November 22, 2007

Sri Aurobindo was deeply concerned with the problem of Indian Vedic Religion

Pujya Dr. K.C. Varadachari - Volume -2
Sri Aurobindo points out that the Spirit has two poises, the poise of Non-activity which supports the Activity, as well as the poise of Activity which cannot be totally severed. Spiritual activity embraces the secular, whereas secular activity inhibits the spiritual, because of its seeking to be particularised.
The divine life is therefore a spiritual inactivity, but is spiritual activity based on supreme peace. It is then that all activity exudes the peace that pervades all existence. In any case, if a divine humanity should be the goal of existence, then it becomes clear that we should divinise all activities or at least aim at it. If we concede that all is Spirit, that all is divine, even then it behoves us to remove all that obstructs that divine. If it is something that cannot be dissipated by mere textual knowledge, then it follows that this reverse activity or removal-activity should be cultivated. Sadhana becomes absolute condition, and sadhana is activity that uplifts.
It is of greatest interest to find that Sri Aurobindo was deeply concerned with the problem of Indian Vedic Religion as the most universal religion from which all religions, by a process of diversification and particularisation or localisation, had come into being.
Each one of them has emphasized one aspect, and by that fact had ceased to be capable of remaining universal, though the emphasis was for some time at any rate put forward as a universal truth. They can be universal truths without being at the same time comprehensive Truth. It is the ambiguity in the word universal that has lead to the deep misunderstanding. Universal means that which is for every one; universal also means that which comprehends all or includes all. This is what Svami Vivekananda also emphasized in respect of all religions other than the Vedanta which is parent of all; But no one has really presented fully this aspect.
Sri Aurobindo has further expounded the nature of evolution of the Spiritual Man in his Life Divine. Man evolves from the lowest to the highest via religion. The studies in comparitive religion work out themselves on the lines of social organisation from the tribal, communal, clan, national and then individual. Organized religions have this unit-character of sectarianisms. Tribal gods vie with each other to become national gods. But the truly intuitive and mystical experiences of the individuals constantly tend to liberate man from his boundaries. The religions remained private possessions, permitting no entry of new or alien members. However, the proselytizing religions had tended to embrace all mankind. This undoubtedly helped the concept of One God and one Humanity. Each human being therefore was given the chance to lose his private nature or merge himself in humanity. This was undoubtedly a great advance. But its basic defect was its emotional appeal rather than a rational appeal.
The age of reason induced this attempt at a universaling of religion by denuding it of its emotionalism. However the tendency has been to take an oblique turn towards approaching the heart of man through service of man, rather than liberating the understanding which has not become even to a little extent rational, appealing to the head or logic. Rationalistic religions which had intervened have provided certain basic lines of universal understanding of the problems of religion. But these have not succeeded beyond a certain limit. Man has begun to be alienated from both his heart and head. The ascent to a higher form of universalism than reason had become necessary. Neither emotionalism nor humanitarianism, neither reasoning logistically nor scientifi­cally, could satisfy the soul of man. A deeper level, or a higher truth, had to be found. This is the Spiritual level or the life of Spirit which transcends the levels of religion that we have known so far.
This was what was mooted by the Upanisadic seers as the Brahman or Absolute Spirit from whom alone mankind can receive its highest benediction. This is the Universal Godhead who is the meaning of all existence, intelligence - consciousness, and all delight. This is the spiritual principle which every individual must arrive at in his spiritual progress or evolution for such a person perceives all as One Spirit. As Sri Aurobindo puts it “ A diversity in oneness is the law of the manifestation, the supramental unification and integration must harmonize the diversities, but to abolish them is not the intention of the Spirit in Nature. (Life Divine p. 790 Am. ed.)
The study of the Aurobindonian approach to religion and spirituality reveals how the evolution of spirituality proceeds through several stages, and as it ascends, more and more of the truly spiritual gets manifested. Religions are institutions founded by great seers for the promotion of the orderly and harmonious development of man towards his highest destiny. It is of course a fact of great importance to realise that in a world of multiplicity, variety develops, and this itself imposes inequalities that tend to develop barriers or walls of separation which lead to conflicts of all sorts. The only solution to this problem, the only way to make these separative walls less opaque and movable or removable, is to develop the inward life, not of religion but of spirituality.
Hinduism claims this universal quality that belongs to the spirit. It makes meaningful the social organisation and the hierarchy of values for the gradual evolution of the divine type of man. The higher we go, the clearer becomes the vision that reveals the meaningful ness of progress, and the unity of the Spirit through all the diversity. Sri Aurobindo sees in all religions the impulse to move higher; but untouched by the ever descending spirit into lower formations, these religions tend to either break up or deteriorate into fanatical creeds to be sustained and supported by lower nature or emotion. That mystical religion is about the best which leads to an openness to the higher descent.
In the main lines of his thought Sri Aurobindo agrees with Svami Vivekananda. He agrees that at the present moment in the world’s history not only India needs the verification of its spiritual activity, which unfortunately was neglected by denial of all activity as inconducive to spiritual realisation, but demands the descent of the spiritual transcendent force. It would be wrong to introduce rajas, the material element into the body spiritual of India, but it is necessary to bring down the truly spiritual force - the supermind - or vijnana - which in one sense is the spiritual aspect of the original of the prakrtic rajas. It is the only force that can tame the rajas of the West and the tamas of the East, and uplift both to the transcendent state beyond even the sattva of prakrti. Table of Contents Prev Chapter Next Chapter All Books List

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