Sir Aurobindo - 1907
VOL. 1. NO. 2. August, 1974. BUBBA FREE JOHN IN INDIA
Conversations About The Guru, Genuine Spirituality, The Community Of Devotees, And Traditional Seeking. Bubba Comments On: Swami Muktananda, Sathya Sai Baba, Ramana Maharshi, Nimkaroli Baba, Sri Aurobindo And Others.
Adi Da Samraj: This is really just a visionary or mystical yoga. Aurobindo and the Mother were not truly saints, not sages, not Siddhas, just yogis of a peculiar kind. It is a Westernized yoga. In the West there is a kind of mysticism that doesn't generate a spiritual force. It is just an occupation with internal aesthetic imageries, not of the kind that true yoga depends on. It doesn't have any fire. It is mystical rather than yogic in the traditional Hindu sense. So Aurobindo saw a lot of visions, had a sort of intellectual system in which he synthesized the spiritual culture of this country and added a certain evolutionary notion to it.
Hegel was a great philosopher of the last century who was very much like Sri Aurobindo. He synthesized Western philosophy and wrote volumes of endless logical and aesthetic considerations. He created a systematic approach to philosophy. Somebody once said that if at the end of his life he would have said that it all was nonsense, Hegel would have been the greatest philosopher that ever lived, but since he did not, he was probably the worst philosopher that ever lived! The same irony may be applied to Sri Aurobindo. He was a vast systematizer, synthesizer of all kinds of considerations regarding the spiritual culture historically found in India and elsewhere. If at the end of his life he had said that everything he had said was beside the point, he would have been a great spiritual teacher, not a Guru in the true sense, but a spiritual teacher.
Since he did not, he is one of the worst. Because his teaching is just stuff, preoccupation, something that attracts people at a level that is not of great value. It gives them more to accumulate and assimilate, more to which they may adapt and bind themselves. It prevents the process of Truth.
The principle of spiritual life is a fire. It produces a crisis in consciousness that is penetrating, illuminating. But the principle of sadhana in this Ashram does not serve this crisis. It is based on the principle of accumulation, assimilation, and adaptation. In other words, it is a cultural experience. The same thing goes on here that goes on in any idealistic religious community anywhere in the world.
It is just an aesthetic cultural order in which people have associated the life and mind with Divine principles and truisms, with ideas. That is fundamentally what's going on here. The principle of real sadhana, of Truth, the principle of this crisis, does not exist in this environment, because people are not involved in any such process. The concern here is for transformation. There is an obsession with transformation, a fetish for transformation. Everybody is looking for the transformation to occur. The transformation as a goal, sought through various methods, is simply the search again, but no transformation occurs without this fundamental crisis. In this crisis all concerns are undone, even the concern for transformation.
Sri Aurobindo's contributions are essentially literary and cultural. His basic motivation was political. He was a political activist early in his life, and he saw that political change depended on the transformation of individuals and all that, so he began to get into spiritual ideas. He was educated in Europe and had a very Westernized mind. The Mother is a French woman. They both have added to this Indian notion of separation from the world the Western idea of evolution and transformation of the world. His basic political motivations were expanded into this notion of spirituality and human transformation and evolution. So his contribution is essentially cultural. It's a political rather than a spiritual philosophy in its truest sense. It produces a culture, not spiritual life. It is an association with ideas and ideals, a very literary and mental and really very Western kind of preoccupation.
In India there is certain value to turning to a practical order of life, since the ancient tendency is to abandon life. But that doesn't mean anything like real sadhana is involved in the principle of this community. It's just a utopian United Nations, World's Fair, university idea. There is no spiritual source of any profundity alive here. The samadhi site of Sri Aurobindo is the only one I have ever visited that was just a grave. There is no force, no penetrating influence coming from it. Neither is there the orientation to the genuine fire of spiritual grace, nor the orientation of individuals toward that quality in themselves which becomes this crisis of Truth. So it is a very mediocre, accumulating community.
Auroville accumulates thoughts, ideas, functions. Then it assimilates into itself all these various ideas, ideals, thoughts, and functions, and adapts to them, producing an order of life based on this system. That is the way culture grows, but it is not the way the spiritual crisis develops. That is another thing entirely. Order in itself is fine. Just as the universe is ordered, there must be order in any functional system. But here order is the preoccupation. Order is a thing in itself, so there's lots of ordering going on, but at the core of this ordering there is nothing but the intention to order, the intention to create a community on ideal lines. Therefore, the order becomes oppressive from the point of view of Truth.
There is no fire, no life, no freedom, and yet these things are part of the language of the literature of this community. As in any other merely idealistic community, all these things are contained in the literature, not in the spiritual life. Christianity is loaded with the same kind of idealism, but only here and there throughout the whole history of Christianity have there been any great saints who have had this fire. It is the same here. It is just a system of ideals of religious community. Here and there there may be a great individual, as in any other cultural setting, but the community itself is not based on literal contact with the Divine Siddhi.
From a political, cultural, and social point of view, there are some nice things going on here. Just as you might say the United Nations is a nice thing. But from the point of view of Truth, this is not a genuine Ashram. It's a sort of literary and cultural event around which all people can come and say, "Yes, we believe in this together," and create a United Nations of spiritual life.
All of that is good, but if the whole world took on this particular form of community, it would still be necessary for the Guru to appear. Their assumption is that the Guru is somehow contained in this community. But the Guru would have to come to save this community, to bring the dharma of true spirituality into it. It is like any other community, an order of life and mind with certain spiritual ideas behind it. They are very busy creating this enormous World's Fair community. But all of that should be produced after this crisis of transformation, the true, spontaneous transformation. When there are individuals who are truly living in the fire of Truth, then they can perhaps go about creating a community. But here they are creating the artifice first. There is all this nonsense about the future beings we are going to have on this planet. They will be a new race of beings, they will be greater than men, they will have no sex, they will be immortal, and all this craziness.
Ramana Maharshi commented on Aurobindo's point of view. He said that throughout the history of spiritual life there have constantly been these guys who appeared and created a philosophy of transformation according to which the body would be made immortal and all these events would create a superior man. It has always been happening. There have always been such people. They represent one of the potential points of view, but they do not make it true. It has nothing to do with Truth. Aurobindo says, "Yes, there is Self-realization, realization of the Atman must occur, but then that's not the end. After it occurs then there is this other transformation in which the spiritual Light is brought down." That was just an offhand comment. There is nobody here doing anything that's going to bring about the realization of the Self. It is true, though, that once the Self is realized there does tend to be Siddhi, a transformation is spontaneously activated, without any concern whatsoever on the part of the individual. This thing just tends to occur in some form or other in such a case. It doesn't mean that the individual is going to become immortal or anything like that, but a transforming process does tend to be activated in him.
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