Sri Aurobindo (Aug 15, 1872-Dec 5, 1950), philosopher-sage from India studied at King's College, Cambridge and returned to India in 1893 to work as a professor in Baroda College. While at Baroda, he joined a revolutionary society to take part in secret preparations for an Indian uprising against the ruling British Government. After the Partition of Bengal, Sri Aurobindo quit his post as a professor and left for Calcutta to become one of the Nationalist movement leaders. It was his newspaper 'Bande Mataram' which first put forward the idea of complete independence for India in written words. He was prosecuted 'sedition' and conspiracy several times to be released later. After his 'fundamental spiritual realisations' in 1908, he later withdrew from active politics found his new home in Pondicherry in order to devote himself for inner spiritual life and work. And it was in Pondicherry he developed "Integral Yoga", a "spiritual realisation that not only liberates man's consciousness but also transforms his nature". In 1926, he founded the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, with the help of The Mother, his spiritual associate. Indian Nationalist leader Subhash Chandra Bose writes: "The illustrious example of Aurobindo Ghosh looms large before my vision. I feel that I am ready to make the sacrifice which that example demands of me." ◼
Sri Aurobindo's insight into the 1950 Korean conflict foretold the possibility and consequences of China's invasion on Tibet and aggression against India in 1962, reveals the book "Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader" written by Prof Sachidananda Mohanty, former Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Orissa and former Professor and Head, Department of English, University of Hyderabad.
ACCORDING to the book "Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader" by Prof Sachidananda Mohanty, on June 28, 1950, Sri Aurobindo wrote a letter to KD Sethna, editor of Mother India, in reply to his question on the conflict in Korea, describing the situation there as "the first move in the Communist plan of campaign to dominate and take possession first of these northern parts and then of South East Asia as a preliminary to their manoeuvres with regard to the rest of the continent — in passing, Tibet as a gate opening to India." Some months later, in the wake of China's invasion of Tibet in October 1950, Sethna wrote an editorial "The Truth About Tibet" which elaborated on the views expressed in Sri Aurobindo's earlier letter to him.
Years later, in 1962, the Chinese aggression against India created international concern. In March 1963, Sudhir Ghosh, an Indian emissary of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, had a meeting with the 35th US President John F Kennedy in Washington DC, USA and shared with him a letter from Nehru dated January 5, 1963, "on the problem posed by the military power of Communist China". He also showed the president the following excerpt from that Mother India editorial dated November 11, 1950, referring to it as "the last testament of Sri Aurobindo". Though this was not written by Sri Aurobindo himself, it is clear from the full content of his letter to KD Sethna on the Korean War that the editorial represented his general views on the subject.
"The basic significance of Mao's Tibetan adventure is to advance China's frontiers right down to India and stand poised there to strike at the right moment and with the right strategy — unless India precipitately declares herself on the side of the Russian bloc. But to go over to Mao and Stalin in order to avert their wrath is not in any sense a saving gesture. It is a gesture spelling the utmost ruin to all our ideals and aspirations. Really the gesture that can save is to take a firm line with China, denounce openly her nefarious intentions, stand without reservation by the USA and make every possible arrangement consonant with our own self-respect to facilitate an American intervention in our favour and, what is of still greater moment, an American prevention of Mao's evil designs on India. Militarily, China is almost ten times as strong as we are, but India as the spearhead of an American defence of democracy can easily halt Mao's mechanised millions. And the hour is upon us of constituting ourselves such a spearhead and saving not only our own dear country but also all South East Asia whose bulwark we are. We must burn it into our minds that the primary motive of Mao's attack on Tibet is to threaten India as soon as possible."
November 11, 1950
To quote from Sudhir Ghosh's own account: The President read the words of Sri Aurobindo's last testament several times over and said: "Surely there is a typing mistake here. The date must have been 1960, not 1950. You mean to say that a man devoted to meditation and contemplation, sitting in one corner of India, said this about the intentions of Communist China as early as 1950?" ◼
"The Life Divine"
Sri Aurobindo's Principal Work of Philosophy
SRI Aurobindo's principal philosophic work "The Life Divine" presents the theory of spiritual evolution. His prophetic writing also suggests that "the present crisis of humanity will lead to a spiritual transformation of the human being and the advent of a divine life upon earth." The Life Divine first appeared serially in the monthly review 'Arya' between August 1914 and January 1919. In 1939 and 1940 Sri Aurobindo revised The Life Divine for book publication. The first volume of the revised version, consisting of the first twenty-seven chapters of the Arya text, along with a newly written twenty-eighth chapter, was published in November 1939. ◼
DOWNLOAD: The Life Divine (PDF) ↧
The Chinese Betrayal, Early Warnings Unheeded
Copyright © 2020 Prof Sachidananda Mohanty
IT is often said that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. The truth of this adage is seldom realised. With the brutal and savage killings of unarmed Indian soldiers by the death squads of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and brazen claims of the People's Republic of China over the entire Galwan valley of Ladakh and other vital territories that historically belonged to India, we seem to have come full circle from the debacle of 1962. Despite the passage in time, history seems to repeat itself. Could some of the earlier missing narratives help in our understanding as a new India is emerging?
Titled "The Chinese Betrayal, Early Warnings Unheeded: Lessons from Sardar Patel and Sri Aurobindo", this two-part essay by Prof Sachidananda Mohanty, former Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Orissa explores and narrates historical happenings in the form of letters and comments from Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Sri Aurobindo, to extract lessons we should have learnt and taken action on at the time. Today as we keep wrestling with the question of Chinese intrusions into Indian territory, more than five decades down the line, their growing demands and claims for our lands, it is worth recalling the two forgotten prophetic chapters from India's history in 1950. ◼
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