At present we are facing a massive cultural onslaught from the globalised culture and media shaped and dominated by the West. This by itself is not something bad. In the globalised world of the future we cannot prevent a close intermingling of culture and we must know how to deal with it. But the problem here is that many of our Indian youth are lured not by the positive qualities of the modem western culture but by its superficial glamorous and degenerate forms. Here comes the utility and importance of Sri Aurobindo’s Vision of India which can provide a more creative and beautiful Indian alternative and antidote to the glamorous western models of development.
We must remember here that this alien inf1uence cannot be conquered by infantile condemnation and censuring of western culture. Such an approach is counter productive because it will only add to the lure and glamour of the West. The only creative way of dealing with the western cultural invasion, is to counter it with a much more powerful, beautiful and elevating new creation based on our own cultural ethos. Here comes the relevance of Sri Aurobindo. In his writings on India Sri Aurobindo has laid out all the broad lines and principle, a blue-print for the regeneration of India on the foundation of her own inherent spiritual and cultural genius.
This brings us to Sri Aurobindo’s approach to nation-building. According to Sri Aurobindo each nation is an organic living being with a Body, Mind, Life and a Soul and is a unique and. integral part of the global consciousness of humanity. Each Nation has a unique mission to fulfill in the evolutionary destiny of humanity and endowed with a correspondingly unique genius to fulfill this mission. This mission and genius of the soul of a Nation is revealed in its culture made of its religion, philosophy, art and literature. So according to Sri Aurobindo, a nation’s culture, and not its economics, politics or technology, has to be the foundation and inspiring source of nation-building. As Sri Aurobindo points out:
“An exclusive preoccupation with politics and economics is likely to dwarf our growth and prevent the flowering of originality and energy. We have to return to the fundamentals of our ancient religion, philosophy, art and literature and pour the revivifying influences of our immemorial Indian spirit and ideals into our political and economic development.”
For, Culture is the deeper and higher part of the national consciousness. It is the expression of the intellectual, ethical, aesthetic and spiritual energy of the nation. A nation’s culture is a more direct expression of the mind and soul of a nation than its economics or politics and therefore more reflective of the unique genius of the nation. It is the nobler part of the nation’s collective consciousness and therefore cultural values of a nation have a more elevating motivational power than the economic and. political value.
This is not ethno-centric cultural nationalism. Sri Aurobindo is not a narrow-minded nationalist. Even during the early days of freedom struggle when he was a fire-brand nationalist, Sri Aurobindo wrote: “Patriotism is good., excellent, divine only when it furthers the end of universal humanity. Nationality divorced from humanity is a source of weakness and evil and not of strength and good.” Sri Aurobindo emphasized on the cultural regeneration of India because he felt such a regeneration is essential not only for the future greatness of India but also for the future of the world. For India has to provide the vision and the path which will lead humanity to its ultimate evolutionary destiny.
What is the unique genius of India? “Spirituality”, says Sri Aurobindo, “is the master-key of the Indian Mind”. But the popular conceptions of spirituality equates it with outward religiosity, or moral or religious piety or world-shunning asceticism. None of these are true spirituality. The essence of Indian spirituality is yoga, which is a scientific and systematic method and discipline for raising the human consciousness from its present limited and ego-centric mentality to the consciousness of our own highest universal, limitless, unconditioned and blissful spiritual self. So spirituality unlike philosophy, is a pragmatic discipline which can lead human consciousness from its present state of sorrow and unfulfillment to a higher state of inherent joy and perfect fulfillment of all our higher aspirations. When this spiritual evolution or realisation becomes the central idea and aim of every human activity, especially of to begin with ineducation, human resource development and social organisation then humanity will progress rapidly towards its evolutionary destiny. To show to the world how to do this is the mission of future India.
Our ancient Indian civilization discovered the secret of this spiritual realization through Yoga. But the attempt was mostly confined to the individual realization. There was also an attempt to create a social organization based on the spiritual ideal. But this collective endeavour is partial and unsuccessful, failed or interrupted somewhere on the way. The future India has to resume this interrupted endeavour. She has to rediscover and reapply her spiritual genius to every activity of the individual and collective life and spiritualize the whole of life. As Sri Aurobindo sums up succinctly the future mission of India:
“The recovery of the old spiritual knowledge and experience in all its splendour, depth, fullness is its first, most essential work; the flowering of this spirituality into new forms of philosophy, literature, art, science and critical knowledge is the second; an original dealing with modern problems in the light of Indian spirit and the endeavour to formulate a greater synthesis of a spiritualised society is the third and most difficult. Its success on these three lines will be the measure of its help to the future of humanity.”