Saturday, January 26, 2013

Algeria, Alipore, Dalijoda, Raebareli

In the post-anti-hagiography scenario, there is no one today with whom one can check satisfactorily whether an opinion on Sri Aurobindo is correct. Sri Aurobindo’s complex and extensive writings also turn it difficult for anyone to grasp what his exact views are. Besides, as his works are not available in chronological order, the range of his thought on a given day or over a week remain unfathomed. Buried in the Archives are precious details about his correspondents, their questions, their arguments, and their disagreements that spurred the Master’s replies. Shorn of the personal references, most letters present a drab picture that dehumanizes his long cloistered years. A treasury of sub-texts will surface once year-wise collections of Sri Aurobindo’s whole output appear. It would also unveil his motives and motivations in pursuing various streams of thought and zones of avoidance as well.

The Ashram, embroiled as it is in countless controversies at present, is incapable of taking any effective and swift step in this matter. There should be an independent national initiative to rescue the Archives from the clutches of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in order to reschedule its publishing programme and recast priorities. A transparent academic approach would be more suitable than the Kafkaesque vigil of some scheming pseudo-devotees. As a prominent historical figure of the last Century, Sri Aurobindo certainly deserves a better reception form the publishing industry.

The ontological perplexity that Raja Rammohan Roy was grappling with 200 years back cannot be said to have been resolved satisfactorily. Sri Aurobindo, 100 years later, attempted the same with aplomb in the pages of the Arya. But the dual Divine manifestation that he and The Mother constitute put all theory on shaky ground. Many feel content with the analogy and terminology derived from old religions, but what The Mother & Sri Aurobindo do is no repetition but breaking fresh ground. Thus, a neat cosmology or a metaphysical system is not what we expect from The Mother & Sri Aurobindo. Rather, a religious following with Nama-Japa as the anchor should be the springboard for a world-wide critical mass. What was hatched in Algeria or within Alipore Jail can well hail from the happy grafting at Dalijoda.    

Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy, refusing to toe the pro-establishment majority judgement, made some inspired observations in his dissenting verdict. His is a landmark utterance that forges Enlightenment values with the Religious urge within the confines of Indian Constitution. Like language, religion too evolves and there is no reason why one should remain tied to weird mythologies. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo, on the other hand, offer a futuristic alternative launched on a global platform. Moreover, religion is not about faith alone; politics, commerce, tourism, and education also impart considerable weight. But geographical contiguity is no longer a sure glue as technology-aided communication modes carry messages to any corner of the world.

So, there may not be many people who read Savitri or The Secret of the Veda; no point in pushing something down their throats. There may not be many takers for the elaborate explanations of various mind-levels that are considered integral to Yoga. But an affinity or a feeling of love for The Mother & Sri Aurobindo can well well up in most unexpected time or circumstance; no theory or prophecy can ascertain that. India must wake up to such a blessed moment; India must announce this happy discovery to the whole world. A bunch of youngsters can make it happen, no matter whether from Puducherry, Borivali, or Raebareli. [TNM55]

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