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Essays on Sri Aurobindo

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Item Code: NAL175
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Author: Aparajita Mukhopadhyay
Language: English
Edition: 2015
ISBN: 9788192570280
Pages: 300
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.0 inch x 6.0 inch
Weight 550 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

This anthology is a collection of eleven papers written by the distinguished scholars from different parts of India and abroad. This book presents a panorama of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy from different perspectives. An endeavour has been made to explain Sri Aurobindo’s view regarding Integral Metaphysics, the system which accepts the ontology of both material world and consciousness.

This anthology is an enquiry to decide the domain of metaphysics by ensuring its difference from the realm of physics. Its aim is to understand the nature of Sri Aurobindo’s mystic, yogic, spiritual experience. This is a search for the divine life. It is an attempt to justify the instrumental value of evil as it helps to uplift us from this mudane atmosphere. It determines the status of evil which is contrary to the Divine God, though emerges from that ultimate Real.

To focus on the aesthetic value of Sri Aurobindo’s poetic language Essays on Sri Aurobindo has included the discussion his Savitri. It depicts Sri Aurobindo’s view about ideal woman who possesses the virtues of care, love, devotion and is also capable to rationally justify her opinion. This book represents justify her opinion. This book represents his theory of education which emphasizes on learning of application, rather than gathering information. At the same time discussion of his humanistic approach helps us to realize our true self.

As this anthology encompasses different aspects of Sri Aurobindo’s thought it will satisfy the purpose of the academicians and scholars who are interested to understand his philosophy.

About the Author

Dr. Aparajita Mukhopadhyay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Jadavpur University. She is presently the coordinator of the Centre for Sri Aurobindo Studies, Department of Philosophy, Jadavpur University. Her areas of interest are Ethics, Social Political Philosophy and Philosophy of Modern Indian Thinkers. She is the author of the book Byakticaritro ebong Naitikata (2015) and edited an anthology A Collection of Essays on Applied Ethics (2004). Some of her published papers are “ Emotion, Freedom of Will and Moral Decision-Making “, “Explaining the Notion of Inconsistency in a Moral Context” and “ Freedom :A Humanistic Approach by M.N. Roy”.


Sri Aurobindo, one of the distinguished philosophers of twentieth century, provides a unique, integral metaphysical system, which makes a bridge between science and spirituality, west and East. The integrality of his philosophy lies in his attempt to combine physical, vital and mental elements into one single reality which is called the Saccidananda Brahman. Sri Aurobindo, the philosopher, yogi and the poet, has spent the later stage of his life in search of spiritual truth. His idea of spirituality is not limited to the scope of any religious framework; he believes in the attitude of sacrifice to a transcendental authority. His concept of divinity and spirituality inspires us to transcend ourselves to a superior level where the materialistic demands cannot mar our mental purity. Sri Aurobindo’s belief in the metaphysical existence of one ultimate reality reminds us of his affinity with the Advaita Vedanta. At the same time his attitude of not considering world as maya and his reliance on the process of evolution and involution reflects his difference from the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. A kind of mysticism is present in the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo as he counts the supreme consciousness as the ultimate source of the material world. His perspective differs from the purely scientific one as he felt, its extreme materialistic explanation cannot prove the existence of consciousness and similarly he realized that divinity only cannot justify the worldly experiences. Sri Aurobindo’s comprehensive and systematic exposition of integral system provides a logical justification to his concept of creation of the world. His acceptance of Supermind as the conscious force of Brahman gives his explanation a spiritual flavour. He has explained his metaphysics as the relation between one and many. His philosophy encourages us not to act mechanically, rather creates the sense of morality and spirituality in us. Such positive attitude towards life ensures us about our potentiality to illuminate ourselves through manifestation to the higher mind. the aim of this book is to understand the integral philosophy of Sri Aurobindo from his spiritual, religious, humanistic, rationalistic and moral perspectives. Uniqueness of this book is that though the papers included in this book focus on the metaphysical approach of Sri Aurobindo, they have discussed the issue from different standpoints. Some writers are concentrating on Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine to understand the proper meaning of divine life; to juatify the necessity to accept the existence of evil and suffering for the manifestation of life; the essentiality to accept the different mental levels to know the true reality. Some writers are focusing on Sri Aurobindo’s poetic expressions to understand the meaning of life, the humanistic and moral attitude of life. The linguistic expressions used in Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri and other works are discussed in this book.

Ramesh Chandra Pradhan in his paper “Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Metaphysics: Problems and Prospects” thinks that Sri Aurobindo has offered an integral metaphysical system to establish a harmony among those things which are considered as opposites according to the traditional view. Sri Aurobindo realized the need to bridge the gap between one and many, spirit and matter, infinite and finite, perfect and imperfect, and between God and man. His integral metaphysics accepts both the celestial and terrestrial levels of existence and at the same time unity and diversity of Reality. Thus Pradhan thinks Sri Aurobindo’s attempt to integrate the scientific spirit of the West with the spirituality of the East matches with the thought of Hegel. Sri Aurobindo’s metaphysical exposition shows how a limited man who is capable to apply his reason, analyse the situation, act with the awareness of the consequences aspires for spititual enlightenment. His integral metaphysics dismisses the monistic approach. Pradhan comments that Sri Aurobindo denies the materialistic approach which a admits the primacy of matter and disregard spirit because the thinks if we deny the reality of mind or consciousness then knowledge of the material universe will be impossible. Similarly we cannot ignore the reality of matter when we are interested in explaining the nature of the universe. We cannot describe the Infinite Reality by any finite way. Brahman, as the non-dual Ultimate Reality includes in it everything and so any attempt to draw any division between things actually misleads us to capture the truth about the reality. To cope with the Reality, Mind must be evolved into Supermind which is free from all kinds of limitations. Pradhan thinks, Sri Aurobindo’s ascending unity suggests that there are two levels of integration—one is in ontological level and another in epistemic level. Pradhan very clearly explains the difference between Aurobindo’s monism and Sankara’s monism. Sri Aurobindo’s acceptance of matter as Real is the proof for his rejection of Sankara’s pure monism which accepts Brahman alone as real. In this respect Pradhan has introduced Sri Aurobido’s view about both mind and matter.

Though Sri Aurobindo accepts the reality of this perceptible world, it is impossible for a finite being to know the creation of this world by his limited perspective. Realizing this Ulrich Mohrhoff in his paper “Spiritual Physics” has compared two different views about world creation—one is from the standpoint of quantum mechanics which understands objects as measurable and believes that objects exist in a particular space—time framework and the second one is the spiritual explanation from spiritual one as scientific proofs are based on empirical data whereas spiritual exposition cannot provide any factual evidence. But Ulrich Mohrhoff has taken an attempt to show that though there is a difference in their approach, still we see that modern physics does not differ from the Upanisadic explanation. He rather suggests that their difference arises not because they differ about the nature of truth, but because they are trying to know the reality from different mental levels. Spiritual explanation understands the truth from Supramental level. As scientific explanation is confined in the mental level it fails to answer properly why the ultimate building blocks combine with each other to create the world. Their finite explanation of reality from the bottom up is incomplete as it is the outcome of the mind.

Quantum mechanics has proved that the atoms, the ultimate indivisible parts of physical objects, are formless. From these formless atoms all the objects of the physical world are created. Ulrich applies this theory to the Upanisadic process of creation where the formless Ultimate Realty Brahman constitutes, contains and originates all worldly objects. In terms of quantum mechanics he expresses it as :Brahman enters into spatial relations with itself. Ulrich finds an affinity between science and Upanisad regarding the nature of space. Kant thinks that space is essentially one, though we accept space as manifold only to understand the division of the material objects. But modern physicists do not consider space as the condition for perception and imagination; on the contrary they think that spatial multiplicity divides surface. But our conceptual partition of the world does not reflect the actual state of the world. Similarly Sri Aurobindo accepts that spatial multiplicity is the outcome of our mental level. Supermind, the conscious force of Brahman is primarily qualitative and infinite. But secondarily in the mental level it is quantitative and finite.

So the goal of mankind must be the dynamic elevation towards the fully conscious state through self-knowledge, self-recovery and creative evolution. To prove this S.E. Bhelke has concentrated on Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine. His aim is to understand Sri Aurobindo’s view regarding the spiritual goal if mankind which is described as a state of perfection and divine delight. Bhelke clarifies in his paper “Remarks on the Foundations of The Life Divine” that there is no difference between being and becoming, or between the present limited life and the manifested illuminated state of life. He makes us conscious that the task of our life is to transform our divine life to life divine. The transformation of life is not a mechanical, but a creative process as the conscious desire directs us towards a thoughtful, vertical and hierarchical destination. In the primary level of manifestation incompleteness is completed as potentialities are actualized. In the higher level of manifestation fully manifested Being manifests not for any incompleteness, but to reveal a novel form. Bhelke has emphasized on Sri Aurobindo’s attempt to use the logic of negation to develop his philosophy about reality. It is not possible to know by our limited capacity the nature of infinite reality which is evolving continuously and dynamically due to a Universal Force. But at least we must know that the apparent oppositions are essential integral parts of the same homogeneous reality. Sri Aurobindo has accepted four categories –matter, life, mind and consciousness—in his philosophy. The Vedanta concepts of maya, atman, Brahman and Saccidananda are utilized in his thought to account for his integral Advaita Vedantic standpoint. Bhelke in his paper has uniquely described how the metaphysical system of Sri Aurobindo differs from the system of Advaita Vedanta, specially regarding the ontological status of maya and the world.


1Sri Aurobindo's Integral Metaphysics: Problems and Prospects15
2Spiritual Physics60
3Remarks on the Foundations of The Life Divine76
4God's Last World : Sri Aurobindo's Argument for Diving Life132
5Does the Delightful Absolute Provide for Evils?146
6"Savitri" as a Religio-Literary Composition169
7Sri Aurobindo's Observations on Heraclitus, as Aphoristic Philosopher183
8Sri Aurobindo and Spiritual Humanism201
9Political Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo: A Critical Appreciation211
10A Perspective on Inter-Personal Relation: A Journey from Jean-Paul Sartre to Sri Aurobindo231
11An Educationist in a Princely State: Sri Aurobindo and His Early Thoughts on Education241

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