Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sri Aurobindo recovered the lost mind of India

Sankaracarya's influence on the Indian religious mind--A bird's eye view
Sri Lanka Guardian - Basil Fernando - Aug 25, 2011(August 26, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka Guardian)
India became a society having replaced religion with humanism quite early. The Western world came to this stage only after the greater acceptance of Darwinism. Even so, until today, finding a basis for morality outside a belief in God remains one of the West’s main concerns. This issue was resolved early in India however, through the rejection of religion, which had created enormous chaos in many parts of the country due to practices such as large scale animal sacrifices—causing serious problems for farmers—and through other modes of exploitation of the people by priests. Anti-priest and anti-religious attitudes thus grew among the people. The replacement of religion was led by movements of Jainism and Buddhism, which introduced a new mode of social cooperation with reason as the basis of morality. …
In the 20th century, Sri Aurobindo lamented the death of the Indian mind and devoted the latter part of his life to recover the lost mind of India. Living in Pondicherry, he tried to motivate young people to regain their lost heritage. Another great Indian, Dr B R Ambedkar, attempted to pursue the same goal as Sri Aurobindo through attempts to reawaken the Untouchables, renamed Dalits by him. In an attempt to reclaim India’s lost glory, he publicly became a Buddhist together with a large gathering. …
The man who was destined to bring about the death of the Indian mind, (which Sri Aurobindo later vowed to revive), was intellectually a brilliant Sankar known as Sankaracarya, who brought about the revival of religion with his poems and hymns. He introduced a kind of theism, complete with myths and rituals. Indians of later generations were indoctrinated and immersed in such ritualism and worship. Whether there is any other nation as deeply enslaved to its rituals and religion as India is hard to tell. …
In the West, replacement of religion took place mostly due to science, and particularly due to Darwinism. In the Christian West, the belief in one God was established and all explanations regarding the world and society were based on this belief. When the belief that God created the world was lost, these religious explanations lost their validity.
The acceptance of science in India has unfortunately not led to the same result. The internal process influencing the mind has not changed due to science. Perhaps the manner in which Indian religion has affected the Indian mind is different than in the West. The kind of religion that was established in India needs to be understood better if the enterprise undertaken by Sri Aurobindo, Ambedkar and other modernizers, including the country’s first prime-minister Jawaharlal Nehru is to succeed. … ( W.J. Basil Fernando is a Sri Lankan born jurist, author, poet, human rights activist, editor. He can be reached at [Indian Idea of Political Resistance: Aurobindo, Tilak, Gandhi, and Ambedkar Ashok S. Chousalkar - Dec 1990)] [God Market: How Globalization Is Making India More Hindu Nanda, Meera - Mar 1, 2009)]

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