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The Mother on Sri Aurobindo and the religious traditions of the past

A reader of our post A betrayal of Sri Aurobindo has questioned our claim that

The sinister aim of Govind, Deshpande, and Co.  is to dilute the force of Sri Aurobindo’s message by reducing it to a footnote to the Indian religious traditions of the past (or by annexing Sri Aurobindo to them).

The same could of course be said of Sraddhalu Ranade, Alok Pandey, Ananda Reddy, Kittu Reddy, or Vijay Poddar. The reader (whose IP address locates his access provider at Warren, NJ, 23 miles from SAYFNA) may have a point in that these people may not even be aware of what they are up to. On the other hand, they may annex Sri Aurobindo to India’s religious traditions with the deliberate intention to turn the alleged “denigration” of Sri Aurobindo by a certain historian into an attack on “the age-old glorious culture and tradition of our Motherland” so as to better incense the gullible. To show that our claim is indeed warranted, we reproduce here the following passage from the Collected Works of The Mother, On Education, pages 210–212.

(The outline of a study project “On the Spiritual History of India” was read to the Mother. She commented:)

No! It won’t do. It is not to be done that way. You should begin with a big BANG!

You were trying to show the continuity of history, with Sri Aurobindo as the outcome, the culmination. It is false entirely. Sri Aurobindo does not belong to history; he is outside and beyond history.

Till the birth of Sri Aurobindo, religions and spiritualities were always centred on past figures, and they were showing as “the goal” the negation of life upon earth. So, you had a choice between two alternatives: either

—a life in this world with its round of petty pleasures and pains, joys and sufferings, threatened by hell if you were not behaving properly, or

—an escape into another world, heaven, nirvana, moksha…. Between these two there is nothing much to choose, they are equally bad.

Sri Aurobindo has told us that this was a fundamental mistake which accounts for the weakness and degradation of India. Buddhism, Jainism, Illusionism were sufficient to sap all energy out of the country.

True, India is the only place in the world which is still aware that something else than Matter exists. The other countries have quite forgotten it: Europe, America and elsewhere…. That is why she still has a message to preserve and deliver to the world. But at present she is splashing and floundering in the muddle.

Sri Aurobindo has shown that the truth does not lie in running away from earthly life but in remaining in it, to transform it, divinise it, so that the Divine can manifest HERE, in this PHYSICAL WORLD.

You should say all this at the first sitting. You should be square and frank… like that! (With her hands Mother makes a big square sign on the table.)

Then, when this is told, strongly, squarely, and there is no doubt about it—and then only—you can go on and amuse them with the history of religions and religious or spiritual leaders.

Then—and then only—you will be able to show the seed of weakness and falsehood that they have harboured and proclaimed.

Then—and then only—you will be able to discern, from time to time, from place to place, an “intuition” that something else is possible; in the Vedas, for instance (the injunction to descend deep into the cave of the Panis); in the Tantras also… a little light is burning.

31 March 1967

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