Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sri Aurobindo's explorations in Consciousness for AI forays

Those of us who accept The Mother & Sri Aurobindo as Divine manifestations are numerically very few. So, let us accept the fact that there is a vast majority who are not aware about them and among those who are aware, most are averse to the divinity idea. Well, that's an ideal situation as The Mother & Sri Aurobindo were never in favour of erecting another faith-based religion or a new edition of any existing one. 

However, there is no escape from the fact that their following has already turned a conspicuous and significant religion. Understanding the dynamics of both these realities is important, not only from the point of view of evolution of religions, but also relevance and success of Hindutva's charm offensive. An honest appraisal will go a long way in dispelling many misunderstandings and saving the young generation from disinformation campaigns.

Those who are reluctant to accept the divinity of Sri Aurobindo should have studied his philosophy but, unfortunately, this has not happened. At least, they should have studied the works of those who had thorough understanding of Sri Aurobindo. But that has not happened, either. Rather, in most cases, one gets the impression that Sri Aurobindo has either been ignored completely or mentioned, just in passing. This pattern continues despite the fact that Hindutva has foregrounded Sri Aurobindo, considerably, during the last couple of years. Two consequences follow: 1) Most people stick to their thumbnail sketches of Sri Aurobindo, and 2) most others simply dismiss him as a godman. Needless to mention that both arise out of insufficient awareness of Sri Aurobindo.

Then comes the task of locating where exactly the fault lies. Instead of laying the blame at the door of others, it would be proper to examine what exactly do we offer and how far they are palatable to the consumer. Those who worship The Mother & Sri Aurobindo are not very particular about spreading their faith among others and, as a result, very few people get to know about them. But the knowledge content should be the medium through which their message should reach a much wider audience. So, this needs to be probed dispassionately.

Nationalism is the first and foremost sector by which Sri Aurobindo is known widely but his alleged image of an escapist makes many to be prejudiced against him. Further, his supposed involvement with armed revolution is anathema for worshippers of ahimsa. A third objection is his acquiescence to and encouragement of the depiction of country as Divine Mother leading to corruption of the secular idea, the pernicious effects of which are reverberating even today. No doubt, these are contested subjects and consensus can hardly be arrived at on how appropriately they are perceived. But, these don't pose any substantial difficulty to those who are adequately conversant with Sri Aurobindo's life story and his own clarifications.

Challenges, however, are elsewhere. A strand from Sri Aurobindo's Nationalism, for instance, is often traced to his philosophy and yoga. Integral monism or All that is is Brahman finds its echo in the concept of a completely dedicated worker for the country, to be later expressed as All life is Yoga. Although, many streams of influences operated at the lime like Bankim's Anushilana and Vivekananda's renunciation, Sri Aurobindo's theorisation makes a compelling case regardless of its actual effect. Present day scholars pick on such specialities of Sri Aurobindo in order to use him as a "whipping boy" as per their whim. No wonder, prejudices pile up against him. But the truth is that Sri Aurobindo has to his credit (or, discredit) different versions of ontology. Like, Gita's Avatar has no sign in The Life Divine. So, pinning down Sri Aurobindo is not that easy.

Such instances are many and, by and large, have been documented, by now. So, passing over to the next crucial task of taking the bull by the horn should be our concern. It is spirituality or a more precise description is all that The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have written for the sake of spiritual growth of one who follows their path. When judged from the angle of a college student with multifarious burdens and concerns, they seem to be superfluous. But the fact that young men are being mobilised by different political factions and ideologies, the teachings of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo seem as the right avenue. However, recognising its merit through one's own power of discrimination is a tall order but let's keep faith on human cognitive power.

The final point is utilitarian. There have been criticism of arrogating scientific justification to various fields of Indian tradition, and often justifiably so. But when we read Sri Aurobindo's explorations in Consciousness are proving to be of tremendous consonance to latest research in neuro-psycology, then it's a matter of pride for all Indians. If we keep all political and poetic achievements of Sri Aurobindo aside, his contributions to the Consciousness studies should be recognised as pioneering and outstanding. Not to mention its implications for AI forays in the future. So, from a very practical point of view, studying Sri Aurobindo should appeal to the youth, right away. [TNM55]

Misc. References:

The Political Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo - Page 474
Aurobindo, C. R. Reddi National Prize message, 218 Aurobindo's message on August 14, 1947, 171fhAurobindo's message on Cripps' Offer, 170fn ... philosophy of history, 1-134 Aurobindo's philosophy of socialism, 327-44 Aurobindo's philosophy of state, 285-97 Aurobindo's programme for NationalistParty, 168fn ...

Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy of Social Development - Page 35
This, however, does not mean that Para-Brahman negates all these since in a sense Para-Brahman isall this and all this is Para- BrahmanAll this seems to be beyond the comprehension of the intellect, since Para- Brahman cannot be reached by mental dialectic. Sri Aurobindo has reached it through yogic consciousness  ...

The Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo - Page 6
Rāmacandra Miśra - 1998 - ‎Preview
1 Sri Aurobindo calls his system Advaita for the reason that he regards Brahman or the Absolute as one and the fundamental reality. ... It reconciles all the opposition between Infinite and Finite, One and Many, Being and Becoming, Indeterminate and Determinate or nirguna and saguna and so on as we will show in a ...

Modern Indian Interpreters of the Bhagavad Gita - Page 64
Robert Neil Minor - 1986 - ‎Preview - ‎More editions
Aurobindo equates the deity Krishna with Brahman, identifying him with the "imperishable, undefinable, unmanifest" which the Gita actually teaches is, inferior to ... Nationalism And The Gita's SilenceAurobindo's interest in the political situation in India continued to grow until he became, from 1905-1910, one of the major  ...

Hindutva: Exploring the Idea of Hindu Nationalism
The Aitareya Brahmana, III. 11 says: 'Forward the Spiritualauthority, forward the Temporalpower! Unto their Union.' Aurobindo conflated the ideals exemplified in the scriptures; the Kshatriya was a feminine principle in the marriage of the sacred realm (brahma) and the kingly realm (kshatra). This balance of the sacred and ...

No comments:

Post a Comment