Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Sri Aurobindo might be wrong on AIT
Various remarks by Sri Aurobindo lend credence to the popular notion that most of his writings were direct transmissions of some higher inspiration. Without going into the veracity of such a thesis and keeping in mind the sentiments of the kind of sceptics that Heehs respects, we take the view that the writings of Sri Aurobindo must be subjected to utmost critical scrutiny and weighed for its actual worth. That he wrote a Century back is no excuse nor his lack of access to the books being published at the time he was writing. What and how much we get from Sri Aurobindo in concrete terms today is what matters. The rest can be relegated to literary circles to be read and enjoyed at leisure. Of course, his plays and poems are also replete with thoroughgoing philosophies. His creative commentaries on scriptures too echo thoughts from distant lands and times.
If his views on AIT are at variance with current empirical findings, then we should have no hesitation in differing with him. Or, if his neglect of Islamic thought is disconcerting for some, we must be willing to make amends. The point is avoiding literalism is a must and treating the entire work of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo as frozen in time is erroneous. Further, the rise of Hindutva in the echelons of power would focus more on Sri Aurobindo's utterances supporting it. Disabusing the public of such misuse of his thought and selective citations needs vigilance and prompt response.
The Ashram, unfortunately, is blissfully oblivious of these tasks and prefers to hide behind the rock-edict that We don't prescribe or proscribe. That's well and good but its Wellwishers have started advising the netizens which websites they shouldn't visit. The controversy over editing of Sri Aurobindo's works including Savitri falls purely in the academic domain. But by stoking it with personal hatred and internal power-struggle, the Ashram Trust is causing colossal damage to the reputation of Sri Aurobindo. It's hoped that the new Govt. at the Centre will find an early solution to the logjam. [TNM55]