Thursday, September 22, 2011

Federation of free religions

Postmodernism, they say, can't be defined; but one of its key features is diversity as against the utopian universalism espoused by Modernity as well as Perennial Philosophy. Marxist movement, too, was afflicted by this adolescent idealism and hence bit dust.

It is essential, therefore, to parse carefully what Sri Aurobindo says and intends and not playfully mix his aphorisms with more serious utterances. To look at his whole body of oeuvre as a seamless unitary treasury from which one may pick and choose at will and convenience, is another folly of universalism.

Following Kant, Sri Aurobindo recommends a Federation of free Nations. He never prohibits birth of new religions, and looking at humanity as a federation of free religions, by the same token, is not only legitimate but also desirable. Since religions are not going to vanish any time soon, it's perhaps better to make peace with them.

The vision of the Life Divine, admittedly, has universalist qualities, but even there, Sri Aurobindo never forgets to enumerate the diverse forms of human activity and social systems. An humble appreciation of these compassionate pronouncements can heal us of the haughty ideological muddle many of us suffer from. [TNM55]

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