Philosophical and social thoughts of Maharshi Arvind
Sri Aurobindo believed that the highest truths, the truth contained of science and religion were already contained in Vedas. The Gita and the Upanishads are nothing but a logical continuation of the Vedas. He believes in traditional concept of man and accepts the classical views about the union of individual soul with supreme soul. Integralism is possible through transformation, according to Sri Aurobindo. Yoga divides the whole man bringing down the super mind to transform the human mind, life and body. The moment this aims get fulfilled man becomes a superman. Sri Aurobindo aimed at gradual spiritualization of the society. He welcomed an age of super mind where the realization of good freedom and unity will predominate in all social groups. We can achieve the unity will predominate in all social groups. We can achieve the unity of human race through integral living and through development of integral personality. Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy is based on an experienced integralism. It is a synthesis of idealism, realism, pragmatism and spiritualism.
The guiding principle of Sri Aurobindo’s Educational Philosophy was the awakening of the individual as a spiritual being. It should be related to life truth and self mastery by the child. Sri Aurobindo made a five-fold classification of human nature i.e. the physical, the mental,the psychic and the spiritual, corresponding to five aspects of education – physical education, vital education, mental education, psychic education and spiritual or supermental education. Physical education includes control over physical functions, harmonious development of physical movements, over powering physical limitations and the awareness of body consciousness. Sri Aurobindo lays stress upon games and sports because he felt that these were essential for renewing energy. Vital education was the most important point in integral education. Sri Aurobindo called the vital being of man – the life nature made up of desires, sensations, feelings, passions, reaction of the desire – soul in man and of all that play a possessive and other related instincts, anger, fear, speed etc. that belong to this field of nature. Mental education included cognition, ideas and intelligence. The unique contribution of Sri Aurobindo regarding mental education was that ideas should be continually organized around a central thought. Psychic education was the special contribution of Sri Aurobindo to education systems. The key to an integral personality was the discovery of man s psychic nature. The educational theory of Sri Aurobindo aimed at the development of the latent powers of the child, training of six senses, training of logical faculties, physical education, principle of freedom, moral and religious education and above all, training for the spiritualization of the individual.
Shri Aurobindo emphasized that education should be in accordance with the needs of our real modern life. In other words, education should create dynamic citizen so that they are able to meet the needs of modern complex life. According to him, physical development and holiness are the chief aims of education. As such, he not only emphasized mere physical development, but physical purity also without which no spiritual development is possible. In this sense physical development and purification are the two bases on which the spiritual development is built. The second important aim of education is to train all the senses hearing, speaking, listening, touching, smelling and tasting. According to him these senses can be fully trained when nerve, chitta and manas are pure. Hence, through education purity of senses is to be achieved before any development is possible. The third aim of education is to achieve mental development of the child.
The other aspect of his strategy was an elaborate theory of boycott. The common perception is that boycott was something which Gandhiji invented. This is not true. The theory of boycott was first put forward by Sri Aurobindo in his luminous writings at the turn of the century between 1905 and 1910. He advocated economic boycott and the correlate swadeshi; educational boycott and the correlate national educational system. In fact, he was the principal of the National Education College, Jadavpur, now known as the Jadavpur University. He talked of judicial boycott and the setting up of national arbitration courts. At the same time he also referred to executive boycott and the setting up of a national organisation for self-government. As a sanction he talked of social boycott. In this way he evolved a whole theory. However, it did not work at that time, because he was far ahead of his times. It did not work but he had a complete theory of how to achieve independence. The theory revolved around the whole concept of boycott and the setting up of an alternative, not merely a negative boycott; with each negative boycott he had a positive plan as well. Consequently, his vision was a combination of remarkable idealism and a practical programme of action – a very rare combination. Usually people who are idealistic have very little time for the nitty-gritty of organisation, while those involved with the organisation do not have enough time to dream. Sri Aurobindo was one of those extraordinary minds who was able to comprehend both elements of the movement.
Another point that is very important to remember is that Sri Aurobindo always placed India’s freedom in the larger context of the destiny of the human race. This fact is most remarkable because revolutionaries talk only about their own country. However, Sri Aurobindo always had a deeper vision of what India should do for humanity. In fact, he said that India has to be free in order that it can play its role in the emancipation of the human race. Sri Aurobindo was not chauvinist; he did not look upon Indian freedom as an end in itself. The remarkable coincidence is that India achieved independence on Sri Aurobindo’s seventy-first birthday, that is August 15, 1947.
Sri Aurobindo had put forward a brilliant theory of nation and nationalism and a methodology for achieving it. In the case of his spiritual theory he did the same thing. Basically, Sri Aurobindo was not a theorist, but a yogi; he was the pioneer of the supramental. In the first part of his life he was a prophet of Indian nationalism, and in the second half of his life, he was a pioneer of the supramental. Through his own sâdhana, and yogic practices and with the help of the Mother, who was a very powerful spiritual figure in her own right and his spiritual collaborator, Sri Aurobindo gradually developed and perfected what he called the “integral yoga”. According to him, it is the integral yoga which can enable us to move from the present fractured, fragmented and disoriented state of our consciousness to a much clearer and sharper focus of our psyche and ultimately a breakthrough into the higher consciousness.