Sri Aurobindo

The following quotations by Sri Aurobindo are of particular relevance to the issues discussed at this site.

When I hear of a righteous wrath, I wonder at man's capacity for self-deception.

Only those thoughts are true the opposite of which is also true in its own time and application; indisputable dogmas are the most dangerous kind of falsehoods.

— Sri Aurobindo, Essays Divine and Human, p. 428–429.

In a letter explaining his stand with regard to the publication of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs and the campaign subsequently launched by certain "Aurobindonians" against both the book and its author, Manoj Das Gupta, the Managing Trustee of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, quotes the following statements from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

[R]eligions at best modify only the surface of the nature. Moreover, they degenerate very soon into a routine of ceremonial habitual worship and fixed dogmas. (Letters on Yoga, p. 139)

[I]t is far from my purpose to propagate any religion, new or old, for humanity in the future. A way to be opened that is still blocked, not a religion to be founded, is my conception of the matter. (Letters on Yoga, p. 139)

[W]e are not working for a race or a people or a continent or for a realisation of which only Indians or only orientals are capable. Our aim is not, either, to found a religion or a school of philosophy or a school of yoga, but to create a ground of spiritual growth and experience and a way which will bring down a greater Truth beyond the mind but not inaccessible to the human soul and consciousness. (Letters on Yoga, p. 559)

We are not a party or a church or religion seeking adherents or proselytes. (Letters on Yoga, p. 885)

The reason cannot grasp all truth in its embrace because truth is too infinite for it; but still it does grasp the something of it which we immediately need, and its insufficiency does not detract from the value of its work, but is rather the measure of its value.... Its inconstancy, its divisibility against itself, its power of sustaining opposite views are the whole secret of its value....

To the Overmind ... all religions would be true as developments of the one eternal religion, all philosophies would be valid each in its own field as a statement of its own universe-view from its own angle, all political theories with their practice would be the legitimate working out of an Idea Force with its right to application and practical development in the play of the energies of Nature....

All truths, even those which seem to be in conflict, have their validity.... All spiritual experiences are true, but they point towards some highest and widest reality which admits their truth and exceeds it. This is, we may say, a sign of the relativity of all truth and all experience.... But from another point of view this variety testifies rather to the infinity of aspects of the Infinite....

The truth of the spirit is a truth of being and consciousness and not a truth of thought: mental ideas can only represent or formulate some facet, some mind-translated principle or power of it or enumerate its aspects....

The Human Cycle:

[In India] the constant effort of the most powerful spiritual personalities kept the soul of the people alive but failed to resuscitate the ancient free force and truth and vigour or permanently revivify a conventionalised and stagnating society; in a generation or two the iron grip of that conventionalism has always fallen on the new movement and annexed the names of its founders. (p. 14)


Sri Aurobindo, Autobiographical Notes, pp. 179:

The error of the [Ramakrishna] Mission is to keep too much to the forms of Ramakrishna & Vivekananda & not keep themselves open for new outpourings of their spirit,—the error of all “Churches” and organised religious bodies.

Interestingly, in a letter sent from New York in 1896, Vivekananda wrote something to much the same effect (in Bengali):

That Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was God — and all that sort of thing — has no go in countries like this. M. has a tendency to put that stuff down everybody's throat, but that will make our movement a little sect. You keep aloof from such attempts; at the same time, if people worship him as God, no harm.... But principles are universal, not persons. Therefore stick to the principles he taught, let people think whatever they like of his person.... Truce to all quarrels and jealousies and bigotry! These will spoil everything.