Towards a dialogic orientalism

Dialogic Orientalism: This is constituted by the awareness among those within the West who perceive the origin of the Other within their own culture, who believe that spirituality is part of the definition of the Human, which has been suppressed and neglected in the development of the progressive “logocentric” discourse of the Enlightenment. This anthropological deformation needs to be corrected. Engagement in dialogue with the living potential of that in non-western cultures can transform and enrich the world, and create a new future.

Rich Carlsson has written a very interesting article on the perversion of Sri Aurobindo’s integral approach by Hindu nationalism, do read the whole article here. It’s larger significance for non-experts is the approach to a dialogue between East and West.

In summary:

“Sri Aurobindo is a complex figure. In India he is often remembered as both a maha-guru and a charged symbol of its independence movement. In the cultural memory of some Hindu ultranationalist his writings and speeches are often deployed as an emotional declarations of resentment toward the legacy of occupation and militancy toward the partition of the subcontinent into a Hindu and Islamic State. A close reading however, of how he is portrayed in ultranationalist rhetoric reveals that Aurobindo’s words are often historically de-contextualized, his sentences cut up into snippets to form slogans of nationalism that invite quite the opposite of the intended meaning. These sectarian readings of Aurobindo collapse his cosmopolitan vision of a pluralist India into a chauvinist ideology that suit the narrow communal interest of political Hindu Nationalism. This introductory article, as do those that follow presents Indian Nationalism through the biography and works of Sri Aurobindo.”

1 Comment Towards a dialogic orientalism

  1. AvatarRobert E. Wilkinson

    The reason that Sri Aurobindo has been so misunderstood and de-contectualized is that almost no one, including Richard Carlsson, understands and appreciates his true identity and mission. Sri Aurobindo is far more than a Maha-guru or a symbol of Indian Independence. He is the 9th Avatar of Vedic tradition.
    The Mother explains:
    ‘What Sri Aurobindo represents in the world’s history is not a teaching, not even a revelation; it is a decisive action, direct from the Supreme… He is an emanation of the Supreme who came on earth to announce the manifestation of a new race and a new world: the Supramental.’
    Unfortunately in Auroville and the Ashram, people who call themselves devotees of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have made a decision to ignore the voluminous and non-speculative proofs of Sri Aurobindo’s Avataric credentials, objective proofs that have been published by the Third member of his Line and accepted and catalogued by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Archives. For most of his devotees, it is as if the Vedic tradition of the Avatar is meaningless, even though it is sanctified by the Gita in Sri Krishna’s own words, and Sri Aurobindo’s and the Mother’s as well. The fact is that Sri Aurobindo’s Avatarhood is of an extra-ordinary and final importance, as the purpose of his Advent on earth is the transformation of the humanity, the transcendence of the human race.

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