February 01, 2006

Sri Aurobindo's date with destiny

By Dr Kishore Gandhi
India's freedom on the 15th August, 1947 was an event not of local but indeed of a global significance because it marked the end of colonial era and the beginning of a new chapter in the process of globalization of life and ideas. Very little is known about the role of Sri Aurobindo in the awakening of political consciousness among the people and radicalizing the Congress party in the Surat session of the Congress in 1907.
Lord Curzon pressed through the infamous partition of Bengal-Bangabhanga in 1905 and the entire country erupted and exploded with violence. Sri Aurobindo started his Bande-Mataram and launched powerful campaign against the British rule in India. The song of Bande-Mataram began to shape and mould India's destiny from the radical perspective. With this mantra the blood began to flow in the veins of the people and they were galvanized to such an extent that they were ready to face bullets with Bande-Mataram on their lips. Sri Aurobindo emerged as a meteor which shed light on everything that happened during the critical period of our history.
Sri. Aurobindo's birth anniversary falls on 15th August 1947 and he set the agenda for free India in his fifteenth August 1947 message to the nation on All India Radio. This message brings out sharply and coherently about India's civilizational strength that flows from her upward spirit of unbroken continuity, harmony of various religious traditions, capacity of assimilation and absorption, universality of spirit, pluralism and tolerance, and dignity and divinity of the individual. What is most fascinating is that Sri Aurobindo envisaged a free and united India and set forth before his countrymen five purposeful and prophetic messages for fruition.
  • They deal with the creation of a united and vibrant sub-continent,
  • the Asian resurgence,
  • the world union forming the outer basis of a fairer, brighter and nobler life for all mankind,
  • India's spiritual gift to the world
  • and a new step in the evolution of human consciousness.

Alas ! When ! and how a united and vibrant India will play a decisive role of a reconciler in this war weary world and bring to fruition Sri Aurobindo's dreams.

Not only a patriot and politician; but a profound humanist and sociologist, not only a yogi but a poet and critic, his evolutionary world-view, culminating in the super-mind; promises to be a breakthrough in the history of human civilization. While recovering lost wisdom of vedic and upanishadic thought, he has projected a new science or dimension of harmony and epiphany. The evolution of consciousness is the ultimate in revolution, when matter shall be the spirits's willing bride. No less than Marx on Lenin, Sri Aurobindo has given a new direction and meaning to the socio-political existence and presented an evolutionary paradigm of development. But unlike the Marxian revolution fragmented in vision and overtaken by Glasnot and perestroika, Sri Aurobindo's clarion call is for total revolution; revolution by human consciousness.
Sri Aurobindo's insight and analysis of evolution are now part of the scientific and cultural landscape. But how many scientists and artists know his evolutionary theories that are being proved true even by the discoveries of physical and biological sciences, especially of modern physics. While probing into various frontier areas of science, especially of atomic and subatomic world, physicist have discovered the limitation of Newtonian mehanistic model at the level of galaxies and electrons. These discoveries have no doubt given the first glimmering of the new paradigm that matter and consciousness is the primary force in the universe.
The Theory of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, Heisenberg's principles of uncertainty, Bohr's laws of complementarity, Schrodinger's resolution of particle/wave paradox, Prigogine's discovery of dissipative structures, based on self-organizing and self-transcendent systems, Roger Sperry's researches in the right and left implications of hemispheric brain processes, Ervin Laszlo's Psi-hypothesis have all brought about major breakthrough that are exhilarating and have profound philosophical implications for science as a whole. This development marked a major shift from the clockwork paradigm to an uncertainty paradigm, from the absolute to the relative. The new model looks upon matter as being in some way a graded manifestation of consciousness.
There has been an increasing recourse to Eastern physio- physical disciplines, especially Buddhism and Vedanta, by western thinkers. Isa Upanishad expresses exquisitely; ''everything that exists in the comos, living or non-living is the habitation of the divine'' and in the great insight of Mundaka Upanishad, one perceives ''Brahman verily in this resplendent cosmos, in front and behind, above and below, in the right and to the left, the universe is indeed all manifestation of the Brahman''. These mystical insights are being significantly recognized by the physicists as a more accurate expressions of the real structure of the universe than many of the classical theories of science. The dance of Shiva is providing the new paradigm to physicists for explaining the creation of this world in term of unified field.
Today there is no task more urgent, than to know and actualize human nature in its totality. If the modern anarchy, the double crisis of civilization and evolution, is the product of the human mind, is it not our responsibility to search for an evolutinary response to the present human predicament ? Only through a new mind can humanity remake itself and the potential for the emergence of such a new mind is natural. I see through the eye, not with it '' said the poet William Blake. He also said that ''if the doors of perception were cleansed, we would see the world as it is, infinite''.
Quite clearly, the human mind which imagines, reasons and creates is dynamically active, and is playing a critical role in the process of its own evolution and also in the survival and evolution of all living things. The human need and capacity for self-exceeding is a part of human evolutionary process, and we have to open ourselves to this evolved exprience of consciousness. The future of our evolutionary course will be in the realm of psychic development, and the new potentialities will make us surpass ourselves. Science is now giving us a passage to a realm beyond numbers, and is opening a fruitful dialogue between various disciplines. The development of inter tradisciplinary approaches to knowledge corresponding to the creative manifestations of life is our model for tomorrow.
The next question to which we have to address ourselves is that how for Sri Aurobindo's philosophy of a new and higher consciousness, for a leap towards the future, provides a convincing and viable alternative to the bewildered humanity that is living under the spell of multiple fears; biological, nuclear and environmental disasters. The discoveries of physical and and biological sciences-especially of modern physics- have no doubt given their own verdict of opposing alternatives; either the path of Buddha or to the bomb and it is up to each one of us to decide which path to follow. If history is to be something other than a tragedy of successive civilizations, a world civilization, oneness of the human family and global consciousness seem the only way out. It is our date with destiny and the ultimate challenge to wisdom and creativity.
  • The evolutionary philosophy of Sri Aurobindo offers the promising possibilities of the future that awaits man, of the new range of experience that lie ahead.
  • Sri Aurobindo maintains that man is an intermediate creature, based firmly in the material consciousness and has the infinite capacity of co-operating with the evolutionary thrust and thus accelerating the pace of evolution.
  • He does not merely present the theoretical framework of supramental consciousness but has also provided and extremely fascinating methodology and process of achieving that level of consciousness through the integral yoga.
Sri Aurobindo's orchestrial mind provides a hope for man and society for an educated humanity and the civilization we need. Whether we agree to it or not, the evolution of consciousness seems to be our model for tomorrow, There may be a new definition of man and reality, some unachieved unified field lies before the the dreamer the enquirer and the lover the mankind.

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