Reply by Barindranath Chaki on August 10, 2008 at 4:37pm
Secondly, what does one expects from such a question — Is Sri Aurobindo’s teaching a religion?
I have referred to the matter in my question itself. I said: “And it is necessary, as some follower of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother has been propagating the idea that this Teaching is a religion.”
The following matter is published on 3rd August 2008 in Savitri Era, a blog by Tusar Mohapatra, well-known as a follower of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo: Every Indian has the prudence and the freedom of converting to any religion, including Savitri Era Religion.
Earlier, on July, 2008, he published the following in “Savitri Era Learning Forum” The West will be the most fertile ground for the Savitri Era Religion.
Even earlier, Tusar Mohapatra published in Savitri Era, in a posting dated October 6, 2006, a similar matter which is placed below for reference: “No confusion over the identity as a religion That Savitri Era constitutes a religion was adjudicated by Justice O. Chinnappa Reddy in his famous dissenting judgement of 8th November 1982 in the Auroville Case.”
Over the said publishing in Savitri Era blog, an article was published by me in All Choice, a blog of mine and in some other blogs [I am reposting the article today in Aspiration]. The purpose of this discussion here is only to know what the members and the would-be members and other readers think over the matter and how far they agree to disagree with The Mother and Sri Aurobindo over this matter.
While writing a few of the comments in the above, I was also keeping at the back of my mind some other observations about the act of faith-religion-fundamentalism-politics, they by the quick rational mind being linked up with Sri Aurobindo. A terrible confusion arises when we mix up matters of the individual’s spiritual growth and progress with the wider collective or organizational issues. For instance, an individual’s faith is an individual’s faith and nothing can be said about, nothing perhaps need also be said or done in that respect which otherwise will amount to fundamentalism. A true seeker of the spirit will always get the right guidance and will step forward depending upon the sincerity and intensity of his aspiration, and there is no doubt about it.
The collective—that has been ever through a difficult charge. There are certain cosmic fundamentals and they come into operation in way or the other through the history of entire time. Man as an evolved being in his fullness always strives for Wisdom-Strength-Harmony-Perfection and, as long as the balance is maintained, he acquires the collective gain. But quite often that gain proves precarious, Nature perhaps wanting him to move from gain to gain. The opening paragraph of The Life Divine sets the tone:
“The earliest preoccupation of man in his awakened thoughts and, as it seems, his inevitable and ultimate preoccupation,—for it survives the longest periods of scepticism and returns after every banishment,—is also the highest which his thought can envisage. It manifests itself in the divination of Godhead, the impulse towards perfection, the search after pure Truth and unmixed Bliss, the sense of a secret immortality. The ancient dawns of human knowledge have left us their witness to this constant aspiration; today we see a humanity satiated but not satisfied by victorious analysis of the externalities of Nature preparing to return to its primeval longings. The earliest formula of Wisdom promises to be its last,—God, Light, Freedom, Immortality.”
Rich has an excellent paper on Integral Ideology: An Ideological Genealogy of Integral Theory and Practice posted at integralworld. Basically it covers the following topics: Fundamentalism, Neo-Liberalism, Neo-Conservatism, Gebser’s Sociology, and Integral Theories. In the course of his discussion he raises an important question vis-à-vis the Integral Yoga, if it has become a religion. Perhaps this question is irrelevant for a spiritual practitioner and it could simply be set aside. However, to consider it as a part of the regular Hindu rites and rituals is rather becoming unfair to it. But the amazing aspect of it, the suggestion is that it was Sri Aurobindo himself who encouraged it! ...
Rich makes references to Peter Heehs’s Lives of Sri Aurobindo. In my comments I’ve already responded to some of the observations made by Rich and maybe it won’t be necessary to step into politics—it is always good to avoid it—but we might as well see some of the basics of the issues they bring forth. The question to be answered is: Has Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga become a Religion? ~ RYD