Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville: pregnant dialectic

[One may posit something similar for Sri Aurobindo (and the Mother) vis-a-vis the ashram and Auroville. The cultural nationalism in which the local self-governance of the ashram is founded needs to be seen as intentionally progressive in its engagement with a spiritual internationalism, as discursively elaborated in the text of The Human Cycle and The Ideal of Human Unity. The pratical basis for such a dialectic was set up by the Mother through the founding of the neighboring city-community of Auroville, based in its areligious trans-national ideals and political charter. But the necessary creativity which Chatterjee enjoins for engaging in ideas of self-critique and social transcendence or of dialectical synthesis towards the co-languaging of participating cultures, has unfortunately not been in evidence in either of these communities. A majoritarian discourse within the ashram has moved towards the espousal of local and national authoritarianism, cultural chauvinism and religious fundamentalism and a rejection of engagement with the ideals of plural self-governence; while Auroville has largely drifted towards the superficial anarchy of New Age practices tending towards the exotic rather than the questioning of human boundaries through trans-cultural dialog. The rupture in deep ashram-Auroville engagement and the current imbroglio wrt Peter Heehs and his biography of Sri Aurobindo are evidences of the painful difficulties of such a process but also of the poverty of creative spirituality bulldozed by majoritarian cultic orthodoxies and of personal interests exploiting such discourses for power and cultural capital. DB Re: Towards a Postcolonial Modernity: AsiaSource Interview with Partha Chatterjee Debashish Sat 04 Jul 2009 09:45 PM PDT]

A brighter facet of the Heehs imbroglio is that a generous reserve of much needed theorizing has generated with regard to the legacy of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. But Banerji’s acuity is often marred by blanket generalizations coupled with the animus he nurses currently. [TNM]

1 comment:

  1. ‘Auroville will become what it must be: only if and when the people living there will stop lying.’ The Mother, Mother’s Agenda, Vol. XIII, 18 Mar. 1973

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