Tuesday March 19, 2019

Aurobindo: The spiritual revolutionary who severed the thread of the global power structure



By Gaurav Sharma

India has always birthed and mothered great souls, which have transformed the landscape, not just the hard boundaries defining geographical territories, but also the subtle frameworks ‘encaging’ the mind.Amongst the countless architects of Indian, the mystical figure of Aurobindo stands out par excellence.Born in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, on 15 August 1872, Aurobindo Ghose was a multi-faceted personality whose contributions spanned the length and breadth of human activity.

The well-rounded education Scholastic years

In the early phases of his childhood, Aurobindo was exposed to a typical English education encompassing elements of French, Latin and Greek thought processes and ways of working. Aurobindo also acquired a familiarity with Italian and German languages.

Besides secular education, Aurobindo was also subjected to particulars of religion. However, the Christian teachings that were propounded during his education generally bored him to the extent of repulsion.

Under the tutelage of Reverend W.H Drewett, Aurobindo developed a distaste and disgust for religion, viz-a viz the evangelical strictures.

At this juncture, the very thought of religion made his stomach churn so much that he considered himself as an atheist but later affirmed agnosticism.

After completing his academic education, Aurobindo took the Civil Service Exams in England, with an aim to fulfill his father’s aspirations. Coming out with flying colors, Aurobindo scored an impressive ranking of 11 out of 250 competitors.

His lack of interest in the profession, however, meant that he appeared intentionally late for the practical exam, thereby disqualifying himself from the service. Subsequently, he moved to India by securing a place in the Baroda State Service.

Professional struggle culminates into political rebellion

After working for the Survey and Settlement Department and serving the Department of Revenue and the Secretariat in Baroda for some years, Aurobindo undertook a variety of miscellaneous jobs like teaching grammar, writing speeches for the Maharaja, teaching part-time French and managing schools.

Apart from teaching students, Aurobindo taught himself Sanskrit and Bengal. Writing was also one of the multifarious talents that Aurobindo harbored and put into great use. At the nascent stage, Aurobindo contributed articles to the Indu Prakash, a Marathi-English daily of Bombay, but later expanded his writings through self-started journals and papers.

Soon, Aurobindo became deeply interested in the freedom struggle of India, becoming one of the pioneering leaders in India’s fight for independence.

With a burning patriotic desire in his heart, Aurobindo started taking interest in politics and became actively engaged in underground political activities. He was already influenced by the study of revolutionary ideas (revolts in America and Italy), which expounded rebellion to overthrow colonial rule.

Before embracing extremism in toto, Aurobindo participated as a convener in forming the principles of Swadeshi, Swaraj, Boycott and National Education.

A meeting with extremist leaders, such as Lokmanya Tilak, however, made Aurobindo question his views on the methods required to guarantee India’s freedom.

He started organizing various resistance groups in Bengal and also funded the military training of Jatindra Nath Banerjee. Travelling extensively to Bombay, Baroda and Pune, Aurobindo beefed-up the support for the nationalist cause by meeting various other groups and organizing nationalist speeches.

The “visit” of Swami Vivekananda sparks a spiritual evolution

A year later in 1908, the bombing in Alipore led to the incarceration of Aurobindo. While in solitary confinement, Aurobindo witnessed a mystical experience in which he was “visited” by Vivekananda.

“It is a fact that I was hearing constantly the voice of Vivekananda speaking to me for a fortnight in my solitary meditation and felt his presence,” Aurobindo is known to have remarked on his experience in Alipore jail.

After being released from prison, Aurobindo started two new publications ‘Karmayogin’ in English and ‘Dharma’ in Bengali.

‘To my Countrymen,’ an article published in ‘Karmayogin’ specified Aurobindo’s retirement from political life and signaled his ascent into spiritual life.

He soon moved to Pondicherry and immersed himself in the reclusive practice of Yoga. After intense and secluded application of Yoga practice, Aurobindo started a philosophical magazine called ‘Arya.’

The publication, which ceased operation in 1921, was revised and eventually transformed into book form. This included a rich corpus of philosophical and experiential knowledge in the form of The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, Essays on The Gita, The Secret of The Veda, Hymns to the Mystic Fire, The Upanishads, The Renaissance in India, War and Self-determination, The Human Cycle, The Ideal of Human Unity and The Future Poetry.

A humanistic view of Spirituality

Aurobindo vision of spirituality was grounded in the concept of unity of humanity. He challenged the theory of evolution by highlighting its limited scope of reason and arguing that life was already present in matter.

In his book, The Ideal of Human Unity, Aurobindo explained how humanity could be united.

According to Aurobindo, national egoism in the name of patriotism was the major reason for division of people and propelling of wars.

Commercially driven nations were most likely to conflict again over control of markets and wealth. He pointed out that unrestricted commercialization would inevitably lead to “stupendous military organizations” and unbridled hunger for power.

The spiritual stalwart unabashedly summed up modern war as “the bastard offspring of wealth-hunger and commercialism with political ambition as its putative father.”

The only way the world could survive was by realizing the “religion of humanity.”  Violence could be stymied when people transcended the commercial interests by using a spiritual motive to subordinate their political and economic objectives.

The sacredness of life, irrespective of the distinctions of caste, color, creed, religion, social advancement, political affiliations and national boundaries would be the prime uniting factor for humanity.

“Supra-natural” oneness was to be the plank on which a peaceful human society was to be built. The spiritual effects would not only transform the physical, psychic, intellectual and the ethical aspects of an individual, but would lead to a “super-conscious” society and culture.

The religio-spiritual fervor of Aurobindo cascaded beyond the narrow limiting boundaries invented by man, embracing the whole humanity into its widespread, loving arms.

Perhaps, Aurobindo holds the anodyne for uniting the apparently diverse populace that characterizes democratic nations in the globalized world today.

Next Story

Victims of Self-Serving Mamata And Her Outrages

Bengal CM could not yet identify who really "protects" the country and who really endangers the country.  Here the big irony is that Didi’s “unconstitutional misdeeds”;  her outright cruelty towards some and preferential treatment towards others hardly hit the headlines and  nor is she brought into question.

Mamata Banerjee
If one sincerely analyzes the postures and gestures of Ms. Mamata in her tenure of the past 15-year, one just becomes deeply apprehensive.


How does one describe the tantrums that have often been thrown by W. Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee? Much has been heard of her insincere rhetoric. But they are just accepted as politically correct. She has larger section of elite fraternities who have fallen for her, and her “likes” and “dislikes”. Therefore, no outcry of protest even when Rohingyas were welcomed by Didi. Instead, many hearts melted and sympathies were expressed. ‘They are tortured and deported from Myanmar, so India should be kind to provide them the shelter on humanitarian ground’ – this narrative of humanity was tactfully put forth while other activists kept mum. Here in India people are smart and know well how to juggle with“silence and noise”.

A few days back Didi has begun a sit-down drama with the gaze towards the Center. WB CM in her flip-flop has now willfully stepped on the toes of the very constitution of the country. She had also unchained the police forces and set them on CBI! What does one call if the sit-in strike is by CM and the Police officers together against the Central Government? This strange dharna has been dubbed by Mamata’s allies as a Dharma. Never was the chit-fund less fun for the CM and her followers though it brought countless poor people to grief. Lakhs of families have had fallen into ruin. SIT is just an eyewash.

A few days back Didi has begun a sit-down drama with the gaze towards the Center. WB CM in her flip-flop has now willfully stepped on the toes of the very constitution of the country.

If one sincerely analyzes the postures and gestures of Ms. Mamata in her tenure of the past 15-year, one just becomes deeply apprehensive. Her intense love for the votes has long soiled her sacred Sari. And her love for the currency “notes” has apparently driven away the saintly soul which she often claims to carry. Of course, she shrewdly capitalized on her sainthood from the very beginning, but mostly for the wrong ends.

Without a sense of guilt, she had sent the brute force to the Hills in 104 days of bandh that left 13 Gorkha citizens dead. Many of those killed were also the “siblings” of the soldiers that are now protecting the nation from the enemy, standing day in day out along the rugged and icy Indo-Pak boarders. Bengal CM could not yet identify who really “protects” the country and who really endangers the country. Under the instruction of DIDI the Bengal police forces in Siliguri had blocked even the essential food items to Darjeeling. All leaders have turned their back on the aggrieved Gorkha people who have been crying for the identity and land for over a century. Nor any efforts are made by the media to assess the real plight of the aggrieved Hills’ people. However, Didi’s heart always goes out to the guests from across the broader whom she has brought in millions and awarded them the first-class citizenship. Here the big irony is that Didi’s “unconstitutional misdeeds”; her outright cruelty towards some and her preferential treatment towards others hardly hit the headlines and nor is she ever brought into question.

Didi has a brigand of other colleagues who carry the same ideas, same agendas, and the same mission.

Well, Didi has taken many such steps that have already started to “pose” potential threats to the original Bengali. It is quite clear now that she has “sown” the seeds that are going to be grown into the jungle of nettles. They will surely and hurtfully sting not only the body but the heart and soul of the citizens of West Bengal and other states. What with her TMC Cadre? They are legitimatized goons, the most beloved in the state.  Hardly any FIRs are accepted against TMC’s misconducts and brutalities.

Also Read: Students From Abroad Must Come to India For Higher Studies, Says PM Narendra Modi
Now coming back to the present case. Today Didi looks intensely fearless, she has been very emboldened. She even openly challenges the enforcement machinery from the Center. Making gross misinterpretations of the constitution is what she is exceptionally good at.  Many federal guidelines and regulations are just non-existent for the present West Bengal.  No wonder, Didi has a brigand of other colleagues who carry the same ideas, same agendas, and the same mission. This only makes her more invincible and more ferocious. True, soon after the unprecedented standoff between Police and CBI, Didi has received bountiful best wishes from Rahul, Sitaram Yechury, Chandrababu Naidu Mayawati, Mulayam Singh, Lalu Pd Yadav, Kejriwal, et al.

   Please kindly note, her well-wishers also include those forces who want to see India being broken to pieces. Here one wonders when people could tell apart Didi’s Sanyasini outfit and her true character. Let’s be smart before it is too late, else the country is never going to be in safe hands.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali.