India's Rebirth by Sri Aurobindo

  • By Sri Aurobindo
  • August, 15 2001
  • 52960 views

Mid-1940s                                 Gita
I do not regard business as something evil or tainted, any more than it is so regarded in ancient spiritual India... All depends on the spirit in which a thing is done, the principles on which it is built and the use to which it is turned I have done politics and the most violent kind of revolutionary politics, ghoram karma, and I have supported war and sent men to it, even though politics is not always or often a very clean occupation nor can war be called a spiritual line of action. But Krishna calls upon Arjuna to carry on war of the most terrible kind and by his example encourage men to do every kind of human work, sarvakarmani. Do you contend that Krishna was an unspiritual man and that his advice to Arjuna was mistaken or wrong in principle? 

I do not regard the ascetic way of living as indispensable to spiritual perfection or as identical with it. There is the way of spiritual self-mastery and the way of spiritual self-giving and surrender to the Divine, abandoning ego and desire even in the minds of action or of any kind of work or all kinds of work demanded from us by the Divine… The Indian scriptures and Indian tradition, in the Mahabharata and elsewhere, make room both for the spirituality of the renunciation of life and for the spiritual life of action. One cannot say that one only is the Indian tradition and that the acceptance of life and works of all kinds, sarvakarmani, is un-Indian, European or Western and unspiritual.

August 15, 1947                        On Independence Day and his birthday too
India is free but she has not achieved unity, only a fissured and broken freedom… The old communal division into Hindu and Muslim seems to have hardened into the figure of a permanent political division of the country. It is to hoped that the congress and the nation will not accept the settled fact as for ever settled or as anything more than a temporary expedient For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even crippled: civil strife may remain always possible, possible even a new invasion and foreign conquest. The partition of the country must go, -it is to hoped by a slackening of tension, by a progressive understanding of the need of peace and concord, by the constant necessity of common and concerted action, even of an instrument of union for that purpose In this way unity may come about under whatever form-the exact form may have a pragmatic but not a fundamental importance. But by whatever means, the division must and will go. For without it the destiny of India might be seriously impaired and even frustrated. But that must not be.

1947 (?)                     Me impotent moralist or weak pacifist!
In some quarters there is the idea that Sri Aurobindo’s political standpoint was entirely pacifist that he was opposed in principle and in practice to all violence and that he denounced terrorism, insurrection, etc., as entirely forbidden by the spirit and letter of the Hindu religion. It is even suggested that he was a forerunner of the gospel of Ahimsa, This is quite incorrect. Sri Aurobindo is neither an impotent moralist nor a weak pacifist.

The rule of confining political action to passive resistance was adopted as the best policy for the National Movement at that stage [in 1905 and after] and not as a part of a gospel of Non-violence or pacifist idealism. Peace is a part of the highest ideal, but it must be spiritual or at the very least psychological in its basis; without a change in human nature it cannot come with any finality. If it is attempted on any other basis (moral principle or gospel of Ahimsa or any other), it will fail and even may leave things worse than before.

Sri Aurobindo’s position and practice in this matter was the same as Tilak’s and that of other Nationalist leaders who were by no means Pacifists or worshippers of Ahimsa.

April, 1950                Chinese threat
In Asia a more perilous situation has arisen, standing sharply across the way to any possibility of a continental unity of the peoples of this part of the world, in the emergence of Communist China. This creates a gigantic bloc which could easily englobe the whole of Northern Asia in a combination between two enormous Communist Powers, Russia and China, and would overshadow with a threat of absorption South-Western Asia and Tibet and might be pushed to overrun all up to the whole frontier of India, menacing her security and that of Western Asia with the possibility of an invasion and an over running and subjection by penetration or even by overwhelming military force to an unwanted ideology, political and social institutions and dominance of this militant mass of Communism whose push might easily prove irresistible. In any case, the continent would be divided between two huge blocs which might enter into active mutual opposition and the possibility of a stupendous world-conflict would arise dwarfing anything previously experienced….

November, 1950
This world is not really created by a blind force of Nature even in the Inconscient the presence of the supreme Truth is at work; there is a seeing Power behind it which acts infallibly and the steps of the Ignorance itself are guided even when they seem to stumble… In this vast and apparently confused mass of existence there is a law, a one truth of being a guiding and fulfilling purpose of the world-existence.

June 6, 1967 (a communication from Aurobindo to Mother)

All the countries live in falsehood.
If only one country stood courageously for truth,
The world might be saved.

Let us reiterate our commitment to Kshatriya Dharam, make our politicians learn to make Bharat stand up to the world, be economically strong with fully equipped armed forces.

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