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The false choice: reject or be annexed (Part 1) – Govind Nishar

by on May 13, 2012

REJECT Indian spiritual tradition or be annexed by it.

This is the false choice that the Filio/Hartz-led Western chauvinists of the Heehsian religion and their “native” (their own choice of word) mental slaves and collaborators have manufactured. The sole intent behind it is to justify their clumsy and indiscriminate attempt to hack away at all the living tissue connecting Sri Aurobindo to the spiritual tradition of India.

First they arbitrarily and unilaterally pronounce judgment on this tradition by imprisoning and limiting it to “the past”, as if it was never, or at least is no longer, a living, growing and evolving thing.

Secondly they cherry-pick certain sayings of Mother Sri Aurobindo, and mutilate or at least de-contextualize them to get support for their partial and distorted views.

Finally they ride piggy-back on the Divine and try to mis-represent thoughts and words expressive of their own totally personal, ideologically driven false prejudices (“rejection”) and phobias (“annexation”) against Indian spirituality as if these had issued forth from the Divine’s mouth.

In fact such hard dichotomous and bifurcating divisions are a holdover from a mental/vital European past that dominates the present, and a hallmark of a now archaic and primitive, but mistakenly labeled “modern”, Western intellectual training and indoctrination. In an obstinately paranoid and self-righteous manner it continues to bind the human soul to the apparently insurmountable logic of the “excluded middle”. In India, where mind has never been mistaken for the highest faculty available to man nor reason helplessly appointed the final arbiter of all disputes about truth and reality, it has always been deemed possible for something that seems true at an intellectual level to be false or at least only partially true at a higher level of consciousness.

In any case, one does not even need to ascend beyond mind to expose the fallacious and malicious distortions of this group. The basic principles and standards of rational thought are sufficient to dispel the insubstantial cloud-formations they have manufactured to obscure the plain and shining truth.

Let us examine closely a recent instance of distortion that they have employed to project, as the exclusive and absolute truth in the matter, their prejudices and phobias about Indian spirituality.

Just a few days back this group had issued the following statement [emphasis added]:

The sinister aim of Govind, Deshpande, and Co. is to dilute the force of Sri Aurobindo’s message by reducing it to a footnote to the Indian religious traditions of the past. They mean to achieve this by casting themselves as the Devas and us as the Asuras in a cosmic struggle between the religious traditions of India and the rationalism of the West. What drops out of the picture is the real Sri Aurobindo, along with the fact that He rejected both the rationalism of the West and the religious traditionsof the East. “The traditions of the past are very great in their own place, in the past,” he wrote in a letter to Dilip Kumar Roy (Sri Aurobindo On Himself, SABCL 26, page 122). There can hardly be a greater betrayal of Sri Aurobindo than annexing him to the traditions of the past.

The impression they want to give is that Sri Aurobindo considered these traditions, like them, completely obsolete with a relevance (place) only in the past. But they deliberately leave out the rest of the statement from Sri Aurobindo:

….but I do not see why we should merely repeat them and not go farther. In the spiritual development of the consciousness upon earth the great past ought to be followed by a greater future.

It should be clear even to the most basic level of simple mental understanding that Sri Aurobindo here does not mean to REJECT (their choice of word) the traditions of the past but to “GO FARTHER” (His own words this time) than these traditions have done. The prescription is against MERE REPETITION (His own words this time) of the past and against STOPPING SHORT at past spiritual realizations. In no way does this constitute a rejection. If anything this implies an embracing and inclusive transcendence of the essential truths of the past, something that the Integral approach of Mother Sri Aurobindo has always done without fail, and even a renewal of past lines of endeavor that had been dropped or had not found their full fruition.

We have therefore here a clear instance of de-contextualizing Sri Aurobindo’s words. If this statement is viewed in the context of (i.e. re-contextualized even further with) all the Work that has been done by Sri Aurobindo to recover the true meaning of the past realizations of Indian spirituality, obscured by an ignorant and un-illumined blind orthodoxy of letter-bound pandits and manipulated by sectarian philosophers and acharyas, but eternally enshrined in such works as the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads and much more pointedly, the Veda, then any such claim by others of an alleged rejection of Indian spirituality by Sri Aurobindo stands revealed as being deliberately disingenuous, monstrously and maliciously false. Even the discovery of the Supermind, Sri Aurobindo has stated clearly, began with an initial impetus from none other than Swami Vivekananda via inner communication during His incarceration at Alipore, almost in an aeonic symbol of the past passing on the baton to the future.

It is therefore an act of reckless malevolence to try and introduce an absolute separation between Sri Aurobindo and Indian spiritual traditions, a titanic falsehood to claim that Sri Aurobindo Himself somehow did the same by REJECTING it.

By any stretch or even contraction of the imagination Sri Aurobindo has risen far beyond anything witnessed in past traditions. The message of divinisation and trasformation is a totally novel one, a veritable revolution both in spiritual and evolutionary terms. But Moksha/Mukti, the liberation of the Soul and Self from its ignorant identification with the lower nature, has never been rejected. Indeed, the revolution consists of the revelation of the true goal of humanity as a step/leap beyond it in a terrestrial Siddhi, and to get to this perfection liberation is an indispensable step or at least an integral and essential element of that perfection. This liberation need not be arrived at only through traditional Indian spirituality for all the true essence of this tradition is already part and parcel of the Integral Yoga.

Nor is rejection of that tradition an essential pre-requisite to the terrestrial perfection envisaged by Mother Sri Aurobindo as these Western or Westernized xenophobes would have us believe. The Integral Yoga, it needs to be emphasized, is not an exclusive creed of the semitic religious variety, but an all-inclusive spiritual synthesis that conforms to the pattern of earlier such syntheses of the Indian spiritual tradition, such as the Upanishads, the Tantra and the Bhagavad Gita, as Sri Aurobindo Himself has pointed out in “The Synthesis of Yoga” .

And herein lies the subtlest of distinctions that Western supremacists would like to obscure. It is not Sri Aurobindo who is annexed to these traditions but the fundamental truths and the essential Yogic practices of these traditions themselves that are synthesized as a part of the body of revelation (Veda) and Yoga that Mother Sri Aurobindo have jointly bequeathed to all Their children irrespective of their personal background or origin in the life at hand.

The rejection by Heehs and his cohorts of what they falsely label as “religious” is really their rejection of Yogic things like psychic devotion and surrender, condemned as emotionalism or “impure” devotion i.e. religion. It is their rejection of an absolute, uncritical and unquestioning faith, something that is fundamentally abhorrent to these arrogant, self-conceited and self-satisfying intellectual self-promoters. It is their rejection of all other fundamental aspects of yoga opposed to the self-superior and domination-seeking forces of Western materialism and rationalism that they themselves represent. Since these yogic things, by definition, restrict the freedom of their egos, their vital ambitions and their intellectual “independence”, their prejudice against these manifests as “scholarly criticism”, as a defense of “freedom of speech” and hatred of the scary Indian “religious” tradition. It is only by getting rid of these “religious” things that these parasites can rightfully claim absolute freedom to abuse Sri Aurobindo and yet lord it over and lead a soft and comfortable life by feeding off the free grade A organic milk-fat flowing from His Ashram.

It is, therefore, thoroughly false and deliberately malicious for this group to PROJECT THEIR OWN PERSONAL REJECTION of Indian spiritual tradition on Mother Sri Aurobindo, clubbing all of it together in a sweeping generalization as the bogey-man of “religion”, and then forcing an artificial separation, a violent and extreme action in itself, between this tradition and Sri Aurobindo. One is bound to find all the essential fruits of traditional Indian spirituality in Mother Sri Aurobindo and the path to Them can certainly start, in fact does start, for most people from this tradition.

Even the Integral Yoga grounds itself in this tradition, for has not Sri Aurobindo proclaimed in a public declaration:

The teaching of Sri Aurobindo starts from that of the ancient sages of India that behind the appearances of the universe there is the Reality of a Being and Consciousness, a Self of all things, one and eternal. All beings are united in that One Self and Spirit but divided by a certain separativity of consciousness, an ignorance of their true Self and Reality in the mind, life and body. It is possible by a certain psychological discipline to remove this veil of separative consciousness and become aware of the true Self, the Divinity within us and all.

The words of the Mother that these people have cited make for equally unhelpful and disobedient premise for their outlandish claims, and this shall be the subject of a follow-up post.

Please read the follow-up part here.

Govind Nishar

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One Comment
  1. RY Deshpande permalink

    Very beautifully and forcefully stated. The Indian tradition is to create tradition. In its onward evolutionary march of spirituality nothing of spirituality of the past is rejected, but taken up to climb to yet higher and greater worlds of spirituality. The discovery of Sachchidananda, so to say, is as old as the Vedas and Upanishads, and it will be absurd to reject it because it is an old discovery. What is discovered are its new dimensions, new facets, new qualities, new possibilities that can come into manifestation, and this is always a continuing process; it is in the very soul of creative spirituality. Not only are new possibilities discovered or brought into existence; at times they are created with the intention of making them a part of the ever-growing world-process. Would Sri Aurobindo or the Mother reject Sachchidananda because it was already known to the past Rishis and Sages? Would their acceptance of what is ancient amount to they becoming fundamentalists? so too Vivekananda? In the reckoning of the hasty or halfy promoters of Enlightenment it seems to be so. Was Sri Aurobindo wasting his time in re-presenting the Gita or revealing the secrets of the Veda? Vivekananda speaking about the Raj Yoga?

    People get stuck with their propagandist notions of things, stuck essentially for self-advancement, without an element of the urge of a seeker of the inner or higher truth. Yet these quickies say that The Life Divine is an extension of the Isha Upanishad; most of the time they do so without reading The Life Divine and the Isha Upanishad, for instance Ashish Nandy and Pratap Bhanu Mehta, and certainly Gautam Chikermane of the Hindustan Times who seems to have been reprimanded by his management. About two months ago I’d proposed GC to discuss The Lives of Sri Aurobindo para by para and page by page; he got chickened out. Yet he keeps on talking about the glories of the dark Lives. It could be that he has been bought over by the pushers of the Lives which at that time he had not read. The media is known for propagating paid news and this could be a good case, as perhaps the TV show conducted a few weeks ago by Sagarika Ghose shows.

    Merrily label the opponents of the Lives as fundamentalists without reading the Lives or related criticism, and uphold falsehood under the specious slogan of Freedom of Expression which also is for them selective. If at the enlightened Bharat Niwas of Auroville, the City of the Future, police is going to be posted if somebody is going to give talks there, then these shining worthies prefer to keep themselves shut, forgetting everything about the Freedom of Expression—because it suits them. If to live in the shady sinister hemisphere of Sachchidananda is their glory then let it be so. If living in a nightmare of a sleeping Void is their happiness, let them enjoy it, without being fundamentalists in imposing it on others who have chosen to follow Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

    Let us read a passage from Savitri:

    In that high realm where no untruth can come,
    Where all are different and all is one,
    In the Impersonal’s ocean without shore
    The Person in the World-Spirit anchored rode;
    It thrilled with the mighty marchings of World-Force,
    Its acts were the comrades of God’s infinite peace.

    An adjunct glory and a symbol self,
    The body was delivered to the soul,—
    An immortal point of power, a block of poise
    In a cosmicity’s wide formless surge,
    A conscious edge of the Transcendent’s might
    Carving perfection from a bright world-stuff,
    It fi gured in it a universe’s sense.

    There consciousness was a close and single weft;
    The far and near were one in spirit-space,
    The moments there were pregnant with all time.

    The superconscient’s screen was ripped by thought,
    Idea rotated symphonies of sight,
    Sight was a fl ame-throw from identity;
    Life was a marvellous journey of the spirit,
    Feeling a wave from the universal Bliss.

    In the kingdom of the Spirit’s power and light,
    As if one who arrived out of infinity’s womb
    He came new-born, infant and limitless
    And grew in the wisdom of the timeless Child;
    He was a vast that soon became a Sun.

    A great luminous silence whispered to his heart;
    His knowledge an inview caught unfathomable,
    An outview by no brief horizons cut:
    He thought and felt in all, his gaze had power.

    He communed with the Incommunicable;
    Beings of a wider consciousness were his friends,
    Forms of a larger subtler make drew near;
    The Gods conversed with him behind Life’s veil.

    Neighbour his being grew to Nature’s crests.

    Is there any notion of it in The Lives of Sri Aurobindo? None.

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