sri Aurobindo's thought but also the great Indian and western philosophies.
Sri Aurobindo has read all the western and Indian philosophers but in The Life Divine he hardly mentions anybody by name (except for Shankara and a passing reference to Buddha and Ramanuja.) For he is not dealing with persons but with the development of human thought and explains the various philosophies in the context of their contribution to human thought and indicates the levels of their inspiration. Plato, for example, wrote that there is a world from where ideas originate. Sri Aurobindo speaks in his own philosophy of different levels of consciousness, and has classified Plato's inspiration as coming from the Higher Mind, just as he wrote about Buddha's inspiration coming from the intuitive mind.
Someone studying philosophy at The University of Tomorrow could be asked, for example, to research the relationship between Plato's level of ideas and Sri Aurobindo's levels of consciousness. Like this many things will come up.” The University of Tomorrow does not yet offer recognized scientific degrees. “We are in the process of linking up with the University of Pondicherry which has a ‘Sri Aurobindo School of Eastern and Western Thought'.
But they have no professor in Sri Aurobindo's studies, so to link up with SACAR and The University of Tomorrow would be also in their interest. Once recognized, The University of Tomorrow would be able to offer degrees through the Pondicherry university. But there are some administrative problems in it. Let us see what happens. Another possibility which we are looking into is to get affiliated to another Indian university or a university in the USA . For the moment our PhD. level courses will result in the title ‘Sri Aurobindo Scholar.'”
The response so far has been promising. The University of Tomorrow started on August 15th, 2004 , four months ago. “A few students registered for the various programmes, which has been very good for us to figure out where our approach was correct and where it needed to be adjusted, for we were not experienced in on-line teaching. Now the word is spreading and almost 55 students have registered for the Orientation Programme,” says Ananda. He has also offered the programme to Aurovilians and newcomers at subsidized rates so that they can also benefit from the courses offered by this on-line university.

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