March 02, 2008

There was a cultured aggression in his approach

Prof Nadkarni, we do hear you — by Amartya Kumar Dutta
posted by RY Deshpande on Sun 02 Mar 2008 01:00 AM PST Permanent Link

Mangesh Nadkarni was a sadhak but he deliberately confined his study camps and lectures to an apparently intellectual approach to the study of Sri Aurobindo using primarily the language and idiom prevalent in the contemporary academic and cultural world. Dr Nadkarni’s task was focused: to spread something of Sri Aurobindo’s consciousness to “dark corners” of a certain type: the shallow confused minds in contemporary intellectual circuits, the modern versions of the Philistine so vividly described by Sri Aurobindo in The Human Cycle. He had a rich sense of humour and irony which he used to judiciously make sure that the audience do not lose their concentration.

There was a cultured aggression in his approach. Did not Sri Aurobindo say in a certain context: “Knowledge must be aggressive, if it wishes to survive and perpetuate itself...”

Dr Nadkarni was to rescue and restore some receptive minds before they get putrefied by the asuras in the mental world. For this mission, Prof Nadkarni’s academic achievements, professional stature, sharp intellect, vast scholarship and impressive personality made him a powerful warrior in the services of the Mother.

To those of us who are raw aspirants and students of Sri Aurobindo, staying geographically away from Pondicherry in an ambience that is mentally active but spiritually underdeveloped, Nadkarni’s lectures have imparted a clarity of thought and strength of intellect and made it possible that we hold more of Sri Aurobindo at least by way of intellectual illumination. This holds not only for his camps on Savitri and Gita but also on his thought-provoking talks and writings on miscellaneous themes like the Indian intelligentsia, the ideal of the Rishi and the ideal of the monk, India’s Destiny, and so on...

Those of us in the outside world, who have got identified as devotees of Sri Aurobindo in our respective social and professional world, have a responsibility to represent the ideals and works of Sri Aurobindo as faithfully as possible. We have to do it in two ways: whenever the occasion arises in our academic and social interactions,

  • we have to accurately represent Sri Aurobindo’s perspectives before people unfamiliar with his vision; and,
  • more importantly, we have to become worthy examples of his influence.

And, in this regard, Prof Nadkarni has been an example before us—at least for those of us in the “highly qualified” academic circles. The name “Nadkarni” stirs up not only the image of a gifted orator, a grand scholar and a bold and forthright commentator, but also the image of a kind human being who had been exceptionally considerate to all his acquaintances, irrespective of their stature...Keywords: SriAurobindo, Spirituality, Savitri, Mother, IntegralYoga, India, Ashram Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

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