Thursday, September 02, 2021

Sri Aurobindo needs to be read carefully

Yesterday, I got my second dose and was feeling elated. Coming home, we four were discussing various things and, as is my wont,  I started recounting different events in the bank when I was in service a quarter century back. Later, I felt that I'm unable to recollect certain names, mixing up things, or may be exaggerating certain situations to amplify effect. Such things are common in group conversations and therefore the idiom pinch of salt.

Exaggeration, rhetoric, or rather polemics are pardonable for commoners but when it comes to Sri Aurobindo, the subject becomes sensitive. Peter Heehs had the audacity to publish that Sri Aurobindo leaving Kolkata had other prior connections than what he designated as a sudden Adesh. He brought many more examples to light in his book which unfortunately remains banned in India.

There's no denying the fact that there are many inconsistencies in Sri Aurobindo's letters with regard to his own life. In conversations, the degree of inaccuracy may be greater. Thus, quoting him out of context has many hazards. it's not surprising as they cover a period over five decades. Adding due references to quotations can give a better representation.

Sri Aurobindo has transformed many characters in his poetry which also amounts to distortion. In any case, his philosophy of the supermind itself is an overpromise sans any signs on the ground till now. “Sri Aurobindo: Superman or Supertalk,” Claude Alvares had once asked. However, how one is inspired by his writings and finds value in them is rather a more important aspect. An article on Indian Literary Renaissance concentrates on the positive side.

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