January 30, 2007

Free self-expression in the application and evaluation of a dynamic spiritual message

The Integral Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo: A Commemorative Symposium Book by Haridas Chaudhuri, Frederic Spiegelberg; George Allen & Unwin, 1960 PREFACE
THE idea of this Commemorative Symposium on the integral philosophy of Sri Aurobindo was first conceived while celebrating his birthday anniversary at San Francisco Ashram in August 1957. It was felt that the time was ripe for the message of Sri Aurobindo to be increasingly known to the wider public in different parts of the world. It is a message which silently took shape over a long period of time in the medium of a life such as transcended all geographical and national boundaries, and unconditionally offered itself at the altar of human welfare, or rather at the altar of the Divine in human evolution. The message is one of human unity, and of 'the out- flowering of the Divine in collective humanity'. Occasioned by an intermingling of the two broad streams of culture, eastern and western, it envisages a new world-order of peace, progress and international harmony, broadbased upon a radical change of man's collective consciousness. It indicates the lines along which the unification of all human races is to be achieved through increasing participation in the creative adventure of the world-spirit. It utters forth the secret of collective and co-operative living toward the fulfilment of the ultimate destiny of man.
The present symposium consists of various articles contributed by some eminent scholars of Aurobindonian literature. It cannot possibly claim to cover all the aspects of Sri Aurobindo's teaching. Nor is the list of contributors included herein to be taken in any way exhaustive of the vast and ever-growing volume of scholarship in the field. Different contributors had full freedom in expressing their own interpretation and evaluation of the approach and outlook which has now come to be known as integral nondualism (pūrṇa- advaita). Editors have proceeded on the assumption that truth in its creative aspect lies, not in reproducing a static thought structure, but in the free self-expression of different individuals in the application and evaluation of a dynamic spiritual message.
The symposium has five parts: Philosophy, Epistemology and Psychology, Yoga and Ethics, Literature, and Miscellaneous. The part called 'Miscellaneous' includes tributes to Sri Aurobindo, an outline of the historical setting in which his message was formulated, his political thoughts on freedom and world unity, and a brief sketch of his life.
Dr Frederic Spiegelberg's article 'Sri Aurobindo and Existential- ism' is based upon one of the three talks which he gave at San Francisco Ashram on August 21, 1958, in connection with the celebration of Sri Aurobindo's birthday. Dr Pitirim A. Sorokin article, "'The Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo'", is taken from his book, The Ways and Power of Love ( Boston: The Beacon Press, 1954), pp. 371-6. Editors wish to take this opportunity of expressing their grateful thanks to Dr Sorokin and his publisher for their kind permission in this respect. Professor Richard P. Marsh paper, "'The Organismic Psychology of Andras Angyal in Relation to Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy of Integral Nondualism'", represents the essay which won him the first prize in the Aurobindo Essay Contest which was held in 1958 among the students of Indian philosophy in Northern California. Sri A. B. Purani brief life-sketch, 'Sri Aurobindo', was first broadcast from the B.B.C., London, in December 1955, and has been incorporated here by courtesy of the B.B.C.
No words would be adequate to express the gratitude of the editors to the eminent contributors who have most graciously co-operated with them by joining this symposium. Editors are also grateful to Cultural Integration Fellowship, San Francisco, for sponsoring the symposium. Finally, sincere thanks are due to Bina Chaudhuri, Esther Weissman, Bernice Littlewood, Myrtle Vepsala, and Blanche Beat, who have assisted in various ways in the preparation of this volume, and to the Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram of Pondicherry for permission to quote extensively from the works of Sri Aurobindo.
San Francisco October 15, 1958

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