Date: October 29, 2023
WATCH THE RECORDING
At the invitation of a small group of seekers from the USA, on October 29, 2023, Dr. Beloo Mehra, Senior Academic Mentor and Editor, Renaissance delivered an online talk on the topic ‘Sri Aurobindo’s Uttarpara Speech: Its Timely and Timeless Significance’.
Dr. Mehra pointed out that Sri Aurobindo ‘s Uttarpara speech, dated May 30, 1909 is the most important speech in modern India’s spiritual as well as political history. It was the first time in which Sri Aurobindo spoke of his inner spiritual realisation, especially how the truth of Sanatana Dharma was revealed to him by Sri Krisna in the prison. And at the same time through this speech he also lays out the broad lines on which future Indian nation must be built so that it remains true to India’s eternal spirit and inner genius.
Dr. Mehra identified a few key sentences from the speech to illustrate how we can deepen our understanding of Sanatana Dharma by meditating on these sentences and allowing the inner truth to be revealed to us. For example, the emphasis Sri Aurobindo gives on ‘adesh’ can lead us to appreciating the power of complete surrender and self-giving to the Divine. Several such examples were given by Dr. Mehra.
Through her talk and the follow-up interaction, Dr. Mehra also highlighted that this speech also helps us appreciate the Dharmic light in which the essential Indian national identity must be shaped. She pointed out how we can deepen our understanding of some of what Sri Aurobindo says in his speech when we connect it with some of his other writings. She gave an example of the Indian view of nation and nationalism that will emerge from such an intellectual and contemplative exercise.
Dr. Mehra also spent some time discussing how Sri Aurobindo explains the inner essence of Sanatana Dharma, and why it is significant for today and tomorrow. She pointed out that it is important to emphasise the eternal and universal nature of Sanatana Dharma and at the same time recognise the progressive and evolutionary nature of Dharma which gives it the ability to integrate and synthesize all relative truths across times and contexts.
A good interaction followed Dr. Mehra’s talk. Several aspects concerning the relation between Sanatana Dharma and Indian Nationalism were discussed, in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s writings.