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Pujya Dr. K.C. Varadachari - Volume -4



The philosophy and the personality of Sri Aurobindo have been before the world-public for well nigh quarter of a century. They have revealed meaning to us – the goal towards which mankind has been moving. That goal is the perfection of the individual in the context of world purposes. The dignity of the human individual which has received such great emphasis and attention in recent times has a source and goal other than the human individual as we know him in the history of human development. Man is seeking ends of perfection and peace, of unity and unifiedness, of values and worthiness. The great ideals of mankind were started again and again by the mystics on the one hand and perfectionists on the other. There have been men who have sought immortality in the physical body and held this to be the goal to be aimed at – alchemists and siddhas have been many. Evolutionists have added their own strength to this belief – mankind is to be transcended and the goal of evolution is the beyond-man, or the Superman. Man is the link towards godhood. The earth itself is the place for making of the gods. The ideals of liberty for man, equality of all men, and the fraternity of all have been adumbrated by the politicians following  on the footsteps of religious mysticism. But how man himself could achieve these ideals or realise them has been the problem.


Religious ideals seem to demand the climate of renunciation of all life-values, such as wealth, power and comfort. Everywhere the saints preferred to go to the desert and attain their liberationas well as their communion with God or the Absolute of Religion. This is the wisdom (((viveka) that supports the renunciation (vairagya) and liberates from the bondage of the world, its fears and terrors and sorrows. But political life as well as ethical life demand the actualisation of the ideals in the context of the society – human society. Political ideals and religious ideals seem to need each other and in fact we have the  great attempts to bring down the ideals of religion into the context of political and social life, this being thought of as the bringing down of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. A student of political history can discern this continuous process by which the mystico-religious tradition has attempted to influence and modify the political and social life of peoples. The relation between the Church and the State has been characterised by unity, conflict and dictatorship of one or the other. There is however no solution to their problems-intractable is the one word by which their relationship could be characterised. This conflict could not be got over in any region of the globe. Modern studies of history on the globe scale as well as on the  anthropological scale have confirmed the law of inevitable conflict between the religious ideals and the political and social ideals. The reason has been shown to be the notion of power-its essential dialectic as well as its essential nisus towards indivisibility. Humane efforts to solve these tensions with the help of the reasons which seeks unity and harmony of ethical and religious interests with the political power-interests have borne fruit undoubtedly in the several constitutions drafted. But the ideal seems to be receding all the while. Man has come to a point where something more than legalistic devices of mutual control of checks and balances is necessary to secure smooth social functioning.  The entry of the economic into the field of politics boded the disappearance of the religious-the conflict finally had become the conflict between the economic (materialistic) ideals of equality and liberty and the religious (spiritual) ideals of equality, liberty and fraternity. 


We are today striving to solve this conflict, easy enough as it should be because linguistically the ideals seem to be the same for the materialist and the spiritualist (idealist). This however is not possible for we find today that the materialists themselves are betraying their inevitable tendency to disintegrate into sects and factions even as the religious aspirations have tended to divide and sub-divide themselves. As Sri Aurobindo states this is the flaw of the materialistic mind of our intellect itself which is following the curve of matter. So any attempt to solve the present conflict between the materialist and spiritual factors should have to seek the aid of higher-than-intellect – namely, intuition and supermind. Man’s rationality which has been such a great help for his evolution has come to that point where it has to become transformed into a higher faculty or be substituted by it. Surely this appears to be almost an expression of a deep pessimism about the power of our reason and our consciousness. Many have been and are the critics who think that this call to a higher-than-reason is a betrayal of a most faithful ally and servant in our evolutionary struggle. These critics identify the intellect with man and his dignity and resolutely refuse to take the help of the more stable and satisfying function and power within man, that deeper and profoundly unifying force which lies within man himself, namely, the divine insight and inspiration which formulated in such blazing light the basic call to universal harmony and peace through the practice of fraternity, from which flow equality of opportunity and liberty of individual development.


Today we are convinced that the deep and abiding function or power of our consciousness to seek ideals owes its strength to the Consciousness above it. It is cosmic consciousness, integral vision, and unifying insight. The utilisation of this Consciousness, beyond our reason and intellect is the necessity. The discovery of this instrument of being is our present urgent concern. Its truth-nature  has been testified to by scores of saints and prophets all the world over. Instead of depending on the divisive intellect or reason that creates more problems that it solves and is today at the service of lower instincts which are still more divisive, man must seek out this higher-than-intellect, the supermind, to solve his problems of living and  being.


The ideal of human unity can be realised only when men begin to work in and through the higher-than-mind-and-intellect  in all their work. Just as philosophers began by distrusting their senses and depended on their reason for determining the nature of truth or truth itself and reality,so too man has to realise more and more illusory problems and solutions. The world of maya is not only sovereignly ruled by sense but by intellect as well.  Ignorance not only persists in the realms of intellectual thought but deepens out the shadows of illusion. As the Ishopanishad states knowledge leads to greater darkness as it were—tato bhuyaiva te vidyayagm ratah—.


            The ancient thinkers had acknowledged the Ultimate superiority of the Revelational knowledge contained in the scriptures, especially the Veda in India.  Its paramount purpose was to reveal the Ultimate Reality in its eternal or true nature and also to help the attainment of freedom from death and immortality.  These goals are the Ultimate goals of man, everywhere. Sri Aurobindo acknowledges this primacy and sovereignty of the apta-vacana or Veda.  But what he really has done in modern times is to reveal that this mode of apprehension of Reality as it is in itself is not to be the peculiar and unique position of saints but of all aspiring humanity.  It is something that has to be sought after seriously. Even as the elan for survival through adaptation to the challenging environment has produced the evolutionary process upto man, it is possible to urge mankind itself onward by striving after this new organon or instrument to transcend man.  Human survival is possible only through this seeking of the higher-than-mind, to be divinised entirely in all one’s parts.  Not only should man be remade but also transformed into divine Nature.


            The dynamics of this process is Yoga through integral surrender or total dedication to the supermind or God Himself.  This union with God through surrender and total offering of oneself immediately makes for the descent of this superconscious or supramental force into one’s Nature and gradually begins to transform him.  Similarly it brings about dynamic changes in the environment and relations through the unifying quality of its action.  May be cooperation, may be said to get first emphasis against competitive approach, peaceful co-existence or tolerance might replace fanaticism and bigotry and warfare.  But this is undoubtedly due to the already present operation of the higher type consciousness through the mental being – thanks to the work of the ancient seers and sages.  The total change is called for today because of the increased knowledge of science and the discoveries made by man.  These too are due to the operations of the higher-than-intellect consciousness as even the scientists have stated.  Intuition or the inventive unconscious, or what you will, has made for the leaps in our knowledge and techniques.  The religious would call it the act of grace of God, whereas the materialist would affirm that it is due to insight and intuition-natural operations of mind itself in its confrontation of matter and situation.  May be even the mind itself is the operation of matter or otherwise.  In any case in the fields of science intuition or the higher mind has been continuously operative.  The stretch of this operation into fields of human behaviour or sociology would lead to formation of new associations or units of social organization which would abolish the lower-type associations of the beehive and ant-hill, or primitive clan and social colour-units or economic units or functional units or castes or patterns of culture.  If at first the higher type associations seem to break up the lower ones it is only to erect a more dynamic and universal union.  Thus at the beginning there was the rise of religions which sought unification of all mankind under the ideology or the ritual of one creed or church.  However this religious approach to the whole of mankind helped only to some extent.  The unification of man took several steps and directions, and history is replete with the stories of these religious, political, national, sectional, unions or sects whose rivalry and struggle have littered it.  Sri Aurobindo in his two seminal works  The Human Cycle and The Ideal of Human Unity has canvassed this large area brilliantly.  The progress of man however has neverthless been maintained.  The ideal has been often dimmed but never completely abolished from man’s vision.  Seers and saints, warriors of knowledge have striven to untarnish and uncover the ideal to man, so that he may be aware of his large destiny.  A world union is undoubtedly our goal, but it cannot be achieved either by the consuming zeal of baptismal religions or economic socialism such as communism that drives out the individual.  It must be known that the real strength of communism is its drive towards human worth and dignity of being for himself in and through the society.  Nationalism, itself a unity, becomes at a later stage an obstacle to world unity.  Racialism is itself confronting a new dimension of human relationship.  Only the souls in all strata and all religions and cultures who have listened to the call of the superman and partaken of the supramental activity can forge the unity of man in Godhood, brotherhood and freedom.  Our techniques of international cooperation in all fields are today informed unconsciously by the supramental goals and this itself is due to the descent of  the supramental Nature into everyman awakened or unawakened to its ingression.


            Sri Aurobindo chanted this great mantra of the superman and held out the hope of a world union through divine consciousness that is love or true fraternity and sharing.  It is our duty to remember Him with gratitude on this day of our political and national and spiritual freedom.


* (Broadcast from A.I.R Madras on 17.8.1963)