In the article that follows, Marcel Kvassay contrasts the spiritual Illusionism exemplified by Buddhism and Shankara’s Mayavada with the views of Sri Aurobindo, drawing on his major philosophical work, The Life Divine.
Along with Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo is increasingly appropriated by the Hindu right, as a champion or founding figure of “Hindutva,” an ideology that promotes religious opposition to non-Hindu sects, forms and practices. In his insightful piece, Debashish Banerji attempts to set the record straight. This co-option by the Hindu right has sought its support in certain texts of Sri Aurobindo — usually early nationalistic texts taken out of context and interpreted according to prevalent discourses of nationalistic religion. When these very texts are viewed in their historical context, they are seen to form part of what is known today as the colonial-national interchange.
Within this, Banerji distinguishes four distinct discourses, and it is the fourth to which Sri Aurobindo’ early speeches and writings essentially belong. This is constituted by the awareness that spirituality is part of the definition of the Human, which has been suppressed and neglected in the development of the progressive “logocentric” discourse of the Enlightenment, and that engagement in dialogue with this living potential of non-Western cultures can transform and enrich the world, and create a new future. Sri Aurobindo, then, was hardly a champion of any religious creed. He saw the life of religion in India as a plural field, as a culture of seeking, not a uniform religious body with fixed and rigid boundaries. Keywords: AntiMatters Posted to: Main Page
I was trying to point to the conditions for a wider opening in the contemporary age. To hold on to the wisdom of the seers etc. can be of help to you and me, but is unlikely to have any effect on the world at large. Here, Sri Aurobindo and Dayanada are exotic names hardly attracting a second glance. Of course, those who believe in them can create their own societies, but this will be labeled reservations of eccentrics. Into such reservations, cranks and fundamentlsists will be naturally attracted due to the lack of vitality, so as to control power.
Unless a language of dialog can be found, which puts such teachings into a dialectical relationship with existing paradigms, it hardly matters if this is The Truth. Like the parable of Plato's caves, such Truth will remain unknown. Sri Aurobindo has spoken of the supramental manifestation in terms of bringing down something and establishing it "among all the rest" to do its work there. "Among all the rest" it is only an alternative, though in a transcendental sense, it may be The Way.
If you and I are open to it, there is no one stopping us from following it, but we cannot expect it to become a general process for humanity unless the language is found to establish it. Indeed, in his own time, this is what Sri Auribindo attempted with the Secret of the Veda and the Life Divine, but such a language needs to be renewed in terms of its dialogic power in dynamic discourse. It is only through validation in the lives of people that the Truth can establish itself.
This is not a Truth that can be propagated through propaganda or myth-making. Many are doing that and it is doing more harm than good. But it can be lived and engaged in the contemporary world and that is the call of the hour.
Of course I agree. But the traditional mainstream academy is largely not willing to accept the validity of such paradigms because the inter-paradigmal language you speak of has not been exercised in contemporary times. Actually, this may not be the only or even the main reason. Though such a language is certainly needed, the mainstream academy is unlikely to accept it due to lack of courage and originality.
However, in contemporary academic practice in the US, there is much more openness to alternate academic approaches - ex. Naropa Institute, California Institute of Integral Studies, University of Philosophical Research, Maharshi University of Management Science are all accredited graduate schools.
However, though these schools are trying to introduce alternate consciousness based approaches in their curricula and research, the teachers who can teach the Vedic atma-jnana of Sri Aurobindo, Mother or Dayananda using the intra-paradigmal language are sorely lacking. Either the teachers of these subjects are stuck in a exclusionary vocabulary or they are not sufficiently well versed in the texts and their meanings. Reply