August 21, 2006

The stamp of divine election

Shades of Orientalism by Peter Heehs History and Theory May 2003
Struck by Aurobindo’s passage from Cambridge classicist to Sanskrit scholar to revolutionary publicist to philosophical yogin, many writers have sought clues in his early life, scripting selected biographical data into explanatory narratives. His disciples find evidence of the future yogi almost from his birth and the stamp of divine election on all his actions.

The historian Leonard Gordon condemns this hagiographical approach, offering instead a jejune pop psychology (“Aurobindo’s lifelong obsession with mother figures dates from his childhood…”). More sophisticated and fruitful is political psychologist Ashis Nandy’s “enquiry into the psychological structures…,” in which he contrasts Aurobindo with Rudyard Kipling…Nandy is weakest when dealing with Aurobindo’s spiritual life, falling back, like Gordon, on unsubstantiated guesswork…(p.179)

No comments:

Post a Comment