India - From Past Dawns to Future Noons

Special lecture on “Self and Society: Sri Aurobindo’s Perspective” at Pondicherry University

Date: February 27, 2018
Venue: Department of Sociology, Pondicherry University

As a part of SAFIC’s collaboration with Pondicherry University, a special lecture program was organised by the department of Sociology in which Dr. Sampadananda Mishra invited to speak on the Self and Society in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s social philosophy.

In ancient culture the greatest emphasis was on the community, and the individual was expected to fit into the community. Even then there was an ideal of a perfect individual, and this spiritual individual was dominant in the ancient India. The individual was expected to reach its perfectibility by passing through the social states of the physical, vital and mental being with satisfaction of kama, artha and dharma.

According to Sri Aurobindo, the conflict of the individual and the collectivity has reached a stage of an acute conflict of standards. Search for a unifying and harmonizing knowledge or integrality of knowledge is therefore inevitable for bringing a tangible solution the crisis that humanity faces with regard to the individual and collective life.

In the evolutionary movement it’s the individual itself who finds out and becomes conscious of the Reality and its relation with the collectivity. The individual’s allegiance therefore must be to the Truth, the Self, the Spirit, the Divine which is in him and in all. He must not lose himself in the mass, but must find and express the truth of the being in himself and help the community in its seeking for the Truth. But, so long as human is undeveloped he has to subordinate in many ways his undeveloped self to whatever is greater than it. As he moves towards the spiritual freedom he also moves towards spiritual oneness, and a spiritually liberated man is preoccupied with the good of all beings – sarvabhUtahite rataaH.

This is how Sri Aurobindo had envisioned a spiritualised Society in which the individuals live in perfect harmony with each other and abide by the inner laws of the collective life.

This was, in short, the content of Dr. Mishra’s lecture. At the end of the lecture, there was a very fruitful interaction with the students who had few genuine questions in their minds.

Report by SAFIC

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