15 Jun 2010

Comments on Nationalism, Terrorism, Fundamentalism, Delusion -- by R.Y. Deshpande

Extract from article:

It is a pity that Sri Aurobindo’s formulations and actions are totally misunderstood by the author of the repulsive The Lives of Sri Aurobindo when he makes a preposterous attempt to discredit Sri Aurobindo by saying this: “It is impossible to say anything certain about the success or failure” of Sri Aurobindo’s endeavor. In fact he goes farther and says that Sri Aurobindo’s success always seemed to elude him, if not delude him. He disbelieves that Sri Aurobindo succeeded in bringing down a new consciousness into the earth-consciousness. But this is plain stupid when one has no understanding of the occult-yogic aspects of the entire issue, aspects which have perhaps no concern for a historian as he claims himself to be one. There has to be some insight into them, preferably some experience or realization of them, before making any comment of the kind.

Comments on Nationalism, Terrorism, Fundamentalism, Delusion -- by R.Y. Deshpande

By whatever means…—Sri Aurobindo

I have spoken to you about many things. I have written about many things, about Swadeshi, Boycott, National Education, Arbitration and other subjects. But there was one truth that I have always tried, and those who have worked with me have also tried, to lay down as the foundation stone of all that we preached. It is not by any mere political programme, not by National Education alone, not by Swadeshi alone, not by Boycott alone, that this country can be saved. Swadeshi by itself may merely lead to a little more material prosperity, and when it does, you might lose sight of the real thing you sought to do in the glamour of wealth, in the attraction of wealth and in the desire to keep it safe. … Do not think that it is any particular programme or any particular method which is the need of the situation. These are merely ways of working; they are merely particular concrete lines upon which the spirit of God is working in a Nation, but they are not in themselves the one thing needful. … There is a great Power at work to help India, and that we are doing what it bids us. Often they do not understand what they are doing. … They have simply to obey that Power. They have simply to go where it leads them. They have only to speak the words that it tells them to speak, and to do the thing that it tells them to do. … God is doing everything. We are not doing anything. … This is a work God has asked us to do... He himself is behind us. He himself is the worker and the work. He is immortal in the hearts of his people. … In that way many have come to do what God bade them do and he knows which way to lead a man. When it is his will he will lead him aright.
This was in a speech Sri Aurobindo gave in Bombay in 1908. The 15 August 1947 Independence Day Message by Sri Aurobindo essentially has the same core contents in the national context.


Nationalism is something that has come from God

Nationalism is something that has come from God—prophetically, forcefully, and inspiringly avowed Sri Aurobindo in his public speeches and writings when he was actively engaged in the early Independence Movement of India, during 1905-10. The creed was: Nationalism must assert itself in every way of national life; not only that,—anything that comes in its way must be eliminated. No fuss or fetish was made about the means to be adopted to achieve the goal of Nationalism. But the means themselves had their origin in the nature of the Nation’s soul. To recognize it, and work in it and work for it—that is all that mattered. Nation’s freedom is for that purpose; nationalism is to serve that purpose. When there is strife, and deceit and fear, when tyrants rush in and divide the spoil, when the shadow of the truth suffocates the life of a nation, then the first concern is rising against the forces of oppression. In his affirmative nationalism that was one single focus in the life of Sri Aurobindo. Later also, in the context of India’s fractured freedom, Sri Aurobindo openly declared in his 15 August 1947 message that by whatever means it be, it must go—not only because the partition was a result of deceit, fraud and falsehood, but because that is the only way the nation can discover itself and make progress in every respect: “Nationalism will have fulfilled itself and lost its militancy and would no longer find these things incompatible with self-preservation and the integrality of its outlook. A new spirit of oneness will take hold of the human race. The unification is in the interest of all, and “only human imbecility and stupid selfishness can prevent it; but these cannot stand for ever against the necessity of Nature and the Divine Will.”

A certain type of mind in our midst fails to understand, if it understands to recognize, the central truth of the spirit of the Aurobindonian nationalism and freedom, its role in the progress of humanity, the central necessity propounded by Sri Aurobindo. It therefore hastily and unthinkingly makes Sri Aurobindo not just a reactionary but a terrorist. He had to deal with Mukherji-Banerji-Lethargy of the day, all steeped in the national inertia, and the fire of the soul had to be kindled. For that he chants the song of Bande Mataram, he chants her glory “Mother, Mother, with ten weapons in your hands”; he reminds us that “from age to age, in life after life, we come down into the human body, do her work and return to the Home of Delight. Now too we are born, dedicated to that work. Listen, O Mother, descend upon earth, come to our help.”

This is also what Tilak did. Shivaji and Ganesh celebrations were a part of national awakening which also included new education and social reforms. They had a complete social and national programme. But see the audacity! We have a historian here, an Ashramite for three dozen years, who puts these nationalists in the class of Al-Qa'ida! Armed revolution for a country’s cause is always accompanied by social reform, mass education, proposals for industrialization, cultural renaissance, and all that elevates the spirit of man, things that are always absent in terrorism.


Sri Aurobindo a Terrorist

Instead, what do we see? An Ashram inmate goes to the US and compares the approaches of Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo in India’s Struggle for Independence. This self-styled historian tells the audience that, Sri Aurobindo was associated with a group that adapted “terrorist methods”. But he conveniently ignores what Sri Aurobindo wrote in those days. Sri Aurobindo maintained that our position is not to secure a few privileges, but to create a nation of men fit for independence and able to secure and keep it. First is the necessity of seizing on any opportunity that arises of organisation or military training. If the regeneration of a nation is embodied in these writings, it is nothing but mental perversion to connect the early beginnings of the Struggle for India’s Independence as “terrorism” and directly or indirectly associate Sri Aurobindo with it.

It is a pity that Sri Aurobindo’s formulations and actions are totally misunderstood by the author of the repulsive The Lives of Sri Aurobindo when he makes a preposterous attempt to discredit Sri Aurobindo by saying this: “It is impossible to say anything certain about the success or failure” of Sri Aurobindo’s endeavor. In fact he goes farther and says that Sri Aurobindo’s success always seemed to elude him, if not delude him. He disbelieves that Sri Aurobindo succeeded in bringing down a new consciousness into the earth-consciousness. But this is plain stupid when one has no understanding of the occult-yogic aspects of the entire issue, aspects which have perhaps no concern for a historian as he claims himself to be one. There has to be some insight into them, preferably some experience or realization of them, before making any comment of the kind. This is absent which only makes the Lives yogically hollow and hence of no value while approaching the great Master-Yogi that Sri Aurobindo was. It is a greater pity that the present management thinks that such a person is rendering “invaluable” services to the Institution. In the context of the spirit of nationalism what ought to be recognized is the new birth Sri Aurobindo had given to the soul of a country. Instead he is branded as a “terrorist”.


Sri Aurobindo a Fundamentalist

And then we have Rich Carlson: “Although Sri Aurobindo, the founder of Integral Yoga formally eschewed couching his yoga in religion nevertheless, religious practices crept into the practices of its followers. It is in fact the transference of Hindu religious practices on to Integral Yoga which has facilitated a fascination of some of his followers with the fundamentalist rhetoric of today’s militant Hindu nationalism, Hinduvta.”

According to Carlson, the earliest evidence of Sri Aurobindo’s fundamentalism can be traced to his compositions during the political days: Hymn to Durga, Bhavani Bharati, Bande Mataram and conducting a periodical under that title, speeches proclaiming Sanatan Dharma which is equivalent to Hindutva, and so on. These were activities to effectively "rouse the masses with a religious frenzy", tells us Carlson. During his Baroda-Calcutta period, Sri Aurobindo “discovered and immersed himself in the text and practices of Hinduism,” says he. And continues: Later, both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother mimicked traditional forms of Hinduism and encouraged worship and deification. Such is the pseudo-rationalist’s approach towards a Yogi’s life and work. This approach of him in effect means that when one’s mind becomes active one should dismiss one’s heart, and vice versa. That is poor psychology.

The entire discussion therefore boils down to the question: Has Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga become a Religion? Perhaps the more basic, more appropriate question is: Can Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga at all become a Religion? This also assumes that we understand precisely what is meant by the word ‘Religion’ in its several ramifications, a thing which has not really been defined anywhere in these grandiose formulations, religion meaning different things to different people. In the absence of any clear and cogent understanding of these matters to talk of religious fundamentalism is to distort things, is to produce and propagate deliberate confusion in the minds of people. It looks that there are destabilising forces or elements active in their suspicious designs. These need be thwarted. That itself is an aspect of open-minded nationalism.


Sri Aurobindo a Deluded Fool

Then we have Dr Raghu afflicted by the disease called “intellectualites” to tell us something astounding, something very original. He is a strong and staunch supporter of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo,—and there cannot be any objection to it. But to say that Sri Aurobindo cherished “delusion” about curing diseases by "yogic force" is nothing but an act of ignorance giving rise to incurable stupidity. With derision he adds that Sri Aurobindo’s partial blindness for several years before his death was itself a proof about the quality of the supermind he had in his possession.

This "doctor", whatever his credentials, is, as we have a comment, at the very least an intellectual quack. Without the least bit of understanding or experience he takes on the whole subject of "yogic" powers and dismisses them summarily as a delusion. “Indeed, this smug little brain has used only one small section of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo to attack Sri Aurobindo, the disciples and Yoga in general. There is infinitely greater room for more such mischief based on other parts and passages in the book.”

Prof Raghu suspends his independent thinking and goes on to tell us that what the biographer has given us is too little. Let us take the following statement from the Raghus of the postmodernist world:

Any lunatic or deluded fool can rant and rave about ‘physical immortality’ and the like. It is only science which will ultimately discover the origin and the cessation of death. It will do so by discovering the physical causes of death and the physical means of overcoming or changing those causal factors. Yogic pipedreams, however inspiring, are simply that, pipedreams! Woe unto those who conflate pipedreams with real solutions!

Any lunatic or deluded fool can rant and rave about “physical immortality” and the like—and this is what Raghus of the postmodernist world upload on the world-wide pages of thought.

This is the Sri Aurobindo that has emerged from the creative but darkish studio of the Raghus of the postmodernist world, Sri Aurobindo a thoroughly deluded person, although here and there he made good contributions in the field of literature and thought.


And the Bazaar Blogs

From all these wise assertions the picture of Sri Aurobindo that emerges is alarmingly clear: that he was a terrorist, that he was a religious fundamentalist, that he was a lunatic or a deluded fool. Much of this has come to light thanks to the wonderful The Lives of Sri Aurobindo whose author had access to the invaluable documents in the Archives of the Ashram. Supermind or no Supermind, great discoveries are made and thanks to this tribe of the intellectuals… I’ll however leave things at this, but there are also those bazaar blogs named after Savitri who will tell me that I’m writing all this with an ulterior motive which I’m myself not aware of. Let it be so, if they consider the above conclusions of terrorism-fundamentalism-delusion and perhaps many more drawn by the Raghus of the postmodernist world as valid.

R.Y. Deshpande

9 June, 2010


Permanent link:

http://www.mirroroftomorrow.org/blog/_archives/2010/5/17/4529970.html#1321469

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