Sunday, September 09, 2012

Sri Aurobindo synthesises the sacred and the secular

Dante, Marsiglio, and Machiavelli are widely perceived to have given secularism a fillip that was reinforced later through Feuerbach. Three Masters of suspicion, viz., Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx have further exacerbated the situation. No wonder, however, the world was jolted by The Tao of Physics (1975) by Fritjof Capra and The Dancing Wu-Li Masters (1979) by Gary Zukav. The intellectual ferment is on and Sri Aurobindo has a crucial role at this intersection. His stress on looking upon life as Yoga, though susceptible to be seen as a secular enterprise, is saved by the stipulation of “a supreme Grace from above that answers.” Such an overarching ontology helps us to broaden our horizon and enhance reliance on benevolence.

Practice of Yoga – Integral Yoga, in particular – is, basically, holding aloft a frame of mind and not merely meditation or silencing of thought. A metaphysics helps create this frame effortlessly so that energy is directed to more substantive sectors. Inadequate understanding of cosmology can cause confusion intermittently, thus thwarting progress. Therefore, “the knowledge is a whip” says Sri Aurobindo in the The Life Divine. It comes in snippets, no doubt, but facilitates forging a substratum over the years.

Harnessing poetry and poetic sensibilities to the path of Yoga is another distinctive aspect of Sri Aurobindo. Not only he highlights the power of the mantra, but also the transformative quality of aesthetics. Coupled with ethics, Yoga turns to be the quest for Truth, Good, and Beauty and conquest over Death. Through this harmonization of the sacred and the secular, Sri Aurobindo succeeds in resolving many contradictions posed by academicians. [TNM55]

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